ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday offered India help by letting it become part of his government’s cash transfer programme that successfully dealt with the negative fallout of COVID-19 on poor. “I am ready to offer help and share our successful cash transfer programme, lauded internationally for its reach and transparency, with India,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet, in response to a report that 84 percent households across India will not be able to survive for more than a week without assistance.

The Prime Minister said his government successfully transferred Rs. 120 billion in nine weeks to over 10 million families in a transparent manner to deal with the COVID-19 fallout on the poor.

A study titled “How are Indian households coping under the Covid-19 lockdown? Eight key findings”, carried out by experts at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago and the Mumbai-based Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) reveals that nearly 84 percent of Indian households are seeing decreases in income since the lockdown began. Nearly a third of all households will not be able to survive beyond a week without additional assistance.

The study found a “sharp and broad negative impact on household income” as the pandemic diminished their staying capacity, adding that the unemployment rate in the country had crossed 27 percent in early May, up nearly four-fold from levels in January-February.

“Rapid distribution of in-kind or cash transfers is needed to prevent a sharp increase in malnutrition and severe deprivation. Such transfers will also likely promote a more robust recovery as the country is able to reopen.”

Millions of young workers in their 20s have lost jobs because of the lockdown imposed beginning March 25, said the report.