The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has shown a keen interest in lending to the state.
It is believed to be looking at a big exposure in Bihar after approval by the senior management of the bank. The state government is considering taking loan from the bank to partly finance its huge public outlay during the 11th Five-Year Plan.
A ten-man delegation of bank officials including its India director met Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and apprised him of their preliminary conclusions during the separate discussions they had with Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Board NK Singh and the top bureaucrats of the state including Chief Secretary AK Chaudhary and Finance Commissioner Navin Kumar.
Singh said that the ADB representatives were appreciative of the investment opportunities in the state and lauded the administrative and financial reform programme initiated in the state during the last one year particularly the FRBM and devolution of power to the panchayats.
The sectors in which the ADB representatives have shown interest include roads including the state highways and rural roads not covered under the PMGSY, capacity building and additional generation of power, strengthening the cooperative sector financial institutions and urban development. Besides a multi-year engagement with the state, they are also interested in furthering public-private partnership in the state, he added.
Following approval from their senior management sector, specialists of the bank would visit the state for discussions and in light of it take necessary appropriate steps, Singh said. Union Finance Ministry clearance would also have to be obtained.
Asked about the quantum of loan the government intended to take, he said it was too premature to give any figure but added that the ADB had indicated that funds were abundantly available.
He also said that taking loan from the ADB, which comes with a substantial gestation period and a long repayment schedule, was one of the options before the government.
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