Chidambaram demands $ 154 bln from World Bank for energy sector

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Washington, Oct 21 (UNI) Finance Minister P Chidambaram today put India's requirements of 154 billion dollars before the World Bank for energy investment in the next five years, saying the Bank's allocation of 10 billion dollars fell short of the need of the developing nations.

Speaking at the Development Committee, the policy-making body of the Bank, he said India needed this amount to sustain its growth and human development objectives.

''We commend the Bank for scaling up energy investments to 10 billion dollars. However, this falls short of the huge investment needs in developing countries where access to affordable energy is a binding constraint in development,'' Mr Chidambaram said.

He, therefore, said, ''The Bank needs to innovate, leverage and scale up financing for the full menu of energy options.

Promotion of clean technology should be accompanied by provision of additional resources to meet the incremental costs.'' Mr Chidambaram said the world's real GDP growth was over five per cent last year, primarily due to a robust performance of Asian economies, notably China and India, supported by most of the industrial countries and emerging markets.

He, however, warned that recent financial market turbulence triggered by the sub-prime residential mortgage had enhanced the risk of global credit crunch which might adversely affect the global economy in the coming years.

''If growth in industrialised economies slows, it will have an adverse impact on the prospects of emerging and developing economies through, among other factors, reduced demand for their exports,'' he said.

He reminded the World Bank of its mandate of 'Working for a World Free of Poverty'. As current projections show, the end of poverty is not imminent and poverty eradication would continue to remain a major goal of the World Bank and the international development community in general.

Talking about the role of International Development Agency (IDA), the concessionary lending agency of the World bank, Mr Chidambaram said IDA support should reach a 'critical mass' and this support should continue to grow in tandem with the increasing absorptive capacity of its clients. India is one of the major beneficiaries of the IDA.


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