SHIMLA –The World Bank Vice President for South Asia, Mr. Hartwig Schafer, today concluded a two-day visit to the hill state of Himachal Pradesh in India. During the visit, Mr. Schafer met with Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Jai Ram Thakur to discuss the progress Himachal Pradesh has been making towards a greener and more sustainable growth path, and its vision for the future. Mr. Schafer congratulated the state for the good progress achieved in the fields of renewable energy, agriculture, forest management, and water and sanitation.
“Himachal Pradesh and the World Bank have had a long and impactful partnership supporting the state’s growth plans,” said Jai Ram Thakur, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. “We look forward to further strengthening our engagement in clean and resilient infrastructure, climate smart agriculture and water resource management. This will help us take forward our vision of becoming the first green state in India.”
Mr. Schafer also met Chief Secretary Singh and senior officials of the state government who shared a multi-sector approach to realize the vision of a green state. The Bank agreed to work with the state to explore areas where its support would have the maximum impact.
“The World Bank fully supports Chief Minister Thakur’s vision of making Himachal Pradesh the first ‘green’ state of India and ensuring that 100 percent of the state’s energy needs are met through renewable and green energy by 2034,” said Hartwig Schafer. “The World Bank has been a proud partner of the state’s journey towards sustainable growth since 2005, through projects in hydropower, water supply, roads and agriculture. We look forward to continuing this partnership in the future”.
Earlier, Mr. Schafer visited the Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Water Supply and Sewerage Services Improvement Program and met with women representatives of the households benefiting from the program. He also met with women volunteers, also known as Jal Sakhis, and the independent directors of the utility.
“The women I met in Ramnagar shared with me how their lives have improved with reliable, clean and affordable water supply, and enhanced sanitation services,” said Hartwig Schafer. “The installation of meters at the household level has ensured that the families are able to minimize water losses and pay per actual usage, so for most of the residents, the cost of water has come down. Lessons from this experience will help cities across the country”.
The World Bank has been supporting Himachal Pradesh to move forward with its green and inclusive development agenda through multiple engagements including renewable energy, agriculture, forest management, water and sanitation, and public financial management. Since 2005, the World Bank has committed over $1.5 billion to support the state in watershed development, green hydropower, infrastructure, and agriculture. Ongoing engagements in the state include horticulture development and improving water supply and sewerage services in the capital city of Shimla. To date, the World Bank has an active portfolio of 5 projects with total commitments of $473 million.