BJP lauds improved Moody's India rating upgrade

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. (Photo: PTI)
The Narendra Modi government and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday rejoiced at Moody’s Investors Service raising India’s sovereign rating for the first time in 13-years, while the Congress said the government was clutching at straws to claim its lost credibility after destroying the economy with the double whammy of demonetisation and roll out of a “flawed” goods and services tax (GST).

Senior BJP leader and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said the Moody’s improved rating comes on the heels of India improving its standing in the World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings, and a Pew Research Center survey finding that the PM’s popularity has increased.

Goyal said the international endorsement of the Modi government’s economic policies and the increasing political capital that the PM commands made the government more determined to pursue its goal of providing good governance and ensure its effective delivery to the people. He said the government would continue on the path of spurring economic growth, fiscal consolidation, keep inflation under control, persevere to bring down interest rates and invest in infrastructure projects.

When asked if results of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat Assembly elections would be a referendum on the GST, the minister said the party was confident of registering emphatic wins in the two states. He said the BJP, along with its allies, currently runs 18 state governments, and the tally would soon be 19 (with a win in Himachal Pradesh and the party retaining Gujarat). Taking a dig at the top Congress leadership, Goyal said: “What the ill-informed regard as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ has now been recognised as a landmark Indian reform by the more informed.”

On the winter session yet to be convened even when the Modi government claims all-round success, Goyal said there was a request from Members of Parliament that the session be postponed as they would be busy with the Gujarat Assembly polls. He said the session would soon be convened. The Opposition has criticised the government of running away from facing Parliament. The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs is yet to meet to announce the dates. BJP chief Amit Shah also issued a press statement to hail India’s improved rating.

Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said the same agency had miscalculated the US sub-prime mortgages before the economic meltdown in 2008. “Lesson (to finance minister Arun Jaitley) is stop acting and get your act together. Shun arrogance and listen to the trade and industry,” he said.

“Modiji and Moody’s jodi (duo) have failed to gauge the mood of the nation,” he said, adding hunger deaths, agrarian distress, job losses, lowest credit ratings, rising prices, plunging exports, flawed GST, demonetisation disaster, stagnant growth are the real indices to measure it.

The Congress leader said the Modi government relied upon a World Bank report of Delhi/Mumbai to claim all is well and quoted a PEW survey of 2,464 people to claim victory. “At this pace, Modiji should be fighting next election abroad,” he said.

Surjewala said: “Mr (Arun) Jaitley, history teaches us valuable lessons. You ignore them at your peril! As greed, collusion and crony capitalism sank banks and Wall Street, please read who contributed to wiping away people’s money.” “Hope you are not following the same trajectory!" he said.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) chief Sitaram Yechury said the Modi government “wants the poor, the hungry, protesting farmers, jobless and those hit by the economy crumbling to eat these ‘ratings’. He said all indices of real lives of Indians, jobs and growth, were down. “Inequality of wealth is up in three years sharply. One per cent own over 58 per cent of Indian wealth. Who is this government fooling?” he asked.

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