World Bank offers up to $5 b aid for poverty eradication

World Bank offers up to $5 b aid for poverty eradication

WB chief supports direct cash transfer

The World Bank will continue its annual lending to India between $3 billion and $ 5 billion for the next four years.

The prime goal of the bank will be poverty eradication, especially in Uttar Pradesh, home to an estimated 8 per cent of the world’s poor, said its president Jim Yong Kim on Wednesday.

In 2012, the World Bank lent $3.2 billion to various projects, including National Mission Clean Ganga.

“We have a historic opportunity to accelerate reduction of poverty in India. The World Bank Group is committed to supporting the Indian people as they pursue the crucial goal,” the president said at a press meet here. He said the lack of opportunity in India's rural areas often led people to look for a better life in the city.

He said, “The energy and enterprise of people flocking to India’s urban areas can help unleash the country’s economic potential, but this will only happen if cities offer them good jobs and quality public services.” Kim said the bank will complement its enhanced financial lending with technical assistance to help India improve implementation of its development programmes.

On whether World Bank is contemplating closing the International Development Association (IDA), a soft loans window, for India as it has become a middle-income country, he said: “We are in the middle of discussions right now about our IDA strategy. We are going to be as creative as possible to maintain our commitment to India at very high levels. The bank is concerned about the poor, of whom about 400 million live in India. We believe that India is a good investment and we will deepen our engagement as much as we can, using every bit of flexibility and creativity to get there.”

Kim also supported direct cash transfer scheme of the Centre, saying these schemes are extremely effective and successful as it puts money directly in the hands of households. It has direct impact like keeping children in school, taking care of their education and educating mothers. Asked if the direct cash transfer scheme is workable, he said, “We have to find ways to make it work in India.”

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