Coming as a good news for India and its battle against Covid-19, the World Bank granted an amount of USD 1 billion as a “Social Protection Package” for India. This will be the largest health sector support ever seen before for India from the world bank. The approval was done days back and now finally the country has received the fund. This emergency package is a big help in this pandemic situation. This package will help India to prepare, detect and respond Covid-19 pandemic. India has already started manufacturing its own PPE kits and ventilators which were never manufactured earlier in India and this aid will add a good support factor. This will eventually help in developing the health infrastructure.
Of the USD 1 billion commitment, USD 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). A $1 billion support was already announced last month to support India’s health sector and now this package takes the total commitment from the World Bank towards emergency COVID-19 response to $2 billion.
Junaid Ahmed, World Bank country director in India said “the response to covid-19 pandemic around the world requires governments around the world to introduce social distancing and lockdowns in unprecedented ways.” These measures of containment of spread of virus have impacted economies and jobs especially in the informal sector. India with the world largest lockdown has not been an exception to the trend.
World Bank sees Financial Year -21 India growth at 1.5 to 2.8%, slowest since economic reforms for 30 years ago. The fund will be used for setting up of new isolation wards, to procure testing kits, for the infection prevention and control, and purchase of personal protective equipment, ventilators and medicines, specifically for district hospitals and designated infectious disease hospitals. This will definitely help India fighting Covid-19 battle.