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The B20 India Business Agenda is Aligned to India’s G20 Presidency

With India assuming G20 presidency from 1 December 2022, the premier international forum’s engagement groups have also been handed over to India. India has thus taken over the baton of B20, the business engagement group of G20 which brings together enterprises from the G20 member nations to contribute to the global dialogue.

As India commences its leadership of B20, we find ourselves in a global economy at the cusp of transformation, driven by multiple developments including the lingering impact of the pandemic, geopolitical conflicts, acceleration of technology adoption, and shifting global value chains. Climate change is a mounting challenge that no country can escape, and that necessitates a new way of doing business as well.

The participation of businesses in global economic decision-making has never been so critical. We believe that, given the current transformations underway, a renewed strategy for businesses to come together will catalyze global economic stability, progress and growth that is inclusive and sustainable.

B20 India is committed to strengthen the partnership between businesses of the world’s largest economies. Our aim is to converge businesses from all sectors, segments, and regions, including both, large and small enterprises, for constructive solutions that world governments can consider, not just for the G20 economies but smaller ones as well. It would leave an indelible impression in shaping the actions demanded by today’s challenges.

B20 India has strategized its agenda and priorities based on the dialogues already held under the previous chairs along with charting a path ahead for both governments and businesses. The group’s policy recommendations would be an important input for the final G20 India summit declaration.

Our agenda is conceptualized under the theme of RAISE, that is, Responsible, Accelerated, Innovative, Sustainable and Equitable Businesses.

We believe that a global business sector that prioritizes responsibility to society, accelerates the needs of development, builds on innovation, and ensures sustainable development will be the right catalyst for growth – equitable and inclusive growth that embraces all sections of society.

B20 India has identified the priorities for industry action over the coming year under India’s presidency in consultation with government and other stakeholders. We propose to drive the agenda through 7 task forces and 2 action councils that will take forward these priorities for the year.

The first one, is building inclusive global value chains for resilient global trade and investment. The imperative for this arises from the recent disruptions that we have witnessed through the world and the focus will be on leveraging trade as an instrument for economic growth and stability. The integration of businesses into global value chains, particularly for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), can be fostered through convergence between industry 4.0 and trade 4.0 as well as greater services trade.

Second, the future of work, skilling and mobility is an area of rapid change that is impacting workers across the world. This pillar of the B20 India would focus on bridging the skilling gaps through reskilling and training, and supporting SMEs, among other pertinent issues.

Third, the dialogue on energy, climate change and resource efficiency will take forward the conversation on meeting targets as per the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. The focus areas for developing actionable recommendations include investments in green energy such as emission-neutral technologies, transitioning to electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel, accelerating net-zero transitions, and improving climate finance options.

Fourth, on digital transformation, B20 India would work on digital literacy and digital inclusion apart from innovative business models. Support for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) will also be taken up to evolve solutions to enable governments in enhancing public service delivery to their citizens.

Five, financing for global economic recovery is a critical priority and demands urgent and coordinated global action. Empowering small enterprises through access to finance as well as long term capital for infrastructure development are some of the themes of this priority agenda and we would work on developing policy recommendations on debt servicing, climate financing and financial inclusion.

Six, tech, innovation and R&D are key drivers of growth and inclusion. Through public private partnerships how to stimulate R&D, leveraging network infrastructure and strengthening global intellectual property regime to facilitate innovation will be some of the issues that B20 India will consider.

Seven, the topic of financial inclusion for economic empowerment would share best practices and innovations for affordable financial solutions, particularly for MSME. Access to financial products and financial literacy need to be expanded to empower citizens and businesses across the world and digital technologies can help in this effort.

The action councils have been devised to drive business cooperation in two new and important areas for B20. The first would be on environmental, social and governance areas for businesses with a focus on sustainability, integrity & compliance, and affordable and accessible health and education for all. The second proposes to support the African continent through business integration.

With this, B20 India would have a comprehensive business agenda for global growth.

Business is an accelerator for growth and as B20 we must jointly ensure that it is a force of inclusive development and contributes to solutions for challenges that the world faces today. B20 India looks forward to shaping the agenda for business over the year and synergizing with G20 deliberations with all partners on the platform.

This article is by Mr N Chandrasekaran, Chair, B20 India and Chairman, Tata Sons.

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