India is the 5th simplest place to do business out of the world’s ten largest economies*, according to a new report by TMF Group, a leading provider of international administrative services. The Global Business Complexity Index, which compares key administrative and compliance demands, ranked India the 28th most complex out of 76 jurisdictions surveyed. Of the world’s largest economies, Brazil (3rd), Germany (7th), China (9th), France (12th) and Italy (24th) are seen as being more complicated, while Canada (26th), the United Kingdom (43rd), Japan (59th) and the USA (66th) simpler.

The report, which was based on a combination of statistically weighted data and qualitative research among local market experts, focuses on three areas: rules, regulations and penalties; accounting and tax; and hiring, firing and paying employees.

Shagun Kumar, Managing Director for India at TMF Group, said: “India can have a reputation as a complex and bureaucratic place – but this is not completely fair. Many firms would find it simpler to set up in India than in many of our Asian peers for example.” Government officials have engaged with industry forums and corporate leaders and have sought advice on how to make sectors such as banking, real estate, industry and infrastructure simpler for the private sector. Equally, India has streamlined and digitised many approvals processes, which reduces complexity by removing cases where firms had to seek permission from several different authorities. “If you are an international businessperson considering investing in India, these changes will be music to your ears,” continued Shagun Kumar.

Not all changes have made life simpler for business, however. India is among the minority (30%) of jurisdictions worldwide reporting that the responsibilities of the company secretary or legal officer have increased over the last three years. Beyond India, Malaysia was ranked 25, Singapore 42 and Thailand 73. Greece was judged the most complex, followed by Indonesia, Brazil and the UAE.