Rebuild Kerala Development Programme
In August of 2018, Kerala faced the worst floods ever in the State’s history since 1924. With over one-sixth of the State’s population affected drastically, the floods, along with landslides, were catastrophic and claimed immeasurable losses in terms of lives, livelihoods, property and infrastructure. The Rebuild Kerala Development Programme is a unique approach taken by the Kerala Government to rebuild the State. This article talks about the Rebuild Kerala Development Programme and its various essentials.
Vision of the Rebuild Kerala Initiative
Even as the social and economic fabric of the people in Kerala were torn apart during these times, and the capabilities and capacities of their institutions and communities were tested on an unprecedented scale of the disaster, the State of Kerala rose up to the challenge. The Rebuild Kerala Development Programme is an integral part of the Rebuild Kerala Initiative. The following is the purpose of the Rebuild Kerala Initiative:
“Rebuild Kerala Initiative is guided by the Kerala Government’s vision for recovery and move towards Nava Keralam. RKI envisions a green and resilient Kerala where higher and ecologically safe standards of infrastructure, improved conditions of living and new major development projects ensure that people and assets can withstand the onslaught of future disasters.”
The vision of the RKI is the backdrop to guide the State to resilient recovery, followed by a streamlined process of decision-making in order to identify priorities, investment needs, and sources of funding.
The core of the Rebuild Kerala Initiative is to develop, coordinate, facilitate and monitor the RKDP through a participatory and inclusive process. RKDP comprises of the State’s strategic method to achieve a green and resilient Kerala. The programme encompasses cross-cutting and sector-based policies, regulatory and institutional actions, including priority investment programs that are essential for the resilient and sustainable recovery and rebuilding of the State of Kerala. It focuses on catalysing the aspects of rebuilding Kerala in a way that addresses all the key drivers of the floods and other natural disasters, including climate change risks. It strengthens and prepares the State against any future disasters. With the RKDP, the Government of Kerala aims to build a Kerala through resilient recovery and to pave the development pathway to Nava Keralam.
Objective of the RKDP
The following is the objective of the Rebuild Kerala Development Programme:
To enable Kerala’s resilient recovery and catalyse a transformational shift towards risk-informed socio-economic development through supporting sustainable communities, institutions, livelihoods and putting in place major infrastructure.
Goals of the RKDP
The Rebuild Kerala Development Programme works towards the following set of goals:
- It aims to rebuild Kerala in a way that ensures higher standards of infrastructure, assets and livelihoods for resilience against any future disasters.
- To build individual, community and institutional resilience towards natural hazards while fostering equitable, inclusive and participatory reconstruction that builds itself back better.
The RKDPP also focuses on the necessity to improve sectoral mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction measures and to strengthen disaster-risk management capabilities across Kerala. The aim is to rebuild a much more resilient State, wherein state institutions, infrastructure, citizens and their livelihoods are safe and protected during extreme weather conditions.
Core Guiding Principles
The planning and implementation of every project, including the Rebuild Kerala Development Programme, of the Rebuild Kerala Initiative comprise of 8 core guiding principles. They are as follows:
- Fast, Efficient and Inclusive
- Improving Resilience
- Build-back-Better philosophy
- Innovative and Modern Technologies
- Fair and Equitable Rehabilitation Practices
- Capacity Building
- Building Asset Management Frameworks
- Simplification of processes and procedures
Key Sector Priorities
The following are the critical sector priorities of the Rebuild Kerala Development Programme:
- Integrated Water Resource Management
- Water Supply
- Roads and Bridges
- Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development
Financing of RKDP
Essential funds for the implementation of RKDP will be raised from multiple sources. The following are a few initiatives by the Government of Kerala in order to finance the Rebuild Kerala Development Programme.
- The State Budget comprises of various plan and non-plan allocations. This includes assistance from multilateral agencies such as the World Bank, AIIB and ADB, and other bilateral agencies such as the KfW, AFD and JICA.
- The Central Government Natural Disaster Assistance will be offered for expenditures which conform to the modalities prescribed by the Government of India.
- Flood Cess: An amount of 1% of the GST on selected goods and services for a period of 2 years will be charged as Flood Cess.
- Centrally Sponsored Schemes and various allocations under the same.
- Deployment of Flexi-Fund under the Central Government Schemes
- Mobilisation through CMDRF
- NABARD Funding through the NIDA
- HUDCO and other means of a loan
- Private and non-traditional sources of institutional and retail financing that includes Masala bonds, Diaspora bonds and various other private sector financial sources.
Partnership with the World Bank
The Government of Kerala, along with the support of the Government of India, signed a loan agreement of USD 250 Million with the World Bank for the First Resilient Kerala Program. This program represents the first-ever State Partnership of the World Bank in India. The Resilient Kerala Program focuses on strengthening the State’s institutional and financial capacity in order to protect the livelihoods and assets of the poor and vulnerable groups through a much inclusive approach. This new programme is part of the Central Government’s support to the Rebuild Kerala Development Programme that is aimed at building a green and resilient Kerala. Key areas of policy will be identified under this programme and maximise the overall development impact.
The First Resilient Kerala Program aims to support the State with the following:
- To improve river basin planning and water infrastructural operations and management, including water supply and sanitation services.
- To promote resilient and sustainable agriculture that is enhanced with risk insurance.
- To improve the resilience of the main road networks.
- To unify and maintain land records in high-risk areas
- To promote risk-based urban planning and strengthen expenditure planning by local municipal bodies.
- To strengthen Kerala’s fiscal and public financial management capacity.
The World Bank has been continuously supporting the State of Kerala through various other engagements like the Second Kerala State Transport Project, Dam Improvement Project and Rehabilitation, National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project Phase 2, National Hydrology Project and the Kerala Local Government and Service Delivery Project. Additionally, the Bank has been working with the Government of India and the Kerala State Government since the floods struck. The World Bank has played a vital role in assessing the impact of the floods and offering assistance in terms of recovery and reconstruction. The Bank also supported the State to identify policies, institutions and systems for the State’s resilience to risks associated with disaster and climate change.