India Wants World Bank to Raise Lending Limits

Washington, April 17 (IANS) India has asked the World Bank to take measures to enhance the lending limits which are constraining the ability of India and other developing countries to utilise its resources more.

The world has been "moving from one crisis to the other - first fuel, then food, then financial and economic, and now the return of fuel and food crises," India's Secretary Economic Affairs R. Gopalan, said at the Bank's Development Committee meeting here Saturday.

"While these crises demand global efforts to mitigate adverse effects, the World Bank Group needs to have sufficient financial resources not only to tackle crises, but also to support long term growth," he said.

Expressing concern that Bank lending will decline starting from next year, Gopalan said: "We need to deliberate now and in future on how we can strengthen the financial base of the Bank further.

"We need to take steps to ensure that just as it did over the last two years, the Bank has the capacity to respond to crises, play a counter-cyclical role that can make a difference and help in long term growth."

Underlining the continuing relevance of the Bank, he said the World Bank Group has done well in helping developing countries, but "addressing the needs of the poor is a challenge that will also remain for a long time to come."

"We a need a strong, yet flexible Bank and we need to work in that direction," he said suggesting the Bank continue to maintain its core focus on poverty alleviation without a proliferation of goals.

Turning to the theme of Food Security, Gopalan noted that "the structural dimension of agricultural production has moved from the surplus of the past three decades to a constrained scenario."

"Tackling food security requires both short term and long term measures on many fronts - research, dry land farming, irrigation and most importantly public investment," he said stressing that the "Bank needs to rev up its agricultural activities."

He also called for proper oversight of Trust Funds which have emerged as an important source of finance and policy advice to the developing countries and also within the Bank.

The Development Committee endorsed the replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA) for the next three years (2012-2014) for $ 49.3 billion, which is almost 20 percent more than in the previous tranche.

India would receive almost $ 5.4 billion of concessional IDA funding over the next three years which could be used for project activities in the social sectors and in the most backward regions.


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Title: India Wants World Bank to Raise Lending Limits

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