On his way back from the fifth BRICS summit, held at Durban, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh explained why the declaration issued after the meeting gave prominence to the inability of the International Monetary Fund to reflect the aspirations of the developing world.

The hopes of developing countries had been belied, he said, in persuading the West to give them a greater say in its decision making process. Developing countries were also rebuffed in seeking changes in quotas allocated to each country in the IMF.

Moreover, the reform agenda that received a stimulus soon after the 2008 global economic crises had slowed down. “Therefore that is a matter of concern to us,” he explained.

The BRICS declaration also reflected this angst by calling upon the developed world to take concrete steps in this regard when the IMF quotas come up for review early next year.

Civil nuclear stalemate

Asked about the stalemate on the civil nuclear front, as the Limited Liability Law had dissuaded the Americans, the Russians and the French from going ahead with plans to set up power plants, Dr. Singh was confident of resolving the issue through “practical, pragmatic solutions,” but did not specify a road map.

He also disclosed having received a note from the Russians, which was part of ideas and proposals being traded between India and the three countries that have received approvals to set up nuclear energy based power plants at four places (two for US companies, one each for French and Russian firms with one site for the Russians cancelled due to civil society protests and opposition by the West Bengal government).

Current account deficit

On the domestic front, the Prime Minister agreed that the current account deficit (CAD) — at five per cent for the third quarter — did worry him. He seemed confident of the system’s ability to meet credit requirements, but professed he would be happier with the CAD at three per cent.

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