World Bank says no plan to trim lending to India

Mumbai: The World Bank will not reduce its financial assistance at the moment to India for poverty alleviation measures because official data has shown the number of poor people has declined.

The international funding agency takes a long-term view on its commitments and the poverty data released on Monday will not have any bearing on that commitments, World Bank (WB) Country Head N Roberto Zagha said on the sidelines of an event here.

Zagha said the Bank does use official data put out by Indian agencies while making its plans. "We are constantly analysing (data), and right now I don't feel there will be any cut because the data have shown a reduction in poverty."

The Washington-headquartered multilateral lender envisages lending USD 14 billion for projects in the country between 2009 and 2012, according to its country website.

According to the data released by the Planning Commission, the number of people under the poverty line - whose daily consumption is below Rs 28.65 for urban centres and Rs 22.43 for rural areas - declined to 29.8 per cent in 2009-10 from 37.2 per cent in 2004.

Zagha also welcomed the Union Budget calling it as "realistic".

He, however, marked energy, uneducated labour force, increased urbanisation and regulatory issues as challenges being faced by the country at present which demand the added attention of policymakers.