Beijing, May 3 (IANS) The China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will give a loan of $160 million for a power project in India where 300 million people have no access to electricity yet.
This was announced by AIIB President Jin Liqun on Wednesday, who praised the bank's close work with India, which is the second-largest stakeholder in the newly-established bank.
The project, co-financed with the World Bank, is part of the Indian government's 24x7 Power for All programme and will strengthen the power transmission and distribution system in Andhra Pradesh.
"AIIB supports its members in their transition towards a low-carbon energy mix by promoting the improvement of energy efficiency, such as upgrading the existing transmission and distribution networks," Jin was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
Despite having the world's fifth-largest coal reserves, India has an acute power crisis. India's per capita power sector consumption is around 940 kilowatt-hour (kWh), among the lowest in the world.
In an interaction with IANS last year, Jin said Indian power grids have much room for improvement.
"In your country, I am sorry to say, it's (transmission loss) still very high. So, without building new power plant or without creating new emissions, if you cut the transmission loss, you can meet the needs of these people," he told IANS then.
The bank expects the Andhra Pradesh-24x7 Power for All project to be the first of many that AIIB invests in India, Jin added.
The project "will be the starting point for AIIB to extend its assistance to other countries in Asia moving towards an 'Energy for all' initiative," said D.J. Pandian, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of AIIB.
The AIIB was established in 2015 and started operation in January 2016 to provide financing for infrastructure improvement in Asia.
Its membership has increased to 70, with 13 new members approved in March.