World Bank offers $1.5 billion funding for India's rural roads programme

The World Bank has approved a $1.5 billion line of credit-cum-loan for India's rural roads programme, called Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) that aims at improving accessibility of roads for hundreds of millions of residents, especially in the undeveloped and underdeveloped regions of the country.

The World Bank assistance, mostly under its soft lending facility, the International Development Agency (IDA), comprises a loan of $500 million and a $ 1 billion line of credit.

The $500-million loan has a maturity of 18 years, with a grace period of five years. The $1 billion line of credit has a maturity of 35 years and a grace period of 10 years.

India's rural roads programme, established in 2000, aims at improving the accessibility of rural roads in the country by improving or rebuilding them.

The government estimates that almost 40 per cent of the country's population, or 300 million people, lacked access to all-weather roads and a large part of the existing 2.7 million km of the rural road network are in poor condition.

The PMGSY has added around 274,000 km of new roads even though vast parts of the country, especially in economically weaker and hilly areas, continue to remain inaccessible.