Three World Bank Agreements signed for $ 944 million

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New Delhi, Nov 2 (UNI) Three World Bank loan agreements amounting to 944 million dollars were signed here today relating to rural credit, Vocational training and restoration of water bodies.

The agreements were signed in the presence of visiting World Bank President Robert B Zoellick, Finance Minister Shri P Chidambaram.

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes.

The signinig ceremony was performed by Mr Madhusudan Prasad, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of Government of India, and Ms. Isabel Guerrero, Country Director, India for the World Bank.

The credit or loan has been given for Strengthening Rural Credit Cooperatives Project for 600 million dollars (loan and credit); India Vocational Education Training Project for 280 million dollars (credit); and additional financing for the Karnataka Community Based Tank Management Project for 64 million dollars (loan and credit).

The World Bank assistance will help in revitalising rural financial institutions and provide credit to farmers with significantly enhanced access to formal finance.

The World Bank project envisages assistance of 600 million dollars, which is the largest single project funded by the World Bank in India.

NABARD would help in implementing this project.

The second project addresses the issues of improving the quality of vocational training, in keeping with the Government's keenness to ensure greater competitiveness of the labour force.

Under the World Bank project, Industrial Training Institutions will be strengthened to enable workers to upgrade their skills.

With 280 million dollars of IDA assistance envisaged in this project, 400 ITIs will be upgraded over a period of 4 years.

In several states, traditional water bodies have been an important source of irrigation and livelihood support over centuries. The government had initiated a pilot project for restoration and repair of these water bodies to unlock the huge potential they hold for improving agricultural production and livelihoods of the rural people.

Based on the pilot scheme, the World Bank has already finalised projects for Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The project for Karnataka is the third in the series and it envisages Bank assistance of 64 million dollars. This would cover 1225 tanks and bring an estimated 52,000 hectares under improved irrigation.

UNI

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