During an online video call with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, managing director (MD) of Bajaj Auto, Rajiv Bajaj said that the Centre, instead of solving the COVID-19 crisis, has decimated the country’s economy. He said that India has flattened the wrong curve-- not the infection curve.
“You (the government) have not solved that problem. But you have definitely decimated the economy. You flattened the wrong curve. It is not the infection curve, it is the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) curve. This is what we have ended up with, the worst of both the worlds,” Bajaj told the Congress leader.
“The way India has been locked down is draconian. This kind of lockdown, I have not heard about from anywhere else,” he said.
He also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to dictate the entry route after a long nationwide lockdown, saying that the unlocking would be anything but smooth.
Bajaj further said that he was distressed over the mammoth task of opening up economic activities and noted that fear in people's mind over the novel virus would be a problem. "There has to be a very clear aligned narrative from the PM because, whether right or wrong, when he says something people seem to follow,” he said.
“I think the PM needs to tell everyone that this is how we are going to move forward. Everything is under control. Don’t be afraid of the viral infections, only a few people are dying, and we have to move forward now,” added Bajaj.
He also pointed out that India mainly focused on the west such as Italy, France, Spain, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States of America, ignoring Asia. “Unfortunately, India not only looked at the west, but it also went to the wild west. I think we have stayed more towards the impervious side. We tried to implement a hard lockdown, which was still porous. I think we have ended up with the worst of both the worlds,” he said.
Bajaj's interaction with Gandhi is a part of a dialogue series initiated by the latter with global and Indian thought leaders to discuss the coronavirus crisis and its consequences on the country’s economy.