ADB Supports India’s Covid-19 Response Through Record Annual Lending

ADB Supports India’s Covid-19 Response Through Record Annual Lending

Manila-headquartered Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Thursday that it had committed $3.92 billion in sovereign loans for 13 projects to India in 2020, including $1.8 billion in projects to support the Government of India’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic response. This is ADB’s highest-ever annual lending commitment to India since the start of its lending operations in 1986. ADB,  also committed $356.1 million through its nonsovereign operations to India, including three COVID-19 support projects.

ADB has been making headlines this month, including its recent announcement that it will not finance coal mining or oil and natural gas activities in the future, as a result of a draft energy policy supporting low carbon transition in Asia and the Pacific. The Philippines-based bank also released a new book, ‘Creating Livable Asian Cities’, which states that improving the quality of life and social and economic opportunities in Asia’s fast-growing cities are instrumental in fulfilling their potential as engines of economic prosperity and hubs for sustainability.

As part of its pandemic support to India, ADB provided emergency assistance to contain the disease and establish social protection measures for relief to the poor and other vulnerable groups. The bank also approved financing to help the government improve equitable access to comprehensive primary health care in urban areas.

ADB Country Director for India Takeo Konishi said, “Going forward, ADB stands ready to provide additional resources to address India’s many COVID-19-related challenges, including funds to expedite the country’s ongoing vaccination program and build the health system’s resilience against future shocks, with supplementary support to protect small businesses and underpin education and social protection.” The bank is also expanding assistance to quality infrastructure development to support India’s fast economic recovery. Its lending assistance will be further supported with knowledge work to help develop transformative projects.

The bank has said that throughout 2020, it continued its regular assistance to energy, transport, urban development, and public sector management in India. Among the new projects committed in 2020 included $500 million to build a modern, high-speed 82-kilometer Delhi–Meerut Regional Rapid Transit system corridor; energy sector loans to strengthen distribution network in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, and Meghalaya; and to build a 120-megawatt hydroelectric power plant in Assam. In the urban sector, ADB approved loans for sustainable urban development in secondary and smaller towns in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

The bank also committed funds to support the Government of West Bengal’s fiscal consolidation program. Through its project readiness financing, it committed funds to provide Tripura and Himachal Pradesh with capacity development support for planning and designing.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.