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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Economy during Covid times ~ ease of doing business : AP tops, UP comes 2nd .. .. Kerala - 28 !!

Cautioning people against lowering their guard till an effective anti-coronavirus medicine is developed, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on Saturday came up with a slogan in Hindi to drive home his point. He said, ‘Jab tak dawai nahi, tab tak dhilai nahi’ (No carelessness till a medicine is found).  In Covid times, the biggest casualty is ‘truth’ as media reports are often biased and one-sided – statistics as a tool is manipulated to depict the picture the journalist wants !! 

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb threatened to take action against certain media houses for allegedly spreading “fake news” about the coronavirus situation in the state, reported NorthEast Now.   “Some newspapers are publishing confusing news related to Covid-19 medical management,” Deb said at the foundation stone laying ceremony for a Special Economic Zone at Sabroom, 130 km from state capital Agartala. “Neither history will forgive them nor will I forgive them. These media houses and newspapers are spreading fake news and scaring people.”

During testing times, suddenly many have turned economists and started talking about GDP, economy and people’s plight and when lockdown relaxations are announced, the same people would shout that opening up everything would result in chaos increasing the Corona numbers.

The common man is still hopeful that the world will return to normal soon, but a post-pandemic society will likely look different in numerous ways, including how we acquire basic necessities like groceries.  There was a time when people crowded malls in the cities – and it appeared as if people’s daily life depended on malls and super markets.  They have remained closed for 170 days + - people are still eating, perhaps most of the meals come from grocery stores both neighbourhood small shops and Online merchants.  Consumers are adopting to pickup services and reverting to old style of cash and carry from nearer stores.   

While there is slump in sales, it is reported that coronavirus pandemic has caused the real estate market to skyrocket as Americans seek to change their living conditions !  The pandemic caused everyone to reevaluate where they're being quarantined,” but  many have started looking  at the fact that a home is no longer a home, the home is now a workplace as well;  also a school – and has become the place where the family spends time together !

The Wall Street Journal recently  published a report that said that the World Bank had suspended the publication of its annual Ease of Doing Business ranking because of certain discrepancies in the data. According to the report, the data of four countries – China, Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – could have been inappropriately altered. It is pertinent to note that all 4 counties that are now under scanner ranked higher than India in the report released in 2019 Ease of Doing Business Rankings by the World Bank.  Since all 4 countries whose data seems to have inappropriately manipulated  ranks,    it is entirely plausible that after the World Bank audits the reports it has released of the last 5 years, India’s ranking may actually improve from where it stands today.

Back home, in a big boost to a Govt often targeted by media, the UP   Yogi Adityanath government, Uttar Pradesh jumped 10 places to occupy the second spot in the ease of doing business ranking of states.  According to the annual ranking released by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Andhra Pradesh retained the top spot for the third time in a row while Telangana slipped one place to settle at the third position.

"Uttar Pradesh occupying the second spot in 'Ease of Doing Business' ranking is proof of the state's push for fulfiling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat," chief minister Yogi Adityanath tweeted shortly after the release of the rankings. In a series of tweets from its official handle, the Uttar Pradesh government highlighted various reasons behind its marked improvement in the rankings and said that its performance indicates that entrepreneurs are receiving the benefits of reforms implemented by the chief minister. "UP has left several leading states like Gujarat, Telangana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra etc. behind in this ease of doing business rankings," it said. The state government tweeted that it has implemented 186 out of the 187 reforms suggested by the DPIIT. It said the reforms were spread across several areas such as labour regulation, online single window, access to information & transparency, land administration, construction permit, commercial disputes, inspection enablers etc.

"More than 20 departments such as Invest UP (Udyog Bandhu), Labour dept., Pollution Control Board, Commercial Tax, Power, Stamp & registration, IDAS, Excise, Food safety & drug and many others were part of this journey in implementing these reforms," the state government tweeted. The Yogi-led government said it has successfully introduced various IT-driven modules to make the state business-friendly and listed "Nivesh Mitra" as one of the major reasons behind its performance. 'Nivesh Mitra' is a single-window platform that was launched during the UP Investors Summit in 2018. "In a period of 2 years, 'Nivesh Mitra' received around 2,29,936 No-objection Certificates (NoCs) applications, out of which Nivesh Mitra has already disposed-of 94% applications to grant NOC/Licenses to entrepreneurs," it said.

Perhaps what went sort of unnoticed or not highlighted by the Press is the much touted Kerala, is lagging at the bottom at 28th position.   Ease of Doing Business (EODB) is a joint initiative by the Department for Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and the World Bank to improve the overall business environment in the States.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



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