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World Bank warns of severe crisis in South Asia amid coronavirus outbreak

Syed Umarullah HussainiWeb Editor

14th Jun, 2020. 10:05 am
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World Bank

World Bank has warned that 176 million people in South Asia are expected to be pushed into poverty due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to a report released by the World Bank, it stated that two-thirds of South Asia is on the verge of getting pushed into poverty.

Officially, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh had the third, seventh- and tenth-most new cases in the world this week.

But experts warned that the real situation could be worse as testing rates in the region were still extremely low.

Reports in the US media suggested India was testing at one-twentieth the rate of the US.

Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, had up to 750,000 cases, 12 times the official tally.

Daily counts in Pakistan, despite low testing, were on a par with Britain’s and six times Germany’s, adjusted for population.

A World Bank report released this week noted that its new Global Economic Prospects report depicted “a particularly sobering picture for India, which is home to many of the world’s poor”.

India is predicted to have per capita growth rates in real GDP of 2.1 per cent. With population growth rate of 1.0 per cent, “this is hardly enough for sustainable decreases in the poverty headcount”.

The most alarming projection, however, came from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Unicef, which warned in a report that millions more children now risk being pushed into child labour, a major problem in South Asia.

The report noted that Covid-19 lockdowns have crippled livelihoods for about a billion people living in slums and working in the informal economy. Declining remittances and business failures would further reduce demand for workers, cause lower wages and eliminate jobs, the report added.

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