India fared worst than Vietnam (rated at 8.54), Indonesia (8.37), Philippines (7.57) and China (7.11), said the report released on Wednesday by Hong Kong-based Political & Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd.
Singapore remained the best with a rating of 2.25, followed by Hong Kong (3.53), Thailand (5.25) Taiwan (5.57), Japan (5.77), South Korea (5.87) and Malaysia (5.89).
The report said India’s inefficient bureaucracy was largely responsible for most of the biggest complaints that business executive have about the country.
The complaints included inadequate infrastructure and corruption, where officials were willing to accept under-the-table payments and companies were tempted to pay to overcome bureaucratic inertia and gain government favours, the report claimed.
The report also highlighted onerous and fickle tax, environmental and other regulations that could make business in India “so frustrating and expensive”.
It said dealing with court system in India was an unattractive option for companies, and would be best to avoid it.
The bureaucrats were rarely held accountable for wrong decisions and it would be extremely difficult to challenge them when there were disagreements, it said.
“This gives them (bureaucrats) terrific powers and could be one of the main reasons why average Indians as well as existing and would-be foreign investors perceive India’s bureaucrats as negatively as they do,” said the report.
But there were plus points when India was compared to countries within the economic development group.
In the 2011-12 Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum, India ranked behind China but ahead of Russia and Brazil for the burden of government regulations as well as for the burden of customs procedures.
India was also second to Brazil but well ahead of China and Russia for the quality of regulation and supervision of the securities exchange, said the report.
India was also better than Brazil, Russia and China as the fastest place to set up a new business and to deal with construction permits, and was the second fastest place to deal with export and import procedures, the report said.