Moody’s to Modi: Rein in BJP Men or Risk Losing ‘Global and Domestic’ Credibility

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives to address an election rally in Bihar. PTI photo.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives to address an election rally in Bihar. PTI photo.

NEW DELHI — Referring to the “ethnic tensions” in the wake of controversies over beef and other issues, Moody’s Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi must keep BJP members in check or risk losing “losing domestic and global credibility”, reported Press Trust of India.

Stating that BJP does not have a majority in Rajya Sabha to pass crucial reforms and the Opposition was being ‘obstructionist’, Moody’s Analytics said in a report that the government has also not helped itself in recent times with controversial comments from various BJP members.

“While Modi has largely distanced himself from the nationalist jibes, the belligerent provocation of various Indian minorities has raised ethnic tensions.

“Along with a possible increase in violence, the government will face stiffer opposition in the upper house as debate turns away from economic policy.

“Modi must keep his members in check or risk losing domestic and global credibility,” the report said.

The comments from Moody’s Analytics, the economic research and analysis division of Moody’s Corporation, are the first by any major global institution over the recent political controversies in India.

Moody’s Analytics, however, said “its commentary is independent and does not reflect the opinions of Moody’s Investors Service Inc, the credit ratings agency which is also a subsidiary of Moody’s Corporation”.

The report titled India Outlook: Searching for Potential further said that the ongoing assembly elections in Bihar could “prove pivotal to Modi’s leadership”.

“The BJP is not the incumbent (in Bihar), so a win here would help secure an upper house majority… Overall, it is unclear whether India can deliver the promised reforms and hit its growth potential. Undoubtedly, numerous political outcomes will dictate the extent of success,” it added.

Moody’s projected India’s GDP growth for September quarter at 7.3 per cent, while for the full fiscal it would be 7.6 per cent.

It, however, cautioned that Indian equities have also suffered from a loss in domestic sentiments and the failure to deliver on key reforms has faded the o

“The Sensex has fallen around 11 per cent since the euphoria behind the new government propelled the stock market. But consistent failure to deliver key economic reforms has faded the optimism,” the report said.

“Key economic reforms could deliver greater potential GDP, as they would improve India’s productive capacity. These include the land acquisition bill, a national goods and service tax, and revamped labour laws. They are unlikely to pass through Parliament in 2015, but there is an even chance of success in 2016,” Moody’s said.

“The newfound stability in India’s current account balance could come under renewed stress if global growth slows more. So far, lower oil prices have buttressed the trade balance. But a rebound in prices if oil supply rebalances could see the trade balance deteriorate,” Moody’s said.

It further said there are indications that investors have been less optimistic about India’s economic prospects.

Net financial flows into equity were around USD 16 billion in 2014, but they are unlikely to reach those highs this year. The same can be said about financial flows into India’s debt market, it added.

RBI is consistently looking to improve banking and financial structures, Moody’s said.

“We believe a move towards full capital account liberalization is inevitable in India. This will likely occur in the next two to four years.

“A freer capital account will give Indian companies greater access to overseas markets, lower borrowing costs, and facilitate credit growth—a key ingredient to increasing investment,” it added.–PTI



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