Given how Doing Business indices are such a buzzword, never mind that investors don’t take them too seriously while investing in countries like China and India, it is not surprising the Planning Commission plans to rate various states on this. It’s also great business for consulting firms who will be roped in to do evaluations of the state, and will give a sense of purpose to all manner of chambers of commerce who will be part of the process—one prominent chamber of commerce has been quoted as saying it has identified labour and land as key issues that need fixing in the state of Rajasthan.
It is true that, were you to dig deep, it will indeed be possible to find other ‘key issues’ in each state. Why doesn’t the Planning Commission just restrict itself, and its army of consultants, to just ranking various central ministries on the ease of doing business indices? It is very possible Vedanta is finding the going tough in Orissa, but surely the biggest problem is the environment ministry? In the case of RIL, it is certain getting local clearances are a problem, but none can be bigger those it faces with the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons? And now that there’s a 10% cut in all non-essential expenditure, this will also help keep the budget for the exercise under control.