World Bank approves $1 billion Social Protection Package to support India’s battle against the virus

On Friday, The World Bank has sanctioned USD 1 billion to support India’s efforts for providing social support to poor, vulnerable houses amidst the virus outbreak, in conformity to a statement released by the International Financial Institution. 

With this, the overall commitment from the World Bank towards emergency COVID-19 response in India has now accounted for USD 2 billion. Previously,  a USD 1 billion support was declared in the earlier month to support India’s health industry. 

Elaborating on the financial assistance, World Bank Director for India,  Junaid Ahmad, mentioned that the institution will associate with the Indian government concerning three key sectors. In a webinar interaction with media, Ahmad said, “The Word Bank will partner with the Govt of India in three areas – health, social protection, and the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME).” 

He further added, “India’s social protection is pivoted towards migrants, unorganized workers, portability and creating an integration of the system. It piggybacks on an existing infrastructure of the Public distribution system, Jan Dhan, Aadhar & mobile.”

He further mentioned that the response to the global pandemic around the world has made government bodies around the globe to follow social distancing and total lockdown in unparalleled ways. These measures aimed to reduce the spread of the deadly virus have affected economies and jobs in the informal sector. India with the world’s largest lockdown has not been an exemption to this trend, Ahmad stated. 

About the USD 1 Billion commitment, around 550 millions will be funded by a credit from the International Development Association (IDA), which is the concessionary lending branch of the World Bank and USD 200 millions will be borrowed from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), with a closing maturity of 18.5 years including a 5 years grace period. The rest USD 250 millions will be presented to India after June 30, 2020.

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