World Bank approves two projects worth 264 million dollars to India

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New Delhi, Sept 26 (UNI) The World Bank has approved two projects totalling 264 million dollars for States of Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka.

The World Bank approved 200 million dollars for Himachal Pradesh projects and 64 million dollars for the Karnataka project.

The 200 million dollars for the First Himachal Pradesh Development Policy Loan and Credit will support the implementation of critical structural, fiscal and administrative reforms needed to boost economic growth and inclusive development, while sustaining the environmental heritage of the State.

The operation supports fiscal reform including the strengthening of public financial management, and measures to improve the state's environment management capacity. It aims to enhance growth and employment, especially in the private sector, and improve governance and public administration.

''The state today faces new challenges, including to effectively manage the state's environmental resources, while investing in hydropower in an environmentally sound way. The operation supports this agenda, as well as addressing key fiscal issues and help sustain the state's natural resource base,'' said Isabel Guerrero, World Bank Country Director for India.

''The programme will strengthen fiscal sustainability and expenditure efficiency and show that there is a way out of excessive reliance on public sector led development, which will provide a valuable learning experience for other states rich in natural resources seeking to harness their development potential,'' said Mohan Nagarajan, Senior Economist and co-Team Leader of the operation.

The World Bank approved a 64 million dollar loan and credit in additional financing to the Karnataka Community Based Tank Management Project, a project that has so far mobilised 1518 Tank User Groups (TUG) to develop and manage some 1681 irrigation tanks since April 25, 2002, when the original project was approved by the World Bank.

The objectives will remain the same as the original project, to improve rural livelihoods and reduce poverty by developing community-based approaches to improving and managing tank systems.

The project is expected to facilitate sustainable tank development, ensure meaningful participation of traditionally marginalised tank users, increase agricultural productivity and farm income, and enhance income generating opportunities for non-command area tank users.

''The project has made an encouraging impact in terms of increased community participation, higher incomes, and employment generation for poor people in Karnataka,'' said Isabel Guerrero.

''It has demonstrated that community involvement in the rejuvenation and management of tanks is instrumental in expanding access to irrigation, and improving water management practices and livelihoods.

Consultation and participation of all stakeholders is the key not only to inducing a sense of ownership, but also for sustainable management of tank systems.'' About 2,50,000 rural households are expected to benefit from improved tank management supported by this project (including additional financing). It is anticipated that the major economic benefits will be in agriculture and horticulture production, fisheries, forestry, livestock, ground water recharge and time saved in fetching water, which will have a particular impact on the lives of rural women.

UNI

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