By : Aditi Rawat
The G20 or group of 20 is an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 countries and the European Union. The G20 is established to address the major issues that impact the global economy, the international financial stability, climate change and sustainability being on the front cards. The G20 Summit is formally known as the “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”.
The G20 was created in response to both the financial crisis that arose in a number of emerging economies in the 1990s and to resolve the issues of some countries claiming inadequate representation in global economic discussion and governance. The members of the G20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.
Today, G20 holds a strategic role in widely securing future global economic growth and prosperity aligning towards the idea of sustainability. The G20 is an annual meeting of leaders from the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies. Its members account for 85% of the world’s GDP, and two-thirds of its population.
India had been a crucial member of the G20 and have actively expressed its concern at the G20 summit on various issues of relevance. India in spite of having its own challenges always strongly advocated for the cause and benefits of all. G20 as a platform have always given an impetus for the expressions of many nations regarding their issues pertaining to economic growth. The nations plot their ways together for economic decision that impact the global situations and many other issues.
The G20 holds even more relevance for India since India is going to hold G20 presidency from December 1, 2022. India strongly preparing itself for the role also visualises its key areas where it has always emphasized and influenced the G20 nations for the cause so determined.
India at G20
India is designated to take on the presidency of the G20 in 2023, the first time since the forum was elevated to the leaders’ level in 2008. India’s presidency in 2023 will be a unique opportunity for India to shape global economic governance and contribute to the global agenda with its own priorities and ideas.
India will assume the G20 Presidency on 1 December 2022 from Indonesia, and will convene the G20 Leaders’ Summit for the first time in India in 2023. Every rotating G20 Presidency also serves as the G20 Secretariat for the year. Accordingly, the Union Cabinet, on 15 February 2022, approved the setting up of a G20 Secretariat, manned by officers and staff from the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Finance, and other concerned Ministries/Departments dealing with G20 subjects. It is responsible for arrangements and implementation of decisions needed for steering India’s forthcoming G20 Presidency, under the overall guidance and direction of Hon’ble Prime Minister and concerned Ministers. The G20 Secretariat is handling work relating to substantive content of G20 discussions, as well as logistics including preparation of meetings and venues, technical, media and security aspects, and facilitating arrangements for G20 delegates.
India’s Presidency at G20
Indian presidency at G20 is a long-awaited opportunity that will open new ways for the country and G20 as a whole. India looks forward to work on its priority areas and bring them to light but India still has to be prepared for its accompanying challenges.
India has set clearly its priority areas during its term of presidency. The major areas being –
- Sustainable Development – India focuses on running long in its run for sustainability incorporating all the dimensions of efforts. In the previous G20 summits held, discussions were focused on implementing the Paris Agreement but India and other developing countries which are at the take off stage of economic development cannot afford to fully implement the Paris Agreement. Given the size of its population India has many more issues to deal when implementing. Poverty alleviation is equally important as the environment protection, even more when viewed through wider lens.
Despite the pressure from the US and China, final draft skipped the mention of 2016 deadline and called for the ratification by member states as soon as possible. The Development Working Group is working strongly in the domain of sustainability.
- Environment – India long worked for environmental protection in all aspects and equally promoted the innovations that helped India achieve its aim for environmental protection. G20 emerges as a beneficial platform for India to plan ahead its league with other major economies for the projects to exist symbiotically with the nature and development.
The government needs to find ways to work creatively in partnership with different stakeholders to harness their latent energy, capacity, talent, resources, and innovation to speed up their process of meeting the environmental challenges effectively.
- Work & Livelihood – The Employment Working Group had been incorporated to meet the challenges of work and employment among the nations. Jobs and skill development had always been pivotal point whenever discussions on recovering the potential held around.
The issues of employment further provided emphasis on many other social developmental issues such as quality of life, quality of work, rights of the workers and the direct correlation of health and productivity with the economic growth. With remote work becoming the new norm, a global reappraisal of the care economy, forced digitalisation and increasing automation, the world of work is transforming.
The skillset related to the work is equally demanding, the nations strive together to fulfil this gap and enable more employment asserting the technologies giving necessary input from their side ensuring maximum economic output equally ensuring the quality of work life of the individual.
- Governance issues – Meeting the needs of any initiative primarily lies with the government and its effective governance. To meet with its need, there arises a demand to combat corruption. The Anti-Corruption Working Group effectively works in the domain to wipe out any such practices that hinders the nation in its good governance practices.
There have been many issues addressed such as antibribery rules; preventing access of corrupt persons to global financial systems & combatting money laundering, terror financing; fostering international cooperation and learning from bestpractices; cooperation in visa denial; extradition and asset recovery; protecting whistle blowers; preventing corruption in public and private sector; protecting vulnerable sector and anticorruption authorities.
The nations and their government need to essentially work on these spheres to make way for their targeted vision.
- Trade policies -The pandemic era had posed great hindrance to the delivery ofØ services and commodities by large. Many nations have adopted a change in their trade policies owing to the situations in hand that impacts all their trade partners.
The Trade and Investment Working Group works closely in this regard to meet the challenges related to the trading system. The G-20 nations called for broader participation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) membership along with the IMF quota and governance reforms. IMF quota reform had been a long-lasting demand from India. G-20 agreed to cooperate on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS).
India vehemently called for measures to check BEPS to non-G20 countries. BEPS refers to tax avoidance strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations.
- G20 in changing times from India’s perspective – G20 has played a huge role in changing the geopolitical and economic situations. There have been times always when its relevance has been questioned to the needs of the era and the expectations of the emerging economies.
The scope of discussion under the G20 has expanded over the years to include both financial and non-financial issues. As the G20 countries reported their different evaluations and recognised how many social and security issues are linked to economic security, the G20 discussions have focused not only on macro-economy and trade, but also on a wide range of global issues which have an immense impact on the global economy, such as development, climate change and energy, health, counter-terrorism, as well as migration and refugees.
The G20 has always sought to aim towards an inclusive and sustainable world through its contributions towards resolving many issues among nations. The increased participation of emerging countries in global issues is remarkable and enables higher hopes. One of the highly revolutionary steps was the reform of international financial institutions and the monitoring of national financial institutions of the nations. G20 had always emerged aa a floating log in the times of drowning economies.
Taking a turn back in time, G20 helped in providing emergency funds during the 2008 crisis and played an important role in financing for growth and development. India under its presidency hopes enabling the same prospects for growth and support for the economies to find their ways and seek support vocally as a unit.
- Challenges for India at G20 – As the premier forum for international economic cooperation, G20 plays an important role in shaping and strengthening global architecture and governance on all major international economic issues, reflecting a recognition that global prosperity is interdependent and our economic opportunities and challenges are interlinked.
G20 countries have come together in order to prepare for the future better. India still faces many challenges in its way to achieve its promising vision for the G20 objectives of growth.
- Cross Border Conflicts & Terrorism – With terrorism being utmost security issue for the Indian establishment, its acknowledgement in the G20 is the acceptance of Indian concern. India also appreciated the G-20 initiative on combating the Financing of Terrorism. Besides the task of formulating inclusive opportunities for the post COVID era, the country needs to face the rising border conflicts with China. India needs more dialogue with China to avoid further escalation of any conflicts.
- Economic issues – India as a nation owing to its size of population and the dimensions of governance faces huge economic disparities. India still faces the challenge of meeting its SDGs targets economically, its trade policies and the trade elements in the post pandemic era. The issues further get enhanced when unstable geopolitical situations, price rise of commodities and health emergencies strikes in. India robustly needs to encounter this first to meet its targets.
- Financial vulnerabilities from monetary policies and oil price volatility – There persists a continued threat from the monetary policies of select advanced economies being coupled with oil price volatility, it creates financial vulnerabilities among emerging markets. In addition to the established themes of trade and financial regulation India can lead on several issues that holds importance for the country in major terms. It will be definitely challenging for India to stabilise the efforts but the results will be hugely rewarding in the state India holds itself as.
- Internal issues – The assessment of the G20 played an important role and helped shape the outcome of 2030 Agenda on SDG5, that is gender equality. However, India lags significantly behind the other developed and developing G20 countries in terms of progress made in the fulfilment of the agenda. India’s overall score on the NITI Aayog’s SDG index is 60 – the lowest among all G20 countries. It is increasingly evident that developing countries such as India will need to rely on their own resources to finance the SDGs.
There have been many more internal issues for the country to focus over and correct them with speedy implementations to meet its targets.
Way Ahead for India
As a founding member of the G20, India has constantly contributed towards its discussions on issues of global importance, including those that impact on the most vulnerable around the world and looks forward with the same perspective to lead forward for the growth. India looks forward to fulfil the aspects that can change the dimensions of growth for the G20 reference-
- There have been lot of analysis in the past and a deeper observation have been made into the trends, but G20 has still not been able to recognize the changing geopolitical stances and other major areas of concerns that affect the economic scenarios. Reviews must be prompted widely and regularly to keep a check on the mistakes of the past and the steps that can be taken as a correction to them.
- There should be a major focus on the arenas of sustainability approaches while incorporating any rational changes in the economic context globally.
- Terrorism and other disparities have never been in the picture before but they cannot be kept out of the scene for longer. They widely affect the power play and also the economic situations of any nation.
- The improvement in the regulations of the economies whose problems led to the crisis and the creation of safety nets to prevent problems in the future.
- G20 should also prioritize more on other relevant areas of security primary being its health agenda, pandemic preparedness and response mechanisms. There is an equal need for immediate mobilization and deployment of resources for future health emergencies. There is an alarming need for global coordination mechanism with WHO taking the lead for the same among the nations.
India looks forward in developing its efficient prospects for gathering the requisites for dealing with any such health emergency situation in future.
- The G20 Secretariat should also enable capacity building, including knowledge and expertise, for supporting India’s leadership on and contribution to global issues in multilateral fora in the years ahead. Hosting of G20 Presidency would also result in economic opportunities in different sectors such as tourism, hospitality, IT and civil aviation among others, during our Presidency year.
The Indian presidency at the G20 poses a high hope of a revolutionary change in the dynamics of G20 and keeps its feet aligned to meet the whistling promises it had made to the world. India looks forward to this new era and setting a pace of rapid development during its coming tenure.