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World Bank office nod

Patna, Feb. 5: Bihar seems to be topping the list of the most favoured destination for the World Bank in India now.

The international financial institution is going to open its first liaison office in the country in Patna by March-April.

A senior executive of World Bank said: “The World Bank plans to open a liaison office in Bihar. We are in communication with Unicef and plan to open an office in the Unicef premises in Patna. The office is likely to be operational between March and April.”

Housing all UN agencies, including Unicef, Unesco offices under one roof, the UN building at Patliputra roundabout was inaugurated on July 1, 2009, by Bijaya Rajbhandari, who was chief of field office, Unicef.

World Bank country director Onno Ruhl, during his visit to the city last Friday for participating in the second Bihar Innovation Forum, had said: “We will open an office of World Bank in Bihar as I am infatuated with the state and wish to contribute to its development.”

The new office of Patna is being perceived as a big achievement for the Nitish government. Economist Saibal Gupta, also the head of Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), said the upcoming office of World Bank is “a tribute to the development story of Bihar”.

The Patna office is expected to be mainly associated with the projects in Bihar. In fact, the process of recruitment for the Patna office has already begun. The “jobs” section on the World Bank website (http://web.worldbank.org) shows a vacancy for the post of “ET (extended term) consultant”. The consultant would work in coordination with the regional energy team and the rural development and livelihoods team in the World Bank, New Delhi, on energy access-related issues.

Commerce and industry bodies also seemed delighted with the arrival of the World Bank office in Patna.

“It is a big achievement. The new World Bank office can act as a catalyst in the overall development in the state. I hope the new World Bank office would augment infrastructure development in the state, which is a major issue,” said Kamal Sahi, resident director, eastern region of Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Apparently, the Patna office would be the fourth office of World Bank in India. Its headquarters for Indian operations is at New Delhi and it has a back office in Chennai as well.

The Chennai office is the sole back office of the World Bank headquartered in Washington, DC. Another office directly associated with the World Bank is the Mumbai office of International Finance Corporation, a wing of the World Bank group.