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Emergency Assistance Program in Combating COVID-19

India India
Area Of Operation
COVID-19 Emergency Assistance COVID-19 Emergency Assistance

Quick Facts

Financing Approval Date
30 April 2020
Current Limit of NDB Financing 
USD 1 billion
The Republic of India
Project Entity
Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India

More About This Project

India, like many other parts in the world, was heavily affected by the COVID-19. The pandemic posed unparalleled challenges with respect to virus containment and economic loss mitigation in India. To prevent and control the local transmission of COVID-19, the Government of India (GOI), in coordination with the local governments, took important steps, including national lockdown, testing through a network of more than 200 laboratories, contact tracing, community surveillance, etc. Despite the GOI’s prompt response to the pandemic, the healthcare system in India was still fragile in face of such outbreak. India’s high population density in both urban and rural areas puts India at a high risk of rapid transmission of COVID-19. Insufficient healthcare infrastructure, such as disease detection and testing facilities, isolation wards, shortage of healthcare workers, inadequate supply of oxygen and ventilation equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), further aggravated the situation. Moreover, the limitation of movement due to the lockdown generated unintended social and economic consequences, which were particularly pronounced for the poor and the vulnerable in India.

The Program was to support the GOI in fighting the COVID-19 outbreak, and reduce human, social and economic losses. This Program enabled recovery of economic and social activity through procurement and deployment of critical healthcare goods and services. These measures enhanced India’s disease detection and diagnosis, infection prevention and control capacities, sustain and re-inforce healthcare services, and strengthen operational support and logistics, etc. The Program also provided financial resources to support the GOI in strengthening its social safety net to reduce the economic and social impacts of COVID-19. The scope of financing of the Program includes Healthcare Sector Emergency Response and Strengthening Social Safety Net for expenditures already incurred since 1 January 2020 so far, and the expected public health expenditures for onward transmission containment, up to the March of 2021.

The Program supported the GOI in its efforts to contain the spread of the virus and reduce human, social and economic losses. The Program envisaged (i) preventing, detecting, and responding to the threat posed by COVID-19; (ii) funding critical healthcare expenditure that enhanced healthcare capacity in India and strengthened national health systems preparedness; and (iii) providing immediate economic assistance to the vulnerable and affected groups, thus facilitating economic and social recovery. This Program was in quick response to the urgent request and immediate financing needs of the GOI in fighting COVID-19.

The Program duration was up to March 31, 2021. The Program was implemented by the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

The Program was Category “B” in line with NDB’s Environment and Social Framework (ESF) and India’s environmental regulations for the public health sector. The Program brought positive E&S impacts due to the improvement and strengthening of the public health sector to address the pressing needs for containment and prevention of a wider spread of the virus in India. Potential negative E&S impacts from the Program were limited to: i) management of bio-medical and other wastes (solid and liquid); ii) occupational health and safety of medical and supporting staff; and iii) community exposure and social risks to the vulnerable population. These adverse impacts were handled using medical hazmat management practices, waste management rules, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) provided by the health administration and be mitigated by adherence to requirements of E&S country systems and NDB’s ESF.

The total loan amount was USD 1.0 billion. Disbursement was done in one tranche of the total loan amount.

Source of Fund Amount (USD billion)
NDB Borrower and Project Entity
Public Sector Department

Deepanshu Sapra

Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India

Prasanna V. Salian