NEW DELHI: World Bank will lend India $14 billion over the next three years to help speed up infrastructure development and better living standards in seven poorest states.
Announcing its 2009-2012 "country strategy" for India, the bank said it will focus on poverty reduction and achieving MDGs in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
India had borrowed $2.7 billion in 2008 to fund 9 infrastructure, education, health and rural development projects. Government officials said improving roads, ports and airports required about $500 billion.
While much progress has been made in primary school enrollment, bank experts said improvement had been elusive in other sectors, particularly health. Deaths from TB and polio cases reduced dramatically in 2008, but child malnutrition levels are worse than in Sub-Saharan Africa despite large expenditures, they said.
The experts said no Indian city provided water 24 hours a day, seven days a week and only half the population had access to safe drinking water. Over 40% of India’s 6,00,000 villages do not have road connectivity and less than one-third the population has access to sanitation.
"India’s rapid growth will not be sustainable if it does not include the 300 million citizens who live below the official poverty line," the bank’s economic adviser Giovanna Prennushi said.