Civil society groups are calling for a review of World Bank and CAS in India.
Below is a statement from Indian civil society groups on the World Bank consultation on its Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) on 31 May 2012:
The World Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) 2013-2016 Consultation is Farce
Indian Parliament Must Review Operations of World Bank and CAS in India
New Delhi, 8 June 2012– We came to know about the recent World Bank consultation on its Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) in Bengaluru held on 31 May 2012. Invitation for the meeting was sent to select NGOs, deliberately avoiding the ones who are critical of its policies, or are working on the social and environmental impacts of the projects funded by the World Bank.
This is typical World Bank conduct. It has consistently followed a non transparent and undemocratic procedure for previous CAS’ (2005-2008 and 2009-2012) consultations. It chooses a few select NGOs into a process of so called multi stakeholder consultations. After similar meetings with various Government departments (such as the Ministry of Finance) it then puts out the next CAS citing widespread ‘democratic’ consultations across the country and how the new CAS reflects a consensus among ‘civil society’ for the World Bank’s strategy of rapid growth and privatization.
It is about time to change this business as usual approach for the 2013-2016 CAS. The World Bank is at its most vulnerable in recent years and continually unable to meet its stated objectives. Many of India’s vibrant people’s movements and civil society organizations argue that the World Bank has no legitimate role in development policy. This was amply evident at the 2007 Independent Peoples Tribunal on the World Bank which over 60 national groups and some 600 people participated. The World Bank is unclear about its role in India – its budgetary allocations amount for a minuscule amount of India’s development budget (the World Bank contributes only about 3.3 percent of the Central government’s development spending, and its loan volume is only about 0.2 percent of India’s GDP) and its reinvention as a climate bank from a development bank has been an abject failure. And lastly many of the World Bank’s own evaluations cite that many of its projects don’t meet their objectives.
The signatories to this statement, several of who question the very need for the existence of such an undemocratic institution as the World Bank, demand that the 2013-2016 CAS process be put on hold. The next CAS should be subordinated to deep and detailed consultations and wider process of debate in the Parliament, among other elected representatives and with a wider set of people – project affected communities, academicians and civil society groups. The new CAS should be finalized only after a detailed review process and a much required assessment by the Indian Parliament of the 2009-2012 CAS and of the broader need for World Bank finance and advice for the future development of the country. The Parliament should initiate such a consultation and evaluation process on the CAS involving project affected communities, parliamentarians and other elected representatives, academicians and civil society groups. Their inputs should form an integral part of assessing the previous CAS and informing a democratic debate on the need for new set of funding from the World Bank.
National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers
National Fishworkers Forum
Urban Research Centre, Bangalore
Matu Jansangthan, Uttrakhand
South Asia Network for Dams, Rivers and People, New Delhi
Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, Madhya Pradesh
Environment Support Group, Bangalore
Intercultural Resources, New Delhi
Delhi Forum, New Delhi
Programme for Social Action, New Delhi
Machimaar Adhikaar Sangharsh Sangathan, Gujarat
Odisha Chas Parivesh Surekhsa Parishad, Odisha
INSAF (Indian Social Action Forum), New Delhi
Rural Volunteers Center, Assam
Narmada Bachao Andolan, Maharashtra
Water Initiatives Odisha, Odisha
North East Peoples’ Alliance, Manipur
Citizens Concern for Dams and Development, Manipur.
Toxics Watch, New Delhi
DICE Foundation, Nagaland
Institute for Democracy And Sustainability, New Delhi
Focus on the Global South, New Delhi
Jharkhand Mines Area Coordination Committee, Jharkhand.
BIRSA (Bindrai Institute for Research, Study and Action)
Dynamic Action Group, Kerala