As India deals with rising coronavirus cases and depleting medical and financial resources, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan worth $1.5 billion to boost the country’s COVID-19 response programme. The money provided is a huge relief at this time when there is an urgent need of healthcare and medical facilities among doctors, nurses and patients on a priority basis. It includes support for immediate priorities like disease containment and protection and social protection for the economically poor and vulnerable parts of the society.
ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa, “ADB is fully committed to supporting the government of India in its response to this unprecedented challenge. The quick-disbursing fund is part of a larger package of support that ADB will provide in close coordination with the government and other development partners. We are determined to support India’s COVID-19 response programs and ensure that they provide effective support to the people of India, especially the poor and vulnerable”.
The COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support (CARES) Program will directly contribute in the betterment of 800 million people including families below the poverty line, farmers, health care workers, women, senior citizens and people with disabilities, low wage earners, and construction workers by providing proper medical and health facilities and social protection. The CARES Program is funded through the COVID-19 pandemic response option (CPRO) under ADB’s Countercyclical Support Facility.
According to ADB, CARES program will be funded with $2 billion to support the government to strengthen its operational framework and efficient targeting, delivery, and monitoring and evaluation of its pro-poor economic package, as well as its health sector and social protection interventions. The government’s COVID-19 response program includes $2 billion for the health sector to speed up treatment capacity and $23 billion for pro-poor relief package which will provide additional social protection measures.
Asian Development Bank has stated that it will support the government and coordinate with other development partners to build up the economy, capacity to build up monitoring and evaluation of government programs and economic resilience even after the coronavirus pandemic is over. ADB also approved a loan worth $1.5 billion to the Philippine government to fight the battle against coronavirus. In the fiscal year 2020, the Indian growth is expected to slow down to 4 per cent before 6.2 per cent next year. It is expected to rebound in 2021 assuming that the outbreak ends and the activities get back to normalcy.