World Bank extends $150 million loan for Punjab

The Punjab government has got a loan of $150 million (approximately Rs 1,200 crore) from the World Bank to help the state better manage its financial resources and improve access to public services.

The World Bank said it would support Punjab’s efforts to strengthen the institutional capabilities of various government departments, manage fiscal risks and make informed policy choices to support sustainable growth.

Punjab at present has a debt of Rs 2.63 lakh crore. The state, which was receiving a large chunk of its earnings as GST compensation from the Centre, is set to lose around Rs 16,000 crore annually after the Centre ended its GST remuneration scheme for the states in June this year. The state at present is grappling with a challenge to keep itself afloat with the new government splurging on freebies to keep its pre-poll promises.

The World Bank loan that Punjab will receive can only be used for the purpose and the departments it is meant for.

The new projects will support the state’s development goals by strengthening the planning, budgeting and monitoring functions, and leveraging digital technology, besides increasing accountability in the public procurement systems by supporting the state-wide implementation of new legal and policy reforms.