Speeches & Transcripts

India Country Director Onno Ruhl Video Transcript

October 22, 2012

Onno Ruhl New Delhi, India

As Prepared for Delivery

Hi, my name is Onno Ruhl, and I am the Country Director for the World Bank here in India. I am happy to receive you on our website.  I have recently enjoyed joining India myself, which for anybody working on development is a dream. The country is not only the world’s largest democracy but has also made tremendous strides in development, lifted large numbers of its people out of poverty, and showed remarkable progress in economic growth. 

I still remember when an Indian businessman bought the steel industry in my country, the Netherlands; it brought about a sea change in my country.

We at the World Bank are very proud to be working with India because the country – home to one third of the world’s poor - encompasses the remaining challenge in the world’s fight against poverty, which is the World Bank’s main mission.

We would therefore like to build on our long-standing and successful partnership with India and its government. Our Indian friends tell us that the recent work on increasing access to education for India’s children, many of whom are first generation learners, and on improving watershed management practices in many arid regions of the country, has been very valuable to them.

But, having said that, it is also important to realize that India still has large numbers of people in poverty, mothers and children in need of health care; in other words key Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to fulfill. It also has huge needs in developing infrastructure.

While the country has made great progress, all of us who have tracked India on a daily basis know that it is not always easy to sustain progressive growth.

Now, one could ask what can the World Bank, with relatively little money, do to meet the challenges of such a large economy with 1.2 billion people, and one that is growing so fast.

" We at the World Bank are very proud to be working with India. "

Onno Ruhl

World Bank Country Director for India

The answer is: we think that because we have worked in other countries that faced similar challenges we can, in our modest way, share experience and knowledge and learning with development practitioners in India.

Not as the dominant financier but as a partner, as a contributor to knowledge that might be helpful to our friends in India.

Our website is therefore really important to us because it is the entry point to our knowledge base; this is why I am happy to invite you in.

We very much believe that all our knowledge should be available to anyone. In fact, many people say that our new access to information policy follows India’s example in granting the right to information to the people.

Our policy simply means that if there is anything in a World Bank document that is not personal information - like my date of birth, or my salary, or things like that - you have the right to request it and we will go out of our way to try and get it for you.  We are proud to have this policy and are committed to deliver on it. You should, therefore, definitely contact us if you have any such requests. 

Even more important is that to be a knowledge partner, we need to continue dialogue. We need to hear from you. You need talk to us, we need to talk to you, there needs to be an exchange of ideas.

We have, therefore, recently started our Facebook page - may be late - but we have started. I would really advise you to use this as a tool for feedback. We would love to have your feedback, we will try to answer you, and that way we hope there will be even greater knowledge sharing.

So please look on our website for what you want. You can also reach me either through email or through Facebook. I would really like to hear from you.

Thank you very much and enjoy the site.