Economic-Harakiri: Rajiv Bajaj pours his heart, calls lockdown 'Draconian'

Source :Sify
Author :Sify
Last Updated: Thu, Jun 4th, 2020, 17:35:27hrs

Mumbai: Industrialist Rajiv Bajaj on Wednesday is in news for calling India's over two month long lockdown as "draconian".

The 53 year old Managing Director of Bajaj Auto in a recorded video-conference with Rahul Gandhi was seen saying that the lockdown decimated the economy.  

"You flattened the wrong curve. It is not the infection curve, it is the GDP curve. This is what we have ended (up) with, the worst of both worlds."

The seasoned businessman, Bajaj, referred countries such as Japan and Sweden who have resorteed to unique ways of mitigating through the crisis. Quite similar to Taiwan, these two countries did not shut down businesses but propagated cluster control methods.  

Policy makers in these countries supported social distancing measures even at the cost of keeping shops and restaurants open for business. Students too were allowed access to schools while  boarding facilities remained open for European visitors. Naturally, such measures ensured in keeping the economy buoyed unlike other nations that saw a blip in economy despite seeing deaths being multiplied.

Speaking of the concept of herd immunity, Bajaj said, "when people hear about this in terms of being articulated as herd immunity, they tend to think that herd immunity means (to) let the vulnerable die."

"It doesn't mean that at all. They are missing the details, whether it is in terms of sanitisation, masks, distancing etc."

"Sweden, Japan etc. are following all these practices but they are not trying to go further into the unproductive zone .

"It's surreal. I don't think anyone imagined that the world would be locked down in this way. I don't think that even during the World War, the world was locked down. I think even then things were open. it's a unique and devastating phenomenon," said Gandhi.  

When Gandhi brought up the angle of lockdown being hard on migrants and score of workers, Bajaj averred, "I am speaking with Rahul and the first reaction from a friend - don't do it. I said, but why not?, 'Mat karna... This can get you into trouble' (Don't do it!). But I said, I may have said some things, perhaps a little too vehemently."

To this, Gandhi tells Bajaj, "The central government has to act as an enabler. It should have moved the battle to chief ministers, but what happened in India is that the central government has backed off now. It's too late now."

Rahul Gandhi's conversation with the seasoned Rajiv Bajaj is available for readers to watch here.  

Gandhi's series of interactions have so far involved guests who have cast serious doubts on the way the country has been managed in corona-virus times. RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee, and Harvard Global Health Professor Ashish Jha have been guests so far on the Twitter show. And, all have cast their doubts and sought some serious reforms.  

Last year, Rajiv's father the respected and venerated Rahul Bajaj questioned Home Minister Amit Shah about the atmosphere of fear in the country.  

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