India: 100 Mn USD loan from World Bank to help boost Sikkim’s growth

at 6:37 pm

NEW DELHI: The World Bank has sanctioned a new project to support the efforts of Indian state of Sikkim to train, upskill and provide jobs for 3,00,500 women and youth in high-growth and priority sectors.

One of the fastest-growing states in India, Sikkim has 40 percent youth engaged in agriculture while manufacturing and services industries are on the upswing.

To sustain growth, the state aims to skill its women and youth in jobs in non-farm sectors like renewable energy, information and technology (IT) services, tourism, hospitality and wellness care, and creative design, the World Bank said in a statement.

With the $100 million loan approved by the World Bank for Integrated Service Provision and Innovation for Reviving Economies (INSPIRES), the state will establish an Employment and Entrepreneurship Promotion Facility, which will promote partnerships with private-sector firms, central agencies, and business associations.

In addition, the project will provide staff trainings and build public procurement capacity across priority state departments.

“This project will solely focus on jobs, and it will aim to remove barriers for women and youth in Sikkim to join the priority sectors and be a part of the state and nation’s growth story,” said Auguste Tano Kouame, the World Bank’s Country Director for India.

“This initiative will be supported by career counseling, migration services and mental health management to make the challenges of job transition easier.”

Studies have shown that around 70 percent of Sikkim’s youth aspire to work in sectors like renewable energy and IT and would need technical and foundational skills.

“To meet the aspirations of women and youth who want to work in the manufacturing and services sector, the Program will organize bootcamps, create a workplace safety management system, and provide transport allowance and business development support,” said Kanchan Rajeevsingh Parmar, Benedicte Leroy de La Briere, and Anna O’Donnell, the Task Team Leaders for the operation.

The $100 million loan from the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) will use the blended financing instrument of Program-for-Results (PforR) with Investment Project Financing (IPF) to link disbursement of funds directly to the achievement of results while providing technical assistance.

The loan has a maturity of 14 years with a grace period of five and a half years.