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Thiruvananthapuram: The first tranche of $250 million of the $500 million fund set aside by the World Bank for the Resilient Kerala Programme (RKP) to help improve the state's resilience against natural disasters and climate change has been cleared, according to a top bank official.

Kerala had become the first Indian state to get this fund, said Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank, India, here on Monday.

"The future of India is in the states and hence we decided to invest in state schemes besides concentrating on citizen-centric programmes. That's what we have done in the RKP," said Ahmad.

Ahmad along with his team was here to take part in the Development Parties Conclave, organised by the Kerala government with participation of top international agencies, like World Bank, Asian Development Bank, JAICA and UNDP, to discuss ways to help the state rebuild after last year's floods.

Elaborating on the bank's initiatives, he said they would invest $250 million in the state account for specific programmes, like improving the Ariver basin planning, sustainable agriculture besides improving resilience of the core road network.

"We will be providing technical assistance to the state for these programmes. Besides this, we have an urban service project. Also, the new programmes in the pipeline would look into sanitation and solid waste management," Ahmad said.

Balakrishna Menon, World Bank India Task Team Leader for the programme, said in the RKP they "will not only bring about additional financial resources but also help leverage other development partners and connect the state to lessons from global good practices."

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