A survey on ease of doing business released by the NITI Aayog
on Monday does not represent the views of the Centre
or the think tank, the Union government
said on Tuesday.
The Aayog had released the survey, with its logo and India’s national emblem
on the cover, which stated that it took 118 days to set up a business in India. The survey was jointly published by the Aayog and the Mumbai-based IDFC Institute.
“The report is based on an Enterprise Survey, conducted jointly with the IDFC Institute.
The report itself states that it is meant to be a research document and its contents do not represent the views of the Government
of India or NITI Aayog,” said an official media statement on Tuesday.
“The survey was conducted between April 2015 and April 2016 and does not reflect any changes in the ease of doing business since then. In recent years, there has been tremendous progress in easing various processes related to doing business. This has been verified by the World Bank.”
The findings of the enterprise survey were at sharp variance with the World Bank's annual Doing Business Report, which showed that it took just 26 days to set up a business in India in 2016.
The World Bank covered only Delhi and Mumbai in the report. The Aayog-IDFC Institute
survey was pan-India, except Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep. The results of the two reports were different on other parameters as well.
Tuesday’s press statement said the survey’s responses were based on past experiences and perceptions on doing business, dating as far back as 10 years or more. “Reforms such as single-window clearance systems would not be applicable to many firms covered in the survey,” it said, adding that the survey only took inputs from firms in the formal manufacturing sector and did not cover unorganised manufacturing and the services sectors.
The press statement pointed out the differences in the methodology of the Aayog survey and the World Bank survey and stated that the former actually showed better results in a number of states. “The experiences of start-ups, or enterprises started during or after 2014, suggest a significant improvement in doing business over time. Newer and younger firms take less time in obtaining approvals, highlighting a favorable business environment,” it said.
According to the Aayog-IDFC Institute
survey, it was possible to start a business in Tamil Nadu, the best-performing state, in 63 days. Land allotment took 156 days nationally and 28 days in Himachal Pradesh.
Environmental approval took 91 days nationally and 25 days in Chhattisgarh.
NITI Aayog’s outgoing Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya
had said in a press conference on Monday there was a huge gap between what the state governments have done to improve the ease of doing business and what the enterprises know of these improvements. Besides wider coverage, the Aayog’s report, unlike the World Bank, interviewed firms rather than only experts and officials. The Aayog report was focused on organised manufacturing, covering 3,000 firms across 23 sectors, while the World Bank report covers both manufacturing and services.
At an event, ministers had slammed the World Bank report on ease of doing business, which ranked India at 130th position, compared to the government’s ambition of placing the country at 50.