Must ensure universal availability of vaccines: Finance Minister

Must ensure universal availability of vaccines: Finance Minister
[File Photo]

Washington, Oct 15 : India remains committed to providing vaccines to vulnerable and low-income countries, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said, asserting that there is no alternative but to ensure the universal availability of vaccines for a successful global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ongoing pandemic is likely to leave a lasting impact on the way economies and societies operate, Sitharaman said in her address to the International Monetary and Financial Committee.

Even with high rates of vaccinations in the developed world as well in most of the major Emerging Market Economies (EMEs), victory over the pandemic is still a distant dream, she noted.

“As the virus continues to mutate and continues to resurface in places thought to have controlled it, there is no alternative but to ensure universal availability of vaccines.

“India has ramped up its vaccine production within a short span of a few months, as roadblocks due to supply chain disruptions got resolved. India remains committed to providing vaccines to vulnerable and low-income countries,” Sitharaman said.

Observing that a faster than expected policy normalisation in Advanced Economies (AEs) and its implications for EMEs would need to be looked into more closely, she called for a coordination among the membership and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to play a key role in ensuring smooth transition of policy withdrawals.

Sitharaman said that to ensure that post-pandemic policy normalisation does not cause economic disruption, particularly in emerging markets and developing economies, it is necessary that the IMF remains adequately resourced and be at the core of the global financial safety net.

“Therefore, we reiterate that dependence of the Fund on borrowed resources can at best be a temporary short-term arrangement,” she said, adding that permanent resources should be augmented with quota revision and the long pending issues of out-of-lineness and underrepresentation of EMEs should be addressed.

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