As India battles the dreaded coronavirus and the country under 21-day Lockdown, the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, has reportedly got an assurance from Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa of USD 2.2 billion (about Rs 16,500 crore) 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 program, tax and other relief measures provided to businesses and a USD 23 billion (Rs 1.7 lakh crore) 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 USD 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.