Visual from Rahul Gandhi's interaction with Raghuram Rajan
Visual from Rahul Gandhi's interaction with Raghuram Rajan

There is too much centralisation of power, says Rahul Gandhi

ANI | Updated: Apr 30, 2020 13:16 IST

New Delhi [India], April 30 (ANI): In a veiled attack on the Central government over the handling of COVID-19 situation, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that there is too much centralisation of power and conversations are stopping.
"Don't you think there is a crisis of centralisation? There is too much centralisation of power taking place and the conversations are stopping. Conversations would help a lot of these problems that you are talking about. But it is breaking for some reason," Rahul said in his interaction with former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan via video conference.
Responding to this, Rajan said that decentralisation is important both for bringing more local information to work but also about giving empowerment to the people. "What you see across the world is a great sense of disempowerment. Decisions are being made elsewhere, but not by me," he said.
"I have a vote but that elects somebody in a far-off place. My local panchayat, State government has less power. They don't feel they can have a voice in anything. So they become prey to a different set of forces," he added.
When the economist asked Rahul about Panchayati Raj, the former Congress chief said: "It's had a huge effect, but I'm sorry to say it is in retreat. So, lot of the forward movement that had taken place on Panchayati Raj, we are sort of moving back to this bureaucratic, DM-bureaucrat based structure."
Rahul said that the South Indian states are doing a better job because they are more decentralised. "The Northern States are centralising power and they are taking away power from the panchayats and grassroots organisations," he said.
The Congress leader said that there is a new model out, which is the authoritarian model and questioning the liberal model.
He said that India has a high level of unemployment and that is now going to be massive.
"How do we think about unemployment going forward, two-three months from now, when the impact of this thing hits?" he asked.
Responding to this, Rajan said: "The numbers are really worrying. If you look at CMIE, virtually another 100 million more people have been put out of work as a result of COVID. 50 million through unemployment and 60 million by leaving the labour force. You can dispute what the particular survey does or says, but this is the only data we have. And the numbers are mind-boggling."
"I think it says, we need to open up in a measured way but as fast as possible so that people start having jobs. We don't have the capacity to support people across the spectrum for too long. Being a relatively poor country, people start out with significantly lower reserves," the economist said.
Rajan said that pandemics like COVID-19 rarely have positive effects for any country but there are ways countries like India can take advantage of the situation.
"This kind of incident rarely has a positive effect on any country. But there are ways, countries can take advantage. There has to be a re-thinking of everything in the global economy once we are out of this. If there is an opportunity for India, it is in shaping the dialogue in being more of a leader in that dialogue. It is a big enough country to have its voice heard in the global economy," he said.
"In this situation, India can find opportunities for its industries, supply chains...But most importantly, it can try and mould the dialogue towards one which has a greater place for more countries in the multipolar global order rather than a single or bipolar order," he added. (ANI)