Colombo, November 11 (The Indian High Commission): In the presence of Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to implement High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP) under Indian grant assistance was signed between India and Sri Lanka at the Temple Trees on Tuesday, November 10, 2020.
The extension of the ongoing MoU on HICDP for another five years had been announced during the Virtual Bilateral Summit between Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on 26 September 2020. The MOU was signed today by High Commissioner of India Gopal Baglay and Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle.
Under the High Impact Community Development Projects a total of 64 projects using a total outlay of approx SLR 20 billion as aid from the Government of India have been implemented in Sri Lanka. As per the new framework MoU for the third phase, signed today, individual developmental projects costing upto SLR 300 million in social sectors such as health, education, water, sanitation, agriculture etc can be taken up in Sri Lanka. The total outlay of all such projects at any given time can be upto SLR 5 billion.
It had been also agreed during the Virtual Bilateral Summit to deepen and broadbase the HICDP projects currently undertaken in each of Sri Lanka’s 25 districts. These projects shall relate chiefly to socio-economic development, livelihood support, conservation of environmental and cultural heritage, empowerment of women, child welfare and facilitation of community life, particularly through the creation of infrastructure in the education, health, agriculture or community development sectors. The Ministry of Finance is the nodal Ministry for implementing the HICDP scheme on the Sri Lankan side.
Presently, 21 projects covering all provinces viz., Northern, North-Central, North-Western, Western, Southern, Central, Uva, Sabragamuva and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka are being undertaken under the MOU. They include construction of primary schools and colleges, vocational training institutes, Universities, hospitals, rural sanitation, cultural heritage, rainwater harvesting, social housing for poor, agricultural warehousing, tourism and civil aviation infrastructure support.
The HICDP scheme has been designed to contribute to the developmental aspirations and needs of Sri Lanka. The projects undertaken are always demand-driven and entirely based on the requirements of the Government and the people of Sri Lanka. Further, all overheads and administrative costs for implementing these projects, as indeed any other projects under Government of India grant, are absorbed separately by Government of India and are not included in the project outlay. The scheme is entirely on-budget and implemented through various line Ministries of Sri Lanka, thereby indicating the depth of our development cooperation with Sri Lanka. HICDP reflects the abiding commitment of India to work closely with the Government and people of Sri Lanka for shared progress and prosperity.
In a conversation with Prime Minister Rajapaksa, after the signing ceremony, High Commissioner Baglay conveyed his greetings to the Prime Minister on the upcoming festival of Deepawali and also referred to the Navratri Puja celebrations held recently at Temple Trees.
(The picture at the top shows Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at the signing ceremony)