WB chief meets PM; inks three developmental deals worth 950-mln-dollars

November 14th, 2007 - 8:19 am ICT by admin  
Zoellick’s visit, his first to India since heading the World Bank, is aimed at taking stock of the World Bank-aided programmes in the country.

Earlier in the day, Zoellick also met Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and signed an agreement for 944-million dollars support towards revitalizing 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.

“About 950 million dollars World Bank assistance in three critical areas, first rural finance, second vocational training and third restoration of the water bodies. It gives me personal satisfaction to see the culmination of the project prep process as all these are three relative announcements that I had made in the budget speeches in parliament,” said Chidambaram.

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

“Yesterday, I was in Mumbai where I was looking at an urban infrastructure project that would be important for not only the growth of the city but also to try and take care of some of the poorest people of India. Today, Minister Chidambaram mentioned, we are focusing on the road sector and in doing so we are highlighting some of the key areas that would be important for the …work with India in the years to come.”

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

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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