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“India needs to be clever in lifting the lockdown,” Says Raghuram Rajan While Talking to Rahul Gandhi

Raghuram Rajan said, “Rs 65,000 crore for poor is doable as it is not much compared to a GDP of about Rs 200 lakh crore”  to Rahul Gandhi

 

NEW DELHI| Former Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan while having a conversation with Rahul Gandhi said: “India needs Rs 65,000 crore to feed the poor during COVID-19 and can afford to do that with a GDP of about Rs 200 lakh crore”.

Rajan was in dialogue with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi as part of his series of video conversations with global and Indian thought leaders to discuss the Covid-19 crisis and its consequences on the Indian economy.

Rajan said, “Rs 65,000 crore for poor is doable as it is not much compared to a GDP of about Rs 200 lakh crore,” when Rahul Gandhi questioned him how much would be needed to be distributed among the poor to tide over the crisis triggered by the deadly coronavirus.

Rajan also added India needs to be clever in lifting the lockdown and open up in a measured way as the country does not have the capacity to feed the people for long.

“I don’t think we have to aim for 100% success and have zero cases when we open up. That is unachievable. What we have to do is to manage the reopening so that when there are cases, we isolate them,” Rajan said.

Rahul Gandhi questioned Rajan that India is a big country and it’s the ability to do tests like the European countries and the United States is comparatively limited, Rajan said, “You are talking about 2 million tests a day in India if you have to get the level of confidence that you have in the United States. And clearly, we are nowhere near that. I think we are somewhere around 25,000 or 30,000 tests a day at this point.”

Raghuram Rajan dodges the questions on the centralisation of power and the authoritarian way of governance.

On questioning on the opportunities after the COVID-19 situation, Rajan said, “There will have to be rethinking on everything in the global economy once we are out of this pandemic. India can find an opportunity for its industry and supply chain in the world. It can also help make its voice heard in the global order”.

However, he insisted that social harmony is a public good as Indian cannot afford to have its houses divided in times when challenges are big.

 

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