The World Bank has approved $1 billion aid for India to support it in its fight against coronavirus and provide social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households.

The World Bank aid will focus on health sectors and MSMEs. (Photo for representation)

The World Bank on Friday approved $1 billion ‘Accelerating India’s COVID-19 Social Protection Response Program’ to support the country’s efforts for providing social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households, severely impacted by the pandemic.

This takes the total commitment from the World Bank towards emergency Covid-19 response in India to $2 billion. A $1 billion support was announced last month to support India’s health sector.

The response to the Covid-19 pandemic around the world has required governments around the world to introduce social distancing and lockdowns in unprecedented ways, said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India in a webinar interaction with the media.

These measures, intended to contain the spread of the virus have, however, impacted economies and jobs especially in the informal sector. India with the world’s largest lockdown has not been an exception to this trend, he said.

Of the $ 1 billion commitment, $ 550 million will be financed by a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm and USD 200 million will be a loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), with a final maturity of 18.5 years including a grace period of five years.

The remaining $250 million will be made available after June 30, 2020.

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