The coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis, she said, have reinforced the importance of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and the urgency for supplementing the efforts of nations with multilateral development finance.
Assuring India’s cooperation and support to the AIIB for its future endeavours, she urged the Beijing-based lender to set up a Resident Board and Regional Offices to ensure accountability, transparency and quality of operations and investments.
In her intervention during the governor’s roundtable discussion on the theme of ‘COVID-19 Crisis and Post-COVID Support’, Sitharaman said the social protection and economic stimulus packages brought out by the Indian government along with timely structural reforms in various sectors have been pivotal in India’s economic recovery process.
The stimulus packages include the credit guarantee scheme for micro finance institutions, boosters for project exports through National Export Insurance Account, additional subsidies for fertilisers and free food grains for 800 million people under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
Several welfare schemes with a strong public health focus also helped to effectively and efficiently boost the economy and protect lives and livelihoods, especially of the poor and vulnerable, the minister said.
She appreciated AIIB’s prompt actions in providing financial support to member countries, including India, in their efforts to contain and combat COVID, the finance ministry said in a statement.
Sitharaman mentioned about 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.
Further, the minister highlighted India’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative. Under the global health outreach, 70 million doses of the ‘Made in India’ COVID vaccines have been supplied to 95 countries and UN entities, including nearly 20 million doses to 47 countries under the COVAX facility and more than 12 million vaccine doses as grant to 47 countries and UN peacekeepers.
India, a founding member and the second largest shareholder of AIIB, also has one of the largest project portfolios within the bank.
Currently, India has 7.65 per cent vote share in AIIB while China holds a whopping 26.63 per cent stake in the organisation that was set up in 2016.
This year’s Annual Meeting has been jointly organised by AIIB and the Government of United Arab Emirates on the theme of ‘Investing Today and Transforming Tomorrow’.