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World Bank-Composition, role, and function | Indian Polity | General Studies II

Table of Contents:

  • About World Bank
  • Composition of World Bank
  • Evaluate the role of the World Bank in the sustainable development of India. ( UPPSC 2022)

About World Bank:

The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. Its primary goal is to reduce poverty, promote economic development, and improve living standards in these countries.

The following are some key points about the World Bank:


The World Bank was established in 1944 and officially began operations in 1946. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., USA.


The World Bank consists of two main institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Member countries include both developed and developing nations.


The World Bank provides loans, grants, and technical expertise to support a wide range of development projects, such as infrastructure, education, healthcare, and agriculture. Its aim is to help countries reduce poverty, promote sustainable economic growth, and address other development challenges.

Focus Areas: 

The World Bank focuses on various sectors, including education, healthcare, transportation, energy, and environmental sustainability. It also works on governance and institutional capacity-building to improve the effectiveness of public administration.


The World Bank raises funds from international capital markets by issuing bonds. It then lends these funds to member countries at low interest rates to finance development projects.

Research and Reports: 

The World Bank conducts research on global economic and development issues and publishes reports and data. It serves as a valuable source of information and analysis on topics related to global development.

Criticism and Reform: 

The World Bank has faced criticism and calls for reform over the years, particularly regarding the impact of its projects on the environment, social issues, and governance in recipient countries. Efforts have been made to increase transparency and accountability in its operations.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 

The World Bank aligns its work with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to contribute to global efforts to address poverty, inequality, and environmental sustainability.

Composition of World Bank:

The World Bank is composed of two main institutions, each with a distinct focus and membership:

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD):

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) is often referred to as the "World Bank" in a narrow sense.

Its primary focus is on middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries.

Member countries that join the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) are typically those that can access international capital markets and borrow at relatively low interest rates.

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) raises funds by issuing bonds on international financial markets and then lends these funds to member countries for development projects.

International Development Association (IDA):

The International Development Association (IDA) is the concessional arm of the World Bank.

It focuses on the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the world.

Member countries that join the International Development Association (IDA) receive grants and low-interest or zero-interest loans, as well as technical assistance.

International Development Association (IDA) financing is designed to support projects and initiatives that might not be viable with standard commercial loans due to the economic challenges faced by these countries.

Both the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA) operate under the umbrella of the World Bank Group, but they serve different purposes and have separate financial structures. Additionally, the World Bank Group includes other entities that focus on specific areas of development, such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for private sector development and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) for political risk insurance and investment promotion.

The governance structure of the World Bank includes a Board of Governors and a Board of Executive Directors, with decisions on major policies and lending operations requiring the approval of these bodies. Member countries are represented in these governance structures, and the voting power of each member is determined by their financial contributions to the institutions.


Evaluate the role of the World Bank in the sustainable development of India.

( UPPSC Mains General Studies-II/GS-2 2022)


The World Bank has played a significant role in supporting the sustainable development of India over the years. As an international financial institution, the World Bank provides financial and technical assistance to developing countries to address development challenges and promote economic growth, poverty reduction, and sustainability. 

The World Bank's role in India's sustainable development can be evaluated as follows:

Infrastructure Development: 

The World Bank has financed numerous infrastructure projects in India, including roads, railways, energy, water supply, and sanitation. These projects have contributed to improving connectivity, access to basic services, and overall economic development.

Poverty Reduction and Social Welfare: 

The World Bank has supported poverty reduction and social welfare initiatives in India through projects that focus on education, health, nutrition, and social safety nets. These efforts have aimed to improve human capital and promote inclusivity.

Sustainable Energy and Environment: 

The World Bank has extended support to India's efforts in sustainable energy and environmental conservation. It has financed renewable energy projects, urban waste management, and climate change adaptation initiatives.

Agriculture and Rural Development: 

The World Bank has assisted in modernizing India's agricultural sector, promoting sustainable farming practices, and enhancing rural infrastructure, which is crucial for inclusive development.

Institutional and Policy Reforms: 

The World Bank has encouraged institutional and policy reforms in India to enhance governance, transparency, and efficiency in various sectors. It has also provided technical assistance to strengthen institutions and build capacity.

Knowledge Sharing and Capacity Building: 

Apart from financial assistance, the World Bank provides valuable knowledge resources, and expertise to support India's development agenda. It facilitates knowledge sharing, best practices, and capacity building across various sectors.

Private Sector Development: 

The World Bank has supported India's private sector development through financing and advisory services to promote entrepreneurship, business growth, and job creation.

Disaster Risk Management: 

The World Bank has been instrumental in helping India strengthen its disaster risk management capabilities and build resilience against natural disasters and climate-related risks.

While the World Bank's support has been instrumental in several development projects and initiatives in India, there are also some areas of critique and concern:

Overemphasis on Infrastructure: 

Some critics argue that the World Bank's focus on infrastructure development may prioritize economic growth at the expense of environmental and social considerations.

Conditionalities and Policy Prescriptions: 

The World Bank's funding often comes with policy conditionalities, which some argue may not always align with the long-term sustainable development goals of the country.

Climate Change Mitigation vs. Fossil Fuel Financing: 

Critics have raised concerns about the World Bank's continued financing of fossil fuel projects in India, which may be inconsistent with sustainable development and climate change goals.

In conclusion, the World Bank has been an essential partner in supporting India's sustainable development efforts. Its financial assistance, knowledge sharing, and technical expertise have contributed to various sectors and initiatives in the country. 

However, it is essential to strike a balance between economic development, social inclusivity, and environmental sustainability while ensuring that development interventions align with India's long-term sustainable development goals and priorities.

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