BHUBANESWAR: The World Bank pledged to step up financial assistance to the State to help it pursue the goal of sustainable and inclusive growth by better utilisation of financial aid.
The issue of raising financial support was discussed here at a meeting on Wednesday between visiting World Bank President Robert B Zoellick and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
The discussions, according to a World Bank release, also focused on how its $ 600- million programme for the State could better address developmental challenges. The sectors identified for possible future focus included mining and water management.
“Odisha has made good development progress and the Government should be congratulated on achieving fiscal stability and for its focused efforts to overcome poverty, Zoellick said adding, the State’s vast mineral resources can make a substantial contribution to India’s growth in strategic sectors and also mitigate global pressure on commodity prices.
In addition to World Bank-assisted projects, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the Bank, has initiated a new Odisha inclusive growth partnership to help the State generate potentially transformative investments in key areas like agribusiness, downstream metal manufacturing and tourism, Zoellick told a media conference.
Responding to a query on expansion of the Integrated Coastal Zome Management (ICZM) programme and TRIPTI, the livelihood programme, the World Bank Chief said ICZM was recently launched. Good experience learned from the pilot project will be extended to west coast and beyond the country.
TRIPTI is a part of the livelihood programme under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) launched in 10 districts of the State and the Government of India will take a decision on the extension of the programme.
To a question on further assistance to the power sector reforms in the state, the Zoellick said distribution sector is facing challenges in many parts of the country and this needs to be strengthened. “The World Bank has been a development partner for the State and we hope to continue a mutual engagement in addressing these issues,” he added.
Zoellick, who is on a five-day India tour, is visiting Odisha to gain first-hand view of the State’s economic and social challenges and also to find out how best the Bank could support it. He visited Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary in Kendrapara district on Wednesday.
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