The World Bank and the Government of India today signed a loan agreement to enhance support for the Namami Gange programme that seeks to rejuvenate the Ganga river. The Second National Ganga River Basin Project will help stem pollution in the iconic river and strengthen the management of the river basin which is home to more than 500 million people.
The $400 million operation comprises a loan of $381 million and a proposed Guarantee of up to $19 million. The agreement for the $381 million loan was signed today by Shri Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India and Mr Qaiser Khan, Acting Country Director (India), on behalf of the World Bank. The Guarantee instrument will be processed separately.
Shri Khare said that the Ganga is India’s most important cultural, economic and environmental resource, and the government’s Namami Gange program seeks to ensure that the river returns to a pollution-free, ecologically healthy state. The new project will extend the Government of India and World Bank’s engagement in this critical national programme to make the Ganga a clean, healthy river.
The World Bank has been supporting the government’s efforts since 2011 through the ongoing National Ganga River Basin Project, which helped set up the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) as the nodal agency to manage the river, and financed sewage treatment infrastructure in several riverside towns and cities.
Shri Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General of the National Mission for Clean Ganga, said that the continuity provided by the Second National Ganga River Basin Project will consolidate the momentum achieved under the first World Bank project, and help NMCG introduce further innovations, and benchmark its initiatives against global best practices in river rejuvenation.