Under the pact, a total grant of $ 5.6 million was announced for executing high-impact grant projects in the Maldives
India on Tuesday handed over a symbolic cheque to the Maldivian government to begin the implementation of nine projects in the atoll nation under the High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP).
This follows India and the Maldives signing a bilateral pact on HICDPs in March 2019. Under the pact, a total grant of $ 5.6 million was announced for executing high-impact grant projects in the Maldives. This is in addition to a cash grant of about $ 7 million for the execution of small projects.
The HICDPs are chosen by the Government of Maldives through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and are those with a high-level of community impact and participation in the areas of livelihood and income generation, health, education, gender and child empowerment, sports and sustainable development, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
Since the election of the Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as president in 2018, India-Maldives ties have seen a remarkable turnaround. New Delhi extended $ 1.4 billion as budgetary support to the Maldivian government at their request and also a $ 400 currency swap scheme under a South Asian regional framework to help the Maldives tide of economic difficulties due to a loss of tourist revenue due to the covid-19 pandemic. Ties between India and the Maldives had floundered when Solih’s predecessor Abdullah Yameen was in office because of his clear pro-China tilt which upset New Delhi.
Under the HICDP scheme, agreements were concluded in December 2019 for the construction of three fish-processing plants in Maradhoo, Hithadhoo and Hulhudhoo in Addu city. In February this year, another five pacts were signed for establishing the Addu Tourism Zone in Feydhoo, Meedhoo, Hithadhoo, Hulhudhoo and Maradhoo. A sixth pact was also signed at the time to set up a bottled water plant in Hoarafushi. While Addu City Council is the Implementing Agency for the fish-processing plants and eco-tourism projects, the Hoarafushi Council will direct the process for setting up of a bottled-water plant in Hoarafushi.
Speaking at the event on Tuesday, Indian high commissioner to the Maldives Sunjay Sudhir stressed that the projects were those identified by the Maldives government and the entire process from identifying the need to tendering, price negotiations and implementation was done by different ministries of the Maldives government.
“This made the projects of the Maldivians, by the Maldivians and for the Maldivians – a reflection of the democratic ideals cherished by the peoples of both Maldives and India," the person cited Sudhir as saying. India looks forward to the swift implementation of all projects under the HICDP scheme, Sudhir added.
India’s strategy of development cooperation with the Maldives includes both big projects under a $ 800 million Line of Credit and a large number of relatively small grant projects. While the LoC projects with a longer gestation period will contribute significantly to the development of infrastructure in the Maldives, the grant projects are expected to have an immediate and positive impact on the lives of the island communities, the person cited above said.