The World Bank capital available for India is limited as the country is getting closer to the borrowing limit, a top bank official said in Hyderabad. Though the funds available are still in billions, the official warned that these could exhaust quickly considering the large scale of World Bank programme in India.
India is the largest borrower from the World Bank. “We have a very large programme with India. It is about $27 billion,” said John H. Stein, director, Sustainable Development Department, South Asia Region, World Bank. He was talking to reporters on the sidelines of an event during the ongoing United Nations conference on biodiversity.
“The challenge we face in India is that India is getting closer to reach single borrower limit. The capital available for India programme is limited now. Therefore, the government is very careful about setting priorities.” He pointed out that the Indian government wants to evolve transformative and innovative programmes and focus its attention on states, which are lagging.
John said India had submitted its requests for two projects to the World Bank and the same were likely to be approved sometime next year. The national rural water supply and sanitation mission, which will be rolled out in many states by the ministry of rural development, needs World Bank loan of $500 million. The national watershed programme will cost between $230 million and $250 million.
The World Bank official said the watershed programme was important because the World Bank want development of small infrastructure in communities to enable them to change cultivation and food practices. “The work India does has lot of success in the watershed management and that is easily transferable to other countries,” he said.
John said two projects for conservation of biodiversity were also in the pipeline but declined to divulge the details saying India was yet to submit its requests. He said though the World Bank tries to do things quickly, it takes a long time as it has to deal with several states.
Stating that the World Bank portfolio of projects in India were very successful, John admitted that they also run through a cycle of difficulties. “We do get problems solved. We really reached a point where can fix an implementation issue. It is not sometime easy solving issues of political economy,” he remarked.
On the World Bank blacklisting some companies in India, he said the World Bank laid strong emphasis on good governance. “We have an integrity group that investigates allegations of corruption and in those cases if we find evidences, the companies are indeed barred from participating future projects. It happens in not just India but every part of world.”