India’s G20 Presidency & Roadmap

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    • Recently, there has been a concern that the agenda, themes and focus areas that India will set for 2023, lack vision.
      • India will hold the G20 Presidency from 1 December 2022 to 30 November 2023.

    India’s Plan

    • According to the Ministry of External Affairs, India will strengthen international support for priorities of vital importance to developing countries in diverse social and economic sectors, ranging from 
      • Energy, agriculture, trade, digital economy, health and environment to 
      • Employment, tourism, anti-corruption and women empowerment, including in focus areas that impact the most vulnerable and disadvantaged
    • Criticisms:
      • It has been criticised that, this plan lacks specificity
      • India has lost a chance to nudge the G20 and regional organisations towards its focus areas.
    • Challenges before India’s G20 Presidency
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    Know about G20

    • Origin:
      • The G20 was formed in 1999 in the backdrop of the financial crisis of the late 1990s that hit East Asia and Southeast Asia in particular. 
      • Its aim was to secure global financial stability by involving middle-income countries. 
      • As stated by the official G20 Website: 
        • “On the advice of the G7 Finance Ministers, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors began holding meetings to discuss the response to the global financial crisis that occurred,” 
    • Objectives:
      • Policy coordination between its members in order to achieve global economic stability, sustainable growth;
      • To promote financial regulations that reduce risks and prevent future financial crises; and
      • To create a new international financial architecture.
    • Members & guests: 
      • Members: 
        • Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. 
        • Spain is also invited as a permanent guest.
      • Others: 
        • Each year, the Presidency invites guest countries, which take full part in the G20 exercise. Several international and regional organizations also participate, granting the forum an even broader representation. 
    • Together, the G20 countries include: 
      • 60 percent of the world’s population, 
      • 80 percent of global GDP, and 
      • 75 percent of global trade.
    • Presidency of G20 & Troika:
      • The presidency of the G20 rotates every year among members.
      • The country holding the presidency, together with the previous and next presidency-holder, forms the ‘Troika’ to ensure continuity of the G20 agenda. 
      • Italy, Indonesia, and India are the Troika countries right now.
    • Working of G20:
      • The G20 has no permanent secretariat. 
      • The agenda and work are coordinated by representatives of the G20 countries, known as ‘Sherpas’, who work together with the finance ministers and governors of the central banks. 
      • India recently said ex-NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant would be the G20 Sherpa after Piyush Goyal.
    • Meetings and Summits:
      • Since 1999, an annual meeting of finance ministers has taken place.
      • The first G20 Summit took place in 2008 in Washington DC, US. 
      • In addition to Summits, the Sherpa meetings (that help in negotiations and building consensus), and other events are also organised throughout the year.
      • The Finance Track:
        • Within the G20 process, Finance Track includes the meetings held among Finance and Economy Ministers, Central Bank Governors, Vice Ministers and Sherpas (negotiators) designated by the respective economic ministries.
    • Criticisms:
      • The G-20 has been criticized for various reasons like: 
        • Lack of transparency, 
        • Encouraging trade agreements that strengthen large corporations, 
        • Being slow to combat climate change, and 
        • Failing to address social inequality and global threats to democracy.
      • Membership policies:
        • The G-20’s membership policies have come under fire, too. 
        • Critics say the group is overly restrictive, and its practice of adding guests, such as those from African countries, is not proven very effective.

    Suggestions & way ahead

    • Limited focus areas:
      • India should seek collaboration on limited focus areas around science and technology, building on resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and other multilateral bodies.
    • Emerging economies:
      • Emerging economies are no longer to be considered the source of problems needing external solutions but the source of solutions to shared problems.
    • Economic, social and human rights:
      • The starting point at G20 should be building on the global consensus in the Vienna Declaration on Human Rights 1993 reaffirming the indivisibility of all human rights
      • There is a growing recognition of economic and social rights — for example, in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 
        • Ensuring adequate food, housing, education, health, water and sanitation and work for all should guide international cooperation. 
    • Employment and environment:
      • G20 can act as a forum to exchange experiences on societal benefits and growth as complementary goals would lead to fresh thinking on employment and environment.
    • Science and technology:
      • The global agenda has been tilted towards investment, whereas science and technology are the driving force for 
        • Economic diversification
        • Sustainably urbanising the world, and 
        • Ushering the hydrogen economy and new crop varieties as the answer to both human well-being and global climate change.
      • For global society to reap the fruits of the new set of network technologies, open access software should be offered at G20 for more cost-effective service delivery options, good governance and sustainable development.
    • Space technology:
      • Space is the next frontier for finding solutions to problems of natural resource management ranging from climate change-related natural disasters, supporting agricultural innovation to urban and infrastructure planning.
      • Analysing Earth observation data will require regional and international collaboration through existing centres which have massive computing capacities, machine learning and artificial intelligence. 
      • Open access to geospatial data, data products and services and lower costs of geospatial information technology facilities should be proposed at G20 as they do not require huge financial resources.
    • Public health:
      • Public health has to learn from the COVID-19 fiasco with infectious diseases representing a market failure. 
      • A major global challenge is the rapidly growing antimicrobial resistance which needs new antibiotics and collaboration between existing biotechnology facilities.
    • Global minimum taxation:
      • A Global Financial Transaction Tax, considered by the G20 in 2011, needs to be revived to be paid to a Green Technology Fund for Least Developed Countries.

    Mains Practice Question 

    [Q] What are the key areas of reform if the G20 has to survive in the present context, especially keeping in mind the interest of India?