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Myanmar becomes 7th member of SASEC

Myanmar became the 7th member of South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

It was officially made member at the SASEC Finance Ministers’ meeting held in New Delhi and chaired by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Key Facts
  • Myanmar’s membership in SASEC will offer host of opportunities for realizing synergies from economic cooperation in the subregion.
  • Road corridors in Myanmar can provide key gateway between South Asia and Southeast Asia, while its ports can provide alternate routes and gateways to the landlocked northeastern region of India.
  • It has the potential to unleash significant economic potential and bring better livelihoods to millions in the region after developing multimodal connectivity between India’s northeastern region, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
  • Transport linkages between South and Southeast Asia will also become more attractive to businesses once ongoing and planned motor vehicle agreements are finalized and implemented.
Background

Prior to becoming member, Myanmar was having observer status of SASEC since 2013. Since 2014, it was participating in annual SASEC Nodal Officials’ meetings as an observer. It was invited by the participating countries of SASEC countries to become a full member in 2015.

About South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC)
  • SASEC program is a project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries and strengthening regional economic cooperation.
  • It was established in 2001 in response to the request of the four countries of South Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal – from ADB to assist in facilitating economic cooperation among them.
  • ADB is the secretariat and lead financier of the SASEC program. So far, it has supported 46 projects worth $9.17 billion in transport, trade facilitation, energy and information and communications technology (ICT).
  • Its seven members are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

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India, ADB sign $500 million loan to build longest river bridge across Ganges River

The Union Government and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have inked a $500-million loan agreement to build a 9.8 km long road bridge across the Ganga River in Bihar.

It will be country’s longest river bridge and shall provide better connectivity between North and South Bihar and also Patna and its surrounding areas.

In addition to the loan, ADB will $900,000 in technical assistance. The state government will provide $215 million for the project. It is expected to be completed by end of December 2020.

Key Facts

  • The new Ganga Bridge will be located near Patna. It will span both channels of the Ganga River and serve as an alternate route to the existing Ganga Bridge, which has begun to deteriorate. The project will include building of embankments, viaducts and toll facilities.
  • The bridge will be constructed using the latest engineering techniques. It will serve as an alternative to the existing bridge and will be linked to the National Highway network.
  • It will be first of its kind in India with its height and length customized to deal with climate- related issues such as rise in water levels while ensuring minimum impact on the river.

About Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  • The ADB is a regional development bank which aims to promote social and economic development in Asia.
  • It was established on 19 December 1966. It is headquartered in Manila, Philippines.
  • ADB now has 67 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
  • The ADB has been modelled closely on the World Bank. It has similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.
  • As of 2014, Japan is the largest shareholder (capital subscription) of ADB having 15.7% shares. US (15.6%), China (6.5%), India (6.4%), and Australia (5.8%).

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ADB approves $631 million loan for Vizag-Chennai industrial corridor

Multilateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $631 million loan for building India’s first coastal industrial corridor between Visakhapatnam (Vizag) and Chennai.

The fund will help develop the first key 800-km section of the planned 2,500-km East Coast Economic Corridor.

Key Facts

  • The coastal industrial corridor is expected to boost development on eastern coast of India and enable seamless trade links with other parts of Southeast and South Asia.
  • The total cost of the project is 846 million dollars and work on it is expected to be over by 2031. The remaining 215 million dollars will be funded by Andhra Pradesh government.
  • The loan fund from ADB will help to build state-of-art industrial clusters, roads, efficient transport, reliable water and power supplies with skilled workforce and good business policies.
  • The new infrastructure will be built in the four main centres — Visakhapatnam, Amaravati, Kakinada and Yerpedu-Srikalahasti — along the corridor.
  • It will include 138 km of state highways and roads, 10 power substations, 488 km of drinking water pipeline, 47 km of storm drains, water treatment plants, and 281 km of power transmission and distribution lines.

About the Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC)

  • The VCIC section of the East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC) connects four economic hubs and nine industrial clusters. It will be first industrial corridor developed along India’s coast.
  • The ECEC will extend from Kolkata (West Bengal) in the northeast of India to Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu) near the southern-most point of the country.

About Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  • The ADB is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966. It promotes social and economic development in Asia.
  • It is headquartered in Manila, Philippines. ADB now has 67 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
  • The ADB has been modelled closely on the World Bank. It has similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.
  • As of 2014, Japan is the largest shareholder (capital subscription) of ADB having 15.7% shares. US holds 15.6%, China (6.5%), India (6.4%), and Australia (5.8%).

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