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RBI announces Rs 50,000 crore cheap loans for vaccine, health firms amid Covid-19 crises

He said cheap loans would be available until March 31 next year, and vowed to deploy "unconventional" measures if the crisis worsens.

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Mumbai: To check the devastating coronavirus that gripped the country, the Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday announced a targeted on-tap liquidity window of Rs 50,000 crore to set up Covid-related healthcare infrastructure

In a virtual meeting today, the RBI governor, Shaktikanta Das said, “Under the scheme, banks can provide fresh lending support to a wide range of entities including vaccine manufactures; importers/suppliers of vaccines and priority medical devices; hospitals/dispensaries; pathology labs; manufactures and suppliers of oxygen and ventilators; importers of vaccines and Covid related drugs; logistics firms and also patients for treatment,” he said.

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He said cheap loans would be available until March 31 next year, and vowed to deploy “unconventional” measures if the crisis worsens.

He spoke as India announced a record 3,780 deaths in 24 hours as well as 382,000 cases.

“The devastating speed with which the virus affects different regions of the country has to be matched by swift and wide-ranging actions,” he said.

With hospitals complaining of critical shortages of oxygen, beds and vaccines, the new measures aim to improve access to emergency health care during the pandemic, he said. It will be easier for banks to give cheap loans to hospitals, oxygen manufacturers and even patients.

“The immediate objective is to preserve human life and restore livelihoods through all means possible,” Das added.

India’s underfunded health care system has struggled to cope with the latest Covid-19 onslaught, with patients

dying in hospital parking lots due to a lack of beds and oxygen.

The Reserve Bank of India also asked banks on Wednesday to let certain borrowers have more time to repay loans, among other support measures, amid a major second wave of Covid-19 infections in the country that has led to strict lockdowns in several states.

The moratorium will be available to individuals and small and medium enterprises that have not restructured their loans in 2020 and were classified as standard accounts till March 2021, Shaktikanta Das said.

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