World Bank chief lauds India; says it emerged relatively stronger from Covid pandemic
India has come out strong from the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic but the momentum needs to be maintained, World Bank President Ajay Banga said on Wednesday. Talking to reporters at a skill centre in Dwarka, the first-ever Indian-American to head the top global financial institution said India is doing a lot of things that are helping it to stay ahead during times of a global slowdown.
“India is doing a lot of things that are helping it to stay ahead in times of a global slowdown. One thing that is in India’s favour is the very high percentage of GDP that comes domestically… India has come out strong from the challenges posed by the pandemic but the momentum needs to be maintained,” he said.
“The best way to maintain this momentum is growth and more jobs. India is focussed on growing more and more and generating more jobs,” he added. Asked about India’s potential growth in high-income jobs, Banga said, “We need to understand where are these jobs. They are in technology, which is very few…Then they are in manufacturing. India’s opportunity currently is to cash in on the China plus strategy. This opportunity won’t stay open for 10 years, it is a three to five years opportunity when supply chains start relocating or add another location that is going to need work.”
Banga, 63, took over as the president of the World Bank last month, becoming the first person of colour to head either of the two global financial institutions — the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Banga is on his first visit to India after taking over charge of the global lender. He visited the GMR Varalakshmi Centre for Empowerment and Livelihoods and interacted with students.
The World Bank President said he is preparing to pitch for private capital and corporate social responsibility funds to augment current sources of financing. “The money we need for renewable energy resources is in a trillion dollars. We cannot pool such a huge amount with the government’s help. We need to involve the private sector,” he said.
Banga further said that the gains made on poverty over the last three to four decades across the world took a hit due to the pandemic, climate change, and higher debt in some countries. “The best way to drive a nail in the coffin of poverty is growth. You have to provide jobs to people…You have to provide education and skills for those jobs. You have to provide healthcare for people,” he said.
Noting that India is focused on both growth and jobs, Banga said, “I am actually more optimistic with all the infrastructure investment…Both digital and physical infrastructure in India”.
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