The FINANCIAL -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed a $273 million loan to continue improving rural roads in the states of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal.
The 20-year loan is the third and last tranche of an $800 million financing facility provided for the Rural Connectivity Investment Program. The loan will be used to construct over 6,100 kilometers of all-weather rural roads in the five states, benefiting over 4,200 rural habitations, according to ADB.
The signatories included S. Selvakumar Joint Secretary (Bilateral Cooperation), Department of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance, and Teresa Kho, Country Director, for ADB’s India Resident Mission.
“It is expected that this last stage of the program will result in similar benefits to the previous ones including improving and sustaining the connectivity of selected rural communities in the five states,” said Ms. Kho. “The third tranche loan will be used to make further investments in physical infrastructure, as well as supporting improved road design, road safety and asset management measures, and training, with women actively involved in all aspects.”
“The program has supported the government’s objectives under the Prime Minister of India’s rural roads initiative (PMGSY) by providing all-weather road connectivity in selected rural areas in the five states. Enhanced connectivity will improve access to markets, district headquarters, health and education facilities, and other centers of economic activity,” said Mr. Selvakumar.
The final subprogram phase is due to be completed in June 2018. Along with ADB’s loan, the Government of India will provide counterpart funds of nearly $234 million for a total cost of nearly $507 million.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.