Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz on Tuesday called India the “poster child of what not to do” during a session with Indian business leaders and economists. He said the country had not done well in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The interaction was organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry’s (Ficci) West Bengal state council and moderated by its chairman Rudra Chatterjee.
Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University and had been chief economist at the World Bank from 1997-2000.
Here’s what he said on what India had gotten wrong and what it needed to do:
Stiglitz criticised how India implemented the lockdown, saying the ensuing migrant crisis exacerbated the pandemic in the country.
“It (India) picked up one idea that is important. Lockdown. Did not think about what it means in a poor country. How are people going to live, large number of people moving across the country. One could not have imagined anything worse for spreading the disease,” he said.
Politics of division
On bringing back prosperity after the pandemic, Stiglitz said: “...if I were to say where to begin, I would say the politics of division, get rid of that.”
He said the pandemic had proven one that “you need politics of solidarity”. According to him, “tolerance” has been one of the cornerstones of India’s economic successes.
“I will start by trying to create an inclusive society. Politics of division is an antithesis of what needs to be done. Modi has tried to divide your country, Muslims against Hindus, and that is going to undermine your society and economy no matter what else happens. This fundamental division will weaken India...