The question of migrant workers and their livelihoods has been looming large ever since the nationwide lockdown began. While the government had announced a financial relief package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore, more needs to be done on that front, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan told Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday. The government can make efforts on Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) and we need to take a call on that soon, Raghuram Rajan said. There are different ways to access the DBT as widow pension, MNREGA etc; we need to support farmers, migrant workers and poor, he added.
To start with, the government needs to pump additional “Rs 65,000 crore to help the poor which is not a lot considering India’s GDP is at Rs 200 lakh crore. It is not much. If this is for poor, to save their lives, it should be done,” Rajan said. Earlier, Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee had also said that the government needs to release more funds to help the poor tide over the coronavirus crisis.
Talking about employment, Raghuram Rajan told Rahul Gandhi that the country has already lost many jobs and it will lose more if the lockdown persists. CMI data says over 110 million people have been left out of job out of which 50 million have left jobs and 60 million have the labour force. “The numbers are mind boggling. We need to open up about as fast as we can,” Raghuram Rajan said. Further, India needs to generate good quality jobs so that people do not rely on ‘sarkari’ jobs. “We need to figure out how we go to a place where the accent is on creating many many, more new jobs of a good quality,” Raghuram Rajan added. India can also find opportunity for its industry and supply chain in world, and can help make its voice heard in global order, Rajan said.