New Delhi, January 14, 2011: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick today paved the way for an enhanced partnership between India and the World Bank, that aims to bring the best development practices from around the globe to India and to share India’s development experience and expertise with others.
The move followed talks between the two in New Delhi where they discussed the global economy, the G20, as well as India’s growth, opportunities and challenges, in the wake of the global economic crisis.
Mr Zoellick also called upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to learn more about how India is sustaining high growth while simultaneously striving to ensure that the most vulnerable people also avail the opportunities afforded by increased growth.
“India’s quick and adequate fiscal and monetary response helped the economy return to strong growth. The World Bank also responded quickly and efficiently to India’s request for enhanced funding in the aftermath of the global financial crisis,” said Mr. Mukherjee. “We see an increased role of the World Bank in recycling global savings to developing countries and emerging markets as one of the approaches to resolve global imbalances .We also discussed on ways that India’s development experience, expertise and skills can be shared with other developing economies.”
Praising the Government’s "prudent" handling of the fallout of the global crisis, Mr. Zoellick said, “India is addressing how economic growth can be used to overcome poverty and meet the growing aspirations of its people. The World Bank is ready to help the Indian people bring about rapid, inclusive and environmentally sustainable development.”
The World Bank President said that during his meetings with policymakers and government officials he learnt of how India was accelerating its response to these development challenges. “The government is especially focused on seeking the efficient translation of its programs and policies into actionable results on the ground. The Bank is pleased to support the government’s efforts not just with finance, but by offering the development experience and technical knowledge the World Bank has gained around the world,” he said.
Finance Minister Mukherjee and Mr. Zoellick also agreed to direct strengthened financial and technical resources from the World Bank Group to key development programs of the country’s Five-Year Plans that seek to achieve strong and sustainable growth.
The two agreed the Bank’s financial and technical resources would focus on infrastructure needed to sustain strong growth, improving agricultural productivity; and ensuring development programs remain socially inclusive and sustainable.
The focus of the engagement would be on achieving stronger on-ground implementation through efficient project management, transparent procurement, ongoing maintenance and continuous monitoring.
After their meeting, the Finance Minister and the Bank President witnessed the signing of a $1.5 billion project agreement to expand the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) or the Prime Minister’s Rural Roads Program by building 24,000 km of all-weather roads in seven states. The roads project, the largest ever rural roads project approved by the Bank, is expected to benefit more than 6 million people.
The two also witnessed the signing of an agreement for the World Bank to provide $225 million to support the first phase of India’s national program to mitigate the impact of cyclones. The project marks the first disaster risk mitigation initiative to be implemented in India.