Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman participated in the 103rd Meeting of the Development Committee Plenary via video conferencing. The items on the agenda included World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund Support for Debt Relief Under the Common Framework and Beyond; COVID-19 pandemic: World Bank Group Support for Fair and Affordable Access to Vaccines by Developing Countries; and From COVID-19 Crisis Response to Resilient Recovery – Saving Lives and Livelihoods while Supporting Green, Resilient and Inclusive Development (GRID).
In her intervention at this session, the Finance Minister stated that we are all engaged in steering our economies and people safely out of COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of India has taken several measures to contain the spread of pandemic and also to mitigate its social and economic impact including a series of economic stimulus packages in last one year.
Smt. Sitharaman shared that the Government has announced Aatma Nirbhar Packages of Rs 27.1 trillion, amounting to more than 13% of the GDP. These packages were meant not only to provide social protection to poor and vulnerable but also to push forward the economic reforms.
The Finance Minister noted with pleasure that the WBG has stepped up its financing in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic with total financing approvals exceeding $100 billion for the first time. Smt. Sitharaman appreciated the pro-active role played by the WBG in helping developing countries access vaccines in a timely and affordable manner in coordination with other multilateral agencies like WHO and GAVI.
The Finance Minister urged World Bank to explore the possibility to sustain crisis response keeping in mind debt sustainability of vulnerable countries and financial sustainability of the WBG.