Top official Sanjeev Sanyal says India plans to push back global rating firms based on agenda
India plans to roll back “agenda”, “new colonialist” national rankings put out by global bodies on topics such as governance and press freedom, an adviser said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Reuters in an interview on Friday.
Sanjeev Sanyal, a member of Prime Minister Modi’s Economic Advisory Council, said India has already started raising the issue at global forums. He said the indicators compiled by “a small group of thinkers in the North Atlantic,” funded by three or four funding agencies are “driving a real-world agenda. “
“This is not just narrative building in some way. This obviously has a direct impact on trade, investment and other activities,” said Mr. Sanyal.
India ranks lower than Afghanistan and Pakistan in the new World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders. It is lower than Pakistan and Bhutan in the V-Dem Institute’s Academic Freedom Index.
Mr. Sanyal said that in the past year, in many meetings, India has pointed out flaws in the method of aggregating global indicators used by organizations such as the World Bank, the World Economic Forum and the World Economic Forum. (WEF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
“The World Bank got into this discussion because they took these ideas from these think tanks and effectively sanctified it by putting it into something called world governance index”.
The World Bank, WEF, Reporters Without Borders and the V-DEM Institute did not immediately respond to requests for comment. UNDP said it will respond soon.
Mr. Sanyal said ratings are also closely related to decision making through environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards as well as sovereignty ratings. Multilateral development banks provide subsidized loans to ESG-compliant projects.
“The idea of having some ESG standards in itself is not the point,” he said. The issue concerns how these standards are defined and who certifies or measures compliance with these standards.” “As things are now developing, developing countries have been completely left out of the conversation.”
A government official said the matter was being considered by the Cabinet Secretariat, which has held more than a dozen meetings on the issue this year. The cabinet secretariat and the finance ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
India says it plans to become an advocate for developing countries under the G20 presidency. Mr Sanyal did not say whether India would flag the country ranking issue with the G20.
“There are other developing countries that are also concerned about this because this is really a form of neocolonialism,” he said, adding that relevant ministries have been asked to establish standards and continuously engage with rating agencies.
Some of the upcoming indicators being watched by India are the International Monetary Fund’s financial development index, the UNDP’s gender inequality and human development index, logistics and governance indicators. world Bank, sources said.