Post-Pandemic Development Needs Increased Focus: Finance Minister

She emphasized that post-pandemic development needs in low-income countries will be more focused than ever before, not just in terms of financial aid.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Speaking at a press briefing in Washington on Thursday, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the third pillar of India’s economic policy will now focus on sustainable goals and other climate-related objectives, such as climate funding. She emphasized that this shift will lead India towards a more sustainable future.

“We have now decided to make sustainability and climate change a major part of the policy,” said Sitharaman. “We are committed to taking bold steps to meet the challenges posed by climate change and creating a more sustainable future for our citizens.”

Underlining how India’s presidency has brought attention to the necessity to incorporate these factors while still being compatible with World Bank objectives and not merely balancing on them, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that New Delhi from its presidency very clearly highlighted that it’s going to be about how a perfect balance is traced between developmental goals and climate finance.

Addressing the media queries, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also highlighted the post-pandemic development requirements and laid emphasis on how the focus should lie on them, solely. She pointed out that the government’s primary focus should be on dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic and providing relief to the people in the form of economic and healthcare assistance.

“Not just development funding for low-income countries, post-pandemic development requirements are becoming much more focused. We are also highlighting two core things for the World Bank: alleviating extreme poverty and promoting prosperity post-it,” said Sitharaman.

The Union Finance Minister, while speaking during a press conference, emphasized the importance of development activities for not only low-income countries, but also for middle-income countries. He highlighted the fact that there are pockets of underdeveloped areas that desperately need funds for development.

“Even among middle-income countries, there are pockets of underdeveloped areas that desperately need funds for development. So, it is not just development funding for low-income countries, particularly in the post-pandemic era. Development requirements are becoming increasingly focused on specific areas and those communities that have been affected by the pandemic itself,” Sitharaman said during the press conference.

On debt structuring, the Union Minister asserted that a lot of intense work is underway and the discussions have progressed in a positive direction.

“All stakeholders involved in debt and distress-related matters were in attendance. Private participants were also present, as were representatives from affected countries. The discussion seemed to have gone very well,” she said.

Speaking on crypto-assets, the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that there is a greater acceptance among G20 members regarding any action on them to be global.

“I am delighted to announce that the G20 countries have come to the consensus that any action taken regarding crypto assets must be global in nature…they recognize that it would be impossible for any one country to manage crypto assets independently,” said Finance Minister Sitharaman.

Addressing the press briefing, the Union Finance Minister of India discussed the ongoing meetings in the United States. She stated that the second session of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors’ meetings, which are held at the margin of the 2023 spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank group, is taking place under the Indian presidency.

She stated that the meeting saw the participation of approximately 350 delegates from various international and regional organizations.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s central bank, apparently co-chaired the event alongside Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Day 1 of the second G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting under the Indian presidency was held in Washington on Thursday (local time) as part of the Spring Meetings 2023 of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB). During the first session, the FMCBG discussed the global economy and the international financial architecture.

The FMCBG meeting also discussed key challenges to the Global Economic Outlook and explored possible areas of policy coordination on pressing global issues.