The World Bank today signed a USD 100 million loan for Himachal Pradesh to promote climate-smart development in the hill state.
The loan aims at promoting environmentally sustainable model of economic growth in the key areas of economy like energy, watershed management, industry and tourism, an official statement said. The WB signed the loan agreement with the Centre and the government of Himachal Pradesh. The loan approved on September 6 by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors is a culmination of the bank’s multi-sectoral engagement with Himachal Pradesh over the last decade, the statement added.
Richly endowed with natural resources, Himachal Pradesh provides economically valuable environmental services for a major parts of the country. The state is home to three major river basins, and it serves as a watershed that is critical to the livelihood of more than 200 million people in Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The state is also one of the country’s main sources of clean energy, generating hydropower that can help alleviate electricity shortages in much of North India.
The state’s forests also act as an important carbon sink and are known to be global biodiversity hotspots. Prabodh Saxena, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance said that striving for environmental sustainability across these major sectors of its economy will help HP embark on a path of inclusive green growth that can carry lessons for the other hill states.
The World Bank’s programme is directed at helping the state adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change; bringing in better policies and practices to guide the development of sustainable hydropower; empowering local communities to conserve their watersheds better; promote cleaner methods of industrial production; and promote environmentally sustainable tourism. Roland Lomme, World Bank’s Governance Adviser in India, said that sustaining the state’s natural resource base is important for both the state as well as for the country.
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