India needs Rs 65,000 crore to help poor people during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown and considering its total GDP, it can afford to do that, said former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan in conversation with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on April 30.
Rajan said that incidents like coronavirus pandemic rarely has any positive outcome for countries. But there are ways the countries can take its advantage. For India, it gives the opportunity to have its voice heard in the global economy.
He further talked about managing the reopening of the country after the lockdown and insisted that India needs to test more people for COVID-19.
"I don't think we have to aim for 100 percent success that is zero cases when we open up. That's unachievable. What we have to do is - manage the reopening so that when there are cases, we isolate them," Rajan said.
India needs to be cleverer in lifting the lockdown and open up its economy in a "measured way" soon as it does not have the capacity to support people across the spectrum for too long, he said.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Rajan also asserted that India cannot afford to be a divided house especially in times when "challenges are so big".
The video conference with Raghuram Rajan is part of former Congress President Rahul Gandhi first of a series of dialogues with experts on economy and health.
Gandhi will also be later having dialogues with health experts on how to deal with the pandemic, besides talking to experts in different fields on the effect of the novel coronavirus, according to Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.