On Thursday, the WB said it has paused publication of the Doing Business (DB) report due in October and is undertaking a review of the data changes in the last five reports after discovering a number of irregularities.
“We will act based on the findings and retrospectively correct data of countries that were most affected by the irregularities,” it said.
The World Bank’s reports were pulled up in controversy in the past with former chief economist Paul Romer resigning from his post in January 2018, claiming that the methodological changes in compiling the report led to a downgrade in socialist Chile’s ranking.
India benefitted from methodological changes, Kaushik Basu who supervised the reports during 2012-16 as the chief economist of WB had said,
“For example, when India moved from 142 to 130 between 2014 and 2015, the DB team and I computed that only four of the 12 positions that India had climbed reflected changes India had made, with the remainder attributable to changes in the DB methodology,” Basu wrote in an article published on Project Syndicate in February 2018.
India’s ranking improved from 142 in 2014 to 63 in 2019, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi making concentrated efforts to improve its business competitiveness in the country.
Kaushik Basu defended the reports, “Although there were aspects of the DB rankings I did not like, I do not find the charges of data rigging to be credible. Having personally supervised much of the process, which involves a very large team compiling economic data from around the world, I can vouch for the multiple layers of checks and balances in place,”.
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant recently said that India aims to be among the top 50 countries by 2021.