IMF needs to maintain global financial stability amid Covid-19: Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman returns to work, reach Finance Ministry at North Block in New Delhi. Photo: Dalip Kumar
India on Thursday said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should continue to play a critical role in maintaining the stability of the global financial architecture at a time when the whole world is grappling with the coronovrius pandemic.

Participating in the plenary meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) through video conferencing, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said as a responsible member of the global community, India is providing critical medicines to other nations.

The IMFC is the ministerial-level committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

She also talked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiative of creating a Covid-19 Emergency Fund for the SAARC region at a video-meeting of the grouping's leaders.

While appreciating the IMF's support to member countries in times of the Covid-19 crisis,Sitharaman said the multilateral lending agency has always played a pivotal role in maintaining stability of the international monetary and financial system and it should continue rendering this critical role for the global financial architecture.

The discussions at the meeting were based on IMF Managing Director's Global Policy Agenda titled, 'Exceptional Times - Exceptional Action'.

The members of the IMFC updated the committee on the actions and measures taken by member countries to combat Covid-19 and the IMF's crisis-response package to address global liquidity problems.

Sitharaman, in her intervention, outlined various measures taken by India to deal with the health emergency.

In this regard, she mentioned allocation of $2 billion (Rs 15,000 crore) by the Indian government for strengthening the healthcare system.

The minister also said the Indian government came up with a $23 billion (Rs 1.70 trillion) scheme to alleviate the hardship of the poor and the vulnerable, provided relief to firms in statutory and regulatory compliance matters, eased monetary policy and gave three-month moratorium on loan repayment.

The IMFC meets twice a year, once during the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in October and during the Spring Meetings in April.

The committee discusses matters of common concern affecting the global economy and advises the IMF on the direction of its work.

This year, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the meeting took place through video-conference.

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