New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley has asked the Asian Development Bank to speed up the process for approving and disbursing loans to stay ahead of its peers. He also insisted that the bank should fund projects other than those in the infrastructure space, especially health and education.
“For instance, time required to approve a proposal as well as the time lag between approval and disbursement of loans can be further reduced. I am sure you all would agree that speed is what will keep ADB ahead of others,” Jaitley said at the Board of Governors’ meeting of ADB at its ongoing 50th annual conference.
His statement assumes importance in the wake of newer multilateral lending agencies like Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and New Development Bank taking increasing share in the infrastructure lending space.
He suggested the need for ADB o adopt Country Systems quickly rather than being contented with adoption of Agency System to help reduce delay in the run-up to project approvals.
“In this context, I would strongly urge the bank to setup a regional hub in New Delhi for South Asia region so that a majority of the proposals could be processed there speedily,” he added.
Jaitley also asked the bank to focus more on social infrastructure like health and education besides climate resilient agriculture, better farm production technologies, improved value chain management and creation of better marketing infrastructure for the farm produce since a large number of rural population of developing countries depends on agriculture.
The bank aims for an Asia and Pacific free from poverty and as a multilateral development finance institution, ADB provides loans, technical assistance and grants.
In addition to sectors like energy, urban development and transportation, the minister asked the bank to focus more on affordable renewable energy. In the area of urban development, especially in the sector of drinking water and sanitation, he cited user charges and financial sustainability of urban bodies as the major challenges.