FICCI Partners with the Finance Ministry for Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Annual Meeting
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), headquartered in Beijing, commenced its operations in January 2016 and has now grown to 84 approved members from around the world. India is one of the founding members and the second largest shareholder in the bank, after China, with 7.5 per cent voting share, followed by Russia.
The bank was formed with a view to deepen engagements within Asia Pacific countries for building of infrastructure in the region. The bank had its 3rd Annual Meeting from 25-26 June 2018 in Mumbai, which was hosted by the Government of India.
As a precursor to the annual meeting, AIIB in association with the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, organized a series of eightthematic lead-up events in Indian cities. FICCI and Research and Information Services for Developing Countries (RIS) had co-organized four lead-up events in Guwahati, Bhopal, Pune and Mumbai, respectively. In addition, FICCI organized the 'India Infrastructure Expo 2018' from 24-26 June 2018 in association with the Ministry of Finance.
Guwahati: Physical and Social Infrastructure for Regional Development
The first lead up event was held in Guwahati on 14-15 May 2018 on 'Physical and Social Infrastructure for Regional Development' with the objective to highlight the huge untapped potential of the Northeast in boosting India's trade by strengthening its ties with Southeast Asia and promoting regional development, which has not yet been fully harnessed due to inadequate infrastructure.
FICCI in association with the Ministry of Finance, Government of India and RIS organized the event, which was inaugurated by the Governor of Assam, Prof. Jagdish Mukhi. He said, 'The government is putting a lot of focus on infrastructure development for the all-round development of the Northeast,' and added that Assam is at the heart of the Centre's Act East Policy and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put Assam in resurgent growth back.
The Northeast can contribute to the prosperity of the whole of India if the potential of the region can be meaningfully utilized, said the Assam Governor. 'This strategically important region (the Northeast) is also home to natural resources… the regional development strategy needs to include conscious steps to ensure optimal value realization out of these resources,' he added.
He said, 'The Northeast has also the best reputation of being the hub for industrial communication for its proximity to the South Asian countries. Hence, different initiatives like UDAN, single window clearance for trade, inland waterways must be utilized for maximum development of the region.'
Ravi Capoor, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Industries and Commerce, Government of Assam, said the Northeast was a prosperous area prior to India's independence due to its trade with China, Myanmar and Southeast Asia, but became landlocked due to the circumstances that followed India's partition. The economic salvation of the Northeast lies in opening up to Southeast Asia through better infrastructure and connectivity networks.
PD Sona, Parliamentary Secretary (Tourism), Government of Arunachal Pradesh, said any policy regarding the Northeast needs to take into account various challenges being faced by the region, and take forward the HIRA (Highways, Internet, Railways and Airways) Policy. He wanted multilateral finance institutions like the AIIB to take up innovative projects in the region, including the ones that use clean and green energy.
Bhopal: Clean and Renewable Energy
The next lead-up event was in Bhopal on 21 May 2018 on the theme 'Clean and Renewable Energy'. The growing demand for energy incremental to rising prosperity of middle class and rapid industrialization has posed challenges for developing countries including India. The workshop explored avenues for reducing dependence on the traditional and conventional sources of energy to clean, efficient and low-carbon energy sources.
Narayan Singh Kushwah, Minister of New & Renewable Energy, Government of Madhya Pradesh; Manu Srivastava, Principal Secretary, New & Renewable Energy Department, Madhya Pradesh; and AK Verma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Power, shared their perspectives in the inaugural session. The panellists agreed that the ever-increasing demand for energy resulting from rising prosperity of the middle class and rapid urbanization in the developing countries is inevitable. The upward pressure on energy consumption due to rise in per capita income would continue. There would not only be a need for higher supply of energy but also of cleaner and lowcarbon energy sources. International
The event was attended by eminent experts, policy practitioners, officials from the central government, state government, industry leaders and representatives of multilateral development banks including AIIB to deliberate on the pertinent issues relating to unlocking finance for clean energy, institutional and regulatory environment, technological options for sustainable energy development, new opportunities for innovative finance and other relevant aspects.
Pune: Water and Sanitation
The next event was in Pune on 31 May-1 June 2018 with 'Water and Sanitation' as the central theme, which resonated the desire of governments in developing countries to provide clean and safe drinking water and proper sanitation to its citizen.
While India is making significant strides in water and sanitation sector, what is needed is holistic approach and public participation in sustainability of outcomes opined various experts at the seminar.
The panel discussions included various experts deliberating on topics including efficient water management, drinking water, sanitation infrastructure and waste management, financing and regulatory issues, amongst others.
Parameshwaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, discussed how Swachh Bharat Mission has made significant changes in the sanitation sector with pioneering bold initiatives by various states to tackle the menace of open defecation. The biggest game changer was the prime minister putting Swachh Bharat on top of the development agenda. There is also focus on verification and sustainability of programme with expert group looking at independent verification. He said that this is a peoples' movement.
With respect to water management, Iyer said that the Government of India recently launched 'Swajal' – a community led drinking water project aimed at providing sustainable and adequate
Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, Governor of Assam, addressing the first lead up event in Guwahati.
Dignitaries at the lead-up event in Bhopal.
Parameshwaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, addressing the event.