The World Bank has reached an agreement with the Government of India to provide $250 million to boost income in rural households across the country. The World Bank will provide the loan amount towards the National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP), which was started to provide new economic initiatives to women living in rural regions. This project will focus on both farm and non-farm products to increase income in these regions.
This loan comes with a maturity period of 20 years with an additional grace period of 5 years. Approval for the project was given last year by the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank. The final agreement was signed on Tuesday between the World Bank and the Government of India.
The main focus of the NRETP would be to promote women-led enterprises in rural areas of India. Most importantly, this project will help women access finance for their start-ups and generate employment in rural regions. One of the components of the project also focuses on using digital financial services to engage with the market on a bigger scale.
As per the agreement, this project will be implemented in 13 states across the country. This loan is in addition to the $500 million approved by the World Bank in July 2011 for the National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP). NRLP is already in effect in these 13 states and has so far mobilised over 8.8 million poor women from rural areas into various self-help groups.
The statement released by the project noted that it will continue to provide guidance and technical assistance to women engaged in various business activities. In rural areas, it will focus on developing high-value farm products and various non-farm products like livestock and fisheries.
Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, signed the agreement on behalf of the Indian government with World Bank India’s Acting Country Director, Mr. Hisham Abdo.
Source: Financial Express