The Truth about Ease of Doing Business


The Truth about Ease of Doing Business

Illustration: Akshita Monga


n India, doing business is very easy. You can be born to the right papa or have a papa that knows the right political papas, or make friends with people with business papas.

The Indian internet – the thinking man’s drunk papa today – is going gaga over #EaseOfBusiness and indulging in its usual bah bah. It was announced yesterday that India saw its biggest single-year jump in ease of doing business rankings, climbing a whopping 30 places. The Right became delirious and the Left dug in for alt-facts. The real story though, lies in the legalese of the jump, explained in The Times of India report. It’s not a jump, which has resulted from actual ease of business on the ground, but one laden in corporate frameworks. Aa ha.

The government lobbied the World Bank to alter thee parameters for India, to count Mumbai and Delhi unlike before where only Mumbai was taken into account. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a pitch to Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), which handles “Ease of Doing Business”, to move India into top 50 in three years. Amitabh Kant was secretary of DIPP back then, who was later made the NITI AAYOG chief. Hmmm.

Kant then went to work, getting Mumbai and Delhi’s power distributors online, taking our ranking of “Getting Electricity” from 170 in 2015 to 26 in 2017. The Jal boards, National Monuments Authority followed, and voila!

Everything is on the internet; everything is easy. Apparently.

Sidhu paaji calls statistics mini skirts, “They show as much they hide”, and mathematicians call this phenomenon ‘Simpsons Paradox’

It doesn’t mean that one doesn’t require papas to do business in India anymore, just that papas have internet now. So extra internet is a good thing, but it doesn’t greatly improve ease of doing business, so both sides took the statistics or a particular data point to fit their narrative: the Left that Modi continuously lies and contorts statistics, the Right that the Left hates Modi and won’t appreciate any good he does.

Sidhu paaji calls statistics mini skirts, “They show as much they hide”, and mathematicians call this phenomenon the “Simpsons Paradox”, which states that we can draw out opposite conclusions from the same data depending on how we divide the data, and that statistics alone aren’t enough. For the media, and the Left and Right thinkers though, it’s enough to outrage. So let’s all get mad and fight.

On the positive side, credit to The Times of India though, who kept saying in their report that this happened under the instructions of the PM, like Modiji is telling MCD employees to make WhatsApp groups.

Waah Waah.