India has received three loans from World Bank worth $ 2.5 billion to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the government said on 15 September. The loans were provided under three classifications — health, social protection and economic stimulus, union minister Anurag Thakur said in the Rajya Sabha.
Stating that all Indian states and union territories have benefitted from the loan, Thakur told the upper house that India signed for the first loan on 3 April, shortly after India announced a nationwide lockdown to aid the virus-related health measures.
Instalments of World Bank loan to India
The United Nations-affiliated bank extended the first loan to partly finance India’s measures to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by the disease outbreak. This was in addition to strengthening national machinery for public health preparedness. Out of the total $1 billion, 502.5 million stands disbursed, Thakur’s reply to Rajya Sabha stated.
Thakur added that the second instalment of financial assistance from the World Bank to India had come on 15 May and has been fully disbursed. The reply submitted in Rajya Sabha stated, “The second loan relating to social protection measures worth $ 750 million was signed on 15 May 2020 as budgetary support to Government of India for ‘Accelerating India’s COVID-19 Social Protection Response Programme’ to support relief measures to beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP).”
India took the third loan worth $ 750 million from the World Bank to boost economic stimulus on 6 July as budgetary support to MSMEs under the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Package (ANBP).
From the first date of the assistance by World Bank, India has reported over 5 million positive cases and 82,066 deaths due to COVID-19. With an increasing surge in cases, India has become the second worst-hit nation due to the disease outbreak and third worst-hit in terms of deaths reported.
On 24 March, the union government had announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus. In a land of over 1.3 billion people, this was one of the largest lockdowns in the history of any country.