Outcry over World Bank role in Indian policy review

13 September 2011

A June public statement signed by more than 70 Indian organisations opposed the government’s decision to commission the World Bank to review anti-poverty schemes in the country, including the Public Distribution System (PDS), a subsidised national food security scheme. It says: “the [Bank] report strongly argues against [PDS], the only support of the poor and vulnerable [and] finds problems with Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREG) … While there are problems with PDS and MGNREG … the Bank fails to understand that any meddling with those would drive the poor to abject poverty and cause irreversible damage to them.” The statement argues that the objective of the government’s 12th five year plan, which the Bank study will inform, should be “democratising the governance through mechanisms to achieve greater transparency, participation and accountability. Commissioning institutes like the World Bank is effectively going in the opposite direction.”