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Afghanistan, India sign 92 ‘people-centric’ projects

AT-KABUL: Afghanistan and India on Wednesday signed 92 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to improve the lives of Afghan masses.

In a press release issued here, Embassy of India said: “Today, India and Afghanistan commenced yet another chapter in their development partnership by signing 92 more people-centric projects designed to improve the lives of the hard working and determined citizens across Afghanistan.”

According to the statement, the ceremony was presided over by Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah at Sapedar Palace. Tripartite agreements were signed between the government of India, Afghan Ministry of Economy and various implementing ministries including Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock; Education; Higher Education; Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled; Public Health; Public Works; Refugees and Repatriation; Rural Rehabilitation and Development; Water and Entergy, Women Affairs, IDLG and General Directorate of Physical Education, for additional 92 projects worth $19.24 million.  Another 87 projects worth $25 million are under process of approval by the Indian government.  It is expected that these projects would also commence in the near future.

It is worth to mention that the Small Development Projects (SDP) scheme, with an initial outlay of $20 million, was unveiled during India’s Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to Afghanistan in August 2005. It covered a wide range of projects from installing hand-pumps to building schools, health centers, bridges, vocational training centers, retention walls, veterinary clinics, sanitation projects, minor irrigation projects and others.  Under Phase I and II, 135 projects worth approximately $19.8 million were sanctioned and majority of these have already been completed and are contributing to the wellbeing of Afghans.

In November 2012, India provided an additional sum of $100 million for Phase III of the SDP scheme, also extending the assistance across all 34 provinces of Afghanistan.  Under this phase III, a total of 217 projects have been sanctioned so far (125 projects in September 2014 and 92 projects in March 2016).

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