This document is an effort to compile data of investments coming into India from MDBs, ExIm banks and other bilateral investments, to help understand the landscape of financing from these institutions and help to understand the overlaps of international financial institutions in certain key sectors.

Ever since the first lending from World Bank in 1949 worth $34 million to Indian Railways, and the bilateral lending India received from the erstwhile USSR and USA in the early 50’s India has been a recipient of large funds from different multilateral and bilateral sources. While each of these lending came with a baggage, and often conditionalities, much of it was justified in the name of nation-building and critiques of the enormous social, environment and even economic costs were shut their mouth by the oft-repeated rhetoric of ‘somebody has to sacrifice for greater common good’. This was true not just for lending from international
sources, but any kind of investments.

What the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) brought, along with their lending, was a host of policy changes in almost all critical sectors. They often influenced and changed the course of the development agenda of the country, by providing ‘Technical Assistance’ to governments, being the knowledge provider and taking the role of a development finance gatekeeper with their Doing Business Reports, Investment Climate Reports and many such.

With India opening up her economy in 1991 India has been a destination of many foreign corporations and by the late 90s, with all systems in place for their smooth landing, they started pouring, starting with majors like Enron and Cogentrix. With the foreign corporations came financial institutions, both private banks as well as Export Import Banks (ExIm Banks). Some of the institutions operating here in the past have deepened their operations. What is witnessing the past decade or so is an influx of these investments majorly in energy, transport, steel, dams, roads, urban projects, industrial zones/corridors, smart cities and other mega projects. The number of financial sources coming in, the pace at which these investments are finalised and the quantum of money pouring in is alarming and often do not give the opportunity to see the investments in toto.

There have been many struggles – small and big – against these investments and the devastation, which caused to the people – their livelihood and natural resources, and the environment. While the yardstick of measuring the successes and failures of these struggles could vary depending on who does it, the reality remains that the struggles have forced MDBs to relook at the way they conduct business in this country, compelled them to adopt safeguard policies and compliance mechanisms and didn’t shy away from confronting them on the ground, on the streets and even at their doorsteps

Read and download the booklet here: Tentacles of International Finance in India

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *