India's Settlement Of UN Dues Misread As Zero Dues To World Bank

A social media user has shared Syed Akbaruddin's tweet, which showed a list of countries who had cleared all dues to the UN, as countries having repaid their World Bank debt.

Headquarters of the UN And World Bank

A Whatsapp message has gone viral where it has misleadingly claimed that under the Narendra Modi-led government, India has repaid all its pending dues to the World Bank. The image in the message has cited a tweet by Syed Akbaruddin, who is India's ambassador to the United Nations (UN).

In reality, the image tweeted by Akbaruddin was a list of those countries who have cleared all their dues with the UN. The image spins a false narrative around this photo, stating that it is a list of countries who have completely repaid the World Bank.

The image can be seen below.

BOOM found a social media user, Manojava Gururaj Galgali, who shared this on his Facebook profile and Twitter handle.

Archived versions of his tweets can be found here and here.

An archived version of his Facebook post can be found here.

A number of Facebook users have also picked up the misleading claim after Galgali, which can be seen in the image below.

UN Facebook viral


The list in the image does not show those countries that have no outstanding debt to the World Bank, or those countries who have cleared their dues to the World Bank.

Rather, the image shows those 35 countries who have paid all their dues to the UN as on October 11, 2019. This picture was part of a presentation that the Under Secretary General of the UN - Catherine Pollard - made on the UN's financial situation. Akbaruddin tweeted a picture of the slide because India is part of this list.

India and 34 other countries have cleared all its dues to the UN under three budgetary areas:

  1. Its regular budget
  2. Its financial assessment of peacekeeping operation
  3. Its financial assessment of tribunals

While the transcript of this presentation is available here, the presentation itself can be downloaded here.

The UN is a multilateral organisation that is funded through contributions of its member states, as stated in article 17 of UN Charter - the basic principles on which the UN functions. The finances of the UN have been in the news after its Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said that the UN is cash-strapped; facing its most severe cash crisis in nearly a decade.

UN Membership Payments Are Not World Bank Dues

The World Bank, on the other hand, is a multilateral financial institution
made up of two organisations – the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). While the IBRD advances loans to middle and lower-income countries, the IDA advances interest free loans – called credits – and grants to the poorest of countries. This can be read here.

According to latest data as of the September 30, 2019:

  1. India has $14.45 billion due to the IRDB from 126 projects
  2. India is receiving just above $800 million and 200 million XDR (special drawing rights) from the IDA over 21 projects

Data from the IBRD is available here and the IDA here.

This is not the first time such misleading claims have gone viral. BOOM had fact checked such claims earlier about India's debt to the World Bank going down to zero under the Narendra Modi regime. It was found that India owes the IBRD $14.58 billion and taken loans above $1 billion from the IDA. You can be read BOOM's earlier fact check here.

Even the Ministry of Finance has outlined its debt to the World Bank to the Lok Sabha in this answer on July 8.

Distrust in international finance institutions runs deep, as debt from such organisations are considered to be an assault on national pride. Therefore, while Akbaruddin has tweeted membership dues of the UN, social media users are misrepresenting it as India being debt-free from any World Bank loans.

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