Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday asked New Development Bank (NDB) to enhance the emergency facility to USD 10 billion to combat Coronavirus pandemic. FM Sitharaman participated in the 5th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of NDB through video-conference.
"On the discussion of COVID-19, FM appreciated NDB's effort on fast-tracking of financial assistance of about USD 5 billion to BRICS countries including Emergency Assistance of USD 1 billion India to combat COVID-19 pandemic. She also suggested that assistance under this Facility to be enhanced to USD 10 Billion," an official statement quoted Sitharaman.
"I am happy to note that the bank has the financial capacity to enhance the emergency facility up to USD 10 billion for crisis-related assistance. Therefore, based on the demands from the member countries this facility should be enhanced," she said.
The Finance Minister also outlined various measures taken by India to respond to COVID-19 crisis includes allocation of USD 2 billion (Rs 15,000 crore) by the government for strengthening the healthcare system; announcement of a scheme of social support measures amounting to USD 25 billion (Rs 1.70 lakh crore) to alleviate the hardship of the poor and the vulnerable; insurance cover of USD 67,000 (Rs 50 lakh) per person to over 2.2 million frontline health workers and others provision of relief to firms in statutory and regulatory compliance matters; and easing of monetary policy by the Reserve Bank of India.
She also strongly encouraged NDB to take appropriate actions to join the G-20 forum along with other Multilateral Development Bank (MDBs)/International Financial Institutions (IFIs). The minister urged NDB to follow innovative practices in supporting the BRICS nations for achieving their Sustainable Development Goals.
The Finance Minister of Brazil thanked India for the timely help it received from India in the form of critical drugs, the statement added.
The NDB was established by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in 2014. The purpose of the bank is to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging market economies and developing countries to complement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.
NDB has so far approved 14 projects of India for an amount of USD 4,183 million.
(With agency inputs)