NEW DELHI: The World Bank is betting on India to take forward the agendas of developing nations during its year-long G20 presidency that begins on December 1 this year. The international financial institution is highly optimistic about India’s role in the areas of education, climate action, digitisation and debt sustainability.
During India’s presidency of G20, there are high chances that a consensus can be reached “towards a more effective common framework,” on long-term sustainability of debts, World Bank President David Malpass said during a press briefing before the World Bank IMF Annual Meetings in Washington.
Praising the progress made by India in the field of digitalisation, Malpass said the digitisation process empowers social safety net and is very helpful in leapfrogging technology for developing countries. “India has been one of the leaders in that,” he said. India, with its $4 billion loan to Sri Lanka, set an example for the world in debt-restructuring. It is also a creditor to some “heavily indebted countries of Africa”, but unlike some other lenders, Indian loans do result into economic shackles. Malpass is of the view that India’s demonstrated ‘goodwill’ can help initiate some critical conversation about financial aid/loan structures prevalent in the world. India has a chance at building consensus “towards a more effective common framework,” around matters of financial help and liabilities, said the World Bank President.
Last month, during the General Debate at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, without naming China, had cautioned the world about the dangers of economic imperialism. He said there is “deep malaise” beneath the intention to extend loans to “fragile economies”, especially to the ones which are suffering from structural issues and Covid-19 related mishaps. The loans extended to them are trade-offs, a part of sovereignty is seceded with each default. He assured the world that “India will work with other G20 members to address serious issues of debt, of economic growth, food and energy security and particularly, of environment.”
As per the World Bank President, another area which requires India’s leadership is education. He said there is an alarming increase in “educational poverty” and quality of education has fallen sharply in recent years. “Seventy per cent of the kids in developing countries are not able to read the basic text,” said Malpass. He was of the view that “for the Indian G20, this is a great opportunity. India is a leader in education.”