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Sunday, June 16, 2024

New World Bank Initiative to Enhance Connectivity for 1.8 million Rural Residents in Assam State, India

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New World Bank Initiative to Enhance Connectivity for 1.8 million Rural Residents in Assam State, India

World Bank Approves Program to Improve Connectivity in Assam, India

The World Bank has approved a new program to support the state of Assam in India, aiming to improve connectivity for over 1.8 million people living in rural areas, especially during extreme weather events. Assam, the largest state in northeast India, is known for its abundant natural resources such as tea and spices and has the potential to enhance its competitiveness in the global value chain. However, the state is frequently exposed to climate events like floods, cyclones, and landslides, which affect smallholder farmer communities and tribal settlements that are not well connected to all-season bridges and roads.

Program Details

The $452 million Assam Resilient Rural Bridges Program aims to strengthen the resilience and management of roads and bridges to provide round-the-year access to wholesale markets, schools, hospitals, and places of work for people living in 1,739 villages. The program is expected to result in savings of over $82 million within the next six years compared to the earlier costs of traveling to these destinations.

The program will also benefit almost 633,000 women-led textile and handicraft producers living within 2 km of roads or collection points by providing access to electronic vehicles and logistics hubs to reach regional markets with reduced emissions. This initiative is expected to attract private investment for quality jobs, increase farmers’ incomes, and enhance value chains, promoting inclusive and diversified growth in the rural sector.

Implementation Plan

The Assam Public Works Roads Department will be supported in strengthening its financial and procurement processes using the state’s own systems. Additionally, training will be provided to improve disaster risk management. The program aims to increase women’s participation by almost 20 percent in jobs related to bridge design, construction, and maintenance, as well as operating digital platforms at rural transportation hubs.

Financial Details

The Program will be financed through a $452 million loan from the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) using the financing instruments of Program-for-Results (PforR) and Investment Project Financing (IPF). This will link the disbursement of funds directly to the achievement of results while providing technical assistance. The loan has a maturity of 19 years with a grace period of 4.5 years.

FAQ

Q: What is the goal of the Assam Resilient Rural Bridges Program?

A: The program aims to improve connectivity for over 1.8 million people living in rural areas, especially during extreme weather events, in Assam, India.

Q: How will the program benefit women-led textile and handicraft producers?

A: The program will provide access to electronic vehicles and logistics hubs for almost 633,000 women-led textile and handicraft producers to reach regional markets with reduced emissions.

Q: How will the Assam Public Works Roads Department be supported in the implementation of the program?

A: The department will receive support in strengthening its financial and procurement processes and training to improve disaster risk management.

Conclusion

This initiative is expected to have a significant impact on the livelihoods of the rural population in Assam by improving connectivity, enhancing access to markets, and promoting sustainable growth in the region. It demonstrates the World Bank’s commitment to supporting development projects that address climate challenges and promote inclusive economic growth in vulnerable communities.


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