Jaitley pushes for more funding, reforms at IMF, World Bank

Washington, April 17 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has asked the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reassess the quantum of funds at their disposal to finance global growth and make an extra mobilisation effort if found inadequate.

“To be a reliable source of contingent financing, it is important to assess the sufficiency of Fund’s resources in accordance with the changing global realities, including levels of global growth, the size of trade and capital flows,” Jaitley told an IMF meeting.

“In the backdrop of constraints in mobilising additional concessional finance on one hand and increased demand for it on the other, the World Bank group will have to walk that extra mile for additional resources for this endeavour,” he said in another address here.

In fact, during a meeting with World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim, the Indian finance minister specifically said the institution collectively must step up its annual funding volumes to $100 billion.

In fiscal 2015, the World Bank, International Finance Corp and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency collectively provided $59.8 billion in loans, grants, equity investments, and guarantees to partner countries and private businesses.

Jaitley is here for the spring meetings of the World Bank and the IMF with Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das and Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, among other officials.

The Indian finance minister also welcomed the timeline of October 2017 for a shareholding review in IMF and said that the new quota formula should enhance the voice, role and voting shares of developing countries and their increased contribution to global output.

He also emphasised the need for a review of the World Bank’s shareholding to reflect the emergence of developing countries in the global economy and also ensure that they, along with poor nations, get their due share of funding for infrastructure investment.

Jaitley also said there was the need to increase the representation of Indians in the top management of the World Bank, given the “excellent” contribution made by experts from his country to the multilateral funding institution’s functioning.

During his interactions, Jaitly also said what his government was doing to encourage growth and employment, listing such initiatives like “Make in India”, “Digital India”, “Start-up India”, “Stand-up India”, “Skill India” and “Mudra bank”.

Also being put in place were a progressive and non-adversarial tax regime, a new bankruptcy law, major tax reforms such as the introduction of a pan-India goods and services tax and the simplification of procedures and the repeal obsolete laws, he said.

“Our present government is following the approach of ‘reform to transform India’ through far reaching structural reforms to foster strong and sustainable growth,” said Jaitley, concluding the first leg of his US visit.

The next halt is in New York. His itinerary there includes an address at the UN on “World Drug Problem”. He is also scheduled to address the Asia Society on “Make In India-The New Deal” and hold meetings with top funds to make a pitch to invest in India.

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