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World Bank Lends USD 100 Million to Tamil Nadu for Upliftment of Rural Enterprises

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The Government of India  has signed a 100 million dollar loan agreement with the World Bank for promoting rural enterprises, facilitate their access to finance, and create employment opportunities for youth, particularly women in selected blocks of state across 26 districts and will directly be benefitting over 400,000 people.

Under the agreement, the Tamil Nadu Rural Transformation Project will create an enabling environment for producer organisations and enterprises to promote businesses across select value chains.

Based on the analysis, communities will identify commodities and sub sectors in the value chain for preparing business plans. Thirty percent of the financing for these business plans will be through a matching grant program from the project and the remaining 70 percent will be leveraged from other financial institutions.

The Project will be operational in 120 blocks across 3,994 villages in 26 Districts of Tamil Nadu with 411,620 direct beneficiaries. It will work with targeted households that are already part of Self-Help Groups (SHGs). The project will be rolled out in a phased manner – 26 blocks will be taken up for implementation in all project districts in the first eight months, followed by 52 blocks by the end of 12 months, and the remaining 42 blocks by the end of 18 months from initiation of project implementation.

Selected innovations and start-up ideas will also be tested or scaled up under a newly created platform known as the Tamil Nadu Rural Transformation Marketplace. This platform will identify, showcase and celebrate innovative solutions related to themes that have the potential to impact rural economic growth in the state. Innovative ideas related to promoting rural artisans, local nutritious food systems and traditional health practices will be considered. The project will draw lessons from several rural livelihoods programs in India and build on the successes of the recently closed Tamil Nadu Empowerment and Poverty Reduction Project.

Speaking on the occasion, Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance said that the Government of India is committed to help create an enabling environment of institutional reforms, policies and investments which are key factors that will help India attain speedy and inclusive rural transformation. He said that the Project will enable producer organisations and enterprises especially women entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu, build businesses that will help them access finance, markets and networks and generate employment.

The Agreement for the project was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India; Praveen P Nair, Project Director on behalf of the Government of Tamil Nadu; and Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank. It will also specifically support eligible households from socially and culturally disadvantaged groups harness their existing assets, skills, and resources; break their entry barriers to value-added economic activities; enhance their ability to access finance, markets, technology, and related support services; help them graduate to value-added economic activities with higher returns such as garment manufacturing and food processing units, eco-tourism ventures, and businesses around creative industries.

The 100 million dollar loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 5-year grace period, and a maturity of 19 years.

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