India hosted a meeting of BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors virtually on Tuesday
The meeting, jointly chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das, was the first meeting of the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors under India’s chairship in 2021.
As BRICS chair, India’s approach is focused on strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation based on continuity, consolidation, and consensus.
At the meeting, BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors discussed the financial cooperation agenda set by India for 2021 – the global economic outlook and response to Covid-19 pandemic, New Development Bank (NDB) activities, social infrastructure financing, and use of digital technologies, and cooperation on customs-related issues.
The meeting also discussed IMF reforms, fintech for SMEs and financial inclusion, BRICS Rapid Information Security channel, and BRICS Bond Fund.
On the BRICS priorities and agenda for 2021, Sitharaman said that the efforts should be made towards delivering outcomes that reflect the needs and aspirations of BRICS in particular, and emerging markets and developing economies in general.
She emphasised the importance of BRICS in responding to the Covid-19 crisis through policy support and enhancing international coordination.
Sitharaman also highlighted that world’s largest vaccine drive by India is under way. India has supplied 64.5 million vaccine doses to 84 countries.
On the importance of social infrastructure and use of digital technologies, she underscored the merit in engaging with private sector and exploring the innovative financing models.
Sitharaman stated that the Prime Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme using an output-based funding model has triggered a major private investment cycle in health-care infrastructure, enabling significant expansion of health-care services to vulnerable citizens.
She also talked about thematic priorities for the New Development Bank for discussion during 2021 and the issues of membership expansion and called for greater coordination among BRICS member countries on the issues of 16th general review of Quotas of IMF.