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World Bank okays $944 mln rural loan to India

The World Bank gave the green light to a loan of $944 million to India on Friday for strengthening the rural finance system, vocational training programs and community-based water management projects.

Rural cooperative credit projects will get an infusion of $600 million, $280 million will go for supporting 400 Industrial Training Institutes over four years, and $64 million to will support water tank management projects in southern India. “The three projects, signed today, reflect the government of India’s priority in rejuvenating the rural economy,” said P Chidambaram, India’s finance minister. The agreement was inked by Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Madhusudan Prasad and World Bank country director Isabel Guerrero in the presence of World Bank President Robert B Zoellick, who is on a three-day visit to India.

The World Bank chief, during his visit, is accompanied by Praful Patel, World Bank vice president, South Asia, and Dhanendra Kumar, executive director for India. On Thursday Zoellick visited the World Bank supported $945 million Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) site in the western state Maharashtra to observe the progress of the project that aims to make the city’s transport more efficient and sustainable. The bank is presently considering the proposal of Mumbai’s authorities for support of $6 billion to develop Greater Mumbai over the next 15 years. The bank’s current portfolio in India comprises 68 active investment projects. (m&