Doing business in India used to be challenging due to repetitive tasks, multiple touchpoints, strict capital ceilings, and harsh tax regulations, among other hurdles. However, with the introduction of EoDB 2.0 and significant business-friendly reforms that have broken through department silos and eased compliance, the situation has drastically improved. Now, the nation and its young entrepreneurs are well-positioned at the table to take advantage of these changes.  

According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report (DBR), India enhanced the regulatory landscape to support businesses' launch and operation, thus improving Ease of Doing Business Ranking from 142nd in 2014 to 63rd rank in 2020. As per the International Monetary Fund, India is the world’s 5th largest economy, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $4.1 Tn - driven by transformational business reforms, technological innovation, and entrepreneurship.  

India’s upward trajectory will continue strengthening with ongoing policy reforms and digital-led taxation and compliance protocols. Let’s look at the key touchstones playing a decisive role in enhancing the ease of doing business in India. 

Initiatives to Improve Ease of Doing Business in India  

One of the cornerstones of India’s reform journey has been reducing the compliance burden to create a conducive business environment. All entities across industries and sectors, including startups, continue to benefit from these reforms.  

The key focus areas of the initiatives are: 

  • Simplifying procedures related to applications, renewals, inspections, filing records, etc.  
  • Rationalisation by repealing, amending or subsuming redundant laws 
  • Promoting digitisation by creating online interfaces to eliminate manual forms and records 
  • Decriminalising minor technical or procedural defaults 

With a distinct focus towards transparency and accountability, the government has introduced several landmark initiatives: 

  • The PAN (Permanent Account Number) as the common identifier for all regulatory clearances
  • The decriminalisation of 3,400 legal provisions and reduction of 39,000 compliances to enhance the ease of doing business in India 
  • The registration of a business as a startup for 10 years since its inception making it a beneficiary of tax reductions for the tenure of the 10 years. A 100% deduction on profits for startups, incorporated before 1st April 2023, for three consecutive years of the 10 years
  • Inclusion of investments from non-residents within the ambit of taxation for startups, thereby making the capital up to INR 10 Cr, beneficiaries of tax remissions

Simplification of Tax in India 

Implemented on July 01, 2017, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has unified confusing and costly taxes for businesses like excise duty, service tax, and others, consolidating them into a streamlined method of tax payments. GST has subsumed 8 taxes at the Central and 9 at the State level. 

As the single applicable tax, GST has unified the compliance framework for businesses, drastically reducing compliance costs and helping companies invest that money in the development of the business. With the e-services on the GST portal, businesses, especially small and new businesses, can now easily comply with tax laws. 

The GST collections of February 2024 alone stand at a whopping INR 1,68,337 Cr, a 12.5% increase compared to February 2023. 

In the Union Budget 2024-25, the government announced that tax benefits to startups and investments made by Sovereign Wealth Funds or pension funds and on certain income of IFSC units located in GIFT City extended to March 31, 2025 - boosting the investment ecosystem in the country. The Union Budget also highlighted that the number of return filers has increased by 2.4 times, while the collection of direct taxes has tripled. Along with the average processing time of tax returns being reduced to less than 10 days.

Another key reform was the reduction of corporate tax for mid-sized companies from 30% to 25%. Corporate tax rates were slashed to 22% for domestic companies and 15% for new domestic manufacturing companies and others. The revised rates are more competitive globally, putting India at par with leading economies in terms of corporate tax.  

Besides a robust tax regime, India has taken massive strides in promoting innovation and championing the entrepreneurial spirit. 

Innovation that Fosters Entrepreneurship 

Innovation and entrepreneurship in India are often two sides of the same coin. From 81st rank in 2015, India is now 40th in the Global Innovation Index 2023, a reflection of the country’s thriving innovation ecosystem. In CY 2023, 247 patent applications were filed daily, an all-time high compared to last 20 years. In 2022, India emerged as the 6th largest in the number of patents filed, recording ~25% growth with 77,068 patents compared to a degrowth of 0.4% in 2014. The patents in computers, communications, biomedicals & polymers are gaining momentum like never before.  

The Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the Department of Science & Technology have initiated various initiatives to support and promote innovation and foster entrepreneurship.  

  • The National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB)  is dedicated to training and supporting entrepreneurs at various stages of growth. The National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI), conceived and developed by NSTEDB, offers seed funds, incubators, accelerators, and ‘Proof of Concept’ grants for entrepreneurs and innovations across India. Since its launch in 2016, NIDHI has helped establish a network of more than 170 Technology Business Incubators (TBIs). With a grant of INR 220 Lakh for each TBI to fund 10 innovators each year.
  • Meanwhile, the Technology Incubation and Development of Entrepreneurs (TIDE) scheme and its enhanced version, TIDE 2.0, launched by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, provide technical and financial support to emerging technologies like the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Robotics, and more. With 51 incubators across the nation, the scheme provides financial support to nearly 2000 technology startups. 
  • The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) supports incubators in the biotechnology sector, offering mentorship, infrastructural support, IP and technological assistance through the BIRAC BioNEST scheme and equity-based funding through the SEED (Sustaining Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Development) and LEAP (Launching Entrepreneurial Driven Affordable Products Fund for Start-up) funds.

Permissions & Licenses 

Gone are the days when acquiring business permits and licenses was an odyssey of wading through mountains of paperwork. Young entrepreneurs can register their businesses and gain permits and licenses with ease and clarity of process. 

  • Tax Deduction & Collection Account Number (TAN), Permanent Account Number (PAN), and Director Identification Number (DIN) have been simplified into a single SPICe, which can easily be used to incorporate a company on a single web form SPICe+. Moreover, companies with capital of up to INR 15 Lakh no longer have to pay an incorporation fee.
  • The Shram Suvidha Portal under the Ministry of Labour & Employment provides a Labour Identification Number (LIN). It also provides an error-free, risk criteria-based Labour Inspection Scheme and promotes transparency and accountability by making the inspection report public within 48 hours on the portal. Since its launch in 2014, 43,62,416 LINS have been generated, and nearly 8,36,903 inspection reports submitted.
  • The registration process for Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) and Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has been simplified as an effortless online task with no physical touchpoint or manual intervention. With 66,788 claims approved out of 88,210 claims received, the ESIC is poised to expand medical benefits for superannuated insured individuals with relaxed norms.
  • The lengthy and cumbersome 5-page forms and document attachments required for registering a company with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs have been streamlined to three easy-to-fill fields.

India vs World in Taxation Reforms 

India’s tax reforms in recent years have had a decidedly two-pronged approach. One is the modernisation of domestic tax practices focusing on digitisation and transparency. The government has also implemented real-time submission of transaction data and electronic invoicing. The other is cross-border tax administration to promote exports, global trade, and foreign investments. 

  • The Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme supports exporters by remitting taxes and duties levied on exports. The Government of India has allocated a budget of INR 15,070 Cr to support the RoDTEP Scheme in 2023-24.
  • India also launched Project Insight to enhance cooperation and harmonisation across various tax authorities – direct, indirect, and corporate affairs.
  • Income Tax Transaction Analysis Centre (INTRAC) is another initiative by India to leverage data analytics in tax administration.
  • India is also part of the US-led 13-nation Indo-Pacific framework dedicated to ESG compliance reforms in global supply chains, anti-corruption programs, and climate change. It is also closing several fast-track bilateral trade agreements like the India-UAE Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (IndAus ECTA) and $100 Bn India-EFTA Trade & Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA). 
  • Introduced in 2012, the Advance Pricing Agreements (APAs) are another tool India is leveraging for greater tax certainty in international transactions. In FY 2022-23, the CBDT signed a record-high 95 APAs, the most ever in a single financial year since the launch of the APA programme.

Startup India, Self-reliant India 

As of 2024, India is home to 113 unicorns with a combined valuation of $350 Bn. It is also the 3rd largest startup ecosystem in the world, with over 124,000 DPIIT-recognised startups. And the only way for these numbers in the future is UP. 

Multiple schemes and initiatives have been formulated to offer diverse support for these budding businesses, from technical & financial support to subsidies and tax exemptions. 

  • The Startup India Initiative, the flagbearer of the government’s support for startups, offers various schemes that provide financial and infrastructural support to young entrepreneurs. The Startup India Seed Fund Scheme has allocated ~INR 447 Cr to fund 133 incubators.
  • The Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups provides credit guarantees to loans extended by member institutions to finance eligible startups. The scheme guarantees loans up to INR 10 Crore.  
  • In 2022, India announced 53 key regulatory reforms for startups across the board to enhance the ease of doing business, ease of raising capital and reduce the compliance burden for the startup ecosystem.
  • To build an innovation-led economy, startups in India are provided with an 80% rebate in filing patents and a 50% rebate in filing trademarks vis-à-vis other companies.
  • Another key reform for startups is the exemption from income tax. Startups incorporated on or after April 01, 2016, are eligible for income tax exemption for a period of 3 consecutive years out of 10 years since incorporation.
  • Startups are allowed to self-certify their compliance under 9 Labour and 3 Environment laws for a period of 3 to 5 years from the date of incorporation.

These and several other reforms are making it easier for startups to thrive in India, building a self-reliant economy, driven by the entrepreneurial spirit and rooted in a dynamic innovation ecosystem. 

India vs World in EoDB Global Rankings 

With an FDI equity flow of over $11.5 Bn in the 3rd quarter of FY 2023-24 alone, India has emerged as one of the most desirable locations for business globally. Positive growth and business-friendly reforms have paved the way for India’s ranking as 27th in the world in the ease of acquiring construction permits and 22nd in getting electricity in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report (DBR) of 2020. India also ranks 13th in the report on protecting minority investors and has done exceptionally well on several other metrics, such as resolving insolvency, starting a business or registering a company.


In recent years, the Indian economy has seen remarkable growth. The influx of government policies for businesses in India has helped establish the nation's macroeconomic stability in the global market. Reforms and investments aimed at unified growth from the grassroots to the upper echelons of financial institutions have democratised the business landscape. Easing restrictions on FDI by raising the foreign equity ceilings for defence and insurance has helped notch India’s ease of doing business rankings amidst global businesses. Furthermore, in a recent amendment to the FDI policy, India has relaxed the regulations, allowing 100% FDI in manufacturing and procuring satellite systems. The reform is set to attract FDI, enhance the nation’s EoDB, and expand income and employment in the space sector. 

With enhanced governance, business-friendly policies, and empowered entrepreneurs, the stage is set for an exciting growth-fuelled future. 


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