Rajan urges government to invite experts to deal with economic impact of COVID-19
- 2020-04-06 07:00
- By economictimes.indiatimes.com
Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan has suggested to the government to call people with proven expertise and capabilities, including from opposition parties, to deal with perhaps the greatest emergency being faced by the country since Independence following the coronavirus outbreak. It may even want to reach across the political aisle to draw in members of the opposition who have had experience in previous times of great stress like the global financial crisis. "If, however, the government insists on driving everything from the Prime Minister's Office, with the same overworked people, it will do too little, too late," Rajan said in a blog titled "Perhaps India's Greatest Challenge in Recent Times". "None of this is true today as we fight the coronavirus pandemic," Rajan, who completed his three-year term at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in 2016, noted. He, however, asserted that with the right resolve and priorities, and drawing on India's many sources of strength, it can beat this virus back, and even set the stage for a much more hopeful tomorrow. Laying out steps the country could take to recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, Rajan said the immediate priority is to suppress the spread of the pandemic through widespread testing, rigorous quarantines and social distancing. The government is drawing on our courageous medical personnel and looking to all possible resources -- public, private, defence, retired -- for the fight, but it has to ramp up the pace manifold," he said, adding that the country will have to significantly increase the number of COVID-19 tests to reduce the fog of uncertainty as regards where the hotspots are. "It will be hard to lock down the country entirely for much longer periods, so we should also be thinking of how we can restart certain activities in certain low-infection regions with adequate precautions," he said. Healthy youngsters, lodged with appropriate distancing in hostels near the workplace, may be the ideal workers for restarting such activities, Rajan pointed out. According to Fitch Ratings , India may post a two-per cent GDP growth in 2020-21, the slowest since the economy was liberalised 30 years ago.