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ADB to help India with $2 mn assistance grant

Written by: Staff

Singapore, Apr 5: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help India develop and improve the country's cities through a United States 2 million dollar technical assistance grant.

The grant will support the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), a national fund created to encourage sustainable urban development in the country, which is expected to invest about 11 billion dollars equivalent in developing infrastructure in 63 of the largest cities in India over the next seven years.

The project will help ensure the effective management and disbursement of JNNURM funds by providing consulting support through a project cell within the JNNURM project directorate at the Ministry of Urban Development (MUD), the government agency spearheading the initiative.

The project will also help the MUD refine the guidelines and processes for project preparation, appraisal, and evaluation. At the same time, it will help city and state governments meet MUD's requirements for accessing JNNURM funds. Systems and procedures to monitor the progress of projects and activities will also be established.

The Government will contribute 500,000 dollars in the form of counterpart staff and office facilities, to meet the project's total cost of 2.5 million dollar. MUD is the executing agency for the project, which will be carried out over the next three years.

With more than 285 million people, or more than one quarter of the population, living in cities, India has the world's second largest urban population. Given current trends in population growth and migration, India's urban population is estimated to reach 575 million by 2030.

Indian cities, however, are characterised by widespread poverty, poor urban infrastructure, and environmental degradation, said the Manila-based ADB in its observation of the country.

Less than 60 per cent of houses in the cities have sanitation facilities, and less than half have tap water on their premises.

About 40 million people are also estimated to live in slums, it noted.

''Poor urban development and management is not only undermining India's ability to deliver a decent quality of life to its citizens, it is also constraining potential local and national economic growth,'' said Nayana Mawilmada, an ADB Urban Development Specialist.

''The need for strong focus and accelerated investment in urban development is clear, he added.''


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