India on Saturday urged the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to invest in health and fintech startups in the country, to help improve the quality of life in Asia while sharpening focus on infrastructure lending by ensuring loan disbursals within a year of request.
India request ADB to expand its sovereign and non-sovereign operations in the country by providing financial assistance worth $4 billion a year and support its sustainable growth. India also resisted a US proposal for differentiated pricing of multilateral lending based on national income of the agency’s clients.
Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, who is leading India’s delegation to Manila, requested ADB president Takehiko Nakao to support India in its endeavor towards an inclusive and sustainable growth accompanied by rapid economic transformation and job creation.
“ADB should invest in innovation and in start ups to help countries produce goods and services using technologies in digital age,” Garg told ADB board members. He also said that the agency should invest in FinTech, HealthTech and other technology-driven sectors through which public services can be delivered to people to improve their quality of life.
“Asian Development Bank should factor in the number of poor people in a country while deciding resource allocation,” he added while speaking on the sidelines of ADB’s annual board meeting.
The US, which is the largest shareholder in ADB along with Japan, is keen that the World Bank and ADB adopt differentiated pricing of loans that will encourage wealthier countries graduate to market borrowing from multilateral lending.
India, on other hand, is a founding member of the ADB and is currently the fourth-largest shareholder as well as the largest borrower of ADB sovereign lending since 2010. The multilateral lender has so far committed sovereign loans totaling US $35.9 billion to India.
In an another statement, Garg also highlighted the need for taking into account the likely impact technical advancements such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics, so that ADB can equip the member countries to reap maximum benefit.
Speaking about roles of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Indian startup ecosystem, ADB had last gave $390 million financing package to ReNew Power, a Gurgaon-based renewable energy startup, to develop renewable energy projects in India — in January 2017.
While the World Bank, through its investment arm International Finance corporation (IFC), has already backed quite a few Indian startups like Byju’s, Lenskart, Bigbasket and Blackbuck, with ticket sizes upwards of $5 million at Series-B stage and onwards.
Most recently, in last month, Bengaluru-based Lithium Urban Technologies, an electric vehicle (EV) cab provider to corporate sector, had approached IFC for proposed $8 million investment for an equity.