It’s been another bad day at the office for our soon-to-be President Pranab Mukherjee. Within hours of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) monetary policy announcement (whose basic message was that lowering interest rates by another 25 or so basis points is hardly going to have investors whooping in joy and reaching for the nearest paper napkin to scribble out ambitious new project plans) came the news that Fitch Ratings has cut its credit outlook for India to negative from stable.
“Against the backdrop of persistent inflation pressures and weak public finances, there is an even greater onus on effective government policies and reforms that would ensure India can navigate the turbulent global economic and financial environment and underpin confidence in the long-run growth potential of the Indian economy,” a Fitch director said in a statement. Blah blah blah.
Aren’t we all getting a bit tired now of hearing the same thing from everyone, and over and over again? Isn’t Pranab Mukherjee tired of making the same statement every few weeks? “The concerns expressed by Fitch on the economic growth potential, inflationary pressures, and weak public finances are based on earlier data. Government has already taken note of such concerns,” was his reaction the Fitch downgrading. More blah.
I have a simple proposal. Since nothing is going to change, why not get new statement/ dialogue writers for both the ratings agencies and the Indian government?
Say, the next time a rating agency (which should be pretty soon) makes another statement about not enough reforms and stuff like that, why can’t it say (as, I am sure, the person writing the statement is itching to): “We are downgrading the rating because India has a Prime Minister who is actually a waxwork.” Or, “The Indian government’s economic policies are based firmly on the principle that if we don’t start the car, there’s no way we can hit that tree out there, and that is good.” Or: “In our continuing effort to reduce global warming, we’re not even bothering this time to give any reasons. Do a Google search for the reasons we gave last time. Block, Ctrl C, Ctrl V. Thank you.”
And maybe the Indian government can phrase its replies much more interestingly, even defiantly. Like: “You really think anyone should attach any seriousness to pronouncements made by an organization with such low self-esteem that it calls itself Standard & Poor? I mean, someone called Poor talking about sovereign debt?” Or “Everytime we hear Fitch, we want to say ‘Bless you’, because it sounds so much like a little sneeze.” Or just tell them the truth: “Have you guys ever tried to run a democracy with more than a billion people who are all going around looking inscrutable, but with the Rolling Stones’ ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ running in their heads in their own hundreds of languages and dialects?”
Yes, let’s have some fun. Let all concerned look one another in the eye and be nasty. It’s getting quite dreary, watching the same old boring stuff repeat itself endlessly in a loop.