Chidambaram ridicule Centre’s sudden love for Moody’s rating

Business News, Nation, (Mumbai), November 18:-Mocking at the government’s elation over the sovereign rating upgrade by Moody’s, former finance minister P Chidambaram said only a few months ago the regime had flayed the rating methodology.

“Just some months ago, the government had said the Moody’s methodology was all wrong… A long letter was written by Shaktikanta Das (ex-economic affairs secretary) questioning Moody’s ratings methodology, saying they’ve to revise their methodology as it’s all wonky,” he told the Tata Literature Live in Mumbai on Saturday.

On Friday, Moody’s had upgraded the sovereign ratings by a notch to Baa2 with stable outlook, citing the Modi government’s various reform programmes and higher growth prospectus. The last rating upgrade was in 2004.

Ridiculing the way government has reacted to the upward rating revision, the senior Congress leader recalled that for the government “Moody’s, whose methodology was all wrong circa 2016”.

On higher growth, which was cited by the agency as one of the key reasons for the rating action, he said the same agency and government project growth at 6.7 per cent for the current financial year.

“It was 8 per cent in 2015-16, 7.1 per cent in 2016-17 and will be 6.7 per cent in 2017-18. Is that North or South, you conclude,” he said.

According to him, there are three key indicators – gross fixed capital formation and within that private sector investment; credit growth, especially for small businesses, and jobs – which are critical to assess the health of an economy.

“But the dashboard is flashing red on all these three indicators,” he lamented.

Reeling out numbers, Chidambaram said the gross fixed capital formation is down seven to eight points from its peak and there’s no sign of it recovering in the near future as well.

Further, he said private investment is at its lowest in the past seven-eight years.

He also referred to the criticality of job creation saying: “Government is unwilling to come up with reliable and authentic data…CMIE (Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy), which is a quite credible agency, stated that between January and June 2017, as many as 19,60,000 jobs were lost.”

The senior Congress leader also said over 90 per cent of jobs is in the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) sector which requires an urgent push to boost the economy.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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