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India: Country Results Profile

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Groth in India

India: Reducing Poverty, Maximizing Growth


In the past decade, India has witnessed accelerated economic growth, progress on most of the Millennium Development Goals, and has emerged as a global player with the world’s fourth largest economy in purchasing power parity terms. However, poverty continues to remain a major challenge.


According to the newly revised official poverty line, 37 percent of India’s population (or about 410 million people) falls below the poverty line, making the country home to one-third of the world’s poor. And, although the impressive economic growth has brought significant economic as well as social benefits to the country, disparities in income and human development are on the rise.


To support India in achieving its long-term vision of a country free of poverty and exclusion, the World Bank’s fiscal year (FY)09-12 India Country Strategy (CAS) is closely aligned with the objectives of the Government of India’s Eleventh Five-Year Plan, its blueprint for growth for 2007-2012. The elements of the CAS are organized around three key challenges: (a) achieving rapid, inclusive growth; (b) ensuring development is sustainable; and (c) increasing the effectiveness of service delivery.

Since 1995, the International Development Association (IDA) has provided interest-free credits totaling US$19.4 billion to India. During this time, the IBRD has extended loans of US$23.6 billion to the country. Between 2000 and 2011, IDA committed US$14.5 billion to India through 57 projects. Consistent with IDA’s poverty focus, over three-quarters of the lending has gone to rural development (39 percent), health and nutrition (16 percent), and education (21 percent).


India’s integration into the global economy has been accompanied by impressive economic growth that has brought significant economic and social benefits to the country. While India’s seven poorest states remain home to more than half of India’s poor, its higher-income states have successfully reduced poverty to levels comparable with the richer Latin American countries. Resources generated from recent growth are being invested in a set of pioneering new initiatives that are revolutionizing the way services -- elementary education, basic health care, health insurance, rural roads and rural connectivity-- are being delivered to the poor.

  • Since 2001, India’s Education for All Program has enrolled some 20 million previously out-of-school children, especially girls and children from socially disadvantaged families, and the number of out-of-school children has fallen to about 8.1 million in 2009. Over 98 percent of India’s children now have access to a primary school within 1 kilometer of their home.
  • The rural livelihood programs have mobilized more than 13 million households in 90,000 villages to form community-managed institutions. These programs have enabled the po
  • or to create a savings base of US$1 billion, and catalyzed and leveraged about US$6.5 billion dollars in credit from commercial banks and insurance services for the benefit of more than five million poor households.
  • So far, the Bank has provided more than US$1 billion in IDA support for rural water supply and sanitation over fifteen years, benefiting about 25 million rural people. For example, in rural Kerala, about 1.2 million people now have access to safe water supply through taps in their homes, and more than 90,000 households have access to safe household sanitation facilities.
  • India has the largest burden of tuberculosis (TB) in the world and IDA is a major financing source (US$ 170 million) for the national TB control program. The program has exceeded worldwide targets with a 72 percent case detection rate and 87 percent treatment success rate in 2009.
  • Since 1993, IDA has financed three Sodic Lands Reclamation Projects in Uttar Pradesh, India with a total of nearly US$445 million. These projects have helped reclaim sodic lands that have been degraded over time due to waterlogging and poor drainage resulting in accumulation of harmful salts in the soil. This series of IDA projects has been catalytic in bringing barren or low productivity lands under cultivation.


I want her to study science and become an engineer.

— Mamta's father


An important way for IDA to leverage its resources has been through closer collaborations with partners and foundations. A good example of exploiting synergies with partners is the Bank’s work with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Commission (EC). In the education sector, IDA, DFID and the EC have been partners for more than a decade. DFID is also co-financing three health national operations with IDA. In the low-income state of Bihar, the Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and DFID have piloted a joint donor strategy since 2007 to provide coordinated support based on a shared vision of the government’s development priorities.

Toward the Future

Going forward, the Government of India has requested the World Bank’s engagement in some of its large transformative projects. These projects include a program to support the cleaning and conservation of the mighty Ganga River, and a phased approach in the flood-prone state of Bihar. The World Bank will also collaborate with the Government of India in some of its key strategic initiatives that have brought about dramatic improvements in the lives of India’s poor, including the National Livelihoods Program.

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