India's ranking declined by three places to 59th position in the Global Competitiveness Index 2012-2013 of the World Economic Forum (WEF) owing 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.
"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 despite "challenges", India does possess a number of strengths in the more advanced and complex drivers of competitiveness.
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"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.
The global list was topped by Switzerland for the fourth consecutive year, followed by Singapore in second position and Finland in third position, which overtook Sweden (4th).
Among the top ten competitive countries, the Netherlands was ranked in the 5th place, followed by Germany (6th), the United States (7th) and United Kingdom (8th), Hong Kong (9th) and Japan (10th).
Among the large economies, 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) moves up this year, with South Africa (52nd), India (59th) and Russia (67th) experiencing small declines in rankings, the report said.
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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 the Middle East and North Africa as well as sub-Saharan African countries are gaining momentum, it said.
Commenting on the findings, WEF 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."
with inputs from PTI