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World Bank loan pledge

Jim Yong Kim in New Delhi on Wednesday. (AFP)

New Delhi, July 23: World Bank president Jim Yong Kim and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today discussed lending plans, which could see the global banker providing $15-18 billion in soft loans to India over the next three years.

India has made it clear that it wants the voting reforms to be implemented, which will give India and China a greater say in the affairs of the international financial body.

Modi described the meeting as “very fruitful”. “We discussed several ways of working together in the times to come,” he added. On micro-blogging site Twitter, the Prime Minister said, “We talked about the importance of scale... that inspires people and positively transforms their lives. Speeding up World Bank projects will surely increase the impact.”

Interacting with reporters after meeting Modi, Kim said, “From my discussions with Prime Minister Modi and (finance) minister Jaitley, it is clear that they are committed to increasing India’s economic growth.”

“I assured them the World Bank group will be ready to provide financial support worth $15-$18 billion over the next three years,” he added.

Kim said the voting reforms would again come up for discussion next year.

India has been pressing for voting reforms to reflect the changing global financial scenario. Jaitley had yesterday told Kim that the World Bank needed to “reflect the emerging world order in its governance”.

The voting quotas of the IMF and the World Bank are considered unfair because the West is considered to be over-represented, while heavyweights from the developing world such as India, China and Brazil are under-represented.

India, the world’s third largest economy by purchasing power parity, has less voting rights than the two tiny European states, the Netherlands and Belgium, put together. Just to put this into perspective, the two nations have a combined population of 28 million, a little less than the population of Delhi and Calcutta put together.

Several quota reform promises had been made during the global financial crisis, when the G20 had worked to fund the capital requirements of the European members of the IMF, but those have remained on paper.

India, China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa have recently announced a Brics bank, called the New Development Bank (NDB), with an initial paid-up capital of $50 billion. In some ways, the bank seeks to rival the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, both controlled by the western countries and Japan.

World Bank officials said discussions with Modi and other officials focused on the government’s plans to revive growth by investing in infrastructure to create jobs; providing quality education and skills training to 8 million young people entering the labour force each year; and better equipping 10 million people leaving rural areas for towns and cities each year for jobs.

 
 
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