World Bank Extends $500 Million for India’s Undocumented Workers

Sign up for the New Economy Daily newsletter, follow us @economics and subscribe to our podcast.

The World Bank approved a $500 million credit program to support India’s informal workforce through the pandemic, as well as to help states deal with future disasters.

The initiative, which aims to reach about 5 million urban street vendors, includes a $387.5 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, with the rest as credit from the International Development Association, the World Bank said in a statement Tuesday.

The rural focus of India’s safety net and the lack of portability of benefits led to increased suffering for urban and migrant informal workers during the Covid-19 crisis, the bank said.

More than 80% of India’s labor force is considered informal, and a significant portion of it lost jobs due to lockdowns and economic shocks during the pandemic. A national survey published in August by ActionAid India, an NGO focused on social and ecological justice, found that more than 75% of respondents had lost their livelihood amid the lockdowns.

The new program will also help reforms that decentralize relief measures and funnel more money directly to states. The World Bank has directed a combined $1.65 billion toward India’s social protection programs since the start of the pandemic, it said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.