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.