The National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) co-organised a roundtable discussion on the need for more parliamentary accountability and scrutiny of International Financial Institutions such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
Press Statement | December 6, 2011
Coinciding the National Conference being held here in the city from 6-9 December 2011, the National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) co-organised a roundtable discussion on 6 December on the need for more parliamentary accountability and scrutiny of International Financial Institutions such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. The meeting was held in a context where the World Bank and ADB are increasing their loan portfolio in the coastal regions with projects such as the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP -990 crore rupees) and Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Investment Programme (SCPMIP -1125 crore rupees). Both projects have been criticised by NFF and environmental groups as being anti people and anti environment and pushing false options such as artificial reefs.
Adv. Anni Sweeti (Janata Dal), P. Prasad (CPI) and Magline Peter (NFF) were among the ones who spoke on the occasion. Speakers said that despite rising external debt (on 31 March 2011 it was at a staggering 3.5 lakh crore rupees) of which over 67% is due to International Financial Institutions such as the World Bank and ADB, it is of deep concern that the Indian Parliament and state legislatures have little scrutiny over the content and implementation of WB and ADB projects.
“We are talking about Legislative oversight in the context of our Parliament having the highest number of millionaires as members of Parliament today, who are there not by chance but by design, to influence the law making. Hence it is all the more important to have legislations to strengthen democracy and promote transparency and accountability”, P. Prasad said. “We need to weave a network of all political forces to make this effective”, he said.
The meeting also addressed the new challenge of National Financial Institutions (NFIs). Public Institutions such as LIC, State Bank of India (SBI) are now handing out low interest loans to Indian companies such as Tatas, Reliance, Jindals and Essar to implement risky and environmentally destructive projects. From January 2010 to June 2010 SBI arranged project funding aggregating 55,000 crore rupees for just 21 projects in India.
NFF jointly organised this meeting with groups such as National Alliance of People’s Movements, Delhi Forum, Programme for Social Action, Bank Information Center, Focus on the Global South, Intercultural Resource Centre, Kerala Swatantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation, Kabani, NGO Forum on ADB and National Hawkers Federation.