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Union Finance Minister's Address to First Business Session of ADB Annual Meeting Manila, May 4, 2012
May, 05th 2012
                     Union Finance Minister's Address
                                      to
             First Business Session of ADB Annual Meeting
                            Manila, May 4, 2012




I am delighted to be here in Manila to attend the 45th Annual Meeting of the
Asian Development Bank. I would like to convey my gratitude to the
Government of the Philippines, for their gracious hospitality and the
excellent arrangements made for this meeting. As India will be hosting the
next Annual Meeting of ADB in New Delhi, let me take this opportunity to
invite all of you to New Delhi for the 46th Annual meeting next year which will
have as its theme "Development through Empowerment".
2.    India and Philippines are large Asian democracies that over the years
have come closer due to increased economic exchange. There has been
accelerated growth in the fields of trade, investment, travel, tourism, climate
change and also in other areas. India values its close friendship and
cooperation with the Philippines. It is, therefore, a pleasure to be attending
this meeting being held under your leadership.


3.    Recent    international   economic    trends   show    some    welcome
developments, though uncertainty and risks in the global economy remain.
In 2011, developing     Asia grew at an average rate of 7.2 per cent. To
sustain our economic growth, we need to keep our focus on the
development agenda, make sure that our growth is environmentally
sustainable, find new and renewable technologies to fuel our growth and
invest in education and skill development. Infrastructure development is
particularly important for sustaining growth. By generating new growth
opportunities, Asia can play an increasingly vital role as a growth driver for
the world economy.
                                      1
4.   Despite the adverse international environment, we in India have
managed to maintain a GDP growth rate of 6.9 per cent in the fiscal year
2011-12. The bulk of Indias GDP is domestic demand driven. Our high
savings rate drives much of our investment rates of 35-37 per cent of GDP.
Indias External Commercial Borrowings Policy has been successful in
maintaining external debt at sustainable levels. Our banking sector is
robust. The regulatory environment and practices in our financial sector
have stood the test of time.


5.   For the current fiscal year, we have set our objective to focus on
recovering our pre-crisis growth momentum, create conditions for rapid
revival of high growth in private investment and address supply bottlenecks
in agriculture, energy and transport sectors. I am confident that the strong
fundamentals of our economy will help us return to a sustained growth path
of 8 to10 per cent per annum in the coming years.


6.   We have been pursuing an inclusive development strategy. The
theme of our Twelfth Five Year Plan, covering the period 2012 to 2017 is
"faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth". We have adopted a multi-
faceted approach, which involves creating jobs and raising incomes, in
sectors like agriculture and more broadly through rural development, which
accounts for more than one-half of our peoples livelihood opportunities. We
have also adopted a new National Manufacturing Policy. The goal is to
raise the share of manufacturing in the GDP to about 25 per cent and create
100 million new jobs over the next ten years. Infrastructure development
with a projected investment of 1 trillion USD during the Twelfth Plan period,
with half of it coming from the private sector, is crucial for meeting these
objectives.





                                      2
7.   The second element of our strategy is to improve the skill-sets of our
younger generation, so that we can reap the demographic dividend that is
available to us and sustain our growth momentum. The third element of our
strategy involves improving the access of targeted population groups to
social safety nets.    We are implementing a novel rural employment
guarantee scheme which provides off-season jobs based on a community-
driven approach. It has already benefited millions of poor households, while
creating much needed community assets.


8.    In our exciting and challenging development journey, ADB has been
a valued partner. ADB has aligned its programme and business practices
with our evolving development priorities. Beginning with energy, transport
and urban sectors, ADB has diversified its portfolio in India to include
agriculture, ,,khadi reform involving the handloom and handicraft sector,
water management and renewable energy sectors. It has expanded its
engagement in low income regions of the country and is making meaningful
interventions for capacity building. With the help of the ADB, the
Government has successfully pioneered a number of development
innovations across the country, which have contributed to the adoption of a
new ,,Finance Plus approach for our engagement with all Multilateral
Development Banks (MDBs). We intend to take this engagement forward
with the ADB in the years ahead.


9.   Development of infrastructure remains critical for the growth of many
Asian economies. ADB should continue to catalyze investments in
infrastructure, given the large and growing needs, for example, for roads,
electricity, water supply and sanitation. Infrastructure development would
increasingly require, besides funding, innovative institutional arrangements
and knowledge-sharing, which could be facilitated by the ADB.


                                     3
10.       Urbanization presents a common challenge for all of us. Many of our
cities are already saturated and deficit in civic amenities is becoming grave.
There is a need to encourage sharing of experience in areas such as urban
water supply and sanitation, waste management, urban planning and
transport. ADB needs to step up its investment support in this important
sector.


11.   Meeting the energy needs of the growing Asian region is a huge
challenge. We need to utilize all available sources of energy including
renewable resources in an efficient and sustainable manner to create
energy security. This calls for increased investments in research and
development and sharing of best practices in which, we believe, ADB can
play an important role.


12.   In an increasingly globalizing world, regional cooperation is both a
necessity and an opportunity. Transportation, trade facilitation, information
and   communication,       energy,   tourism   and   knowledge   sharing   on
development experiences are obvious areas for regional cooperation. ADB
needs to actively support member countries advance regional cooperation.
We are happy to note that the South Asia Sub-Regional Economic
Cooperation (SASEC) programme of the ADB has gained momentum in last
one year and would call upon the ADB to continue to support the initiative.


13.   For developing new sources of growth within Asia, deepening of
South-South ties is vital. Policy makers will need to remove barriers to trade
and investment within the developing South. ADB should take up South-
South cooperation as a priority and become a vehicle for countries to share
their experience in inclusive growth and poverty alleviation.




                                       4
14.   ADB is a crucial development partner for the countries of the Asia and
the Pacific. To live up to the expectations of its multiple and diverse
stakeholders and remain relevant, it must continuously reinvent itself,
respond flexibly and effectively to the changing requirements of the
member-countries. On our part, I assure ADB of our fullest cooperation in
achieving our shared vision.


                                Thank you




                                     5



 
 
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