Municipalities in Mah given "A" ratings

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Mumbai, Aug 22 (UNI) Four of the municipalities in Maharashtra have secured 'A' ratings in a countrywide long-term issuer ratings of 13 urban local bodies (ULBs), commissioned by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD).

Topping the list, the Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation secured an 'AA (ind)' rating. Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation came in next with a similar 'AA(ind)' rating, followed by Kalyan-Dombivili with a 'A (ind)' rating and Mira-Bhyander'A-(ind)'rating. All the top four were rated to have a 'Stable Outlook'.

They were followed by Pune, Thane, Jaipur, Ajmer, Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Ujjain and Guwahati. Eight municipals are yet to be rated.

''The ratings allow individual ULBs to understand their relative strenghts and weakness as they initiate ambitious city development plans. It could potentially lead to creation of a municipal bond market in India,'' stated Fitch Ratings (India) MD and CEO Amit Tandon, who conducted the study.

He said the nationwide ratings would help the ULBs to equip themselves better to access higher levels of financing required for building the civic infrastructure.

The study focussed on the efficiency in urban infrastructure and service delivery systems, community participation and accountability of ULBs and parastatel agencies in 63 cities.

Analysing the results today, Devandra K Pant, Fitch Ratings, said the study revealed the presence of a new asset class in the Indian markets and an independent credit opinion about the stand-alone qualities of ULBs was available for the first time.'' He said in the mid-long term, all the cities rated in the investment grade catagory were potential bond market players.

Detailed report of the study, which is expected to be released next month, would provide independent credit options to banks, investors and market players to analyse and rate the bodies.

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