World Bank extends $250 million loan for India to boost rural enterprises run by women

RediffmailThe World Bank and the Government of India on Tuesday signed a $250-million agreement for the National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP) focused on promoting “women-owned and women-led” farm and non-farm enterprises.

The National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP) is in addition to the $500-million National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP) approved by the World Bank in July 2011, said a statement by the World Bank.

“The National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) aims to alleviate rural poverty and create sustainable livelihood opportunities in rural communities by promoting sustainable community-based institutions,” said Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.

“This additional funding will help give impetus to the poverty alleviation measures by the government and ensure equitable and inclusive growth in the country,” he added.

Besides, the NERTP will support enterprise development programmes for rural poor women and youth by creating a platform to access finance including start-up financing options to build their individual and collectively-owned and managed enterprises.

The other key component of the project, added the World Bank, includes developing financial products using digital financial services to help small producer collectives scale up and engage with the market.

Additionally, the project will continue to give technical assistance, skills building and investment support to strengthen women-owned and women-led producer collectives diversify into high value farm and non-farm commodities such as commercial crops and livestock products and fisheries.

The $250-million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a 5-year grace period, and a final maturity of 20 years.
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