The latest Doing Business in South Asia report released by the World Bank has some interesting statistics. India is the top performer in the region while Hyderabad is the best performing city out of 12 Indian cities ranked.
The final rankings were: Hyderabad, Bangalore, Jaipur, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Lucknow, New Delhi, Patna, Ranchi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
The rankings surely had the Mumbai edition of the Times of India feeling aghast as to how the commercial capital of India could bring up the tail. Well, the report has a justification: "These cities impose the most complex and costly business regulations. Typically large urban centres such as Mumbai and Calcutta have a high volume of business, so regulatory and administrative bottlenecks there create serious congestion."
Well, ease of doing business apart, firstly to do business easily, you must have someone to do business with in the first place. This is why I find the inclusion of places like Patna and Ranchi baffling. The report could have checked out the viability of Gurgaon and Noida (assuming that they are not bracketed under New Delhi by way of the NCR label).
Hyderabad and Bangalore justify their rankings, because for all the flak that their politicians receive, they are a progressive bunch. Jaipur is the next big story to watch out for. So would Lucknow, provided it ramps up its public transport system, which according to my visit in January 2005 was non-existent. Hell, if the whole city is reliant on either private transport or on the IIM bus, then "something is wrong in the state of Uttar Pradesh" and businesses might start thinking "To be or not to be". Bhubaneshwar is a potential destination too. Wonder why Chennai slipped up.
Mumbai I feel has really suffered from being ruled by an incompetent corrupt bunch who literally look lost with a plethora of problems: rising power shortage, absymal roads, a potential flooding problem and what not. In spite of all these difficulties now being compounded by a World Bank rating, if people still stream in to the city, there must be something...
Maybe everyone follows what my mother said, "Bombay yaarem kai vidadu" (Bombay never forsakes anyone).... Right said Mom!!!!