Business Finance Investment

Saurabh Tiwari : ‘Policybazaar to drive pivotal change in consumer behaviour’

Importantly, the amalgamation of digital and physical models has helped bridge the trust deficit for customers who have online research at their fingertips but prefer an offline purchase…reports Asian Lite News

The combination of physical and digital — phygital — model of operations helped new-age insurance firm PolicyBazaar in tapping the potential of unexplored markets, the company’s Chief Technology Officer(CTO) Saurabh Tiwari told.

The pandemic pushed up the life insurance penetration in India to almost the same as that of the global average. Policybazaar sees this trend as a “secular trend” and it believes it will continue to drive this “pivotal change in consumer behaviour”.

“The transience of life is a brutal reality that applies equally to everyone and Indians don’t have the comfort of standardised social security to turn to,” the CTO said adding that the pre-pandemic term insurance penetration rate, yet, painted a grim picture.

“However, the past two years of Covid-19 have helped break the inertia when it comes to the purchase of insurance products, especially term insurance. With digitisation facilitating ease of access and information, consumers are now better equipped to take charge of their financial decisions and secure their future with just a few clicks. More evidently, during the second wave, Google search in India for ‘term insurance’ was the highest in the last five years. That is considerably huge progress. This indicates a sharp rise in awareness and demand for insurance,” he said.

Asked how the company will ensure a seamless ‘phygital’ experience across both physical and digital worlds, the CTO said: “Our aim is to unify both these models to leverage the omnichannel approach for providing our customers with a robust, 360-degree service and support system.”

Historically, insurance worked on an offline model and it still constitutes a huge share of the overall distribution pie – which is still close to 80 per cent. After the advent of digitisation, online channels have also been a market-defining pillar for the industry in order to serve the customers.

Importantly, the amalgamation of digital and physical models has helped bridge the trust deficit for customers who have online research at their fingertips but prefer an offline purchase.

Further, when asked how the company is using AI/ML, and data analytics, the CTO said: “As consumer behaviour goes through a massive change with better access to research and data available at their fingertips, they can easily compare online, seek assistance and make better choices. The long legacy of data that we have, enables them to do that. Conventionally, the way insurance is bought and sold has broadly been based on static parameters.

“The company is leveraging the potential of automation to entirely turn around the customer experience and also for making the process more cost and time-efficient. Deploying technology helps us efficiently assess the risk profile of a customer which is a breakthrough of sorts for underwriting.

“Furthermore, the CTO said that the cloud technology has helped the insurance company rapidly build its applications over the cloud. For scalability and elasticity, the platform offers all the building blocks for the application with managed services like Amazon RDS, ALB, CloudWatch, ECS with Fargate and WAF/Shield. With AWS we got the native advantage of provisioning resources at will.

“Also, monitoring, managing and decommissioning resources are easier and require fewer clicks. In terms of business outcomes, it had experienced the following key benefits attributed to running on Amazon Web Services: a. Cost reductions: Instead of having to upfront invest heavily in data centres based on peak load, the ability to pay only when you consume computing resources, and pay only for how much one consumes is a big advantage. Since this is an opex model it doesn’t require significant upfront investment.

“b. Quick time to market:
In a cloud computing environment, new IT resources are only a click away, which means that one can reduce the time to make those resources and applications available to its developers from weeks to just minutes. It helps in getting the required resources almost 100 per cent in-time.

“c. Effective use of resources: It operates and manages the infrastructure and development processes at scale. Automation and consistency help in managing and utilising the resources to the fullest. The resource utilisation of the critical resources of ECS+FARGATE(Docker), RDS, Elastic-Cache is 98 per cent-99 per cent. It monitors AWS resources via Amazon CloudWatch’s resource utilisation report.

“d. Faster deployment and Reduced latency: It easily deploys its applications in multiple regions around the world with just a few clicks using code, deploy and Jenkins. With this, it can provide lower latency and a better experience for its customers at a minimal cost.

e. Improved availability: AWS has helped improve the availability of business-critical information, applications, and services. Resource availability is in high 99 per cent and it uses the ASG feature with multiple templates and multiple resource types.

“f. Management efficiency: The infra and application management is far easier via an AWS portal on the browser, as it can be accessed from anywhere.

“g. Improvement in Risk Management:
AWS has helped in risk improvement in case of scaling, availability and recovery during business hours.”

ALSO READ-Turtlemint’s growth as a platform empowering insurance advisors

Business Finance Investment

‘Time To Create A Safety Net’

During volatile times, especially while living abroad i.e. away from your home country, it makes sense to ensure that you safeguard yourself and your loved ones when your circumstances change for the worse. A term life policy with global coverage and add on riders like the accidental cover, critical illness cover and disability insurance is considered a must-have shield … Asian Lite’s Iqbal Azeez meets Neeraj Gupta, CEO,, a leading online insurance aggregator in the UAE.

  1.   How the pandemic changed personal finance of the Indian expat population in the Middle East?

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a catalyst in changing people’s attitudes towards money. The spending and purchasing habits of the Indian expats had changed due to the pandemic outbreak. Expats are now prioritizing needs over wants. They are shopping only for the essential goods and services that too when there are offers and discounts available in the market. Thus, the pandemic was like a wake-up call for them to save and invest money for future contingencies.

  •  What is your advise to the Indian expatriates in the Gulf and other parts of the world?

Indian expatriates are always on the lookout for financial schemes/or investments that help them to provide a safety net and ensure their family’s future financial needs are met. Thus, buying a term insurance policy provides a supporting wall until the expat’s dependents can stand on their feet financially. The sum insured of this is the amount your family/nominee will receive in case of any unfortunate incident such as death, disability, or critical illness. Make sure the sum insured is significant enough for your family to live a stress-free and financially independent life after factoring in inflation. Also, one should choose the maximum available policy period as doing this will ensure a relatively lower premium too.

Neeraj Gupta, CEO,

Secondly, buying an individual health insurance plan can help expats reap the benefits of extensive coverage options and save them from the burden of paying exorbitant medical bills for treatment at private hospitals.

  •  What is your take on the Insurance sector in the UAE?

The life insurance penetration in the UAE is currently at 0.5 per cent, this is likely to grow as Covid-19 has increased the awareness of financial and health risks among consumers. This has resulted in increased demand for life insurance and related products such as individual health covers, critical illness covers etc. Despite the increase in demand, Covid-19 has significantly impacted distribution capabilities on the intermediated side of the industry, which relies on physical contact – an obviously unworkable model during the past several months. As a result, the pandemic has ushered in a renewed focus on the ability to reach consumers directly via digital means.

  •      How the pandemic affected the Sector?

The insurance sector is hard hit by the outbreak of the pandemic. The first and foremost concern that arose immediately out of the COVID-19 outbreak was the continuity of business operations along with employees and partners protection. The insurance market in UAE has approximately lost 48% of its market share (as per KPMG international report) since the outbreak began, car and home insurance being the most affected line of business. While health and life insurance witnessed a slow fall in numbers. As the insurance providers are struggling with shrinking market shares and profit levels there is a very high probability that the payable premiums will be increased in the next year to cover the losses incurred.

  •      How robust is Indian insurance sector?

The insurance industry in India has seen major growth in the last decade along with an introduction of a huge number of advanced products. This has led to tough competition with a positive and healthy outcome. India’s insurance penetration was pegged at 4.2% in FY21, with life insurance penetration at 3.2% and non-life insurance penetration at 1.0%. In terms of insurance density, India’s overall density stood at US$ 78 in FY21 (INDIAN INSURANCE INDUSTRY REPORT , NOVEMBER, 2021).

Also, the insurance sector plays a dynamic role in the wellbeing of India’s economy. It substantially increases the opportunities for savings amongst the individuals, safeguarding their future and helping the insurance sector to form a massive pool of funds.

  •      What are trends and demands for insurance sector?

Throughout 2022 and the years to come, we expect the insurance industry to undergo a digital transformation.  As customer expectations change, insurers will have to adapt their business model to meet new demands. Insurers focusing on delivering customer-centric products and services will succeed. Similarly, data-driven insurance, marketing and sales will be the next elements of insurance to be automated. Data-driven marketing is improving insurance, showing insurers where the gaps in the market lie. By paying attention to which products customers are demanding more, insurers can spend more time innovating new products and, crucially, marketing those products to the right audience. Artificial Intelligence (AI) too will spread wider throughout the industry as more insurers gain confidence with this new technology.

  •    What steps an expat should take to protect his family and himself in this time of uncertainty?

During volatile times, especially while living abroad i.e. away from your home country, it makes sense to ensure that you safeguard yourself and your loved ones when your circumstances change for the worse. A term life policy with global coverage and add on riders like the accidental cover, critical illness cover and disability insurance is considered a must-have shield. Secondly, all expats must build an emergency fund with their salary. One might have a job now, but who knows what might happen in the near future. The emergency fund should be saved in an easy-to-access account, such as a bank account or high-yield savings account to help during unprecedented times.

  •      Your advise to the expat communities in the UAE

It’s advised that using the private system, expats must buy individual health insurance policies in the UAE  to save themselves from the burden of exorbitant healthcare costs. Also, they must reduce their credit card debts. Keeping a frequent check of their credit score would help them to monitor their financial actions. Having a low credit score can lead to imposing higher interest rates, more expensive insurance, and other financial issues like a rejection of a loan or new credit card application. Also, expats must invest their money to generate a passive income via making investments in blue-chip equity stocks, monthly income plans, pension plans, gold bonds and fixed-income investments.

Business Finance Investment

BITFINEX SECURITIES: A New Platform For Tokenized Equities By Hong Kong-based Exchange

Thanks to the new platform, small and medium-sized companies will be granted the opportunity to list their tokenized equities, funds, and bonds in order to increase their capital. In addition to this, traders will be able to trade and invest in these tokenized securities thanks to this platform

Recently, one of the largest crypto exchanges around the world Bitfinex announced that it will be deputing tokenized equities thanks to the new Bitfinex Securities. The exchange now acts as a new trading platform by the company, and it will give traders the ability to become part of traditional finance.

Thanks to the new platform, small and medium-sized companies will be granted the opportunity to list their tokenized equities, funds, and bonds in order to increase their capital. In addition to this, traders will be able to trade and invest in these tokenized securities thanks to this platform.

While there are some similarities between the new trading platform created by Bitfinex and other stock token trading on crypto exchanges, they are still very different from one another. One very important difference between those two is the fact that the tokens listed on FTX and other exchanges are shares of companies that are already public.

On the other hand, Bitfinex Securities representatives say that it will be mostly focusing on listing bonds, equities, or funds of private companies around the world that are thinking of ways to go public with tokenization.

As the representative of the company, Paolo Ardoino said, Bitfinex Securities is aiming to become the most liquid exchange around the world. This Hong Kong-based exchange has long been working on different types of innovative features to offer to their customers, The recent step is another way for the company to make trading more accessible for traders around the world.

Where Was The New Platform Established?

According to the official representatives of the exchange, the new platform is based in Kazakhstan and it is regulated by the Astana International Financial Center, AIFC. The authority will be in charge of regulating and overseeing the new exchange platform.

The representative of the company announced that Bitfinex Securities has been trying to get a license in Astana for over 18 months. As it was noted, the company has only received a conditional investment exchange license for now.

According to the regulations and policies of Bitfinex, any of the traders who are interested in the services of the new platform are required to complete the KYC as well as verification processes to be able to trade.

The Know Your Customer and verification processes might take you some time but it is created for highest safety standards. In addition, it should also be noted that the new platform will not be available in the USA as well as some European countries.

Making Trading More Accessible

Established in 2012, Bitfinex has long been known as a company working very hard towards further adoption of cryptocurrencies and popularization of the crypto trading market. Initially established as a P2P margin lending platform for only.

Bitcoin, the company has transformed its services a lot and welcomed numerous other cryptocurrencies on their platforms. The company offers crypto exchange services to numerous jurisdictions around the world.

The company is known for having a huge user base in the UK, Japan, and many European countries. The services of the company include margin trading, a well-developed trading platform, Over-the-Counter services, derivatives trading, and so on.

Bitfinex makes trading more accessible for everyone around the world. To make investing in cryptocurrencies even easier, the exchange has partnered up with numerous software development companies and now offers crypto traders access to trading automation.

There are numerous crypto trading robots that you can use on Bitfinex, which makes investing in crypto assets even easier. Trading cryptocurrencies can be quite hard for beginner traders, especially because it takes a lot of energy and time for market analysis. When it comes to analyzing the market data, there always is some type of limit to the amount of data humans can analyze.

On the other hand, crypto trading robots are able to analyze huge chunks of data in a matter of minutes, which makes them very helpful for crypto traders. Apart from that, modern crypto trading robots are also able to not only analyze the market but actually trade cryptocurrencies for investors.

For trading automation, Bitfinex offers a robust API key management system that allows traders to use a wide range of third-party trading software. Although the exchange does not offer built-in trading bots, you can use almost any of the available bots in the industry by connecting your trading account to the robot using the API key.

Thanks to the huge dedication towards making crypto trading more accessible, many people view Bitfinex as one of the leading crypto trading exchanges in the market. The company has taken many steps over the past few years to make investing in cryptocurrencies more accessible around the world. There are over 250 pairs available at Bitfinex for trading, which makes it a great platform for crypto trading.

The recent Bitfinex Securities platform established by the exchange further increases the opportunities created for crypto traders. It once again shows how much Bitfinex is focused on further expansion and more diversification.

Business Economy Finance

UK Watchdog bans cryptocurrency exchange Binance

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has banned the major crypto exchange Binance from conducting regulated activity in the country, including Binance Markets Limited and its parent Binance Group, the media reported.

The watchdog didn’t say just why it blocked Binance but noted that an “imposition of requirements” kept Binance from operating.

Binance has until June 30 to confirm that it’s honoring the FCA’s demands, citing Financial Times, Engadget reported.

According to the report, in the past, it said it took regulatory obligations “very seriously” and was “committed” to honouring the rules wherever it operated.

Binance is one of the largest crypto exchanges on the planet, with locations around the world and an industry-leading trading volume of about $2.46 trillion as of May 2021.

The FCA’s crackdown could not only limit trading in a major market but hurt the company’s reputation. It’s not clear how easily Binance can address its situation, but it’s under more than a little pressure to act quickly.

Binance told Engadget this shouldn’t have a direct effect on activity through its main website.

Binance Markets Limited is legally separate and has “not yet launched” its UK business, the company said.

Read More:

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Pandemic still Threatens Economy

US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has said the Covid-19 pandemic continues to pose risks to the US economic outlook as the pace of vaccination has slowed.

“Progress on vaccinations has limited the spread of Covid-19 and will likely continue to reduce the effects of the public health crisis on the economy,” Powell said in written testimony released Monday afternoon on the Fed’s website, which was prepared for a Tuesday hearing before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Xinhua reported.

“However, the pace of vaccinations has slowed and new strains of the virus remain a risk. Continued progress on vaccinations will support a return to more normal economic conditions,” he said.

Powell’s testimony came as public health experts warned that the highly contagious Delta variant continues threatening the US, especially in states with the lowest vaccination numbers.

The Delta variant, which is believed to be more transmissible and cause more severe disease, could cause an upsurge in infections, but the levels will vary depending on the rates of vaccination in each area, said Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration.

Powell also said in testimony that US inflation has increased notably in recent months as the economy continues to reopen.

“This reflects, in part, the very low readings from early in the pandemic falling out of the calculation; the pass-through of past increases in oil prices to consumer energy prices; the rebound in spending as the economy continues to reopen; and the exacerbating factor of supply bottlenecks,” he explained.

“As these transitory supply effects abate, inflation is expected to drop back toward our longer-run goal,” said the Fed chair.

Core personal consumption expenditures price index, the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, is expected to rise to 3 per cent by end of 2021, and then decelerate to 2.1 per cent over the next two years, according to the Fed’s latest Summary of Economic Projections released last week.

Read More:

Business Economy Finance

Banks in TN to open only till 2 p.m

The timing will be reviewed after April 30, based on the Covid-19 situation in the state….reports Asian Lite News

With sudden surge in Covid-19 cases in Tamil Nadu and to prevent further spread, bank branches in Tamil Nadu will function between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from April 26 to April 30.

The timing will be reviewed after April 30, based on the Covid-19 situation in the state.

The State Level Bankers’ Committee-Tamil Nadu (SLBC-TN) on Saturday issued a series of guidelines to its member banks in the state.

In addition, the SLBC-TN has said wherever possible cluster based functioning of branches in consultation with the local administration shall be adopted.

Branches that are routinely facing huge crowds, shall seek the help of police for crowd management, by taking up through the Lead District Manager.

There will be no change in the working hours of administrative/zonal/regional/back offices of the banks where the staff do not have direct contact with the public.

The other decisions are:

-Staff with co-morbidities conditions, pregnant women, visually challenged may be given the option of work from home by the relevant authorities of the concerned banks;

-Aadhar Enrolment Centre functions shall be suspended;

-Branches functioning in the areas declared as Containment Zones, if any, shall continue to be guided by the directions given by the appropriate authorities;

-Banks to ensure that all alternate delivery channels such as bank ATMs/cash deposit machines/Cash recyclers shall be functional;

-Business Correspondents services should be fully functional at all times;

-Bank shall encourage all their eligible staff members to avail of the vaccination facility for themselves as well as for their family members;

-All other procedures to contain the spread of Covid-19 like use of face mask, washing of hands at regular intervals, maintaining social distancing etc shall be strictly adhered to; and

-Member banks are requested to educate and encourage their customers to make use of alternate delivery channels/opt for digital transactions instead of visiting branches physically.

Also read:RBI bans American Express, Diners Club

Business Finance

ICICI Bank’s Q4 profit jumps to Rs 4,403cr

The company’s standalone profit after tax rose to Rs 4,403 crore during the quarter under review from Rs 1,221 crore reported for the period ended March 31, 2021….reports Asian Lite News

Private lender ICICI Bank on Saturday reported an exponential rise in its standalone net profit for the quarter ended March 31, 2021 on a year-on-year basis.

Accordingly, the company’s standalone profit after tax rose to Rs 4,403 crore during the quarter under review from Rs 1,221 crore reported for the period ended March 31, 2021.

In terms of FY21, the standalone profit after tax grew by 104 per cent year-on-year to Rs 16,193 crore in FY2021 from Rs 7,931 crore in FY2020.

“Net interest income (NII) increased by 17 per cent year-on-year to Rs 10,431 crore in Q4-2021 from Rs 8,927 crore in Q4-2020.”

“The net interest margin was 3.84 per cent in Q4-2021 compared to 3.67 per cent in the quarter ended December 31, 2020 (Q3-2021) and 3.87 per cent in Q4-2020.”

As per the bank, provisions (excluding provision for tax) were Rs 2,883 crore in Q4-2021 compared to Rs 5,967 crore in Q4- 2020.

During Q4-2021, the bank utilised contingency provision amounting to Rs 3,509 crore towards proforma NPAs as of December 31, 2020, as these loans have now been classified as per the RBI guidelines.

“Further, the bank made additional Covid-19 related provisions of Rs 1,000 crore during Q4-2021.”

“At March 31, 2021, the Bank held Covid-19 related provision of Rs 7,475 crore.”

Also read:‘Indian electronic repair market key in creating jobs’

According to the bank, the net NPA ratio declined to 1.14 per cent at March 31, 2021 from 1.26 per cent (on a proforma basis at December 31, 2020) and 1.41 per cent at March 31, 2020.

On a consolidated basis, the bank’s profit after tax was Rs 4,886 crore in Q4- 2021 compared to Rs 5,498 crore in Q3-2021 and Rs 1,251 crore in Q4-2020.

Meanwhile, ICICI Bank announced that it will provide Covid-19 vaccination for its employees and their immediate family members free of cost.

According to the bank, this initiative is aimed at safeguarding the lives of its employees and their dependent family members from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is also a humble gesture to appreciate the dedication, perseverance and passion portrayed by the employees of the bank to ensure seamless services to millions of customers during the pandemic,” the bank said in a statement.

Accordingly, the bank will reimburse the cost of the two mandated vaccine shots for its employees and their dependent family members.

Also read:Amazon to allow direct seller-customer contact

Business Finance

HDFC deploys mobile ATMs

Customers can conduct over 15 types of transactions using the ‘Mobile ATM’, which will be operational at each location for a specific period….reports Asian Lite News

HDFC Bank on Saturday said it has deployed mobile ATMs across India to assist customers during the lockdown.

“At restricted, sealed areas, the ‘Mobile ATMs’ will eliminate the need for general public to move out of their locality to withdraw cash,” the bank said in a statement.

“During the lockdown last year, HDFC Bank successfully deployed mobile ATMs in over 50 cities and facilitated lakhs of customers in availing cash to meet their exigencies.”

Accordingly, customers can conduct over 15 types of transactions using the ‘Mobile ATM’, which will be operational at each location for a specific period.

The ‘Mobile ATM’ will cover 3-4 stops in a day.

“We hope our mobile ATM will provide a great support for people who want to avail basic financial services without having to venture far from their neighbourhood,” said S. Sampathkumar, Group Head – Liability Products, Third Party Products and Non-Resident Business at HDFC Bank.

“This service will also be of great help to all the healthcare workers, and other essential service providers who have been working tirelessly to combat the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, shares of HDFC Bank surged to a record high in January on the back of strong earnings reported for the October-December quarter.

Also read:HDFC Bank shares surge on strong Q3 earnings

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SPECIAL: Planning & Managing Your Finances

Behind every successful business, there stands an accountant. Mr Shankar Devarashetty, Managing Director of London-headquartered Oasis Accountants, explains why it pays to choose the right accountant to sort out your financial planning.  A special for Asian Lite International

When it comes to finances, one can’t be too careful! This is one of the vital reasons that so many businesses wait far too long to hire an expert accountant, they may not know who to trust. Obviously, it is a good idea to opt for someone who is trustworthy and reliable.

Mr Shankar Devarashetty, Managing Director of London-headquartered Oasis Accountants

If you’d like an expert on financial planning to help you reach your goals here’s how it makes perfect sense: 

Tax Planning

Tax planning can be baffling if things are uncomplicated. However, when it comes to business taxes, things may get quite complicated. In our experience, the laws are constantly changing and adjusting, making it imperative to have a professional help you stay updated with the recent changes.

Accountants can essentially help you create an efficient tax plan for your business and evade you from making the expensive mistakes. Hence, if you are unaware of the laws, then it is easy to mess things up and end up paying more than you need to. Besides, there are plenty of tricks that accountants are aware of to help reduce the amount you need to pay and surge your investments.  You maybe leaving money on the table that can be claimed from your returns.

Also one part where people end up draining money in is simply filing in time. Therefore, if your business is on top of tax deadlines, you’ll avoid paying late fees. Since these add up in no time, it is worth having an expert to stay on top of these things and remove stress of any kind!  

Time Savings

Save your business some time, it takes time to balance your books, do your taxes and manage all the financial aspects of your business.  As finance professionals, we are experts in all things financial with the constant practice of handling the finances for various companies, there’s no reason you cannot expect things to be done much faster. The time saving is worth it, besides not having to handle everything by oneself can leave extra time to focus on all areas of your business.

Financial Planning
Businesses need a plan to raise their bar, for that it needs tracking everything. Would you know when your money is going or coming from? An expert accountant would help you find the most valuable clients along with setting your goals with the apt decisions to move forward.  This would be possible by identifying the greatest areas of profit, put our skills to improve the future of your business and its success.

No Room for Mistakes

Errors in finances can come easy, one misplaced decimal and everything can go way off. So clearly if you don’t have a head for figures, it could be tedious to keep everything adding up. Many business owners may not be good at numbers side of things, one of the main reasons to outsource your finances. Accountants ensure you get everything right! We work with businesses to create fail safes that will help you avoid making mistakes, help you change the way you run your business and grow your efficiency. Surely making it the ideal investment that your business makes, provided you choose the right one.





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Economy Finance India News

World Bank To Lend $500 Mn For Green Highways In India

India and the World Bank has signed a $500 million project to build safe and green national highway corridors in the states of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

The project will also enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in mainstreaming safety and green technologies.

The Green National Highways Corridors Project will support the ministry construct 783 km of highways in various geographies by integrating safe and green technology designs such as local and marginal materials, industrial by-products, and other bio-engineering solutions. The project will help reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions in the construction and maintenance of highways.

“Connectivity for economic growth and connectivity for sustainable development are two important aspects of a country’s development trajectory. This operation brings these two priorities together in support of India’s growth strategy,” said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India.

“This project will provide efficient transportation for road users in the four states, connect people with markets and services, promote efficient use of construction materials and water to reduce the depletion of scarce natural resources, and help lower GHG emissions,” he added.

The National Highways of India carry about 40 per cent of road traffic. However, several sections of these highways have inadequate capacity, weak drainage structures and black spots prone to accidents. The project will strengthen and widen existing structures; construct new pavements, drainage facilities and bypasses; improve junctions; and introduce road safety features.

As it is imperative that the infrastructure investments are climate resilient, disaster risk assessment of about 5,000 km of the National Highway network will also be undertaken under the project along with support to the ministry for mainstreaming climate resilience aspects in project design and implementation.

The $500 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a maturity of 18.5 years, including a grace period of five years.

Also Read: World Bank chief praises G20 progress on debt relief

Also Read: World Bank to advise DIPAM on asset monetisation