Terming the current lockdown a draconian one, Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj on Thursday criticised India’s approach that looked west to countries such as the UK, Italy and the US, instead of the east to tackle the COVID pandemic. He also added that with the “quasi-hard lockdown”, India seems to have flatten the wrong curve–the growth curve of the economy.
“India not only looked west, but went wild west. We stayed more towards the impervious side. We tried to implement a hard lockdown which was still porous. The virus, which is waiting to hit when you unlock. You have flatten the wrong curve,” Bajaj told Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a virtual interaction on Thursday. “India has been in a draconian lockdown, which is unheard of anywhere else. We should have never been looking at the west, who are geographically and demographically different from us,” Bajaj added.
India, instead, should have looked towards Japan and Sweden. Expressing concerns about the economic hit India has taken because of the COVID-induced two month shutdown, Bajaj said that by looking west instead of east, “India had the worst of both the worlds.” “I’m not seeing the smooth, concerted effort towards unlocking. There is a lack of aligned approach towards unlocking from the lockdown,” Bajaj rued.
Interestingly, Bajaj was one of the first voices in India who demanded easing of the lockdown as early as in April first week, when the country was in Lockdown 1.0.
The draconian lockdown has increased Indians fear for the virus, equating infection to death. “People still think infection means death, it is a herculean task to open up. To get this fear out of the mind of people there has to be a clear narrative from PM because when he says something people seem to follow,” Bajaj told Rahul.
Bajaj is the latest in the series of virtual interactions that Rahul Gandhi has convened in the past few days over tackling the COVID situation in the country.
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