40,000 beneficiaries have been facilitated through the ‘WASH lending program’ with a cumulative lending of Rs. 233 crores over the last 2 years
Program achieves breakthrough in gender equity, with 90% women beneficiaries to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene
Mumbai, Sept 13: NABSAMRUDDHI, an NBFC subsidiary of NABARD, and Water.org, a global nonprofit organization, co-organized a summit on ‘WASH lending’ in Mumbai on 14 September 2023. The primary objective of the summit was to promote Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene financing as a critical factor in ensuring the sustainable development of the ecosystem. The Summit was attended by various NBFCs, MFIs, HFCs, and other relevant stakeholders who brought up pertinent points on gender integration and mainstreaming among others.
Bonani Roychoudhury, Managing Director of NABSAMRUDDHI, highlighted the urgent need to advance the SDG 6 goals (Clean water and sanitation), especially from the gender equity perspective. She touched upon the role played by NABARD and NABSAMRUDDHI in promoting concessional WASH lending as a champion segment under its focus area of Green & Wellness finance. “We have been making steady and sustained investments towards this end which has particularly gained traction over the last two years. It is also notable that over 90% of about 40,000 ultimate beneficiaries covered under NABSAMRUDDHI’s WASH program are women. The support has led to an increase in disposable income levels and improvement in health, hygiene, quality of life. The company is exploring other structured products to enhance its WASH footprint.”
Manoj Gulati, Regional Director, South Asia, Water.org Conference touched upon the relevance of climate resilience and how the lack of access falls disproportionately on certain classes especially women making them more vulnerable. While speaking of the scope of Water.org activities through technical assistance and capacity building, he highlighted the gaps in financing and the need for developing a robust framework to ensure investment readiness from a global standpoint.
The summit included a panel discussion on ‘Impact of RBI regulations pertaining to WASH financing and ways to strengthen it’, moderated by Gyan Prakash from Water.org. The panelists were Ramesh Ganta GM, NABARD; Aswini Acharya COO & PSL Head – Inorganic Business, DBS Bank; Ravinder Kumar- National Financial Inclusion Expert, FINISH Society and Maheep Panwar COO, NABSAMRUDDHI. Shri Ramesh Ganta highlighted NABARD’s instrumental role in WASH financing and indicated that NABARD has instituted a Special Refinance Facility to eligible financial institutions for financing WASH related activities at concessional rates.
Some key takeaways from the Summit included the need to support MFIs to enhance WASH lending, collaborative action on capacity building of lenders and borrowers, funding of MSMEs for community-level solutions, and development of innovative products for WASH Lending.