India’s Action-Oriented Presidency in G20: Driving Digital Transformation and Green Transition

India is set to play a critical role in G20, a forum of the world’s largest economies that accounts for almost 85 percent of global production, 78 percent of global trade, and two-thirds of the world’s population- Amitabh Kant said in a recent speech. This comes at a time when the world is facing multiple crises, including poverty, unemployment, climate change, and geopolitical frictions. However, India views this as a huge opportunity, and India’s presidency will be action-oriented, inclusive, decisive, and outcome-oriented.

One of the critical issues that the G20 will address is digital transformation, which has the potential to drive inclusive, resilient, and sustainable growth. While much of the innovation around the world has happened in the western part of the world, India has built a powerful alternative model based on digital public goods and digital public infrastructure.

India has created the railway tracks on top of which the private sector has innovated, built identity for almost 1.4 billion people, and ensured that 470 million new bank accounts were created between 2014 and 2017, all of which were linked to Aadhaar and mobile phones. We now have close to a billion smartphones, and most people use their mobiles for digital transactions, which has enabled India to do about 11x more digital payments than the United States or Europe and 4x more than China.

The second layer of India’s digital transformation is using this infrastructure to enable cashless and paperless credit, which has helped young startups like UpStock, Groww, and Zerodha become unicorns. They use payment history to provide wealth management and insurance policies that can be issued in less than five minutes.

The advent of digital public goods and the private sector has led the country to innovate at a pace never thought possible. It might be the only country where local apps surpass global apps in terms of adaption and usage, where PhonePe competes with Google and Paytm competes with WhatsApp.

Kant also highlighted India’s ambition to become the first country in the world to industrialize without carbonizing. Despite being responsible for just 1.4% of the total carbon space available, India has committed to a rapid green transition. India’s renewables have achieved some of the most competitive and lowest prices in the world, and the country has a massive opportunity to become the lowest-cost producer and biggest manufacturer of green hydrogen, as well as the biggest manufacturer of electrolyzers for the world.

The G20, with its immense global influence, has the potential to drive digital transformation across the world and India’s presidency will play a crucial role in driving these decisions forward.

Amitabh Kant, G20 Sherpa, GoI addressed the audience on “G-20: Navigating Strategic High Waves” at the ET Global Business Summit recently.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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