Event ReportsPublished on Jan 19, 2023
Think20 India Inception Conference | Closing Plenary


  • N. Bhanumurthy, Chair, – TF 1, and Vice Chancellor, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar School of Economics University, India
  • Erin Watson-Lynn, Co-Chair – TF 2 and Founder and Managing Director, Baker & York, Australia
  • Anita Prakash, Co-Chair – TF 3, and Senior Policy Advisor, ERIA, Indonesia
  • Ana Toni, Co-Chair – TF 4, and Head, Institute for Climate and Society, Brazil
  • Amar Bhattacharya, Co-Chair – TF 5, and Senior Fellow, Centre for Sustainable Development, Brookings USA, USA
  • GA Tadas , Chair – TF 6, and Visiting Fellow, RIS,  India
  • André de Mello e Souza, Co-Chair– TF 7, Planning and Research Technician, Board of Studies and Economic Relations and International Policies, IPEA, Brazil
  • Closing Remarks: Sujan R. Chinoy, Chair, T20 India Core Group, and Director General, MP-IDSA

The closing plenary covered the key takeaways from the deliberations held during the breakout session for each of the seven Task Forces (TF) under Think20.

N Bhanumurthy, Chair, Task Force 1: Macroeconomics, Trade, and Livelihoods: Policy Coherence and International Coordination, provided the overview of deliberations conducted by TF 1. He broke down the scope of TF 1 into three sub-groups: Macroeconomics (led by Bhanumurthy and Poonam Gupta); Trade (led by Harsh Vardhan Singh); and Livelihoods (led by Radhicka Kapoor).

Under Macroeconomics, the themes to be covered include the role of foreign exchange reserves, fiscal space for addressing the recovery process, coordination between fiscal and monetary policies, and fiscal policy and climate change. Under Trade, the themes include digital trade, global supply chains, role of ESG requirements, reforms in WTO, factors affecting participation of MSMEs in international trade, impact of preferential trade on member and non-member countries, and data for trade and development. Under the Livelihood sub-group, reducing the gender and wage gap in labour market, education and employment in the backdrop of learning losses during pandemic and its impact on productivity, role of MSMEs, access to finance and markets, role of MSMEs in job creation, and the future of work comprise the key themes to be discussed.

Erin Watson-Lynn, Co-Chair for TF 2: Our Common Digital Future: Affordable, Accessible and Inclusive Digital Public Infrastructure outlined the seven broad themes identified under TF 2 with abstracts being invited for all. The themes covered defining the role of public infrastructure, alternatives to digital public infrastructure (DPI), governance of DPI, financing, innovation, regulation, and sustainability form the rest of the themes. This task force would have 26 events over the year.

Watson-Lynn observed that the definition of public infrastructure is difficult to arrive at as member countries have different perspectives of what constitutes as public infrastructure. India has systems like Aadhaar (state-based digital identification system). She shed light on the situation in Australia with respect to DPI wherein the government uses any identification number, either passport details or driver’s licence, to become a source of digital transformation. The data is neither owned by the state nor is it public. However, the Australian government outsources its ideas to private partners to work on building DPI.

A challenge while producing private goods is that profits get privatised and losses get socialised and common people’s tax money is directed at bailing out those private enterprises if and when they begin to fail. With the current troika, the G20 takes primacy in determining problems that need to be solved and understand where these problems intersect.

Co-Chair for TF 3: LiFE, Resilience, and Values for Wellbeing, Anita Prakash, defines LiFE as a holistic concept bringing in the values of environment, equality, and equity rolled into the planning process, especially infrastructure planning and financing. She insisted that TF 3 embodies the importance of infrastructure for growth and infrastructure financing with contemporary and existential issues of integrating ethics and values into the plans and tools for growth. The TF is integrated with principles of sustainability, ethics, integrity, and infrastructure.

Ana Toni, Co-Chair for TF 4: Refuelling Growth: Clean Energy and Green Transitions observed that they have five subgroups. Each of the co-chairs in TF 4 would bring in their ‘three big ideas’ and help the Secretariat set up the key recommendations of the working group. She emphasised abiding by the high principles that focus on the relationship between G7 and the G20, relationship between developing and developed countries, as the focal action point of TF 4.

Transitions form the core high principle that would guide green transition as well as the associated social and economic issues. Recommendations under the TF are made sector-wise comprising energy sources like green hydrogen, nuclear, biofuels, circular economy, energy efficiency, and material efficiency. Climate finance to fund the transition is another important aspect of discussion wherein the broader themes of fossil fuel subsidies, green transition subsidies and incentives, carbon markets, and carbon pricing were touched upon. A lot of discussion covered technology transfer and the monitoring and evaluation taxonomy that will guide the green transition. The task force also looked at the G20 as a platform of intensive and extensive discussion of key topics that would transcend the presidencies in coming years.

Amar Bhattacharya, who is the Co-Chair for TF 5: Purpose & Performance: Reassessing the Global Financial Order, pointed out that we are now at the moment of both grave crisis as well as tremendous opportunity wherein global financial order will have to play a key role. Amidst the immediate pressures on the global economy and the risks of the lost decade, as well as deliverance of SDGs and climate change, financial order and purpose form the objective of the TF. This necessitates scaling up investment with innovation, both to drive recovery, and to get new and better forms of growth linking development and climate in a very integral way.

The TF identifies key priorities in terms of finance: Imperative to deliver on the quantity of finance coming from multiple sources, tackle the cost of finance, and have a framework that can allow us to move forward on implementation and governance. The cross-cutting elements for this include development finance, multilateral development banks, and local development finance institutions.

Chair for TF 6: Accelerating SDGs: Exploring New Pathways to the 2030 Agenda, G.A. Tadas, underscored that the TF covers every aspect of development, with almost all the themes of the rest of the task forces present in its working. TF subdivided its work into themes of food security, nutrition, climate-smart agriculture; water security and conservation; promoting holistic outcomes in health; preserving biodiversity and blue economy; gender sensitive SDG programs and investing in children; and overarching Agenda 2030 and partnerships.

André de Mello e Souza, Co-Chair for TF 7: Towards Reformed Multilateralism: Transforming Global Institutions and Frameworks, mentioned that the TF’s discussions took place on the premise that multilateralism is something to be valued, preserved, and reformed, in the context of transforming globalisation or de-globalisation. It has mostly taken a reformist approach rather than replacing them, even though there have been proposals of creating new institutions, for example in the context of the UN Security Council.

Two issues that informed the discussions were inclusiveness, closely related to the legitimacy of the institutions, and efficiency. It was observed that there exists a trade-off between inclusiveness and efficiency because of collective action problems. Contrarily, in some situations, new members bring the required change in institutions to improve efficiency and inclusiveness.

Closing the final session of the Think20 India Inception Conference, Sujan R. Chinoy, Chair, T20 India Core Group, emphasised working together as a team with the provision to share all findings would among the seven task forces. The chairs of each TF should also become chairs of their own domains to lead the viewpoints that exist in their part of the world and deliver recommendations in an open and transparent manner.

Watch the full session here.

This report has been compiled by Pratnashree Basu, Associate Fellow, ORF Kolkata.

The views expressed above belong to the author(s). ORF research and analyses now available on Telegram! Click here to access our curated content — blogs, longforms and interviews.