World Bank officials shy away from participation
Source: Focus on the Global South
The four day Independent Peoples Tribunal (IPT) on the World Bank in India concluded on September 25th hearing numerous depositions indicting the Bank's policy and project interventions in India. While the World Bank India office did engage with the IPT and claimed they would make a deposition to respond to some of the evidence against the Bank,they failed to show up despite provision of adequate space and time by the organisers.
In its preliminary findings, the IPT observed the Bank had an undue and disturbingly negative influence in shaping India's national policies disproportionate to its contribution, financial or otherwise. While India is the world's largest single cumulative recipient of World Bank assistance, with lending totaling about $60 billion (Rs. 2,40,000 crores) since 1944, current annual borrowing amounts to less than 1% of the country's GDP ( In 2005, India's annual borrowing from the World Bank for new projects was 0.45% of GDP)
The loans however has been used as leverage to bring about important policy changes and impose conditionalities in areas such as governance reform, health, education, electricity, water and environment- many of these with obvious political and social consequences. The loans also legitimize substantial additional funding from a diversity of bilateral and multilateral donors such as the Asian Development Bank and Department for International Development (DFID-UK). The Bank's loans have caused extensive social and environmental harm from mass displacement in the Narmada valley to loss of livelihoods of traditional fishworkers in places such as Barwani.
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