Preparing for the presidency – On Assuming G20 Presidency

News: This post is created based on the article “Preparing for the presidency” published in Business Standard on 19th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Important International Institutions

News: India is going to take over the presidency of the Group of 20 (G20) nations from Indonesia in a few months.

India’s Group of 20 (G20) presidency comes amidst many challenges. Some challenges are the Russian invasion of Ukraine, inflation induced by consequent Western sanctions, and the effect of the pandemic is still prevalent. Furthermore, G20 is more divided due to freezing relations between Russia and Western nations.

However, it is still the only effective grouping. Thus, India needs to fully utilize this opportunity.

What are the challenges facing India in setting its G-20 agenda?

Generally, at this point in time, a president’s nation should be well-developed. However, India is still working on this part. Following are some issues:

  1. Indian government functions with multiple silos that coordinate only afterward.
  2. Just a few months before the summit, the G20 Sherpa role has been assigned to the outgoing chief executive officer of the NITI Aayog, by the Union commerce minister.
  3. The finance track of the G20 remains technically the business of the Union finance ministry. Sous-Sherpa has been appointed from within the foreign ministry.
  4. The most effective G20 presidencies of the past ensured there was close coordination between the Sherpa and finance tracks.

There are concerns that considering the challenges and too many centers of power and responsibility, India might be over-prepared or under-prepared.

What are the different tracks of the G20?

G20 is divided into two channels, to discuss the various issues, namely the financial track and the Sherpa track.

Financial Track addresses a number of agendas related to the financial sectors and involves Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from all G20 members.

The Sherpa Track addresses other agendas that are outside the financial sector. Sherpas are generally appointed directly by the Head of Government / Country and are seen as their representation at various G20 meetings. He/she is assisted by several sous Sherpas.

What should be done?

A coherent and interlinked strategy should be developed by coordination between different ministries, PMO, and new Sherpa.

India should be able to take major agendas to the institution, like reform of the multilateral development banks and principles for digital payment systems. The time is ripe for pushing such reforms. Because, with the next presidency to Brazil, past, present and future G20 presidents will for the first time be from developing nations.

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