A DAY before the third annual meeting of multilateral lender Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) begins in Mumbai, Dalit organisations, tribals, farmers, fisherfolk and civil society members who gathered for the People’s Convention on Infrastructure Financing on Saturday, resolved that international financial institutions (IFIs) need to be closed down as they have no role in a democratic country and are a “threat to the nation’s economic and political security”.
“The international financial institutions like AIIB must function in a deeply democratic manner respectful of national sovereignty, or else be shut down for they constitute a threat to the nation’s economic and political security. These financial institutions are harbingers and promoters of the neo-liberal reforms responsible for the hijacking of democracy itself; regressive changes to environmental, labour, land, accountability laws; promoting privatisation and cartelisation; and burdening every citizen with huge debt, and destruction of minimal welfare measures,” read the resolution adopted at the closing session of the three-day convention attended by about 1,000 delegates from 200 organisations across India and abroad.
The activists raised concern over AIIB’s motive. “Unlike Asian Development Bank or World Bank which, at least claims to be funding development, AIIB is here to invest and wants returns for it. It not only gives us money but also takes a lot from us through its policies. Our politicians have also joined hands with it,” said Dr Sanjay Gopal, Convenor, National Alliance of People’s Movement. Objecting to the big-ticket infrastructure projects like industrial corridors, they stressed that these were given emphasis over people’s basic needs of public health, education, employment and irrigation.