India has slipped 10 spots to the 68th rank in the latest global competitiveness index of the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF), having witnessed lower rank for a third straight year, in a sharp contrast to its stellar show in the World Bank's ease of doing business index in recent years. As per the index, Singapore has replaced the US as the world's most competitive economy.
India, which occupied the 58th spot in the annual competitiveness index last year, is among the worst-performing BRICS nations along with Brazil (the latter is ranked even lower at 71st this year).
In contrast, India witnessed a 23-notch jump to a record 77th position in the World Bank's ease of doing business index last year that captured the performance of 190 countries. In the past two years alone, India jumped 57 spots, the sharpest by any country.
The WEF on Wednesday said India had some major shortcomings in certain basic enablers of competitiveness, flagging limited ICT (information, communications and technology) adoption, poor health conditions and low healthy life expectancy.
Nevertheless, India ranks reasonably high in macroeconomic stability and market size, while its financial sector is relatively deep and stable despite the high delinquency rate, which contributes to weakening the soundness of its banking system, the WEF said after announcing the index.
Also, India is ranked high at 15th spot in corporate governance and second globally in shareholder governance, according to the WEF study. In terms of the market size and renewable energy regulation, India is placed at the third position.
Moreover, India does well in innovation and is way ahead of most emerging economies and on par with several advanced economies, the report said.
However, the healthy life expectancy, where India has been ranked 109th out of total the 141 countries surveyed for the index, is one of the shortest outside Africa and significantly below the South Asian average.
Besides, India needs to grow its skills base, while its product market efficiency is undermined by a lack of trade openness and the labour market is characterised by a lack of worker rights’ protections, insufficiently developed active labour market policies and critically low participation of women.
Singapore has become the world’s most competitive economy in 2019, pushing the US to the second place. Hong Kong SAR is ranked 3rd, Netherlands is 4th and Switzerland is ranked 5th.