India is seeking as much as $6 billion of loans from International Institutions such as the Asian Development Bank to bolster its efforts to fight the Coronavirus Outbreak, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The World Bank has already committed $1 billion, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is in talks with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (Multilateral Development Bank, headquartered in Beijing) and ADB, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details haven’t been finalised.
India needs to rapidly scale up testing for the virus to head off the disease from infecting more people in the world’s most populated nation after China.
The pandemic isn’t just a “health challenge,” Junaid Ahmad World Bank’s India Director said in a statement. “It has deep social and economic implications. In parallel, we are working with equal urgency with government on social protection programs and economic measures that protect the livelihoods of people.”
With train and bus services largely suspended, migrant workers in the nation have been walking hundreds of kilometres to get back to their villages. There’s concern the people, who work as labourers in India’s cities, will be taking the virus back to the hinterland with them.
Hence the need to rapidly boost testing. The number of tests in India stood at just 66,000 on April 3, about one-thirtieth the pace of the US and even further behind that of top testing countries like South Korea.
Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asked citizens to light candles on April 5 evening to “challenge the darkness” of the Coronavirus. Spokesmen at India’s Ministry of Finance, AIIB & ADB weren’t immediately available for comment.