Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in remarks made on the 104th episode of his monthly radio show Mann Ki Baat, had defined Bharat’s G20 presidency as a “People’s Presidency”. PM Modi had said “Our Presidency of the G20 is a People’s Presidency, in which the spirit of public participation is at the forefront. I urge all countrymen to come together to make the G20 Summit successful and bring glory to the country.”
Ten key points of NEW Delhi Declaration
- Strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth
- Accelerating progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS)
- Green development pacts for a sustainable future
- Multilateral institutions for the 21st century
- Technological transformation and digital public infrastructure
- International Taxation
- Gender equality and empowering all women and girls
- Financial Sector Issue
- Countering terrorism and money laundering
- Creating a more inclusive world
Breaking from the traditions, Bharat under the leadership of PM Modi ensured that Bharat’s presidency of G20 delivered the idea of People’s Presidency and was unique in more than one way.
Events and Meets beyond National Capital
G20 wasn’t limited to the national capital but was spread out all over the country. According to the data shared by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, 220 meetings of G20 working groups were held across 60 cities in Bharat. For example, the meetings of education working group were held in Chennai, Amritsar, Bhubaneshwar and Pune. Over and beyond that, there were over a 100 meetings of various engagement groups held across the country and included locations such as Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Leh and so on.
“Bharat’s G20 Presidency has become a symbol of ‘Sabka Sath’ inside and outside of the country. This has become the people’s G20 in Bharat” – Narendra Modi, Prime Minister
Engagement with Civil Society
Apart from the official government tracks – sherpa track and finance track, there were 12 engagement groups (Civil20, Business20, Youth20, Urban20 to name a few) which organised their own conferences, deliberations and summits. Several eminent individuals, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) were engaged as the chair or secretariat of these engagement groups. Spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma) was the Civil20 chair while Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini served as its secretariat, Chairman of Tata Sons N Chandrasekharan served as the B20 Chair while Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) served as the secretariat.
Bharat’s G20 presidency extended far beyond the diplomatic enclaves of New Delhi, with engagements spanning the nation’s diverse landscapes, from the bustling streets of Mumbai to the serene backwaters of Kerala. In a groundbreaking approach, Bharat became perhaps the first country to ensure that visiting G20 delegates didn’t just attend meetings but truly experienced the rich tapestry of its culture and traditions. The government ensured all G20 conferences, summits were spread across the country and held at places with cultural significance along with the delegates being given a taste of rich regional cuisine. Conferences and Summits were held in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, Hampi, Nalanda, Mahabalipuram, Varanasi among other places. At all the venues, it was ensured that a local tour of the heritage structures was a part of the itinerary. Inclusivity
Inclusivity was not just visible in the organisation which was spread out but also in the agenda. The thrust of Bharat’s presidency on women-led development and inclusivity was a visible part of Bharat’s G20 agenda. Along with having a specific Women20 engagement group, more or less all engagement groups had a subgroup working on gender issues. The Civil20 had sub-themes on disability, women’s rights, and LGBTQIA.
Transparent and Efficient
Bharat redeemed itself from the mismanaged Commonwealth Games in 2010. The games have seen infrastructure delays, poor quality of work, financial mismanagement and a global outcry against Bharat’s poor management of the Commonwealth games. All of this resulted in a negative portrayal of Bharat and also led to the famous India Against Corruption movement which started the momentum leading to the electoral defeat of the government. In sharp contrast, the G20 management was praised not just locally but internationally.
“One Earth. One Family. One Future. That’s the focus of this G20 Summit: Building resilient infrastructure, making quality infrastructure investments, and creating a better future that represents greater opportunity, dignity, and prosperity for everyone”.-Joe Biden, President, United States
By advocating for the inclusion of the African Union’s 55 member countries into the G20, Bharat’s presidency showcased a profound commitment to democratic values and a genuinely people-centric approach leading to global solidarity. By bridging continents and bringing together nations with diverse histories, cultures, and economic landscapes, Bharat’s presidency underscored that it was more than just a diplomatic role; it was a people’s presidency.
Jan-bhagidari or People’s Participation
Diplomatic events like G20 have always been confined to the corridors of power with only the concerned diplomats and the bureaucrats in the knowhow. What will remain as a highlight of Bharat’s G20 presidency will be Jan-bhagidari or extensive citizen engagement and public participation through side events and awareness programmes. Bharat’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant strongly advocated organising Model G20 in colleges and universities across Bharat when he attended the opening of Bharat’s first Model G20 organised by RMP’s Indian Institute of Democratic Leadership – IIDL. Over a hundred G20s were organised across the country.
Similarly, Youth20 (Y20) organised over 1,500 Y20 chaupals which engaged more than 1,25,000 youth on topics such as “future of work” and “Industry 4.0”. Similarly Civil 20 group reached out to 45 lakh people across the world with about 11,500 big and small programmes.
No other host country before Bharat had ever celebrated G20 presidency as a festival. Bharat ensured that both the international delegates as well as its citizens were a part of this celebration. Bharat exemplified the essence of a “People’s Presidency”, one that transcends the confines of traditional diplomacy and recognizes that a nation’s true soul resides in its myriad communities, languages, and traditions.Bharat’s G20 presidency showcased its belief in the principles of inclusivity and equal representation, emphasizing that a truly democratic and equitable global order must incorporate the voices and perspectives of all people and all nations, regardless of their size or economic standing. In doing so, Bharat set a remarkable precedent for future G20 presidencies, highlighting the significance of a people-driven approach to global leadership.
As the G20 baton passes to the new host, the legacy of Bharat’s presidency will serve as a reminder that true global leadership isn’t confined to the corridors of power; it thrives in the hearts and homes of its people, creating a lasting impression which transcends borders and continues to resonate in the world’s collective memory.