The Hindu Business Line | 16 September 2016
India has slipped 10 positions and ranks behind Bhutan (78), Nepal (108) and Sri Lanka (111) but stood higher than China (113), Bangladesh (121) and Pakistan (133) in the World Economic Freedom Index 2016. Hong Kong topped the index, followed by Singapore and New Zealand among 159 countries.
The Economic Freedom of the World: 2016 Annual Report, released worldwide on Friday by the Centre for Civil Society, a public policy think tank, along with Canada’s Fraser Institute, measures the degree of economic freedom in countries in five broad areas based on 2014 data -- size of government: expenditure, taxes and enterprises; legal structure and security of property rights; access to sound money; freedom to trade internationally and regulation of credit, labour, and business.
“India has fared badly in all categories i.e. legal system and property rights (86), sound money (130), freedom to trade internationally (144) and regulation (132) except the size of the government (8),” as per the report.
The 10 lowest-ranked countries are Iran, Algeria, Chad, Guinea, Angola, Central African Republic, Argentina, Republic of Congo, Libya and lastly Venezuela. Other notable countries include the United States (16), Germany (30), Japan (40), France (57) and Russia (102).
“The economic freedom index of a country is directly proportional to the freedom and opportunities available to its citizens. People living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties, and longer lives. On the contrary, countries at the lower levels of freedom index tend to suppress its citizens’ freedom and rights” said Parth Shah, Founder and President, Centre for Civil Society, in a release.
In the top quartile, the average income of the poorest 10 per cent was $11,283, compared with $1,080 in the bottom quartile in 2014. Interestingly, the average income of the poorest 10 per cent in the most economically free nations was twice the average per capita income in the least free nations, says the report.
Life expectancy was 80.4 years in the top quartile compared with 64 years in the bottom quartile, while political and civil liberties were also considerably higher in economically free nations.
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