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World Bank approves US$1.5 Billion to support Swachh Bharat

The World Bank recently approved a US$1.5 billion loan for Swachh Bharat Mission to support the Government of India in its efforts in ending the practice of open defecation by 2019. Specifically, the project will support the rural component, known as SBM – Gramin (SBM-G), over a five-year period using a new performance-based program which links funds directly to results, ensuring that benefits are delivered to the people in need – more than 60% of India’s rural population.

“One in every ten deaths in India is linked to poor sanitation. And studies show that low-income households bear the maximum brunt of poor sanitation. This project will result in significant health benefits for the poor and vulnerable, especially those living in rural areas,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director for India. “Incentivizing good performance by states and the focus on behavioural changes are two important components of this project.

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) will play the overseeing and coordinating role for the Program and support the participating states. Funds will also be used to develop the capacity of MDWS in program management, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation.

“India has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in pursuing the ambitious SBM campaign and embracing the focus on behaviour to complement the construction of toilets,” said Annette Dixon, World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region. The World Bank will also provide a parallel US$25 million technical assistance to build the capacity of select state governments in implementing community-led behavioural change programs targeting social norms to help ensure widespread usage of toilets by rural households.

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