World Bank Announces $1 Bn Social Protection Package for India

The announcement comes when the lockdown has caused hardships to migrants, with the economy being under stress.

2 min read
Image used for representational purposes.

The World Bank has announced a $1 billion social protection package for India linked to Government of India programmes, ANI reported on Friday, 15 May.

Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director for India said, “India's social protection is pivoted towards migrants, unorganised workers, portability and creating an integration of system. It piggybacks on an existing infrastructure of Public distribution system, Jan Dhan, Aadhar and mobile.”

“The World Bank’s billion-dollar support for social protection will help India leverage its PM Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY),”Ahmad added.

The announcement comes at a time when the COVID-19 lockdown has caused immense hardships to migrant labourers, with the economy being under severe stress.

According to reports, this comes after the $1 billion package for Indian healthcare, and will be followed by a third programme for MSMEs.

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, Ahmad said.

In early April, the World Bank had approved $1 billion in emergency aid over 15 months to India to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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 30 June 2020

“We are working to strengthen developing nations’ ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and shorten the time to economic and social recovery,” World Bank President David Malpass had said then.

"The poorest and most vulnerable countries will likely be hit the hardest, and our teams around the world remain focused on country-level and regional solutions to address the ongoing crisis," he added.

(With inputs from ANI, PTI)

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