India slips in economic freedom: Report

The Economic Times
Publication Date: 
Thursday, 22 September 2011

NEW DELHI: India has slipped to 94th position in the world in terms of economic freedom as compared to 90th position last year, according to a study, which added that doing business has become tougher across the world.

According to the annual 'Economic Freedom of the World: 2011' report, overall levels of economic freedom have decreased around the globe.

The study is produced by the Fraser Institute, Canada's leading public policy think-tank, in cooperation with independent institutes in 85 nations and territories.

"It is disappointing, if not surprising, to see that India has become less free, rather than more free, over the past year," said Parth Shah, president of Centre for Civil Society.

"Widespread corruption and the difficulties of the licence raj have made it more difficult for Indians to pursue livelihoods and live up to their potential," he added.

Ajay Shah of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy said: "Greater economic freedom was of essence in India's growth acceleration. This new evidence is a source of concern. We are failing on tending to our foundations."

Hong Kong again ranked number one for economic freedom, followed by Singapore and New Zealand.

The US experienced one of the largest drops in economic freedom, falling to 10th place overall from sixth in 2010. Much of this decline is a result of higher spending and borrowing on the part of the US government, and lower scores for legal structure and property rights.

Zimbabwe once again received the worst score among the 141 jurisdictions included in the study. Other bottom rankers include Myanmar, Venezuela, and Angola.

The report uses 42 measures to create an index ranking countries around the world based on policies that encourage economic freedom.

Economic freedom is measured in five areas -- size of government, legal structure and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation of credit, labour, and business.