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India pitches for rating upgrade from S&P

April 25, 2013 16:51 IST

India on Thursday exuded confidence that global agencies will upgrade the country's sovereign rating in the backdrop of bold and tough decisions taken by government to contain fiscal deficit and promote growth.

Talking to reporters after meeting a with representatives of rating agency Standard and Poor's, Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram said there was no case of rating downgrading as the government has taken bold and tough decisions, like reducing subsidies on petroleum products.

"I think 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. This country has shown its determination to put the economy back on track. We believe it will happen and there is no doubt about it," he said.

Mayaram said 36 per cent of total subsidies globally on petroleum products is given by developed countries, while India has started phasing out such subsidies.

He said the S&P representatives were informed that government was resolved to check fiscal deficit and speed up mega projects, including by the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure. CCI has cleared projects worth billions of dollars in the recent weeks.

"We have spoken to them convincingly. We have shown that the reforms

is on track," he added.

Similar meeting has taken place with Fitch on April 12.

Earlier, S&P and Fitch had threatened to downgrade India's credit rating.

After the presentation of Union Budget, the two had said India's sovereign rating is unaffected but had warned that policy execution and controlling subsidies would be the key risks to look out for during the year.

S&P currently rates India as 'BBB-', lowest in the investment grade, with a negative outlook.

Referring to the food security proposal, the Secretary said "we are very confident that we are on the right track".

India's economic growth, which slumped to a decade low of 5 per cent in last fiscal, is pegged at 6.4 per cent in 2013-14.

On investments, Mayaram also said that there is an uptick since October on capital goods.

"It is in anticipation of investments happening. Similarly, we believe the Rs 70,000 crore worth of projects which have been approved... the investments will begin to happen now," he added.

In the recent months, government has undertaken several reforms initiative like liberalising FDI norms for various sectors, including multi-brand retail, to promote growth and investment.

The government also undertook partial decontrol of diesel and capped subsidised LPG cylinders, in a bid to check the rising subsidy bill.

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