The New Development Bank set up by BRICS countries aims to lend up to USD 2 billion this year starting in about two months and the multilateral lender’s first loan to India could be for a green solar energy project, its president K V Kamath said. “For this year, if we can approve one-and-a-half to two billion dollars I will be happy. We are six months into setting up the bank. We do not want to take steps which are too fast,” Kamath told PTI. While the bank is in the process of finalising its set of loans to green projects from each of the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — India’s first loan could be for a solar project, the eminent banker hinted.
“The projects we are looking at are all green projects. They are primarily in solar. A variety of initiatives were placed before us by the government,” he said. Kamath, 68, said the bank is also looking for water projects and thereafter road projects to fund. The bank will release the first set of loans by April this year. “These are primary steps for us. We will understand what is the larger context that is playing out in India and follow that strategy. We have no pre-set mind,” he said. About how NDB can back the ‘Make in India’ campaign, he said “our key role is of a catalyst. Multilateral bank can not meet the entire development effort. It is how you innovate and add value and bring together markets and other players in the baking in system make a difference,” Kamath said. “We will work with the country and what they think is priority,” he said, adding that the signals suggest that the members states are articulating green projects.
“We are happy to work along on green (projects),” he said. The NDB became fully-operational yesterday after it signed an agreement with China to place its headquarters in Shanghai, according the bank a legal status under Chinese regulations. Established with an initial subscribed capital of USD 50 billion, the NDB has a total paid-in capital of USD 10 billion. Its founding members have already brought-in a capital of USD 1 billion as initial contribution. Reserver Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, who witnessed the signing of the headquarters agreement, termed the bank a “worthwhile venture” by the five-member bloc. “It is a co-operative effort between all the BRICS countries. Let us see how it develops. Lots of hopes embedded in it for greater cooperation among BRICS countries,” he said. Rajan was in Shanghai to attend the meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors. India, expected to grow at 7 or 7.5 per cent this year, is the only BRICS member that posted a better economic growth than other members, including China.