The World Bank has agreed to provide a loan amount of $400m to the Government of India to enhance support for rejuvenating the Ganga River.
The World Bank has approved a loan of $400 million to enhance support for the Namami Gange programme that seeks to rejuvenate the Ganga river. The Second National Ganga River Basin Project will help stem pollution in the iconic river and strengthen the management of the river basin which is home to more than 500 million people.
The $400 million operation comprises a loan of $381 million and a proposed Guarantee of up to $19 million. The government of India’s Namami Gange program seeks to ensure that the river returns to a pollution-free, ecologically healthy state. The new project will extend the Government of India and World Bank’s engagement in this critical national programme to make the Ganga a clean, healthy river.
The World Bank has been supporting the government’s efforts since 2011 through the ongoing National Ganga River Basin Project, which helped set up the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) as the nodal agency to manage the river, and financed sewage treatment infrastructure in several riverside towns and cities.
“The government’s Namami Gange Program has revitalized India’s efforts to rejuvenating the Ganga,” Mr Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India. “The first World Bank project helped build critical sewage infrastructure in 20 pollution hotspots along the river, and this Project will help scale this up to the tributaries. It will also help government strengthen the institutions needed to manage a river basin as large and complex as the Ganga Basin.”
The sprawling Ganga Basin provides over one-third of India’s surface water, includes the country’s largest irrigated area, and is key to India’s water and food security. Over 40 percent of India’s GDP is generated in the densely populated Basin. But the Ganga river is today is facing pressures from human and economic activity that impact its water quality and flows.
Over 80 per cent of the pollution load in the Ganga comes from untreated domestic wastewater from towns and cities along the river and its tributaries. The SNGRBP will finance sewage networks and treatment plants in select urban areas to help control pollution discharges. These infrastructure investments and the jobs they will generate will also help India’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis.