New Delhi: Severely affected by the pandemic, India on Thursday received massive financial help from World Bank. Issuing a statement, the World Bank Board of Executive Directors said that they have approved a $500 million program to support India’s large informal workforce and create greater flexibility for states to cope with the ongoing pandemic, future climate, and disaster shocks.Also Read - Is 4th Covid Wave Coming? India Witnesses 45% Jump in Corona Cases. Delhi, Maharashtra Remain Top Contributors

The programme, which is named Creating a Coordinated and Responsive Indian Social Protection System (CCRISP), builds on the $1.15 billion Accelerating India’s Covid-19 Social Protection Response Program to support schemes under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY). Also Read - COVID Symptoms? Follow These Measures Immediately For Quick Recovery And Help Others From Getting Infected

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With the fresh assistance from the World Bank, states will get greater flexibility and more money in their hands. Moreover, the devolution of funds under the 15th Finance Commission recommendations will help states create a more adaptive social protection system, provide support to excluded groups and cater to context-specific needs, not only for COVID-19 but also for any future crisis, ecological risk, or natural disaster.

The World Bank in the statement added that the enhanced disaster relief funds to geographically targeted hot-spot districts will support states during the current phase of the pandemic and any future waves. “Finally, the government has announced new urban platforms. The program will strengthen these platforms to deepen social protection coverage in urban areas,” it added.

It said the funding towards strengthening India’s social protection programs will help the poor and vulnerable households since the start of the COVID pandemic stands at $1.65 billion.

It further added that the first two operations approved last year provided immediate emergency relief cash transfers to about 320 million individual bank accounts identified through pre-existing national social protection schemes and additional food rations for about 800 million individuals.

In a statement, the World Bank said two issues have emerged following the onset of the pandemic in 2020. “First, the rural focus of India’s safety net program and the lack of portability of benefits led to increased suffering for urban and migrant informal workers. Second, the crisis has brought to the fore the urgent need for greater decentralisation and increased coordination for designing future relief measures and state-specific safety nets to tackle shocks,” it said.