World Bank should enhance assistance to India: FM

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Onboard Air India One, Nov 14 (UNI) To help tide over the fallout of the global financial crisis, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today sought greater developmental assistance from the World Bank for India and transfer of larger resources to developing countries from the Multilateral Institutions or working out a new global ad-hoc mechanism for the purpose.

''The World Bank can step up lending to India from the present level of three billion dollars a year for Central and State projects and programmes,'' Mr Chidambaram told a news conference.

The Finance Minister is part of the team led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh en route to Washington to participate in the G-20 Summit there.

The theme of the Summit is ''Financial Markets and World Economy'', where the discussions are expected to centre on the deepening global financial crisis which has shattered economies every where.

Mr Chidambaram's remarks relating to India seeking larger World Bank assistance assumes significance as the country no longer is dependent in any great measure on external assistance.

It is after several years now that India again is seeking larger International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Agency (IDA) -- the soft lending window of the Bank -- assistance.

Assistance from the World Bank, including for infrastructure development could spur growth, employment, incomes and consequentially demand. Part of the problem has arisen from global financial crisis and some from the long spell of inflation.

Mr Chidambaram said a new order on ''global oversight'' needs to emerge and this can happen through greater inclusivity of the international financial system. ''A more inclusive system can provide better surveillance and serve as an early warning system.'' ''In many ways the G-7 is too narrow and too small,'' he said.

He said only a handful of economies are driving global growth, India and China being two such countries, and added that there were other economies which have the potential to drive world growth and they need to be enabled to do so.

''It is very important that the few countries that are able to drive economic growth and other countries which are put on the bandwagon of development, should not suffer in the period during which we grapple with the world crisis. Resources must be made available to developing countries, including India, so that they can continue to grow,'' he said.

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