International Financial Corporation [IFC], the private lending arm of World Bank Group, in India funds some of the country’s most notorious and abusive companies. Recipients of indirect IFC funds include Vedanta Resources, NHPC Limited and Jindal Steel & Power, which have well-documented records of complicity in grave human rights violations and environmental destruction. These companies would have little chance of receiving direct assistance from the IFC. Yet by outsourcing its development funds to for-profit commercial banks, the IFC is financing these companies through back channels, concealing its support from public scrutiny. In doing so, the IFC is providing little oversight in how its funds are used

The IFC’s investments in India’s financial sector are part of a global pattern. Over the past decade, the IFC has increasingly outsourced its development funds to third parties in the financial sector, such as banks, private equity funds and insurance firms. After years of providing loans mostly to companies and projects, this represents a sea change in how the World Bank Group member does business. Yet as this portfolio has grown, the IFC has been consistently unwilling to take responsibility for the negative impacts. Between 2005 and 2014, the IFC invested $520 million in one Indian infrastructure bank, IDFC, and five Indian commercial banks: ICICI, HDFC, Kotak Mahindra, Yes and Axis. These banks are exposed to vast swathes of the Indian economy. After receiving these funds, the banks went on to provide or arrange tens of billions of dollars in general corporate and project-specific financing for at least 12 of India’s most socially irresponsible corporations, including:

  • NHPC Limited, which owns dams that have submerged the homes, forests and farmland of hundreds of thousands of people without restitution and damaged crucial waterways.
  • Vedanta Resources, which attempted to displace and carve up the sacred land and forests of the Dongria Kondh tribe.
  • Eveready Industries, formerly known as Union Carbide India, which was responsible for the Bhopal gas disaster, the worst industrial accident in history.
  • Zuari AgriSciences, a cottonseed company that has been implicated in the worst forms of child labour.
  • Adani Power, whose Mundra coal plant, port and the special economic zone have polluted the coast of Gujarat, destroyed mangroves and displaced local fishing families.

IFC’s intermediary, ICICI, even helped Adani acquire the controversial Carmichael coal mine in Australia.  In 2010, ICICI and five other banks provided a $250 million loan to Adani Enterprises to acquire the Carmichael coal exploration rights from Linc Energy. The mine will be one of the world’s largest if it moves forward, despite deep opposition from the Australian public. It is expected to damage the Great Barrier Reef and create more annual carbon dioxide emissions than New York City, according to Australia Institute.

More on IFC’s lending through Financial Intermediaries at:

The weakest link in Development lending

New report reveals the World Bank’s murky financial entanglements with India’s most irresponsible corporations:

Bankrolling India’s Dirty Dozen

Outsourcing Development:  Lifting the veil on the World Bank Group’s lending through financial intermediaries

Outsourcing Development: Lifting the Veil on the World Bank Group’s Lending Through Financial Intermediaries

THE SUFFERING OF OTHERS The human cost of the International Finance Corporation’s lending through financial intermediaries

More on Tata Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project financed by IFC at:

More on GMR Kamalanga Project financed by IFC at

More on Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd finances by IFC at