India, WB sign $500 million loan pact for rural roads
India signed a $500 million (Rs 3,371 crore) loan pact with World Bank to provide additional financing for PMGSY rural road projects. The loan has a 3-year grace period, and a maturity of 10 years, the finance ministry said in a release. It will provide additional financing for the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) Rural Roads Project “which will build 7,000 km of climate resilient roads, out of which 3,500 km will be constructed using green technologies”, the release said.
The World Bank has supported PMGSY since its inception in 2004. So far it has invested over $1.8 billion in loans and credits mostly in the economically weaker and hill states across North India—Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh.
It has built and improved about 35,000 km of rural roads and benefited about eight million people with access to all-weather roads. The release further said that adequate maintenance of the existing 4.6 million km of road network is emerging as a major challenge.
Many parts of the existing road network are either vulnerable to or have suffered damage from climate induced events. “To support the rural economy and communities and households that depend on rural livelihoods, it will be critical to ensure that infrastructure is built and maintained to withstand climatic changes,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank country director in India.