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SANDEEP KUMAR | Feb 18, 2022 | Views 321807

Expeditious, Equitable Distribution of Vaccines Necessary to Aid Global Recovery: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Expeditious, Equitable Distribution of Vaccines Necessary to Aid Global Recovery: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman called for the rapid and equitable distribution of vaccines to promote global recovery on Thursday. She gave her thoughts on India’s pandemic policy and urged that recovery efforts should be based on a long-term strategy.

Sitharaman told a virtual meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors that there is a need to develop techniques to bridge financial gaps amongst international institutions because low- and middle-income nations lack the capacity to address these issues on their own. To mitigate the pandemic’s scarring effects and develop resilience, she focused tackling structural bottlenecks.

The Union cabinet approved the establishment of a G20 secretariat and associated reporting structures on Tuesday. The secretariat would be responsible for implementing overarching policy decisions and preparations needed to steer India’s G20 presidency between December 1, 2022, and November 30, 2023.

“In the first session today, the FM discussed the global economic outlook and dangers, including #inflation, #supply disruptions, and new virus varieties, and asked for #rapid and #equitable vaccine distribution to aid #recovery,” according to a tweet from the Finance Ministry.

To reduce the pandemic’s scarring effects and develop resilience, she emphasized eliminating structural impediments.

Sitharaman said the World Health Organization (WHO) has to expand capacity and mobilize global resources, particularly because low- and middle-income countries have limited fiscal space to finance health and climate-related challenges.

The minister stated that closing gaps in global pandemic preparedness was critical, and that the G20 Joint Finance and Health Task Force’s work should continue in this direction. She did, however, point out that India prioritized spending and set aside $29 billion for the national health infrastructure program, which ensured that the poor and low-income groups were covered by health insurance.

Meanwhile, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged G20 countries to support a new fund to invest in pandemic preparedness and prevention, warning that failure to bridge gaps in global health systems might result in “devastating” costs.

Addressing the meeting, Yellen said the new financial intermediary fund, which will be housed at the World Bank, will assist channel $75 billion in investments needed to minimize global vulnerabilities to future pandemics.

“A financial intermediary fund would provide a dedicated financing mechanism with accountability to drive resources toward this under-addressed issue…This fund could incentivize low- and middle-income countries to leverage their existing resources…to spend on health,” said Yellen.

The G20 finance ministers and central bank governors had agreed last year to coordinate their efforts to combat climate change, safeguard the environment, and encourage transitions to greener, more prosperous, and inclusive economies and communities. Ministers and governors acknowledged that worldwide recovery is progressing steadily, owing largely to vaccine distribution and continuous policy assistance.

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