Punjab gets $150 million loan from World Bank to improve finances and public services
The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors today approved a loan of $150 million to Punjab to help the state better manage its financial resources and improve access to public services
World Bank has granted a loan of $150 million to help Punjab in managing financial resources and ensure accessible public service. The loan was approved by the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors to support the state in strengthening public service infrastructure and its institutional capacities. The $150 million loan has a maturity period of 15 years which includes 6 months period.
In its statement, the World Bank mentioned its aim of providing monetary support to the state to bolster the capabilities of various government departments, help them manage fiscal risks, and make informed policy choices to support sustainable growth.
"Punjab's growth has been below potential. A combination of fiscal challenges and institutional capacity constraints means that scarce resources are spread thin across development priorities," the statement added.
The new projects that will be launched with World Bank's assistance will help Punjab in attaining its development goals. The state would be able to enhance its planning, budgeting, and monitoring functions. There will also be an increase in the use of digital technology. People in the state will also witness new reforms in legal and policy frameworks.
"The World Bank is pleased to be a partner of the state of Punjab in the state's effort to deliver timely, cost-effective, and good-quality public services, which is critical for inclusive development," Auguste Tano Kouame, the World Bank's Country Director in India, was quoted in the statement.
"This new project will support the implementation of the state's new data policy, which aims to bring together various social protection initiatives and reduce potential leakages while delivering essential services," Kouame added.
24x7 water supply in selected areas and a performance-based grants system
The project will focus on two major key areas to improve governance in Punjab. Under the project, there will be an initiative to introduce a performance-based grants system to encourage municipal corporations to improve service delivery.
Under the second initiative, a pilot project will demonstrate 24x7 water supply in selected areas of Amritsar and Ludhiana. Under the initiative, water delivery systems will be improved along with the reduction of water leakages. These pilot projects will pave way for the formulation of a significant state-wide scale-up of improved service delivery.
"The project is using a 'whole-of-government' approach which will ensure that various departments in the Punjab state government are linked to enhance their efficiency in managing public resources. Performance linked inter-governmental fiscal transfers will incentivize improved management of cities and service delivery to citizens," said Dhruv Sharma and Bhavna Bhatia, World Bank Task Team Leaders of the project.
(With inputs from ANI)
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