Favouritism in govt decisions down; India improves global rank

India's ranking has improved sharply to 49th place on a global list

New Delhi: When it comes to favouritism shown by government officials to influential corporates, India's ranking has improved sharply to 49th place on a global list, but remains below that of China and many major economies. India's ranking has also improved significantly in terms of public trust in politicians, as also with regard to diversion of public funds and for the 'irregular payments and bribery' at government institutions, as per an annual study by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

India was ranked 94th last year, while China's position has improved by seven places to 22nd in the latest ranking of countries for 'favouritism shown by government officials'. Qatar has replaced Singapore as the top ranked country with least probability of such favouritism while Venezuela continues to remain the worst place on this front.

The countries have been ranked on the basis of a survey of the extent to which "government officials show favouritism to well-connected firms and individuals when deciding upon policies and contracts". In the BRICS block of five major emerging economies, India's ranking is better than that of Russia (87th), South Africa (104th) and Brazil (108th) on this list.

India is also ranked better than countries like Mauritius, Spain, Israel, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh, among others, on this list which forms part of the WEF's annual Global Competitiveness Report. Qatar is followed by New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, UAE, the Netherlands, Japan, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland in top 10.

Among other major economies, the UK is ranked 17th and the US is at 47th place -- only two positions higher than India. Those ranked better than India also include Luxembourg, Germany, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Australia, France, Indonesia, Bhutan, Macedonia and Morocco.

According to the WEF methodology, the countries have been ranked on a scale of 1-7, where one means 'always show favouritism' and a score of 7 means 'never show favouritism'. India's score stands at 3.4, while top ranked Qatar has scored 5.6 points. India had scored 2.79 last year.

The report further shows that India is now ranked 50th in terms of public trust in politicians, up from 115th last year. Singapore is ranked the best on this front, followed by Qatar, UAE, Norway and Finland in the top-five. In terms of instances of 'diversion of public funds' also, India's ranking has moved up to 60th place, from 98th last year.

This sub-ranking measures a country's score on how common is diversion of public funds to companies, individuals, or groups due to corruption. In terms of overall 'undue influence', India is ranked 50th in the latest list, while in terms of 'irregular payments and bribes', India continues to rank low at 93rd place (up from 110th last year). For ethical behaviour of private institutions, India is ranked 88th (down from 86th a year ago), while its ranking is relatively better at 65th place in terms of ethics and corruption at public institutions.

On overall global competitiveness front, India's rank has slipped 11 place to 71st position amid challenging economic conditions during most part of the last year, while Switzerland has retained its top spot. As per the report, the most problematic factors for doing business in India include access to financing, high tax rates, tough foreign currency regulations, inadequate supply of infrastructure and corruption.

( Source : PTI )
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