Beijing-Based AIIB Okays $750M Budgetary Support To India For COVID-19 Response

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New Delhi: The Beijing-headquartered Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has sanctioned a $750 million ‘COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Programme’ to help India strengthen its response to the adverse impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on poor and vulnerable households.

This is the first budgetary support programme from the AIIB to India.

China is the biggest shareholder in AIIB, with 26.06% voting power, while India is second with a 7.62% voting power.

Interestingly, this development comes at a time when border tensions are simmering between India and China, with 20 Indian soldiers having been killed in a skirmish in Galwan valley, Ladakh, four days ago.

The agreement was signed by Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Sameer Kumar Khare on behalf of Government of India and Director General (Acting) AIIB, Rajat Misra.

The fund will provide the government with budget support to mitigate severe and adverse social and economic impact of COVID-19.

The AIIB had earlier released a $500 million loan to India under its COVID-19 crisis recovery facility for Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project.

The beneficiaries of the latest programme will be families below the poverty line, farmers, healthcare workers, women, women self-help groups, widows, people with disabilities, senior citizens, low wage earners, construction workers and other vulnerable groups.

The project is being financed by the AIIB and Asian Development Bank (ADB) to the tune of $2.25 billion, of which $750 million is being provided by AIIB and $1.5 billion by ADB.

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