Indian government pitches for rating upgrade

Last Updated: Thu, Apr 25, 2013 11:10 hrs

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) Indian government Thursday made a strong pitch for sovereign rating upgrade during a meeting with the representatives of Standard & Poor's, saying the recent reform initiatives would help contain deficits and boost investments and growth.

"There is a case for an upgrade because we have taken the kind of decisions that most of countries in the world have not been able to take," Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram told reporters after the meeting here.

Global rating agencies Standard & Poor's and Fitch had last year cut their outlook in India's sovereign rating to negative, warning of a possible downgrade, largely due to slowdown in growth, widening deficit and policy inaction.

Both these agencies have assigned their lowest investment grade ratings to India. Any further downgrade would take India's sovereign ratings to "junk" status.

Mayaram said the Indian government had taken a series of "strong, hard decisions" that would help improve macro-economic situation.

"This country has shown its determination to put economy back on track. We believe it will happen," Mayaram said.

A similar meeting between the representatives of Fitch and the Indian government took place April 12. During that meeting also, the Indian government officials had asked the rating agency to upgrade the country's sovereign rating taking into account the reform measures.

India's economic growth has slumped to the lowest in more than a decade, while current account and fiscal deficit remain alarmingly high.

The economy is expected to have expanded by a sluggish 5 percent in 2012-13 and, as per government estimates, it may rebound to slightly over 6 percent in the current financial year. The fiscal deficit is estimated at 5.2 percent in the financial year ended March 31, 2013.

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