Former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan, in a recent interview with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, underlined the need to carve out a Rs 65,000-crore package for the poor while opening up the economy in a phased manner to support livelihood and jobs. But isn’t everybody saying the same thing? Economic experts like Rajan ought to be more specific than that.
“We need to open up in a measured way, but as fast as possible, so that people will have jobs,” Rajan told Gandhi in the much-publicized interview. Rajan, who had also served as chief economic adviser (CEA) at the Finance Ministry during the UPA rule, said that Rs 65,000 crore was not a challenging amount and was easily doable given the size of the Indian economy.
Now, many have been left confused with Rajan’s figure. Did he mean that an additional Rs 65,000 crore was required, over and above the Rs 1.7 lakh crore that has been already announced by the Narendra Modi government in March? Why this particular figure?
Similarly, like Rajan, most experts and analysts have presented the problems and challenges that lie ahead of India. And these problems are nothing new. One doesn’t need to be an economist to outline these problems.
What one expects from economists like Rajan are real solutions to the problem. We know we need to expand public expenditure. The critical question is where will the money come from given the fiscal constraints?
It will be nice to have solutions from economists and experts. We know jobs, especially the ones which are in the unorganized sector, need to be protected. We know the problems; we want solutions. How to protect jobs at a time when economic activities have come to a near halt, how to ensure that non-performing assets are kept under check—these are the questions everybody is looking answers for.
Enough of good intentions and platitudes. More specificities, please..