In an interview, the G20 Sherpa of India and former CEO of Niti Aayog Mr Amitabh Kant explains how India is positioned to build a consensus across on various issues. He was speaking at the sidelines of first meeting of the Development Working Group in Mumbai
Q: India has got G20 Presidency when globally there are multiple challenges. What is your thought on this?
A: There are many challenges but every challenge is an opportunity. This is a leaders’ summit so if there are challenges for the world the leaders must discuss and decide to transform the world. This is an opportunity for every one of the leaders and our job as Sherpa is to set out an agenda as the Prime Minister said that it will be decisive, action oriented and inclusive. We will try as much as possible to be progressive and forward looking and do transformational things for the world.
Domestically, every state can build its city infrastructure, every state and UT can get an opportunity to showcase its culture, handicrafts, cruisines and build a global brand for itself. Internationally, we get an opportunity to build a global consensus and take forward India as a leader who can build a consensus across.
PM has said we believe in one earth, one family and one future and that is India’s leadership will be inclusive, action oriented, ambitious and resilient.
Q: How India can take a lead to steer it out of rocking waters?
A: COVID 19 has impacted vast section of population. About 20 crore people have gone below poverty line, 10 crore people have lost their jobs. So the challenge is that you have to accelerate the pace of development because we have mid way through the 2030 agenda. Now if we have to do that all countries need to work together because 2030 sustainable development goal (SDG) agenda was agreed by all countries of the world and accelerated programme for SDG implementation as talked about by the UN Secretary General needs to be worked out in consensus by all the G20 countries. This is an important area.
Whether we can work out specific action plan for areas like education, health and nutrition or for a larger SDG area is a critical challenge. This is because COVID-19 has hit many countries in the world.
Q: How G20 can aim for multilateral cooperation due to geopolitical situation?
A: G20 is a forum for economic growth, economic development, financial progress, social growth. It is not a forum to discuss issues of war. Those issues of war need to be discussed at the UNSC that is the forum. Having said that let me say that the war has an impact on food, fuel and fertilisers. Therefore, this challenge came up in Bali also. India played a key role along with the developing countries to work out an agreement which we fell back on UNSC resolution that became the basis and the preamble of the agreement on which both G7, Russia and everyone agreed.
Q: How G20 during Indian Presidency can elevate the African Union?
A: PM has repeatedly said that India will be the voice of the global south and we will look at all the challenges including challenges of SDG implementation, digital transformation, women led development and the global debt. Nearly 70 countries are impacted we brought these challenges at the centre stage. India will argue for and fight for these challenges and will be the voice of the global south.
Q: Does the time ripe for multilateral financial institutions to change their financing norms?
A: The multilateral financial institutions were created for the post World War II period, in the BrettonWoods regime. They were designed for another world and not designed for the present world of climate finance. They were not designed to be SDG financing. So they need to reorient the financing from direct finance so that they can become agencies for doing climate finance and doing finance for SDG that should be our objective. That is what the US is now saying. G20 will play a key role and discuss all these issues.
Q: Can India play a major role for the transformation of the global regulatory structure?
A: India will lead the way but all G20 countries are keen so this will be a major thing of discussion in the coming days in the finance track and in the Development Working Group.
Q: What will be the role of G20 on promoting Crypto currency?
A: FM has already said that crypto rules and regulations cannot be made by one country because these are cross border. If one country frames rules and regulations which creates a flight of capital and other issues. Therefore, international rules and regulations are necessary. We have requested to IMF to work on it and IMF is doing some work around these regulations. These issues will be discussed in the finance track.
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