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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking the World Bank Development Committee Plenary (Photo: PIB)
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaking the World Bank Development Committee Plenary (Photo: PIB)

Gains made in reducing level of poverty at great risk of being lost: FM on Covid

Nirmala Sitharaman was speaking at the 102nd meeting of the World Bank Development Committee Plenary

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attended the Development Committee meeting of the World Bank-IMF through video conferencing in Delhi on Friday and spoke on an array of economic issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. She shared measures taken to combat Covid-19 in India, including first stimulus of $23 billion to provide direct cash transfers and food security measures to the poor

Sitharaman stated that Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact the developing and developed countries till 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 Governmentof India has taken several measures to contain the spread of pandemic, and also to mitigate its social and economic impact, she said.

Sitharaman spoke about the special economic package of $271 billion - equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP - based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's exhortation for a 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 the farm sector and by way of increased allocation for National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

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, she said.

The Finance Minister said that collective action is the key for effective response to the pandemic and welcomed the strong performance in Q4 of FY2020 wherein World Bank Group has committed $45 billion for Covid-19 response.


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