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View from India: G20, an opportunity to be grasped

Image credit: G20

Today, India assumes the 2023 Presidency of the G20 group of major developed and developing nations, taking over from Indonesia. Here are some highlights of the coming term of office.

The G20 or Group of 20 consists of 19 of the world’s largest advanced and developing economies, as well as the European Union (EU). Every year they meet to discuss the most pressing global issues. G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation representing around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the worldwide trade, and about two-thirds of the world population. During the 2023 Presidency, India will hold about 200 meetings in 32 different sectors in multiple locations across the country.

The Presidency’s goal is based on an inclusive and action-oriented agenda. It aims to bridge the digital divide and tackle the challenges of food and energy security. India has constituted 13 working groups under the Sherpa track to provide recommendations related to employment, digital economy, and trade and investment.

In the case of the finance track, central banks will focus on macroeconomic development, economic risks, and international financial outlook. The aim is to integrate affordable technology for sustainable environmental development, as well as accelerate the pace of the digital transformation of the country. The country has used digital technologies for development, and for increasing ease of doing business. In fact digital solutions and tools can be leveraged for a mass outreach when it comes to global poverty and climate change. The country stands at a vantage point as its digital public infrastructure and start-up ecosystem could also be tapped for addressing challenges. Such expertise can be shared with other nations in the coming months through G20.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the G20 presidency as a big opportunity for India. “We have to make full use of this opportunity and focus on global good and world welfare. Whether it is peace or unity, sensitivity towards the environment or sustainable development, India has solutions to challenges related to these,” he declared during his monthly radio broadcast.”

The country has a citizen-centric governance model. Technology has enabled digital services, financial inclusion and electronic payment gateways. G20 plans to take all this ahead. Modi's vision is to connect all districts and blocks with G20. This is to ensure that the message will reach to masses through Jan Bhagidari initiatives. Jan Bhagidari is about the participation of people in governance at the local level. That’s understandable as the country can progress if its government can stand on its feet. And this could happen when the people of the nation consider themselves to be indispensable organs of it. Appropriately, people’s involvement in governance at all levels is important.  This is probably reinforced in G20’s theme, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or ‘One Earth - One Family - One Future’.

In a video conference, the PM indicated that India’s G20 presidency will be inclusive, ambitious, decisive and action oriented. “G20 Presidency is not merely a diplomatic meeting for India, it is a new responsibility and a measure of the world’s trust in India.”

To mark the occasion, 100 monuments, including Unesco world heritage sites bearing the G20 logo, will be illuminated from December 1 to 7. The Prime Minister remarked that India’s G20 presidency is coming at a time of crisis and chaos. The world is dealing with the after-effects of a disruptive once-in-a-century global pandemic, conflicts and lots of economic uncertainty. “The lotus in the logo of G20 is a symbol of hope in such tough times,” he said.

Considering India is home to one-sixth of humanity, and with its immense diversity of languages, religions, customs and beliefs, the country is a microcosm of the world. A lot is expected to happen in terms of economic growth as well as foreign exchange. Media reports of the World Bank's Migration and Development brief reveal that remittance flows to India are predicted to increase by 12 per cent and hit $100 billion for the first time this year, way ahead of Mexico, China and the Philippines. This could help India maintain its top spot.

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