Bhubaneswar, 25 February 2010 -- As part of the Government of India and the World Bank’s ongoing efforts to improve the on-ground implementation of their shared development initiatives, Bank-supported projects are jointly reviewed twice a year. To date these routine biannual portfolio reviews have been held at the centre. This is the first time the review was held outside Delhi, in this instance in Bhubaneswar, on 24-25 February.
Fifty-eight of the Bank’s India portfolio of 67 projects – totaling a commitment of US 19.7 billion – were reviewed. These covered sectors ranging from agriculture and rural development, livelihoods, irrigation and water resources, rural water supply and sanitation, decentralization, urban development, transport, energy, health, education, and disaster management.
A large number of staff from the Government of India, including the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) in the Ministry of Finance, line ministries, state and project officials, and World Bank staff from Delhi as well as the headquarters in Washington, participated in the exercise.
World Bank projects not only bring financing but also enable the transfer of knowledge and good practices. Accordingly, the review, chaired jointly by Dr Anup Pujari, Joint Secretary, DEA, and Dr Roberto Zagha, the Bank’s Country Director for India, was aimed at creating a platform to share learnings gleaned from the implementation of these projects and to find solutions for any issues that might be impeding progress. Projects that are closing in the next 12-18 months were reviewed for their sustainability and impact on institutional development. It was agreed to document and disseminate the good performance and practices being implemented by projects in order to ensure their replication across India.
Dr Pujari and Dr Zagha also met with Mr Tarun Kanti Mishra, Chief Secretary, Government of Orissa to lead a review of Bank-supported projects in the state. The discussions covered both ongoing projects as well as those in the pipeline.
Currently, the World Bank’s total portfolio in Orissa is $439 million, and includes the Orissa Community Tank Management Project ($110 million), the Orissa State Roads Project ($250 million), and the Orissa Rural Livelihoods Project ($79 million). Issues concerning the implementation of these projects, especially with reference to staffing, capacity, decision-making and preconstruction activities in road projects were discussed.