India’s rank is down by a single position in the World Economic Forum's annual Global Competitiveness Index. Issued on Tuesday, it places India at 40th among 137 economies for the 2017-18 report, down from 39th position in 2016-17. However, this is the country's highest score, under a new methodology. In 2016-17, India had jumped 16 positions, from 55th rank a year before. The index this year measures national competitiveness. Defined as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity. Of the three sub-indexes, India has progressed the most in the efficiency enhancers category, up four positions to 42nd rank. “This is helped notably by improvements in the quality of higher education and training, as well as labour market efficiency,” the report said. It finds improvement in ability to attract and retain talent, as well as in labour-employer relations. However, in the other two sub-indexes, basic requirements and innovation & sophistication, India stands at 63rd and 42nd positions, respectively. The report says this country still has to straddle a large gap between its innovative strength (29th position) and its technological readiness, which still lags most comparable economies at a lowly 107th position.
In the latter category, the latest report saw only a progression of three places for India.This is also pointed out as true for regional giant China, which also needs to increase its technological readiness and promote innovation. China’s ranking improved by a single position to 27th in 2017. The report mentions that India remains the most competitive country in South Asia. And, most countries in the region broadly continue to be among the most improved economies globally. In 2017, both Pakistan and Bangladesh managed to better their ranking by seven positions each. Pakistan is now at 115th position; Bangladesh at 99th. However, across the region, overall challenges remain the same. “Improving ICT (information and communications technology) infrastructure and use remain among the biggest challenges for the region. In the past decade, technological readiness stagnated the most in South Asia,” says the report. With Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany stable on first, fourth and fifth spots, respectively, the only changes in the top five apply to the United States and Singapore, which swap second and third positions.