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Overview of India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visit to US

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India’s Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Ministry of Finance was on an official visit to the United States (US) to attend the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) Group, and the G20 (Group of Twenty) Finance Ministers and the Central Bank Governor (FMCBG) Meeting. The visit will also include several bilateral interactions.

IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings 2022:

The Indian Finance Minister attended the 2022 Spring Meetings of the WB Group and IMF which was held on April 18-24, 2022 at Washington D.C., US. It was held in a hybrid format.

  • The Spring Meetings are comprised of the joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee (DC); and the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) events. 
  • Indian side underlined the need to rescue countries facing debt stress due to the uncertainty from Covid-19 and geo-political developments.

Sidelines meetings of Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman:

i.She met John Neuffer, President and CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

  • She apprised him of the initiatives and policies rolled out by India to attract and support foreign investment in the semiconductor industry. It includes development of sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem with an outlay of $10 billion.

ii.Meeting with IMF’s Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath where discussions were held on the role of India can play a key role in forging solutions on debt, climate and IMF quota review. Discussions were also held on India’s upcoming presidency in G20 in 2023. 

iii.She also had a bilateral meeting with Ms Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of IMF. They discussed issues of importance for India besides several issues currently being faced by the global and the regional economies.

  • She also participated in a high-level panel discussion on “Money at a Crossroad” hosted by Ms Kristalina Georgieva.

iv.She also had a bilateral meetings with Godangwana Enoch, Finance Minister of South Africa, and Hong Nam-ki,  Minister of Economy and Finance of South Korea.

  • India extended invitation to South Africa to join the coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure and International Solar Alliance (ISA).

Points to be noted:

i.IMF has recently slashed India’s projected growth rate to 8.2%  from 9% earlier in 2022-233, citing the impact of high oil prices on consumer demand and private investments.

ii.India will hold the Presidency of the intergovernmental forum of the European Union and 19 other countries between December 1, 2022, and November 30, 2023.

G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) 2022 Meeting

On April 20, 2022, the G20 FMCBG 2022 meeting was held in Washington DC, US under Indonesia’s Presidency. The meeting agenda included global economic outlook and risk, international financial architecture, global health issues, and sustainable finance.

  • It was a 2nd meeting under the Indonesia’s Presidency.

Indian side emphasized for international policy coordination and proactive collective efforts to protect economies amid geopolitical events dampening growth and recovery prospects.

Key Points:

i.It should be noted that G20 has provisionally agreed to set up a Global Fund For Pandemic Preparedness to tackle future pandemics after COVID-19. The fund is likely to be housed at the World Bank.

ii.The G20 members reaffirmed their commitment to support low-income and vulnerable countries, especially those who are at risk of experiencing debt distress. They welcome the establishment of the Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST).

iii.Members agreed that collective and coordinated action to control the pandemic remains a priority.

iv.The FMCBG will continue the dialogue at the 3rd Meeting, which will be held in Bali on 15-16 July 2022.

FATF Ministerial Meeting 2022:

On April 21, 2022, she attended biennial Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Ministerial Meeting 2022 in Washington D.C., US which was conducted along-side the 2022 Spring Meetings of the WB Group and IMF.

  • It was focused on Ministers’ providing strategic direction, by endorsing the FATF’s strategic priorities for the years 2022-24.

Key Points:

i.Ministers and other top officials from 39 members, 37 jurisdictions and two regional organisations (the Gulf Cooperation Council and the European Commission) agreed to strengthen the FATF Global Network, and utilize digital transformation to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing, among others.

ii.India is committed to provide the necessary resources and support to FATF against money laundering, terrorist financing and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

iii.India also appreciated FATF on their work on Beneficial Ownership Transparency, Asset Recovery, and the role of FATF Global network in safeguarding the global financial system.

iv.FATF Ministers will meet again in 2024.

105th Meeting of the Development Committee Plenary 2022:

On April 23, 2022, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman participated in the 105th Meeting of the Development Committee Plenary in Washington D.C. 

  • The agenda of the meeting included Digitalisation & Development, Making Debt Work for Development & Macroeconomic Stability and World Bank Group’s Response to Global Impacts of the War in Ukraine: A Proposed Roadmap.

Key Points:

i.India’s economic growth for FY23 was highlighted during FY23 highest among all large economies and reflects India’s resilience and strong recovery.

ii.India voluntarily offered COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN) platform to all countries and is willing to provide assistance for other public-goods platforms.

Roundtable on ‘Investing in India’s Digital Revolution’:

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attended the roundtable on ‘Investing in India’s Digital Revolution’ in San Francisco where she assured investors that the government will address any possible pain points to encourage investments in India.

Key Points:

i.She also held lively interaction with a group of students studying at Stanford University covering a variety of topics. She was accompanied by India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Chief Economic Advisor Venkatramanan Ananth Nageswaran.

ii.Sitharaman also participated in a roundtable discussion with Women CXOs representing various fields including fintech, health, education, IT, among others

Meeting with 1st woman Chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met the first woman Chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Vice of the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative (CFLI) Mary Schapiro in Washington DC.

  • India highlighted the vision of developing GIFT cities as centres for attracting global capital for sustainable finance and asked the CFLI to work closely.
  • She also met the Financial Stability Board (FSB) chair Klaas Knot.

Other Important Meetings:

i.The Finance Minister hold one-on-one meetings with CEOs from the semiconductor, energy and other sectors of priority for the Government of India.

ii.She also attend an event at the Atlantic Council, a prominent think tank based in Washington DC.

iii.She met Boeing Defense CEO Ted Colbert and discussed opportunities for investments and growth in maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) and aircraft leasing in India. 

iv.She met US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and discussed ways to strengthen economic cooperation in bilateral and global contexts.

v.She also had a meeting with Perumal Gandhi co-founder Perfect Day, a Silicon Valley-based synbio/biotech StartUp. It has developed technology to make milk proteins by leveraging microbial fermentation, rather than using animal source.

vi.She also met FedEx President and CEO-elect Raj Subramanian, Accenture Chair and CEO Julie Sweet, Mastercard CEO Miebach Michael, CEO of the consultancy firm Deloitte Punit Renjen.

Recent Related News:

i.Omnispace, a pioneer in global communications services (based in United States) and Nelco Limited, a TATA Group company & a leading satellite communication (Satcom) service provider in India have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to enable and distribute 5G non-terrestrial network (NTN), direct-to-device satellite services.

ii.Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to popularise the ‘One Station One Product’ concept for the Railways to support the local businesses and supply chains using Railways.

About United States (US):

Capital– Washington DC
Currency– US Dollar