World Bank - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   World Bank Group approved USD 210 million loan for strengthening gram panchayats in which state?

a. West Bengal
b. Bihar
c. Jharkhand
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: West Bengal

The World Bank Group on March 15, 2017 approved USD 210 million loan to strengthen gram panchayats in West Bengal.

The loan amount will be utilized for implementation of Phase 2 of the West BengalSupport to Institutional Strengthening of Gram Panchayat Program- ISGPP-2

The ISGPP- II will support 3,342 GPs in the state to utilize untied and discretionary funds provided under the inter-governmental fiscal transfer system.

The program seeks to strengthen local community participation in the financial management, planning and budgeting of projects introduced in rural areas.

During the first phase of the project, performance based block grants were given to 1,000 better performing GPs within 9 districts for investing in priority local infrastructure and service delivery projects.

Till now, 92,000 activities were carried out by GPs under the ISGPP.

Around 54 percent of the activities belonged to the transport sector, and 23 percent in areas concerned with water and sanitation.

The ISGPP-II will accelerate the pace of decentralization to gram panchayats across West Bengal through state wide unified performance based grant allocation system.

To access the PBG, GPs will be assessed on an annual basis through independent Annual Performance Assessment

The APA will be conducted for all 3342 GPs in special performance areas such as project execution, budgeting, planning, service delivery, accounting,financial reporting, auditing, transparency and accountability.

Certain other areas the program focuses on comprise building human resource capacity for enhanced transparency and accountability in local government functioning.

A robust internal audit system will be developed and implemented in gram panchayats.

West Bengal: Know More

  • Area: 88,752 km²Capital: Kolkata
  • Population: 90.32 million (2012)
  • Official animal: Fishing cat

2)   What will be the impact of World Bank approving US$175 for India's Hydrology Project?

a. Strengthening the capacity of existing institutions to assess the water situation
b. Equipping them with real time flood forecast systems across the nation
c. Helping new states to better manage water flows from reservoirs
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

The World Bank has approved USD 175 million for the National Hydrology Project in India.

It will strengthen the capacity of current institutions to assess the water situation and enable them to have real time flood forecast systems across the nation.

Apart from helping states benefiting from earlier projects to fund and upgrade as well as complete monitoring networks, the national project will also assist new states to manage reservoir water flow better.

This will reduce the vulnerability of many regions to recurring floods and droughts as a result of real time ground information for the entire country issuing alerts for difficulties encountered.

The entire project worth INR 3679 crore will be implemented by 2023-24.

World Bank will provide financial assistance for nearly 50 percent of the total cost.

National Hydrology Project approved by the World Bank Board on 15th March 2017 building on the success of earlier India projects- Hydrology Project I and II.

This led to real time flood forecast systems integrated with weather forecast in two large river systems - Krishna and Satluj Beas.

This gives reservoir managers an accurate picture of water situation in their region.

National projects will now scale up successes attained under HP-1 and 2 to cover the whole nation including Ganga and Bramhaputra Barak basins.

In the context of climate change, advanced flood management and enhanced river basin planning are essential for creating livelihood and sustaining economic growth.

Project can help communities to plan in advance to create resilience against uncertainties of climate change.

About the National Hydrology Project

  • This was approved by Union Cabinet in April 2016.
  • It is a CSS with total outlay of INR 3679 crore
  • INR 3640 crore will be spent for the national project while remaining INR 39 crore will be for establishment of the National Water Informatics Centre.
  • Project will help states to monitor all aspects of the hydro-meteorological cycle and adopt procedures laid out in previous projects.
  • This measures how much rain or snow has been received in catchment areas of rivers, the rapidity with which snow will melt, speed with which water is flowing, how much silt has built up and how the water will reach the reservoir and how soon it will work.
  • The Project is aimed at improving the extent, quality, and accessibility of water resources information and decision support

3)   World Bank Group on 13th Dec 2016 halted the processes by India and Pakistan under which treaty?

a. Indus Water Treaty
b. Sutlej Water Treaty
c. Beas Water Treaty
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Indus Water Treaty

The World Bank Group on 13th Dec 2016 halted the two concurrent processes initiated by India and Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty.

The bank initiated this move to protect the treaty.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim informed the finance ministries of both countries to this effect.

India planned to construct the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric power plants on Indus River System in J&K.

Pakistan raised objections against these projects claiming they would affect Pakistan by impacting the river flow adversely.

To resolve the differences between India and Pakistan, the two countries asked the World Bank to appoint a neutral expert and a court of arbitration respectively.

Bank in its earlier communication to both countries said that necessary processes will be put in place by Dec 12, 2016.

Bank withdrew this communication and made the announcement that the concurrent process would make the treaty unworkable over time.

These processes were therefore stopped.

Indus Water Treaty

  • Water distribution treaty between India and Pakistan.
  • Brokered by the World Bank.
  • Signed on: 19th Sept 1960.
  • Signatories: PM Jawaharlal Nehru and President Ayub Khan.
  • Control over three western flowing rivers Indus, Chenab and Jhelum vests with Pakistan.
  • Three eastern rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej are controlled by India
  • Treaty provides for dispute resolution mechanism at three levels:

  • a. Questions
    b. Differences
    c. Disputes
  • In Sept 2016, following the Pathankot and Uri attacks, PM Modi stopped the Permanent Indus Commission meeting.

4)   World Bank Group on 25th Oct 2016 released the report entitled Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All. Which country stood first in the list of merit?

a. Denmark
b. Singapore
c. Finland
d. New Zealand
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: New Zealand

The World Bank Group on 25th October 2016 released the report entitled Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All.

  • It is the 14th report in a series of annual reports measuring the regulations that promote business activity as opposed to those that constrain it
  • Data in Doing Business 2017 report are current as per June 1, 2016
  • Indicators are used to analyse economic outcomes and identify the nature of reforms that have been brought about through business regulation
  • It finds that entrepreneurs in 137 economies saw improvements in local regulatory frameworks in the previous year- between June 2015 and 2016, the report documented 283 business reforms
  • Reforms reducing the complexity and cost of regulatory processes were common in 2015-2016
  • The next most common reforms were in the areas of paying taxes, obtaining credit and trading across borders
  • In its global country rankings of business efficiency, the coveted first rank was awarded to New Zealand
  • Singapore followed second and Denmark was at the third positions
  • Hong Kong SAR, China, Korea, Norway, the UK and United States as well as Sweden were among the top 10 countries in international rankings
  • Brunei Darussalam, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Belarus, Indonesia, Serbia, Georgia, and Pakistan, the UAE and Bahrain were top gainers
  • These top 10 rank improving countries implemented 48 regulatory reforms marking ease of doing business
  • All the economies in the region implemented the reforms easing the process of doing business, though Europe and Central Asia were regions with the most number of economies implementing at least one reform
  • Developing countries carried out more than 75 percent of the 283 reforms in the past year
  • Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for over one-quarter of all reforms
  • Starting a business takes 21 days worldwide compared with 46 days 10 years ago
  • It also features expansions to the Paying Taxes indicator to cover post-filing processes such as tax refunds, tax audits and administrative tax appeals to better comprehend the overall tax environment
  • It also studies procurement in 78 economies across 5 main areas: accessibility and transparency, bid security, payment delays, incentives for MSMEs and complaint mechanisms
  • Doing Business includes a gender dimension in 4 of 11 topic sets- Starting a business, registering property and enforcing contract presenting a gender dimension for the first time this year
  • The report features 6 case studies in areas of getting electricity, gaining credit, legal rights, credit information, protection of minority investors, paying taxes and trading across borders
  • East Asia and the Pacific is home to two of the world’s leading 10 economies– Singapore, the Hong Kong SAR, China and two of the top 10 improvers– Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam
  • The economies of the region implemented close to 45 reforms to improve the ease of carrying out business
  • The Europe and Central Asia was a major reformer in the past year, with Belarus, Georgia, Serbia and Kazakhstan among the top 10 improvers in the world
  • Business reform activity accelerating in latin America and the Caribbean with over 2/3 of the region’s economies implementing around 32 reforms in the past year, compared with 24 reforms in the previous year
  • MENA region saw the most reforms carried out in the past year since 2009, with over 35 reforms in 15 of the region’s 20 economies
  • UAE and Bahrain were among the world’s top 10 improvers
  • In South Asia, 5 of the region’s 8 economies implemented a total of 11 reforms in the past year as against nine in the previous year
  • Pakistan, which is among the world’s top 10 improvers, implemented several reforms as did India and Sri Lanka
  • African economies stepped up massive pace of reforms as well
  • India moved one rank up to the 130th position
  • This marginal improvement came, marking slight improvement in four indicators- getting electricity, enforcing contracts, trading across borders and registering property
  • In the 2017 rankings, the only major improvement for India was seen in getting electricity
  • In terms of starting a business, Indian ranking went down to 155 from 151 last year
  • This was also true for registering a property
  • For resolving insolvency, the position of the country slid a single rank to 136
  • India’s ranking in trading across borders fell by 10 spots to 143 though the World Bank recognised Indian reforms in making imports and exports easier through the launch of the ICEGATE portal
  • The ranking covers data from Delhi and Mumbai, with weights of 53 and 47 percent respectively

5)   Remittances to India have declined by what percent in 2016, according to World Bank India?

a. 4%
b. 5%
c. 6%
d. 7%
Answer  Explanation 


World Bank India, the world’s largest remittance recipient in 2015 may receive a remittance of USD 65.5 billion this year, a drop of 5 percent according to the World Bank.

  • The reason for this is weak economic growth in remittance source countries and cyclic low oil prices
  • In 2016, remittance flows are expected to decline by 5% in India and 3.5% in Bangladesh while they will grow by 5.1% in Pakistan and 1.6 percent in Sri Lanka, the latest report on remittances said
  • Despite the drop, India is topping the countries receiving remittance this year, according to most estimates
  • The World Bank indicated in 2016, India is expected to receive a remittance of USD 65.5 billion followed by China (USD 65.2 billion)
  • Pakistan is positioned at number 5 and estimated to receive USD 20.3 billion in 2016
  • Remittances to South Asia are expected to decline by 2.3 percent in 2016 following a 1.6 percent decline in 2015
  • This is due to weak economic growth in remittances source countries and cyclic low oil prices
  • India retained its top spot in 2015, attracting close to USD 69 billion in remittances according to the World Bank
  • Remittances from GCC countries continued to decline on account of lower oil prices and about market nationalisation policies in Saudi Arabia
  • Gulf Cooperation Council is an alliance of 6 Middle Eastern companies- Kuwait, Saudi arabia, UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar
  • This is set against the backdrop of tepid global growth, remittance flows to low and middle income countries to low and middle income countries
  • New normal of slow growth has been entered and in 2016, remittance flows to LMIC are projected to reach USD 442 billion, marking an increase of 0.8percent over 2015
  • Modest recovery in 2016 is largely driven by an increase in remittance flows to Latin America and the Caribbean on the basis of a stronger economy in the US
  • By contrast, the remittance flows to other developing regions either fell or recorded a deceleration in growth
  • Low prices continued to be a factor in reduced remittance flows from Russia and the GCC countries
  • Additionally, structural factors have also played a role in dampening remittances growth
  • Anti-money laundering efforts have prompted banks to shit accounts of money transfer operators, diverting activity to informal channels
  • Remittances continue to be an important component of the global economy, surpassing international aid
  • This new normal of weak growth in remittances can impact economies across the globe and create a new set of challenges for economic growth.

6)   Who was the only candidate to contest for the post of World Bank president in 2016?

a. Jim Yong Kim
b. Kim Yong Jim
c. Lim Yong Kim
d. Lim Yong Jim
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Jim Yong Kim

World Bank has reappointed President Jim Yong Kim as he was the only candidate in a process criticised by the World Bank staff and campaigners as lacking transparency and dominated by the United States.

  • Bank’s board offered a strong endorsement of Kim’s record including setting the goal of eliminating extreme global poverty by 2030 and an internal reorganisation to promote better coordination which provoked staff dissent
  • Board also said an effort under Kim to cut bank spending reduced administrative costs by USD 400 million, money then reinvested to support the bank’s goals.
  • Expenditure review is on track, allowing the organisation to increase its support for countries and focusing on delivering results more quickly
  • The Bank’s largest shareholder has chosen all World Bank presidents since the creation of the institution in the 1940s- this is the United States
  • Kim was the first US nominee to face a challenger when Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala entered the contest.
  • Kim received the US endorsement almost immediately after the window for nominations for the term beginning next July opened, perhaps warding off challengers and avoiding a repeat of 2012.
  • Bank’s staff association held that WB faced a crisis of leadership

7)   World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced whom to be the Chief Economist and Senior VP of the WB?

a. Kaushik Basu
b. Paul Romer
c. Amartya Sen
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Paul Romer

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced American economist Paul Romer will succeed Kaushik Basu as the Chief Economist and Senior VP of the World Bank.

  • Romer’s appointment will take effect from September 2016; he is currently NYU professor and director of the University’s Marron Institute of Urban Management.
  • WB comprises two institutions IBRD and IDA and was created in 1944 along with the IMF.

8)   Loan and Project Agreements for World Bank/IBRD assistance of US $100 million was signed between which state government and the World Bank?

a. Government of Karnataka
b. Government of Kerala
c. Government of Andhra Pradesh
d. Government of Tamil Nadu
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Government of Karnataka

Loan and projects agreement for WB assistance of US $100 million for the Karnataka Urban Water Supply Modernisation project was signed between Government of India/Karnataka and the World Bank.

  • Objective was to provide city wide access to continuous piped water supply in eligible cities in the state of Karnataka
  • The aim is also to strengthen service delivery arrangements at the city level
  • KUIDFC is the implementing agency for this project
  • Project will have 4 broad components namely Capital Investment Program, Institution Building, Technical Assistance for Sector Development and Project Management.

9)   World Bank has projected that number of people living in extreme poverty is going to fall below which percentage of the world’s population in 2015?

a. 6%
b. 7%
c. 8%
d. 10%
Answer  Explanation 


Number of persons living in extreme poverty will fall below 10% of the world’s population in 2015, according to World Bank’s revised benchmark for measuring the problem. The definition of extreme poverty is living on or less than USD 1.25 per day though the WB’s adjustment has set the poverty line at USD 1.90 per day. New data shows differences in cost of living across nations. World Bank projects 702 million persons or 9.6% of the world’s population will be in extreme poverty in 2015 down from 12.8% in 2012. Fall in poverty is an account of robust economic growth rates in emerging markets and investments in social, health and education safety nets. The bank has also said that half of those living in extreme poverty by 2020 will be from fragile, conflict ridden states.

10)   With which bank the Government of India signed the Financing Agreement for assistance of US$ 308.40 million for National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project-II (NCRMP-II)?

b. ADB
c. World Bank
d. European Central Bank
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: World Bank

The objective of NCRMP-II is to reduce vulnerability to cyclone and other hydro-meteorological hazards of coastal communities in the States of Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and West Bengal; and increase the capacity of the State entities to effectively plan for and respond to disasters. NCRMP-II has four components which are: (i) Early Warning Dissemination Systems; (ii) Cyclone Risk Mitigation Infrastructure; (iii) Technical Assistance for Multi-Hazard Risk Management; and (iv) Project Management and Implementation Support.