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India (Loan Conditions)

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 8 April 1954

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how far the mission sent by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to India is insisting that loans to India shall be dependent upon India's accepting the principle of private enterprise in the industries affected; and whether he will give instructions to the United Kingdom representative on the board of the Bank to press than no such political conditions should be attached to the Bank's loans.

There have recently been several International Bank Missions to India and I do not know to which the right hon. Member is referring.

On the second part of the Question, I would refer the right hon. Member to Section 10 of Article IV of the International Bank Agreement, which provides expressly for the exclusion of political considerations from decisions of the Bank.

While thanking the hon. Gentleman for that answer, may I ask whether he is aware that there has been a report in the Ceylon Press recently to the effect that the World Bank Mission is putting pressure of this kind on the Indian Government? In view of the statements made at the time of the Colombo Plan, and also of authoritative American reports, that public enterprise will be needed on a great scale in countries like India, will the hon. Gentleman make sure that the Charter of the Bank is upheld?

I was not aware of that report, but I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for the opportunity of saying that, so far as Her Majesty's Government are concerned, we stand entirely by the original Article of the Bank which says that in making its decisions the Bank and its officers shall consider only economic considerations as being relevant.