In a significant development for urban transformation, the Indian government has recently signed a USD 400 million loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The funding, aimed at sustainable urban development, will bolster the creation of high-quality infrastructure, enhance service delivery, and promote efficient governance systems.
The loan agreement, inked by Juhi Mukherjee, Joint Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs, and Takeo Konishi, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission, marks a crucial step in the country’s commitment to making its cities more livable and centres of economic growth.
This financial support, categorized under Sub-programme 2 of the Sustainable Urban Development and Service Delivery Programme, focuses on investment planning and reform actions at the state and urban local body (ULB) levels. It complements the national-level policies initiated under Sub-programme 1 in 2021, which aimed at improving urban services.
The program supports ongoing reforms at the state and ULB levels, aligning with the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut) 2.0. This flagship program seeks universal access to water supply and sanitation.
Additionally, Sub-programme 2 backs various mission objectives, including urban water security, reduction of water losses, recycling treated sewage, and rejuvenating water bodies. The integrated approach extends to urban planning reforms, controlling sprawls, and fostering planned urbanization through legal, regulatory, and institutional reforms.
Cities will play a pivotal role in this transformation, promoting the modernization of building bylaws, land pooling, urban agglomeration, and comprehensive mobility planning. The strategy emphasizes climate resilience, nature-based solutions, and improved financial sustainability for cities through revenue generation.
The funding is expected to empower cities to explore innovative financing avenues, such as commercial borrowings, municipal bonds, and public-private partnerships, addressing crucial deficits in urban infrastructure investments. This development holds global significance, showcasing India’s commitment to sustainable urbanization on the international stage.