NEW DELHI: Cautioning people against giving communal colour to the coronavirus pandemic, former Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan has said such behaviour could explode and make it much harder for different communities to get along.
Rajan's comments come in the wake allegations that Tabligh-e-Jamat members violated social distancing guidelines and ignored all instructions by organising a massive gathering last month at their centre in Nizamuddin area of Delhi.
The gathering is believed to have emerged as a super-spreader of coronavirus with thousands of cases across the country linked to Jamat members.
So far, coronavirus has infected around 19,000 people and took over 600 lives in the country.
"We see in India that some allegation that this was a Muslim plot. I mean, that kind of behaviour can explode and make much harder for her communities to get together within her country," Rajan said while speaking at the University of Chicago's virtual Harper Lecture series.
Rajan along with 11 others has recently been appointed to an external advisory group of IMF MD Kristalina Georgieva to provide perspectives from around the globe on key developments and policy issues, including responses to the exceptional challenges the world now faces due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rajan, 57, who headed RBI for three years until September 2016, said nationalism that was already pretty strong before the virus is getting accentuated by the effects of COVID-19.
Citing an example, he said, "China points finger at the US and says that was US intelligence plot and the US points finger at China and says that this was concocted by China." Rajan, who is currently working as a professor at the prestigious University of Chicago, said no part of the world is immune to COVID-19.
"Everywhere in world is going to be affected, (and) global supply chain has been disrupted for some time. In the second quarter of calendar year 2020, we can see decline in GDP by 30-40 per cent," he said.
Despite rebound in economic activities in the second half of 2020, global economic growth will still be negative for the year, he said.
"I see (global) economic recovery underway a year from now," he noted.