Poor infrastructure might impede India’s growth: WB chief Zoellick

November 14th, 2007 - 8:22 am ICT by admin  
“India has had an exceptional process of growth, but there are areas that might impede some further growth. One of them being infrastructure,” Zoellick said.

Zoellick, who was on a three-day visit to India, said public-private partnership should be expanded.

“The public-private partnerships, something that we will try to expand with the work of our colleagues in the private sector, with traditional bank support, aid and concessionary support,” he said.

Zoellick talked about his visit to a resettlement site of the Mumbai Urbanransport Project (MUTP) launched in 2002 with 542 million dollars assistance from the World Bank.

The government has sought additional funds to the tune of 6 billion dollars for the development of Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

“When I was in Mumbai, there were some requests about additional support for the project on that Metropolitan plan. They were asking 5-6 billion dollars over the nest ten years. If we can work together on the development plan, it isn’t going to be a distant possibility,” said Zoellick.

The MUTP project will work on providing new rail lines, bigger bridges to ease Mumbai’s traffic congestion, besides providing better housing for millions of slum dwellers living in makeshift houses along railway lines and roads.

On Friday, Zoellick met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and inked three development agreements to the tune of 950 million dollars.

During his meeting with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Zoellick signed an agreement for 944-million dollars support towards revitalising rural economy and addressing skill gaps.

Among the agreements signed, first is the loan, credit agreements, which are for Strengthening Rural Credit Cooperatives Project with 600-million-dollar loan and credit.

Second is the India Vocational Education Training Project with 280 million dollars credit; and the third is additional financing for the Karnataka Community Based Tank Management Project with 64 million dollars loan and credit.

Maharashtra is the second largest World Bank programme beneficiary among the Indian states with a current net commitment amounting to 1.2 billion dollars.

Since 1997, the bank’s India strategy has focused on states attempting reforms, including Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in the South, and Uttar Pradesh in north India.

According to the World Bank estimates, nearly 313 million of India’s 1.07 billion people live in abject poverty, despite economic growth of around 8 percent a year, and a per capita income in Asia’s third-largest economy of about 620 dollars. (ANI)

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