In a call with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa on Friday (10 April) assured $2.2 billion (about Rs 16,500 crore) support to India in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Economic Times.
"ADB is committed to supporting India's emergency needs. We are now preparing $2.2 billion in immediate assistance to the health sector and to help alleviate the economic impact of the pandemic on the poor; informal workers; micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises; and the financial sector," Asakawa was quoted as saying in the report.
He also commended Indian government’s efforts for tackling covid-19.
It should be noted that a variety of measures have been taken by the Indian government including a national health emergency program, tax and other relief measures provided to businesses. Additionally, a $23 billion (Rs 1.7 lakh crore) economic relief package was announced on 26 March to provide immediate income and consumption support to the poor, women, and workers affected by the three-week nationwide lockdown.
"ADB assistance for India will be further increased if needed. We will consider all financing options available with us to meet India's needs, including emergency assistance, policy-based loans, and budget support to facilitate swift disbursement of ADB funds," he added.
It should be noted that the relief comes as a part of initial package of approximately $6.5 billion announced by ADB to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries.
In a statement ADB said that it is also engaged with the private sector to meet its financing needs during this period. The statement also read that ADB stands ready to provide further financial assistance and policy advice whenever the situation warrants.
A large number of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises have been under strain due to weakening global economic growth and consequent disruptions in trade and manufacturing supply chains. This has endangered livelihood of formal and informal labourers across the country.
Asakawa praised the policy measures announced by the government and said that it will provide much-needed relief and stimulus to the most vulnerable people as well as businesses and become a basis for faster recovery of India.
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