Kathmandu, Dec 8 (UNI) The World Bank has approved its largest ever support package of 253 million dollars to Nepal for development of basic infrastructure and empowering the rural poor.
The new support package doubles the amount of development resources currently available from the Bank to Nepal. It aims at improving access to basic and primary education, enhance irrigation, expand rural roads, and improve living conditions and livelihoods.
World Bank Vice President for South Asia, Praful Patel, said the grant program intends to support government implementation of a development program that enjoys the backing of the seven party coalition in their efforts to sustain peace and build a new Nepal, press release issued by the bank said.
''We all know that peace is needed for development. But in Nepal development is needed for peace,'' he said, adding reinforcing the peace through development was an inspiring message for the people of Nepal who were demanding a positive change.
''Inequality and social exclusion are among Nepal's foremost development challenges,'' said Susan Goldmark, World Bank Country Director for Nepal.
The 100 million dollars for the Poverty Alleviation Fund Project II (PAF II) supports another community-driven development (CDD) program that has reached over 900,000 rural Nepalis over the last three years.
Through income-generation activities and community infrastructure projects, it is designed to improve living conditions among the rural poor, with particular attention to excluded groups by reasons of gender, ethnicity, caste, and location. The project would cover all 75 districts in the country, and be accessible to some one million rural households.
The 60 million dollars in additional financing for the Education for All Project is designed to improve access to and benefits from basic and primary education for children, especially from disadvantaged groups, and literacy programs to poor adults.
The 50 million dollars for the Irrigation and Water Resources Management Project aims to improve irrigated agriculture productivity, management of selected irrigation schemes and enhance institutional capacity for integrated water resources management.
The 42.60 million dollars for the Road Sector Development Project would support upgrading roads in five hill districts to improve access to economic centers and social services.
It entails upgrading of about 297 km of existing dry-season roads/tracks to all-season standard with sealed gravel pavements selected from a pool of more than 1000 km of prioritised roads.