G-20 presidency an opportunity for India to shape agenda for inclusive and sustainable growth: Amitabh Kant

New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) India has taken over the G-20 presidency at a crucial time when the world is facing several challenges, including the Russia-Ukraine war, economic slowdown and the climate crisis, G-20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant said on Wednesday, adding it is an opportunity for the country to shape the agenda for an inclusive and sustainable development.

Speaking at an event at Hindu College here, Kant noted this is the first time that India is getting an opportunity to shape the agenda for the world instead of responding to the agenda set by other countries.

Noting the importance of the G-20 forum, he said, “G-20 countries account for 85 per cent of the global GDP and 78 per cent of global trade…. They account for two-third population of the world.”

India assumed the yearlong presidency of G-20 on December 1. More than 200 meetings will be held in India across 55 locations. Many of them will be hosted in Delhi.

The G-20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US, and the European Union.

Kant was speaking at the event organised at Hindu College of Delhi University to mark its 124 Founder’s Day.

Asserting that India’s presidency of the G-20 is important because it comes at a time there are several challenges across the world, he said, “There is a geopolitical crisis and there is a war going on for last year and that is having a great impact in Europe in terms of food, fuel and fertilizers.”

“There is a crisis in the post-Covid era – 200 million people are below the poverty line and 100 million have lost their jobs. There is a huge crisis because of the lack of climate finance. There is a huge crisis as 75 countries is facing the global debt crisis. If they could start collapsing the entire financial structure would collapse. Then there is a crisis of slowing down economies. And one-third of the world is facing a recession,” he added.

Kant stated that it is an opportunity for India to drive an inclusive and sustainable growth to ensure that people get lifted above the poverty line, to accelerate the process of climate action and to ensure “we can build a global community which can provide better sustainable development for citizens across the world”.

“It is an opportunity to shape the world. So far India has been the recipient of the agenda set by different countries and developed the world. We have responded to that agenda. And this is the first time that India is getting the opportunity to shape the agenda,” he added.

He said it will be possible for India to set the agenda of the world if the country accelerates the pace of its growth.

“We are growing at the pace of 7 per cent but it is important to grow at a higher rate of 9 to 10 per cent per annum year after year for three decades or more to be able to lift the very young population above the poverty line,” he said.

The per capita income is the key to prosperity, Kant noted, adding that the acceleration of growth is very critical.

“While we may be the fifth largest economy in the world, our per capita income is very low. The per capita income is the key to prosperity and therefore countries of South East Asia across the region, whether it was Singapore, Taiwan…China, all demonstrated the ability to grow for long period at 10 per cent. That is why the acceleration of growth is very critical. This will not happen without a series of reforms in recent times,” he said.