India’s initiatives in digital public infrastructure such as Aadhaar, unique payment infrastructure and direct benefit transfer have been lauded at the G20 Sherpa meeting here, with several members stressing on the “need to replicate the model” in other developing countries, G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant said.
In an interview with PTI, Kant said he also highlighted the digital initiatives taken in the healthcare sector such as the Cowin app for implementing the Covid vaccination drive and Ayushman Bharat scheme that has extended health insurance cover to 500 million people at the first meeting of Sherpa under India’s G20 presidency.
“So, there was a lot of interest and a lot of appreciation for what India has done. Everybody said that this model needs to be replicated. I think that is one story which will definitely take forward in a big way in the subsequent rounds,” he said.
With the Ukraine conflict festering on, Kant said all countries were appreciative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on peace and harmony in the article he had penned for newspapers across the world on the day India assumed the G20 Presidency.
Kant said developing nations holding the G20 Presidency for the next three years would help emerging economies set their narrative on the global stage.
Brazil will take over the G20 Presidency from India after the New Delhi summit in September followed by South Africa in 2025. Indonesia, which held the G20 Presidency last year, is also an emerging economy.
Kant said India’s presentation at the G20 Sherpa meeting focussed on the technological transformation and digital public infrastructure that has been established in the country over the recent past.
“India’s strides in providing digital identity to every citizen, opening of bank accounts in large numbers, data empowerment of citizens and fast payments…we brought out what India has achieved,” he said.
Kant pointed out that almost 55 per cent of the bank accounts opened between 2015-18 across the world were in India.
“We have been able to bring 460 million people into the banking system and we were able to transfer benefits of over 600 schemes of the government straight into the bank accounts,” he said.
Kant flagged the global debt crisis, rising inflation and slowdown as key challenges before the G20.
“If the debt crisis happens in one part of the world, it will have a spiralling impact on other parts of the world. Therefore, it is very important that we are able to be the voice,” the G20 sherpa of India said, underscoring the prime minister’s call for India being the voice of the Global South.
“It was strongly felt that without peace and harmony, economic growth will not be able to bounce back,” Kant said.
He said without peace and harmony it will be very difficult for smaller countries. Kant said the issue of climate finance also figured in the Sherpa talks and would be discussed in detail in the finance track of the G20.
“What we are trying to say is that India’s Sherpa track priorities, finance track priorities, and engagement group priorities will all converge and integrate towards India’s interest,” Kant said. PTI