External Assistance Current Affairs - 2019
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EU and France will give a grant of 3.5 million euros to three Indian cities- Nagpur, Kochi and Ahmedabad as part of the EU’s commitment under the Paris Climate agreement to curb emissions and promote sustainability in these cities.
The grants have been provided to help India’s smart city programme under the ‘Moblise Your City’ (MYC) initiative.
India has become the first country to get benefits from the MYC initiative.
The MYC initiative is supported by the French and German government and also has financial support of the European Union (EU). The initiative is aimed at helping 100 cities across the world to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by promoting sustainable urban transport and sustainability in urban spaces.
MYC initiative was emphasised by the Indian and European leaders during Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to Europe.
Further it has been stated that more funds would be offered to India to carry forward its sustainable transport initiatives on the three smart cities.
French Development Agency (AFD) has been associated with several projects in India and conservation of biodiversity. AFD, at present, is funding the Vijayawada, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Kochi and Nagpur metro rail projects.
AFD is a public financial institution of France whose mandate is to implement the policy defined by the French government. It is headquartered in Paris. It finances projects in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean and the French overseas territories to promote living conditions for populations and economic growth in these regions.
France is the ninth largest foreign investor in India.
India has signed an agreement with Sri Lanka to provide USD 318 million as line of credit for developing Sri Lanka’s railway sector. The agreement was signed between Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and Mass media, and Managing Director of India’s Export Import Bank in Colombo.
In 2015, during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Sri Lanka he had declared a line of credit of USD 318 million for the development of Sri Lanka’s railway sector. That visit of Prime Minister Modi was the first standalone bilateral visit by an Indian prime minister since 1987.
The line of credit comes at the backdrop of increasing Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean nation. China has made significant investments in Sri Lanka mainly in developing ports. Though China claims the investments are part of its Belt and Road Initiative that aims to link it with Europe and Africa via the Indian Ocean, the ports have the potential to be used as a base for its naval operations.
At present, Indian development assistance to Sri Lanka primarily focuses on improvement of infrastructure, livelihood development, education, healthcare, and capacity building. India continues to be a major developmental partner for Sri Lanka for nearly 40 years.
So far India has provided four lines of credit to Sri Lanka for developing its railway sector that totally amounted to USD 966 million. Sri Lanka has made used of these credit facilities to improve the southern and northern railway lines as well as for procuring the rolling stocks for the Sri Lanka Railways.
In addition, over the years Indian foreign direct investment in Sri Lanka has also increased rapidly.