India laying foundation for faster growth: WB chief

Sunday, January 11, 2015
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim
[FILE PHOTO: World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Ahmedabad, India: World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said India is pursuing reforms that could accelerate growth in its economy and this could more rapidly reduce poverty and spread prosperity to more people in the country who are marginalized and vulnerable.

Speaking at the “Vibrant Gujarat” conference, Kim praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government’s “Make in India” campaign, efforts to reform the Goods and Services Tax, the phasing out of diesel subsidies and steps to create a more inclusive society.  

“Prime Minister Modi and his government are quickly putting in place the building blocks for even more rapid growth, streamlining the national regulatory structure, using public funds more efficiently, and promoting social inclusion,” Kim said in a speech. “These tax and subsidy reforms and public investments in human capital are essential to generating inclusive and sustainable growth in India over the next century.”

Kim said India’s immediate economic outlook is likely to be a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster global economy, with growth expected at 6.4 percent this year and even faster in 2016. The World Bank’s research shows that economic growth is the best way to achieving the institution’s twin goals: ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity.

“Our success is therefore closely tied to the country’s economic growth and development. For this reason, we’re committed to catalyzing a vibrant India, which, with strong trade ties to its neighbors, is able to realize its full potential.” said Kim.

While the government’s achievements to date were impressive, Kim said he and Modi recognized that much more could be done to improve the lives of Indians. The World Bank would build on its decades of partnership with India, stretching back to the earliest years after independence, to promote economic development and maximize economic growth.

“We will offer technical expertise and share knowledge on a variety of issues central to the country’s accelerated economic development,” said Kim. “I’m particularly excited about our work together on renewable power generation because it can make India the world leader in solar energy.”

The World Bank Group president made his remarks on the same day that he and Modi witnessed the signing of two agreements between the World Bank and the state of Gujarat. The agreements involved Swaach Bharat (sanitation program) and Smart Cities. An exchange of letters was signed by the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), the World Bank India Country Director, and a representative of the Government of Gujarat. 
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