New Delhi, March 13: The World Bank will provide $3-5 billion annual assistance to India over the next four years to help eradicate poverty and improve healthcare mainly in the low-income states, World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim said Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference on the last day of his three-day visit to India, Kim said the World Bank would deepen its engagement with India and help Asia’s third largest economy meet its development needs by providing financial and technical assistance.
“We have an historic opportunity to accelerate the reduction of poverty in India. The World Bank Group is committed to supporting the Indian people as they pursue this crucial goal,” Kim said.
He said the World Bank would work toward “continuing its level of annual assistance of $3 to $5 billion to India over the next four years.”
The bank will complement its enhanced financial lending with technical assistance and knowledge services to help India improve the implementation of its development programmes, he said.
During his three-day official visit, Kim met India’s top policy makers, including Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.
“I leave India with a profound admiration for the remarkable development gains this country has achieved in recent decades. India’s experience holds valuable lessons for the World Bank Group and for countries around the world,” he said.
India is among the largest receiver of the World Bank’s assistance. Between 2009 and 2013, the World Bank Group lent around $26 billion to India, according to a statement released by the World Bank here.
In the financial year 2009-10, the World Bank Group’s assistance to India increased to $11 billion in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
The support between 2009 and 2013 includes $12 billion from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD); $8.3 billion from the International Development Association (IDA); and a further $5.2 billion in investments from the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
As of January 2013, total IBRD and IDA net commitments stood at $23 billion (IBRD $13 billion and IDA $9.9 billion) across 77 projects.
At the end of January 2013, IFC’s portfolio contained 219 projects, amounting to committed and disbursed exposure of $4.1 billion, according to data released by the World Bank office here.
Kim said the focus of the future engagement of the World Bank Group in India would be improving the living standards of the people in low-income states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
“Achieving the World Bank Group’s mission of ending global poverty will require us to step up our support for India’s poorest citizens,” he said.
“India’s poorest seven states are home to over 200 million people who have yet to secure access to education, healthcare and other basic services they deserve. Increasing our focus on these areas will help India build shared prosperity for all its people,” Kim added.