Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal pointed out that there is a feeling of 'envy' toward the Indian economy, which used to report 10-12 percent inflation prior to Narendra Modi's election in 2014, as more than 150 policy makers, CEOs and senior executives representing enterprises from the G20 started gathering in Gandhinagar for the Business 20 forum.
More than 150 policy makers, business executives, CEOs and senior executives representing enterprises from G20 countries arrived in Gandhinagar on Monday (January 23) morning to take part in the inaugural meeting on the Business 20 (B20) forum.
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The Business 20 (B20) is the official G20 dialogue forum with the global business community. It is among the most prominent engagement groups in G20, with companies and business organisations as participants.
The inaugural ceremony of the B20's inception meeting was held in Gujarat's Gandhinagar on Monday morning and attended by Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Ashwini Vaishnaw, newly-elected Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and Amitabh Kant, the Indian emissary to the G20.
Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal said the year 2023 would be full of challenges such as inflation, which is at record highs across the world.
"This year is full of challenges. Inflation is at record high across the world. Countries that used to have 1-2 percent inflation are not seeing 10-12 percent inflation," Goyal said.
He pointed out that there is a feeling of "envy" toward the Indian economy, which used to report 10-12 percent inflation prior to Narendra Modi's election in 2014.
"Under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi, India is emerging as a global force," Goyal said. "When economies across the world are sliding, India is growing at a fast pace among larger economies."
Each year, the G20 presidency appoints a B20 chair, an eminent business leader from the G20 host country, who is supported by a B20 sherpa and the B20 secretariat.
In his address, B20 India Chair and Tata Sons Chairman N. Chandrasekaran said during India’s leadership of the forum, various initiatives would be taken up in several areas, including global supply chain, creative skills, circular economy, digital transformation and financial inclusion.
"India is in a very unique position in the world at a time (when) we are seeing several moving parts, and B20, during India’s leadership of G20, has a unique opportunity and has a very important role to play,” he said.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has been appointed as the official B20 India Secretariat by the Indian government to lead the B20 India process. The CII assumed charge of the B20 India Secretariat on December 1, 2022, as India’s term as G-20 president commenced.
Adding that the CII has been associated with the forum for the past 12 years, Chandrasekaran said his team has observed the B20's evolution and progress over the years and is ready to relate it to the current context in order to "work out an agenda which we think is very exciting and can be value adding for all G20 nations or in fact for the rest of the world not only to India."
"We believe in this period we can come up with a number of initiatives which can be very very impactful,” Chandrasekaran said, adding that the forum wants to accelerate, be responsible, bring innovation and push sustainability.
He said the forum has picked up nine areas, out of which seven specific task forces have been formed, and for the remaining two, action groups have been formed.
"The seven task forces we are focused on are all need of the world at this time, and for the coming decades," Chandrasekaran said, adding the first group is on global supply chains and how to bring resiliency.
The second one is on the future of work as it is getting redefined and is going to record new types of skills.
"So we have wrapped around the future of work and the skills that are required for the 21st century, the coming decade. The creative skills, collaborative skills and the mode of working. We want to define that for the future," he added.
The third area, he said, is about circular economy, sustainability, energy transition, mobility, biodiversity, water management — all the UN sustainability goals.
Goyal said at the meeting that he hopes businesses adopt sustainable futures in their practices.
"Together we will draw up an agenda and use the B20 in India to look at how responsible businesses can raise the bar. How we can bring innovation and work towards an equitable future agenda for the world," he said.
The fourth area is digital transformation — with India having a tremendous track record of not only the information technology industry but also the deployment of digital in development programmes and public services delivery — which has a unique role to play, Chandrasekaran said.
"We want to showcase what can be done more in India as well as what can we contribute to the world at large," he added.
Goyal, in his address at the inaugural meeting, highlighted the four 'I's that help with India's transformation: infrastructure development, integrity, inclusive growth and international outlook.
"India today has adopted innovation, has an inspiring and decisive leadership and an aspiring population," Goyal said. "Thanks to the Digital India mission, the levels of connectivity that we have, and we plan in the future, will catapult us to among the top 5-6 nations on technology," he said.
The other areas that will be under spotlight during India’s leadership of B20 include reviving the global economy and what can be done together to kickstart the financial growth engine globally, research and development, financial inclusion, environmental, social, and governance, besides a specific task force on Africa.
”I’m very very confident this is going to be a very exciting journey for the next several months and we will not only come up with the term policy recommendations, but also confident that we will leave behind a few specific legacy institutions that will serve the G20 nations for a long time to come,” Chandrasekaran said.
Concluding his remarks, Goyal urged everyone to work together and take one step forward through which the world could take seven billion steps forward together.
With agency inputs.