Listen to the 35th episode of ThoughtSpace (above) featuring Dr Rathin Roy and Yamini Aiyar.
The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent 21-day national lockdown have brought the Indian economy to a standstill. This comes at a time when India’s economy and public finances were already under considerable strain. It is with this backdrop that India must think about how it can deal with the current crisis and rebuild its economy once the immediacy of the public health crisis dissipates. How should the government generate finances and design a fiscal package to stimulate the economy? What must the government do to protect all Indians, especially the poor and vulnerable, and ensure they have income and food security?
In the third episode on the Centre for Policy Research’s series on the coronavirus pandemic, Yamini Aiyar, President & Chief Executive of CPR, speaks with Dr Rathin Roy, Director of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP). Roy recommends thinking of the economy as a wartime economy where all resources are devoted to dealing with the pandemic medically, socially, and at the community level. He highlights that India could see a massive erosion in national wealth and national income if the proportion of the crisis reaches even a fraction of what it is in countries like the USA and China.
Roy calls for a rethinking of the social contract; increased accountability from the government to ensure that money is spent for the purposes it has been allocated for; and adequate financing to states so that they can take measures to tackle the crisis.
This is the third in a series of episodes on the unfolding coronavirus pandemic in India. The first episode looked at how prepared India’s health systems are to deal with the pandemic and the second looked at the crisis of migrant workers. You can find a link to the episode in our show notes (https://soundcloud.com/cpr_india/episode33 and https://soundcloud.com/cpr_india/episode34). Stay tuned for updates on future episodes. For more information on our work on COVID-19, follow us on Twitter @CPR_India or visit our website at www.cprindia.org.