A very good morning and a warm welcome to the Opening Ceremony of the Third Annual Meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)! It is my proud privilege to welcome Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji to this momentous occasion signifying global cooperation and development. A special welcome to all the distinguished participants from across the world. It is my privilege, as the Governor of AIIB for India, to address this august gathering of international leaders and dignitaries representing governments, developmental agencies, banks, academia and business.
India is honoured to host this year’s Annual Meeting of AIIB. India has a symbiotic relationship with this institution as one of its 21 founding member countries, the second largest shareholder and the largest recipient of assistance sanctioned so far.
India is blessed to be guided by the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, who dedicated his life to the cause of serving the poorest of the poor. He once remarked & I quote “In a gentle way you can shake the world.” AIIB is gently shaking the world with its focus on helping member countries improve the life of their citizens by combating poverty and climate change. We will be celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi shortly and this meeting in many ways reflects his vision.
The solution to all our problems lies in development. AIIB will help in concretizing Asia’s aspirations and will be the bank that will build the 21st century’s Partnership for Progress in Asia. In this context, the role of infrastructure as one of the core drivers of growth assumes great significance.
In India, the investment in infrastructure needed to meet the aspirations of a billion plus people is huge. One Study estimates that over five years, 2017-2022, key sectors such as energy, transport and urban development will require investment of about 750 billion US Dollars. In this fiscal year 2018-19 alone, we have budgeted infrastructure spending of a record 90 billion US Dollars. AIIB will be an important pillar in meeting this requirement.
Developmental finance will be pivotal to meet the financing gaps in infrastructure. The role of multilateral development banks like the World Bank, The Asian Development Bank, The New Development Bank (NDB) and AIIB in poverty alleviation is immense, and they will need to facilitate development finance in close coordination amongst each other.
Particularly, the newly established multilateral development banks such as NDB and AIIB will have to collaborate with each other to develop innovative financing instruments, transformational projects and project processing mechanisms. This will enable greater access to finance for less developed and developing countries. These banks will also have to develop faster processes for loan disbursement & create efficient as well as flexible organizational structures give due consideration to country systems, wherever possible. These newly emerging institutions have the potential to redefine the contours of multilateral financing and set new rules for engagement.
Multilateralism has helped the world achieve inclusive economic growth across countries at different stages of development. We need to strengthen the multilateral cooperation to help us meet the challenges of climate change, economic slowdown in many parts of the world and rising protectionism.
India is a leading emerging market economy and has been an oasis of economic growth over the last 04 years. It is one of the most favoured destinations for business, trade and investment. The transformational reform of institutions and processes especially in industry as part of the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative has significantly improved the business environment in the country.
The Government has stressed upon ‘Ease of Living’, working towards ensuring the availability of basic amenities like electricity, water, housing, education and healthcare for all. Under the inspiring leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, guided by his vision of inclusive growth for all, we have worked towards doubling farmers’ income and reigniting the entrepreneurial spirit of India, through a multi-pronged strategy.
As part of the Third Annual Meeting of AIIB, a number of Host Country Seminars have been organized on important issues centered on the theme, “Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration”. I am delighted that the distinguished participants have given bold new ideas to achieve our objectives. We hope to continue receiving your recommendations and support for formulating future policy. In this context, I hope you all have an engaging, stimulating and lively exchange of views during this Annual Meeting.
In conclusion “The Upanishads” from our ancient Indian texts state & I quote “the little space within the heart is as great as the vast universe.” Our meeting here is an embodiment of this philosophy – it is a meeting of open minds and hearts to achieve the universal goals of prosperity and progress.
I once again extend a warm welcome to all of you.
Thank you very much ladies & Gentleman