Mata Hurry writes from New Delhi: The rating agency Standard and Poor (S&P) has warned in its recent report that India could lose its credit rating ‘due to the slow down in GDP growth and political roadblocks in the way of economic policy making’. The S&P report entitled ‘Will India Be the First BRIC Fallen Angel?’ has created a firestorm of fury among the ruling Congress Party and led to a scathing attack by the opposition parties on the economic policies of the government.
The stock market has tanked 13 per cent since the start of the year and foreign investors have fled in droves, dumping stocks along the way. Domestic investors meanwhile are in a collective funk. A recent announcement that the government would kick-start the economy with investments in infrastructure such as roads and airports started a brief rally of sorts on the stock exchanges – only to fizzle out a few days later.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is clueless about boosting investors’ confidence. Along with other glib and woolly headed economic advisers he dishes out facile comments about high growth rates in the months and years ahead. The goalposts are shifted each year, the economy sinks into a quagmire but the sanguine commentary from the Ivy League educated wizards never changes.
Meanwhile, trading volumes at stock exchanges have fallen. To create renewed interest in Indian stocks, innovative products will shortly be introduced at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) in Mumbai to lure back investors. The Shifty Sixty, or Scammer’s Sixty, as the new index will be called, is a sure way of creating renewed interest in stocks once again, say some bullish market analysts. Mr. I.M. Poster, an acclaimed expert from the think tank called School of Scams, or SOS, has authored a research paper on the relationship of scams and the economy. ‘This government is mired in scams that have been on a high growth trajectory regardless of GDP growth,’ he writes. ‘In boom times or recessionary periods scams have always seen positive growth.’ Adding that year-on-year growth has been exponential, he writes: ‘It’s barely the month of June and this government has already spawned more than 40 humungous scams for the year 2012.’
An anonymous source at the NSE in Mumbai confided to Stirring Trouble: ‘The benchmark Shifty Sixty will be a well diversified 60 scam index accounting for 30 sectors of the economy. It will be used for a variety of purposes such as benchmarking portfolios and index based derivatives.’
The constituent frauds in the list of sixty will be represented by mining, telecoms, land, forests, real estate and scores of others.
There will be large cap, mid cap and small cap indices too. The large cap will feature the blue chips like the massive $213 billion coal mining scam, also dubbed ‘Coalgate.‘ Betting on Coalgate should yield handsome returns, said the anonymous source.
The midcap scamming index will include scams estimated between 1 billion to 200 billion and the small cap index will encompass the humdrum everyday million dollar scams like the toilet scam or the palm tree plantation scam that no one has ever heard of.
When the anonymous source was questioned whether the recent sex-for-favours scams would be listed in the stock exchange indices, he declared that a new category called the Bonkers Index would be introduced. Punters wouldn’t notice the difference between banking and going bonkers. ‘Besides,’ he added, ‘you’d have to be stark raving mad in any case to invest in this losers’ market.’
Hedge funds based in the US were ecstatic about the unconfirmed reports. Although rating agencies such as S&P, Fitch and Moody’s would not officially comment on the Shifty Sixty, they conceded privately that the swindlers’ indices would be the foreign investors’ fantasy dream come true.
Once the swindling indices are announced, S&P will reverse India’s sovereign credit rating from negative to stable, said an unidentified India desk analyst at the agency’s headquarters in New York. India would even qualify for the top investment grade once the exchange proceeded with its launch of the Shifty Sixty.