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World Bank to provide loan of $300 million for school education in Chhattisgarh and $200 million for power sector reforms in Himachal Pradesh

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The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a $300 million (Rs 2460 crore) loan to help expand and improve the quality of education in government-run schools in Chhattisgarh. The project aims to benefit about 40 lakh students from underprivileged communities in the state.
The World Bank has also approved a loan of $200 million (about Rs 1600 crore) to the Government of Himachal Pradesh to facilitate power sector reforms and increase the share of renewable energy in the state’s electricity generation. This is expected to contribute to the state’s overall aim of adding 10,000 megawatts of additional RE capacity to make the state’s power supply greener. The funding is expected to be available by August 2023 for five years up to 2028.

Government school education in Chhattisgarh

Swami Atmanand English and Hindi medium Schools have been opened in the state to provide quality education to the students of underprivileged communities along with several innovative initiatives in the field of education.
Almost 86 percent of schools in Chhattisgarh are run by the government. While enrolment at the elementary school level is 95 percent, it is only 57.6 percent at the senior secondary level and the enrolment for boys is 10.8 percent lower than that for girls. This is due to the non-availability of science and commerce education across many senior secondary schools, a shortage of trained science and mathematics teachers, and the lack of necessary infrastructure like laboratories and facilities.
Students from remote locations also face a problem with accommodation. While girls have residential school facilities under the centrally sponsored Samagra Shiksha program, there is no such scheme for boys.

CHALK

The Chhattisgarh Accelerated Learning for a Knowledge Economy Operation (CHALK) aims to improve access to education across all grades, and also address the growing demand for science and commerce studies at the senior secondary level. For schools at remote locations, it will also provide access to residential facilities for male students and teachers.
The project will help develop and operate around 600 model composite schools from clases 1 to 12 and offer science and commerce at senior secondary level. These schools are designed to provide quality education through trained teachers, strong school leadership and management, and adequate infrastructure facilities for learning. Climate-proofing school infrastructure using sustainable construction practices is also a part of this project.

Teacher training initiatives

The teacher training initiatives under the project will help enhance the quality of teaching-learning interactions in classrooms to improve student learning levels. More than 175,000 teachers are expected to receive in-service professional development support under the project. Teachers will be provided with access to student-specific remedial educational resources based on a system of periodic school-based learning assessments.

Himachal Pradesh to become a ‘Green State’ by 2030

Himachal Pradesh aims to become a ‘Green State’ by meeting 100 percent of its energy needs through renewable and green energy by 2030. The state currently meets more than 80 percent of its energy demands from hydropower.

Himachal Pradesh Power Sector Development Programme

The World Bank’s Himachal Pradesh Power Sector Development Programme is aimed at helping the state in to increase the utilization of its existing RE resources, including hydropower, and help to diversify its RE resources further. For instance, it will add 150 megawatts of solar capacity in the state, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 190,000 metric tons per year.

Strengthened transmission and distribution

Himachal Pradesh has a hilly terrain where challenges in maintaining uninterrupted power supply exist and restoration in case of a breakdown takes time. In such a scenario, this programme will help achieve a strengthened transmission and distribution grid. It will introduce advanced technologies such as a demand response management system and seamless access to RE. This is critical during peak load periods when the state must otherwise rely on expensive fossil-fuel based power.
The introduction of automated systems will be an important step towards providing clean, reliable 24×7 power supply to citizens, reduce power outages, and minimize consumer complaints.

Job opportunities for women

The programme is aimed at helping strengthen environmental, social, financial management, corporate governance, and procurement capabilities of the state’s power sector utilities and agencies.
In addition, it will contribute towards creating job opportunities in specialized technical and managerial fields in the sector, especially for women. The state’s power utilities will train around 700 female apprentices throughout the duration of the programme, giving them hands-on exposure and training in technical roles within the power sector. This will build on the National Apprentice Promotion Scheme implemented by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.