Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra on Thursday cautioned that unless the government "loosens the purse strings to support those at the bottom of the pyramid" India is going to have social issues in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the India Invest 2020 forum organised the Canada-India Business council, he said the sufferings of the people at the bottom of the pyramid due to the COVID-19 cannot be wished away even though the current economic recovery in terms of good "numbers from large companies, auto and tractor sales looks wonderful".
"... in an unforeseen once-in-a-lifetime occurrence like this, people's lives, their livelihood, their survival becomes important. If you have to print money, to use a crude word, the government is going to have to do it to prevent enormous deprivation," he said.
He further said due to the coronavirus induced lockdown, many social issues have cropped up and crime rates such as abuse of women in household as people being locked in have gone up. Also number of suicides are going up.
"Those things will have to be looked at. I am shifting my hat from being a business head to saying I worry unless the government loosens the purse strings to support those at the bottom at the pyramid we are going to have some social issues," Mahindra added.
Stressing that people at the lower strata of the society have been the worst hit, he said daily wage earners working in small and medium enterprises have been impacted the most as those small firms cut jobs and consolidate supply sources.
"There is enormous pain that is going to be felt around this. We cannot wish that away. The government needs to understand that, even though these figures of large companies, auto and tractor looks good and that's wonderful...," he added.
Mahindra suggested "deficit financing" through local route if the government has budgetary constraints to support those who have been hit the most.
He, however, said after one of the strictest lockdowns in the world India has seen good economic recovery and it can be seen in good tractor and automobile sales.