World Bank approves $1.5-billion loan for Swachh Bharat

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New Delhi | Published: December 17, 2015 1:21:26 AM

The loan has a maturity of 18 years, including a grace period of five years

The World Bank has approved a $1.5-billion loan for the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) to support India’s efforts to ensure all citizens in rural areas have access to improved sanitation such as a toilet with a focus on changing behaviors in ending the practice of open defecation by 2019.

The loan, with a maturity of 18 years, including a grace period of five years, would help more than 500 million rural people to gain access to toilets and other sanitation facilities with a focus on behavior change, the multilateral agency said in a statement.

Specifically, this project will support the rural component of SBM over a five-year period using a new performance-based programme which links funds directly to results, ensuring that benefits are delivered to the people in need, it said.

Currently, of the 2.4 billion people who lack access to improved sanitation globally, more than 750 million live in India, with 80% living in rural areas. More than 500 million of the rural population in India continue to defecate in the open, suffering from preventable deaths, illness, stunting, harassment and economic losses.

The World Bank will also provide a $25-million technical assistance to build the capacity of select state governments in implementing community-led behavioral change programmes, targeting social norms to help ensure widespread usage of toilets by rural households.

The project will also finance specific activities to strengthen the current monitoring and evaluation system to capture timely, relevant and reliable information on the programme’s progress.

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