World Bank has approved three loans totalling USD 562 million (about Rs 4,393.70 crore) to fund an education project in Gujarat, a social protection programme in Tamil Nadu and a project to help recovery in the fisheries sector post the pandemic, the multilateral funding agency said on Thursday. The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved additional financing of USD 250 million for Outcomes for Accelerated Learning (GOAL), a programme which aims to improve education results for children across the state of Gujarat, it said in a release.
The financing towards GOAL will benefit an additional 3,000 schools that have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Besides, the board of executive directors of the World Bank approved a USD 150 million funding to support the recovery of India's fisheries sector and a USD 162 million for the RIGHTS project to strengthen the social protection systems and capability of the State of Tamil Nadu to promote inclusion, accessibility, and opportunities for persons with disabilities.
In 2020-21, the fisheries sector saw losses of about USD 5.5 billion and fish production fell almost 40 per cent in one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, said the multilateral funding agency. GOAL project financing complements the original loan of USD 500 million, which was approved in March 2021. It is in line with the Bank's Rapid Response Framework that seeks to reach every child and retain them in schools, assess learning levels regularly, prioritize teaching the fundamentals and increase catch-up learning, World Bank said.
It also aims to develop psychosocial health for students and teachers. "This additional financing will scale-up the coverage of the original programme from a total of 9,000 to 12,000 schools, while also supporting new efforts to test the efficacy of the program's interventions," said Shabnam Sinha, Lead Education Specialist and Task Team Leader for the project.
Under the USD 150 million loan to support the recovery of India's fisheries sector, World Bank said it currently employs about 12 million people directly and another 13 million through associated activities. The Fisheries Sector COVID-19 Recovery Project will complement the Government of India's Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, which aims to transform the sector in a sustainable manner by introducing modern practices, improving access to finance and making it more climate-resilient.
Incentives for larger private investment in the fisheries sector in India have been limited, mainly due to lack of access to financing or credit, and perceptions that the sector is high-risk. The project will help microenterprises access working capital by connecting them with government schemes that provide financial support to farmers such as the Kisan Credit Card and the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Limited (MUDRA).