Home » Japan to provide Rs 3500 crore loan to India to boost COVID fight

Japan to provide Rs 3500 crore loan to India to boost COVID fight

by Raju Vernekar
0 comment 2 minutes read

By Raju Vernekar
New Delhi, September 6:
Japan’s donor agency Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed an agreement with the Indian government under to provide about Rs 3,500 crore in loan to boost the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in India.

This loan will be disbursed to the Government of India for supporting anticipated financing requirement for the implementation of “Prime Minister Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PM-ASBY)” governed by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as the Atmanirbhar Bharat Package for the health sector.

The objective of the project is to strengthen public healthcare system, by extending budget support to the Indian government in implementing emergency response programmes for the health sector as countermeasures against the COVID-19, the JICA said in a statement and added that this will contribute to promoting the social and economic stabilization and development efforts of India.

“Based on a national COVID-19 containment strategy, the government of India”s response has been pre-emptive, proactive and characterized by a ”whole government” approach with the highest level of political commitment,” the statement said. Through PM-ASBY, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will implement measures to strengthen the public healthcare system, expand and strengthen surveillance capacities, research and national digital health mission, it said.

This is the first large scale Japanese ODA to support the Indian government’s fight against COVID-19 and we will continue supporting it with all possible measures we can provide, Matsumoto said.

The ODA loan agreement was signed early this week, between C S Mohapatra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, union Ministry of Finance and Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, JICA India. Under the Japan will provide an Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan of 50 billion Japanese Yen (approximately Rs. 3,500 Crore) as the “COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan”.

Speaking on the occasion, Matsumoto said, “With the outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we commend Government of India’s swift response to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and support their vision to build a robust healthcare system under PM-ASBY. Our policy-based lending will be utilized for strengthening the public healthcare system and JICA will closely monitor the critical activities such as implementation of medical tele consultation services, strengthening national health information reporting platform, and development of infectious disease hospitals. We expect that PM-ASBY will improve accessibility, affordability, availability, awareness and quality of healthcare services.

In India, JICA has cumulatively extended ODA loans of 42.5 billion Japanese Yen (approximately Rs 2,833 crore) for the health-care sector, since 1995/96. JICA has health projects in Tamil Nadu and Odisha amongst other states in India. JICA aims to contribute to the promotion of international cooperation, as a sole Japanese governmental agency in charge of ODA implementation.

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