India on Wednesday signed a pact worth 400 million dollar with the World Bank in a bid to aid the poor and vulnerable reeling under the coronavirus crisis.
This is the second operation in a programmatic series of two as the first operation of Dollar 750 million was approved in May 2020. The $400 million credit has been extended by World Bank’s concessionary lending arm International Development Association (IDA).
As per officials, the programme will strengthen the capability of state and national governments in India to provide coordinated and adequate social protection to the poor and vulnerable from the shocks triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr CS Mohapatra, additional secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs, stated that the COVID-19 crisis has brought to the fore the risks that migrants and the urban poor face and the need for governments to strengthen preparedness for future disasters of this nature.
This programme will help further expand and deepen the coverage of India’s social protection systems by helping these vulnerable groups in urban and peri-urban areas across the country.
The agreement was signed by Dr Mohapatra on behalf of the Government of India and Sumila Gulyani, acting Country Director, India, on behalf of the World Bank.
“In support of this process, the first operation by the World Bank followed the government’s lead to scale up pre-existing programmes for emergency relief. This second operation will complement the expansion of India’s safety net programmes to create a portable social protection platform ensuring food and cash support for poor households, urban migrants, and unorganised sector workers across state boundaries,” the Finance Ministry said.
Given the continent-like size and heterogeneity in India, the post COVID-19 economic shocks are likely to manifest itself differently at the sub-national, community and household levels, it added.
The proposed reforms will allow states to access flexible funding from disaster response funds to design and implement appropriate social protection responses to COVID-19 and future disasters. Given that larger shares of COVID-19 cases in India are currently in urban and peri-urban areas, geographically targeted support to these hot-spot districts will help deepen social protection coverage in urban areas.
The programme was prepared in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and Kreditanstalt Fur Wiederaufbau (KfW), it added.