New Delhi: Suggesting methods to help poor fight the after-effects of coronavirus lockdown, Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee on Tuesday said that temporary ration cards should be handed out to people and a bigger stimulus package should be released.
"We need temporary ration cards. In fact, all other cards must be put in abeyance. Give temporary ration cards to anybody who wants one. We have enough rice and wheat. The rabi crop harvest will also be coming in. We need to keep giving out food to anybody who needs it," he said during a conversation with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
The Nobel Laureate further said that a bigger stimulus package was required to revive demand.
"We need a direct cash transfer. Targetted spending may be costly. We need to go beyond the poorest. For example, pay the money to the bottom 60%. They will spend and it will add to further demand. I am saying we need to do it faster and make it more broad based. People need to be reassured that they will have some money in their hands, so they will not starve themselves," Banerjee suggested.
He also said that in situations like the one created by coronavirus pandemic, a nationalised Aadhaar card would have given people free access to ration.
"I think nationalisation of the Aadhaar would have been great now, especially for migrants. They could have gone to a PDS store in Mumbai and demanded ration. But right now they cannot do that. There is also, for example, NREGA The migrants cannot demand employment in Mumbai, there is no NREGA there," the Nobel Laureate added.
Earlier, taking to Twitter, Gandhi wrote, "Tomorrow at 9 AM, tune in to watch my conversation with Nobel Laureate, Abhijit Banerjee on dealing with the economic fall out of the #Covid19 crisis. To join the conversation and for regular video updates, subscribe to my YouTube channel."
The Congress party on Monday tweeted a 1:44-minute clip from the conversation which will be aired the next day.