After successfully financing a $500 million road infrastructure development project in Madhya Pradesh, the New Development Bank (NDB) plans to scale up its infrastructure and development finance in India for a sustainable future.
The NDB established in 2015 by BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has invested in 21 projects worth $7.2 billion in India since 2016 which is expected to benefit over four million people.
The $500 million Madhya Pradesh Major District Road Project (MPMDRP), funded $350 million by the NDB and $150 million by the state government, aimed at upgradation of major district roads in the state to improve connectivity in the interior areas of the state with the national and state highway networks, with the wider aim of promoting economic and social transformation.
Further, the MPMDRP has effected a positive and transformational changes in people’s lives across 434,000 rural communities by improving local livelihoods and access to clinics, hospitals, schools, colleges, markets, businesses, and job opportunities in the state, said a new independent evaluation office report of the NDB here.
Talking to IANS, Ashwani Muthoo, Director General of the NDB Independent Evaluation Office, said: “We achieved our goals, including over 1,500 km of improved road, providing better access and connectivity for villages along the route, and 130 road accident black spots eliminated. Further, there may be opportunities to link roads development with rail and even water projects in the future. There also needs to be a plan to ensure the road network is aligned with the National Logistics Policy.”
He pointed out the areas in need of improvement, including simplifying future project design and ensuring more technical assistance to project management units during implementation.
Noting that the transport sector in India has seen a surge in recent years, and roads have been recognized as a crucial component in socio-economic development, Muthoo said one key innovation of this first NDB-financed project in india was the partnership developed with private sector contractors, who are responsible for maintenance of the roads for the next five years.
Commenting on the evaluation findings, Dr. D.J. Pandian, Director General of the NDB Indian Regional Office, said: “Since the beginning of partnership between the NDB and India seven years ago, substantial achievements have been made; yet as the evaluation shows, there are still important challenges that require us to further strengthen our joint work to improve the bank’s operational and strategic performance in the country.”
One of the main evaluation recommendations was to develop a country strategy to guide the NDB-India partnership and programming moving forward. Another is to prepare a multimodal transport strategy/plan.
Moreover, the evaluation highlighted the need to conduct more robust supervision and implementation support, and closely monitor follow-up to supervision recommendations to allow for mid-course adjustments for better outcomes at project completion.
The NDB was set up with a view to mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging market economies and developing countries, complementing the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.
It launched its Indian Regional Office (IRO) in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) this year.
The IRO works closely with the Central government, public and private sector agencies, and other relevant stakeholders to identify projects that have strong development impact, and which are aligned with the national development priorities.