The Central Government on Wednesday dismissed as “crystal gazing” the latest projection by Standard & Poor’s that there was a more than one-in-three chance of ratings downgrade for the country in the next one-to-two years and asserted that there was no such prospect.
Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram, while giving India’s assessment of the S&P projection, said the country had taken several measures to stabilise the economy despite the turmoil in the global economy.
He also wondered which mathematical model was relied upon by S&P to come to the statistical conclusion of a potential downgrade.
“I will be interested in really knowing why 33 per cent and not 32.5 per cent. It is only crystal gazing. There can be no mathematical model for that,” he said in a virtual snub to the rating agency.
“There is no chance of a downgrade,” he told reporters accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his visit to Russia to attend the eighth summit of the Group of 20 industrialised and big emerging economies at St Petersburg.
At a news briefing in Seoul on Tuesday, Kim Eng Tan, an analyst at S&P, said, “We have a negative outlook on India. We think the chance of a downgrade in the next one-to-two years is one out of three”.
Mr. Tan called the chance of a downgrade of India higher than that of Indonesia, where the rupiah fell to a four-year low on Tuesday.
Besides a widening Current Account Deficit (CAD) that has hurt India, the rupee has lost one-fifth of its value to a dollar this year.
Stating that the projection should be seen only in the manner in which it has been stated, Dr. Mayaram said there was no case for a negative outlook.
Asserting that India had faced situations like negative ratings in the past, Dr. Mayaram said India had taken measures and would take measures in future to the extent possible to stabilise the economy. He disagreed with a suggestion that domestic factors such as lack of structural reforms had also contributed to the stunted growth of the Indian economy.
“There is case for greater reforms, deeper reforms. There is no reason to believe that reforms have not taken place,” he added.
Dr. Mayaram said the government was committed to bring down the current account deficit (CAD), which touched a record high of 4.8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012-13 to $70 billion or 3.7 per cent this fiscal.