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An Indian Perspective on New Development Bank & Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

The Asian region has experienced the emergence of new MDBs over last few years. For many years, the Asian Development Bank was the only development bank in the region and has been dominated by the Japanese owing to the number of votes it has as compared to other members. However, the newly constituted NDB in 2014 has two key Asian members, India and China. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) led and initiated by China in 2015, and with a mandate to have at minimum 70% of shares allocated to Asian countries is sure to become another major player to support infrastructure development activities of the region as well as global south. The AIIB and NDB are two separate entities in their operations and constitution even though there are overlaps in memberships of the two banks.

The Key Infra Projects are Anti-people

“AIIB has created a superstructure, an ecosystem which acts as a complex web of shining terminologies and projects to attract investments, which actually is a smoke screen to hide the fact that there’s no human development happening” senior activist Medha Patkar said in her speech.

The Infra being Pushed is not what the People Demand

Senior activist Ulka Mahajan of Sarvahara Jan Andolan said, “The infrastructure that is being developed is not what people demand, but it is what global capital demands. The international financial institutions are promoting corporate interests over that of people and also pushing the states to the financial debt. On the one hand, the Maharashtra government does not have money to allocate 26,000 crores for the social sector, on the other hand, it has 42,000 crores for the Mumbai-Nagpur expressway, which will reduce the present distance only by 24 km.”

AIIB and the Blue Economy

Skeletal of Himanshu Damle’s Presentation on AIIB and Blue Economy in Mumbai during the Peoples’ Convention on 22nd June 2018

Main features in AIIB Financing

  1. investments in regional members
  2. supports longer tenors and appropriate grace period
  3. mobilize funding through insurance, banks, funds and sovereign wealth (like the China Investment Corporation (CIC) in the case of China)
  4. funds on economic/financial considerations and on project benefits, eg. global climate, energy security, productivity improvement etc.

Public Sector:

  1. sovereign-backed financing (sovereign guarantee)
  2. loan/guarantee

Private Sector:

  1. non-sovereign-backed financing (private sector, State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), sub-sovereign and municipalities)
  2. loans and equity
  3. bonds, credit enhancement, funds etc.

—— the portfolio is expected to grow steadily with an increasing share of standalone projects from 27% in 2016 to 39% in 2017 and 42% in 2018 (projected)

—— share of non-sovereign-backed projects has increased from 1% in 2016 to 36% of the portfolio in 2017. The share of non-sovereign-backed projects is projected to account for about 30% in 2018

AIIB-Blue Economy

Why would AIIB be interested in the Blue Economy?

  1. To appropriate (expropriate) the potential of hinterlands
  2. increasing industrialization
  3. increasing GDP
  4. increasing trade
  5. infrastructure development
  6. Energy and Minerals in order to bring about a changing landscape
  7. Container: regional collaboration and competition

AIIB wishes to change the landscape of infrastructure funding across its partner countries, laying emphasis on cross-country and cross-sectoral investments in the shipping sector — Yee Ean Pang, Director General, Investment Operations, AIIB.

He also opined that in the shipping sector there is a need for private players to step in, with 40-45 per cent of stake in the partnership being offered to private players.

Blue Economy

Projects aligned with Sagarmala are being considered for financial assistance by the Ministry of Shipping under two main headings:

  1. Budgetary Allocations from the Ministry of Shipping
    1. up to 50% of the project cost in the form of the budgetary grant
    2. Projects having a high social impact but low/no Internal Rate of Return (IRR) may be provided funding, in convergence with schemes of other central line ministries. IRR is a metric used in capital budgeting to estimate the profitability of potential investments. It is a discount rate that makes the net present value (NPV) of all cash flows from a particular project equal to zero. NPV is the difference between the present value of cash inflows and the present value of cash outflows over a period of time. IRR is sometimes referred to as “economic rate of return” or “discounted cash flow rate of return.” The use of “internal” refers to the omission of external factors, such as the cost of capital or inflation, from the calculation.
  2. Funding in the form of equity by Sagarmala Development Co. Ltd.
    1. SDCL to provide 49% equity funding to residual projects
    2. monitoring is to be jointly done by SDCL and implementing agency at the SPV level
    3.  project proponent to bear the operation and maintenance costs of the project
      1. importantly, expenses incurred for project development to be treated as part of SDCL’s equity contribution
      2. preferences to be given to projects where land is being contributed by the project proponent

What are the main financing issues?

Role of MDBs and BDBs for the promotion of the shipping sector in the country
provision of long-term low-cost loans to shipping companies for procurement of vessels
PPPs (coastal employment zones, port connectivity projects), EPCs, ECBs (port expansion and new port development), FDI in Make in India 2.0 of which shipping is a major sector identified, and conventional bank financing for port modernization and port connectivity

The major constraining factors, however, are:

  1. uncertainty in the shipping sector, cyclical business nature
  2. immature financial markets

Sucheta Dalal on the Growing Crisis in the Indian Banking Sector

Financial analyst and journalist Sucheta Dalal said that the Indian banking system is at the verge of crisis, reeling under the mounting bad loans, caused by unfettered corporate loans. Referring to government’s announcement in the Parliament that Rs. 2.4 lakh crore bad loans are written off, she said that “ if farm loan waiver was proposed the world would have gone on a spin, while the loans of big corporations are written off and there isn’t a whimper.”

Riding on Debt: Financial Assessment of Delhi Metro

Delhi Metro is the largest metro system in India and is also considered one of the most “successful” public transport projects. After nearly three decades of construction and operation in Delhi, the demand for creating metro systems in all million plus cities has grown despite being a capital intensive project. Few scholarly articles published in the last decade which have questioned the relevance of metro system in Indian cities have often been dismissed by the policymakers and popular media.

Mumbai Resolution of the People’s Convention on Infrastructure Financing

In the political resolution adopted at the end of the People Convention on Infrastructure Financing delegates resolved to challenge the undemocratic and economically unsound functioning of IFIs including AIIB, World Bank, IFC and others. The Convention also resolved to push for people-centered alternatives in all sectors of the economy, and to advance an inclusive model of development in which finance and infrastructure support the vulnerable and the poor communities, instead of supporting primitive accumulation of natural resources and maximising the profits of the multinational corporations and global elite further contributing to the increased inequality in the society.