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India ranked 40 in WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index
Sep 27, 2017

[GS Paper-III (Indian economy and issues relating to planning, mobilisation of resources, growth, development and employment)]

Why in News?

  • India has improved its ranking to 40 in the global competitiveness ranking of 137 countries by World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • Switzerland, United States, and Singapore continue to be the world’s top three competitive economies, while China (27th) and Russia (38th) outshine India among the BRICS group of large emerging markets. 
  • The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018 states that among the emerging markets seen as having great potential in the early 2000s, Brazil and Turkey have now lost much of the ground they gained before 2013, but China, India and Indonesia continue to improve.
  • The report, however, cautioned against risks from uncertain global economic conditions. 

India at 40th rank

  • India remains the most competitive country in South Asia.
  • Having made great strides in its ranking in the past two years (improved 32 positions between 2014-15 and 2016-17), India has stabilized at the 40th position in 2017-18.
  • This improvement in India’s ranking in WEF’s global competitive index comes amid its attempts to reach the 90th rank in World Bank’s ease of doing business survey this year (2017-18).
  • The report remained upbeat about India, which is planning massive funding to bankroll its new infrastructure programme. “India’s score improves across most pillars of competitiveness, particularly infrastructure (66th, up by two), higher education and training (75th, up by six), and technological readiness (107th, up by three), reflecting recent public investments in these areas,” the report said.
  • The WEF lauded India’s efforts in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, particularly Internet bandwidth per user, mobile phone and broadband subscriptions, and Internet access in schools.
  • At the same time the report also highlights some thorny issues impeding India’s competitiveness such as inadequate infrastructure, poor work ethic, inadequately educated workforce, restrictive labour regulations, poor public health, complex tax regulations, and insufficient capacity to innovate.
  • Addressing these challenges is imperative given the enormous gains to be made from improving competitiveness. This will help rebalance the economy and move the country up the value chain to ensure more solid and stable economic and employment growth.

The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI)

  • The Global Competitiveness Index of World Economic Forum (WEF) is the accepted tool for evaluating a country's potential for growth. By comparing most of the world's countries, it provides insight into the comparative advantages of each.
  • The Global Competitiveness Index monitors the performance of 137 countries based on a set of 12 categories called ‘pillars of competitiveness’, namely institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business application and innovation.
  • These pillars are further grouped into three categories—resource-driven, efficiency-driven and innovation-driven. The weights assigned to the different sub-indices depend on a country’s level of development.
  • For instance, for economies that are largely resource-driven, a higher weight of 60% is placed on the ‘basic requirements index’, compared with innovation-driven economies that only receive a weight of 20% for the basic index. Similarly, for economies transitioning from being resource-driven to efficiency-driven, the weight on the basic requirements index ranges from 40-60% and for those transitioning from being efficiency-driven to largely technology-driven, the weight for the basic requirements index ranges from 20% to 40%.

Key Highlights of Global Competitiveness Report 2017 

  • Although inequality measured across nation-states—in other words, global inequality—has decreased, there is a recent rise in inequality within countries.
  • Disruptive technology has contributed to labour market polarization, implying a ‘hollowing out’ of middle-level skills and growth in low- and high-skilled jobs.
  • The report places stress on inclusive growth and in the light of widespread income inequality which mandate that distributional policies be revitalized by governments. 
  • In addition, the emergence of automation and the fourth industrial revolution means that creating conditions for a smooth transition for workers is imperative. This implies adequate protection of workers’ rights combined with a degree of labour flexibility that will enhance and not weaken competitiveness. 
  • The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2017 calls for more innovative solutions to tackle the bottlenecks to inclusive growth.

 


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