Legislative oversight “is the obvious follow-on activity linked to lawmaking. After participating in law-making, the legislature’s main role is to see whether laws are effectively implemented and whether, in fact, they address and correct the problems as intended by their drafters.” — National Democratic Institute, “Strengthening Legislative Capacity in Legislative-Executive Relations”, Legislative Research Series, Paper #6, Washington, DC, 2000, p. 19.
Parliaments are indispensable institutions of democratic governance with a common goal to represent people and ensure public policy as informed by the people whose lives they impact. This fact is to be underlined across the spectrum, even if country-specific rules have molded Parliaments to uniqueness. For a true representation, citizens must have access to information about parliamentary proceedings, legislation, and policy, and be able to engage in continual dialogue with the parliamentarians. Lets call this engagement vertical for the sake of brevity. Horizontal, or lateral is when parliamentarians engage with one another as defined by stipulations of the institution in order to keep track of government’s dealings both internally or externally, and keep apace of regulatory changes, policy shifts, or governance frameworks. Complexity, undoubtedly is built into the very architecture of this institution, but in no way should act as a deterrent to control ex ante(1) engagement. If such deterrence exists, it becomes one of the common challenges facing any Parliament. In other words, such deterrence creates opacity about functioning of the Parliament, not just vertically, but even horizontally(2). Before getting cornered by allegations of a fallacy, or the above premise (or sets thereof) as begging the question, lets take a detour into analysis of why such a claim holds on tight.
- Public influence over the Parliamentary deliberations, even if improving, has a lot of catching up to do. It is true that opacity is getting traded (in some quarters at least), but, not by transparency, rather by translucency. Instruments disclosing information, mechanisms of public consultations, even if only of administrative nature are progressive attempts at making representation ‘truly’ representative. But, enter deterrence in the form of likelihood of growing influence as exacerbative of expectations, and curbs follow suit. This is vertical as well as horizontal.
- Parliamentarians are obligated to account for their functions more publicly. This appears a derivative of the earlier point, but crucially calls upon timely and routine accountability. A legitimate sense of ownership is enhanced here, by a tenor of codified conduct. But, enter deterrence in the form of compartmentalized nature of work at one end, and growing complexity of institutionalization at the other of the spectrum. This is consequential vertically, but touches aspects horizontally, more so in an implicated manner.
Though, the likelihood of other reasons strengthening the above analysis cannot be ruled out, the terrain is far from the context of this study, in that it primarily highlights gaps and then recommends solutions. As recommendations are to be kept at bay, it does not necessarily rule out resolution, which is principally to address premises and/or hypothesis for the study. Switching gears here from generic to specific, but still open to fluctuating for argument’s sake.
Parliamentary Oversight or variously called Legislative Oversight is an instrument of transparency, accountability, and responsible governance in a parliamentary-rooted democratic polity, when such a polity engages with International Financial Institutions, be they multilateral like the World Bank/International Monetary Fund/Asian Development Bank/European Investment Bank, or bilateral like JBIC/Chinese Development Bank/Exim banks.
This still is skeletal, and hence the imperative to add flesh to the bones. Continuing with engagements, these could be variegated ranging from decisions wrought by these institutions in order to effectuate policy-wide changes in democracies covering large swathes of economy like advocating neoliberal policies in line with what these institutions promulgate, bailing out countries in times of economic distress by imposing stern austerity measures as in the case of Greece(3) in EU at the moment, or Argentina(4) in South America a decade and a half back, or even India in 1981 or in 1991 (these need an elaborate treatment and will be dealt with beginning next paragraph), or pumping in capital under different garbs to erect projects with the intentional poverty alleviation programmes that ironically further neoliberal agenda, and as a result often times lead to tearing of the social fabric, economic slump and imprudent governance. The malaise is precipitated by lack of awareness and literacy, extreme levels of corruption, submission of population to oppression by either wide-scale displacement, forced evictions accompanied by unleashing law and order atrocities in collusion with those having myopic considerations for the vulnerable; severing economic means of livelihood, and subjecting vast populations to financial woes, and generally tearing down life where human rights are majorly realized only in terms of violations. Undoubtedly, these are some of the reasons very dear to sociologists, but an important reason that goes missing here and is not talked about often is the very system of democratically elected government invested with protecting and safeguarding its own people on the one hand and receptive to participatory forms in that form of government. In a nutshell, participatory form is always compromised in such engagements, and this is seen to occur not just the level of those who exercise their suffrage to elect the government, but also at the tier of those very elected representatives supposedly safeguarding their mass base(5). It is at this tier the need for parliamentary oversight is most strongly desirable. Well, this graft is in all likelihood an alleged screed or a harangue despite efforts to stay clear, and therefore, channeling it off course becomes imperative for the moment.
Back in 1981, the largest loan being concluded in the IMF’s history, the SDR(6) 5 billion that took many months in materializing, and thrashed by several informal meetings and negotiations was mired in extreme secrecy by the Fund and Government of India. But, how much ever hard it was to keep the deal clandestine it wasn’t much of a success either. “On the whole it is fortunate for journalism, scholarship and for the general right to know but unfortunate (at times mortifying) for the participants,” quipped N Ram(7), then based at Washington DC for The Hindu Group, and the prime archaeologist/excavator of this deal!! The record Extended Fund Facility (EFF) loan to India has, obviously, its precursors. But its size, scope and terms, the rising controversy over it, the unsubtle pressure exerted on the IMF management to tighten the screws on the “structural adjustment” loan do not appear to signal a new and toughened phase in the Fund’s relations with developing countries, big and small. But who can show that a multi-billion “medium-term” loan to a government in economic difficulty from a highly conscious institution (specializing in the business of shaping national monetary, fiscal and economic policies) does not tend to introduce powerful pressures and external modes of consultation, guidance and decision-making into a national economy?(8) N. Ram nails it perfectly here, for here arises the whole equation of national policies of such a magnitude getting decided internationally, and that too even without the Parliament aware of it. What of the people then, who are represented in the Parliament? It is anybody’s guess. This case obviously goes down as a golden moment in the annals of investigative journalism in the country, and in the records of the Fund, “because of the sensitivity of the information and the delicacy of the negotiations, [the IMF] management regarded this leak as ‘quite possibly the most serious and damaging…in the history of the Fund.’”(9)
Fast-forward by a decade and the IMF’s involvement takes a turn. Before getting to that, a little backgrounder is deemed essential. In 1985, India had already started to experience problems with its Balance of Payments (BOP), and by the end of 1990, it had inflated to a full-blown economic crisis, with the Government coming close to default and the Central Bank of the country refusing any further credit, sinking the foreign exchange reserves to a point where the country could finance barely three weeks of imports. This led India to airlift gold reserves as pledge with the International Monetary Fund for a loan. The main worries and causes were currency devaluation, current account deficit (CAD), and depreciating investor confidence in the country. During the Gulf crisis, India’s oil imports swelled and exports shrunk. By the middle of 1991, the exchange rate was subjected to a severe adjustment. This event began with a slide in the value of the Indian Rupee. Authorities at the Reserve Bank of India acted by defending the currency by expending international reserves, thus slowing the decline in value. But, with foreign reserves on the verge of depletion, the Government permitted a sharp depreciation on the 1st and 3rd of July 1991 against the major currencies. Within weeks from defaulting, India had to airlift 47 tonnes of gold to the Bank of England and 20 tonnes to the Union Bank of Switzerland to raise US $600 million in a move that outraged the national sentiments. When PV Narasimhan Rao was sworn in as the Prime Minister during the 10th Lok Sabha, he sent a clear signal to the nation as well as the IMF that the country faced no “soft options” and must open the doors to foreign investment, reduce red tape that often crippled the initiative and streamline the industrial policy. Subsequently, in a report by the World Bank titled “India 1991 Country Economic Memorandum”(10), the development powerhouse credited the Government on impressive steps taken to set in motion fundamental structural changes, and advised on major policy reforms that required to be implemented. These,
- Reduce public expenditures and increase their returns to the economy,
- Reform the tax system with a view to reducing its dependence on trade taxes,
- Liberalize the trade regime, which at the moment was the single biggest obstacle to international competitiveness and higher growth in India,
- Complete the process of industrial deregulation begun in July 1991,
- Increase the efficiency of the financial sector,
- Restructure public enterprises with a view to increasing their efficiency, and
- Reduce dependency on NRI deposits and rely on other instruments with longer maturities and predictable servicing profiles
were largely adhered to.(11) 1991 heralded the liberalization era in India, and was aptly captured by Manmohan Singh’s Budget Speech of 1991-92 on the 24th of July 1991, when he quoted Victor Hugo,
‘“No power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come.” I suggest to this august House that the emergence of India as a major economic power in the world happens to be one such idea. Let the whole world hear it loud and clear. India is now wide-awake. We shall prevail. We shall overcome.’
Yashwant Sinha: Madame Deputy Chairman, the issue which I want to raise in this House is a matter, I think, of great concern for the functioning of democracy of this country, for the functioning of the Parliament. Madame, today, the Indian Express has carried a report stating that the draft of the Eight Five Year Plan has been shared with the World Bank without this draft being shared with the Parliament of this country. The WB has now sent its comments to the Government of India on the draft Plan. From the comments, which have been received, it appears that the WB has severely criticized the draft prepared by the Planning Commission and approved by the Council of Ministers of the Cabinet. I would like to draw your attention to one portion of this report in regard to the Industrial Policy:
“…the World Bank has accused the Plan document of a continued allegiance to ‘past policy shibboleths’ by encouraging regional dispersion of industries through growth centers in backward areas and encouraging R&D for assimilation, adaption and improvement of imported technology…”
Now, the point is these are cherished goals of our economic policy….I am sure members sitting on that side will also agree that these are cherished goals, which are being described as ‘past policy shibboleths’ by the WB. Are we here in this Parliament to bear this insult from that organization? What has the Government of India come to? Have we really got into a state of the banana republic? Everyone in the world knows that this country has enough experts as far as planning is concerned. Our planning experts go abroad to advise other countries about how they should formulate their plans. This is what we are reduced to today that the WB will tell us what our policy directives should be, what our policy priorities should be? I want the government to respond here and now as to what exactly is the state of affairs in this regard? And, if it is true then I am not wincing my words. I will say this is a complete surrender of our sovereignty, of all our initiatives as an independent nation.
Why is this oversight needed? It is noticeable that questions of circumventing the Parliament, surrender of sovereignty and succumbing to extreme pressure are some of the reasons why Parliamentary Oversight becomes an imperative. Further, staying on with the specifics still, extensive research and studies conducted over the years have unearthed a democratic deficit between these financial institutions and countries engaging with those. What might sound a bit ironic is that even the WB/IMF have brought to notice that there is a lack of effective involvement of parliaments and/or formal mechanisms in such engagements, and wherever it is present is present on meager scales to be really effective. Parliamentary Oversight has the potential to become the bedrock of good governance, since there cannot conceivably be a true ownership of the terms and conditions attached to loans, policy framework makeovers, or debt/relief bailout without it.(13) So, unless the Parliament reiterates its sovereignty in dealings with these financial institutions in bringing to light their agenda, ownership rights would never trickle down to the most important pillar of democracies, the People themselves. Unless the Parliament decides that its voice should hold value and weight over the voice of a coterie(14) that in many a cases clandestinely strike a deal or co-opt one with these bodies(15), people who are represented in the highest office of a country would cease moving mainstream from the margins. Finally, by way of edging closer to a recommendation, unless the Parliament moves in to bring this oversight into effect, any talks of a mature and nurturing democracy would be largely vapid, and therefore it is with such intentions that a strikethrough of undemocratic processes, civil unrest and legacies upon legacies of economic failures can be achieved. The Parliament or generally the elected representatives need to work in close cooperation with civil society, for it is only with such cooperation, levels of awareness could be raised amongst the people who are often in the dark regarding massive implications a country can bring on them in its engagements with International financial Institutions (IFIs). Only when this aim is reached, could there be alleviation in the fragility of polity that mushrooms in the face of irreparable damage. Hence, the need for Parliamentary Oversight becomes all the more justified. In order to strengthen the Parliamentary Oversight, with the goal of providing enhanced government accountability and transparency, and as part of the governance programme, the Poverty Reduction and Economic Reform Division of the World Bank Institute has taken up the responsibility. The objective is two fold: first, the oversight activity can actually contribute to improving the quality of policies/programmes initiated by the government; second, because as the government policies are ratified by the legislative branch, such policies acquire greater legitimacy(16). Even though, the Bretton Woods Institutions are gearing for legitimizing parliamentary interference in their engagements with countries, the real break-through came when these institutions called for oversight as a plank for good governance in addition to lending credibility to the whole concept of ownership rights. In February 2005, to mark the 60th anniversary of the coming into existence of WB/IMF, the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank (PNoWB)(17), an international NGO spearheaded participation in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP)(18) by explicitly calling forth development strategies in low-income countries as “country owned”. Though, the governments are empowered to lead an active participation, many a times, it is seen that parliaments are regularly by-passed during the process of making economic policy decisions, so much so that parliamentarians and going down the vertical tier, the public are not even aware of the conditions that will have massive implications on their society. Consequently, national sovereignties are undermined or simply overridden by the involvements of these mega institutions. The polity, which is already fragile, gets to face the brunt of cracks further. If this sounds like a tirade, then make no mistake that even the World Bank and the IMF have echoed it. According to Operations Evaluation Department (WB)(19),
“The Bank management’s process for presenting PRSP to the Board undermines country ownership. Stakeholders perceive this practice as “Washington signing off” on a supposedly country-owned strategy…And the involvement of parliaments has been a particularly weak aspect of the process…”
Undoubtedly, parliamentary involvement becomes a condicio sine qua non for improving public access to decision-making processes. The real break-through talked a whole back was the culmination of this mobilization into a petition for democratic oversight of IMF and World Bank Policies, urging the governments to ensure that developing countries’ parliaments have the rights and the obligations to be fully involved in developing, scrutinizing and agreeing all policies related to IMF and WB to further the cause of transparency and accountability, and eventually resulting in reforming the boards and voting shares, and having a fair and transparent process for the heads of these institutions.
The Indian Laboratory
The title of this section is dual purpose. Laboratory? The reasons should be alluded to in the next paragraph. In the words of one Bank official(20),
“India has long been the Bank’s most important client. For nearly forty years, India was the jewel in the crown of the world Bank…the reputation of the World Bank tended to be measured in terms of what it could do for India.”
The statement was made almost a couple of decades back, but in the unfolding years, the country has become the largest borrower from the WBG. Indian economy stands close to US $2 trillion making it the second largest emerging economy in the world, and if one were to go by the predictions of World Bank and IMF of late, slated to become the largest by 2017 by overtaking China.(21) The journey from the Nehruvian socialist era to liberalization and ensconced today in liberalization, India also happens to be the largest borrower from the World Bank as well as the largest multilateral development financial institution in Asia, the Asian Development Bank. The quantum of funds that these multilateral development funders pump into the country makes it not just a haven for latter’s presence in the country, but also open up vulnerabilities where such finances lead to projects and policies getting haywire in that the repercussions of these massive investments on people purported to benefit are reckless to say the least and causing gross human rights violations to say the most. With such embedded relationships Parliamentary Oversight could help arrest the onslaught of corporations(22), calling for increased transparency and accountability at all levels and scrutinizing and monitoring such engagements becoming the buzzwords/catchwords. With newer forms and mechanisms of capital in the form of Development Policy Loans, Financial Intermediaries, Public Private Partnerships becoming the keywords, monitoring the international financial institutions has become indispensable. For the full fruits of democracy to be accrued, it is additionally required that openness is practiced within the Parliament as well, in that, appointments made to these lenders are done with full knowledge of people’s representatives, laws enacted become Acts with Parliamentary approval rather than merely promulgating ordinances to expedite the growth-led development agenda by removing the red tape, the presence of which ironically comes to the rescue of the marginalized. Only when people’s representatives are held accountable and when these representatives are themselves subject of transparency and accountability of engagements within the highest decision-making office in the country, could one say to have brought about perfect Oversight. When such an Oversight is in place, it is truly a step closer to participatory form of democratic system of governance.(23)
Marching on, it is appropriate to untie the lateral or horizontal nature of compromise associated with transparency and accountability a bit more. As is relatively obvious by now that Parliament should be trusted with the role of final arbiter of assistance from these International Financial Institutions (IFIs), since it has a democratically mandated power to scrutinize, debate, question, input, approve and monitor the transactions of the Government with these institutions, the reality is far from this ideal. At present, only the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) under the Ministry of Finance and its bureaucrats are responsible for negotiating, facilitating, and approval of these loan projects having the final authority to sign the lending documents also, completely undermining the Constitutional authority, rights and privileges of our elected legislatures. These in turn need to be involved and be made responsible for reviewing the development effectiveness, negative impacts and long term impacts on critical sectors of the loans and grants of IFIs and WB, recommend ways to the decision making process of availing loans and grants from IFIs in a more democratic, transparent and accountable, manner thereby respecting the Constitutional Duties and Responsibilities provided to our elected representatives and also examine the circumstances in which huge commitment charges are paid to IFIs for the non-utilization of funds, and recommend steps to avoid it in future.
Getting oblique, or rather vertical once again, Parliamentarians need to review the impact of World Bank loan policies on the sovereignty of the country; the extent of the World Bank’s involvement in India’s policymaking and legislations; influence of the Bank on the government; and policies pushed by the Bank which eventually disempower the poor and the marginalized and benefit only a few, especially big private corporations. The lending and non-lending products of IFIs, including the WBG (World Bank Group is the umbrella-term for all the five arms: IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA and ICSID) and ADB, cause irreversible damage to people, society and ecology by influencing major policy changes in favour of private capital and withdrawal and bypassing of state support from access to essential services to the poor or safeguarding of fundamental rights. While ADB and other IFIs are obligated to comply, the design and implementation are often conducted in opaque and non-inclusive processes, making public participation meaningless, risk mitigation too weak, safeguards feeble, developmental impacts unknown and money flows highly secretive.
Collating the previous two paragraphs brackets the rationale behind Parliamentary Oversight in the Indian context, or what is being called the Indian Laboratory. Put differently, the overarching working premise of this study entails furthering a dialogue, discussion and debate in India leading to informed discursive practices by bringing democratic principles to have a bearing on development. The evidence of the last six decades suggests that in the absence of this, not only does irreversible damage and destruction result, but also a country loses significant elements of its sovereignty.
Here are some of these plausible mechanisms, which are more of reinforcement tools for efficacious sustainability of economic development:
- A participatory, country-driven and owned contribution rises up from latency channeling citizenry into framing policies and assigning perceptive cooperation and eventual legitimacy.
- Flattening the geographic divide in line with political spread, sector-wide diversity towards a more coherent viewpoint driven by motivation to positive contribution.
- Decisional prerogatives mapping into policies, projects, constitutional entitlements towards enacting laws.
- Temporal perspectives in either short-term or long-term, partisan or non-partisan towards a multi-partisan inclusivity.
(1) This is attributed to Italian political scientist Roberta Maffio, who talks about instruments on oversight (more on that to follow) on a 2-dimensional basis. If legislative oversight (just a note for the time being, before an exhaustive treatment starts) is performed before the government enacts a specific policy or becomes engaged in a specific activity, then the oversight tools are “instruments of control ex ante”. Hearings in committees, hearings in the plenary session of the Parliament, along with request of documentation are all tools that can be used ex ante. Contrarily, if oversight happens after such an enactment has occurred, or such an engagement has been undertaken, the oversight tools are instruments of control ex post. Questions, interpellations, and creation of committees of inquiry are the tools that are used ex post. This is empirically visible, in the India context at least. The second dimension is the establishment of these tools either within or without the Parliament. Questions, question time, interpellations, public account committees belong to the former, whereas auditors and/or ombudsman belong to the latter. Relied largely on translation for this note, but Italian knowers can refer to Roberta Maffio, “Quis Custodiet Ispos Custodes? Il Controllo Parlamentare dell’Attivitá di Governo in Prospettiva Comparata”, Quaderni di Scienza Politica, .. pp. 333-383.
(2) It should be noted here ‘contextually’ that horizontal opacity breeds vertical opacity.
(3) Greece is the current cradle of anti-austerity. Well, that is political. In a nutshell, what is the Greece issue all about? On May 9, 2010, a joint mission of the IMF and the European Commission concluded negotiations on a loan package to be provided to the Greek Government. The amount of these loans as well as the volume of the adjustment effort that is to be delivered by Greece is staggering. In return for an (additional) 30 billion euro austerity program, Greece will receive 80 billion euros of European bilateral loans and 30 billion euros of IMF loans over the next three years. The only thing the rescue package really achieves is a major change in the ownership of debt. With Greek sovereign debt being transferred from the balance sheets of banks to the balance sheet of European governments, the real purpose of the entire operation is to save European banks by relieving them from holding debt titles upon which a potential default could be looming.
(4) Argentina transited from being a poster child of the IMF to bankruptcy. In 1999, Argentina fell into recession after its main export competitor Brazil had just devalued the real in response to the fallout of the Russian default of 1998 and the East Asian financial crisis of 1997. In late 2000, as it became clear that Argentina might go down the same road, the IMF disbursed its first bailout funds to the government of the new President, Fernando De la Rúa, so it could keep repaying its outstanding obligations to foreign creditors – mostly US-based institutional investors like mutual funds and large pension funds. The initial $14 billion lifeline evaporated in a matter of weeks as investors panicked and Argentina’s borrowing costs shot up.
(5) Note here the resemblance to vertical and horizontal.
(6) Special Drawing Rights (SDR) are supplementary foreign exchange reserves maintained by the IMF, and is based on a basket of key current international currencies viz. US $, UK £, Euro €, Japanese ¥, and Chinese Yuan. SDR is not a currency per se, but a representation of a claim to currency held by the IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged.
(7) N. Ram. “Secret India-IMF discussions over months”. From Washington. 15 October 1981. The Hindu edition: 16 October 1981.
(8) N. Ram. “World’s most powerful supranational Govt.” The Hindu 20 October 1981.
(9) William Dale. Deputy Managing Director, IMF. “Statement at EBM/81/133”. 21 October 1981. p. 3.
(10) The Public Disclosure Authorized Report of the World Bank could be read at http://goo.gl/s5do0C
(11) To take stock of numbers here: IMF approved credits of SDR $1366.08 million, of which $720.08 million were received by the Government of India after terms and conditions were negotiated and ensured. World Bank gave US $1404 million towards restoration of international confidence of NRIs and augmenting capital flows to maintain Balance of Payments. Project-tied loans worth US $417 million were released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Strikethrough numbers, and International Finance Corporation (IFC) began negotiations and discussions with the private companies regarding raising funds from the international capital market. IFC, always looking for opportunities to make equity investments was exploring the possibilities of encouraging FDI through these discussions.
(12) Not really questions, but nevertheless instrumental in instigating a healthy discussion with several MPs drawn into it. This occurred on 16 July 1992 in Rajya Sabha, under the title “Alleged Leakage of Draft Eight Five Year Plan Document to World Bank and IMF Officials”. 22 MPs participated in this debate, including the Deputy Chairman of the House. This won’t be reproduced in entirety, but an attempt to draw the gist of the discussion will not be compromised. The questions entered were in English and Hindi.
(13) This might sound a bit quixotic, but it really isn’t.
(14) This word ‘coterie’ might sound a bit harsh in this context, but is nevertheless painting the essence. For instance, appointments to these Multilateral Development Banks or even the World Trade Organization for that matter, are done by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, which is generally composed of the Prime Minister (Chairperson), Minister of Home Affairs and Minister-in-charge of the concerned ministry. This Committee decides all higher-level appointments in the Cabinet Secretariat, Public enterprises, Banks and Financial Institutions. Clearly, the composition is indicative of the fact that Parliament is by-passed here in decision-making and any engagement with the Committee would occur only ex post. This has been a contentious issue in its own right, as it is always facing up to allegations of nepotism. This also incidentally happens to be one of the parameters of the present study undertaken.
(15) Recollecting the 1981 Indian case as mentioned, a brief rejoinder: The Letter of Intent (28 September 1981) from the Finance Minister, R. Venkataraman to the IMF’s Managing Director J De Larosiere, the attached 15-page memorandum titled “statement of economic policies”; the year-by-year progression of the three-year arrangement; the data provided to the Fund, a significant portion of which has been withheld from publication in India…(Point driven).
(16) West & eCooper. “Legislative Influence v. Presidential Dominance: Competing Models of bureaucratic Control.” Political Science Quarterly. 1989 Vol 104, pp 581-606.
(17) Founded in 2000, the Parliamentary Network is an independent, non-governmental organization that provides a platform for Parliamentarians from over 140 countries to advocate for increased accountability and transparency in development cooperation. Alain Destexhe is the current Chair of the Parliamentary Network. It provides a platform for MPs and civil society to hold to account their own governments, as well as International Financial Institutions (IFIs), for development outcomes. For more, visit http://www.parlnet.org
(18) The WB/IMF require countries to produce a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper as a condition for debt relief through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative and other monetary aid. PRSPs are intended to help aid recipient countries meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They detail a country’s plan to promote growth and reduce poverty through implementation of specific economic, social and structural policies over a period of three years or longer. PRSPs give an assurance that aid-receiving countries will utilize aid to pursue development outcomes that have been elaborated in the PRSPs and approved by lenders.
(19) For a detailed read, visit Parliament and Poverty Reduction Strategies – PRS http://goo.gl/YhdWgE
(20) The Holiest River http://goo.gl/50KWQQ
(21) Though the formula for such a calculation depends on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), this does not bestow absolute economic prowess.
(22) It very well could be even the non-corporate entities, and they are present there invariably, but the use of corporations is the signal the new mechanisms of financing, like the Private-Public Partnerships (not to be confused with Purchasing Power Parity, the other PPP), for instance.
(23) All of this might sound a bit repetitive, as well as jumping the gun, but be apprised that in research, methodologically, this process is called “Basin of Attraction”, where the agenda is quite apparently redundantly getting stamped on the run. Though, methodology would be discussed separately, it nonetheless is already making its mark felt, as a careful reading would make highly certain. The analogy is of course taken from ‘Wash Basin’, where the trickle or flow is most certainly towards the sink.