Industrialist Rajiv Bajaj has been very vocal about the COVID-19-induced lockdown since the start. Expressing his view on the lockdown today, during a dialogue with Rahul Gandhi, Bajaj said, in the process of flattening the infection curve, the Indian government flattened the GDP curve.
Managing director of Bajaj Auto, said, “We had a quasi lockdown.” He added the government should have ideally looked at the middle path rather than opting for a porous lockdown. “Business should have been allowed to continue.” He added a lockdown without a strategy failed the whole process.
Bajaj added the idea of drawing infection to death is hurting the country in a big way. While precautionary measures are good, the idea of planting fear in the minds of people can have a negative impact.
Commenting on the implications of the lockdown, Bajaj stressed in a porous lockdown, the virus continues to exist and is waiting to hit you when you unlock. “You have not solved that problem, you have decimated the economy. You have flattened the wrong curve — it is not the infection curve but the GDP curve. We ended with the worst of both worlds.”
He cited the partial lockdown of Sweden and Japan. While those countries followed lockdown and tried herd immunity that did not mean they let the vulnerable die. He claimed there they had a strategy .
Bajaj added there is a need to elevate the mood of the people and get the demand going. He raised an eyebrow over the lack of strong initiative to generate the dampened demand.
Bajaj reiterated there is a need to go forward in an aligned manner. “But this is not happening.” He went on to say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should address the fear of people and ask them to move forward as Indians listen to everything he says. The message that: everything is under control, do not fear infection, has to be made loudly and clearly to the Indians, he added. He felt this will enable the country to move forward.