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Rahul Gandhi to discuss COVID-19 economic fallout with Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee

In the first such dialogue Gandhi discussed the coronavirus pandemic and its economic implications with former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan

SNS | New Delhi |

After his talk with former Reserve Bank of India  Governor Raghuram Rajan on April 30, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will be having a dialogue with Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee on dealing with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis on Tuesday as part of his series of deliberations with experts on economy and health.

In the first such dialogue Gandhi discussed the coronavirus pandemic and its economic implications with former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan where he had said India should be “cleverer” in lifting the lockdown and should open up its economy in a “measured way” soon to save jobs.

The former chief economist at International Monetary Fund had said that an amount of Rs 65,000 Crore is required to turn the situation around and feed the poor amidst the Coronavirus crisis.

“Rs 65,000 crore is needed to feed the poor and India can afford it as the GDP is Rs 200 lakh crore,” adding that “Social harmony is a public good and we cannot afford to have our houses divided at the time when challenges are big”.

He said that there should be efforts to give money to the poor through DBT, MGNREGA, old age pension and also supporting through PDS.

The COVID-19 lockdown has become a major migrant workers’ crisis issue as many distressed workers who want to reach home have taken it upon themselves to make the journey. On Friday, however government started multiple trains for the labourers, but reports of railways asking for ticket fare from the migrant workers who have been jobless since the lockdown imposed on March 25 raised many questions.

On Monday Congress president Sonia Gandhi announced that her party will foot the railway fare for the labourers which then further put the government in a tight spot. Gandhi called out the government for not doing enough for the migrant labourers amidst the pandemic. “When our Government can recognise its responsibility by arranging free air travel for our citizens stranded abroad, when the government can spend nearly Rs. 100 crores on transport and food etc. for just one public programme in Gujarat, when the Rail Ministry has the largesse to donate Rs. 151 Crores to the PM’s Corona fund, then why can’t these essential members of our nation’s fabric be given a fraction of the same courtesy, especially free rail travel, at this hour of acute distress,” Sonia Gandhi wrote in her statement on Monday.