Kerala scheme gets $100mn ADB loan

Oomen Chandy -

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy during an election Campaign rally supporting Congress Candidate in Coimbatore on April 19, 2014. (Photo: IANS)India has signed an agreement with the Asian Development Bank for a loan of $100 million to support Kerala’s initiative to increase employability of higher secondary and undergraduate students, an official statement said here .

It will aim at providing opportunities to students to improve their English fluency and IT skills.

Nearly 235,000 needy students in Kerala will benefit under the program during 2014-18.

“This $100 million loan for supporting Kerala’s Additional Skill Acquisition Program (ASAP) is the first Results Based Lending (RBL) facility from ADB in India,” the statement said.

“The RBL modality, the first time being used in India, will reinforce country systems, incentivise results, and reduce transaction costs. This loan provides a replicable model for other states that are facing the problems of low youth employability and high unemployment,” Tarun Bajaj, joint secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, said.

A capacity building technical assistance of $1.5 million, financed by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, was also signed on this occasion.

M. Teresa Kho, country director, Asian Development Bank, said by offering 180 hours of foundation training in communication English and basic IT, and 120-520 hours of vocational training to high school and undergraduate students, after class and during vacations, ASAP will make them “market ready” by the time they graduate.

The ASAP Secretariat has already enrolled more than 16,000 students and started offering vocational training in 70 market-relevant courses.