The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday said it has approved $1.5 billion to India to help fund its response to the COVID19 pandemic.
The loan has been sanctioned with an aim to provide support for immediate priorities such as disease containment and prevention, as well as social protection for the poor and economically vulnerable sections of the society.
ADB president Masatugu Asakawa said the bank is fully committed to supporting the Indian government in its response to this unprecedented challenge.
He also said the quick-disbursing fund of the ADB is part of a larger package of support that it will provide in close coordination with the government and other development partners.
“We are determined to support India’s COVID-19 response programs and ensure that they provide effective support to the people of India, especially the poor and vulnerable,” Asakawa added.
“ADB’s COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support (CARES) Program will contribute directly to the improvement of access to health facilities and care, as well as social protection for more than 800 million people, including families below the poverty line, farmers, health care workers, women, senior citizens, people with disabilities, low wage earners, and construction workers,” the bank said in a statement.
In the medium term, ADB will support government efforts and coordinate with other development partners to stimulate the economy, build capacity for monitoring and evaluation of government programs, and improve economic resilience against future shocks, it added.
The CARES Program is funded through the COVID-19 pandemic response option (CPRO) under ADB’s Countercyclical Support Facility, it added.
“India has taken proactive and decisive measures to contain COVID-19 to protect lives, including the implementation of social distancing, community quarantine, and testing and tracking,” the bank further stated.
The government’s COVID-19 response program includes a $2 billion health sector project to rapidly ramp up test-track-treatment capacity.