New Delhi, 9 December 2022 – A USD 500 million road infrastructure development project financed by the New Development Bank (NDB), has contributed to changes in people’s lives across 434,000 rural communities by improving local livelihoods and access to clinics, hospitals, schools, colleges, markets, businesses, and job opportunities in the State of Madhya Pradesh, according to a new independent evaluation report presented today in New Delhi. Areas in need of improvement were also identified, including simplifying future project design and ensuring more technical assistance to project management units during implementation.
The transport sector in India has seen a surge in recent years, and roads have been recognized as a crucial component in socio-economic development. The evaluation of the Madhya Pradesh Major District Roads Project (MPMDR), the first NDB-financed project in India, found that it had achieved its goals overall. This includes over 1,500 km of improved road, providing better access and connectivity for villages along the route, and 130 road accident black spots eliminated. The upgraded roads are supported by an accident response center, which can alert ambulances and fire-fighters as it is made aware of accidents, 24 hours a day. One key innovation of this project is the partnership developed with private sector contractors, who are responsible for maintenance of the roads for the next five years.
In general, the project was found to be compatible with other road projects carried out in other states, however, it was noted that Madhya Pradesh lacks a multimodal plan for the transport sector. In this regard, Mr. Ashwani Muthoo, Director General of the NDB Independent Evaluation Office highlighted that “There may be opportunities to link roads development with rail and even water projects in the future”. “There also needs to be a plan to ensure the road network is aligned with the National Logistics Policy,” he added.
The report notes that the project met international, ethical and societal norms and standards, but recommended that NDB strengthen its operational activities. Several areas for improvement have been identified by the evaluation particularly with respect to project design and implementation support. Most importantly, such project designs need stronger analysis and discussion regarding the choice of materials and technical standards in laying of road surfaces.
Commenting on the evaluation findings, Dr. D. J. Pandian, Director General of the NDB Indian Regional Office, said: “Since the beginning of partnership between the NDB and India seven years ago, substantial achievements have been made; yet as the evaluation shows, there are still important challenges that require us to further strengthen our joint work to improve the Bank’s operational and strategic performance in the country.” He underlined the Bank’s commitment to operationalise the evaluation’s recommendations in a timely manner in future projects supported by the NDB in India.
One of the main evaluation recommendations is to develop a country strategy to guide the NDB-India partnership and programming moving forward. Another is to prepare a multimodal transport strategy/plan. Moreover, the evaluation highlighted the need to conduct more robust supervision and implementation support, and closely monitor follow-up to supervision recommendations to allow for mid-course adjustments for better outcomes at project completion.
The project evaluation, conducted by NDB Independent Evaluation Office, was presented at a learning event in New Delhi. Attendees included government representatives, project staff, development partners, delegates from research institutions and NDB staff. The evaluation will be discussed in the NDB Board of Directors on 13 December 2022.
Since 2016, NDB has approved around USD 7.2 billion for 21 projects in India, with millions of people expected to benefit.
New Development Bank was established with the purpose of mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging market economies and developing countries, complementing the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development. The admission of the first four new members into the NDB in 2021 – Bangladesh, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay – heralded the beginning of the Bank’s expansion as a global multilateral institution.
In 2022, the NDB launched its Indian Regional Office (IRO) in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City). The IRO works closely with the Government of India, public and private sector agencies, and other relevant stakeholders to identify projects that have strong development impact, and which are aligned with the national development priorities.