World Bank approves USD 1 bn aid to India to accelerate COVID-19 social protection response programme
World Bank has approved one billion US dollar ‘Accelerating India’s COVID-19 Social Protection Response Programme’ to support India. Total commitment from the Bank towards emergency COVID-19 response in India is two billion US dollars. This new support will be funded in two phases – an immediate allocation of 750 million US dollars for fiscal year 2020 and a 250 million US dollar second tranche that will be made available for fiscal year 2021.
World Bank India Head Junaid Ahmad has praised India’s economic stimulus package on private channels as tactical and sign of commitment. The first phase of the operation will be implemented country wide through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. It will immediately help scale-up cash transfers and food benefits, using a core set of pre-existing national platforms and programmes such as the Public Distribution System and Direct Benefit Transfers and provide robust social protection for essential workers involved in COVID-19 relief efforts. It will also benefit vulnerable groups, particularly migrants and informal workers, who face high risks of exclusion under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
AIR correspondent reports that in the second phase, the programme will deepen the social protection package, whereby additional cash and in-kind benefits based on local needs will be given. The fund will be extended through State Governments and portable social protection delivery systems.