The former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor, Dr. Raghuram Rajan, has indicated he is willing to help the country if his assistance is sought to deal with the economic stress linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the country under a lockdown to contain the pandemic, several sectors that are already under stress such as banking and aviation are facing a severe strain. All businesses except those in essential services have temporarily shut down.
'The answer is a straightforward yes,' Dr Rajan, who is teaching in the US, said when asked whether he would return to India if asked for his assistance on economic matters during the pandemic.
'If the virus spreads, as it has spread in Italy and the United States, we have to take it very seriously. What you see in these countries is a tremendous effect on public health, the overburdening of many hospitals and many deaths and of course, when that is happening economic activity is hard to carry on,' Dr Rajan said.
The former RBI governor said the world is 'almost surely in a deep recession. Hopefully, we will see a rebound next year, and it depends on measures we take to prevent a recurrence (of the pandemic),' he said.
The government has allowed banks to defer EMIs by three months. The aviation and related sectors such as tourism have seen massive pay cuts and even layoffs after all flights were stopped and people cancelled their bookings.