Signing of MoU on ‘Implementation of High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs)
To support the decentralisation efforts of the Government of President Ibu Solih, an MoU on ‘Implementation of High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) through Local Bodies’ was concluded between External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar and Foreign Minister and President-elect of UNGA Abdulla Shahid during the latter’s ongoing visit to India. The MoU sanctions an additional MVR 70 million to take up implementation of 9 or 10 high-impact projects in the Maldives through Island and City Councils. The primary focus of projects would be socio-economic development, particularly creation of infrastructure in the education, health or community development sectors, livelihood activity, conservation of environmental and cultural heritage, empowerment of women and child welfare.
Under a similar MoU signed during the visit of former EAM Sushma Swaraj in March 2019, Island Councils across the Maldives are currently implementing 12 high-impact projects through a grant of MVR 85 million extended by India. At the time of the visit, India had also extended a cash grant of MVR 106 million under which 18 socio-economic developmental projects are being carried out. Of the above total 30 grant projects, 12 have been concluded / inaugurated, and the rest are expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
These high-impact projects chosen by the Government of Maldives through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are those that have a high-level of community impact and participation in the areas of livelihood and income generation, health, education, gender and child empowerment, sports, sustainable development, etc. The projects undertaken so far under this grant assistance include establishment of fish-processing plants, eco-tourism zones, Drug-Detox Center, bottled-water plant, soil-testing lab. The projects further cover a swathe of other important areas such as development of sports infrastructure, coastal protection, procurement of vehicles and machinery for City councils, infrastructural upgrade of critical institutions, construction of school classrooms, development of community centers and parks including children's parks etc.
India shares a comprehensive development partnership with the Maldives. As agreed to during the visit of President Solih to India in December 2018, the strategy includes carrying out both big-ticket projects under the USD 1.3 million Line of Credit plus grant assistance, and a large number of relatively small grant projects of cost not exceeding MVR 8.5 million each. While the LoC projects with a longer gestation period will contribute significantly to the development of infrastructure in the Maldives, the grant projects are expected to have an immediate and positive impact on the lives of the island communities.
HICDPs constitute an important dimension of the dynamic development partnership between India and the Maldives. These projects are driven by the needs of communities on the islands. They are implemented by City and Local Councils and thus also place an emphasis on building capacities of local councils and contribute to the decentralisation efforts of the Government of Maldives.
India looks forward to supporting a fresh clutch of socially impactful and economically beneficial projects across the Maldivian Atolls under the grant of and additional MVR 70 million sanctioned through the newly-concluded MoU.