PM Imran offers to help India with Covid-19 fallout by sharing details of govt's cash programme

11 Jun 2020

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The prime minister said that the government has successfully transferred Rs120 billion in nine weeks to more than 10 million families. — Photo courtesy of Imran Khan's Facebook page
The prime minister said that the government has successfully transferred Rs120 billion in nine weeks to more than 10 million families. — Photo courtesy of Imran Khan's Facebook page

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday offered to assist India with the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic by sharing the details of the government's Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme.

Citing a news report about a study detailing the impact of the coronavirus on the world's fifth largest economy, the premier said: "According to this report, 34 per cent of households across India will not be able to survive for more than a week without additional assistance.

"I am ready to offer help and share our successful cash transfer programme, lauded internationally for its reach and transparency, with India."

The prime minister added that the government had successfully transferred Rs120 billion in nine weeks to more than 10 million families in a "transparent manner" to help the vulnerable deal with the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Imran launched the multi-billion Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme last month for the workers and daily wage earners badly affected by the coronavirus crisis. The scheme is distinct from the Ehsaas Cash programme already in operation under which Rs144 billion was allocated for 12 million families.

Responding to the prime minister's proposition, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said that Pakistan had a “debt problem covering 90pc of the country’s GDP [gross domestic product]”, Hindustan Times reported.

“Pakistan would do well to recall that they have a debt problem which covers 90pc of their GDP. As far as India goes, our stimulus package is as large as the GDP of Pakistan,” the publication quoted Anurag Srivastava, the spokesperson for the Indian foreign affairs ministry, as saying.

According to the study — carried out by the Mumbai-based Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy and experts from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania — 84pc of households in India have reported a fall in income due to the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the virus.

"This fall in income is consistent with the sharp increase in unemployment and the sharp decrease in labour force participation," it said.

The findings also note that 34pc of all households report being able to survive for no more than one week without additional assistance.

"These figures suggest that the rapid distribution of in kind or cash transfers is needed to prevent a sharp increase in malnutrition and severe deprivation. Such transfers will also likely promote a more robust recovery as the country is able to reopen," it said.