Indian Ambassador hands over MVR 85 million cheque for HICDP projects

Indian Ambassador hands over MVR 85 million cheque for HICDP projects

Indian Ambassador to Maldives Sunjay Sudhir, on Tuesday, handed over a symbolic cheque worth MVR 85 million (USD 5.6 million) to mark the implementation of nine projects under the High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP) scheme.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid and parliamentary representatives for Addu City and Hoarafushi, Haa Alif Atoll participated in the ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the HICDP scheme was signed in March 2019 during the visit of former Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Under the agreement, a total of MVR 85 million was allocated for the execution of high-impact projects across Maldives. A separate grant of MVR 106 million (approximately USD 7 million) for smaller-scale projects was also extended during the same visit.

Projects selected for funding under the HICDP scheme are projected to have a high level of community impact and boost participation in areas such as income generation, health, education, sports and sustainable development as well as women and child empowerment.

Under the HICDP scheme, an MoU was signed in December 2019 to construct fish-processing plants in Maradhoo, Hithadhoo and Hulhudhoo in Addu City. In February 2020, an additional five MoUs were signed to establish the Addu Tourism Zone in Feydhoo, Meedhoo, Hithadhoo, Hulhudhoo and Maradhoo. Another agreement concerned the establishment of a bottled water plant in Hoarafushi, Haa Alif Atoll.

The foreign ministry stated that all projects would be implemented by city and local councils, thereby supporting the government's decentralisation efforts and enhancing the capacities of locally-elected representatives.

In this regard, the ministry commended local councils for their work in overseeing the HICDP projects despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the foreign ministry, HICDPs represented an important aspect of the development partnership between Maldives and India.

During his speech at the handover ceremony, Ambassador Sudhir highlighted India’s comprehensive strategy of development cooperation with Maldives, as decided during President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's visit to India in December 2018.

The strategy consists of large scale projects under the USD 800 million credit line, combined with numerous smaller grant projects, each worth a maximum of MVR 8 million. While long-term projects initiated under the credit line will contribute to the further development of Maldives' infrastructure, the grant projects are expected to have an immediate positive impact on the standard of living in island communities.

Indian development assistance covers an array of sectors including fisheries, eco-tourism, sustainable development, sports infrastructure, coastal protection and includes projects such as procurement of vehicles and machinery for city councils, infrastructural upgrade of critical institutions, construction of classrooms, and the development of community centres and parks. The larger-scale projects are focused on the development of water and sanitation systems, road construction, land reclamation, port construction and airport development.

The ambassador noted that the HICDP projects were transparent and demand-driven with full ownership by the Maldivian government. He elaborated that all processes including tendering, price negotiations, awarding of tenders, monitoring and execution were conducted by Maldivian ministries and institutions.

Therefore, he stated that the projects were 'by Maldivians, for Maldivians', and reflected the democratic ideals respected by the people of both Maldives and India.

He stated that the Indian government looked forward to the swift implementation of all projects under the HICDP scheme.