Eco Survey exhorts rating agencies to be less subjective in sovereign rating

New Delhi, Jan 29 (PTI):
India’s sovereign credit ratings do not reflect the economy’s fundamentals, the Economic Survey said on Friday and nudged the global agencies to become more transparent and less subjective in their ratings.
The Economic Survey 2020-21, tabled in Parliament, said that sovereign credit ratings methodology must be amended to reflect economies’ ability and willingness to pay their debt obligations, and suggested that developing economies must come together to address this bias and subjectivity inherent in sovereign credit ratings methodology.
“Never in the history of sovereign credit ratings has the fifth largest economy in the world been rated as the lowest rung of the investment-grade (BBB-/Baa3). While sovereign credit ratings do not reflect the Indian economy’s fundamentals, noisy, opaque and biased credit ratings damage FPI flows,” the survey said.
It is therefore imperative that countries engage with credit rating agencies to make the case that their methodology must be corrected to reflect economies’ ability and willingness to pay their external obligations.
Quoting Bengali poet Rabindranath Thakur “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake”, the survey said it is imperative that sovereign credit ratings methodology be made more transparent, less subjective and better attuned to reflect economies’ fundamentals.
As ratings do not capture India’s fundamentals, the survey said that past sovereign credit rating changes for India have not had a major adverse impact on select indicators such as Sensex return, foreign exchange rate and government securities yield.
“Past episodes of rating changes have no or weak correlation with macroeconomic indicators… India’s fiscal policy, therefore, must not remain beholden to a noisy/biased measure of India’s fundamentals and should instead reflect Gurudev Rabindranath Thakur’s sentiment of a mind without fear,” said the survey authored by Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian.
Stating that there is a bias against emerging giants in sovereign credit ratings, the survey said India has been an outlier in terms of GDP growth rate, inflation, general government debt, political stability, rule of law, control of corruption, investor protection, ease of doing business, short-term external debt (as per cent of reserves), reserve adequacy ratio and sovereign default history, for the last decade.

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