India has slipped 10 spots to rank 68th out of 141 surveyed countries in the annual global competitiveness index as several other economies in the world climbed up on the list due to improvements in economic and business activities.
The development suggests that the slowdown in the Indian economy is having a negative effect on the country's global rankings.
Last year India was ranked 58th in the annual Global Competitiveness Index compiled by Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF). However, this year it is among the worst-performing BRICS nations along with Brazil, which has ranked 71 this time.
Singapore, on the other hand, replaced the United States as the world's most competitive economy. Hong Kong SAR came in at 3rd position while the Netherlands was ranked 4th and Switzerland at 5th spot.
While announcing the fresh index, the WEF said that India's rank is high in terms of macroeconomic stability and market size but added that the banking system has been affected by a high delinquency rate.
India's rank was as high as 15th in terms of corporate governance and ranks second in the world for shareholder governance, according to the WEF study. India also ranked third in terms of market size and renewable energy regulation.
While the WEF study did list a few positives, it said that there are major shortcomings in some of the basic enablers of competitiveness in India. It said Information, communication and technology adoption in India has been weak; poor health conditions and low life expectancy are other reasons why India ranked low in terms of competitiveness.
In terms of healthy life expectancy, India has been ranked 109 out of a total of 141 countries surveyed for the index.
The study also urges India to grow its skill base and free up the market in terms of trade activities. It also highlights how the lack of worker rights' protections, insufficiently developed active labour market politics and critically low participation of women affected India's competitiveness ranking.
India's ratio of female workers to male workers of 0.26 has fetched it a rank of 128 while the country was positioned at 118th place in terms of meritocracy and incentivisation.
The skills rank for India was also disappointing at 107 despite the Narendra Modi govt's flagship Skill India programme running aggressively for several years.
However, India is ahead of its neighbours Sri Lanka at 84th place, Bangladesh at 105th place, Nepal at 108th place and Pakistan at 110th place.
WEF also made it clear that a 10-position drop may look dramatic but the decline is relatively small. A number of similarly-placed economies including Colombia, South Africa, and Turkey improved in the past year to take over India.
One of the crucial aspects highlighted by the study is the fact that the global economy is not prepared for a major slowdown.
The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), launched in 1979, has been mapping the competitiveness landscape of 141 economies through 103 indicators organised into 12 pillars for almost 40 years.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of WEF, said, "The Global Competitiveness Index 4.0 provides a compass for thriving in the new economy where innovation becomes the key factor of competitiveness.
"The report shows that those countries which integrate into their economic policies an emphasis on infrastructure, skills, research and development and support those left behind are more successful compared to those that focus only on traditional factors of growth."