The Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa on Friday (10) assured Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of $2.2 billion (£1.76 billion) support to India in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a call, Asakawa commended the Indian government’s decisive response to the pandemic, including a national health emergency programme, tax and other relief measures provided to businesses and a $23 billion (£18.43) billion economic relief package announced on March 26 to provide immediate income and consumption support to the poor, women, and workers affected by the three-week nationwide lockdown.
“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 said.
ADB is also engaged with the private sector to meet its financing needs during this period, ADB said in a statement.
“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 said.
Asakawa said the policy measures announced by the government will provide much-needed relief and stimulus to the most vulnerable people as well as businesses and become a basis for faster recovery.
On March 18, ADB announced an initial package of $6.5 billion to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries, including India, as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.