Chhattisgarh gets Centre’s nod for World Bank funded school project

The Chhattisgarh Government has received an in-principle nod from the Centre to go ahead with a $300 million (approximately ₹2,100 crore) school education project the State is negotiating with the World Bank.

The proposal, discussions on which started two months ago, was sent to the Centre after the State Finance Department cleared it, Mr. said. If it goes through, the initiative will allow the Chhattisgarh Government to borrow $300 million over a period of five years at significantly lower than market rates, and repay it over a period of 20 years. The pooled resources will be a shot in the arm for the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government, which has education as one of its key planks.

An in-principle nod means that the Centre has no objection to the State borrowing money from an external financial institution such as the World Bank. This is not the final approval but it paves the way for the State to proceed with subsequent discussions. Similarly, the World Bank has also approved in-principle that it’s willing to fund the project.

This will be followed by a World Bank team’s visit to Chhattisgarh. The team is scheduled to arrive later this month. Then we will prepare the Detailed Project Report (DPR) with the Centre and the World Bank, which will be put up before the World Bank Board and the Centre for a final approval. We are hopeful that all the clearances will be received by the end of this year.

The World Bank has been associated with India’s school education system since 1994, according to its website. One of its more recent projects, inked in 2021, is the $500 million Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program (STARS) to improve the quality and governance of school education in six Indian States. That list, however, does not include Chhattisgarh.