Himachal witnessing a seachange through 14 projects in various sectors
Externally funded projects are the roots of growth and play an important role in strengthening the economy of hilly states like Himachal Pradesh which have limited resources.
At present, 14 externally aided projects worth about Rs 9877.95 crore are being implemented in the PWD, forestry, power, tourism, agriculture, horticulture, urban and skill development etc. sectors in the state. Under these projects, the state is receiving loan in the ratio of 90: 10 through the Government of India.
Out of these projects, four projects amounting to about Rs. 3,723 crore are being funded by the Asian Development Bank, five projects worth about Rs 3,062 crore by the World Bank, one project worth Rs. 862 crore by AFD and two projects worth Rs. 1,121 crore and Rs 1,110 crore respectively by JICA and KFW.
These projects include three projects of about Rs. 4,060 crore in the power sector, three projects of about Rs. 1,808 crore in the forestry sector and two projects of about Rs. 1,061 crore in the horticulture sector. Apart from this, a project costing around Rs. 800 crore in the public sector, Rs. 583 crore in the tourism sector, Rs. 650 crore in the skill development sector, Rs. 315 crore in the finance sector and Rs. 321 crore in the agriculture sector are being implemented in the state.
Apart from this an Integrated Development Project (IDP) worth Rs. 700 crore is being funded by the World Bank for Forest Department. This project was signed on 11th March, 2020 for Source Sustainability and Climate Resilient Rain fed Agriculture and Improving Agriculture Productivity and Value Addition for five years. This would improve upstream watershed management and increase agricultural water productivity in various Gram Panchayats of the state. The project is being implemented in 428 selected Gram Panchayats of 10 districts viz. Shimla, Una, Kangra, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Chamba, Mandi, Kullu, Solan and Sirmaur of the state.
So far an expenditure of Rs. 1928.93 lakh was done by the state government under this project and claims of Rs. 1543.15 lakh were filed to the World Bank, out of which an amount of Rs. 1540.77 lakh has already been reimbursed to the state.
The Himachal Pradesh Crop Diversification Promotion Project (HPCDP-JICA) is also proving a catalyst in promoting crop diversification in the state. The objective of the project is to manage and enhance the forest area ecosystems while contributing to the environmental and sustainable socio-economic development in the project area. This project is also contributing towards biodiversity conservation and improvement of ecosystem services with specific focus on water resource conservation, prevention of soil erosion and in providing necessary support to establish sustainable alternative livelihoods to the local community. It is being implemented as part of the Indo-Japan Cooperation under an ODA loan agreement between Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Government of India.
Entire estimated cost of the project is Rs. 800 crore of which 80 percent i.e. Rs.640 crore is to be covered by the Japanese ODA loan and 20 percent i.e. Rs.160 crore is to be provided by the Government of Himachal Pradesh. Out of Rs. 640 crore the Government of India will bear 90 percent loan amount and is extended as a grant to the Government of Himachal Pradesh.
This project is being implemented in three phases for ten years from April 2018 to 2028 in six districts including Bilaspur, Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Kinnaur, and Lahaul and Spiti, 7 Forest Circles (5 Territorial; 2 Wildlife) 18 Forest Divisions, 61 Forest Ranges 400 Village Forest Development Societies (VFDS), 60 Biodiversity Management Sub-Committees, 920 Self-Help Groups (SHGs). Recently the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has also launched the website of JICA project which would help in accessing the forestry and other activities of the project undertaken in the state.
When we talk about crop diversification, the implementation of this project has changed the scenario of state. According to a recent report, there is a considerable shift in area from cereals to vegetable considerably after providing irrigation facilities through this project. Almost all the crops have shown a positive growth and increase in yield levels due to the technical support, technology demonstration and training imparted in the project area. The average net farm income has increased significantly and four times increase in incomes of farmers has been registered in the project area and soon this project would be implemented in all the 12 district of state.
The project has improved the targeted outcome to strengthen the socio-economic status of the farmers. The area under vegetable Production has increased by 232 percent in Rabi and 328 percent in Kharif crops and the increase in yield of vegetables has been recorded 108 percent both in Rabi and Kharif season after providing irrigation and other project interventions.