Rs 65,000 crore needed to help the poor hit by Covid, Raghuram Rajan tells Rahul Gandhi

NEW DELHI: Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan said India will need to spend Rs 65,000 crore to help with food and cash the poor reeling under the effect of the coronavirus crisis. Rajan spoke about reviving the economy in a video interaction with Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, who on Thursday launched a series that will feature global and domestic experts on issues related to the pandemic. Asked by Rahul about the cost of helping the poor, Rajan said, “We will need Rs 65,000 crore, it is not that much.” The renowned economist said a permanent lockdown was not sustainable and India has to gradually come out of it by resuming economic activities. “We need to be cleverer in lifting the lockdown. We need to open up in a measured way as India does not have the capacity to feed people for long. We have to manage the reopening so when there are cases we isolate them,” he said, adding that reimposing lockdown after lifting it would hurt the credibility in the fight against Coronavirus. Asked by Rajan about the difference between governance in the West and India, Rahul said, “The scale of the problem and at its heart the financial scale of the problem. The inequality and the nature of the inequality. Things like caste, the way Indian society is structured, is completely different than American society. Some of the ideas that hold India back are deeply embedded and often hidden. I think there is a lot of social change that is required in India.

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