India’s approach to G20 presidency is extension of its domestic focus on progress and development

World Materials 10 June 2023 12:30 (UTC +04:00)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 10. “Inclusive, ambitious, and action-oriented” were the words Prime Minister Narendra Modi used to define India’s G20 presidency in Bali last year. Six months into our presidency, there is no doubt that India has delivered on its promise of inclusivity, Trend reports.

Indian democracy derives its strength from the spirit and ethos of the country’s citizens and people-centric development is its defining feature. India’s inclusive approach to the G20 presidency is, therefore, an extension of its domestic approach to development and progress, which focuses on engaging all sections of society. Providing every citizen with the basic necessities of life is the highest priority for the government and it has consistently ensured that there is enough social security support for all citizens.

Take our digital public infrastructure, for instance. It has enabled the government to deliver the benefits of development directly to citizens in all parts of the country in a transparent, smooth and corruption-free manner. Another example of India’s commitment towards inclusive development is that under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership, about 110 million rural households have been provided access to drinking water at their homes. More than 110 million sanitation facilities have been created across the country.

Furthermore, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana benefits women immensely. Fifty-six per cent of Jan Dhan account holders are women with 67 per cent of these accounts based in rural and semi-urban areas. It is not surprising, therefore, that “women-led development” is a major priority under India’s G20 presidency.

Prime Minister Modi’s call for a “pro-planet people’s movement” to fight climate change is an exercise in inclusivity in its most fundamental sense and reflects this year’s G20 theme — Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or One Earth One Family One Future. This portrays India’s holistic view of the world and emphasises that a collective effort is essential for global good. Drawn from the ancient Sanskrit text, the Maha Upanishad, the theme reaffirms the value of all life — human, animal, plant, and microorganisms — and their interconnectedness on planet Earth and the wider universe.

Working for the global public good has been an important objective of India’s foreign policy as was evident during the Covid pandemic. India shared essential medical supplies with over 190 countries in the world. We also shared the Made in India vaccines with over 150 countries through the Vaccine Maitri programme.

Inclusivity has been at the heart of every major decision under India’s presidency. From the decision to hold G20 meetings in every state and Union Territory of India rather than confining them to the capital, to invitees to the summit and key priorities discussed, every aspect has been carefully crafted to ensure this. So far, 131 G20 meetings have been held in 48 different locations in our country covering all but two states and all Union Territories.

Africa will be strongly represented under India’s G20 presidency with the participation of South Africa, Comoros (African Union Chair), Nigeria, Egypt and Mauritius. In a bid to enrich and broaden the base of discussions, non-G20 member countries as well as regional and international organisations have been invited to specific G20 meetings. For example, Norway, which has expertise in the blue economy, has been invited to the G20 meeting on ocean health.

At its core, India’s G20 presidency is a people-oriented event. The Jan Bhagidhari or people’s participation approach has evoked a great deal of enthusiasm within the country. G20-related events including seminars, conferences and festivals are designed to make people stakeholders in India’s presidency.

As Prime Minister Modi underlined in his remarks in February to G20 Finance Ministers and G20 Central Bank Governors, the G20 must focus on “discussions on the most vulnerable citizens of the world”. It was with this human-centric development mindset that he convened the Voice of Global South Summit, attended by heads of state, governments and ministers from 125 countries, soon after India took over the G20 presidency.

India firmly believes in inclusivity and taking everyone on board the path to growth and prosperity. At a time when multiple crises of global magnitude affect us all, the importance of keeping Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’s sentiment alive has never been more critical.