NEW DELHI: Uttarakhand has emerged the surprise leader of the ease of doing business ranking as per the position on the last day of submission of evidences of reforms by states.

Uttarakhand, which was ranked 23 last year, is followed by Telangana that has improved from 13th spot, with several states becoming highly competitive even as the industrial states that get the bulk of investments languish.

Gujarat, which was the number one state in terms of reforms last year, has dropped out of the top ten to 11th place, while Maharashtra and Karnataka too are no more inthe top ten, placed at 14 and 17, respectively.

These are not final rankings, which will be released in August by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) after thorough analysis and verification of the evidences uploaded by each state.

Officials said the competition is intense. “States are fighting over every single score. The competition is fierce as everyone realises that if they don’t reform their prospects could be in grave trouble,” a senior official said.

Jaijit Bhattacharya, partner forgovernment services and infrastructure, KPMG India, said, “Every year states are getting new set of business process reforms. If a state has already implemented it then also they can make it count.

Some states seems to have really become competitive.” States in the top ten as of now include Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. From ranking each state on 98 parameters last year, the Centre has increased the number of parameters to 338 for this year. DIPP maintains real-time rankings of states on the ease of doing business dashboard on the basis of reforms executed by each state.

It had last year engaged the World Bank in the exercise to make it more credible. The government hopes competition among states will improve business environment in the country and help India break into the top 100 in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking.

India is at 130 in the index at present. This year, India improved its ranking by 19 places on World Bank Logistics Performance Index, jumping from 54th in 2014 to 35th position in 2016.

The main areas of reform for states to act upon include environmental registration, commercial dispute resolution, labour regulation, e-filing of tax returns and single-window clearance. In last year’s assessment it was found that only 32% of proposed reforms were implemented across the country.