WB ap­proves $1.5b for In­dia’s ru­ral roads scheme

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

NEW DELHI: The World Bank ap­proved a $ 1.5 bil­lion Credit and Loan for In­dia's Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yo­jana ( PMGSY) aimed to­wards im­prov­ing ru­ral ac­ces­si­bil­ity of roads.

The new project will con­cen­trate on the states of Hi­machal Pradesh, Jhark­hand, Megha­laya, Pun­jab, Ra­jasthan, Ut­tarak­hand, and Ut­tar Pradesh, the Bank said in a state­ment.

Over the next five years, the project will aim to pro­vide these states with an av­er­age con­nec­tiv­ity of around 91 per cent by con­struct­ing 24,200 km of all-weather roads to ben­e­fit an es­ti­mated 6.1 mil­lion peo­ple.

The project will also de­velop a sys­tem for main­tain­ing these roads in good con­di­tion over the long term.

"A good road net­work can gen­er­ate many com­mer­cial and so­cial ben­e­fits for ru­ral economies through in­creas­ing ac­cess to goods as well as ser­vices such as health and ed­u­ca­tion," said the World Bank's Coun­try Di­rec­tor for In­dia, Roberto Zagha.

The credit and loan is from the In­ter­na­tional Devel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (IDA) - the World Bank's con­ces­sion­ary lend­ing arm, which pro­vides in­ter­est-free loans with 35 years to ma­tu­rity and a 10-year grace pe­riod, and from the In­ter­na­tional Bank for Re­con­struc­tion and Devel­op­ment (IBRD) which has a 5-year grace pe­riod, and a ma­tu­rity of 18 years.

The pro­gram was es­tab­lished in the year 2000 to ad­dress the chal­lenge of poor ru­ral ac­ces­si­bil­ity at a time when al­most 40 per cent, or 300 mil­lion peo­ple in the coun­try lacked ac­cess to un­paved roads.

And a large part of the ex­ist­ing 2.7 mil­lion km of the ru­ral road net­work were in poor con­di­tion, im­ped­ing ac­cess to mar­kets and in­creas­ing trans­porta­tion costs. - PB News

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