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PRESS RELEASE September 30, 2021

New World Bank Project to Support Southern Indian City of Chennai Deliver Better Services to its People

WASHINGTON DC, September 30, 2021 — The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a $150 million program to support the Government of Tamil Nadu’s vision of making Chennai into a world-class city that is more green, livable, competitive, and resilient to climate change and other shocks.

The $150 million Chennai City Partnership: Sustainable Urban Services Program will help strengthen institutions, improve the financial health of service agencies, and drive significant improvements in the quality of four key urban services — water supply and sewerage, mobility, health, and solid waste management.

The Chennai Metropolitan Area, home to about 10.9 million people, is India’s fourth-most populous metropolitan area. Despite being an economic powerhouse, Chennai has not kept pace with growing demand for key services. The coastal city also remains highly vulnerable to natural disasters, climate change and, as the COVID-19 emergency revealed, to pandemics.

This program will support the Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) in its efforts to transform the city and its services, while accelerating Chennai’s shift to a lower carbon and a more resilient growth trajectory. It will help GoTN, Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), and key service agencies adopt new approaches to service delivery and bring a renewed focus on results for citizens. 

The program will:

•        Increase household connections and improve the quality of water and sewerage services

•        Expand green modes of urban mobility—buses, walking, and cycling—along with improvements in their quality and inter-connectivity

•        Enhance disease surveillance and improve coverage and quality of primary health care services

•        Integrate planning and management of these services through empowered coordinating agencies such as a Water Regulatory Authority and a Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority

•        Improve the financial performance of GCC and Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board through increased revenue collection and/or reduction in operating costs. 


“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the fault lines not only in health care delivery systems but also in delivery systems for basic infrastructure services such as water, sanitation, and transport,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India. “This program heralds the start of our partnership with the city of Chennai where we will work with GoTN to jointly create a more climate-friendly, resilient and inclusive model for managing urban growth. The experience emerging from this partnership can inform other Indian cities and, more broadly, India’s massive urban transition.”

Highlights on the key services under the program:

·       Water resource management, water supply, and sewerage services

To help break the recurring cycle of floods and droughts plaguing Chennai, the program will support an integrated management of water resources, the water supply system, and demand. It will support the creation of a Water Regulatory Authority; use of performance-based operator contracts for improving water supply and sanitation services (WSS) in the core city area; extension of services to households residing in newly-added peripheral areas; improvement in operational efficiency (e.g. through reduction of water losses); and enhanced cost recovery (through improved collection of user charges and/or reduction of operating costs).

·       Urban mobility

The program will support Chennai in delivering seamless and safe citizen-centric mobility services, with an emphasis on ensuring integration across modes and enhancing women’s safety in public transport and public spaces. It will improve the quantity and quality of bus services through performance-based contracting and expand pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. It will also support operationalization of the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority as the entity for enhancing coordination across multiple transport modes and agencies. 

·       Health Services

This program will strengthen the health care system by supporting Chennai deliver an expanded package of health services (including, for instance, screening for cancer, diabetes, and hypertension); improve the quality of public health centers and help them achieve National Quality Assurance Standards; and enhance disease surveillance through more regular reporting by public and private health facilities.  

·       Solid Waste Management

The program will help Chennai reduce waste and enhance resource recovery, enabling the city to move up the waste hierarchy towards reuse, recycling, and recovery. It will also enhance the operational and financial sustainability of its solid waste management system.

“Tamil Nadu is one of India’s most urbanized states and, potentially, the vanguard creating new models for efficient and inclusive urban service delivery,” said Sumila Gulyani and Elif Ayhan, World Bank’s Team Leaders for the program. “This program will support GoTN’s efforts to strengthen key service delivery institutions, overhaul current service delivery models and pivot towards arrangements that can, over time, deliver world-class services in a manner that is environmentally and financially sustainable as well as socially inclusive.”

The $150 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) is variable spread loan that has a final maturity of 16.5 years, including a grace period of 5.5 years.


in New Delhi
Nandita Roy
External Affairs Officer
in Washington
Diana Ya-Wai Chung
Sr. External Affairs Officer
+1 202 473 8357