By: Chandrajit Banerjee
The leaders’ declaration of the G20 Summit held in Bali last month talked about an ‘unparalleled multidimensional crises’ period that the world is currently experiencing. It pledged to enhance public investments while also promoting private investments and strengthening multilateral trade. Many of its policy actions relating to the global economy, sustainable development, and digitalisation were aligned to the recommendations brought out by Business 20 (B20) – the business engagement group of the G20.
At a time of perceptible shifts in geopolitical alignments, India’s role as G20 president will be central to global stability and macroeconomic coordination as nations strive to recover from the pandemic aftermath, the conflict in Ukraine, and tackle climate change.
The theme of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or “One Earth. One Family. One Future.’ is entirely apt for contemporary challenges, and sets the platform for the world to act as one to face common global issues. As stressed by Prime Minister Modi during the G20 summit in Bali, “India’s G20 presidency will be inclusive, ambitious, decisive and action oriented.”
India has constituted 13 working groups under the Sherpa Track that will provide recommendations on areas including, but not limited to,employment, digital economy, and trade and investment. Under the Finance Track, G20 finance ministers and central banks will discussmacroeconomic development, economic risks, and international financial architecture, among others.
The priorities rightly identified by India represent critical issues facing the world. India, as the fastest growing economy among G20 nations, has made a notable mark in areas such as trade and investment, climate change mitigation, and digitalization, and can use its insights as a large developing nation toshape G20’s policy decisions over the coming year.
Global trade is forecast to slow down in 2023 to just 1% growth rate, compared to 3.5% expected for 2022. India today is positioned as a global manufacturing and trading hub, with progressive policies such as the Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI), Ease of Doing Business mission, as well as infrastructure construction, enabling it contribute to the diversification of global value chains.
On sustainability, India has emerged as a top 5 ranked nation in the climate change performance index for 2023, the highest among the G20. India has brought out its long-term low emissions growth strategy for key sectors and has taken important initiatives in renewable energy, green hydrogen, e-mobility, and blended fuels which together place it on track to achieve its national determined contributions.
Digitalisationin India is on the fast track, propelling sectors such as retail, fintech, education and many others. With 1.17 billion mobile phone subscribers and 700 million internet users, India clocked7 billion transactions in October 2022 on UPI, and hasalso successfullydeployed digital technology for its vaccine mission.
India’s leadership in these areas will help the G20 drive its agenda during the coming year. This will be supported by suggestions from the world’s businesses, which will develop ideas under the B20 group, the largest of the G20 engagement groups. As the designated B20 secretariat, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in consultation with stakeholders including the government has outlined nine priority areas for discussions.
The B20 India prioritiesfor trade will focus on supporting integration of developing economies into global value chains, diversification of services trade, and embracing opportunities in the African Common Market. Financing growth and infrastructure development along with expanding financial inclusion have also been identified. Under technology, the priorities of innovation and R&D, digital transformation and future of work, skilling and mobility will be taken up. Energy, climate change and resource efficiency will also benefit greatly from the deliberations of B20.
As part of India’s G20 presidency, businesses in India have a unique opportunity this year to share their perspectives and drive global economic growth and stability. With our entrepreneurial talent, innovation and social responsibility, we can showcase our strengths to the world as the B20 India dialogue takes shape.
The writer is Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry