NEW DELHI: 16 Dec 2020, India on Wednesday signed a pact worth $400 million with the World Bank in a bid to aid the poor and vulnerable reeling under the coronavirus crisis by the means of social protection.
This is the second deal of a two-part agreement with the global financing agency, of which the first part worth $750 million was signed earlier this year in May. The $400 million credit has been extended by World’s Bank’s concessionary lending arm International Development Association (IDA).
The programme, government said, will strengthen the capability of state and national governments in India to provide coordinated and adequate social protection to the poor and vulnerable from the shocks triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Officials stated that due to the Covid-19 crisis, risks of migrants and the urban poor have been brought to the fore along with the need for governments to strengthen preparedness for future disasters of this nature.
This programme is aimed at further expanding and deepening the coverage of India’s social protection systems by helping these vulnerable groups in urban and peri-urban areas across the country.
The agreement signed today will be built on the outcomes obtained from studying the strengths and challenges of India’s social protection system in the first round via household surveys.
Working to complement expansion of safety net programmes, the second part of the financial aid will help in creating a portable social protection platform to ensure food and cash support for poor households, urban migrants, and unorganized sector workers across state boundaries, the statement by ministry of finance read.
“Given the continent-like size and heterogeneity in India, the post COVID-19 economic shocks are likely to manifest itself differently at the sub-national, community and household levels,” the statement read.
The agreement with World Bank acknowledges that a large shares of Covid-19 cases have emerged from urban and peri-urban areas, therefore geographically targeted support to these hot-spot districts will help deepen social protection coverage in urban areas.