ADB should not dilute its development role: Chidambaram

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New Delhi, May 6 (UNI) Finance Minister P Chidambaram has urged Asian Development Bank not to dilute its development role by increasing private lending.

"The fundamental role of ADB as a multilateral development bank should not be diluted by its over-emphasis on non-sovereign loans at the cost of sovereign loans," he said at its annual meeting in Madrid last evening.

Referring to portfolio restructuring plan of ADB to increase the share of private sector in annual loans to 50 per cent, he said it would succeed only if total loan approval and disbursement was enhanced significantly.

While welcoming the bank 2020's choice of the five core areas of operations - infrastructure, environment, regional cooperation and integration, financial sector development, and education - Mr Chidambaram, however, asked ADB to lay more stress on agriculture and irrigation and on health-related infrastructures. He said the bank should not disengage from agriculture fully because it was necessary to improve irrigation infrastructure for increasing food grain production.

On ADB's long term strategic framework (LTSF) till 2020, envisaging important role for private sector in the development of the Asia and Pacific region, he said bulk of resources for infrastructure would still have to be found through the public sector.

Lauding the bank's strategic emphasis on regional co-operation, including increasing share of regional and sub-regional projects in total operations, he said this should be in addition to the national projects and funding of such projects should be done on concessional terms.

UNI SAA RR KN1948

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