• India
  • Jun 22

ADB approves $170 mn loan to strengthen health system in India

• The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $170 million (over Rs 1,418 crore) policy-based loan to improve India’s health system preparedness and capacity to respond to future pandemics.

• This policy-based loan will help fill the gaps in policy, legislative, and institutional governance and structures and contribute to India’s goal of providing universal access to quality and affordable healthcare services to strengthen pandemic preparedness and response.

Highlights of the programme:

• The Strengthened and Measurable Actions for Resilient and Transformative (SMART) Health Systems will support the government’s National Health Policy 2017, which aims to provide quality healthcare services to all.

• The programme will strengthen disease surveillance systems to effectively respond to public health threats.

• It will set up laboratory networks for infectious disease surveillance at the state, union, and metropolitan levels and will also support the establishment of robust data systems to monitor and coordinate national health programmes for the poor, women, and other vulnerable groups.

• The programme will improve the governance and coordination of India’s One Health approach, its multi-sector response to emerging infectious diseases.

• ADB will support policy reforms that will ensure there are adequate and competent health professionals and workers.

• This includes legislation that will regulate and maintain standards of education, services and professional conduct of nurses, midwives, allied workers, and doctors.

• It will help public health and health management teams deployed in some states to support public health functions and improve service delivery.

• The programme will help manage integrated public health laboratories in five states and district critical care hospital blocks to improve services for infectious diseases and critical illnesses. 

• It will assist the intersectoral governing body and multisector task force in establishing green and climate-resilient health care facilities. Innovative solutions for service delivery would also be supported.

Asian Development Bank

• The Asian Development Bank (ADB) envisions a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty in the region.

• From 31 members at its establishment in 1966, ADB has grown to encompass 68 members — of which 49 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.

• ADB assists its members, and partners, by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.

• ADB maximises the development impact of its assistance by facilitating policy dialogues, providing advisory services, and mobilising financial resources through co-financing operations that tap official, commercial, and export credit sources.

• Committed to pursue a differentiated approach for states at different stages of development, ADB prioritises projects on basic services, critical infrastructure and services, institutional strength, and private sector development through sovereign operations in low-income states.

• Support for more developed states focuses on transformational programmes with policy and knowledge advice, combined with non-sovereign operations.

History of ADB

• ADB was conceived in the early 1960s as a financial institution that would be Asian in character and foster economic growth and cooperation in one of the poorest regions in the world.

• A resolution passed at the first Ministerial Conference on Asian Economic Cooperation held by the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East in 1963 set that vision on the way to becoming reality.

• The Philippines capital of Manila was chosen to host the new institution, which opened on December 19, 1966, with 31 members that came together to serve a predominantly agricultural region. Takeshi Watanabe from Japan was ADB’s first president.

ADB and India

• India was a founding member of ADB in 1966 and fourth largest shareholder.

• ADB started operations in India in 1986.

• As of December 31, 2023, ADB has committed 623 public sector loans, grants, and technical assistance totaling $55.3 billion to India. ADB’s current sovereign portfolio in India includes 67 loans worth $14.15 billion.

• Cumulative sovereign and non-sovereign loan and grant disbursements to India amount to $43.45 billion. These were financed by regular ordinary capital resources and other special funds.

• ADB said it will continue to focus on projects and programmes that accelerate India's structural transformation, create jobs, address infrastructure gaps, promote green growth, and foster social and economic inclusiveness while deploying smart technologies and innovations.

• In 2023, ADB approved additional funding to support India’s national industrial corridor development programme to enhance its manufacturing competitiveness along with a loan for Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor Development.

• Two policy-based loans were committed to support the government’s urban reforms agenda at the state level and power sector reforms to facilitate the shift to renewable energy.

• In addition, ADB provided funding for expanding urban services in Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, and Tripura, improving road connectivity in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, expanding Delhi-Meerut rapid rail transit corridor and boosting horticulture development in Himachal Pradesh.

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