India has urged the Asian Development Bank to reduce the time it takes to approve a loan as well as to disburse as the developing countries in the Asian region need to build their infrastructure and increase social sector spending. Speaking at the business session of the ADB Board of Governors, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also asked the multilateral lender to set up a regional hub in New Delhi for South Asia region so that a majority of the proposals could be processed there speedily.
Stating that the Bank has kept its processes and procedures up to date with the demands of the time, Jaitley, however, said that more can be done to keep pace with the aspirations of the people. “For instance, time required to approve a proposal as well as the time lag between approval and disbursement of loans can be further reduced. I am sure you all would agree that speed is what will keep ADB ahead of others,” Jaitley said at the business session yesterday.
He said since ADB has completed 50 years, it provides an occasion to look back and carefully assess its achievements and what more needs to be done. “Eliminating poverty from Asia-Pacific region is the vowed objective of ADB. In addition to sectors like energy, urban development and transportation, we need to focus more on affordable renewable energy,” Jaitley said.
In the area of urban development, especially in the sector of drinking water and sanitation, the major challenges remain in the realm of user charges and financial sustainability of urban bodies. The Bank needs to promote models that will focus on these challenges, he added.
Jaitley said in almost all of the developing member countries, a vast majority of the rural populace depends on agriculture and other allied activities. “There is a need for greater focus on climate resilient agriculture, better farm production technologies, improved value chain management and creation of better marketing infrastructure for the farm produce. ADB also needs to focus more on social infrastructure like health and education,” Jaitley said.
ADB offers a range of financial products by way of loans, technical assistance, and grants, that help developing member countries (DMC) build economic growth and social development. Conceived in the early 1960s, ADB is composed of 67 members, 48 of which are from the Asia and Pacific region. ADB assists its members, and partners, by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development. Sovereign operations in 2015, including official and technical assistance co-financing, totaled USD 13.81 billion.