Putting people, environment at center of Covid recovery - Asia Times
Economic pundits agree that Covid-19 will cause South Asia to witness its worst economic performance in over four decades.Evidence of this is particularly stark in India, which until recently was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Between 2006 and 2016, the country made impressive progress, lifting 271 million people out of multidimensional poverty. The pandemic threatens to reverse these gains as it rips through the informal sector which accounts for more than 85% of the workforce, including tens of millions of migrant workers. Gains on food security, nutrition and education are under severe threat. The human toll, the social and economic cost, and the progress towards or regression away from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will be determined by policies and investment choices in India, and in countries across the world.
Like other governments in the region committing vast sums toward socio-economic relief, India has committed US$265 billion, about 10% of its gross domestic product. There is no substitute for traditional grants, cash transfers, development aid and enhanced public spending. But it is not enough.Mobilizing and incentivizing private capital to foster sustainable development is more imperative than ever. Channeling private financing toward the dual purpose of development impact with financial return is a world of blended financing that has opened up, yet not scaled in countries like India. According to Convergence, a global network that gathers data and intelligence on private capital, more than $140 billion in aggregate financing was mobilized in blended finance by 2019. The proportion of new deals targeting Asia comprises a third of that amount