World Bank building in Washington
The World Bank on Saturday announced the launch of a $500 million insurance fund, which would be fast disbursed to poor countries in case of deadly pandemicsIn Picture: The World Bank building in Washington.Wikimedia commons

The Indian government and the World Bank Wednesday signed a loan agreement of $1.5 billion (around Rs 9,951 crore). The loan will support India's universal sanitation initative under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

The deal for the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) support operation project is an effort to ensure that all Indian citizens have access to improved sanitation and eliminating the process of open defecation by 2019, World Bank said in a statement. 

The two important components of the project are: Incentivising good performance by states and focus on behavioural changes.

Raj Kumar, Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of the government of India and Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director, India on behalf of the World Bank inked the loan agreement.

"The government of India's Swachh Bharat Mission is the country's largest-ever drive to improve sanitation. The SBM aims to end open defecation and improve the management of liquid and solid wastes. The project will promote behaviour change among rural communities and help accelerate results in India's state by giving performance-based incentives," Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs said in the statement.

Over a five year period, the project would support the country's rural component –SBM (Gramin) –using a performance-based program, which would link funds directly to results. This would ensure the benefits are directly delivered to the people.

The ministry of drinking water and sanitation will oversee and coordinate the project and support the participating states. In addition, the World Bank will also provide $25 million (about Rs 165 crore) technical assistance to build the capacity of the select states.

"One in every ten deaths in India is linked to poor sanitation. And studies show that low-income households bear the maximum brunt of poor sanitation. This project, will result in significant health benefits for the poor and vulnerable, especially those living in rural areas," Ruhl, World Bank Country Director, India added in the statement.

Watch the World Bank's Swachh Bharat Mission video:

[1 lakh = 100,000 | 1 crore = 10 million | 100 crore = 1 billion]