MUMBAI, February 28, 2017 – The World Bank is working closely with the Government of Maharashtra to deliver a proposed assistance program of over $1 billion in the areas of urban transport and climate resilient agriculture over the next 2-3 years. This was announced by the World Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Kristalina Georgieva, at the end of a day-long visit to the city. Over the last five years, World Bank has invested over $1.4 billion in Maharashtra in urban transport, rural water supply and agriculture.
“The Government of Maharashtra is committed to sustaining high economic growth for its people. The state faces significant challenges, particularly in the areas of urban transport, climate change and water,” Chief Minister Fadnavis said. “We are keen to work with the World Bank in these areas and explore future opportunities to deepen our engagement for the overall development of the state,” he added.
Georgieva also met the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor, Urjit Patel.
Earlier in the day the World Bank CEO saw how the megapolis is managing some of the major challenges of fast-paced, sprawling urbanization. She traveled in a suburban train where she interacted with women commuters to understand the challenges and opportunities for improving the public transport system.
“To meet the aspirations of Mumbaikars, some of whom I met today, the city will have to make massive investments in transport infrastructure. These investments will enable commuters to access more comfortable, safer and efficient services," Georgieva said. “The Bank is committed to support the government's efforts in this area – through investments that strengthen the government's capacity to leverage additional funds, including those from the private sector."
In addition to the transport sector, the World Bank is committed to supporting Maharashtra in its efforts at developing climate resilient agricultural practices in the drought-affected regions of the state, including Marathwada. Climate resilient practices such as seed diversification, drip irrigation, inter-cropping, precision agriculture, among others, will help improve water use efficiency, conserve moisture in soil during the long hot periods, and lower risks through crop diversification.
In Mumbai, Georgieva also visited a school in Dharavi to see how Mumbai’s administrators are striving to ensure basic services for all its residents, one-third of whom live in slums. She walked through the lanes of Dharavi and visited a municipal school, which is run under the World Bank-supported Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA). At the school, she met with students with special needs, teachers, parents and state government officials to understand the scale and value of the Program.
World Bank in Maharashtra
The World Bank's association with Maharashtra is almost as old as its engagement in India. Cumulative assistance has amounted to around $4 billion, beginning with the $16 million Trombay Power Project in 1954. Since then, the World Bank's support has encompassed a range of sectors from hard core infrastructure development like power, ports, roads and urban water supply to health, education and basic rural services including cyclone reconstruction. The World Bank has also been an active partner through its Non Lending Technical Assistance activities, including the recent efforts on doing business.
Maharashtra is currently implementing two state-specific projects under World Bank assistance,
including the $100 million Agricultural Competitiveness Project and $165 million Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project. Currently, Maharashtra also benefits from a number of central and multistate projects (e.g. National Rural Livelihood, Coal Fired Generation and Rehabilitation, Sustainable Urban Transport, National Cyclone Risk Mitigation), amounting to about $800 million.
The $430 million Mumbai Urban Transport Project 2A, the $325 million Maharashtra Water Sector Improvement Project, $181 million Maharashtra Rural Water Supply and Sanitation `Jalswarajya’ Project and $542 million Mumbai Urban Transport Project have closed recently.
World Bank in India
As of January 2017, total World Bank net commitments stood at $27 billion (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development $16 billion, International Development Association $11 billion) across 95 projects.