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India,United States : World Bank signs $147 Million Loan Agreement to Improve Urban Services in Jharkhand
Publish Date : 26-Jun-2019

The Government of India, the Government of Jharkhand and the World Bank today signed a $147 million loan agreement to provide basic urban services to the people of Jharkhand and help improve the management capacity of the urban local bodies (ULBs) in the state.

The Jharkhand Municipal Development Project will focus on improving the municipal sectors capacity to provide basic urban services. It will invest in urban services such as water supply, sewerage, drainage, and urban roads; and strengthen the capacity of the Jharkhand Urban Infrastructure Development Company (JUIDCO) as well as that of the ULBs to carry out reforms in the areas of urban finance and governance.

This is in keeping with the needs of a rapidly urbanizing state where about 31 million people reside in urban areas and urban population growth in nine of 24 districts in Jharkhand is above Indias overall urbanization pace of 2.7 percent.

The Government of India initiated a comprehensive road map for municipal reforms through the AMRUT program, said Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. The Jharkhand Municipal Reform Program is a definite step forward to strengthen and improve urban services in a fast urbanizing state and will provide an impetus to economic growth.

The Loan Agreement was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India; Ameet Kumar, Director, State Urban Development Agency, Urban Development & Housing Department, on behalf of the Government of Jharkhand; and Shanker Lal, Acting Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank

Over the past decade, Jharkhand has been focusing on strengthening capacity of ULBs to deliver municipal services such as water supply and urban roads, etc. However, there is a huge unfinished reforms and investment agenda for the state, said Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India. This project will invest in municipal services so that people can have access to better roads, water supply, drainage and street lights.

Most of the project components will be open to all 43 ULBs in the state who may wish to participate within an agreed framework under the project. Over 350,000 urban residents of the participating ULBs are expected to benefit, of which at least 45 percent will be women.

Interventions such as piped water supply, storm water drains, climate friendly road construction and energy efficient street lighting will not only help improve urban services but also make it environmentally sustainable.

Work on two subprojects Khunti water supply subproject and the Dhanbad roads subproject is expected to commence shortly. Through its other key components, the project will improve urban governance by assisting ULBs to improve their organizational capacity, manage finances in a sustainable manner, and focus on the development of its nodal implementing agency, JUIDCO.

Jharkhand needs large-scale investments in urban infrastructure and services. Such investments will require a phased approach. This project will focus on closing the gap on access to basic services and at the same time build the capacity of its institutions to better manage and provide services effectively, said Vasudha Thawakar and Yarissa Lyngdoh Sommer, Senior Urban Development Specialists and Task Team Leaders for the project.

The loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 7-year grace period, and a final maturity of 22.5 years.

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