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Land key to industrialisation, says World Bank chief economist

Washington DC: Availability of contiguous land is a key issue for major agricultural and industrial projects, said World Bank Chief Economist Kaushik Basu. Addressing the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, Basu talked about the major role the apex Bank played over the years in the economics of land. He also cited the example of the Indian business group – the Tatas – who tried to set up an automobile factory outside Kolkata in eastern India. The project became a contentious issue as several farm lands were involved, whose owners refused to part with their land. Close to its finalisation, the project fell through, prompting the Indian government to move towards a land acquisition Bill.

Citing this example, Basu pointed out that this is one area the World Bank can play a key role. Africa has taken lead in trying to develop some rules. The World Bank, the policy makers and the practitioners can get together potentially discussing these aspects and draft broad guidelines in this area for developing countries, he said. He also stressed that the forum would prove to be a great platform for south-south dialogue and enable a direct flow of knowledge and capacity building.

Source: Our Correspondent

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