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

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

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.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.