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World Bank Sanctions $400 Million To Enhance Namami Gange Programme

“The government’s Namami Gange Programme has revitalized India”s efforts to rejuvenating the Ganga,” Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India, said.

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Namami Gange

New Delhi, July 7 : The Indian government and the World Bank on Tuesday signed a loan agreement to enhance support for the Namami Gange programme that seeks to rejuvenate the Ganga.

The Second National Ganga River Basin Project will help stem pollution in the iconic river and strengthen the management of the river basin which is home to more than 500 million people.

The $400 million operation comprises a loan of $381 million and a proposed guarantee of up to $19 million.

The agreement for the $381 million loan was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the government, and Qaiser Khan, Acting Country Director (India), on behalf of the World Bank. The guarantee instrument will be processed separately.

Khare said that the Ganga is India”s most important cultural, economic and environmental resource, and the government”s Namami Gange programme seeks to ensure that the river returns to a pollution-free, ecologically healthy state.

The new project will extend the government”s and World Bank”s engagement in this critical national programme to make the Ganga a clean, healthy river.

The World Bank has been supporting the government”s efforts since 2011 through the ongoing National Ganga River Basin Project, which helped set up the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) as the nodal agency to manage the river, and financed sewage treatment infrastructure in several riverside towns and cities.

Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General of the National Mission for Clean Ganga, said that the continuity provided by the Second National Ganga River Basin Project will consolidate the momentum achieved under the first World Bank project, and help NMCG introduce further innovations, and benchmark its initiatives against global best practices in river rejuvenation.

“The government’s Namami Gange Programme has revitalized India”s efforts to rejuvenating the Ganga,” Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India, said. “The first World Bank project helped build critical sewage infrastructure in 20 pollution hotspots along the river, and this Project will help scale this up to the tributaries. It will also help government strengthen the institutions needed to manage a river basin as large and complex as the Ganga Basin.”

The sprawling Ganga Basin provides over one-third of India”s surface water, includes the country”s largest irrigated area, and is key to India”s water and food security. Over 40 per cent of India”s GDP is generated in the densely populated basin. But the Ganga river is today is facing pressures from human and economic activity that impact its water quality and flows.

Over 80 per cent of the pollution load in the Ganga comes from untreated domestic wastewater from towns and cities along the river and its tributaries. For this, sewage networks and treatment plants in select urban areas would be built to help control pollution discharges. These infrastructure investments and the jobs they will generate will also help India”s economic recovery from the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) crisis.

To ensure that these infrastructure assets function effectively and are well maintained, the project will build on the innovative Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) of public private partnership introduced under the ongoing NGRBP, and which has become the solution of choice for sewage treatment investments in the Ganga Basin.

Under this model, the government pays a private operator 40 per cent of the capital cost to build a sewage treatment plant during the construction period; the remaining 60 per cent is paid as performance-linked payments over 15 years to ensure that the operator runs and maintains the plant efficiently.

The $400 million operation includes a proposed Guarantee of up to $19 million to backstop the government”s payment obligations for three Hybrid-Annuity-Model Public Private Partnership (HAM-PPP) investments on the Ganga”s tributaries.

The $381 million variable spread loan has a maturity of 18.5 years including a grace period of 5 years. The $19 million Guarantee Expiry Date will be 18 years from the Guarantee Effectiveness Date.

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Lava launches budget smartphone for Rs 7,777

The smartphone sports a dual rear camera setup of 13MP + 5MP with LED flash and a13MP selfie camera with screen flash.

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Lava Z66 Mobile

New Delhi, Aug 4 : Domestic mobile manufacturer Lava on Tuesday launched a new smartphone Z66 as the latest addition in its Z series for Rs 7,777.

Lava Z66 features a 6.08-inch HD+ notch display with a 2.5D curved screen and 19:9 aspect ratio. The device is powered with a 1.6 GHz octa-core processor with 3GB RAM and a storage capacity of 32GB (expandable up to 128GB).

The smartphone is currently available at offline stores and will soon be available on Amazon and Flipkart in three colour variants – marine blue, berry red and midnight blue, the company said in a statement.

“This beautiful device not only lets you click the most stunning pictures but also delivers a power-packed all-round performance,” Tejinder Singh, Head- Product, Lava International said in a statement.

The smartphone sports a dual rear camera setup of 13MP + 5MP with LED flash and a13MP selfie camera with screen flash.

The camera also comes with features like beauty mode, night mode, HDR mode, burst mode, panorama, time lapse and slow motion, along with filters.

The device houses a 3950mAh battery and runs stock Android OS (Android 10).

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New Google Chrome extension brings more ad transparency

Named Ads Transparency Spotlight, the early version of the extension is available on the official Chrome Web Store, ZDNet reported on Sunday.

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Google-wefornews

San Francisco, Aug 3 : As part of its efforts to give people more visibility into the data used to personalise ads, Google has launched a new Chrome extension that lists all companies and services with a presence on the page including content delivery networks or analytics providers.

The extension includes the criteria used to show ads, the ad tech companies helping to display these ads, and the ad platform companies serving these ads on a web page.

Named Ads Transparency Spotlight, the early version of the extension is available on the official Chrome Web Store, ZDNet reported on Sunday.

At the time of release, it only shows information about those ads purchased through Google Ads that have implemented the Ad Disclosure Schema, a uniform system for advertisers to disclose how their ads work.

As others implement this schema, these ads will also appear in the extension.

“Over time, we hope the industry will incorporate the Ad Disclosure Schema into their ads,” Google said.

Google said it released the extension to provide a tool for transparency into the criteria being used to show ads.

“Our ultimate goal is to support a more transparent ad ecosystem globally,” the company added.

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TikTok parent to shift HQ from Beijing to London: Report

Earlier reports suggested that the talks were halted after the US President Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok in the country over security concerns.

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Tik Tok

London, Aug 3 : Chinese unicorn ByteDance which owns the popular short video-sharing app TikTok has received approval from the British government to move its headquarters from Beijing to London, The Sun newspaper reported.

A formal announcement from ByteDance’s founders on setting up shop in London is expected soon, said the report on Sunday. While there is no official word on the deal yet, the newspaper said that the deal could see ByteDance’s founder Zhang Yiming and TikTok’s creator Alex Zhu relocating to London.

Last month, The Sunday Times reported that after months of negotiations with the UK’s Department for International Trade and government officials, ByteDance halted the talks about opening a global headquarters in London due to the “wider geopolitical context”.

That report that cited a source came barely a week after the UK government announced a ban on the purchase of new Huawei kits for 5G from next year and said that the Chinese telecom giant’s equipment will be completely removed from 5G networks by the end of 2027.

However, The Sun newspaper report said that the ministers in the British government have found it “absurd” to say no to a big company wanting to come to Britain.

The news comes amid Microsoft’s discussions with ByteDance to purchase TikTok’s operations in the US.

Earlier reports suggested that the talks were halted after the US President Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok in the country over security concerns.

TikTok has faced allegations that it could share user data with the Chinese government. The company has denied such allegations.

Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and the US President, Microsoft said it was prepared to continue talks to explore purchase of TikTok in the US.

Microsoft hopes to complete the discussion by September 15.

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