16 April 2020
New Delhi: Highlighting the pivotal role played by IMF in maintaining stability of the international monetary and financial system, Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said that the multilateral financing body should continue rendering this critical role to the global financial architecture.
The Finance Minister said this during the Plenary Meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, the ministerial-level committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which she attended through video-conference.
The discussions at the meeting were based on IMF Managing Director's Global Policy Agenda titled, 'Exceptional Times - Exceptional Action'.
The members of the IMFC updated the committee on the actions and measures taken by member countries to combat COVID-19, and also remarked on IMF's crisis-response package to address global liquidity and members' financing needs.
During her intervention, Sitharaman outlined various measures taken in India to respond to the health crisis as well as to mitigate its impact. In this regard, she mentioned about allocation of $2 billion (Rs 15,000 crore) by the Government of India for strengthening the healthcare system; announcement of a scheme of social support measures amounting to $23 billion (Rs 1.70 lakh crore) to alleviate the hardship of the poor and the vulnerable; provision of relief to firms in statutory and regulatory compliance matters; easing of monetary policy by the RBI; and three-month moratorium on loan instalments.
The Finance Minister also informed the IMFC about India's role as a responsible member of the global community by providing critical medicines to other nations. She also mentioned about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiative of creating a COVID-19 Emergency Fund for the SAARC region at the SAARC Leaders' video-meeting.
The IMFC meets twice a year, once during the Fund-Bank annual meetings in October, and again during the Spring meetings in April. The committee discusses matters of common concern affecting the global economy and advises the IMF on the direction of its work. This year, due to the COVID-19 Outbreak, the meeting took place through video-conference.