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Indian gov't signs 125-mln-USD loan agreement with World Bank

2022 Mar 11, 17:26, New Delhi

India's federal government signed a 125 million US dollar loan agreement with the World Bank to support access to social protection services in the eastern state of West Bengal, officials said Thursday.

"The Government of India, the Government of West Bengal and the World Bank signed a 125 million US dollars International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan to support efforts to help poor and vulnerable groups access social protection services in the state of West Bengal," the ministry of finance said in a statement.

West Bengal runs more than 400 programs that provide social assistance, care services, and jobs, the ministry said.

Officials said building state capability for inclusive social protection projects will support these interventions at the state level, with a focus on vulnerable groups such as women, tribal and scheduled caste households, and the elderly, as well as households in the state's disaster-prone coastal regions.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to have seamless systems in place to deliver inclusive and equitable social protection in times of crisis," the finance ministry's department of economic affairs said.

The ministry said a recent survey found that while food and in-kind transfers reach most poor and vulnerable households in West Bengal, the coverage of cash transfers was weak.

"Access to social pensions by the elderly, widows, and disabled persons is also weak due to cumbersome application processes and a lack of automated systems for application and eligibility verification," the ministry said.

"Over the next four years, the project will help strengthen the state's capability to expand coverage and access to social assistance and to deliver cash transfers for the poor and vulnerable through a consolidated social registry," it said.


World Bank West Bengal International Bank for Reconstruction and Development The Government of India the Government of West Bengal india
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