“We had a very positive and constructive meeting with the chief minister. Many issues were discussed, especially about the co-operation we have with Tamil Nadu, which can be an example not only for other parts of India, but also other parts of the world,” said World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, while speaking to reporters after meeting chief minister J Jayalalithaa during his visit here.
“We are here for many, many years. Future of the world,” said Kim. He was referring to the World Bank’s operations in Chennai.
Kim mentioned that the state had done well in encouraging investment and growth and in improving social indicators like infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate. He stated that Tamil Nadu’s record in implementing projects was “really fantastic”.
Kim also inquired about current concerns in India regarding gender equality and violence against women, for which Jayalalithaa highlighted some of the initiatives taken in Tamil Nadu for reducing the huge discrimination against women, including the Cradle Baby Scheme launched in 1992 which put an end to female infanticide in the state, and the Girl Child Schemes tied with family welfare initiatives which ensured that families were willing to bring up girl children. To mitigate violence against women and give women the confidence to approach the police, the chief minister described the initiatives to set up all-women police stations.
The World Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) in India, proposes to focus on integration, transformation and inclusion. In all these three areas, Tamil Nadu remains a priority state for continued bank funding. Hence, continued and enhanced support to Tamil Nadu fits in quite well with the bank’s own CPS in India. On behalf of the Tamil Nadu government, Jayalalithaa assured that the state would utilise such assistance most prudently and efficiently.
The country director of the World Bank in India, Onno Ruhl mentioned that the World Bank was very happy with the implementation of programmes in Tamil Nadu.
He added that all the ‘follow-on’ projects would be cleared within a 12-month time-frame which is very rapid according to bank practices. He also promised to take up the issue of additional funding for the road sector project with the Union ministry of finance.