Home >Politics >Policy >Japan to finalize $3 bn funding plan after new govt takes over

New Delhi: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will finalize its financing commitment of around $3 billion (around 18,300 crore) to India soon after a new government takes charge at the Centre next month, and may consider increasing its annual financial assistance if government agencies are able to absorb higher funding.

“Considering our bilateral relationship, I believe in next couple of years we can maintain over $3 billion," JICA’s chief representative to India Shinya Ejima said.

“If the absorbing capacity of the Indian side is much stronger, then we will be in a position to increase our financial assistance," he said. “Though spending money is important, (effective) implementation of projects is rather more important."

In 2013-14, India spent $1.3 billion. In 2011-12 and 2012-13, JICA committed $2.67 billion and $3.49 billion, respectively. The unutilized part of the allocation gets carried forward to the next fiscal year.

Ejima explained that there is a time gap of around two years between the commitment of funds and project implementation. “After we commit a loan, various preparatory work is undertaken by the agency. Actual construction work normally starts at least (after) one or two years of signing of the loan," he said.

JICA is participating in the ambitious Western Dedicated Freight Corridor that is to be built from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust near Mumbai to Dadri in Uttar Pradesh, covering a distance of 1,483km of double-line electric track. Though the project has been delayed, Ejima said it is not “seriously" behind schedule, compared with some other infrastructure projects in the country. The third phase of expansion of the Delhi Metro is also being funded by JICA to the tune of 16,000 crore for a length of 116km, after it assisted Delhi Metro Rail Corp. Ltd in building the first and second phases.

Ejima said JICA is yet to receive project proposals from the Indian government for the new fiscal year that started 1 April because of the ongoing general election.

“Our commitment is not unilaterally made, but first we need to receive request from the Indian government. The finance ministry prioritizes the projects from the long list of around 30 projects. We can cover 10-12 projects within the annual $3 billion commitment. After the new government is established by end-May, we may receive the request within a month’s time," he added.

On the outcome of the ongoing election and its possible implications for JICA’s India development strategy, Ejima said he believes the relationship between Japan and India would remain positive whichever party comes to power.

“Not only in India, but in all countries we are serving to the people of the recipient countries, of course through the governments; our beneficiaries are the people of India. We don’t directly attach ourselves to any specific government in India. As far as the good relationship continues, we can work comfortably with any government," he said.

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