Boosting India's capability to fight against COVID-19, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved USD 1.5 billion (about Rs 11,400 crore) loan to the country. The amount has been proceeded to assist the government in containing and preventing the pandemic and also for financially supporting the poor and economically vulnerable sections.
In an official statement, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said, "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." He further went on to add, "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."
Huge support to India's response against COVID-19
The amount loaned to India could be immediately used to ramp up the medical facilities which are struggling to the sudden increase in the cases. Moreover, it can also be used to mitigate the economic hardships faced by migrants, SMEs, and MSMEs. It has been more than one month since the first phase of lockdown was announced but there still thousands of migrant workers stranded without any financial support.
Moreover, the SMEs and MSMEs with the limited supply chain are among the severely hit businesses. These establishments have been demanding financial assistance from the government for a long time now. With the loan from ADB, the center may look into the issue. Perhaps, the central government has already announced a series of austerity measures to save as many funds as they can including the freezing of hike in DA for 50 lakh Central Government employees and DR for 61 lakh pensioners till July 2021. The decisions clearly show that the COVID-19 outbreak has broken the backbone of the economy that was already struggling for the last two years.
ADB has made a dedicated fund, COVID-19 Active Response, and Expenditure Support (CARES) Program to provide first support to meet the immediate requirements of the government. Last week, it extended a loan of $1.5 billion to support the Philippine government to fund its COVID-19 response program.