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( 13 Oct 2020)
ADB, govt ink USD 570 million loan agreement

Multilateral funding agency Asian Development Bank on Monday said it has inked loan agreement worth USD 570 million (about Rs 4,180 crore) with the Centre to fund public infrastructure building and strengthen urban local bodies in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

ADB and the Government of India signed a USD 300 million loan to finance inclusive and sustainable water supply and sanitation infrastructure and services in 14 secondary towns of Rajasthan, the agency said in a release.

Besides, a USD 270 million loan was signed to develop water supply and integrated stormwater and sewage management infrastructure as well as strengthen capacities of urban local bodies (ULBs) for improved service delivery in Madhya Pradesh.

Under the funding programme for Rajasthan, water supply systems in at least eight project towns are expected to improve by 2027, benefiting more than 5,70,000 people.

Citywide sanitation systems will benefit about 7,20,000 people in at least 14 secondary towns, ADB said.

The project will strengthen the institutional capacity of the local governments and Rajasthan Urban Drinking Water, Sewerage, and Infrastructure Corporation Limited, a corporate entity established with ADB’s technical support.

Enhanced support to women and vulnerable groups will be provided through skill training, paid internships, and community engagement and awareness activities, the Manila-headquartered agency said.

The signatories to Rajasthan Secondary Towns Development Sector Project were Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, and Takeo Konishi, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission.

The project aims to provide better quality and more sustainable water supply and sanitation (WSS) services in the project towns that will improve quality of life in these towns, including for the poor and vulnerable, Khare said.

"ADB incorporated practical lessons from the three earlier urban sector projects it has funded in Rajasthan since 2000 and included innovations such as the use of smart technologies and cost-effective systems," Konishi said.

Khare and Konishi also signed the agreement for the funding of Madhya Pradesh Urban Services Improvement Project, which is additional financing to scale up the scope of the ongoing project that was approved in 2017 with a USD 275 million loan.

It will expand the outcome of the current project by covering additional 64 small cities, benefiting 1,85,000 households consisting of about 1.3 million people, ADB said.

Khare said the Madhya Pradesh project will improve livability in selected cities with the provision of universal access to basic water and sanitation services for the residents.

"Through this project, ADB will continue innovative approaches and good practices of the ongoing project including universal coverage with 100 per cent household metering, full operation and maintenance cost recovery, and reducing non-revenue water," said Konishi.

The funding for the central state will receive support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, specifically for the integration of Citywide Inclusive Sanitation principles into the planning, design, implementation, operation, and maintenance of the sanitation sub-projects, ADB said.

"The provision of inclusive water and sanitation services to the urban poor will help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 or access to clean water and sanitation for all," Konishi added.