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Sustaining economic recovery a challenge in coming years: Sitharaman at B20

The FM said using only interest rates to control inflation might have a downside, and supply-side issues also need to be managed

Nirmala Sitharaman (Photo: PTI)

Nirmala Sitharaman (Photo: PTI)

BS Web Team New Delhi

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At the B20 Summit India 2023 held in New Delhi on Friday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that sustaining economic recovery over the next few years would be the main challenge. 

"Persistently high inflation will weaken demand," Sitharaman said, adding that using only interest rates to control inflation might have a downside. Supply-side issues must also be managed. 

Most countries are " obsessed" with using interest rates to control inflation and not managing supply issues, she said.  "The task for central banks will now have to be to keep in mind growth- and growth-related priorities while equally looking at controlling inflation." 

She then discussed the priorities for sustaining economic recovery, including increasing investments to spur growth, climate change finance, raising investments in public health and education, and diversification of supply chains. 

India's G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant said the country had taken the presidency of the grouping to all states and made it a "People's Presidency" in this course of one year. "Every crisis is a huge opportunity. The G20 presidency is India's opportunity to be inclusive, decisive, and action-oriented. It has hosted it in 60 cities and has made it a "People's Presidency". The world is getting into a recession. After every pandemic, historically, the world has seen six years of protectionism... India's DPI (digital public infrastructure) is a unique model. We will drive digital inclusion." 

India's growth will shape world's future, says Chandrasekaran 

N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, said: "India's growth journey will shape the world's future." There were multiple factors driving India's growth, including the Prime Minister Gati Shakti scheme, production-linked incentive schemes, lower corporation taxes, solid digital infrastructure, and the emerging start-up ecosystem, he said. 

He announced the B20 Global Institute, a global institute based in India with the purpose of being an evangelist, a knowledge base, a thought leader, and a think tank, with highly experienced people working with B20 nations every year. 

Shobana Kamineni, chair, B20 India Task Force on Future of Work, Skilling and Mobility, said that creating a productive workforce could be a better beginning to "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam". 

Kamineni, executive vice-chairperson of Apollo Hospitals, said that there was a need to recognise and enable diverse forms of work, including open-ended gig workers, fixed-term, part-time and self-employed work. 

Agriculture in Africa can change the world, says B20 Chair Sunil Bharti Mittal 

Sunil Bharti Mittal, chair of B20 India Action Council on African Economic Integration, said that Africa should be adopted to do agriculture, and that could change the entire world. 

Mittal, chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said: "Around 60 per cent of the world's arable and yet uncultivated land is in Africa. All you need is just throw seeds and the crop will grow. The land is so fertile there, yet even that is not being done." 

He added that the world was going through a crisis in food production, especially amid rising prices with Ukraine stopping supply of wheat to African nations and many other poorer countries. 

India is well positioned to undertake discussion on AI, says Microsoft president 

Microsoft President Brad Smith said that it was important not just to see who was developing artificial intelligence (AI) but also who was deploying it. "People are saying we shouldn't make the same mistake with AI as with social media. People had become too euphoric without taking into account the risks. We need to be excited about the opportunities but also be concerned about the risks and think about the guardrails," he said. 

He added, "As the current holder of G20 Presidency and Chair of the Global Partnership on AI, India is well positioned to help advance a global discussion on AI issues.

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First Published: Aug 25 2023 | 6:32 PM IST

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