Manila [The Philippines], April 10 (ANI): Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa on Friday assured Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of 2.2 billion dollars (about Rs 16,820 crore) support to India in its fight against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“ADB is committed to supporting India’s emergency needs. We are now preparing 2.2 billion dollars in immediate assistance to the health sector and to help alleviate the economic impact of pandemic on the poor, informal workers, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and the financial sector,” said Asakawa. “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,” Asakawa added.
In a call with Sitharaman, 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 dollar 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 said it is also engaged with the private sector to meet its financing needs during this period. 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 a large number of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, and the livelihood of formal and informal labourers across the country.
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 dollars to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries, including India, as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.