World Bank ups annual lending to India to $3 B
Monday, 30 August 2004, 07:00 Hrs
NEW DELHI: The World Bank Friday approved a proposal to increase its annual lending to India to $3 billion under a new strategy to scale up development efforts. The World Bank board of directors has also approved a new India strategy document for 2005-08. The document envisages leveraging the multilateral body's diverse resources, including knowledge and lending to help improve the quality of life for some of the world's poorest citizens. World Bank will also help India move closer to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), said an official statement. The strategy document has prioritised infrastructure, human development, and rural livelihood as areas of greater focus. "An important shift is the greater recourse to co-financing with other development partners under common arrangements for national programmes in the areas most critical to meeting the MDGs," said the statement. "The country strategy also proposes some important shifts in the approach to India's states." "The Bank will work proactively to try to build a productive development relationship with four states where poverty is increasingly concentrated --Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Uttar Pradesh," said the World Bank. In the earlier programmes, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh had been the major focus of the World Bank. The growing gulf between Indian states with poverty being concentrated in some regions has led to the shift in strategy, said Michael Carter, the World Bank's Country Director for India. "In the first, economic reform and social changes have begun to take hold and growth has had an impact on people's lives, opportunities have opened up," said Carter. "In the other, citizens appear almost completely left behind by public services, employment opportunities, and brighter prospects. Bridging the gap between these two Indias is perhaps the greatest challenge facing the country today."