State inks pact for $125-million WB aid

Support for preparedness against natural disasters, climate change, pandemics

The Centre, the State government and the World Bank (WB) on Monday inked an agreement for a $125-million assistance for supporting Kerala’s preparedness against natural disasters, climate change, disease outbreaks and pandemics.

The Resilient Kerala Programme focuses on two key areas — incorporating disaster risk planning in the master plans of local bodies, and making the health, water resources management, agriculture and road sectors more resilient to calamities.

The $125-million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a final maturity of 14 years, including a grace period of six years. The World Bank Board of Executive Directors had cleared the proposal in June.

Signatories

The agreement was signed by Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, on behalf of the Government of India; Rajesh Kumar Singh, Additional Chief Secretary for the Kerala Government; and Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, India, for the World Bank.

The Resilient Kerala Programme “will help institutionalise disaster preparedness across various sectors to ensure a resilient recovery and sustainable development pathway for the State,” the Department of Economic Affairs, Union Ministry of Finance, noted.

“The objective is not to finance schemes but partner with the Government of Kerala to improve the State’s financial health; invest in sectors such as health, water resources, social protection and agriculture; and address the drivers of natural disasters, climate change, and pandemic risks,” Mr. Ahmad said in a statement.

Key sectors

Support to key sectors under the initiative include establishing a debt management unit in the Finance Department to support the State’s efforts to scale down its debt-to-GSDP ratio to a sustainable trajectory, developing a comprehensive disaster risk financing framework and disaster and climate-resilient urban development.

Building resilient public health and food systems, an integrated and sustainable water resources management system and climate-resilient road infrastructure are other highlights of the programme.

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