Skip to main content

India best business destination, but with extreme lag in social sector: Western report

By Rajiv Shah* 
Recently, there have been series of “studies”, claiming that India has become a favourable investment destination because of the economic freedom it offers. Despite ranking India very high – No 1 in some cases – a scan through these reports gives a contradictory picture. While those that deal with purely economic governance issues, but do not touch social issues, easily place India as the best of all, those that address the social sector and its governance find things are not as rosy as they may seem. Worse, none of the reports, while addressing economic freedom or India as the best investment destination, finds even the slightest need to address issues of human rights, civil liberties and environment, as if they are not related with overall working of of the economy.
The latest in the series is the Financial Times (September 29) published a report titled “India grabs investment league pole position”, by Courtney Fingar, says, India, experiencing “one of best foreign direct investment (FDI) growth rates in a year when many major destinations posted declines”, has outstripped its rivals, “bucking a downward trend among emerging markets.” In fact, it underlines, “India is in pole position to pass both China and the US in the FDI league tables this year. With midyear data on greenfield FDI now in, 2015 looks to be a milestone year for India following its impressive performance in 2014.”
Fishing out figures to prove its point, the article says, “India ranked fifth last year for capital investment, after China, the US, the UK and Mexico. In a year when many other major FDI destinations posted declines, India experienced one of 2014’s best FDI growth rates, increasing its number of projects by 47 per cent.” It adds, “This could shape up to be an even better year for investment into India. A ranking of the top destinations for greenfield investment (measured by estimated capital expenditure) in the first half of 2015 shows India at number one, having attracted roughly $3bn more than China and $4bn more than the US… India is tracking well ahead of where it was at this time last year: it has more than doubled its midyear investment levels, attracting $30bn by the end of June 2015 compared with $12bn in the first half of last year.”
Earlier, prominent US journal “Foreign Policy”, owned by the FP Group, a division of Graham Holdings Company, formerly the Washington Post Company, had declared that India has told a “the big story in the Baseline Profitability Index (BPI) this year is India, coming out on top.” It claimed, the country’s “growth forecasts are up, perceptions of corruption down, and investors better protected following the election of a government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
A one-man job, the report was prepared by Daniel Altman, who is senior editor, economics, at “Foreign Policy”, and is an adjunct professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business. The high-profile report finds India’s BPI at 1.32, placing it at No 1, followed by Quatar at No 2 with a BPI of 1..28, Botswana at No 3 with a BPI 1.27, Singapore at No 4 with a BPI of 1.22, and Ghana at No 5 with a BPI of 1.21. The United States, the report says, has a BPI of 1.01 with a ranking of No 50, the United Kingdom a BPI of 1.00 with a ranking of No 64, China a BPI of 0.99 with a ranking of No 65, and Japan a BPI of 0.98 with a ranking of No 74.
Wondering “where exactly should they put their money”, the report insists, “Modi’s India is the place to start”; it advises investors, if they invested in India, this is the country which would give them “a better idea of how big the return will be when it finally reaches your pocket.” Pointing out that it’s a “great time to be an international investor”, it advises investors to invest in India especially when “most countries crippled by the global financial crisis.”
A third report – which is more significant than the other two – is by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which points out that, after five years of decline, India has “jumped” 16 ranks to 55th place in global competitive index. The report, titled “Global Competitive Report 2015-16”, gives full mark to the “momentum initiated by the election of Narendra Modi, whose pro-business, pro-growth, and anti-corruption stance”, though at the same time underlines, “Business leaders still consider corruption to be the biggest obstacle to doing business in the country.” Yet, the WEF report calls the situation on the macroeconomic front “worrisome.” Even as pointing out that India is the third biggest market in the world, up for grabs for global investors, this is the only report which seeks to address the economic freedom index in context of overall development in the social sector.
The WEF report does suggest that, while India may have jumped 16 places in the competitive index, the latest ranking at 55th position among 140 countries – up from the 71st position in 2014-15 – is still not good enough. After all, despite the “massive jump”, which follows five years of a decline on the list, India still ranks seven notches lower than it did in 2007, when the UPA government was strong and in power. Further, even as agreeing that “inflation eased to 6 percent in 2014, down from near double-digit levels the previous year”, the report says, issues of “technological readiness” particularly need attention. India remains “one of the least digitally connected countries in the world”, it says, adding, “Fewer than one in five Indians access the Internet on a regular basis, and fewer than two in five are estimated to own even a basic cell phone.”
To give an idea, the WEF’s ranking of India in the use of technology is one of the poorest in the world from among the 140 countries which have been ranked. Thus, in mobile telephone subscriptions it is 121st, in fixed-telephone lines it is 116th, in availability of latest technologies it is 108th, in firm-level technology absorption it is 102st, in individuals using Internet it is 107th, in fixed-broadband Internet subscriptions it is 104th, in international internet bandwidth it is 116st, and in mobile-broadband subscriptions 124th.
Coming to the social sector and its impact, the WEF’s ranking for India is equally poor. Thus, as follows: In tuberculosis cases it is 113rd, in business impact of tuberculosis it is 132nd, in business impact of HIV/AIDS it is 130th, in infant mortality it is 114th, in life expectancy it is 107th, in secondary education enrollment it is 105th, in Internet access in schools it is 100th, and so on.
And on the issues of economy and governance, India’s ranking is as bad. Thus, in inflation it is 105th, in general government debt it is 103rd, in government budget balance it is 131st, in organized crime it is 119th, in business costs of terrorism it is 126th, in property rights it is 103rd, in number of procedures to start a business it is 129th, in number of days to start a business it is 110th, in trade tariffs it is 124th, in imports as a percentage of GDP it is 116th, in flexibility of wage determination it is 120th, in women in labour force as ratio to men it is 132nd, and in soundness of banks it is 100th.
A fourth report, which has largely gone unnoticed, but was released about the time Prime Minister Narendra Modi was meeting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the US in September last week, has found that India has slipped in global ranking for the use of internet, both broadband and internet in general. Sponsored jointly by UNESCO and International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and released by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, the report, “State of Broadband 2015: Broadband as Foundation of Sustainable Development”, dated September 2015, ranks India 131st in the fixed broadband subscription category and 155th in the mobile broadband subscription category among 189 nations of the world.
The report says that India has 1.2 per 100 capita fixed and 5.5 mobile per 100 capita broadband penetration. A comparison with BRICS nations suggests as India ranks worst both in fixed and mobile broadband. In fixed broadband, Russia ranks 56th with 17.5 per 100 capita, China 67th with 14.4 per 100 capita, Brazil 76th with 11.5 per 100 capita, and South Africa 110th with 3.2 per 100 capita. And as for mobile broadband, Brazil 27th with 78.1 per 100 capita, Russia 40th with 65.9 per 100 capita, South Africa 69th with 46.7 per 100 capita, and China 78th with 41.8 per 100 capita.
The earlier report, released exactly a year ago, in September 2014, had found that India ranked 125th in fixed broadband subscription with 1.2 per 100 capita penetration, and 113th in mobile broadband subscription with a 3.2 per capita penetration, suggesting a sharp slip internationally on both the counts. The data come close on the heels of experts doubting the possibility of Digital India’s ability to take internet to every doorstep in India, a goal Modi has set for himself. Prepared by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, the report is has been prepared in response to the UN Secretary-General’s call to step up efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Established in May 2010, the Commission unites government leaders, top industry executives, thought leaders, policy pioneers, international agencies and organizations concerned with development.
The 2015 report also finds that, with 15.3 per cent of households having internet, India ranks No 80 among 133 developing countries. The 2014 report had had found that, with 13 per cent households having internet, India ranked No 75 among developing countries. The only consolation for India is, in Pakistan, 13 per cent households have internet connections, with its ranking being 83rd among developing countries. Sri Lanka’s household internet penetration is equal to that of India.
Further, the 2015 report finds that in India 18 per cent individuals use internet, but this is worse than 135 other nations out of a total of 191. Iceland tops the list with 98.2 per cent individuals using internet, followed by Norway 96.3 per cent, and Denmark 96 per cent. In United Kingdom 91.6 per cent individuals use internet, in Japan 90.6 per cent, in the United States 87.4 per cent, and so on.
Coming to the BRICS countries on this score, again, India is again the worst performer. In in Russia 60.5 per cent individuals use internet (ranking No 44), in Brazil 57.6 per cent (ranking No 68), in China 49.3 per cent (ranking No 82), and in South Africa 49 per cent (ranking No 84).

Comments

TRENDING

Vishwanath has been unfairly excluded from global list of 100 best cricketers

By Harsh Thakor  Gundappa Vishwanath scaled zones in batting artistry or wizardry unparalleled amongst Indian batsmen. The best of his batting was a manifestation of the divine. He was also the epitome of cricketing sportsmanship. Sadly 40 years ago he unceremoniously bid farewell to the International cricket world, after the concluding test at Karachi in 1982-83., in January end. Very hard to visualise a character like Vishwanath being reborn today His memories are embedded in cricket lovers today when sportsmanship and grace have virtually been relegated to oblivion with the game of cricket turned into a commercial commodity. Today agro and unsporting behaviour is a routine feature Vishy shimmered cricket’s spirituality. His behaviour on the cricket field was grace personified, No one in his age defined cricket more as a gentleman’s game, than Vishy. Vishwanath could execute strokes that were surreal with his steel wrists. His strokeplay resembled the touches of a painter’s brush,

Abrogation of Art 370: Increasing alienation, relentless repression, simmering conflict

One year after the abrogation by the Central Government of Art. 370 in Kashmir, what is the situation in the Valley. Have the promises of peace, normalcy and development been realised? What is the current status in the Valley? Here is a detailed note by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties , “Jammu & Kashmir: One Year after Abrogation of Art. 370: Increasing Alienation, Relentless Repression, Simmering Conflict”:

Reproductive, conjugal rights of women in India amidst debate of uniform civil code

By IMPRI Team  A Three-Day Immersive Online Legal Awareness and Certificate Training Course on “Reproductive and Conjugal Rights of Women in India” is an initiative of the Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC), at the IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, and ran for three consecutive days starting from December 22, 2022 to December 24, 2022. The online paid certification was aimed to provide attendees with an enriching experience on the gender discourse with a special focus on women’s rights and the much-discussed reproductive rights in India.

Covid jabs: Pretexts cited to justify young, healthy succumbing to heart attacks

By Jay Ihsan   Truth is stranger than fiction – when dedicated doctors raised the red flag against the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, they were persecuted and their concerns barred from being heard. These honest doctors unequivocally made it known the Moderna Pfizer vaccines injure the heart and human body. One of them, Dr Peter McCullough, an American cardiologist, has repeatedly issued the clarion call to people to reject these harmful vaccines. An equally alarmed World Council for Health said the harmful Covid-19 vaccines should be removed from the market and the global inoculation must be stopped. “In Japan the vaccines were not mandated or made compulsory. The vaccines are not safe or effective enough to mandate them. The day the vaccines go away will be a day of celebration,” Dr Mccullough had lamented during an interview with India’s media outfit, Qvive several months ago. Meanwhile, the number of people jabbed with the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines died soon after or have developed lifelong

Gender gap 17%, SC and ST levels of education between 7% to 14% below upper classes

By IMPRI Team  The treatment of school education in a holistic manner and improving school effectiveness in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and learning outcomes has been the aspiration of all and multiple challenges are faced to maintain and provide proper education. On the occasion of India@75: Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, as part of its series- the State of Education- #EducationDialogue, #IMPRI Center for ICT for Development (CICTD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi organised a special deliberation on The State of School Education In India with Prof Muchkund Dubey, who is the President of the Council for Social Development, New Delhi. The moderator for the event, Dr Simi Mehta CEO and Editorial Director of the IMPRI. The chair of the event was Prof Jandhyala B.G. Tilak, an Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) National Fellow, the Distinguished Professor at the Council for Social Development, New Delhi and also a Former Professor & Vice-Ch

Rahul Dravid exhibited selflessness in heights unscaled by any other Indian batsman

By Harsh Thakor*  On January 11th maestro Rahul Dravid turned 50. No Indian batsmen were ever more of an embodiment of temperament or grit.as Rahul Dravid. Dravid was the best ambassador of sportsmanship in cricket in his day and age. In his time no Asian batsmen did what the doctor ordered, to the extent of Dravid. Dravid was manifestation of single-mindedess, tenacity and selflessness in sport. One hardly has an adjective to the ice coolness and craft Dravid exhibited in adjusting to the given situation. Rarely did any batsmen exhibit such a clinical o methodical approach to batting.

NHRC blindly followed BSF status report on fencing farmland off Indo-Bangladesh border

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) writes an open letter of protest against the action taken status report on restriction imposed by the BSF personnel upon the villagers of Changmari near Indo-Bangladesh border: *** I have the honour to inform you that we received one action taken status report dated 11.01.2023 from your Commission in respect of the above referred case from where it is revealed that your authority closed the case based on the report of the concerned authorities. In this connection I again raise my voice as the enquiry in respect of the above referred case was not properly conducted. Hence I submit this open letter of protest for the ends of justice. From the action taken status report of the Commission dated 11.01.2023 it is reported that concerned authority submitted a report dated 18.01.2022 where it is reported that the concerned area comes under the OPS responsibility of BOP Chengmari, 62 Bn BSF and is highly susceptible to trans-bo

Data analytics: How scientific enquiry process impacts quality of policy research

By IMPRI Team  Given the multidimensionality of policy and impact research, tech-driven policy prescriptions are playing a dominant role in the 21st century. As such, data analytics have become integral in this space. IMPRI Generation Alpha Data Centre (GenAlphaDC) , IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute New Delhi has successfully conducted a #WebPolicyTalk 6-Week Immersive Online Hands-on Certificate Training Course on Data Analytics for Policy Research, spanning over 6-consecutive Saturdays from October 15th to November 19th, 2022. Along with this, datasets for hands-on learning were also provided for data analysis and learning. Participants were required to make a submission for evaluation at the end of the course, to obtain the certificate. This course comprised hands-on data learning sessions and various expert sessions on data discourses. The course especially catered to data and policy enthusiasts – including students, professionals, researchers, and other individuals lo

Brutal assault on Delhi Univ students as fear grips present rulers on rise of dissent

By Arhaan Baaghi  Various democratic student organizations (bsCEM, fraternity, DSU, SIO, AIRSO) had planned a screening of the BBC documentary "India: The Modi Question" in the Delhi University Arts Faculty, but the guards of the university and the Delhi police along with paramilitary forcefully detained the students just because we were trying to watch a documentary that scrutinizes the role of Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots. At first when the students started screening the documentary, the electricity of the department building was cut down. Students were brutally beaten by the police and university guards. Female students were also brutally manhandled and beaten. This whole incident shows the Brahmanical Hindutva fascist nature of the government and the university authority that is working as its puppet. An activist of bsCEM was manhandled by a male security guard, who tried to pull out his T shirt. Also various female activist were dragged by male security guards and their h

Great march of migrants during lockdown: Lessons not learned, missed opportunities

By IMPRI Team  A panel discussion on “The Great March of Migrants During The National Lockdown: Lessons Not Learned and Missed Opportunities” was organized by the #IMPRI Center for Human Centre for Human Dignity and Development (CHDD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi on the occasion of International Migrants Day, i.e December 18, 2022. Inaugurating the session, Ms Aanchal Kumari, a researcher at IMPRI, welcomed the speakers and participants to the program with an introduction to the eminent panellists. The event was moderated by Dr Devender Singh, a Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI. The panellists included Prof. R.B Bhagat, Professor and Head, Department of Migration and Urban Studies, International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai; Prof Arun Kumar, Distinguished Economist, a Former Professor Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi and Malcolm S. Adiseshiah Chair Professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi; Ms Akriti Bhatia, Founder of People