Seems the World Bank has planned a series of measures to support India in its fight against COVID-19.
After announcing a USD 1 billion package, the top bank is likely planning about more packages for India aimed at social security and economic recovery.
“We are looking at a package for social protection followed eventually by support on the economic side, which will be to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), creating lines of credit to providing credit enhancement,” the World Bank Country Director Junaid Ahmad said in a statement.
As the reports say, this is the first-of-its-kind health program in the world.
According to Ahmad, India might need to consider 3-5 percent of GDP in its expenditure to fight corornavirus.
The World Bank’s fund is likely to be around procuring test kits, isolation wards, ICUs, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), medicines and ventilators.
Whereas, the social security initiative will target the urban population, in view of the fact rural India has some dedicated schemes with regard to jobs and welfare.
“The key would be really to address the unorganised workers, the informal and migrant workers. These are the type of gaps, if you will, or places where we need to strengthen the existing social protection system,” Ahmad said in a statement.
While the economic package is still under process, the World Bank wants to know from the government about the areas that would require their support.
“We have to understand where the government would like us to intervene. If it’s in small and medium enterprises, what type of support do they want… if they want a line of credit, do they want more training and capacity building of SME? The other could be credit enhancement to get financial sector institutional investors into economic activities,” adds Ahmad.
Meanwhile, the top bank is also discussing with the government on USD 500 million investment each for education sector and dam rehabilitation.
“First, you have to deal with the shock itself, which is in the health sector… So instead, in 2008, where governments tried to boost the economy, here, you have to slow down the economy in order to allow health sector interventions such as social distancing to respond,” Ahmad said.
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