Amid the spread of coronavirus pandemic, the World Bank has approved $1 billion aid to support India’s efforts for providing social assistance to poor and vulnerable households. The social protection package for India is linked to central government’s programmes.

World Bank said that the billion-dollar social protection package was in addition to the previous package of $1 billion allocated to India for COVID19  emergency response and health systems last month.

“The World Bank’s billion-dollar support for social protection will help India leverage it’s PM Garib Kalyan Yojana,” said World Bank Country Director (India) Junaid Kamal Ahmad.

This new support will be funded in two phases – an immediate allocation of $750 million for fiscal year 2020 and a $250 million second tranche that will be made available for fiscal year 2021.

The first phase of the operation will be implemented countrywide through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) and in the second phase, the program will deepen the social protection package, whereby additional cash and in-kind benefits based on local needs will be extended through state governments and portable social protection delivery systems.

World Bank said cash transfers and food benefits will help the poor and vulnerable access a ‘safety bridge’ towards a time when the economy will start to revive.

“This program will support the Government of India’s efforts towards a more consolidated delivery platform – accessible to both rural and urban populations across state boundaries. The platform draws on the country’s existing architecture of safety nets – the PDS, the digital and banking infrastructure, and Aadhaar – while positioning the overall social protection system for the needs of a 21st century India,” Ahmad said.

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