PM Khan extends help to India to overcome coronavirus crisis

Prime Minister Imran Khan has offered help to neighbouring India to help it overcome the coronavirus crisis, saying he was willing to share Pakistan’s successful cash transfer programme.

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Sharing a news report claiming that 34% of household across India ‘will not be able to survive more than a week without add (additional) assistance’’, the prime minister said, “I am ready to offer help and share our successful cash transfer prog, lauded internationally for its reach and transparency, with India”.

Describing the programme in another tweet, the prime minister said the Pakistani government had successfully transferred more than Rs100 billion to 10 million families.

“Our govt successfully transferred Rs120 billion in 9 weeks to over 10 million families in a transparent manner to deal with the COVID19 fallout on the poor.”

In April, the Pakistani government started distributing coronavirus relief funds to the needy, a much-awaited step by the affectees of the lockdown which was then imposed to curb the spread of the virus.

According to Dr Sania Nishtar, who is in charge of the programme, 12 million families have received Rs12,000 each under the initiative. A budget of Rs144 billion was approved for the plan, according to Dr Nishtar.

Indian economy in ‘dire’ straits

A report published on Tuesday by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School said that Indian economy was in “dire” straits as a lockdown to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus has led to a whopping majority of households experiencing slashed incomes.

The country — which, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s dashboard, is seventh on the list of countries with the most infections, as of June 8 — recently extended its lockdown through June 30 — but only in the containment zones.

The Indian government has so far unveiled three stimulus programmes worth in total at almost INR21 trillion, including a liquidity package worth INR7.2 trillion from the country’s central bank, announced before the coronavirus.

The report noted that “India’s GDP grew the slowest in 11 years at 3.1% [in the latest quarter] and is expected to contract by 6.8% in the current fiscal year”.

“The economic distress in India caused by the lockdown is dire. Nearly 84% of Indian households are seeing decreases in income since the lockdown began, according to a recent study by experts at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago and the Mumbai-based Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE),” the Wharton School’s report stated.

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