New Delhi, June 18 : Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today called for an increase in the Asian Development Bank loans to the private sector and asked the bank for developing a portfolio-restructuring plan to increase the sector's share of annual loans to 50 percent.
Addressing a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry here, he said that India's portfolio with the ADB had grown substantially to include a loan amount of 7.3 billion dollars with a 25 percent increase in disbursement ratio.
Calling for enhancing the engagement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), he said that it has been very beneficial to our country.
Informing that countrywide coverage of ADB portfolio had spread, he disclosed that disbursement of different ADB projects and programmes in India had increased from 400 million dollars in 2004 and the aim was to achieve the target of 1620 million dollars in 2008.
Chidambaram said that most infrastructure projects in the country were financed by the loans granted by the ADB. There were 31 projects covering energy, transport, urban development, agriculture and financial sectors with an estimated cost of 9200 million dollars in India's final country strategy programme for the period 2008-2010.
He said that agriculture sector had been included from the year 2003 in the strategy and loans amounting to 850 million dollars would be devoted to this sector.
On December 31 last year, India had 100 loan agreements amounting to 14,471 million dollars in energy, finance, agriculture, environment and natural resources, transport and communication, urban development and industry and non-fuel minerals sectors, he added.
The Finance Minister said ADB's another arm is its lending to private sector for infrastructure development through public-private partnership mode.
Referring to his speech delivered at the 41st annual meeting of ADB board of governors, he said that as rightly emphasized in strategy 2020, the private sector would have to play a more important role in the development of the Asia and Pacific region. However, according to our experience, bulk of the resources for infrastructure would still have to be financed by the public sector.
The fundamental role of ADB as a multilateral development bank should not be diluted by an overemphasis on non-sovereign loans at the cost of sovereign loans. This problem would be resolved if overall disbursements were to increase, he added.
India has a permanent seat in the ADB whose membership today has risen to 67.