Oct 16: Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman participated in the 102nd Meeting of the Development Committee Plenarythrough video conferencing here today.
The items on the agenda included Leaning Forward to Save Lives, Scale-up Impact and Get Back on Track: World Bank Group COVID-19 Crisis Response and Update Joint IMF-WBG Staff Note: Implementation and Extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative.
In her intervention at this session, Smt. Sitharaman stated that COVID -19 Pandemic which started before our last meeting in April, continues to impact the developing and developed countries to date, and the hard-fought gains in reducing the level of poverty, achieved over a number of years, are at great risk of being lost. The Government of India has taken several measures to contain the spread of the pandemic, and also to mitigate its social and economic impact.
The Finance Minister shared that the Government has announced first stimulus of $23 billion to provide direct cash transfers and food security measures to poor. This was followed by special economic package of $ 271 Billion – equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP – based on a clarion call by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for AatmaNirbhar Bharat or Self-Reliant India. Measures have been announced to provide relief to the business, bring about major reforms in the labour sector by simplifying, amalgamating and rationalising 44 central labour laws, provide effective social protection to the migrant workers through National Portability of ration cards.Rural sector has been provided support by way of refinance support through NABARD, injection of additional liquidity of $27.13 Billion in the farm sector and by way of increased allocation for National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
Smt. Sitharaman also mentioned that Government has committed $2.03 Billion for strengthening of Health infrastructure in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. Being a responsible member of global fraternity, India is ready to share its experience and also play a leading role in the South Asian region as part of its “Neighbourhood First” policy.
The Finance Ministerstated that collective action is the key for effective response to the pandemic and welcomed the strong performance in Q4 of FY 2020 wherein World Bank Group has committed $45 billion for COVID-19 response.