Op-eds

Memo to the World Bank: Op-Ed by Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

The Indian Express

Bhaskar Chakravorti is a Senior Associate Dean at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

Pop the champagne and pass the mithai — for it is, indeed, the epoch of belief, the season of light in the world’s largest democracy. After languishing in the World Bank’s league tables, India is, finally, getting its due: It has been admitted to the top 100 nation club for Ease of Doing Business. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one giant step closer to fulfilling every Indian’s dream.

It is now time to plot the next big move — to break into the top 80 nations club. With all the hard work already behind us, this next step should be a piece of cake. Here is how.

I hope someone is taking notes.

The first thing to remember about climbing up the ladder of the World Bank league tables is that it is not accomplished through some theory of globalisation or “win-win” mumbo-jumbo. You win by beating others. What India’s policymakers need to focus on next is to take down some of the countries above it on the list. Find their weaknesses and make a strong case to press for India’s competitive advantage the next time the WB’s bean counters come into town.

Let’s see, there is the Dominican Republic, Dominica, Malta, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Seychelles, St. Lucia, Tonga and Vanuatu. A review of the map instantly reveals the gross unfairness to which India has been subjected all these years. These so-called nations are all located on islands with turquoise waters lapping up against them and heavenly breezes that blow away even the slightest whiff of carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide or particulate matter of any consequence.

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