World Bank Chief in India, Focus on Poverty Alleviation

Monday, March 26, 2012

World Bank Group President Robert B Zoellick begins an official visit to India tomorrow, to see what more it can do to support government efforts to overcome poverty, as India embarks on its 12th five-year Plan and global recovery remains fragile.

“The Bank’s partnership with India, one of our founding members, goes back six decades, and we look forward to sustaining it in the years ahead,” Zoellick said in a statement.

“Shifts in the world economy could affect India’s growth momentum and sharpen its development challenges. The Bank stands ready to continue to support India with its knowledge and financial resources to meet the challenges ahead.”

India’s steady growth levels had, along with those of other emerging economies, helped the global economy recover from the last financial downturn. India is poised to grow at seven per cent this year, buoyed by strong fundamentals and a high domestic savings rate. But the government recognises that returning to more ambitious growth targets will require addressing key structural bottlenecks, such as energy, mining, land and infrastructure as well and policies affecting the profitability of exports.

“As the government calibrates its plans to ensure high growth, it is investing in infrastructure to help create jobs and increase productivity for tomorrow. It’s also seeking to remove the pronounced economic and human development differences among and within its states, while ensuring growth does not harm the environment,” Zoellick said.

“We are committed to supporting the government’s ambitious development goals, and are exploring ways in which we can leverage resources to ensure that policy-makers and planners can access the best global thinking on issues that confront it, be it social safety nets, or public-private partnership ventures in infrastructure or improving the quality of education,” he added.

Zoellick, who has visited India four times during his five-year tenure as the Bank’s president, will meet government leaders, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. He will also meet the Chief Minister of Odisha to discuss how the Bank can better support a state where almost half the population still has to overcome poverty.

Source: Business Standard (link opens in a new window)

Base of the Pyramid, poverty alleviation