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PM Calls for Tenfold Hike in AIIB Funding

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to speed up loan clearance and called for a tenfold increase in approvals to USD 40 billion in 2020 from USD 4 billion at present. India has been the largest recipient of funding from the AIIB and is also the second-largest shareholder after China. Speaking at the third annual meet of the AIIB in Mumbai, Modi also flagged the healthcare sector as an investment destination that is poised for growth on the back of the government’s Ayushman Bharat project, which will provide a cover of USD 7000 to 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. “With a committed capital of USD 100 billion and huge need for infrastructure in member countries, I take this opportunity to call upon AIIB to expand from financing USD 4 billion to USD 40 billion by 2020 and USD 100 billion by 2025,” said Modi. He added that this would require the multilateral institution to simplify processing and speed up approvals. “It will need high quality projects and robust project proposals,” he added.

Modi said that India is developing brownfield assets as a separate asset class for infrastructure investment. The term is used to describe projects that are already in the development stage and pose lesser risk for investors. “Such assets — having passed the stages of land acquisition and environment & forest clearances — are relatively de-risked. Hence, for such assets, institutional investment from pension, insurance and sovereign wealth funds are likely to be more forthcoming,” said Modi. On India’s national healthcare mission, Modi said that the Ayushman Bharat health insurance project will lead to expansion of healthcare facilities and create a large number of jobs. “This will also promote the production of high-quality medicines, consumables and other medical technology equipment. Jobs will also be created for ancillary activities including call centers, research & evaluation and IEC (information, education & communication) activities. The entire healthcare industry will receive a boost,” said Modi.

According to the Prime Minister, the government-assured healthcare benefits will facilitate use of family savings for consumption and investment. “This increased disposable income in the hands of a poor family would lead to increased demand in the economy. I see great untapped potential in this for investors,” he said. – TOI