World Bank approves loan of $125mn to Bengal govt

by IANS |

Kolkata, Jan 22 (IANS) In a significant recognition to the social welfare schemes launched by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the World Bank has approved a loan of $125 million (nearly Rs 1,000 crore) for inclusive social protection.

Earlier, IANS had indicated that the World Bank intends to finance the state government towards the cost of the "Women's Empowerment and Inclusive Social Protection Programme" and apply part of the proceeds for consulting services. This will help in certain welfare schemes launched by the state government like 'Kanyashree', 'Rupashree', 'Lakshmir Bhandar', 'Swastha Sathi', 'Widow Pension' and 'Old Age Pension'.

On Saturday, in a press statement, the state government announced that the World Bank on January 19 in recognition of these efforts of the state government has sanctioned $125 million (about Rs 1,000 crore) loan to the West Bengal government to support the state's effort to help the poor and vulnerable groups access social protection services. Mamata Banerjee's earnest endeavour to identify the problems of the weaker sections of the society and redress them has paid a huge dividend, the statement read.

The World Bank communique states that West Bengal runs more than 400 programmes which provide social assistance, protection, care services and jobs through an umbrella platform 'Joy Bangla', the state's unified delivery system with focus on vulnerable group such as women, elderly, tribal and scheduled caste, people with disabilities and those in the disaster-prone coastal regions,

The unique 'Duare Sarkar' programme has been able ensure improved and faster identification of beneficiaries, providing service delivery at the doorsteps of the citizens and monitoring benefit delivery will get impetus under this World Bank assisted social protection scheme.

The loan under the "West Bengal Building State Capability for Inclusive Social Protection" operation will strengthen the capability of this state to expand coverage and access to social assistance and targeted service for poor and vulnerable groups of the state, the statement read.

This World Bank assisted programme will help the state in improved ease of access for citizens to avail social protection services, medical help through tele-medicine, improved support for elderly and differently abled; financial Inclusion of citizens with digital payment, improved targeting, identification and disbursement of benefits for the public schemes, efficient execution and monitoring of welfare schemes; standardized beneficiary experience across state for all public and social welfare services and benefits and enhanced efficiency, transparency and accountability in delivery of welfare services and benefits.

Earlier, the World Bank had said that the state government will have to engage an Independent Verification Agency (IVA) that will verify the Disbursement Linked Results and if proven satisfactory, then only the bank will disburse the loan.

According to the state finance department the state government and the Bank have agreed to concentrate Bank financing into two key Result areas that contribute to the achievement of Program Developing Objective (PDO).

The areas include strengthening Social Protection Delivery Systems for Vulnerable Populations empowering Women and Vulnerable Populations.

In order to provide evidence of continued progress towards the PDO as well as achievement of intermediate outcomes, the state government and the Bank have agreed on a set of Disbursement-Linked Indicators (DLIs).

As a part of the understanding with the bank, the state government had to engage an IVA who verified periodically, through paper and physical inspection and field survey wherever applicable to confirm the accuracy and quality of results and eligible disbursement amounts, claimed by the state government in its documentation supporting each disbursement claim. In accordance with good audit practice, the verification will take place against a verification framework and frequency.

"This will be huge boost to the social welfare schemes. In this pandemic situation when the country is suffering from an economic slowdown this will help the state government to carry forward its social welfare schemes more effectively," a senior finance department official said.

Latest News
I'm in the happiest phase of my life, a phase of evolution for me, says Virat Kohli Thu, May 19, 2022, 06:31 PM
As captain, Ganguly built a team; not sure if Kohli did: Sehwag Thu, May 19, 2022, 06:29 PM
IPL 2022: Not sad at all, it was one of the best games I have played, says Shreyas Iyer Thu, May 19, 2022, 04:04 PM
IPL 2022: De Kock powers Lucknow to playoffs with thrilling win over Kolkata Thu, May 19, 2022, 04:03 PM
Mathura court allows petition seeking removal of Shahi Idgah Thu, May 19, 2022, 03:56 PM
Yemeni govt accuses Houthi rebels of recruiting children in conflict Thu, May 19, 2022, 03:52 PM
India assures countries 'most in need'; it will provide food aid despite export controls Thu, May 19, 2022, 03:48 PM
Over 113k Syrian immigrants gain right to vote in Turkish elections: Official Thu, May 19, 2022, 03:45 PM
5 bodies of illegal immigrants found off Tunisia's SE coast Thu, May 19, 2022, 03:42 PM
Africa's Covid-19 cases pass 11.57 mn: Africa CDC Thu, May 19, 2022, 03:39 PM
Four EU states sign declaration to provide 230mn households with green electricity Thu, May 19, 2022, 03:37 PM
Former Minneapolis police officer pleads guilty to manslaughter in George Floyd's death Thu, May 19, 2022, 03:36 PM
Yogi weaves makeover for 'BC Sakhis' Thu, May 19, 2022, 03:31 PM
Visa scam: Karti's aide S.Bhaskar Raman to be produced before Delhi court Thu, May 19, 2022, 03:29 PM
Differences in TN Cong over Perarivalan's release Thu, May 19, 2022, 02:50 PM