World Bank President Jim Yong Kim is on a three-day visit to India beginning March 11 to gather information on development challenges being faced by the country and look at opportunities for enhancing its role in reducing poverty at an accelerated pace.
This will be Kim's first visit to India after taking over as President of the World Bank Group last July.
During his visit, Kim will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and representatives of the private sector and the civil society to discuss India's major initiatives to foster equitable growth, said a World Bank release.
Kim will also visit Lucknow and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh to meet Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and see development challenges in the state, which is home to the largest number of India's poor.
"India has vast and valuable development experience, and I am eager to learn about its success stories to see how they could provide lessons for other countries," said the release quoting Kim.
"I also look forward to the opportunity to find out what the World Bank Group can do to work with India in ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity throughout the country", he added.
The World Bank Group President visits India at a time when it is rapidly urbanising, with 10 million Indians moving every year into towns and cities from the rural hinterland.
Kim will visit a village in Uttar Pradesh to gain insights into the realities of rural life that might compel migration to towns and cities.
He will then visit Kanpur, one of Uttar Pradesh's largest cities, to experience firsthand the challenges in managing increasing urbanisation.
"India's historic transformation provides a great opportunity to lift millions out of poverty, but it also poses enormous challenges in providing jobs, housing and basic services to people," Kim said.
"A quarter of urban India already lives in slums, with limited access to clean drinking water, proper sanitation, electricity or public transportation. I am here to see how the World Bank Group can support India as it strives to turn its urban centres into clean, livable cities for its people", he added.
India is the largest client of the World Bank Group.
Between 2009 and 2013, the Group lent around $25.5 billion to India.
This includes $12 billion from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, $8.3 billion from the International Development Association and a further $5.2 billion in investments from the International Finance Corporation.
As of January 2013, total IBRD and IDA net commitments stood at $23.1 billion (IBRD $13.2 billion, IDA $9.9 billion) across 77 projects.
At the end of January 2013, IFC's portfolio contained 219 projects, amounting to committed and disbursed exposure of $4.1 billion.
Image: Jim Yong Kim | Photograph: Enrique Castro-Mendivi/Reuters