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India has USD 1 trillion infrastructure deficit: FM tells WB

Washington: India has a USD 1 trillion infrastructure deficit over the next five years, Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram has told the World Bank, which wants private sector participation to bridge the funding gap.

Chidambaram met World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Saturday morning on the sidelines of the annual Spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

At a public event here along with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Kim stressed on the importance of private sector participation on meeting such a massive funding need.

"I just met with the Finance Minister of India this morning, and he told me that, in India, they have a USD 1 trillion infrastructure deficit just for the next five years," Kim said.

"So, all of the official development assistance combined won't even meet half of India's infrastructure development needs. So, we've got to get the private sector involved," he said.

Chidambaram is in Washington to attend the annual Spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

No further details of Chidambaram's meeting with Kim were available.

"Now, at the World Bank Group, we have the International Finance Corporation, and specifically what they do is they say, 'We want to be sure that private investment, in infrastructure in ports, in roads, in telecommunications actually has the greatest development impact'".

"So, our team at IFC, if–they get extra credit, they get better evaluations of the investments they make and the investments they bring in actually have a development impact," Kim said.

He said the World Bank has zero tolerance for corruption.

"You have to have an absolute zero tolerance for corruption, and that's exactly the way we've done it," he said, as he referred to Bangladesh where the Bank had to suspend work on a bridge and, in the process, debarred a company.

"We just did that, and it was the longest debarment in our history. They are now prohibited for working on any of our projects for 10 years, and you have to have a complete, zero-tolerance approach and that is what we do in the World Bank Group," he said.

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