Fighting coronavirus: ADB pledges $2.2-bn support for India

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Published: April 11, 2020 1:20 AM

Last month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had announced a $50-billion support for developing countries.

The ADB will consider “all financing options available with us to meet India’s needs”. The ADB will consider “all financing options available with us to meet India’s needs”.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Friday announced a $2.2-billion assistance for India to fight the Covid-19 outbreak and pledged greater support if required.

ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa assured finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman of its support to India, it said in a statement. “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.

The ADB will consider “all financing options available with us to meet India’s needs”. These include emergency assistance, policy-based loans and budget support to facilitate swift disbursement of funds, he added.

The weakening global economic growth is causing disruptions in India’s trade and manufacturing supply chains, along with the slowdown in tourism and other economic activities. “This is straining the large number of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, and the livelihood of formal and informal labourers across the country,” the ADB said.

The ADB chief also commended the Indian government’s response to the pandemic, including a national health emergency programme, and other relief measures provided to businesses, and a Rs 1.7-lakh-crore relief package announced on March 26 to provide immediate income and consumption support to the poor and the vulnerable affected by the three-week lockdown.

On March 18, the ADB announced an initial package of approximately $6.5 billion to address immediate needs of its developing member countries, including India, to help them deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

With this, the ADB had joined governments, central banks and multilateral bodies globally to firm up steps to deal with the epidemic that has spread to over 70 countries, with its epicentre being China.

Last month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had announced a $50-billion support for developing countries. The World Bank had earlier announced $12 billion to support poor and developing countries to deal with the coronavirus threat.

The US Federal Reserve has already cut the interest rates by 50 basis points to 1%, the first emergency rate reduction since the 2008 financial crisis. The US Congress has approved three stimulus bills, the largest being a $2.2-trillion package. Finance ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) developed nations have also announced their resolve to use “appropriate policy tools” at their disposal.

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