Japan will provide 30 billion yen (over Rs 2,100 crore) as loan to India to fight the socio-economic impact of COVID-19.
The 'COVID-19 Crisis Response Support Loan for Social Protection' is the second such assistance from Japan after it sanctioned 50 billion yen (over Rs 3,500 crore) loan as financial support to augment health infrastructure to fight COVID-19 emergency in August 2020.
A Japanese embassy official said the latest agreement was signed by Suzuki Satoshi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to India and CS Mohapatra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Finance on January 8. "With this additional yen loan, we hope that the most vulnerable people will get enough support, including provisions of meals and other required goods as well as financial support," he said.
The 50 billion yen support announced on August 31, 2020, was meant as financial assistance to develop hospitals equipped with ICUs and infection prevention and management facilities. Providing support to enhance the telemedicine facilities across Indian villages was also an objective of that loan.
Soon after the outbreak of COVID-19, Japan had pledged 1 billion yen as grant aid to India to augment oxygen generator facilities for treating critical COVID-19 patients. The country had also partnered with international organisations like UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR to provide financial assistance to the tune of $7.3 million (over Rs 50 crore) to India.
The Japanese embassy official said the current yen loan and the previous one are "budget supports" to assist the Government of India, with higher degree of flexibility.
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