discuss Legislative Oversight on IFIs & strategise towards
Policy Standards for National/Private financial institutions in India
Kolkatta | 20-21st June 2011
International Financial Institutions (IFI) have been operating in India since 1940s, with little accountability and without institutional scrutiny from the elected representatives of the people. Time and again, IFIs continue to use their power to leverage key decisions around economic and social policy reforms, often pushing the Governments to overrule and sidestep elected representatives. On the other hand, India’s increasing clout globally has reflected in the increasing lending that it received in the recent past from IFIs, esp World Bank. This lending, translated into projects and policy reforms have large impacts on people’s lives and livelihood.
If you look at the details, the funds for structural adjustments alone, in the year 2009-2010, amount to Rs 1248 crores. This is almost double the previous financial year. Also, there are huge funds going to water resource management, energy, agriculture, infrastructure etc. and a lot in the name of climate change will be spent in the coming days. In the past 10 years, India paid over 1000 crore rupees to the World Bank and ADB alone as commitment charge. The country currently has 104 active project loans from the Bank amounting to $21 billion in loans. This level of investment illustrates the Bank’s deep influence on India’s development, such that Bank policies and projects will largely shape India’s economic and social welfare in the future.
On the other hand, the role of National Financial Institutions – Indian and foreign, (NFIs) have rarely been under scrutiny, in India. There have only been a few project specific campaigns focusing on these banks in the past and nothing worth the name to bring them under any safeguard policy regime.
In the meanwhile, there are many struggles at different levels on the IFI funded projects. Just to name a few: Tata Mundra (IFC, ADB funded), Rampur, Vishnugad and Luhri dams (World Bank), GMR Kamalanga (IFC financial intermediary (FI) funded), Sasan (possibly WB FI funded), fishworkers against WB’s support for coastal zone management, and many others. On the urban front too, JNNURM, MUTP and other such projects have been largely the outcome of WB and other IFIs’ policy interventions and are currently opposed by many urban working poor. It is important that we know and understand these struggles and strengthen it in ways that is possible for us, while attempting to spread the opposition to many more such overt and covert funding of IFIs.
It is towards this joint effort, that Delhi Forum, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Bank Information Center and National Hawkers Federation are organizing this two-day meeting. It is planned that the meeting will be held on 20-21st June, 2011 at Kolkatta, hosted by NHF.
The broad agenda for these two days are:
1. Looking at the latest funding trends / sectors of IFIs and understanding the broad picture;
2. Sharing from struggle fronts and thinking of ways of strengthening mass organisations fighting the IFI funded projects;
3. Thinking towards a Legislative Oversight on IFIs in India; and
4. Monitoring, advocacy and campaigning towards policy standards for national/private lenders in India who invest in development projects.
National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements (NAPM)
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