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Andhra Pradesh govt eyes USD 60 mn loan from World Bank for REWARD project


Andhra Pradesh govt eyes USD 60 mn loan from World Bank for REWARD project
Representative Picture. Image Credit: Pixabay

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Andhra Pradesh government is hoping to secure a USD 60 million loan from the World Bank
  • The loan would be used to take up the REWARD project in five parched districts of the state.
  • A team of World Bank officials has already held talks separately with state Panchayat Raj Minister P R C Reddy and Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney.

The Andhra Pradesh government is hoping to secure a USD 60 million loan from the World Bank to take up the Rejuvenating Watersheds for Agriculture Resilience through Innovative Development (REWARD) project in five parched districts of the state over the next six years. The total cost of the project, which would be taken up in the four Rayalaseema districts of Anantapuramu, Chittoor, Kadapa, and Kurnool besides Prakasam in the south coastal AP, is expected to be around Rs 500 crore.

While the World Bank would fund 70 percent of the project cost, the state and the central governments have to share the balance, a senior official of the Panchayat Raj Department said. The REWARD project would be implemented in Karnataka and Odisha apart from AP, with the World Bank lending a sum of USD 178 million for the three states. The total project cost in the three states is estimated to be USD 350 million.

A team of World Bank officials, led by Task Team leader Priti Kumar and co-leader Grant Milne, held talks separately with state Panchayat Raj Minister P R C Reddy and Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney and discussed the project modalities.

"The project is in a preliminary stage and the World Bank has agreed in principle to grant the loan. We hope to get about USD 60 million from the Bank," Panchayat Raj Commissioner M Girija Shankar told PTI after the meeting. Efficient water management, soil fertility improvement, adoption of standard agricultural practices and enhancement of cultivation are some of the salient features of the proposed project.

Protection of water resources in areas of scarcity and optimum utilization of water using proper management techniques would be the key features of the project. The project would be implemented on a convergence mode involving different departments and also the MGNREGP, official sources said.

The state government would form a consortium comprising the State Rural Development Agency, Agriculture Department, AP Space Applications Centre, and the Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University to oversee the project.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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