India supports it’s new vision to create a world free of poverty on a liveable planet and to end extreme poverty, says Nirmala Sitharaman
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday participated in the 108th meeting of the development committee plenary of the World Bank in Marrakech, Morocco.
She said that India supports it’s new vision to create a world free of poverty on a liveable planet and to end extreme poverty.
During the meeting, Sitharaman encouraged World Bank to take lead in aligning processes and procedures with other multilateral development banks (MDBs) to benefit client countries that deal with multiple MDBs.
Further work is needed beyond Marrakech to increase World Bank’s capacity to realise our enhanced ambition, Sitharaman stated.
Also, while engaging in climate action in line with the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities,” we encourage the World Bank to be more ambitious in its commitment to adaptation finance, she added.
Sitharaman further said that enabling private capital mobilisation at scale will require an enhanced ‘One World Bank’ approach.
“At the same time, we must be realistic in our assessment of the potential of private capital mobilisation, given the global economic outlook,” she added.
Appetite for the proposed pilot Global Challenge Programmes (GCPs) will depend on strong country demand and ownership, access to new and additional finance, as well as provision of concessional finance, for both Low-Income Countries (LICs) and Middle-Income Countries (MICs), she said.
“We fully agree with the conclusion that significantly more could be done for clients by mobilising new, additional resources for the World Bank,” Sitharaman said.
Sitharaman on Wednesday met World Bank president Ajay Banga, on the sidelines of the annual meeting of IMF-WB in Marrakech, Morocco.
They discussed several issues related to India’s development priorities and global challenges – in the context of bigger, better and more effective World Bank.
Highlighting the ‘One Sun, One World, One Grid’ initiative articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Finance Minister encouraged the World Bank’s active involvement in taking it forward.
She emphasised that India has delivered on its commitments towards Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and this rich experience can be used by the World Bank in its engagement with other countries.
Citing India’s rich and varied development experience, the finance minister said India can become a strong partner for ‘Sandboxing’ the eight global challenge programmes proposed to be taken up by the World Bank.
Inflation levels may remain elevated
On the day when India’s September retail inflation fell to 5.02 per cent from 6.83 per cent in August, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said that domestic disruptions along with global uncertainties may keep inflation at elevated levels in the coming months.
The ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict coupled with the Ukraine-Russia war are a double whammy for global economy. Domestic consumption and investment demand will continue to drive India’s growth, Sitharaman said while speaking at the 108th Meeting of the Development Committee Plenary in Marrakech, Morocco.
The agenda for the meeting was “Ending Poverty on a Liveable Planet – Report to Governors on World Bank Evolution”.
She said that the Indian government has already taken pre-emptive measures to restrain food inflation, which is likely to subside price pressure in the market soon.
India Ranks 111th on Hunger Index, Slams Report
India has ranked 111th out of the 125 countries on the 2023 Global Hunger Index (GHI), slipping four places since last year. However, the government has rejected the report calling it “flawed” and “erroneous”.
“With a score of 28.7 in the 2023 Global Hunger Index, India has a level of hunger that is serious,” said the global report released on Thursday by Concern Worldwide and Welt Hunger Hilfe, Non-Government Organisations from Ireland and Germany respectively.
In 2022, India ranked 107 out of the 125 countries.
The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, in a statement, refuted the claims and said that the index “continues to be a flawed measure of ‘Hunger’ and does not reflect India’s true position”.
The GHI report ranked Pakistan at 102, Bangladesh at 81, Nepal at 69 and Sri Lanka at 60. South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa were the regions with the highest hunger levels.
“The index is an erroneous measure of hunger and suffers from serious methodological issues. Three out of the four indicators used for calculation of the index are related to the health of children and cannot be representative of the entire population,” the ministry said.
“The fourth and most important indicator ‘Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) population’ is based on an opinion poll conducted on a very small sample size of 3,000,” it added.
Meanwhile, the report also counted India with the world’s highest child wasting rate of 18.7 per cent, indicating acute undernutrition.
The rate of undernourishment in India stood at 16.6 per cent and under-five mortality at 3.1 per cent.
The report also said that the prevalence of anaemia in women aged between 15 and 24 years stood at 58.1 per cent
“Two other indicators, namely, Stunting and Wasting are outcomes of complex interactions of various other factors like sanitation, genetics, environment and utilisation of food intake apart from hunger which is taken as the causative/outcome factor for stunting and wasting in the GHI,” the ministry said.
It noted that there is hardly any evidence that the fourth indicator, namely, child mortality is an outcome of hunger.
The ministry said that since April 2023, the measurement data of children under five years uploaded on the Poshan Tracker has consistently increased – from 6.34 crore in April 2023 to 7.24 crore in September 2023.
“The percentage of child wasting, as seen on the Poshan Tracker, has been consistently below 7.2 per cent, month-on-month, as compared to the value of 18.7 per cent used for child wasting in the Global Hunger Index 2023,” the ministry said in the statement.