Government lobbying with S&P for rating upgrade

The government is lobbying with rating agency Standard & Poor's for a rating upgrade, citing measures to control the country's high fiscal deficit and boost investment.

Officials of the finance ministry yesterday held a meeting with officials of the rating agency and have sought a review of India's rating outlook in the light of the various reform measures announced by the government.

At the meeting, finance ministry officials led by economic affairs secretary Arvind Mayaram detailed the various reform measures initiated by the government and their impact during last few months.

''We are confident that there is no case of downgrade. We are on the right track,'' Mayaram said after the meeting.

S&P had, in January, said the spate of economic reforms undertaken by the government has helped to somewhat reduce the possibility of India losing its investment-grade credit rating.

S&P and its rival Fitch had cut their outlook on India to negative last year, and had warned of a possible rating downgrade to "junk" as India' fiscal deficit continued to worsen.

During their meeting with S&P, Indian officials have argued that the country deserved an upgrade for actions to put finances in order and bolster investor confidence.

"We are simply saying we have taken strong, hard decisions," economic affairs secretary Arvind Mayaram said after meeting a team of S&P analysts.

"This country has shown its determination to put economy back on track. We believe it will happen," he said.

The government had, early this month, made a similar presentation to rival rating agency Fitch.

Finance minister P Chidambaram, meanwhile, has vowed to limit fiscal deficit in the new financial year to below 4.8 per cent further to 3 per cent by the fiscal year 2016-17.