India’s Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman participated in the 6th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), via video conference.
At their annual meeting, the Board of Governors take key decisions on important matters relating to AIIB, and its future vision. A founding member and the second-largest shareholder in AIIB, India also has one of the largest project portfolios within it.
This year’s meet has been jointly organised by AIIB and the United Arab Emirates government on the theme of “Investing Today and Transforming Tomorrow”.
At the meeting, Sitharaman shared her thoughts in the Governor’s Roundtable Discussion on the theme “Covid-19 Crisis and Post-Covid Support”. In her intervention, she appreciated the AIIB’s prompt actions in providing financial support to member countries, including India, in their efforts to contain and combat COVID-19.
She said that the social protection and economic stimulus packages brought out by the government, along with timely structural reforms in various sectors, have been pivotal in India’s economic recovery process. The stimulus packages, including the credit guarantee scheme for micro finance institutions, boosters for project exports through National Export Insurance Account, additional subsidies for fertilisers, free food grains for 800 million people under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, and several welfare schemes with a strong public health focus, helped to effectively and efficiently boost the economy and protect lives and livelihoods, especially of the poor and vulnerable, she said.
Sitharaman also emphasised the government’s successful drive to rapidly vaccinate its citizens, administering over 1 billion vaccines – a milestone achieved with the help of the strong scientific and technological ecosystem in India.
She pointed out that the current crisis and the looming climate crisis have reinforced the importance of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and the urgency for supplementing country efforts with multilateral development finance. In this context, she highlighted some of the expectations from the Bank, including the need to explore investment opportunities in the creation and development of assets in social infrastructure sectors; to further intensify private sector capital mobilisation for inclusive and green development; and to set up a Resident Board and Regional Offices to ensure accountability, transparency and quality of operations and investments.