Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 11
Punjab’s overall ranking in the ease of doing business has dropped from number one position in 2015 rankings and number two in 2016, to number 20 (in Reform Evidence) in the 2017 rankings declared on Tuesday.
What has failed Punjab in just one year is the government’s inability to offer all its services online – a major criteria fixed by World Bank to rank states.
The announcement comes among concerns allayed by the industry over the state government’s inability to implement its industrial policy. It has also shocked the state government, which is desperately looking at attracting new investments needed to uplift the sagging economy of the state.
In 2015, Punjab was adjudged among the best states for ease of doing business, in the category of setting up a new business. In 2016, the state was adjudged among the top states in India for implementing a single window clearance facility.
Officials say the reason for the state’s ranking slipping to number 20 was that the parameters for gauging ease of doing business have changed. They claim that investor interest in Punjab proves that the state is still an attractive investment destination.
Data available with The Tribune shows that between December 2013 and June 2018, 643 proposals with a proposed investment of Rs 43,396 crore were received. Between April 2017 and June 2018, after the Congress government took charge, 161 proposals entailing an investment of Rs 8644 crore were received. “Pepsi (Varun Beverages) is investing Rs 799.7 crore, while Coca Cola (Ludhiana Beverages) is investing Rs 220 crore in the state. A majority of the proposals are in manufacturing and agro and food processing sector,” said a senior officer in Industries Department.
“In 2017, World Bank changed the parameters for ranking different states. The rankings were done essentially on the basis of how many services by various state governments to the industry are provided online. The Punjab government recently started online services in various departments. This will help us improve our overall ratings for 2018. However, on the parameter of industry feedback, the state has been ranked at number 9,” said Rajat Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer, Invest Punjab.