The loan was granted under ADB’s Covid-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support (CARES) Programme.

Slum dwellers wait for food in Bhubaneswar (Photo Credits: PTI)

The Asian Development Bank has agreed to grant India a loan of USD 1.5 billion. This amount will be used to focus on the containment and prevention of the novel coronavirus along with ensuring social protection for economically vulnerable sections of the society, especially women and disadvantaged groups.

This loan has been signed under ADB’s Covid-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Programme (CARES Programme). The signatories include- Additional Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance (Fund Bank and ADB) Sameer Kumar Khare and Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director, ADB (India).

In a statement, Sameer Khare said, “We thank ADB’s timely assistance for the government’s immediate response measures to the coronavirus pandemic to implement (i) Covid-19 containment plan to rapidly ramp up test-track-treatment capacity, and (ii) social protection for the poor, vulnerable, women, and disadvantaged groups to protect more than 800 million people over the next three months.”

The Asian Development Bank had started the ‘CARES Programme’ to provide immediate requirements to governments in the face of this global crisis.

Apart from the loan, ADB is also constantly consulting the government on further assistance to provide a stimulus for economic growth.

This includes support for affected industries and entrepreneurs, particularly micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) by facilitating their access to finance through credit guarantee schemes, MSME integration into global and national value chains through enterprise development centres and a credit enhancement facility for infrastructure projects.

Strengthening of the public delivery system (PDS) will also be an important part of the agenda, including the extension of comprehensive primary healthcare services in urban areas, and of secondary and tertiary healthcare systems through PPP modalities.

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