The World Bank on Thursday announced $ 1 billion in support of India’s ambitious solar generation plans, its largest financing of solar projects for any country in the world.
The projects now under preparation include solar rooftop technology, infrastructure for solar parks, bringing innovative solar and hybrid technologies to the market, and transmission lines for solar-rich States.
The commitment includes an agreement for a $ 625 million grid-connected rooftop solar programme for financing the installation of at least 40 megawatts of solar photovoltaic installations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim, who is on two-day trip to India, discussed the emphasis the multilateral institution is laying on accelerating India’s renewable energy push.
PM’s commitment lauded “We are doing all we can to support Prime Minister Modi’s personal commitment to renewable energy, especially in scaling up solar energy,” Dr. Kim said at a media briefing.
“India’s plans to virtually triple the share of renewable energy by 2030 will both transform the country’s energy supply and have far-reaching global implications in the fight against climate change,” he said.
According to him, India had become a leader in implementing the promises made in Paris for COP21 and the efforts against global warming.
The World Bank Group president also signed an agreement to be the financial partner for the International Solar Alliance that aims to collaborate on increasing solar energy use around the world, with the goal of mobilising $1 trillion in investments by 2030.
The Alliance, consisting of 121 countries, is led by India.
Prime Minister Modi, in an official statement, expressed happiness at the World Bank’s continued support to India, especially in priority areas like Smart Cities, Ganga Rejuvenation, Skill Development, Swachh Bharat and Power for All.
The two leaders also discussed how the World Bank can help the government in its efforts to improve the nutrition of all children, which, Dr. Kim said, was the best investment possible for India’s future.
Dr. Kim appreciated India’s rapid progress in improving the ease of doing business, especially in the area of logistics: An Index of Logistics released by the World Bank shows that from 2014 to 2016 India’s rank went up from 54th place to 35th place. “Logistics in India is better than in Portugal,” he said.
‘Big fan of PM’
Dr. Kim, who calls himself a “big fan” of the Prime Minister, said that one of the reasons why he always appreciates his meetings with Mr. Modi is that, “he always pushes us to move faster and faster – to keep pace with him”.
“The reason I’m such a big fan of Prime Minister Modi is because he does something that all great leaders should do, that is set ambitious targets, set deadlines for those targets and then hold your staff accountable for those targets…That is a tried and proved method of getting results”.
He also said that Prime Minister Modi, “understands the World Bank almost better than we do ourselves because he began making very specific demands on priority areas like Swachh Bharat and 24/7 power for all.”
Pat for Rajan
Responding to another question, Dr. Kim said Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan was a “great” central bank governor, who had done a “great” job.
He said he had heard from Mr. Modi and members of his team that the RBI will continue to have an independent head and the policies that have led to good outcomes will continue. “What I heard from is that there is not going to be much change. They will continue to have an independent central bank governor.”