Taking a dig at global rating agencies for failing to upgrade India’s sovereign rating despite significant improvement in macroeconomic parameters, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das has said the agencies are several steps behind from reality and are missing out on something which only they can best explain. “It would appear that rating agencies are several steps behind the prevailing reality. At least, so far as India is concerned, that seems to be the case,” Das said in an interview to PTI. “Last October, when we went for the annual meeting of World Bank and IMF along with the Finance Minister, there also in our interaction with several investors they were surprised how the rating agencies have not upgraded India,” he said. India was last upgraded by rating agencies almost a decade back. Fitch upgraded India’s sovereign rating to BBB in 2006 while S&P in 2007.
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“I think the last upgrade India got was several years ago. Look at the track record of reforms in our country in the last two-and-a-half years. Just list out the reform measures which India has undertaken, compare it with the track record of reforms in any other country in the last 2.5 years. “Look at our GDP, compare with other countries’ GDP. Look at our macroeconomic number inflation, current account deficit, compare with other countries. Now I really do not understand, I think rating companies are missing out on something which only they can only explain,” he said. Even Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, in the Economic Survey, slammed global rating agencies for following “inconsistent” standards while rating India vis-a-vis China, saying they have not taken into account reform measures like GST, which is a “poor” reflection on their credibility.
“We were told GST is not happening…you do GST then India should get an upgrade. GST is now happening, no weightage has been given for introduction of GST. We were told that there is no resolution mechanism for dealing with stressed assets…the government has enacted Insolvency and Bankruptcy Law but no weightage has been given to that,” Das said. The government has passed and implemented Aadhaar legislation which is unique in the world, yet no recognition came India’s way, Das said expressing disbelief.
“I think it should be a moment for retrospection. It should be moment of retrospection for rating companies,” he said. Talking about Budget 2017-18, Das said, “I think there has been wide appreciation of the Budget…you do not see any major criticism coming from any particular section or sub-section of economy.”