World Bank, India sign $400 million loan agreement for Ganga rejuvenation programme

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In a bid to rejuvenate the Ganga river, the World Bank and the Indian government signed a $400-million loan agreement to enhance support for the Namami Gange Programme.

The 2nd NGRBP (National Ganga River Basin Project) will not only help stem pollution in the river but also strengthen the river basin management.

Over 80 per cent of the pollution load in the river comes from untreated domestic wastewater from towns and cities along the river and its tributaries. The Second National Ganga River Basin Project will finance sewage networks and treatment plants to help control pollution discharges. These infrastructure investments and the jobs they will generate would also help India’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sources said the support comprises a loan of $381 million, having a maturity of 18.5 years, including 5-year grace period and a proposed guarantee of up to $19 million.

“The first World Bank project helped build critical sewage infrastructure in 20 pollution hotspots along the river, and this project will help scale this up to the tributaries. It will also help government strengthen the institutions needed to manage a river basin as large and complex as the Ganga Basin,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India.

“The new project will extend the government of India and the World Bank’s engagement in this critical national programme to make the Ganga a clean, healthy river,” said Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.

The sprawling Ganga Basin provides over one-third of India’s surface water and is key to the South Asian nation’s water and food security.