IMF AND India Relations
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, countries attempted to shore up their failing economies by sharply raising barriers to foreign trade, devaluing their currencies to compete against each other for export markets, and curtailing their citizens’ freedom to hold foreign exchange. These attempts proved to be self-defeating. World trade declined sharply (see chart below), and employment and living standards plummeted in many countries.
This breakdown in international monetary cooperation led the IMF’s founders to plan an institution charged with overseeing the international monetary system—the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries and their citizens to buy goods and services from each other. The new global entity would ensure exchange rate stability and encourage its member countries to eliminate exchange restrictions that hindered trade. The Bretton Woods agreement
IMF AND India Relations Essay Example
The IMF was conceived in July 1944, when representatives of 45 countries meeting in the town of Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in the northeastern United States, agreed on a framework for international economic cooperation, to be established after the Second World War. They believed that such a framework was necessary to avoid a repetition of the disastrous economic policies that had contributed to the Great Depression. The IMF came into formal existence in December 1945, when its first 29 member countries signed its Articles of Agreement.
It began operations on March 1, 1947. Later that year, France became the first country to borrow from the IMF. The IMF’s membership began to expand in the late 1950s and during the 1960s as many African countries became independent and applied for membership. But the Cold War limited the Fund’s membership, with most countries in the Soviet sphere of influence not joining. 1. 2 IMF: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization that was initiated in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference and formally created in 1945 by 29 member countries.
The IMF’s stated goal was to assist in the reconstruction of the world’s international payment system post–World War II. Countries contribute money to a pool through a quota system from which countries with payment imbalances can borrow funds temporarily. Through this activity and others such as surveillance of its members’ economies and the demand for self-correcting policies, the IMF works to improve the economies of its member countries.
The IMF describes itself as “an organization of 188 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. ” The organization’s stated objectives are to promote international economic co-operation, international trade, employment, and exchange rate stability, including by making financial resources available to member countries to meet balance of payments needs Its headquarters are in Washington, D. C.
, United States. 1. 3 Member countries IMF member states IMF member states not accepting the obligations of Article VIII, Sections 2, 3, and 4 The 188 members of the IMF include 187 members of the UN and the Republic of Kosovo. All members of the IMF are also International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) members and vice versa. Former members are Cuba (which left in 1964) and the Republic of China, which was ejected from the UN in 1980 after losing the support of the US President Jimmy Carter and was replaced by the People’s Republic of China.
However, “Taiwan Province of China” is still listed in the official IMF indices. [ Apart from Cuba, the other UN states that do not belong to the IMF are Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Nauru and North Korea. The former Czechoslovakia was expelled in 1954 for “failing to provide required data” and was readmitted in 1990, after the Velvet Revolution. Poland withdrew in 1950—allegedly pressured by the Soviet Union—but returned in 1986. Qualifications: Any country may apply to be a part of the IMF. Post-IMF formation, in the early post war period, rules for IMF membership were left relatively loose.
Members needed to make periodic membership payments towards their quota, to refrain from currency restrictions unless granted IMF permission, to abide by the Code of Conduct in the IMF Articles of Agreement, and to provide national economic information. However, stricter rules were imposed on governments that applied to the IMF for funding. The countries that joined the IMF between 1945 and 1971 agreed to keep their exchange rates secured at rates that could be adjusted only to correct a “fundamental disequilibrium” in the balance of payments, and only with the IMF’s agreement.
Some members have a very difficult relationship with the IMF and even when they are still members they do not allow themselves to be monitored. Argentina for example refuses to participate in an Article IV Consultation with the IMF. Benefits: Member countries of the IMF have access to information on the economic policies of all member countries, the opportunity to influence other members’ economic policies, technical assistance in banking, fiscal affairs, and exchange matters, financial support in times of payment difficulties, and increased opportunities for trade and investment.
Main Countries In the IMF The main member of the IMF is the US, which also enjoys exclusive veto power. Other countries that enjoy voting rights are Japan, Germany, France, China and the UK as its main member. Based on the quota system, the IMF assigns each member country with voting power, subscriptions and special drawing rights (SDRs). Presently there are memberships of 184 countries over the world and a staff of approximately 2,680 from 139 countries. Total Quotas to the extent of $312 billion (as of 8/31/05).
Loans outstanding $71 billion to 82 countries, of which $10 billion to 59 on concessional terms (as of 8/31/05) and technical Assistance provided 381 person years during FY2005. Surveillance consultations concluded 129 countries during FY2005, of which 118 voluntarily published information on their consultation. 1. 3 Functions The IMF works to foster global growth and economic stability. It provides policy advice and financing to members in economic difficulties and also works with developing nations to help them achieve macroeconomic stability and reduce poverty.
The rationale for this is that private international capital markets function imperfectly and many countries have limited access to financial markets. Such market imperfections, together with balance of payments financing, provide the justification for official financing, without which many countries could only correct large external payment imbalances through measures with adverse effects on both national and international economic prosperity. The IMF can provide other sources of financing to countries in need that would not be available in the absence of an economic stabilization program supported by the Fund.
Upon initial IMF formation, its two primary functions were: to oversee the fixed exchange rate arrangements between countries, thus helping national governments manage their exchange rates and allowing these governments to prioritise economic growth, and to provide short-term capital to aid balance-of-payments. This assistance was meant to prevent the spread of international economic crises. The Fund was also intended to help mend the pieces of the international economy post the Great Depression and World War II.
The IMF’s role was fundamentally altered after the floating exchange rates post 1971. It shifted to examining the economic policies of countries with IMF loan agreements to determine if a shortage of capital was due to economic fluctuations or economic policy. The IMF also researched what types of government policy would ensure economic recovery. The new challenge is to promote and implement policy that reduces the frequency of crises among the emerging market countries, especially the middle-income countries that are open to massive capital outflows.
Rather than maintaining a position of oversight of only exchange rates, their function became one of “surveillance” of the overall macroeconomic performance of its member countries. Their role became a lot more active because the IMF now manages economic policy instead of just exchange rates. In addition, the IMF negotiates conditions on lending and loans under their policy of conditionality, which was established in the 1950s. Low-income countries can borrow on concessional terms, which means there is a period of time with no interest rates, through the Extended Credit Facility (ECF), the
Standby Credit Facility (SCF) and the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). Non concessional loans, which include interest rates, are provided mainly through Stand-By Arrangements (SBA), the Flexible Credit Line (FCL), the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL), and the Extended Fund Facility. The IMF provides emergency assistance via the newly introduced Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to all its members facing urgent balance of payments needs. Surveillance of the global economy The IMF is mandated to oversee the international monetary and financial systemand monitor the economic and financial policies of its 188 member countries.
This activity is known as surveillance and facilitates international co-operation. Since the demise of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates in the early 1970s, surveillance has evolved largely by way of changes in procedures rather than through the adoption of new obligations. The responsibilities of the Fund changed from those of guardian to those of overseer of members’ policies. The Fund typically analyses the appropriateness of each member country’s economic and financial policies for achieving orderly economic growth, and assesses the consequences of these policies for other countries and for the global economy.
In 1995 the International Monetary Fund began work on data dissemination standards with the view of guiding IMF member countries to disseminate their economic and financial data to the public. The International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) endorsed the guidelines for the dissemination standards and they were split into two tiers: The General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) and theSpecial Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS). The International Monetary Fund executive board approved the SDDS and GDDS in 1996 and 1997 respectively, and subsequent amendments were published in a revisedGuide to the General Data Dissemination System.
The system is aimed primarily at statisticians and aims to improve many aspects of statistical systems in a country. It is also part of the World Bank Millennium Development Goals and Poverty Reduction Strategic Papers. The primary objective of the GDDS is to encourage IMF member countries to build a framework to improve data quality and increase statistical capacity building. Upon building a framework, a country can evaluate statistical needs, set priorities in improving the timeliness, transparency, reliability and accessibility of financial and
economic data. Some countries initially used the GDDS, but later upgraded to SDDS. Some entities that are not themselves IMF members also contribute statistical data to the systems: Palestinian Authority – GDDS Hong Kong – SDDS Macao – GDDS EU institutions: the European Central Bank for the Eurozone – SDDS Eurostat for the whole EU – SDDS, thus providing data from Cyprus (not using any DDSystem on its own) and Malta (using only GDDS on its own) Conditionality of loans
IMF conditionality is a set of policies or conditions that the IMF requires in exchange for financial resources. The IMF does not require collateral from countries for loans but rather requires the government seeking assistance to correct its macroeconomic imbalances in the form of policy reform. If the conditions are not met, the funds are withheld. Conditionality is perhaps the most controversial aspect of IMF policies. The concept of conditionality was introduced in an Executive Board decision in 1952 and later incorporated in the Articles of Agreement.
Conditionality is associated with economic theory as well as an enforcement mechanism for repayment. Stemming primarily from the work of Jacques Polak in the Fund’s research department, the theoretical underpinning of conditionality was the “monetary approach to the balance of payments. ” Structural adjustment Some of the conditions for structural adjustment can include: Cutting expenditures, also known as austerity. Focusing economic output on direct export and resource extraction, Devaluation of currencies,
Trade liberalisation, or lifting import and export restrictions, Increasing the stability of investment (by supplementing foreign direct investment with the opening of domestic stock markets), Balancing budgets and not overspending, Removing price controls and state subsidies, Privatization, or divestiture of all or part of state-owned enterprises, Enhancing the rights of foreign investors vis-a-vis national laws, Improving governance and fighting corruption. These conditions have also been sometimes labelled as the Washington Consensus. Benefits
These loan conditions ensure that the borrowing country will be able to repay the Fund and that the country won’t attempt to solve their balance of payment problems in a way that would negatively impact the international economy. The incentive problem of moral hazard, which is the actions of economic agents maximising their own utility to the detriment of others when they do not bear the full consequences of their actions, is mitigated through conditions rather than providing collateral; countries in need of IMF loans do not generally possess internationally valuable collateral anyway.
Conditionality also reassures the IMF that the funds lent to them will be used for the purposes defined by the Articles of Agreement and provides safeguards that country will be able to rectify its macroeconomic and structural imbalances. In the judgment of the Fund, the adoption by the member of certain corrective measures or policies will allow it to repay the Fund, thereby ensuring that the same resources will be available to support other members. As of 2004, borrowing countries have had a very good track record for repaying credit extended under the Fund’s regular lending facilities with full interest over the duration of the loan.
This indicates that Fund lending does not impose a burden on creditor countries, as lending countries receive market-rate interest on most of their quota subscription, plus any of their own-currency subscriptions that are loaned out by the Fund, plus all of the reserve assets that they provide the Fund. Criticisms In some quarters, the IMF has been criticised for being ‘out of touch’ with local economic conditions, cultures, and environments in the countries they are requiring policy reform.
 The Fund knows very little about what public spending on programs like public health and education actually means, especially in African countries; they have no feel for the impact that their proposed national budget will have on people. The economic advice the IMF gives might not always take into consideration the difference between what spending means on paper and how it is felt by citizens. For example, some people believe that Jeffrey Sach’s work shows that “the Fund’s usual prescription is ‘budgetary belt tightening to countries who are much too poor to own belts’.
” It has been said that the IMF’s role as a generalist institution specialising in macroeconomic issues needs reform. Conditionality has also been criticised because a country can pledge collateral of “acceptable assets” to obtain waivers on certain conditions. However, that assumes that all countries have the capability and choice to provide acceptable collateral. One view is that conditionality undermines domestic political institutions. The recipient governments are sacrificing policy autonomy in exchange for funds, which can lead to public resentment of the local leadership for accepting and enforcing the IMF conditions.
Political instability can result from more leadership turnover as political leaders are replaced in electoral backlashes. IMF conditions are often criticised for their bias against economic growth and reduce government services, thus increasing unemployment. Another criticism is that IMF programs are only designed to address poor governance, excessive government spending, excessive government intervention in markets, and too much state ownership. This assumes that this narrow range of issues represents the only possible problems; everything is standardised and differing contexts are ignored.
A country may also be compelled to accept conditions it would not normally accept had they not been in a financial crisis in need of assistance. It is claimed that conditionalities retard social stability and hence inhibit the stated goals of the IMF, while Structural Adjustment Programs lead to an increase in poverty in recipient countries.  The IMF sometimes advocates “austerity programmes,” cutting public spending and increasing taxes even when the economy is weak, to bring budgets closer to a balance, thus reducing budget deficits.
Countries are often advised to lower their corporate tax rate. In Globalization and Its Discontents, Joseph E. Stiglitz, former chief economist and senior vice-president at the World Bank, criticises these policies. He argues that by converting to a more monetarist approach, the purpose of the fund is no longer valid, as it was designed to provide funds for countries to carry out Keynesian reflations, and that the IMF “was not participating in a conspiracy, but it was reflecting the interests and ideology of the Western financial community.
” Reform The IMF is only one of many international organisations and it is a generalist institution for macroeconomic issues only; its core areas of concern in developing countries are very narrow. One proposed reform is a movement towards close partnership with other specialist agencies to better productivity. The IMF has little to no communication with other international organisations such as UN specialist agencies like UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Jeffrey Sachs argues in The End of Poverty: “international institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have the brightest economists and the lead in advising poor countries on how to break out of poverty, but the problem is development economics”. Development economics needs the reform, not the IMF. He also notes that IMF loan conditions need to be partnered with other reforms such as trade reform in developed nations, debt cancellation, and increased financial assistance for investments in basic infrastructure to be effective.
IMF loan conditions cannot stand alone and produce change; they need to be partnered with other reforms or other conditions as applicable. 1. 4 Reasons for Founding the IMF In an American town called Bretton Woods in New Hampshire, representatives of 45 western countries, led by the US and UK, and not including the Soviet Union and communist bloc countries, agreed to establish a global economic institution. Of these, 29 countries signed the Articles of Agreement that included the following objectives: Eliminate any disastrous repetitions of the Great Depression.
Facilitate global financial stability by stabilizing prevailing exchange rates. Reduce poverty so that economic growth is triggered. Increase international trade and employment. 1. 5 Responsibilities of IMF:- Article 1 sets out main responsibilities of IMF which are as follows, 1) Promoting international monetary cooperation. 2) Facilitating the expansion and balanced growth of international trade. 3) Promoting exchange stability. 4) Assisting in the establishment of a multilateral system of payments and 5) Making its resources available (under adequate safeguards) to members experiencing balance of payments difficulties.
Generally, the IMF is responsible for ensuring the stability of the international monetary and financial system – the system of international payments and exchange rates among national currencies that enables trade to take place between countries. The Fund seeks to promote economic stability and prevent crises; to help resolve crises when they do occur; and to promote growth and alleviate poverty. 1. 6 How the IMF Works The main functions of IMF can be divided into three categories: 1. Surveillance: This involves collaboration between the IMF and its member nations.
The IMF continues to assess the economic conditions of its members and offers in-depth advice to help them formulate sound economic policies. 2. Lending: Financial aid is provided to member countries who are struggling with balance of payment problems. Through Exogenous Shocks Facility (ESF) and the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), the IMF helps its members and even collaborates with the World Bank to lend money to them. 3. Technical Assistance: The IMF offers technical assistance in areas such as banking, fiscal and economic policies as well as exchange rate policies.
It also helps its member nations to fight threats such as terrorism and money-laundering. 1. 7 Achievements and Challenges of the IMF It would take an entire book to cover all the achievements of the IMF but here are some that are worth recollecting: The IMF triggered Poland’s economic transition. The transition included institution building, liberalization, and macro-economic management. Initiatives by the IMF initiatives triggered economic growth, liberalized prices and the spread of democratic institutions in countries like the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic the Baltics and Hungary.
In 2008, the Asia Pacific region made considerable progress in addressing downside risks to economic growth. Gaining sufficient political muscle to grapple with issues that affect economic prosperity, offering speedy solutions to crises and ensuring economic transition for developing nations are some of the challenges ahead for the IMF. Critics of the IMF say that its policies often make economic crises worse because of the severity of some of the austerity measures it imposes. As the global lender of last resort, sovereign nations will normally try to find any other means they can of solving their own problems before turning to the IMF.
Whichever way you look at it, with the growing risks in the global financial system, the Fund is going to be busy in the coming years, and will continue its supporting role to help countries stabilize their commodity and oil prices, pursue expansionary policies and reduce inflation. IMF Activities – Highlights: – The IMF works to promote global growth and economic stability and there by prevent economic crisis – by encouraging countries to adopt sound economic policies. Act of being vigilant is the regular dialogue and policy advice that the IMF offers to each of its members.
Generally once a year, the Fund conducts in-depth appraisals of each member country’s economic situation. It discusses with the country’s authorities the policies that are most conducive to stable exchange rates and a growing and prosperous economy. Members have the option to publish the Fund’s assessment, and the overwhelming majority of countries opt for transparency, making extensive information on bilateral surveillance available to the public. The IMF also combines information from individual consultations to form assessments of global and regional developments and prospects.
These views on the IMF’s multilateral surveillance are published twice each year in the world economic outlook and the global financial stability report. Technical assistance and training are offered – mostly free of charge – to help member countries strengthen their capacity to design and implement effective policies. Technical assistance is offered in several areas, including fiscal policy, monetary and exchange rate policies, banking and financial system supervision and regulation, and statistics.
CHAPTER 2: INDIA’S ENTRY IN IMF India became member of IMF in 27th December 1945, as one of the IMF’s original members.. India is permanent member of IMF. India became a creditor to the International Monetary Fund in May 2003 on the basis of its strong balance of payments and foreign exchange reserves position. India contributed $498 million to the IMF’s Financial Transaction Plan, thus turning from a debtor into a lender to the IMF. It made a contribution of $498 million to the International Monetary Fund.
The Reserve Bank of India’s latest figures say that India’s official reserve assets with the IMF had risen to $1,312 million till January 2004. The IMF Resident Office in New Delhi was opened in 1991. The primary function of the office is to facilitate the flow of information between the Government of India, the Reserve Bank of India, and the IMF. The current resident representative of the IMF in India is Michael Wattleworth. The office also employs Poonam Gupta, an economist on leave from IMF headquarters and Sudip Mohapatra as Economist.
Alex Jaini has been the Administrative Officer since the office was opened. Raghuram G Rajan, Professor of Finance at the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, is the first person of Indian origin chosen by the International Monetary Fund as its chief economist. At 40, he is not only the youngest individual to hold this position, but also the first from a developing nation. Co-author of the book Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists, (Crown Business, New York, 2003), Rajan has sought to steer clear of the ideological position espoused by the extreme-right Chicago school of economists.
He is a firm believer in the virtues of a free market system. He is an electrical engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and also holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. B (Bobby) P Mishra, additional secretary in the finance ministry, is India Executive Director to the International Monetary Fund. Bobby Mishra, who handled the Fund Bank and external finance division in the Department of Economic Affairs, succeeded Yaga V Reddy at the IMF, who returned after just a few months into his tenure to take over as the Reserve Bank of India Governor.
Prior to Y V Reddy, Vijay Kelkar, was assigned to the IMF. Financial Assistance While India has not been a frequent user of IMF resources, IMF credit has been instrumental in helping India respond to emerging balance of payments problems on two occasions. In 1981-82, India borrowed SDR 3. 9 billion under an Extended Fund Facility, the largest arrangement in IMF history at the time. In 1991-93, India borrowed a total of SDR 2. 2 billion under two stand by arrangements, and in 1991 it borrowed SDR 1. 4 billion under the Compensatory Financing Facility. Technical Assistance
In recent years, the Fund has provided India with technical assistance in a number of areas, including the development of the government securities market, foreign exchange market reform, public expenditure management, tax and customs administration, and strengthening statistical systems in connection with the Special Data Dissemination Standards. Since 1981 the IMF Institute has provided training to Indian officials in national accounts, tax administration, balance of payments compilation, monetary policy, and other areas. CHAPTER 3: IMF’S ROLE IN INDIAN ECONOMY 3.
1 Benefits of becoming IMF member: IMF has played an importance role in Indian economy. IMF had provided economic assistance from time to time to India and has also provided appropriate consultancy in determination of various policies in the country. India is the founder member of IMF. It played a significant role in the formulation of Fund Policies. The Finance Minister is ex-officio Governor in IMF Board of Governors. Till 1970, India was among the first five nations having the highest quota with IMF and due to this status India was allotted a permanent place in Executive Board of Directors.
India has taken loans in foreign currencies from IMF or improving its balance of payments imbalances. India has also taken technical consultancy for solving its internal economic problems. The expert groups of the IMF have visited India on various occasions. In addition to this India also got the following benefits of becoming the IMF members: 1. Independence of the Indian Rupee: Before the establishment of the IMF, the Indian rupee was linked with the British Pound Sterling. But Indian rupee has become independent after the establishment of IMF.
Its value is expressed in terms of gold. It is not determined by the Pound Sterling. It means that Indian rupee is easily convertible into the currency of any other country. 2. Membership of the World Bank: India has become a member of the World Bank also by virtue of its membership of the Fund. As a result, India got several loan facilities from the World Bank for the development purposes. 3. Availability of Foreign Currencies: The Government of India has been purchasing foreign currencies from the Fund from time to time to meet the requirements of development activities.
The large amount of availability of foreign currencies has greatly promoted the economic development of the country. 4. Reputation in International Circle: India is one of those six countries which have occupied a special place in the Board of Directors of the Fund. Thus, India had played a creditable role in determining the policies of the Fund. This has increased India’s prestige in the international circles. India takes keen interest in the formulation of Fund’s policies. 5. Guidance and Advice: Being member of the Fund, India got the expert opinion from the Fund for solving its economic problems.
The attitude of the Fund towards India has always remained sympathetic. The Fund has given valuable advice to the Government of India with regard to the financing of the Five-Year Plans. 6. Timely Help: India has received timely help from the Fund to eliminate the deficit on its balance of payments. The Fund granted loans to meet the financial difficult is arising out of the Indo-Pak conflict of 1965 and 1971. Thus, the fund has given timely help to solve economic crisis. 7. Freedom from Sterling: Indian rupee was convertible into other currencies through the medium of sterling before becoming the member of the fund.
With the fixation of paper value of the rupee in gold, Indian currency is now freely convertible into any other currency. 8. Sale and Purchase of Foreign Exchange: Fund has entrusted the sale and purchase of foreign exchange worth more than Rs. 2 lakh to Reserve Bank of India. The latter cannot enter into any transaction of foreign exchange that is of the value of less than Rs. 2 lakh. 9. Economic Consultation: In the financial management of Five- Year Plans, IMF has given valuable advice to Government of India and to suggest measures for its economic development. 10. Help during Emergency:
India got a large amount of financial assistance from the Fund to solve its economic crisis arising due to natural calamities like flood, earthquakes, famines etc. 3. 2 Economic liberalization in India By 1985, India had started having balance of payments problems. By the end of 1990, it was in a serious economic crisis. The government was close to default, its central bank had refused new credit and foreign exchange reserves had been reduced to such a point that India could barely finance three weeks’ worth of imports which resulted India to airlift its gold reserves as a pledge with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan.
Causes and consequences The crisis was caused by currency overvaluation; the current account deficit, and investor confidence played significant role in the sharp exchange rate depreciation. The economic crisis was primarily due to the large and growing fiscal imbalances over the 1980s. During the mid-eighties, India started having balance of payments problems. Precipitated by the Gulf War, India’s oil import bill swelled, exports slumped, credit dried up, and investors took their money out. Large fiscal deficits, over time, had a spill over effect on the trade deficit culminating in an external payments crisis. By the end of 1990, India