G20

Introduction

  • The G20 or Group of Twenty is an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 countries and the European Union (EU)
  • The G20 is composed of most of the world’s largest economies, including both industrialized and developing nations, and accounts for around 90% of gross world product (GWP), 75–80% of international trade, two-thirds of the global population, and roughly half the world’s land area
  • The G20 was founded in 1999 in response to several world economic crises
  • Since 2008, it has convened at least once a year, with summits involving each member’s head of government or state, finance minister, foreign minister, and other high-ranking officials; the EU is represented by the European Commission and the European Central Bank

 

    • Chair rotation
      • To decide which member nation gets to chair the G20 leaders’ meeting for a given year, all members, except the European Union, are assigned to one of five different groupings
      • All countries within a group are eligible to take over the G20 Presidency when it is their group’s turn. Therefore, the states within the relevant group need to negotiate among themselves to select the next G20 President
    • Organization
      • The G20 operates without a permanent secretariat or staff
      • The incumbent chair establishes a temporary secretariat for the duration of its term, which coordinates the group’s work and organizes its meetings
      • The 2023 and 2024 summits will be hosted by India and Brazil respectively
      • In addition to these 20 members, the chief executive officers of several other international forums and institutions participate in meetings of the G20
    • G20 Agenda
      • Financial Focus
        • The initial G20 agenda, focused on the sustainability of sovereign debt and global financial stability in an inclusive format that would bring in the largest developing economies as equal partners
        • Further, the recurring themes covered by G20 summit participants have related in priority to global economic growth, international trade and financial market regulation
      • Inclusive growth
        • After the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, more “issues of global significance” were added to the G20 agenda, which include migration, digitisation, employment, healthcare, the economic empowerment of women and development aid

 

G20 and India

  • India’s participation in the G20 process stems from the realization that as a major developing economy India has a vital stake in the stability of the international economic and financial system.
  • India’s agenda at the G20 Summits is driven by :
    • the need to bring in greater inclusivity in the financial system
    • to avoiding protectionist tendencies and
    • for ensuring that growth prospects of developing countries do not suffer
  • India’s Thrust Areas in G20
    • Terrorism
      • International action on terrorism is the need of the hour as the roots of terrorism may be in some other country; the conspiracy could be hatched in some third country, and the actual target maybe another country like India.
      • It, therefore, requires global action, particularly regarding the money that flows into terrorist network from different parts of the world
      • G20 grouping can be leveraged with countries facing similar issues, to tackle the threats from Terrorism
    • Economic Offenders
      • Dealing with the economic offenders has been emphasized by India as a serious policy challenge for India and other countries in G20
        • India reiterated this in the Osaka Summit as well
      • India has proposed this idea and sought cooperation from other G20 countries as well
      • Also, this proposal has been received quite well by other member countries as well
    • Taxation
      • Global taxation is another issue for G20 to deal with.
      • G20 has already taken cognizance of this fact and has come up with the Base Erosion and Profit Sharing (BEPS) framework
        • Going further, this framework needs to be strengthened to deal with challenges from spread of Global Supply chains and expanding E-Commerce
    • New Digital Technologies
      • Innovations in digital technologies are rapid and spreading faster across the world
      • Although the benefits of digital technologies for economic growth and social development are well-known, there are certain issues such as privacy, data security and digital governance which are to be properly understood
      • Hence, India is working with these countries to tackle the vulnerabilities, and ethical issues arising out of such technologies

G20 and India: Going forward

    • In 2023, India will assume the presidency of the G20 and will have to craft a framework on digital technology that is acceptable domestically and in the international community
      • Specifically, it must use its presidency to address the growing protectionism around digital technologies.
      • To do so, it must focus on two crucial shortcomings that are a result of the hitherto unregulated development of the internet:
        • A lack of trust that private data of citizens will be adequately protected by foreign entities, and
        • large digital divides which have skewed the benefits of digitalisation towards a few nations
      • Further, learning from the experiences of G20, India should propose a working group to discuss cross-border flows of health data and adequacy requirements for telemedicine
      • India could pilot a ‘digital twins’ initiative that would pair cities across member nations and assist them in implementing digital infrastructure projects
        • The ‘digital twins’ initiative will bridge infrastructure gaps across member states and erase any readiness-related obstructions
      • Additionally, even though India did not sign the Osaka Declaration in 2019, which outlined principles for cross-border “Data Free Flow with Trust”, the country has a proactive approach towards open government data.
        • During its presidency, India could propose to expand the scope of open government data principles beyond the realm of anti-corruption.
        • They can emphasise on the creation of a standardised, interoperable, integrated cloud framework to enable the seamless sharing of data available with different levels of government.
        • This unified framework could help administrations arrive at policy decisions based on evidence and verifiable data.
      • Thus, the broad contours of the country’s tenure are in place but its success depends entirely on India’s ability to demonstrate its status as an inclusive, responsible, and mature digital powerhouse

 

G20: Challenges and Way Forward

ChallengesDetailWay forward
Coordination on reducing discriminatory taxation·         In recent times, a disproportionate tax structure, promoting bigger firms to invest trans-nationally in such markets has been evident

·         In this area, the G20 members have already made some progress during the recent couple of years, but more effort needs to be made in reducing disproportional, nationalized tax systems that inadequately affect global capital movements and affect interest rates.

 

·         Rationalizing the direct-indirect tax structure in member nations and ensuring a parity in credit requirements shall ensure a more competitive market structure with easier entry and exit of firms

 

Climate change·         The funding needed for developing countries to tackle Climate change, has been an issue of contention amongst the Developed countries·         The G20 leaders have put a new strategic focus  on climate change and ways to tackle rising heating of the planet; to persuade the developed countries
Reducing corruption·         Corruption are a major hindrance for equitable development in developing countries

·         Hence, no matter the level of efforts from International Diplomacy, impact at the grassroots level are not evident

·         Under the German Presidency, the     G 20 is focusing on measures to improve public sector integrity and the common search for ways to fight corruption in particularly susceptible areas
Increasing cooperation with African states·         This is imperative to reduce the inequality between the developed and developing world.·         Almost every G20 summit, reflects its intention of creating an enabling environment for investment and infrastructure development’ and encouraging cooperation with African states is on the Summit agenda.
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