World Bank aid to India to total $9.3 billion by end-June

The World Bank's total financial commitment towards India's development agenda is set to touch $9.3 billion by the end of the bank's fiscal year ending June. With the bank's commitment spread across 25 new projects, India is among the top receivers of World Bank aid.

Roberto Zagha, World Bank country director in India, told a a press conference in New Delhi yesterday that the total expected lending this year (July-June 2010) would include $2.6 billion in the form of credits from the International Development Association (IDA) in addition to $6.7 billion as long-term, low-interest loans from the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

As of date, IBRD and IDA together have approved total new commitment of $8.3 billion, while another $1 billion worth of projects would be presented to the Bank's board over the next few days, Zagha said.

He said that while a part of the lending was in support of the government's response to the global financial crisis, a significant portion was meant for development of infrastructure and expansion of the delivery of essential social services, including better schools, roads and electricity to the people. The Government of India is accelerating its response to its development challenges and so are we," he said.

Also included in the assistance is a $2-billion package for provision of capital to some private sector banks to help them maintain their credit expansion and prevent a capital deficit hitting the economy in the wake of the global economic crisis.

Referring to the massive funding that would be required for India's economy which is on the fast track, with an estimated $500 billion requirement for infrastructure alone, Zagha said,
"While our annual lending this year represents a significant contribution for the Bank Group, it accounts for less than one per cent of India's gross domestic product (GDP), and is a modest sum given India's vast needs."