India ranked 43rd on IMD’s World Competitiveness Index; Singapore on top
New Delhi: India continues to remain ranked 43rd on an annual World Competitiveness Index compiled by Institute for Management Development (IMD) with some traditional weaknesses like poor infrastructure and insufficient education investment keeping its ranking low, the international business school said on Tuesday.
Singapore has retained its top position on the 63-nation list.
Denmark has moved up to the second position (from 8th last year), Switzerland has gained one place to rank 3rd, the Netherlands has retained its 4th place and Hong Kong has slipped to the fifth place (from 2nd in 2019).
The US has moved down to 10th place (from 3rd last year), while China has also slipped from 14th to 20th place. Among the BRICS nations, India is ranked second after China, followed by Russia (50th), Brazil (56th) and South Africa (59th).
India was ranked 41st on the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking, being produced by the business school based in Switzerland and Singapore every year since 1989, but had slipped to 45th in 2017 before improving to 44th in 2018 and then to 43rd in 2019.
While its overall position has remained unchanged in the 2020 list, it has recorded improvements in areas like long-term employment growth, current account balance, high-tech exports, foreign currency reserves, public expenditure on education, political stability and overall productivity, the IMD said.
However, it has moved down in areas like exchange rate stability, real GDP growth, competition legislation and taxes.
Arturo Bris, Head of Competitiveness Center at IMD Business School, said India continues to struggle on the list and the recent country rating downgrade by Moody’s reflects the uncertainties regarding the economy’s future.
“In our ranking this year, we again emphasize the traditional weaknesses of India — poor infrastructure, an important deficit in education investment, and a health system that does not reach everybody. For India to follow the path of China, it must stress its intangible infrastructure,” Bris said.
“In a less global world, with China, USA, and Europe looking inwards, currencies like the rupee (and the Brazilian real for instance) are going to suffer and display high volatilities.
“Moody’s has threatened the country with a downgrade to junk and that would put India in a terrible position to attract foreign capital. So the urgency for the government should be to fix the short-term problems—and this requires to improve the credibility of the government itself,” Bris added.
With the exception of Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan and the Korean Republic, most Asian economies dropped in rankings this year, the IMD said.
The reason for the Asian economies’ less stellar performance as a region, this year is partly the result of the trade frictions between China and the US, particularly because these economies are highly dependent on trade with China.
About Singapore, which moved to the top rank last year, the IMD said its position is largely driven by the relative ease of setting up business, availability of skilled labour and its cutting-edge technological infrastructure.
The IMD said the impact of COVID-19 on the competitiveness ranking has partially been captured by executives’ opinions about the effectiveness of the different health systems.
In the ASEAN countries included in the survey, only Singapore and Thailand have a positive performance in the effectiveness of the health infrastructure.