2023 is a special year for India with regards to it’s foreign policy and global footprint. The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi was officially handed over the presidency of the G – 20 group of nations last year in November 2022 during the group’s annual summit meeting between the heads of states in Indonesia. The presidency, which is rotational, has come to India for the first time since the preliminary summit took place in 2008. G – 20 was initially focused on the world economy and financial markets. Over the years, as a result of geopolitical changes and emerging challenges, it has now become a platform for engagement between the leading world economies in a variety of areas.
New domains include sustainable development, climate change, environment, trade, energy, etc. The G20 is one of the most pivotal geopolitical groupings in the world. It comprises of 20 members – 19 nations and the European Union. All nations combined have around 85% share in the world economy and more than 60% population of the world resides in these countries.
Under India’s G20 presidency in 2023, many meetings will take place across the length and breadth of the country. There are many engagement groups under the umbrella of G20. For example, the S20 which is the Science 20. Just like that, there is Business 20, Labour 20, Startup 20, Think 20, Parliament 20, Youth 20, etc. Each of these engagement groups have their own distinct focus areas and agendas. All these groups will have a set of meetings attended by the concerned delegates of member countries. Dedicated portals for all of these groups have been created, providing relevant information.
In the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “India will strive to ensure that G20 acts as a global prime mover to envision new ideas and accelerate collective action.” With the mantra of “One Earth • One Family • One Future”, India is ready and all geared up to shoulder big responsibilities and set bigger ambitions.
One of the most significant focus groups of the G20 is the Y20 or Youth 20. It a medium which aims to bring together youth from member nations to have a constructive dialogue with each other. The youth of a country shapes the future and in order to mitigate problems around the world, it becomes vital for the youth to engage. It leads to a phenomenal exchange of ideas. The points, critiques and suggestions that emanate from these consultations form the foundations of future policies that will affect the world.
An underrated aspect of the Y20 grouping is that it gives rise to future leaders and raises awareness among the younger population. With the kind of challenges that have emerged since the outbreak of the Covid – 19 pandemic and strain on the world economy, conflicts between nations and disruption of global supply chains – It is important that youngsters all over the world talks about this and offer broad perspectives on navigating these issues in a manner that benefits everyone with minimum fallouts.
Coming back to India’s presidency, the curtain raiser event for the Youth 20 was held in New Delhi on January 6th 2023. Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Anurag Thakur was present at the event. The inception meeting was held from February 6th to 8th, 2023 in Guwahati, Assam. This is followed by various consultations in different cities of India. The Main Y20 summit will take place later this year in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh from August 17th to 20th
The themes for Y20 this year focus on the future of work industry, innovation, skills in the 21st century, peacebuilding and reconciliation, climate change, disaster risk reduction, sustainable living, youth participation in democracy and governance, health, sports and wellbeing. As a part of it’s outreach, the Y20 focus group will organise many seminars and dialogues across India in schools, colleges and universities.
Youth 20 and Young India
India houses the 2nd largest population in the world and it is set to surpass China as the most populous nation this year. As per latest figures, 65% of India’s population is aged below 35. People aged 25 and below account for 50% of the population. India is the youngest nation in the world today. This demographic advantage is one that India should utilise to the best extent.
When you have such a dynamic and energetic citizenry, you have great window of opportunity to convert this into significant gains for the country. The youth of India is filled with aspirations and wants to contribute to India’s development story. The collaboration of India’s youngsters with their overseas counterparts under the Y20 focus group will ensure that policy making as a process becomes more inclusive, ideas and innovation are brought to action through efficient and effective implementation and that the world prepares itself for the possibilities of the future.
One of the primary objectives of Y20 is to see that the ideas and policy inputs adopted are brought to fruition. Youngsters will have a great opportunity to voice their opinions on critical issues and connect to a global audience. It would be interesting to witness the draft that comes out from the main summit and the overall output of such exercises in the coming time.
( Author is a 2 nd year Law student at Faculty of Law, Delhi University.)