Protest against Global Institutions

World Bank and India:

World Bank and India have a long relation. Recently in 2007 the World Bank approved “a blend of loan and concessional credit of $600 million to India for beefing up its rural cooperative credit structure to transform access to financial services for the country’s poorer farmers.

Out of the USD 600 million loan $ 300 million would come as a loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) with 20 years maturity, including a five year grace period, the remaining amount would be in the form of concessional credit from the International Development Assistance (IDA) with 35 years to maturity.

As a part of Strengthening Rural Credit Cooperatives Project of the World Bank, the Government’s existing program will get a boost to reform and revitalize the country’s rural credit cooperative banks (CCBs)

12 Indian States (Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal) have signed agreement with the center and the Nabard for the rural cooperative credit structure reform program.

Better access to finance for India’s rural poor is absolutely critical for higher rural growth, for reducing inequality and ultimately alleviating poverty by providing small farmers with improved financial services such as credit, savings, remittance and insurance. CCB member would receive training in areas such as financial literacy and a strong project focus on monitoring and evaluating systems.

Beginning in 1999 what some are calling anti-capitalist protesters began to influence the workings of the major global institutions described above. The basic complaint against the WTO,IMF, and others is the amalgamate of unintended consequences of globalization: environmental concerns, workers, worker exploitation and domestic job losses, culture extinction, higher oil prices, and diminished sovereignty of nations. The anti-globalization protests first caught the attention of the world press during a WTO meting in Seattle in November 1999. Then came the World Bank and IMF meetings in April in Washington DC the World Economic Forum in Melbourne, Australia in September, and IMF / World Bank meetings in Prague also in September 2000. Some 10,000 protesters faced some 11,000 police in Prague. The protesters have established Web sites associated with each event, labeled according to the respective dates. The Web sites and the Internet have proved to be important media aiding organizational efforts. And the protest and violence have continued at other meetings of world leaders regarding economic issues such as G-8 meetings in Evian, France in 2003 and in individual countries affected by the IMF. Tragically, the terrorism in London was most likely timed to coincide with the G-8 meetings in Scotland in 2005.

The protest group, some of them with responsible intent has affected policy. For example, anti-sweatshop campaigns, mostly in America and mostly in America student led, have had effects beyond college campuses. A coalition of non-governmental organizations, students groups, and UNITE (the textiles workers’ union) recently sued clothing importers, including Calvin Klein and Gap, over working condition in the American commonwealth of Saipan in the Pacific. Faced with litigation and extended public campaign against their brands, 17 companies settled, promising better working conditions. Similarly, a World Bank project in China, which involved moving poor ethnic Chinese into lands that were traditionally Tibetan was abandoned after a political furor led by a relatively small group of pro-Tibetan activists.

Given the apparent previous success associated with the generally peaceful grassroots efforts to influence policy at these global institutions we can expect more of the same in the future. But to predict the consequences of terrorism apparently being added to the mix of protestation is impossible.