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RBI Chief Calls For Debt-For-Development Swaps And Green Debt Relief Programmes

By PTI August 12, 2023

Providing finance in this segment has become a critical issue in the wake of the pandemic, the unsettled geopolitical environment and climate change, said Shaktikanta Das

RBI Chief Calls For Debt-For-Development Swaps And Green Debt Relief Programmes
Das called for increased public and private investments in Global Public Goods (GPGs), which play a crucial role in shaping developmental strategies and securing human welfare across borders and generations. DepositPhotos
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RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das called for a global debt data-sharing platform to help countries needing multilateral assistance get relief on a timely basis. Addressing a G20 seminar on the global economy, organised by the Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) here, Das said there is a need for realistic assessment of debt sustainability of countries seeking assistance.

However, such assessment should be based on realistic growth and fiscal projections which are fully founded on accurate and comprehensive debt data, he noted.

Given this, the best way forward is setting up a global debt data-sharing platform that can help in this regard, Das said and added that establishing such a platform could be very challenging and may take several years.

In the interim, "we may examine the possibility of constructing suitable proxies for debt flows", he said.

Such proxies may be derived from data on capital flows and locational banking statistics from sources such as the Institute of International Finance and the Bank for International Settlements, the Governor added.

On a priority basis, Das pitched for having a system in place for a multilateral debt relief programme providing targeted assistance to low-income countries with high debt levels.

This initiative can be designed with a clear focus on utilisation of debt relief for sustainable development projects and poverty reduction efforts. To this end, instruments such as debt-for-development swaps and green debt relief programmes can be employed, Das suggested.

He also called for increased public and private investments in Global Public Goods (GPGs), which play a crucial role in shaping developmental strategies and securing human welfare across borders and generations.

According to him, providing finance in this segment has become a critical issue in the wake of the pandemic, the unsettled geopolitical environment, climate change, fractures in international supply chains, and tectonic shifts in financial market conditions and global liquidity.

"Our sustained engagement in the India Stack and the UPI, especially during the pandemic and thereafter, has filled us with the conviction that digital public infrastructure like the UPI can become a critical part of global public goods when scaled up beyond national borders," he said.

Calling for private capital in building public goods infrastructure, he said that while the UPI has been a public sector-led initiative, it is not necessary that public goods can only be developed and financed by the public sector.

"The private sector needs to engage in the provision of GPGs not just because they create an enabling ecosystem for businesses to thrive but also because they'll be a commercially viable endeavour," he said.

In the investment cascade, keeping in view the very large investment requirements, the trigger financing can come from public investment, which will help minimise the risks and expand market access, he said and added that subsequent finance can be met by the private sector.

This means that risk sharing should be an important design element in fostering private financing for GPGs and multilateral development banks can catalyse private sector investment through risk sharing mechanisms, Das said.

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