News

    Credit Downgrade Highlights India's Economic Challenges

    Indians walks past roadside stalls selling clothes and miscellaneous items in New Delhi, India. Indian Finance Minister, Mukherjee, presented India's new budget amid concerns about inflation, the country's falling growth rate, large deficit, FILE March 16
    Indians walks past roadside stalls selling clothes and miscellaneous items in New Delhi, India. Indian Finance Minister, Mukherjee, presented India's new budget amid concerns about inflation, the country's falling growth rate, large deficit, FILE March 16


    The U.S.-based financial ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has revised its credit outlook for India from stable to negative.  The downgrade has brought into sharp focus the challenges of India's slowing economy.

    Standard & Poor’s revised outlook for India from stable to negative was prompted by concerns about the country’s high debt and fiscal deficit and its failure to move ahead with critical economic reforms.

    Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said there is no need to panic. But officials admit the rating agency’s move is a wake-up call. The government is promising some financial reforms during the ongoing session of parliament.

    Economist A. Prassana at ICICI Securities in Mumbai says the government needs to bring its huge spending under control. But he says there are concerns that stiff political opposition will continue to pose a challenge to implementing key economic reforms. 

    “The most urgent task or the most important step is to contain the fiscal deficit. I think they should try and better which they have set for themselves, which is five point one percent of GDP. There is a long list of reforms," Prassana stated. "What has been happening there has been a lot of talk over the last six months. But ultimately no action is being seen on the ground.” 

    One of the most critical reforms is cutting down fuel subsidies given to consumers, which are a huge drain on government finances.

    Economists stress the need for quick action. They point out that India risks losing its prized investment grade status if its financial situation worsens over the next one to two years. Standard and Poor’s has warned that India faces a one-in-three chance of losing its triple-B rating.

    Such a downgrade would scare foreign investors. It would make borrowing more expensive for India. It would also weaken the local currency, which has already depreciated against the dollar by nearly 20 percent in the last year. This in turn would push up the cost of oil in a country that imports more than three quarters of its crude oil requirement.

    Observers say India needs to restore confidence in the economy. While officials expect the pace of growth to accelerate this year, economist Prassana is skeptical.  “I don’t see we are going to see any robust recovery. If the government does not get its act together we will grow at sub-optimal levels," he said. "And therefore fall behind our own targets we set ourselves in terms of development targets.”

    India’s economy has grown briskly for several years and the country is seen as an important emerging economy. But growth slipped below 7 percent last year, the lowest in three years. 

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora