Ease of doing business Current Affairs - 2020

India ranks 130th in 2017 Ease of Doing Business index

India has been placed at 130th position among the 190 countries in the recently released World Bank’s ease of doing business index for the year 2017.

The index was released as part of the World Bank’s annual report Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All. This report had revised India’s rank to 130 from earlier 131st for the year 2016. Thus, India has improved its place by one spot in the 2017 index and its place remained unchanged from the previous original ranking of 130 in the year 2016.

What is ease of doing business index?

  • The ease of doing business index is annually released by World Bank in its Ease of Doing Business Report. It was introduced in 2004.
  • In this index, ranking of country is based on index averages the country’s percentile rankings on 10 indicators each having equal weightage.
  • A higher ranking of country in this list means that its regulatory environment is more conducive and favourable for the starting and operation of firms.
  • 10 indicators are starting business, getting electricity, dealing with construction permits, registering property, protecting investors, getting credit, employing workers, trading across borders, paying taxes, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

Key Highlights of 2017 Report

  • Top 10 Countries: New Zealand (1st), Singapore (2nd), Denmark (3rd), Hong Kong (4th), South Korea (5th), Norway (6th), UK (7th), US (8th), Sweden (9th) and Macedonia (10th).
  • BIRCS Nations: India ranks lowest in Doing Business among the BRICS nations. Russia (40), South Africa (74), China (78), Brazil (123) and India (130).
  • India’s Neighbours: Bhutan (73), China (78), Nepal (107), Sri Lanka (110), Pakistan (144) and Bangladesh (176).
  • India Related Facts: In the ranking, India has made a substantial improvement in some areas such as electricity connection. But it has sliped in other areas, including payment of taxes and enforcing contracts.
  • India has embarked on a fast-paced reform path and has acknowledged a number of substantial improvements.
  • Some the improvement mentioned are electricity connections to businesses, paying taxes, electronic system for paying employee state insurance contributions, the Companies (Amendment) Act, electronic filing of integrated customs declarations, passage of the commercial courts and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
  • Global Facts: Economies in all regions are implementing reforms easing the process of doing business.
  • However, Europe and Central Asia continues to be the region with the highest share of economies implementing at least one reform. 96% of economies in the Europe and Central region have implemented at least one business regulatory reform.
  • A record 137 economies around the world have adopted key reforms that make it easier to start and operate small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Developing countries carried out more than 75% of the 283 reforms in the past year, with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for over one-quarter of all reforms.

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CBDT inks 7 Advance Pricing Agreements to cut tax litigation

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has signed seven unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) with Indian taxpayers to reduce tax litigation.

With this, CBDT has so far entered into 77 APAs. This includes three bilateral APAs and 74 unilateral APAs.

These 7 APAs signed pertain to various sectors like banking, information technology and automotives. Some of these APAs have rollback provisions.

What is Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs)?

  • APA usually is signed between a taxpayer and the central tax authority (in case of India it is CBDT) on an appropriating transfer pricing methodology for determining the value of assets and taxes on intra-group overseas transactions.
  • It seeks to introduce certainty in tax law by reducing compliance costs and make tax regime investment friendly.
  • It provides certainty to taxpayers regarding transfer pricing that aim to avoid disputes between taxpayer and tax regulator.
  • In India, Advance Pricing Agreement mechanism was introduced in 2012 as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
  • In case of Indian context, APAs seeks to give (i) Boost to economy and ease of doing business (ii) Provide alternative path to the investors with rollback provision to reduce litigation (iii) Strengthen Government’s mission of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime.

Transfer pricing: It is referred to the fixing of the price for goods and services sold between related legal subsidiaries (entities) within an enterprise.