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COVID-19: India to get $1B emergency funding from World Bank

In addition, the bank said that it is working to redeploy resources in existing projects worth up to $1.7 billion.

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United Nations, April 3 : The World Bank has announced that India is to receive $1 billion in emergency financing to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The assistance will support better screening, contact tracing, and laboratory diagnostics, procurement of personal protective equipment, creation of new isolation wards, the bank said on Thursday.

It is the bulk of the first package of $1.9 billion fast-track aid that was approved by the Board of Executive Directors under a fast-track programme, the bank said.

The rest of the aid will go to 24 other countries and the bank said that new operations are moving forward in over 40 countries.

Overall the bank said that it “expects to deploy up to $160 billion over the next 15 months to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.”

In addition, the bank said that it is working to redeploy resources in existing projects worth up to $1.7 billion.

World Bank Group President David Malpass said: “We are working to strengthen developing nations’ ability to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and shorten the time to economic and social recovery.”

Under the $1.9 billion approved under the fast-track programme, Pakistan will get $200 million for its emergency response in the health, education and social protection sectors.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

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FDI inflows rise 18% to $73 bn in FY20: Minister

The total FDI inflows in India have progressively increased in the last couple of years.

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New Delhi, May 28 : Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said that total FDI into India grew at 18 per cent in 2019-20 to reach $73 billion.

Last year, India had received FDI worth around $62 billion.

“In another strong vote of confidence in Make in India, total FDI into India grew at 18% in 2019-20 to reach $73 Bn. Total FDI has doubled from 13-14 when it was only $36 Bn. This long term investment will spur job creation,” Goyal said in a tweet.

The total FDI inflows in India have progressively increased in the last couple of years.

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Centre lifts restriction on export of paracetamol APIs

On April 17, the government lifted the restrictions on shipments of formulations made from paracetamol.

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New Delhi, May 28 : The Union government on Thursday lifted the restriction on the export of paracetamol APIs.

In March, the Centre had imposed curbs on the export of several active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and formulations made from these APIs including paracetamol, and tinidazole, on concerns of shortage of drugs in the country.

On April 17, the government lifted the restrictions on shipments of formulations made from paracetamol.

“The notification dated 03.03.2020 is further amended to remove restriction on export of Paracetamol APIs, making its export ‘free’ with immediate effect,” said a statement from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on Thursday.

India is a major exporter of paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine, which have witnessed a surge in demand amid the coronavirus crisis.

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Google selects 5,300 local news organisations for funding

“As we await a final funding tally, we expect to spend tens of millions of dollars through the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund,” Blecher said.

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New Delhi, May 28 : India’s East Mojo and Minnambalam are among 5,300 small and medium local newsrooms around the world that will receive emergency funding from Google ranging from $5,000-$30,000 (approximately Rs 3.7 lakh-Rs 22.7 lakh), the search engine giant said on Thursday.

East Mojo, a digital-only news organisation, said it plans to use the fund to allow journalists to go to remote parts of Northern India to shed light on the impact of Covid-19 once the country’s lockdown is lifted.

Minnambalam (India), a Tamil language publication from Chennai, said the funding gave them the confidence and financial support needed to carry on with their work.

Covid-19 has upended the news industry, hitting local news particularly hard with job losses, furloughs, cutbacks and even closure.

To provide some help, the Google News Initiative last month launched the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.

“Applications covering a number of publications under one organization will be capped at $85,000,” Ludovic Blecher, Head of Google News Initiative Innovation, wrote in a blog post.

“As we await a final funding tally, we expect to spend tens of millions of dollars through the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund,” Blecher said.

Google said in just two weeks it received more than 12,000 applications from 140 eligible countries, with 90 per cent of those applications from newsrooms of less than 26 journalists.

“We reviewed each application against a set of criteria: publications operating locally, serving a specific geographic community and using the money to continue doing so,” Blecher said.

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