The Daily Fix

The Daily Fix: Modi’s efforts to improve India’s ease of doing business rankings are paying off

Everything you need to know for the day (and a little more).

The Big Story: Easier

Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge, his government made it clear that it wanted to move up the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. The list examines the relative business regulation regimes of various countries and ranks them according to how simple it is to conduct commerce. This list is based on metrics such as how many licences are needed when starting a new company and how hard it is to shut one down. The report is based on quantitative data gathered in each of the countries it surveys, although because of the scale of the effort, the details tend to come from just the larger cities in each nation.

On Tuesday, when the most recent World Bank report was released, it was evident that Modi’s effort to move up on the list has paid off. India registered its largest jump on the index, moving from 130 up to 100 in just a year. But the great leap is vindication for the government, which has pushed through a number of changes in the hopes of altering India’s image of being a difficult market for foreign investors to enter.

On a number of metrics, India has seen a significant rise. The new insolvency law, for example, has helped India move up more than 30 places on that section of the list. On paying taxes, India has moved up from 172 on the list to 119, without the impact of the Goods and Services Tax changes being factored in. India remains one of the best in the world in protecting minority investors, moving up from 13 on the list to 4. Getting credit seems to have become easier, with the list saying India has gone from 44 to 29.

There are still some areas where India’s performance leaves much to be desired. In terms of starting a business, India is still one of the most difficult places in the world to do so, coming in at 156 on the list, one worse than the previous year. The index also saw India dropping on its property registration metric, down to 154 from 138 last year. On trading across borders as well as getting an electricity connection, India regressed.

Modi’s government is frequently accused of focusing on PR and managing headlines rather than improving the situation on the ground. But in matters like this, India’s image is about as important as the underlying factors. Since the list is built on what is supposed to be quantitative data, many believe that it is a reliable signifier of what it is supposed to be measuring.

Even if the findings are limited to doing business in Mumbai and Delhi, that is a huge positive, considering those cities are home to a signficiant portion of India’s economic activity. Even more promising is the fact that since GST was only implemented midway through this year, it hasn’t been factored in. This could push India even further up the list next year.

It is crucial for the government to capitalise on this momentum. The insolvency law, for example, is now being tested in real-life situations and the government must watch closely to ensure that it is serving the purpose for which it was framed. Self-goals like demonetisation and the chaotic manner in which GST was rolled out do not inspire confidence about the government’s ability to manage the economy – even if the signals to the outside world suggest India has become a better place to do business in. But overall the big jump in India’s ranking suggests this is one of those rare instances where the government’s promises to improve things are actually bearing fruit. This should set the stage for even more business environment reforms.

Subscribe to “The Daily Fix” by either downloading Scroll’s Android app or opting for it to be delivered to your mailbox. For the rest of the day’s headlines do click here.

If you have any concerns about our coverage of particular issues, please write to the Readers’ Editor at readerseditor@scroll.in

Punditry

  1. “At present the rise of intolerance is alarming,” writes Soli J Sorabjee in the Indian Express. “Even a moderate expression of a different point of view is viewed with resentment and hostility and there are vociferous demands for bans.”
  2. Newly appointed interlocutor for dialogue on Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma speaks to Vijaita Singh of The Hindu on the Centre’s intention behind the talks and how Pakistan features in the larger conversation.
  3. “The recent issue of recapitalisation bonds by the government is a step in the right direction,” write C Venkat Nageswar and Soumya Kanti Ghosh in Mint. “Recapitalisation is a tried and tested tactic and has been successfully replicated in many countries, including India, in the past.”

Giggle

Don’t miss

Nayantara Narayanan brings you four charts that explain how climate change is hurting India.

“The most obvious direct impact of climate change on health is the exposure to rising temperatures, especially heat waves. The report estimates that 125 million more people were exposed to heat waves between 2000 and 2016 than in previous years. A record 175 million people around the world were exposed to heat waves in 2015 alone.

India has been disproportionately affected by heat waves, the report finds. Between 2000 and 2016, 125 million in India have been exposed to potentially fatal heat waves.

People over 65 are among the most vulnerable to heat and millions more people over 65 are being exposed to heat waves every year. Between 2000 and 2016, 31 million more people in India above the age of 65 have been exposed to heat waves than between 1986 and 2008.

The heat waves became considerably worse in 2014 when the average number of people over 65 exposed to heatwaves was 150 million more than in 1986-2008.”

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Why do our clothes fade, tear and lose their sheen?

From purchase to the back of the wardrobe – the life-cycle of a piece of clothing.

It’s an oft repeated story - shiny new dresses and smart blazers are bought with much enthusiasm, only to end up at the back of the wardrobe, frayed, faded or misshapen. From the moment of purchase, clothes are subject to wear and tear caused by nature, manmade chemicals and....human mishandling.

Just the act of wearing clothes is enough for gradual erosion. Some bodily functions aren’t too kind on certain fabrics. Sweat - made of trace amounts of minerals, lactic acid and urea - may seem harmless. But when combined with bacteria, it can weaken and discolour clothes over time. And if you think this is something you can remedy with an antiperspirant, you’ll just make matters worse. The chemical cocktail in deodorants and antiperspirants leads to those stubborn yellowish stains that don’t yield to multiple wash cycles or scrubbing sessions. Linen, rayon, cotton and synthetic blends are especially vulnerable.

Add to that, sun exposure. Though a reliable dryer and disinfectant, the UV radiation from the sun causes clothes to fade. You needn’t even dry your clothes out in the sun; walking outside on a sunny day is enough for your clothes to gradually fade.

And then there’s what we do to our clothes when we’re not wearing them - ignoring labels, forgetting to segregate while washing and maintaining improper storage habits. You think you know how to hang a sweater? Not if you hang it just like all your shirts - gravity stretches out the neck and shoulders of heavier clothing. Shielding your clothes by leaving them in the dry-cleaning bag? You just trapped them in humidity and foul odour. Fabrics need to breathe, so they shouldn’t be languishing in plastic bags. Tossing workout clothes into the laundry bag first thing after returning home? It’s why the odour stays. Excessive moisture boosts fungal growth, so these clothes need to be hung out to dry first. Every day, a whole host of such actions unleash immense wear and tear on our clothes.

Clothes encounter maximum resistance in the wash; it’s the biggest factor behind premature degeneration of clothes. Wash sessions that don’t adhere to the rules of fabric care have a harsh impact on clothes. For starters, extra effort often backfires. Using more detergent than is indicated may seem reasonable for a tub full of soiled clothes, but it actually adds to their erosion. Aggressive scrubbing, too, is counterproductive as it worsens stains. And most clothes can be worn a few times before being put in the wash, unless of course they are sweat-soaked gym clothes. Daily washing of regulars exposes them to too much friction, hastening their wear and tear.

Different fabrics react differently to these abrasive agents. Natural fabrics include cotton, wool, silk and linen and each has distinct care requirements. Synthetic fabrics, on the other hand, are sensitive to heat and oil.

A little bit of conscious effort will help your clothes survive for longer. You can start by lessening the forces acting on the clothes while washing. Sort your clothes by fabric instead of colour while loading them in the washing machine. This helps save lighter fabrics from the friction of rubbing against heavier ones. It’s best to wash denim materials separately as they are quite coarse. For the same reason, clothes should be unzipped and buttoned before being tossed in the washing machine. Turning jeans, printed clothes and shirts inside out while loading will also ensure any abrasion is limited to the inner layers only. Avoid overloading the washing machine to reduce friction between the clothes.

Your choice of washing tools also makes a huge difference. Invest in a gentler detergent, devoid of excessive dyes, perfumes and other unnecessary chemicals. If you prefer a washing machine for its convenience, you needn’t worry anymore. The latest washing machines are far gentler, and even equipped to handle delicate clothing with minimal wear and tear.


Bosch’s range of top loading washing machines, for example, care for your everyday wear to ensure they look as good as new over time. The machines make use of the PowerWave Wash System to retain the quality of the fabrics. The WaveDrum movement adds a top-down motion to the regular round action for a thorough cleaning, while the dynamic water flow reduces the friction and pulling forces on the clothes.

Play

The intelligent system also creates water displacement for better movement of clothes, resulting in lesser tangles and clothes that retain their shape for longer. These wash cycles are also noiseless and more energy efficient as the motor is directly attached to the tub to reduce overall friction. Bosch’s top loading washing machines take the guesswork away from setting of controls by automatically choosing the right wash program based on the load. All that’s needed is a one-touch start for a wash cycle that’s free of human errors. Read more about the range here. You can also follow Bosch on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Bosch and not by the Scroll editorial team.