THREE WHITE LIES

All the three- the World Bank President Mr. James Wolfensohn; the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader, Dr. Y.S.Raja Sekhara Reddy and the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Mr. Chandra Babu Naidu -seem to have lied, if not erred. No loan, however trivial, is free from conditions. No sensible observer is foolish enough to believe that the World Bank extends loan
without dictating any terms either on repayment or on the utilisation of the amount lent.

The president of ‘the Big Bank’, having seen the ire of certain sections against the hike in power tariff, minced no words in bluntly rejecting the World Bank’s pressure on the state government to raise power charges. He washed off his hands saying that his bank hadn’t entailed any conditions on the loans granted to the state. This is a white lie.

Mr. Wolfensohn looked and spoke more like a politician then a Banker during his recent visit to India. This was more visible when he toured Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. He was generous not only in giving away loans but also in compliments. He lavishly used superlatives in praising Mr. Chandra Babu for spending the amount granted judiciously and purposefully. The rhetoric he used in his praise for the works done in AP was unlikely to a banker. Following the footsteps of her husband, Ms. Elaine Wolfensohn became a member in a thrift group ‘Mutually Aided Credit and Thrift Co-operative Society’ (MACTCS) of a small village in the state. Expressing her full contentment on empowerment of women though self-help groups in AP, she was more than generous in her applause and said, “you have done it (empowerment of women) in Andhra Pradesh. This is no longer a dream”.

Who’s wooing whom? Is the taker convincing the giver or the vice versa?

If one reads Mr. Wolfensohns statements between the lines, one can understand it is the World Bank, which is eager to grant loans to Andhra Pradesh. Perhaps, the World Bank might have considered AP as the ideal taker for the simple reasons it follows the stipulations of the Bank, before they are laid down.

Dr. Y.S.Raja Sekhara Reddy, while criticising Mr. Wolfensohn, visibly maintained double standards. He was right in disputing the latter’s claim that the Bank loan to the state did not entail any conditions. He said that the loan agreement with AP relating to the restructuring of the Electricity Board stipulated a tariff hike of 12 to 15 percent every year.

However, he wants all of us to believe that the Karnataka State takes similar loans without submitting to any conditions laid down by the World Bank. If the World Bank has a policy, it doesn’t vary from region to region in one country.

Of all, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh wants every one in the state believes that the loans can alleviate poverty and empower women. Just a few days before Wolfensohn’s visit, he appealed to paddy formers not to commit suicide. ; If poverty is really being removed, why do formers resort to end their lives.

To conclude, all the three have successfully fooled the people of Andhra Pradesh.

Satish Chandar

2000

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