The Government of India, the Government of Jharkhand and the World Bank has signed a $147 Million Loan Agreement to provide basic urban services to the people of Jharkhand and help improve the management capacity of the urban local bodies (ULBs) in the State.
The Jharkhand Municipal Development Project will focus on improving the municipal sector’s capacity to provide basic urban services. It will invest in urban services such as water supply, sewerage, drainage, and urban roads; and strengthen the capacity of the Jharkhand Urban Infrastructure Development Company (JUIDCO) as well as that of the ULBs to carry out reforms in the areas of urban finance and governance.
This is in keeping with the needs of a rapidly urbanizing state where about 31 million people reside in urban areas and urban population growth in nine of 24 districts in Jharkhand is above India’s overall urbanization pace of 2.7 percent.
Speaking on the occasion, Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, said that the Government of India recognizes that urbanization and economic growth are interlinked and initiated a comprehensive road map for municipal reforms through the AMRUT program. He further said that the Jharkhand Municipal Reform Program will be a definite step forward to strengthen and improve urban services in a fast urbanizing state and will provide an impetus to economic growth.
The Loan Agreement was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India and Shanker Lal, Acting Country Director (India), the World Bank, on behalf of the World Bank. Whereas, the Project Agreement was signed by Ameet Kumar, Director, State Urban Development Agency (SUDA), Urban Development & Housing Department on behalf of the Government of Jharkhand, Utkarsh Mishra, Deputy Project Director (EAP) on behalf of Jharkhand Urban Infrastructure Development Company on behalf of and Shanker Lal, Acting Country Director (India), the World Bank, on behalf of the World Bank.
Acting Country Director (India), Shanker Lal, said that over the past decade, Jharkhand has been focusing on bringing ULBs to the forefront of development and delivery of municipal services. However, there is a huge unfinished reforms and investment agenda for the State. He further said that in this broader context, this project will support the process of strengthening the capacity of urban local bodies while investing in municipal services.
Most of these components will be open to all 43 ULBs in the state who may wish to participate within an agreed framework under the project. Over 350,000 urban residents of the participating ULBs are expected to benefit, of which at least 45 percent will be women.
Interventions such as piped water supply, storm water drains, climate friendly road construction and energy efficient street lighting will not only help improve urban services but also make it environmentally sustainable.
Work on two sub-projects – Khunti water supply subproject and the Dhanbad roads subproject is expected to commence shortly. Through its other key components, the project will improve urban governance by assisting ULBs to improve their organizational capacity, manage finances in a sustainable manner, and focus on the development of its nodal implementing agency, JUIDCO.
Vasudha Thawakar , Senior Urban Development Specialist and Task Team Leader for the Project said that Jharkhand needs large-scale investments in urban infrastructure and services. Such investments will require a phased approach. This Project will focus on closing the gap on access to basic services and at the same time build the capacity of its institutions to better manage and provide services effectively.
The Loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 7-year grace period, and a final maturity of 22.5 years.