India needs to spend around Rs 650 bn to help the poor and the vulnerable amid COVID-19 crisis: Raghuram Rajan


“Our GDP is 200 lakh crores (200 trln rupees), and out of that 65,000 crore (650 bln rupees) is not a huge amount. So, we can do it. If this is for the poor and to save their lives and livelihood, we must do it,” Rajan said during a conversation with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. To mitigate the economic hardships of the poor amid the nationwide lockdown, the government had detailed a 1.7-trln rupee package, which primarily focuses on cash transfers and food grains for the poor and the vulnerable sections of the society.

“We need to find ways of getting both money as well as food through PDS (Public Distribution System) to as many of these people as we can,” Rajan said. Speaking on the number of job losses in India due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, Rajan said that the numbers are “mind-boggling”.

“I think it says, 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,” he said. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, India’s unemployment rate stood at 21.05% for the week ended Sunday. In the preceding week, the unemployment rate was at 26.19%.


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