04 NOV,2019 | MEDC
India has moved upwards to the 63rd position (out of 190 countries) in the latest Ease of Doing Business rankings of the World Bank. However, in two key areas, enforcing contracts and registering property, India is placed at the 163rd and the 154th position, respectively. This does not augur well for enhancing India’s socioeconomic competitiveness. The World Bank President has rightly said that a country’s competitiveness depends only partly on the ease of doing business. Macroeconomic stability, skills of the workforce, and whether investors choose to invest there also matter. India needs to provide more resources to commercial courts at all levels for judgements to flow faster. If we are unable to reform the functioning of the judiciary, it is going to have socioeconomic repercussions. The government is the biggest litigant in India, and it is imperative for all undertakings – whether public or private sector – to be made more accountable for honouring contracts. Courts and tribunals need to discourage frivolous litigation through heavy penalties. If the judicial system remains sluggish, the socioeconomic advantages of a democracy get eroded. Expediting the trial of commercial disputes is key to reassuring foreign investors that India is a country worth investing in. It is certainly doable, and industry bodies and trade associations could play a role here in sensitising their members (and the public at large) on the sanctity of contracts.
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