In a shot in the arm for Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre battling on the economic front, the World Economic Forum on Wednesday improved India’s ranking by five notches to 58 among the globe’s 140 most competitive economies in 2018.
The United States remained on the top and China 30 positions ahead of India.
The WEF said India gained the most among G20 economies and led in the South Asia region on all other areas of competitiveness except for health, education and skills, where Sri Lanka boasts the highest healthy life expectancy of 67.8 years and the workforce with the highest amount of schooling of 9.8 years.
“India was ranked 58th with a score of 62 in the latest Global Competitiveness Report. This is the largest gain among all G20 economies," WEF said in its latest report released on Wednesday.
It said the top performers in the "upper and lower-middle-income brackets", such as China and India, are catching up with or even outperforming the average among high-income economies.
"China is already more advanced when it comes to investing in research and development sub-pillar than the average high-income economy, while India is not far behind and let down only by its less-efficient bureaucracy for business creation and insolvency," it said.
India, however, remained the "South Asia's main driving force".
"These two countries (India and Sri Lanka) are also the ones that can rely on the most efficient infrastructure system. India has invested more heavily on transport infrastructure and services, while Sri Lanka has the most modern utility infrastructure," the report said.
As per the report, India's greatest competitive advantages include its market size and innovation, in particular, the quality of its research establishments and business dynamism, including the number of disruptive businesses.
The areas India needs to improve include the labour market, in particular, workers rights, product market, in particular, trade tariffs and skills, in particular, pupil-teacher ratio).