Skip to main content

World Bank decides action on "sweeping failures" in rehabilitating people affected by projects funded by it

Fishing community in Gujarat "affected" by World Bank power project
By Our Representative
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a powerful group of cross-border journalists, has appreciated that, after years of delay, the World Bank has initiated “action to address sweeping failures in its oversight of development projects that force people from their land or harm their livelihoods.”
ICIJ, which is a project of the US-based Centre for Public Integrity, says, “The changes are aimed at fixing a decades-long problem at the planet’s preeminent development lender: the World Bank has strong ‘social safeguards’ for protecting people in the path of development, but it often fails to make sure that governments that get the bank’s money follow these rules.”
ICIJ notes, “The bank has completed a reorganization that gives the specialists who enforce social safeguards independent budgets and supervisors, to give them autonomy from the managers of the projects they oversee.”
It reports, the World Bank is “hiring 11 new social safeguards specialists, reviewing its lending portfolio to identify projects in need of additional safeguards support, and requiring that all safeguards staff attend a Resettlement Boot Camp.”
In addition, ICIJ says, “The bank has increased funding for safeguards operations by about 15 percent, although it did not provide specific budget figures.” It quotes a World Bank statement as saying, “We recognize that our efforts have not always been sufficient, and we are continuing to engage with borrowers to make sure that people displaced physically or economically are compensated and assisted.”
ICIJ, along with its media partner Huffington Post reported in April how, between 2004 and 2013, development projects financed by the bank such as dams, roads and power plants physically or economically displaced an estimated 3.4 million people. One of the projects in India was a coal-based ultra mega power plant at Mundra, Gujarat, affecting fishing communities.
“The bank often failed to follow its rules for protecting these communities and in some cases funded governments and companies accused of human rights abuses”, says ICIJ in its blog titled “World Bank Rolls Out Reforms to Address Resettlement Failures.”
ICIJ’s investigation also found that the bank “often failed to properly review projects ahead of time to make sure that people living in the path of its projects were protected, and often did not keep track of what happened to displaced communities after projects were approved.”
It adds, “In many cases, governments and companies funded by the bank did not adequately resettle or compensate people who were displaced. In some instances, the bank’s borrowers used threats and violence to push people out of their homes.”
Reporting on the new change, ICIJ says, “The World Bank’s rules require that governments that receive the bank’s loans restore the livelihoods and living conditions of communities negatively affected by their projects to an equal or better standard than before the project was approved, and to resettle people who lose their homes.”
Since March, ICIJ says, it has been regularly inquiring about the details and progress of the bank’s reform plan. The latest update, announced on a fact sheet posted on the bank’s website on December 16, came in response to questions sent by ICIJ, The Huffington Post, NDR, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Fusion.

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.