COVID-19 fight: New Development Bank should enhance emergency facility to USD 10 billion, says Sitharaman

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April 20, 2020 10:44 PM

Sitharaman appreciated the efforts of the multilateral lending agency on fast tracking of financial assistance of about USD 5 billion to BRICS countries, including an emergency assistance of USD 1 billion to India to combat COVID-19 pandemic. 

The NDB was established by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in 2014.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday asked the New Development Bank (NDB) to enhance emergency facility to USD 10 billion to deal with the challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. During discussion on COVID-19 at the 5th Annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the NDB through video conferencing, Sitharaman appreciated the efforts of the multilateral lending agency on fast tracking of financial assistance of about USD 5 billion to BRICS countries, including an emergency assistance of USD 1 billion to India to combat COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am happy to note that the bank has financial capacity to enhance the emergency facility up to USD 10 billion for crisis related assistance. Therefore, based on the demands from the member countries this facility should be enhanced,” she said. She mentioned about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative of creating a COVID-19 Emergency Fund and India’s efforts in supplying critical medicine to the needy countries to tackle the COVID-19, an official statement said.

The Finance Minister of Brazil thanked India for the timely help it received from India in the form of critical drugs, it added. Lauding efforts of the NDB in establishing itself as a credible Global Financial Institution and delivering its mandate successfully by taking more sustainable and inclusive approach, she said it should take appropriate actions to join G-20 forum along with other Multilateral Development Bank (MDBs)/ International Financial Institutions (IFIs). She urged NDB to follow innovative practices in supporting the BRICS nations for achieving their Sustainable Development Goals.

The Finance Minister also outlined various measures taken by India to respond to COVID-19 crisis includes allocation of USD 2 billion (Rs 15,000 crore) by the government for strengthening the healthcare system; announcement of a scheme of social support measures amounting to USD 25 billion (Rs 1.70 lakh crore) to alleviate the hardship of the poor and the vulnerable; insurance cover of USD 67,000 (Rs 50 lakh) per person to over 2.2 million frontline health workers and others provision of relief to firms in statutory and regulatory compliance matters; and easing of monetary policy by the Reserve Bank of India.

The NDB was established by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in 2014. The purpose of the bank is to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging market economies and developing countries to complement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development. NDB has so far approved 14 projects of India for an amount of USD 4,183 million.

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