India's ranking declined by three places to 59th position in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index 2012-2013, due mainly to ''disappointing performance'' in the basic factors underpinning competitiveness.
The country, which was once ahead of Brazil and South Africa, now trails them by some 10 places and lags behind China by a margin of 30 positions.
Switzerland, for the fourth consecutive year, tops the overall rankings in The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, released today by the World Economic Forum. Singapore remains in second position and Finland in third position, overtaking Sweden (4th).
These and other Northern and Western European countries dominate the top 10 with the Netherlands (5th), Germany (6th) and United Kingdom (8th). The United States (7th), Hong Kong (9th) and Japan (10th) complete the ranking of the top 10 most competitive economies.
Despite growing its overall competitiveness score, the United States continues its decline for the fourth year in a row, falling two more places to seventh position.
''India continues to be penalised for its disappointing performance in the areas considered to be the basic factors underpinning competitiveness,'' the report said.
The report noted that India's infrastructure is largely ''insufficient'' and ''ill-adapted'' to the needs of the economy. Moreover the country also faces problem areas such as corruption and bureaucracy.
WEF, however, said that despite ''challenges'', India does possess a number of strengths in the more advanced and complex drivers of competitiveness.
''India can rely on a fairly well developed and sophisticated financial market that can channel financial resources to good use, and it boasts reasonably sophisticated and innovative businesses,'' WEF said.
China continues to lead the group of large emerging market economies even as the BRICS countries display different performances. Despite a slight decline in the rankings of three places, the People's Republic of China (29th) continues to lead the group.
Of the others, only Brazil (48th) moved up this year, with South Africa (52nd), India (59th) and Russia (67th) experiencing small declines in rankings.
On social sustainability-adjusted global competitive index, India is the worst performer among the BRICs.
The report said only 34 per cent of the country's population has access to sanitation. Besides, high unemployment rate coupled with weak official social safety nets makes the country ''vulnerable'' to economic shocks.
Meanwhile, other emerging markets, such as developing Asia, will continue to show robust growth rates, while West Asia and North Africa as well as sub-Saharan African countries are gaining momentum, it said.
Commenting on the findings, World Economic Forum Founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab said ''Persisting divides in competitiveness across regions and within regions, particularly in Europe, are at the origin of the turbulence we are experiencing today, and this is jeopardising our future prosperity.''
''The Global Competitiveness Index provides a window
on the long-term trends that are shaping the competitiveness
of the world's economies. In this light, we believe
it offers useful insight into the key areas where countries
must act if they are to optimise the productivity that
will determine their economic future,'' added Xavier
Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics, Columbia University,
USA. (See: The
Global Competitiveness Index 2012–2013 rankings and