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New Delhi: India and Japan on Tuesday signed four agreements under which Tokyo is to support health care projects funded under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects (GGP) scheme in India.

Since 1989, the scheme has been supporting relatively small-scale projects implemented by non-profit organizations through Japanese diplomatic missions in developing countries.

“The total amount to be disbursed for the four projects is around 29.30 million Yen ($ 265,000)," a statement from the Japanese embassy in New Delhi said. The beneficiaries of Japanese grants for which agreements were signed on Tuesday include three medical facilities in Uttar Pradesh and one in Manipur.

The “Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects (GGP)" supports development projects “designed to meet the diverse basic human needs of the people in developing countries," a statement from the Japanese embassy in New Delhi said.

India is also one of the largest recipients of Japanese Official Development Assistance or ODA besides Bangladesh and Vietnam in Asia. Most the Japanese ODA is channeled as loans for infrastructure projects. The loans typically feature long grace periods and low-interest rates.

“Japan’s ODA for India is one of the important tools to strengthen Japan-India relations set forth by ‘Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership,’ " says a note on the Japanese embassy in India website.

With a significant section of India living below the poverty line, “it is crucial to address this challenge particularly in the areas of health and education," the note says. “Enhancing human exchanges between Japan and India provides a basis for building strong bilateral relations," it adds.

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