Now, S&P hails India's reform agenda

Sep 17 2012, 19:28 IST
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Ratings agency Standard & Poor's, which in June had threatened to downgrade India's sovereign ratings, today welcomed big-ticket reform measures by the government, saying the steps would serve as a medium-to-long term positive for the macroeconomic conditions.

"If the measures proposed by the government are implemented, we would expect a medium-to-long-term positive impact on the macro-economy," S&P Director for sovereign ratings Takahira Ogawa, said in a note.

The agency, however, maintained that its recent views on the country's economy remain.

In April, the ratings agency had downgraded the country's outlook to negative. In June, it had said, "Slowing GDP growth and political roadblocks to economic policy making could put India at risk of losing its investment grade rating".

In a string of bold initiatives, the UPA II government, accused of a "policy paralysis", first announced Rs 5 per litre increase in the regulated diesel prices and a cap on subsided cooking gas usage.

It followed up these measures with a liberalisation of foreign holding caps in the aviation, multi-brand retail, non-news broadcast media and power exchanges. It also announced a plan to divest its stake in five companies.

In the note, Ogawa raised questions over the efficacy of these measures. "We believe that the government's recent announcement on foreign direct investments is an encouraging development, but at this stage it is still uncertain whether these measures can be implemented or nor," he said.

He specifically pointed out to the liberty given to a particular state whether it wishes to adopt the changes in the multi-brand retail FDI or not.

"Hence, the actual impact from this measure might be less than expected," he said on FDI in multi-brand retail.

Similarly, the proposed divestment of PSUs, he said "depends on the actual implementation of the plan".

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