SAARC Finance Secretaries for integration of capital markets

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New Delhi, Sep 15 (UNI) The Second meeting of the SAARC Finance Secretaries here today called upon Member States to focus on management of Stock Exchange systems and regulation of the securities markets of the region.

It also wanted involvement of private operators in these markets as well as improvements in the functioning of Banking systems as steps towards closer economic integration of the region.

The meeting of the Finance Secretaries, which took place along the meeting of the Finance Ministers, underlined the need to facilitiate institutional co-operation aimed at development of capital markets in the area.

In this regard, it recommended harmonisation of Securities Market regulations and facilitiation of cross- border transactions on the capital side.

It also made out a case for formal agreements among the regulators and Ministeries of Finance of SAARC countries in this regard.

The meeting recomended the establshment of an Expert Group on the developments of capital markets in South Asia.

India played host to the meeting, which elected Mr Vinod Rai, Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, as the Chairperson of the meeting.

There was conconsus on the need to urgently operationalise the SAARC Development Fund(SDF), especially its social window. Member States recommended three areas, namely Maternal and Child Health, women's empowerment and capacity building for enhancing the quality of education.

India offered to prepare a concept paper on Maternal and Chid health including immunisation and on empowerment of women and other disadvantaged sections of society.

Pakistan offered to prepare the Concept paper on Capacity Building aimed at enhancing the quality of education, including teachers training.

The meeting rcommended that the Sub-Group on 'Investment and Arbitration' be directed to finalise the Agreement and submit it for the approval of the next session of the Standing Committee which will meet in December, 2007.

India took a lead role in identifying projects and offering training programmes for the SAARC countries.

The Member States appreciated the presentations made by India on the customs co-operation and financial inclusion. The Indian delegation offered to provide relevant capacity building support for the development of capital markets in the region at the National Institute of Securities Market.

UNI

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