Kolkata: American economist and Nobel laureate Joseph E Stigliz on Monday advocated taxing the superrich class in India to raise resources for fighting theCOVID-19 pandemic, if the government fails to pool in the required funds. He also said the Indian government should not shy away from spending to control the pandemic and help the vulnerable sections.
"Funds should be targeted at high-impact areas rather than low-impact ones, and if you can't get resources, raise taxes as you (India) have a lot of billionaires," Stigliz said at a FICCI-organised interactive session. There have been recent debates on levying COVID tax on the super rich in India.
On the Centre's call for 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' (Self-reliant India), the noted economist said too much self reliance will lower the standard of living as a lot of products, including vaccines, are imported. "This gives nativism but is not realistic, as the pandemic and climate change have shown the need for greater collaboration," he said.
Stigliz also said India and the US did not handle theCOVID-19 situation well. Allowing the movement of migrant workers exacerbated the spread of the virus and defeated the purpose of lockdown, he said.
Stigliz criticised the US for widening the divide of racism and income, and "similar divisive politics in India"that will undermine the society and economy.