India likely to slip back into poverty due to income, job losses amid COVID: World Bank

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Srinagar: Amid the global Coronavirus outbreak, the World Bank in its draft India Development Update (IDU) has warned that India is at “risk of losing its hard-won gains against poverty.”

It also said that several households are “likely to slip back into poverty due to income and job losses triggered by Covid-19,” said a report by a Delhi based newspaper Economic Times.

According to the IDU report until June 2020, the draft of which has been shared with the Indian government, the World Bank observed that the fiscal impact of the economic stimulus package, though pegged at Rs 20 lakh crore, was limited by way of central government spending.

“The finance ministry is believed to have circulated the draft among stakeholder ministries, seeking their responses and comments. The report is expected to be released shortly,” ET quoted Sudip Mozumder, spokesperson for the World Bank’s India’s office, saying.

Mozumder added that only an “early draft” had been shared with the government.

Mozumder who is also the lead advisor, external affairs, for the World Bank for India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, said: “The report is yet to be finalised and is likely to be published in a week or so. The date is not yet final. The numbers are being re-crunched.”

Keeping in view the current status of India, the Bank has warned that if lockdown measures are extended and mobility remained “significantly constrained” over the second quarter (July-September); additional strains on the financial sector; and further deterioration would be witnessed.

It said that India may see a reversal of gains made between 2011 and 2015 when the poverty rate dropped from 21.6% to 13.4%, based on the international poverty line.

The Bank further said that India is at risk of losing its hard-won gains against poverty, and pre-existing inequalities will widen further.

In India, fresh 48,916 COVID cases were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of positive cases to 13,36,861.

The country also witnessed 757 virus-related deaths during the period, according to the data released by the Health Ministry.

With 31,358 deaths, the fatalities in India is now the sixth-biggest in the world; the country is behind the US, Brazil, Britain, Mexico and Italy.


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