World Bank to provide $407 million loan for microfinance, statistical update projects

The government today signed separate agreements with the World Bank for $407 million in financial assistance to two projects, including a microfinance project an a stastistical strengethening project.

Out of the total $407 million World Bank assistance, $300 million will go towards the `Scaling up Sustainable and Responsible Microfinance Project' while $107 million will be offered to the `India Statistical Strengthening Project'.

Anup K Pujari, joint secretary (MI), in the finance ministry and Roberto Zagha, country director (India) on behalf of the World Bank and Rakesh Rewari, deputy managing director on behalf of the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), signed the agreement.

The microfinance project aims at scaling up access to sustainable microfinance services to the financially excluded, particularly in under-served areas of the country, through, among other things, introduction of innovative financial products and fostering transparency and responsible finance. SIDBI will implement the project over a period of five years.

The `India Statistical Strengthening Project' will support statistical reforms in the country.

The project aims at strengthening the institutions of leadership and coordination of the national statistical system; improving and increasing the support provided by the central government and the ministry of statistics and programme implementation to the statistical systems of states / union territories; strengthening the capacity and performance of the statistical systems in a majority of states / UTs in India; and improving the coverage, quality, timeliness and credibility of statistics generated by states and UTs.