New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said that despite exogenous threats, India's well-targeted policy mix, accompanied by major structural reforms and a sound external balance sheet, have aided its growth to remain resilient.
The minister of finance and corporate affairs was speaking during the seventh Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) via video conference, in New Delhi on Wednesday, an official statement said. The Finance Minister shared her thoughts in the Governor's Roundtable Discussion on the theme 'Financing Infrastructure in a Crisis-Prone World'. In her intervention, the Minister appreciated AIIB for its continued commitment and dedication to assist members and for providing high-quality development finance.
Sitharaman emphasised that India has embarked on the path of a self-reliant economy and therefore has been successful in mitigating the negative effects of the pandemic.
The Finance Minister underscored the remarkable progress India has made through its Digitalization Mission, utilising technology to facilitate social protection and boost financial inclusion. She also highlighted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was actively leading India's climate change response efforts through various programs such as 'Lifestyle for Environment' (or LiFE), among many others.
The Finance Minister suggested that in order to ensure the meaningful impact is achieved and resources are not scattered in multiple areas, AIIB needs to scale-up investments in key priority areas including clean energy and energy efficiency, disaster resilient infrastructure, social infrastructure with a special focus on education and health, and digital infrastructure.
As public resources alone are insufficient to meet vast infrastructure needs of members, the Minister advised that the Bank should not only play a catalytic role in mobilising diverse private sector resources but also explore mechanisms to augment its own resources, including through early action on the recommendations of G20's Expert Panel's Report on the MDB's Capital Adequacy Framework (CAF).
Moreover, the Finance Minister also pointed out that beyond its financial support, AIIB should work towards expanding the scope of its mid-stream and upstream engagement activities such as increased technical assistance to help clients translate strategies into investment plans. Finally, Sitharaman suggested that the Bank should set up full-fledged country offices in member locations.
In conclusion, the Finance Minister assured AIIB of India's continued collaboration in achieving its mandated mission.