It’s a major embarrassment for Modi Government. A top American thinktank has given a thumps-down to economic policies of Modi Government. In the Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom report India has been ranked at dismal 143 positions. The Report says that India’s progress on market-oriented reforms has been “uneven”.
Shockingly, India’s overall score of 52.6 points is 3.6 points less than that of last year, when India ranked 123rd. India is behind its several South Asian neighbours including Pakistan. It’s a clear cut verdict on Modi’s economic policy especially Make In India programme that was aimed at making India a business destination.
The Heritage Foundation in its Index of Economic Freedom report said despite India sustaining an average annual growth of about 7 per cent over the past five years, growth is not deeply rooted in policies that preserve economic freedom.
Putting India in the category of “mostly unfree” economies, the conservative political thinktank said progress on market-oriented reforms has been “uneven”. It said the state “maintains an extensive presence” in many areas through public-sector enterprises. “A restrictive and burdensome regulatory environment discourages the entrepreneurship that could provide broader private-sector growth.”
Among South Asian countries, only Afghanistan (163) and Maldives (157) were ranked below India. Nepal (125), Sri Lanka (112), Pakistan (141), Bhutan (107), and Bangladesh (128) surpassed India in economic freedom. Even, China with a score of 57.4 points – an increase of 5.4 points compared to previous year – was placed at 111 positions.
India is a significant force in world trade, the report noted, but corruption, underdeveloped infrastructure, and poor management of public finance undermine overall development.