$150m World Bank aid for NE likely Staff Reporter GUWAHATI, July 8 – An externally aided $150 million project for the North East region is in the pipeline for improving the standard of living of the people of the rural areas of the region and if the project comes through, the Department for Development of North East Region (DoNER) will be the implementing agency. A report of the World Bank said that the project, called the North East Region Livelihood Project, is likely to be approved by April, 2010 and the borrower for the same will be the Government of India. As per the tentative funding pattern, the borrower will provide $ 15 million, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide $ 20 million and the International Development Association (IDA) will provide $ 115 million.
The project will have several components and the first component will be social empowerment. Investments under this component will be geared towards intensive and long-term training efforts to strengthen and build institutions of the poor like self-help groups, economic activity-based groups and natural resources management-based groups. Under the same component, efforts will be made to conduct participatory planning processes, strengthen cultural heritage and to protect vulnerable sections of the society.
The second component will be economic empowerment and investments under this component will be aimed at enhancing productivity, employment and income in sustainable manner by providing integrated package. Under this component, support will be provided for improving access to finance and formation of capital at the household level, training on vocational skills to facilitate employment generation with special emphasis on youths, community-based infrastructure and services delivery with emphasis on upgrading of agricultural linkage roads and small hydro-power schemes, natural resources management with emphasis on community-based forestry management, technical assistance and seed capital for value addition activities, etc.
Partnership development and management will be the third major component of the externally aided project. Support under this component will be aimed at establishing and managing effective linkages with concerned departments in each of the participating States to facilitate technology transfer of productivity enhancing innovations as well as quality assurance. This component will also aim to establish linkages with specialised institutions like the North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (NERAMAC), North Eastern Handicrafts & Handlooms Development Corporations (NEHHDC),Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre and private sector organisations like the FINER to improve access to market and employment generation. The project will also aim to improve access to financial institutions like the North Eastern Development Finance Corporation (NEDFi) for financing short and long-term needs.
A World Bank report said that the safeguard policies of the project would include environmental assessment, natural habitats, forests, indigenous peoples, projects in disputed areas, etc.
The main objective of the project will be to achieve an upward trend in livelihood productivity among participating local community groups through participatory and demand driven investment choices and collective actions. The first phase of the project will be implemented in two districts each of the States of Tripura, Sikkim, Mizoram and Nagaland.
In line with the objective of the project, the key outcome indicators of the project will include evidence of an upward trend in livelihood productivity among participating economic groups and evidence of the emergence of viable market and employment opportunities and new livelihood practices among the residents of North East region.
The estimated date for appraisal authorisation of the project has been fixed on February 11, 2010 and the estimated date for approval on April 13, 2010.