New Development Bank through Peoples’ Lens

BRICS logo.cdr

30th March 2017

Conference Room – 313, Indian Social Institute, New Delhi


The New Development Bank (NDB), popularly known as the BRICS Bank, was set up by the BRICS Countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) along with a Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) based on the agreement in BRICS summit in Brazil 2014. The purpose of the Bank is to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS, other emerging economies and developing countries while CRA proposes to provide short-term liquidity support to the members through currency swaps to help mitigate any future crisis.

The NDB is seen as a response to the slow pace of quota and governance reforms of the traditional Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to that of one which reflects the current Global and social realities. The purpose of the NDB is to mobilise resources for the targeted increase in infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other developing countries, and to supplement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for economic growth and development. The NDB has an initial authorized capital of USD 100 billion and initial subscribed capital of USD 50 billion of which USD 10 billion will be paid-in capital. The initial subscribed capital is equally distributed amongst the founding members. 

The Bank, which is headquartered at Shanghai, China, entered its formal business cycle in 2015 with KV Kamath from India as its first president. In 2016, the Board of Directors of the Bank approved seven investment projects in all member countries for a total of over USD 1.5 billion. All projects are coherent with the Bank’s mandate of supporting infrastructure projects, with more than 75% of projects dedicated to sustainable infrastructure, mainly renewable energy generation. The approved projects will support the creation of about 1500 MW of renewable energy capacity and are estimated to result in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by over 4 million tons per year. The NDB decided to provide $300 million to Brazil, $81 million to China, $250 million to India and $180 million to South Africa. Recently, Kamath announced that the Bank would double its lending every year over the next 2-3 years to leverage its USD 10 billion capital in first 6-7 years.

However, the Bank is shrouded under a veil of secrecy. The website of the Bank lacks information about its activities to the extent that more than official records, one has to rely on secondary and tertiary sources of information. Not that such information isn’t forthcoming officially, it is the nature of

unproven, untested environmental and social safeguards that is the point of contentious concern for the communities who might adversely impacted by the projects financed by the Bank in their backyards.

Unlike the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which somewhat robust safeguards to be followed and grievance redress mechanisms (not discounting sometimes questionable efficacies though), the NDB is yet to draft any such operational guidelines and redressal. Although speculative at large, such an absence could be well off the mark in meeting established benchmarks. Due to the lack of such mechanisms, communities may face threats of displacement, evictions, ecological destruction, loss of livelihoods, and severe curtailment of basic rights to life. These issues have recurred for decades due to projects funded by other multilateral development banks. Moreover, as a co-financier with other development institutions, the intensity of NDB’s seriousness on the objectives of promoting transparency, accountability and probity stands questioned. 

Furthermore, the NDB intends to be “fast, flexible and efficient”, without sacrificing quality. The Bank will use various financial instruments to ‘efficiently’ meet the demands of member states and clients. This is where things could get a little murkier, as NDB too has agendas of economic development dominating social and political developments, and the possibilities of statistical number jugglery to establish the supremacy of the ‘gross economic development’ sometimes trampling on human rights and environmental concerns. Consequently, the economic measures taken on many occasions forgo the human capital in a relentless pursuit of development agenda.

The NDB is having its Second Annual Meeting in New Delhi from March 31-April 2, 2017. The meeting is expected to discuss the strategy plan for the Bank. The functioning of the Bank so far has been highly opaque with no civil society consultations or inviting comments on their policies.  The minimal disclosure of its investments and documents has raised serious questions on its transparency and accountability intentions .  

The annual meeting becomes the most opportune time to ask questions that have long been considered difficult to answer by the multilateral development banks. It is also an appropriate time to generate awareness about how the NDB could likely put issues concerning the marginalized on the backburner in its accelerated economic means without justifying the ends. Whatever be the underlying philosophy of development finance, questions of sustainability from both social and ecological perspective should always be decided along with genuinely informed peoples’ participation. This is possible only when the information is transparently disseminated and there are measures for qualifying accountability rather than quantifying it.

It is with this intent, “New Development Bank through Peoples’ Lens”, a day-long convention is planned in New Delhi on the 30th of March 2017. The convention would look at various trends in development finance, mechanisms to monitor trade and finance in BRICS, and what is at stake with the emergence of these new players. 

VENUE: Conference Room – 313, Indian Social Institute, New Delhi 

TIME: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm

We look forward to being with you!

With warm regards, National Committee of People’s forum on BRICS

For further details, please contact: Himshi Singh | | 9867348307     

                                                        Maju Varghese | | 8826249887       

                                                        Himanshu Damle | | 7042381825


Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch | All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC)-Goa| All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) | All India People’s Science Network (AIPSN) | All India Secular Forum | All India Forum of Forest Movements (AIFFM) | Bailancho Ekvott –Goa | Bailancho Saad –Goa | Beyond Copenhagen Collective | Centre for Finance Accountability (CFA) | Citizen’s Forum for Mangalore Development | Citizens for Peace and Justice | Centre of Indian Trade UnionsGoa | Centre for Responsible Tourism – Goa | Council for Social Justice and Peace-Goa | Centre of Science and Technology For Rural Development (COSTFORD) | Darshan Organisation | Delhi Forum | Delhi Science Forum (DSF) | Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG) | Domestic Workers Union | Dynamic Action| FIAN India | Focus on the Global South | Forum Against Disastrous Projects in Konkan | Forum Against FTAs | Garment Labour Union  | Gomantak Mazdoor Sangh | Green Brigade –Goa| Human Rights Law Network –Goa | Goa Bank Employees’ Association | Goa Domestic Workers’ Movement | Goenchea Ramponkarancho Ekvott (GRE)-Goa |India Climate Justice Collective | Indian Christian Women’s Movement (ICWM) | Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)  | Intercultural Resources | India Palestine People’s Forum | Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan | Jan Sangharsh Vahini  | Joshi Adhikari Institute of Social Studies | Jharkhand Mines Area Co-ordination Committee (JMACC) | Kisaan Sangharsh Samiti | Khudai Khidmatgar | Kosi Navnirman Manch  | Lok Shakti Abhiyan | Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) | Matu Jan sangathan | Nadi Ghati Morcha | Nagpur Municipal Employees Union | National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) | Narmada Bachao Andolan | National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) |  National Hawkers Federation | New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) | Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti  | Partners in Justice Concerns | Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti | Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre (PMARC) | People’s Movements Against Nuclear Energy | Posco Pratirodh Sangharsh Samiti | Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI) | Peoples Front against IFIs | People Tree | Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (PWESCR) | Public Finance Public Accountability Collective (PFPAC) | Rashtra Cheneta Jana Samakhya (RCJS) | Sahas-Goa | Social Justice Action Committee- Goa | Solidarity for Sustainable North East | South Solidarity Initiative | South Asia Dialogues for Ecological Democracy (SADED)| Toxics Watch Alliance (TWA) | Unorganised Sector Workers Federation | Video Volunteers | Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam | Vasudha Foundation | VIBGYOR | Yuvasamiti –Kerala Shastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) | Gujarat Collective | Shala Mitra Sangh | The Research Collective

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