St Petersburg: India on Friday made a strong case for avoiding new measures to restrict international mobility of professionals, arguing it could stifle global growth in the coming years.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his intervention in the Second Working Session of the G-20 Summit also pitched for devising innovative financing schemes to promote infrastructure in developing countries to create jobs.
"International labour mobility in high end skills has become an important aspect of global integration across countries.
"Pending the evolution of international agreements in this area, we must do whatever we can to avoid new restrictive measures, which can stifle a sector that can contribute to global growth in the years ahead," he said.
He said all leaders have agreed that growth and job creation should be the central message of the summit.
Singh noted a key instrument for growth and job creation in developing countries is investment in infrastructure.
At the Los Cabos summit, he said, the Finance Ministers were directed to consider ways in which the G-20 could help increase the flow of finance for infrastructure.
"Industrialised countries have shown that unconventional monetary policy can be used to great effect. We need to show the same innovativeness in devising unconventional development financing also," he said.
Talking about India, Singh said it is a nation of youth and the working age population is expected to expand.
The country, he said, is pursuing a massive skills development programme to ensure that young Indians get gainful employment so that they can both contribute to, and benefit from, economic growth.
"All developing countries must emphasise skill development. There is room for learning from international experience, including that of industrialised countries, he added.
Singh further said small and medium enterprises have a leading role to play in creating jobs.
"I recognise the importance of this sector and note that several industrialised countries are taking steps to increase the flow of credit to small and medium enterprises," he said.
Directed credit policies, Singh said, have been followed by many developing countries, and "I recall we used to be criticised for them on the grounds that they interfered with prudent banking".
With increased appreciation of such interventions, "We need to share experience in this area," he added.
He further said that financial inclusion is essential for inclusive growth, Singh said, currently India is engaged in a massive exercise to enable the large population in its rural areas to have access to banks.
This, he said, is being achieved through the use of a bio-metric unique identification system and enables the individual to access her bank account through a network of banking correspondents using information technology and mobile connectivity.
"In this way, modern technology and institutional innovation will help add hundreds of millions of individuals as customers of banks in the short space of a few years," the Prime Minister said.
Singh also said that the World Bank and ADB could create a special window for financing infrastructure development, including for ongoing projects that face a sudden scarcity of funds owing to volatile capital flows.
The aim, Singh said, should be to create flexible mechanisms which not only maintain the flow of infrastructure financing at times when other investments are slowing down, but actually expand such investments to play a counter cyclical role.
He also said international financial institutions can often leverage greater private flows to infrastructure.
The IFC has done sterling work in many sectors, and a greater involvement of the IFC in infrastructure financing would help catalyse private sector flows into the sector, he said.
"All this will involve additional capital. I hope the G-20 can give a signal that we are willing to provide the necessary capital," Singh added.
First Published: Friday, September 6, 2013, 18:07