Elisha Pulivarti/Washington DC
Dear Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
Congratulations for assuming the leadership of G-20 countries from December 1, 2022. Your leadership of this group of nations will be on display till November 30, 2023. G-20 consists of 19 countries and European Union (EU) with 26 countries. So, this group is of 45 countries with 85 per cent of world’s GDP and 65 per cent of the area and 60 per cent of world’s population. A big community.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo handed over the G-20 presidency to you at Bali summit on November 16.
Already, your saying of “This is not the era of wars” told to Russian president Vladimir Putin at SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) last month has found a place in the summit declaration of recent G-20 summit at Bali, Indonesia. This shows the world’s major countries like the US, UK and others are listening to what you have been saying for sometime. That’s good.
This is not an accidental leadership of G-20 that came to India this year. India is poised to grow at a phenomenal rate, even when the entire world is witnessing a slowed growth. Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal told a business meet recently in Bangalore that India will become a country of $ 32 trillion GDP by 2047, when we celebrate 100 years of Independence. Presently, India is of $ 3.2 trillion GDP.
Some other assessments say, India will be of $ 40 trillion GDP by 2047, as projected by CII (Confederation of Indian Industry). Big industrialists like Gautam Adani and Mukhesh Ambani too are confident of India reaching $ 40 trillion economy within 25 years. These projects are possible, if we can grow at 8.8 per cent average annual rate. We were just of $ 270 billion GDP in 1997, 25 years ago.
Mere GDP is not enough
We know, that mere growth of GDP in economy is not enough. What we need is inclusive growth or growth with equity. India is a land of inequalities. Average per capital income may be huge, but millions of people are still languishing in poverty or struggling to meet their both ends. We cannot club the incomes of super rich in Mumbai with those of poor in Odisha. Statistics cannot hide reality.
Poverty is a curse and according to the UN, overcoming poverty is a human right.
I know that you are pro-poor. Your commitment to the poor is evident from extension of free ration to around 80 crore poor people since Covid-19 pandemic two years ago is commendable. But, we must do more to take it to logical end – of seeing that the growing GDP should translate into more jobs creation. Jobs with decent salaries for our youth and educated.
Digital & physical development
India has witnessed phenomenal growth in both digital and physical fronts in the last few years. Our Reserve Bank of India has introduced Digital Rupee Or Digipee from November 1, 2022. We have with us the successful run of UPI payments system which is used by millions in India. These can be showcased to the G-20 countries. So is the case with physical growth like highways, telecom, 5G, education, healthcare sectors etc.
I am sure, you will take care to see that over 120 events that are lined up in the entire year from December 1, 2022 focus on this goal -of inclusive growth. Public, private partnerships and enhanced role for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can play a role in bridging the gaps between the super rich and poor. In 2023 November, US president Joe Biden along with 45 other world leaders will come to India. I hope they all should appreciate your leadership.
My best wishes to you dear PM
(Writer is founder CEO of US India SME Council and geopolitical commentator)