KOCHI: The Government of India, Government of Kerala and World Bank on Friday signed a loan agreement of $250 million (Rs 1,725 crore) for the First Resilient Kerala Programme to enhance the state’s resilience against the impact of natural disasters and climate change.
The programme, which represents the first ‘State Partnership’ of the World Bank in India, is the first of two Development Policy Operations aiming to mainstream disaster and climate resilience into critical infrastructure and services.
The loan aims to support Kerala with improved river basin and water infrastructure operations management, water supply and sanitation services, resilient and sustainable agriculture, enhanced agriculture risk insurance, improved resilience of the core road network, unified and more up-to-date land records in high-risk areas, risk-based urban planning and strengthened expenditure planning by urban local bodies and strengthened fiscal and public financial management capacity of the state, a press statement by the World Bank said.
The loan agreement was signed in New Delhi by Sameer Kumar Khare on behalf of the Government of India; Manoj Joshi, additional chief secretary, Finance, Government of Kerala; and Junaid Kamal Ahmad, country director, World Bank India.
Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Union Ministry of Finance, said the new loan programme was part of the central government’s support to the ‘Rebuild Kerala Development Programme’ aimed at building a green and resilient state.
He said this partnership would identify key areas of policy and institutional strengthening to maximise development impact. Ahmad said the state partnership was a key pillar of the World Bank’s new country partnership framework for India. Through such partnerships, the bank would support select states striving to bring about systemic improvements in the way development initiatives were planned and executed. “In Kerala, we will work across cross-cutting themes and priority sectors to build systems of resilience. We are committed to supporting the state government in bringing about a perceptible change in the lives of its citizens,” he said.
The World Bank has been working closely with the Government of India and Kerala following the floods in August 2018 to assess the impact of the natural calamity and assisting in recovery and reconstruction. The bank support has also helped identify policies, institutions and systems for resilience to disaster risks and climate change.
The 2018 flood in Kerala led to a severe impact on property, infrastructure, and lives and livelihoods of people. One-sixth of the people – about 5.4 million people – were affected while 1.4 million were displaced from their homes.