Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman attended the 5th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) through video conference in New Delhi today.
Every year at the Annual Meeting, the Board of Governors meet to take key decisions that impact the Bank’s future. The discussions at the meeting broadly covered official business including election of the President of the AIIB and a roundtable discussion on the theme ‘AIIB 2030-Supporting Asia’s Development over the Next Decade’.
Sitharaman was identified as a Lead Speaker at the roundtable discussion. In her intervention, Sitharaman appreciated AIIB’s efforts for fast tracking financial assistance of about $10 Billion to its member countries including India to combat COVID-19 pandemic. Sitharaman mentioned about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative of creating a COVID-19 Emergency Fund for SAARC Nations and India’s efforts in supplying critical medical health kits to tackle the COVID-19, and now supporting global efforts of COVID-19 vaccine trials. Besides, the Finance Minister highlighted India’s participation in the “G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative”.
Sitharaman also outlined various measures taken by the Government of India to respond to the COVID-19, including the $23 Billion Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKP) and $295 Billion Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package (ANBP), which aim at protecting all sectors and sections of the economy. The Reserve Bank of India eased the monetary policy especially reduced reserve requirements and introduced liquidity in the economy to the extent of almost 3.9% of GDP.
The Finance Minister mentioned that to give a boost to the infrastructure development, India has launched the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) 2020-2025 with estimated expenditure of $1.4 trillion that has created a plethora of fresh investment opportunities for AIIB’s partnerships. Furthermore, she mentioned some of the expectations from the Bank, including introduction of new financing instruments, mobilising private sector finance, providing financing for social infrastructure to achieve the SDGs 2030, and integrating development of climate resilient and sustainable energy access infrastructure into the recovery response to the COVID-19 crisis. Sitharaman also suggested the Bank to establish Regional Presence which would aid in effective project management and implementation.
The Finance Minister commended the AIIB management for the very healthy growth that the Bank has achieved in a short span of five years and wished success to the Bank’s future endeavours.