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Last Updated : Jun 04, 2020 11:32 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

'Lockdown in India is draconian': Rajiv Bajaj criticises management of COVID-19 crisis in talks with Rahul Gandhi

In the dialogue with Bajaj, the former Congress president said that a lot of people said that they had lost confidence and he thought that was a very sad thing, and dangerous for the country.

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The way India has been locked down is draconian, said industrialist Rajiv Bajaj in conversation with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in his series of dialogues on the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, on June 4.

“I’m not hearing about this kind of lockdown from anywhere else. All my friends and family from across the world have always been free to step out,” said Bajaj, Managing Director of Bajaj Auto.

In the dialogue with Bajaj, the former Congress president said that a lot of people said that they had lost confidence and he thought that was a very sad thing, and dangerous for the country.

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On this, Bajaj said that he did not understand how despite being an Asian country, India sought not to look East, but looked at Italy, France, Spain, the UK and the US.

“These are not right benchmarks in any sense be it in terms of inherent immunity, temperature, demography etc,” said Bajaj.

Talking further about the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, Rahul said in its early days, an expert told him that the moment full lockdown is applied, it changes the nature of disease.

“You are making this non-fatal disease a fatal disease in minds of the people with a lockdown. Once you have moved into a lockdown, switching it off again is not going to be easy. It is going to be extremely complicated. I liked your point about, we look West and not East,” he said.

Adding further, Bajaj said there were certain options in view of the novel coronavirus pandemic, like the choice of an airtight, impervious lockdown or business as usual.

“Everybody is trying to find a middle path between these two extremes. I think unfortunately, India not only looked west, but it also went to the wild West. We stayed more towards the impervious side. We tried to implement a hard lockdown which was still porous. So I think we have ended up with the worst of both worlds,” added Bajaj.

Bajaj further highlighted the dangers of arbitrary regulations and its impact on the ability of Indian companies to be competitive.

Commenting on the GDP, Bajaj said that the wrong curve has been flattened ... the GDP curve has been flattened.

It was a failed lockdown said Rahul Gandhi, adding that it was apparent that the disease was increasing after easing the restrictions.

The first such dialogue was held on April 30 when Gandhi discussed the coronavirus pandemic and its economic implications with former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan.

He then held a conversation with Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee who had said India should come out with a large enough stimulus package to revive demand.

The former Congress chief last week spoke to globally renowned public health experts -- Professor Ashish Jha of Harvard Global Health Institute and Swedish epidemiologist Johan Giesecke.

 
First Published on Jun 4, 2020 11:32 am
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