India Jumps 13 Places In Economic Freedom; Unclear Land Titles Play A Drag
Let us rejoice the good news first—Today’s India is more economically free. From its previous ranking of 143 on The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom in 2017, India is placed at the 130th spot this year, a jump of 13 positions. India's economic freedom score is 54.5, making its economy the 130th freest in 2018 among 180 countries.
"Its overall score has increased by 1.9 points (over the previous year), led by improvements in judicial effectiveness, business freedom, government integrity, and fiscal health,” The Heritage Foundation said.
Lying right below India at the index is its neighbour Pakistan. Last year, Pakistan was positioned two places higher than India.
Now, let us look at what still drags India down.
“India is ranked 30th among 43 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is below the regional and world averages," the think tank added.
"Corruption, underdeveloped infrastructure, a restrictive and burdensome regulatory environment, and poor financial and budget management continue to undermine overall development," the report said.
Reforms undertaken to improve the state of affairs have yet to make the desired impact.
In diversity lies India’s challenge, says the report.
"India's diverse economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of services," it said.
The rising number of court cases also impedes the process of economic freedom.
"The judiciary is independent, but the Indian courts are understaffed and lack the technology necessary to clear an enormous backlog. Although officials are often caught accepting bribes, a great deal of corruption goes unnoticed and unpunished," according to the Heritage Foundation.
In the middle of it all, property matters are complicating things further. Despite the fact that states are using technology to provide clear land titles, frauds are common. According to the foundation, property rights in large metropolitan areas are generally well enforced, says the report, but land titles in some urban and nearly all rural areas remain unclear.
With inputs from Housing News