World Bank Country Director’s Visit: An Event to Remember

The Country Director of World Bank, Mr. Onno Ruhl recently visited West Bengal (Sept 17-19) along with delegates from the World Bank. He had several programs scheduled during his short yet eventful visit to the state.

One of the highlights from his trip was his visit to Chandipur Gram Panchayat (GP) under Uluberia–I Block, of Howrah district on September 19, 2014, to review the progress of the Institutional Strengthening of Gram Panchayats Project (ISGPP). This was part of his schedule, to review World Bank financed projects in West Bengal. The visit to the GP enabled him to understand its functioning, their role and responsibilities in depth. He appreciated the efforts made by the State Government through ISGPP project to strengthen the institutional processes of service delivery by GPs in West Bengal.

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Mr. Onno Ruhl inaugurated the ISGPP blog and Twitter profile of ISGPP. He commented on the ISGPP Welcome Blog Post with the following message “It is a great pleasure and honour to be visiting your Gram Panchayat. I am very much impressed with how the ISGPP is strengthening the level of Government closest to the people. Results are visible and will stay if you keep up the good work. I believe you will, as you have a strong team!”

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The SMS gateway service from the ISGPP website was also inaugurated by him with the following message “Very happy to inaugurate SMS service for ISGPP. Transparency is great – from Onno Ruhl Country Director, thru SMS gateway of PRD Deptt. Govt. of WB, concept by ISGPP, Message from Onno Ruhl, country Director, World Bank, India.” It is a mode of sending SMS from the website. It is a two way communication mode between Project Management, district administration and officials in the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) and /or to the common citizens of any project GP. Further he was also shown the ongoing GIS based monitoring and reporting system, which is being populated with the GP data and to assist the State and the citizens in large on the various activities of the GPs on a real time basis. Once completed, this system will be the first of its kind where GP activities will be opened to public viewing through the Panchayats and Rural Development department’s website.

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During his visit, Mr. Ruhl also met the Hon’ble Chief Minister of the State Ms. Mamata Banerjee, and had detailed discussions on the progress of World Bank funded projects in West Bengal. He assured World Bank’s continued partnership with the West Bengal Government on various sectors including total sanitation and social inclusion, which are the top priorities of the State and the Country at the moment. Earlier, Mr. Onno Ruhl along with a team of delegates from the World Bank met the Hon’ble Minister in charge of Panchayats and Rural Development Department, Mr. Subrata Mukherjee. Several project related issues were discussed followed by a presentation from the ISGPP team.

We’re confident that Mr. Ruhl’s eventful visit has etched a new chapter of development for West Bengal in the near future.

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