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AIIB- Health infra: AIIB in talks with India for financing $8B health infra scheme

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), along with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, is in discussion with the Indian government for part-financing a USD 8-billion scheme for improving the health infrastructure at the district level to make the country better prepared for future healthcare challenges.

The Beijing-based multilateral funding agency had earlier approved financial assistance of USD 1.2 billion for India to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Government of India has discussed about its ambitious scheme of strengthening the health infrastructure. It entails building health infrastructure in every district including upgrading of testing facilities with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR),” said D J Pandian, Vice President, AIIB.

It is a USD 8-billion project, he said, adding that the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank are also involved in the discussion with the Health Department of the Government of India.

Pandian added, “Our support to India also aims to ensure economic resilience to prevent long-term damage to the productive capacity, including human capital, of India’s economy.”

The Finance Ministry is trying to put up a financing plan for this ambitious scheme and the minute details are being worked out, he said.

If things work out, the financing by the AIIB can be cleared this year itself on a fast-track basis, he added.

With regard to COVID-19 assistance, Pandian said the AIIB has approved two loans of USD 500 million and USD 750 million, respectively.

The first loan of USD 500 million sanctioned in May was towards building a resilient health system that can effectively treat COVID-19 patients and prevent its spread, he said

A USD 750 million loan was approved in June to help the government strengthen its battle against the adverse impact of COVID-19 on poor and vulnerable households.

For AIIB, India is the largest borrower, which accounts for 25 per cent of the total lending by it so far. As of July 16, 2020, AIIB has approved up to USD 19.6 billion for 87 projects in 24 economies. Since its inception in 2016, AIIB has approved loans to the tune of USD 4.3 billion across 17 projects in India.

India is a founding member of the multilateral funding agency with the second highest voting share. Currently, India has 7.65 per cent vote share in the AIIB while China holds a whopping 26.63 per cent stake in the organisation that was set up in 2016.

India as a member of the AIIB

The AIIB is a multinational development bank with an aim to enhance social and economic output in Asia. They began functioning in 2016 and have now wholly instituted to 103 approved members worldwide. AIIB created a Crisis Recovery Facility to support its members and clients in lessening and reducing economic and financial health pressures arising from COVID-19.

India is a founding member of AIIB with the highest recipient of investments by the bank. Currently, India has a 7.65 per cent vote share in the organisation while China holds a whopping 26.63 per cent stake in the organisation that was set up in 2016.

AIIB Loan Approval by Countries

For AIIB, India has been the highest borrower and accounts for 25 per cent of the total credit it has given so far. As of July 16, 2020, AIIB has accepted up to USD 19.6 billion for 87 projects in 24 different economies. Since its establishment in 2016, AIIB has provided loans to the tune of USD 4.3 billion across 17 projects in India.

The existing projects include Mumbai urban transport project, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal water supply improvement projects among others.

As part of its efforts to better interdependence, AIIB had announced in July that it was looking forward to providing loans worth USD 3 billion for various large infrastructure projects based in India. According to bank officials, the current relation is very robust and many Indian infrastructure projects are at various stages of approval.

total investments by AIIB in Indian projects.

AIIB investments in India

Indian Projects worth USD 4.5-5 billion are in the pipeline and are expected to be approved in a year’s time.

According to the bank’s official website, the projects that are on the verge of approval are Delhi-Meerut rapid rail corridor, Haryana Bypass Link Railway, Mumbai Metro Line V and Mumbai Transport Project.

These projects, when once completed, will not only provide connectivity but also considerably reduce carbon footprint.

India has emerged as a top borrower from the China-sponsored Bank with USD 1.5 billion worth of loans in 2019 and USD three billion more in the pipeline.

China is the largest shared holder followed by India with an authorised capital of USD 100 billion.

China proudly holds 26.06 per cent voting shares in the bank. India is the second-largest with 7.5 per cent followed by Russia 5.93 per cent and Germany with 4.5 per cent.

The AIIB board of directors has formerly mentioned on viewing Indian projects favourably because of India’s economic and financial credentials. – MB Bureau