The New Development Bank of the BRICS countries has fully disbursed USD one billion emergency assistance loan to India to help it contain the spread of COVID-19 and reduce human, social and economic losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Shanghai-based New Development Bank (NDB) was established by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries in 2014 and is headed by veteran Indian banker K V Kamath.
The purpose of the bank is to mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS countries and other emerging economies and developing nations, complementing the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.
The 'Emergency Assistance Program Loan' to India was approved by the NDB Board of Directors on April 30, and it is aimed at supporting the Indian government to contain the spread of COVID-19 and reduce human, social and economic losses caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
"The NDB is fully committed to supporting its member countries in the time of calamity. Emergency Assistance Program Loan to India was approved in quick response to the urgent request and immediate financing needs of the Government of India in fighting COVID-19," Xian Zhu, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of the bank said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
The programme's scope of financing includes Healthcare Sector Emergency Response and Strengthening Social Safety Net for expenditures already incurred since January 1, 2020, and the expected public expenditures for onward transmission containment and social safety net associated with COVID-19 up to the March of 2021, it said.
It envisages, preventing, detecting, and responding to the threat posed by COVID-19, funding critical healthcare expenditure that will enhance healthcare capacity in India and strengthen national health systems preparedness and providing immediate economic assistance to the vulnerable and affected groups, thus facilitating economic and social recovery.
In its Statement on Response to COVID-19 outbreak, the NDB Board of Governors welcomed the establishment of an Emergency Assistance Facility to meet the emergency needs of the member countries of the bank.
Emergency loans to the NDB member countries could be used to finance direct expenses related to the fight against COVID-19 outbreak and provide support to governmental measures contributing to economic recovery, it said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced massive new financial incentives on top of the previously announced packages for a combined stimulus of Rs 20 lakh crore.
The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 2,415 and the number of cases climbed to 74,281 in India on Wednesday, according to the Union Health Ministry.
Globally, the number of cases linked to the disease has crossed 42.61 lakh and the death toll has topped 2.91 lakh.