India Needs To Be Cleverer In Lifting Lockdown, Raghuram Rajan Tells Rahul Gandhi
Raghuram Rajan, former governor of the Reserve Bank of India speaks during a conference in Tokyo, Japan. (Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg)

India Needs To Be Cleverer In Lifting Lockdown, Raghuram Rajan Tells Rahul Gandhi

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India needs to be cleverer in lifting the coronavirus lockdown and open up its economy in a "measured way" soon as it does not have the capacity to support people for too long, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said on Thursday.

He was deliberating on the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in a video chat with former Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

To Gandhi's question on how much money would be needed to help the poor in the current situation, Rajan said India needs Rs 65,000 crore to help the poor in the times of pandemic and considering its total gross domestic product, it can afford to do that.

Rajan also asserted that India cannot afford to be a divided house especially in times when "challenges are so big".

"We have to be cleverer about opening up... We need to open up in a measured way but as fast as possible so that people start having jobs. We don't have the capacity to support people across the spectrum for too long. Being a relatively poor country, people start out with significantly lower reserves," Rajan said.

It is all too easy to have a lockdown forever, but obviously that is unsustainable for the economy.
Raghuram Rajan, Former RBI Governor

India has been in lockdown since March 24 to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Gandhi said infrastructure connects people and that gives opportunity, but if there is division and hatred, that disconnects people. There is an infrastructure of division and hatred and that causes a big problem, he said.

Also Read: Modi’s Soaring Popularity Lets Him Forget Pre-Virus India Woes

Agreeing with Gandhi, Rajan said, "Social harmony is a public good. Having everyone believe that they are a part of this system, an equal part of the system is essential. We cannot afford to be a house divided especially in these times when our challenges are so big."

Watch | Highlights Of The Conversation Between Raghuram Rajan And Rahul Gandhi

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