World Bank commits $1.5bn loan for ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’

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The Government of India and the World Bank have signed a loan agreement of USD 1.5 billion (around Rs 9,951 crore) to support India’s universal sanitation initiative under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

“The programme is targeted towards providing improved sanitation and eliminating open defecation by 2019,” World Bank said in a statement.

Monetary reward for good performance by the states and focus on behavioural changes are the two important aspects of the programme.

“The project will promote behaviour change among rural communities and help accelerate results in India’s state by giving performance-based incentives,” Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs said. “The government’s Swachh Bharat Mission aims to end open defecation system and improve the management of liquid and solid wastes,” he added.

In the next five years, the project would help the country’s rural component –Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) –using a performance-based program, which would link funds directly to results. This would contribute in ensuring that the benefits reaches directly to the people.

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has been assigned the task to oversee and coordinate the project and support the participating states. The World Bank will also provide technical assistance of USD 25 million (about Rs 165 crore) to help build the capacity of the selected states.

“In India, every tenth person dies due to the poor sanitation, which is maximum among the low-income households. This project will benefit the poor and vulnerable, especially the rural people,” said Ruhl, Country Director, World Bank, India, who was the signing authority along with Raj Kumar, on the other side.

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