ADB chief calls FM and promises $ 2.2 billion in aid to health sector

NEW DELHI: Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa on Friday assured Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of the multilateral agency's support for New Delhi in its fight against the new coronavirus and said he was planning immediate $ 2.2 billion in aid for the health sector.

This is one of the biggest aids from a multilateral agency for the country's health sector and is expected to significantly strengthen the government's efforts to step up its fight against the devastating virus outbreak. The government has already taken several steps to speed up testing, prepare quarantine zones and assist front-line healthcare workers, and the availability of funds will further strengthen efforts and help renew the country's healthcare sector.

In a call, Asakawa praised the Indian government's decisive response to the pandemic, which includes a national health emergency program, taxes and other relief measures provided to businesses, and a $ 23 billion economic relief package announced on March 26 to provide immediate income and consumption support for the poor, women and workers affected by the three-week national blockade.

ADB is committed to supporting India's emergency needs. We are now preparing $ 2.2 billion in immediate assistance to the health sector and to help alleviate the economic impact of the pandemic on the poor. ADB assistance to India will be further increased if necessary, ”said Asakawa.