The business environment is one of the key indicators of prosperity. This has been proven time and again by the Legatum 2018 Prosperity Index. It has also been seen to be the case for how India progressed into what it is today.
According to the index, this specific pillar has seen the biggest worldwide gain in one year. Every region in the world saw improvements in this element which affects prosperity levels, with the most significant gains in 10 years reported in Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia.
Based on the rankings under the prosperity pillar, India is among those that had the biggest progress in terms of the business environment. Compared to scores recorded in 2017, the nation rose by as much as 11 places in delivering an optimal business climate for both entrepreneurs and investors.
According to an official report from the World Bank, two years prior, India started working its way up to enhance the ease of doing business in the country and initiated reforms that foster a more viable regulatory framework for businessmen. Further, the report says that India started a wider adoption of reforms in 2016, paving the way for significant improvements in the country’s business environment.
This prediction became a reality as proven by the country’s scores in the 2018 Legatum Prosperity Index. In the index, it has been noted that the country has experienced considerable progress in two specific sub-pillars of the business environment: business infrastructure and intellectual property rights.
Better Business Infrastructure
The business infrastructure sub-pillar covers aspects of the business climate that make running a company a whole lot easier, particularly in terms of logistics, utilities, transport, and communications.
Some indicators the index used to measure a country or region’s score in this sub-pillar includes:
- Its performance in logistics
- The rates set for broadband subscriptions
- The cost of obtaining an electricity connection based on the GDP percentage per capita
Ranking 94th around the world based on overall scores released by London-based think-tank Legatum, India tails South Africa as the second most improved nation in business infrastructure. This comes as no surprise because the country has already begun a forward march towards making starting a business easy years prior, as noted by the World Bank report in 2016.
In their report, the World Bank emphasized that getting electricity in India has become much easier in the years leading up to 2016. The country also came up with a way to streamline the application process for commercial electricity connections, making it a lot more affordable than before.
Paying taxes is also closer to becoming hassle-free after India introduced an electronic system that allows employers to pay for their employees’ contributions to state insurance.
As for the logistics and transport aspect of the trade, India launched an electronic filing portal called the Customs Electronic Commerce Interchange Gateway (ICEGATE). They have also simplified documentary and border filing procedures and assigned dedicated divisions to resolve cases and enforce contracts.
Bolstering Intellectual Property Rights
India also excelled in another aspect that affects the business environment pillar of prosperity: intellectual property rights. According to Legatum, the country has been able to gain as much progress as it did in the said pillar mainly because of the improvement in how it protects intellectual property rights.
After intellectual capital became one of the major wealth drivers for international trade, India made it a point to improve in this aspect by ratifying an agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO) via the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
Be it a copyright, trademark, or patent, every type of intellectual property is protected under the TRIPS agreement. This means that all countries that signed into it – including India – are bound to preserve the IP rights of rightful owners (inventors, authors, and other creators) of intellectual property through the enforcement of laws on the local and international levels.
As of this writing, India’s methods and provisions in resolving IP rights disputes are fully compliant to the TRIPS Agreement.
Aside from this, the country also took steps to ensure that IP rights are preserved. Below is a timeline of the most significant steps that India made in the past four years to boost the protection of IP rights:
- Telangana, the southern state of India, set up the country’s very first IP Crime Unit to fend off internet piracy.
- About 458 examiners were hired by the Indian Patent Office to handle backlogs in trademark and patent matters. With this and the implementation of special discounts on expedited examination of applications for start-ups, the waiting period of processing significantly improved.
- Maharashtra, India’s westcentral state, also set up a digital crime unit and has since dealt with websites that contain infringing content.
- Revisions to the patent and trademark rules were made, including some strict timelines on the processing of cases under their jurisdiction.
- The Northeastern Indian state of Mizoram launched its digital crime unit to help with the right against copyright theft and digital fraud.
- In July 2018, India consented to two WIPO Internet Treaties: WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) and the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT).
- The anti-camcording bill is to be included as a provision of the Cinematograph Act to make creating and selling in-theater pirated recordings a penal offense to deter piracy.
Improved Business Climate for Better Prosperity
The improvement in the business environment score of India proves the extent of the country’s commitment to developing their business climate for prosperity gains.
With more sub-pillars to work on, India can potentially exceed expectations as it joins the ranks of the most improved countries in the said prosperity pillar.