NEW DELHI -– The Government of India, the Government of Telangana, and the World Bank today signed a US$ 75 million credit agreement for the Telangana Rural Inclusive Growth Project to enhance the agricultural incomes of small and marginal farmers in the state, and ensure increased access to services related to health, nutrition, sanitation and social entitlements.
The credit agreement for the project was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India on behalf of the Government of India; K P Harish Kumar, Deputy Secretary, Department of Rural Development on behalf of the Government of Telangana; and Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director, India on behalf of the World Bank.
“The Telangana Rural Inclusive Growth Project will focus on increasing economic opportunities for small and marginal farmers, especially from scheduled caste and scheduled tribe households, by helping them gain access to extension services, quality inputs like improved seeds, market linkages, and institutional credit. Investments will also be made in improving access to services in the areas of health, nutrition, water and sanitation, and increasing coverage and effectiveness of India’s social safety net programs,” said Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
The project will work closely with the panchayats in 150 mandals (cluster of villages across gram panchayats), especially on last mile service delivery issues, establish technology-enabled “One Stop Shops” at the panchayat level, and strengthen their role as an interface between citizens and suppliers of crucial social services. In addition, it will establish a facility to improve service deliveries for people with disabilities and women.
“This project for the newly created state of Telangana will help small and marginal famers increase their incomes and their access to better services. It will complement the government’s efforts at strengthening panchayats so that they can play a greater role in planning, implementing and monitoring key government programs. Creating such strong institutions will go a long way in improving the lives of farmers and fulfilling their aspirations for a better life,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in India.
The Telangana Rural Inclusive Growth Project, signed today, will help link small and marginal farmers to urban markets and make them competitive across the value chain so that they are able to take advantage of the potential benefits from allied sectors like horticulture and livestock. Investments will be made in increasing the nutritional content of products such as milk, vegetables and poultry. It also seeks to invigorate local markets by connecting rural producers and enterprises with the rural consumers and enhancing the quality of consumption by the poor households.
“Small and marginal farmers have limited access to extension services, good quality inputs like improved seeds, market services, and institutional credit. This project will help poor farmers’ access to economic opportunities through value chain development and better market access,” said Parmesh Shah, Lead Rural Development Specialist and the Task Team Leader for the project.
On the human development side, the focus on health, nutrition and sanitation services offers a unique opportunity for the project to work across sectors for last mile delivery of services.
The project will be funded by credit from the International Development Association(IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.