India has called for expanding the funding horizon of the New Development Bank (NDB), often referred to as BRICS Bank, so that resources can be utilised for bolstering social infrastructure in a post-Covid world, besides promoting the industrial sector.
In a meeting of the industry ministers of the BRICS grouping on Wednesday, chaired by commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, the participants pledged to foster open, fair and non-discriminatory trade environment, and ensure greater participation in global value chains.
The NDB was set up based on the inter-governmental agreement among the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in July 2014. The purpose of this bank is to mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging market economies and developing countries.
Up to May 2020, the NDB had approved 55 projects of member countries for funding, with a total amount of $16.6 billion. Until then, it had approved 14 projects in India worth $4,183 million. In December, the finance ministry said the NDB would lend India $1 billion to support economic recovery from the pandemic through expenditure on rural infrastructure related to natural resource management.
At the virtual meeting on Wednesday, Goyal also said Industry 4.0 will play a crucial role in helping BRICS economies achieve sustainable development goals. However, there are challenges of data protection and cyber security too. “Therefore, it is essential to manage transition to new technologies in line with national policies and legislation. This understanding is at the heart of the BRICS cooperation agenda,” according to the statement.
The meeting was attended by Xiao Yaqing, minister of industry & IT of China; Denis Manturov, minister of industry and trade of Russia; Ebrahim Patel, minister of trade, industry & competition of South Africa and Carlos Da Costa, deputy minister of economy of Brazil, among others.