Addressing the New Development Bank meeting, the secretary for economic affairs, Shaktikanta Das said that India is going ahead with environmental sustainability, though waiting for additional external finance to come in. He also said that India would be focusing on doubling farmers’ income and completing rural road programe by 2019. While speaking at the opening ceremony of the second annual meeting of the Bank, the secretary said that infrastructure was a priority for India and roads in particular would get priority.
Earlier, the finance minister Arun Jaitley while speaking at the same forum on Saturday had sought $2 billion in funding from the New Development Bank for infrastructure projects. The finance minister had said that he expects the multilateral agency to take up the proposal expeditiously and be “nimble-footed” in disbursing loans. “India has a huge unmet need for investment in infrastructure, estimated to the tune of Rs. 43 lakh crores (about $646 billion) over the next five years. 70 per cent of this will be required in the power, roads and urban infrastructure sectors,” Jaitley said.
Jaitley also informed that an agreement for an NDB loan in India to finance major district roads in Madhya Pradesh has been signed a couple of days ago. “With this, the NDB will have its first footprint in India. We have proposed projects worth about $2 billion for NDB funding, which I hope will be taken up by the Board expeditiously. We shall work with the NDB to develop a strong shelf of projects in specific areas such as Smart Cities, renewable energy, urban transport, including Metro Railways, clean coal technology, solid waste management and urban water supply,” he said.
The finance minister said that the uniqueness of NDB should lie in faster loan appraisal, a lean organizational structure resulting in lower cost of loans, a variety of financing instruments, including local currency financing, adoption of country system whenever possible and flexibility in responding to the needs of the clients. “These are the elements which would make NDB truly a “new” institution, and make it distinct from older multilateral development banks,” he said.