COVID-19: Rajan tells Rahul Rs 65,000 crore needed to help poor

Rajan told Rahul that an extension of the lockdown would diminish credibility

rahul rajan A collage, from left, showing Rahul Gandhi (Arvind Jain) and Raghuram Rajan (Sanjoy Ghosh)

Economist and former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan noted that India would need to spend about Rs 65,000 crore to help the poor tide over the COVID-19 lockdown and associated disruption.

Rajan made the comment on Thursday morning while interacting with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. The Congress had announced that Rahul would begin publicised video interactions with experts in the fields of health and economics to assess the impact of COVID-19 and consider economic responses.

Rajan told Rahul that an extension of the lockdown would mean, "You haven’t been completely successful in reopening. It does diminish credibility." Rajan argued achieving zero COVID-19 infections was impossible.

Rajan told Rahul, "There has to be a prioritisation as our capacities are limited. We need to decide how do we keep economy together so that when we reopen, it's itself able to walk off the sick bed and not be impaired at that point. Most immediately, I think keep people well and alive."

He added, "You have to treat this pandemic as a situation which is unprecedented. We have to break norms in order to tackle what is needed, while at the same time keeping in mind that there are only so many resources we have."