Hyderabad, Oct 23 (IANS) The World Bank says India would become the third largest economy after China and the US by 2025.
Addressing a press conference here, World Bank managing director Graeme Wheeler noted India's tremendous progress in recent years and emphasised the need for sustaining the growth in high-value sectors along with strides in the healthcare and education sectors.
He earlier visited villages in neighbouring Ranga Reddy district for first-hand knowledge of the working of women self-help groups and was impressed with their work in areas like poverty reduction. He also interacted with village organisations, children, physically challenged persons as well as HIV-positive persons.
'Six projects from Andhra Pradesh are in the pipeline for a cumulative net financial commitment of one billion dollars from the World Bank over the next three to four years,' Wheeler said.
He said that a budgetary support operation - the third tranche of Andhra Pradesh Reform Loan/Credit - has just been appraised and 'it is expected to be presented to the Bank's Board of Executive Directors in January 2007'.
Wheeler said that the World Bank has a longstanding development partnership with Andhra Pradesh based on a shared commitment to poverty reduction. The Bank's current lending portfolio (net commitment) in the state amounts to $400 million.
He explained that in the past several years, the Bank has financed a variety of investment projects in the state - for rural roads and state highways, child nutrition, irrigation and power - as well as two structural adjustment loans which focused on fiscal, governance and power sector issues.
He praised Andhra Pradesh for forging ahead with sectoral reforms in various fields and said that the Bank was happy with the state's policy initiatives to reform the various sectors.
Wheeler explained that the World Bank's projects currently being implemented in the state include three single-state projects (two rural poverty reduction programmes and a community forest management project) as well as several multi-state/national projects that include a number of health projects and one project each on hydrology and the improvement of technical and engineering education.
The three single-state investment projects for a net commitment of $369 million that are currently under implementation in the state are the District Poverty Initiatives project and the Rural Poverty Reduction project, collectively known as the Velugu programme, for which the World Bank lending amounts to $230 million.
Over the past five years, these projects have supported more than half a million self-help groups and 910 federations, covering eight million households in over 29,000 villages. The coverage works out to 90 percent of all poor rural households in the state, Wheeler said.
The Bank's $108 million Community Forest Management project aims to improve forest management and reduce rural poverty by making the poor and primarily tribal forest-dependent communities assume full responsibility for the development and maintenance of forests formally placed under their stewardship. The project covers 5,000 villages in 14 districts of the state.
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