'Failed lockdown lifting may cost govt its credibility'

Coronavirus: Unsuccessful lifting of lockdown will diminish govt's credibility, Raghuram Rajan tells Rahul Gandhi

Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan

Any unsuccessful attempt at reopening the economy from the lockdown to battle coronavirus pandemic will diminish the credibility of the government, according to Raghuram Rajan.

"It is also ensuring that if there are fresh cases, how to isolate them quickly without having to go to second lockdown or third lockdown. Those would be devastating if we have to go there," he said in an interaction with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

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Any glitches in this, would, according to Rajan, cost the government its credibility.

"I think that would suggest that you haven't been completely successful in reopening. And that would raise questions if you reopen again, will you go into another lockdown. It does diminish credibility. That said, I don't think that we have to aim for a 100% success," he added.

In the case of the reopening of the economy, Rajan also emphasised for a safe workplace and safe transportation of the workers.

"We have to start thinking about reopening the livelihoods of the people. So, it has to be sequencing. First, the places, where you can maintain distancing. And it's not just distancing at the workplace, it is also distancing at to and fro from the workplace. And if it is public transport, how do you maintain distancing. So, there is a lot of work, that needs to be done -- both on creating the structures as well as ensuring that workers stay relatively safe," he added.

Rajan also called for ramping of tests either through mass testing or random sampling.

"... you are talking about two million tests a day. And clearly we are nowhere around that. But we have to be clear about the opening up, perhaps do mass testing, take a 1,000 samples, and check. We have to be clever about reopening because we simply can't wait," he said.

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