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Last Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007, 16:43 GMT
India seeks World Bank rupee loan
By Prachi Pinglay
BBC News, Mumbai

India rupees
The loan would not be affected by varying exchange rates
The World Bank is considering whether to make a huge loan to India in rupees rather than dollars.

The Maharashtra state government is seeking a loan worth some $3.5bn but is concerned about the fluctuations in the value of the dollar.

If approved, it would be the first time the World Bank has agreed to a such a loan in rupees.

The bank says the money would be invested in health, water, energy and irrigation projects.

World Bank approval

The loan represents some 60% of total costs for the development project which come to nearly $6bn.

Indian doctor and patient
The money will partly be spent on better healthcare

The idea is that the loan would be sanctioned in dollars, but would be handed over in rupees.

All repayments would be in rupees too.

This would prevent any changes in the amount to be repaid caused by fluctuating exchange rates.

The loan still has to get the approval of the World Bank, India's central government and the Maharashtra state government.

The loan arrangement was discussed at a meeting between World Bank Country Director for India, Isabel Guerrero, and Maharashtra state government officials on Thursday.

In the last few months, the rupee has appreciated sharply against the dollar from 45 rupees to a dollar to 40 rupees to a dollar.

One of the projects Maharashtra wants help with is the Mumbai Metro project, projected to cost $2.5bn. It is hoping to receive loans of $1.5bn.

The project would connect south Mumbai (Bombay) to the suburbs.

Other projects include rural and urban water supplies, power transmission, technical support for a "vision Mumbai" plan and a possible Public Private Partnership (PPP) in irrigation.

SEE ALSO
World Bank loan for India farmers
27 Jun 07 |  South Asia

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