Lockdown, social protection system, economic stabilsation: World Bankâ€™s India head lauds India's three-pronged fight against COVID-19
New Delhi/IBNS: Amid criticism from the opposition over the migrant workers' crisis following the 21-day-lockdown called to arrest the spread of coronavirus infection, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has garnered appreciation from World Bank's India country director Junaid Ahmad.
Lauding the lockdown, followed by implementation of a social security system in the form of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana and further steps taken to stabilise the economy, Ahmad told Times Now in an exclusive interview that "the World Bank's decision to extend $1 billion aid to India is a partnership with New Delhi to 'arrest the disease and ensure that the epicentre of the disease does not arrive in India.'"
"Three important steps that need to be followed in this case - health attack, second to create social protection system which is indeed embedded in the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojna to enable that the vulnerable of the society are able to manage this crisis until health is addressed and imparting stability to the economy, so that when it lifts off, it lifts off correctly and this is exactly what the government of India is doing.. And in putting 21-days, is precisely to allow the health impact to take forward and to learn from it," he said in the Times Now interview.
He said the current financial crisis has been triggered by "supply and health shock" unlike the global financial turmoil that emerged in 2009 when the demand side of the economy crashed.
Ahmad opined that holding back the economy was the way to implement social distancing and contain the spread, which will eventually put back the economy on track. This is contrary to 'stimulating the economy' which was the way ahead in 2009.
"If you don't hold back the economy, you cannot practice social distancing, you can't address the health issues. The balance between addressing health issues, slowing down the economy and bringing it back again after you have dealt with health crisis..." he said.
Underscoring that the coronavirus pandemic has drawn the entire world into an unprecedented situation, which is being dealt with by every country differently, he said India's 1.3 billion people followed the lockdown imposed by the government.
"1.3 billion, unprecedented, unheard of. We have followed India's lead and put our billion-dollar into the health infrastructure," he said.