The Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed $3.03 billion in sovereign loans to India in 2018-the highest ever annual lending commitment-for 19 projects in transport, urban, skills, agriculture and natural resources, energy and finance sectors. The project portfolio of 2018 reflected ADB's continued support to the government's urban flagship programs for creating inclusive, sustainable and climate-resilient urban infrastructure, and prime minister's rural roads program (PMGSY) to enhance rural connectivity. ADB also achieved a record disbursement of $2.2 billion in a year.
"The increased lending envelope for India is in line with the commitment made by ADB to the Government of India for up scaling ADB's lending to the country," Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB's India Resident Mission stated at an interaction with media persons in Delhi on Friday.
"We would like to acknowledge proactive support and guidance provided by the Department of Economic Affairs in driving ADB's India program and helping us achieve a record lending," he said. ADB will look to further scale up its annual lending assistance to India over $4 billion (including the private sector lending) in the next few years in keeping with government's expectations and alignment with the country partnership strategy (CPS) for India for 2018-2022. In addition to the sovereign lending, ADB lent $557 million to the private sector in 2018.
To address the growing employment needs of states in emerging sectors, ADB committed $315 million to Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh to reform and modernise their vocational education institutions and programs to provide job-ready skills training to youth. ADB's overall India portfolio currently comprises 82 ongoing projects worth $13.7 billion spanning six sectors and covering 25 states.
ADB supplemented its lending assistance to India with knowledge support through analytical and operational studies to help partners identify and develop transformative projects. This included studies and master-planning of industrial nodes in the Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor as part of developing the 2,500-km long East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC). The bank has committed $1 billion per year over the next five years for ECEC development. Responding to knowledge needs of its partners, ADB developed an infrastructure framework plan for inclusive growth in Uttar Pradesh and a vision study to develop Assam as India's Expressway to ASEAN.
Highlighting some of the remaining development challenges faced by India, Yokoyama said ADB's country partnership strategy aims to address these challenges by boosting economic competitiveness to create good jobs, building inclusive infrastructure and services in low-income states to bridge the large infrastructure deficit, and containing adverse climate change impacts.