India jumps 13 spots in the Index of Economic Freedom

Now at 130th place, one spot above Pakistan.

The annual Index of Economic Freedom released by a top American think-tank has India India at the 130th spot, jumping 13 places in the last one year. India had ranked 143rd with a score of 52.6 points in 2017. In the list of 180 countries, it had ranked two spots below Pakistan, while China with 57.4 points was ranked 111. The index is released by The Heritage Foundation, an American conservative public policy think-tank based in Washington. 
In the current Index of Economic Freedom, China has jumped one spot, while Pakistan is now at 131 spot.
With an economic freedom score of 54.5, Indian economy is the 130th freest in the 2018 Index. 
“Its overall score has increased by 1.9 points, led by improvements in judicial effectiveness, business freedom, government integrity, and fiscal health, said the Heritage Foundation said. However, India is ranked 30th among 43 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and its overall score is below the regional and world averages.
The Foundation noted that India is developing into an open-market economy, but there are still traces of its earlier autocratic policies. 
The report highlights India’s economic liberalisation measures, including industrial deregulation, privatisation of state-owned enterprises and reduced controls on foreign trade and investment, that began in the early 1990s, and which are the agents of accelerated growth.
However, the report states that corruption, underdeveloped infrastructure, a restrictive and burdensome regulatory environment, and poor financial and budget management continue to undermine India’s growth story. 
The report further notes that despite efforts, the reforms thus far have been modest. 
Commenting on the diverse nature of India’s economy, the report states, it comprises traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of services.
The report states that land titles in some urban and nearly all rural areas remain unclear, however, real property rights in large metropolitan areas are generally well enforced. 
Commenting on the state of India’s judiciary, the report states that though the judiciary is independent, the courts are understaffed and lack the technology to clear the huge backlog. 
It also says that officials are often caught accepting bribes, but despite this, a lot of corruption goes unnoticed and unpunished,
The report also finds that non-tariff barriers significantly impede trade and that the government’s openness to foreign investment is below average. 
It  finds state-owned institutions dominating the financial sector, and limited foreign participation. 
It also notes the bad loans of state-owned banks and states that stressed assets account for about 10 per cent of total assets.
Source: Media reports

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