The Asian Development Bank on Tuesday approved a $1.5-billion (approximately Rs 11,400 crore) loan to help India fight the coronavirus pandemic and ensure social protection for the poor and the economically vulnerable sections amid the health crisis.
The regional development bank said that its Covid-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support programme, or CARES, will contribute directly to the improvement of healthcare and social protection for more than 800 million people, including families below the poverty line, farmers, frontline health care workers, women, senior citizens, people with disabilities, low wage earners, and construction workers.
“ADB is fully committed to supporting the Government of India in its response to this unprecedented challenge,” the bank quoted its chief, Masatsugu Asakawa, as saying. “The quick-disbursing fund is part of a larger package of support that ADB will provide in close coordination with the government and other development partners.”
“We are determined to support India’s Covid-19 response programs and ensure that they provide effective support to the people of India, especially the poor and vulnerable,” the bank added.
The bank said that it will also help the government deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. “In the medium term, ADB will support government efforts and coordinate with other development partners to stimulate the economy, build capacity for monitoring and evaluation of government programs, and improve economic resilience against future shocks,” the bank said.
“This will include the economic recovery of affected industries and entrepreneurs through better access to finance for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises; a credit enhancement facility for infrastructure projects; and the strengthening of public service delivery at national and state levels,” ADB added.
Earlier this month, the World Bank had approved an emergency financial aid of $1 billion (approximately Rs 7,600 crore) for India. The bank has allotted a total of $1.9 billion for 25 countries, of which India received the largest chunk.
The number of coronavirus cases in India has risen to 29,974, according to the Union health ministry’s. Covid-19 has killed 937 people in the country.