Multilateral institutions like UN, WTO becoming less effective, says Sitharaman

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Raising concern over declining effectiveness of multilateral institutions such as the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Health Organization (WHO), Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday underlined the need for reforming them to meet the emerging global challenges.

“Globally, we don’t need to hesitate any longer to say that multilateral institutions, not just banks, development banks, but even otherwise whether it is the UN, Security Council, or any other, WHO, WTO are less than effective from where they were made into institutions,” Sitharaman said while delivering inaugural address at the Kautilya Economic Conclave 2023.

“Now, because they have become less effective, we have reached a stage where what we took for granted is no longer to be taken for granted. We thought that if there is a disruption somewhere, the WTO would come into play, if there is a huge pandemic, the WHO will come into play. Similarly, in the developmental agenda of different countries, at different levels of development, there would be timely and periodic interventions with which you will see some change with the spirit of inclusiveness so that less developed countries will also have some traction towards achieving their aspirations. But we find that less effective across the board in all these institutions,” Sitharaman noted.

Among various challenges faced by the world, the Minister said that global terror is one such and investors needed to factor in this while making investment decisions.

She also highlighted the challenges posed by the wars which can severely affect the global supply chain.

Highlighting the success of Jan Dhan scheme, Sitharaman said that the scheme has emerged as the biggest instrument of financial inclusion in the country. She noted that the total balance in the no-frill Jan Dhan accounts currently stand at around Rs 2.05 lakh crore.

The Minister also mentioned about high level of government debt and said that the Finance Ministry is looking at ways to bring down the overall debt level.

“We are conscious about the debt of Government of India today. Compared to many others it might not be as high as it is, but even there we are consciously looking at experiments at different parts of the world. And again, some of the data about some emerging market countries about how they are managing their debt is something which is actively in our minds in the ministry, and we are looking at ways in which we can bring down the overall debt,” she said.

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