Telangana and Haryana came in a close second and third, respectively, with less than half a percentage point separating them from Andhra Pradesh.
The rankings are part of the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) 2017, which has been expanded to 372 action points and includes areas such as labour, environmental clearances, registering property, single-window system, construction permits and inspections.
AP and Telangana were joint toppers of the 2016 rankings.
This year, unlike the previous two occasions, a feedback component has been introduced. “This was to ensure that the reforms have actually reached the ground level, and are not limited to the paper they are written on. As many as 78 reforms of 372 [action points] were identified for the feedback survey and have been marked also on the basis of the feedback received,” said Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, DIPP. For the 78 points on which feedback was sought, a score of 0.5 score was assigned for evidence of reform implementation, while the other 0.5 score was based on the feedback given by respondents on whether reforms claimed by the States were palpable when the service was availed.
“We plan to further increase the weight given to feedback in the next ranking exercise,” Abhishek said.
The top ten States in the latest ranking include Jharkhand, Gujarat, Chattisgarh and MP while the North-Eastern States, Lakshadweep and Chandigarh are in the bottom ten. Delhi is ranked 23 out of 36.
A large number of States have made significant progress in reforms suggested in BRAP 2017, as per the report. “Seventeen States have achieved a reform evidence score of more than 90 per cent and 15 States have achieved a combined score of 90 per cent and more. The States that have achieved 80 per cent or more reforms evidence score represent 84 per cent of the country’s area, 90 per cent of the country’s population and 79 per cent of India’s GDP,” it said.
The DIPP, which launched the ranking exercise for States in 2015, wants it to help improve the delivery of various government regulatory functions and services in an effective and transparent manner. It was hoped that pitting States against each other would not only give investors an indication of the relative investment environment in different parts of the country, but also an indication of where reforms need to be carried out.