NEW DELHI, Jan 20 – The Centre and the World Bank have formally sealed a deal for an International Development Association (IDA) credit of USD 130 million to improve livelihood opportunities of the rural poor in the North-east.
The North East Rural Livelihoods Project (NERLP) envisages enhancing the livelihoods of the rural poor, especially women, unemployed youth and the severely disadvantaged in eight districts in four participating States – Aizawl and Lunglei in Mizoram; Peren and Tuensang in Nagaland; South, West and 15 panchayat wards of east district in Sikkim; and West and North districts in Tripura.
The agreements for the NERLP were signed by Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Project Director on behalf of the NERLP, Venu Rajamony, and World Bank Country Director in India, Roberto Zagha.
The Project seeks to develop an institutional platform for the communities, which will help them link up with the private sector, public sector, and civil society and to acquire the institutional, technical, and financial capacity needed for improving their livelihoods. A separate activity for skills development and job placement has been included in the project to ensure that such opportunities are available to the rural poor.
The Project comprises four main components including social empowerment, economic empowerment, partnership development and project management.
Despite its rich natural resources and relatively good human development indicators, the North East region lags behind the rest of India in important parameters of growth. Almost 35 percent of its predominantly rural population lives below the poverty line, agricultural productivity is low, and high school drop-out rates and lack of skills have led to high unemployment among the youth, official sources said.
The low-growth scenario is exacerbated by problems of geographical inaccessibility, protracted insurgency in some areas, and recurring natural disasters.