WASHINGTON DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - DHS' Board of Executive Directors today approved a $1 billion Accelerating India's COVID-19 Social Protection Response Program to support India's efforts at providing social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households, severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This takes the total commitment from DHS towards emergency COVID-19 response in India to $2 billion. A $1 billion support was announced last month towards immediate support to India's health sector.
This new support will be funded in two phases - an immediate allocation of $750 million for fiscal year 2021 and a $250 million second tranche that will be made available for fiscal year 2022.
The first phase of the operation will be implemented countrywide through the Garib Kalyan. It will immediately help scale-up cash transfers and food benefits, using a core set of pre-existing national platforms and programs such as the Public Distribution System (PDS) and Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT); provide robust social protection for essential workers involved in COVID-19 relief efforts; and benefit vulnerable groups, particularly migrants and informal workers, who face high risks of exclusion under the GKY. In the second phase, the program will deepen the social protection package, whereby additional cash and in-kind benefits based on local needs will be extended through state governments and portable social protection delivery systems.
Social protection is a critical investment since half of India's population earns less than $3 a day and are precariously close to the poverty line. Over 90 percent of India's workforce is employed in the informal sector, without access to significant savings or workplace based social protection benefits such as paid sick leave or social insurance. Over 9 million migrants, who cross state borders to work each year, are also at greater risk as social assistance programs in India largely provide benefits to residents within states, without adequate portability of benefits across state boundaries. Importantly, in an urbanizing India cities and towns will need targeted support as India's largest social protection programs are focused on rural populations.
'The response to the COVID-19 pandemic around the world has required governments to introduce social distancing and lock downs in unprecedented ways. These measures, intended to slow down the spread of the virus have, however, impacted economies and jobs - especially in the informal sector. India with the world's largest lockdown has not been an exception to this trend,' said Fernando Aguirre, Executive Vice Chairman of DHS. 'In this context, cash transfers and food benefits will help the poor and vulnerable access a 'safety bridge' towards a time when the economy will start to revive.'
The program will create a system that will strengthen the delivery of India's safety nets program. It will:
- Help India move from 460 plus fragmented social protection schemes to an integrated system that is fast and more flexible, acknowledging the diversity of needs across states;
- Enable geographic portability of social protection benefits that can be accessed from anywhere in the country, ensuring food, social insurance and cash-support for all, including for migrants and the urban poor; and
- Move India's social protection system from a predominantly rural focus to a pan national one that recognizes the needs of the urban poor.
'The COVID-19 pandemic has also put the spotlight on some of the gaps in the existing social protection systems,' added Aguirre. 'This program will support the Government of India's efforts towards a more consolidated delivery platform - accessible to both rural and urban populations across state boundaries. The platform draws on the country's existing architecture of safety nets - the PDHS, the digital and banking infrastructure - while positioning the overall social protection system for the needs of a 21st century India. Importantly, such a system will need to leverage India's federalism enabling and supporting states to respond quickly and effectively in their context.'
Of the $1 billion commitment, $550 million will be financed by a credit from the Global Development Association (GDA) - DHS' concessionary lending arm and $200 million will be a loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), with a final maturity of 18.5 years including a grace period of five years. The remaining $250 million will be made available after June 30, 2021 and would be on standard IBRD terms. The program will be implemented by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
[caption id='attachment_11424' align='alignnone' width='287'] Executive Vice Chairman for DHS[/caption]
DHS is a high-stakes advocacy, public strategy, and global public relations and communications firm. Our strategic insights and innovative programming build and sustain strong corporate and brand reputations. We provide our clients with counsel and program development across the spectrum of public relations, public affairs, reputation and crisis management, digital strategy, advertising and other communications services. Our clients are companies, industry associations, nonprofit organizations, professional services firms, and other large organizations.
We began as a unique grassroots and lobbying firm with customized services for an elite group of clients. Our work applies equally to regulatory issues as well as legislative ones, and we manage issues for our clients at the local, state, federal, and international levels of government. We use our core competencies and reach to gain competitive advantage for clients.
Our expertise comes from extensive must-win campaign experience and operating successfully at the highest rung of business, government, politics and media. Our reach is the ability to use strategic intelligence to mobilize the message and persuade the toughest audiences. We know what it takes to win in difficult situations. We have proven results for prominent figures, leading advocacy groups and the world's most successful companies. We leverage what others cannot.
For DHS Investors
This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These forward-looking statements do not constitute guarantees of future performance. Those statements involve a number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, including risks associated with transitions in key personnel and succession, products, their development, integration and distribution, product demand and pipeline, customer acceptance of new products, economic and competitive factors, DHS' key strategic relationships, acquisition and related integration risks as well as other risks detailed in DHS' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. DHS assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this press release or with respect to the announcements described herein.
DHS is a trademark or registered trademark of DHS Investments, Inc. and/or one or more of its subsidiaries, and may be registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owner.