Director’s Speech at BRICS Governance Forum, Yangzhou China.

India’s G-20Presidency: An opportunity to take forward the BRICSDigital Governance Agenda
Speech Draft by

Dear BRICS delegates, thank you for your kind invitation to attend this important conference on BRICS countries forum on governance. Today my topic of intervention is “why and how India can reset the Global Governance Agenda in 2023?”India has taken over the G20 Presidency in the year 2023. It is also hosting the SCO security summit in New Delhi. Every powerful country gets this opportunity once in decades to define the global agenda. Some of the top priorities for Indian presidency are digital financial inclusion for vulnerable groups like women, cyber protection for children and cybersecurity. The promotion of digital innovation and inclusive growth in an increasingly digitized global economy have become mainstream concerns within the G20 agenda.

Why Digital Governance tops the Indian PresidencyAgenda?
Although Climate Change and prevention of War figures at the top of G-20 agenda in India. But digital governance is also a measure headache for world economy. Like in other BRICS nations, India believes that many measures currently in place are outdated and not suited for the cyber threats of today, let alone the AI based threats of tomorrow. India believes that the narrative of data free flow with trust should be more accommodative of emerging economies and developing nations. Digital governance has become the real national Security concern for all BRICS Nations as well as many global economies in G-20. It also confirms to the sustainable development agenda of Indian and Chinese priorities for Global Governance. But we have not reached a consensus of building a global Cyber Security Regime for Digital Payment and Governance Systems. All BIRCS nations believe that we need to enhance the coordination and national capabilities for cross-border e-commerce transactions and logistic support. Since economic security is the foundation for stability of BIRCS nations, hence there must be more and more focus and investment and cooperation in Innovation and technological progress essential for growth and international competitive advantage for all four BRICS Nations. Above all our digital innovation intrinsically linked to strong manufacturing sector (industry 4.0).

As the co-chair of the G20’s Framework Working Group in 2021, India has recognized that digitalization will continue to play a key role in improving economic growth. India welcomes the sharing best practices through the G20 Repository of Digital Policies established during the Argentine presidency. Over the years, India’s digital economy agenda has included priorities such as building digital infrastructure, digital skills, and digital platforms. India fully recognizes that the cross-border free flow of data, information, ideas and knowledge generates higher productivity, greater innovation, and improved sustainable development. But we also feel that the free flow of data raises certain challenges, such as the protection of privacy and personal data.

The Roadmap for Emerging Cybersecurity Regime
In 2016 in Hangzhou, the Saudi Presidency has proposed an overarching policy definition of the different elements of the digital economy. The 2017 Roadmap for Digitalization developed under the German Presidency, the 2018 G20 Toolkit for Measuring the Digital Economy produced under the Argentine Presidency. At Hangzhou the G20 reiterated the promise to bridge the digital divide and pledged to work to ensure that the benefits from technological innovation are widely shared, creating more and better jobs, reducing inequalities and promoting inclusive labor force participation. However, in 2019, India, South Africa, and Indonesia refrained from promoting cross-border data flow and did not sign the Osaka Declaration. In 2019, in Osaka, G20 Leaders acknowledged the importance of data free flow with trust and cross-border data flow and recognized the critical role played by effective use of data for digitalization. In 2020, the Saudi Arabian presidency acknowledged the different approaches taken by the G20 members on this front, including the use of regulatory sandboxes. The B20 Taskforce on Digitalization’ provided the global business community vision of the policy priorities for the digital future. In 2021, the G20 Digital Economy Ministers welcomed the existing work of the OECD that identified commonalities in regulatory approaches for cross-border data transfers.

Bridging the Digital Divide
India is on the threshold of a unique digital revolution in its governance as well as domestic market. It provides an opportunity for other G-20 nations to learn from Indian experience of digitization for masses(such as UPI payment gateway, Indigenous 5G launch etc.). The current debate is on how can we maximize the potential of the digital economy as a driver for innovation and inclusive growth and also setting priorities for a new collaboration cycle on key issues of global digital economy. Digital financial inclusion for vulnerable groups like women is a key topic for discussions in the G20, as India takes over its Presidency in the year 2023. India’s focus on building global smart cities network will also be on top of the agenda. India aims to promote digital technology such as AI and Big Data to promote World Peace and prosperity. Reduce international conflict and promote digital economy across the Sectors. Indian presidency will propose to Partner with developing countries in the global Southin order tocontain the digital divide. Make sure no one is left behind. On the other hand, the successful example of digital economy in China shows that State can be a major platform for enabling the Digital economy. The role of the state is significant in supporting the Russian start-up ecosystem, such as Setting up complex high-tech projects in cooperation with universities, stimulating commercialization of research results and creation of innovative businesses in universities, digital regulation, data protection regime and taxing of cross-border a major issue.

Measuring The Digital Economy
One of the major challenges our policy makers face is how to correctly measure the contribution of digital economy, as there is no one standard to measure the same. In 2020, the DETF has recognized the importance of representative indicators related to Jobs, Skills, and Growth in the Digital Economy, that is now called the “G20 Roadmap Toward a Common Framework for Measuring the Digital Economy” which sets out potential actions to advance towards a G20 Common Framework for Measuring the Digital Economy. But lack of common international framework in digital standardization and regulations will lead to digital disasters in future. Taking forward the agenda at the Indian Summit, the G20 nations must harness the strengths of relevant international organizations and social partners, such as OECD, BRICS and others. BRICS nations are facing some of the new regulatory such as a common policy towards crypto assets and digital currency, platform governance and competition, artificial intelligence — ethics and governance, cybersecurity and new approaches to regulating India’s digital economy. Although all the BRICS nations are witnessing massive growth in their digital economy but one most recognize that none of them are at same stage of development. China is far ahead among the five. Hence there is a scope for learning form Chinese experience for digital growth and regulatory mechanisms.

In 2023 India will further the agenda of G20 members and also other countries to address these challenges, in accordance with relevant applicable legal frameworks, which can further facilitate data free flow and strengthen consumer and business trust, without prejudice to legitimate public policy objectives. Working towards sharing experiences and best practices between G20 countries, by sharing experiences on digital measurement and on operationalizing the definition of the digital economy with G20 countries and beyond. Institutional arrangements and capabilities by supporting a multi stakeholder approach, strengthening supply chains; and ensuring cybersecurity. Public availability of and reporting on indicators, including in open formats. G20 Toolkit for Measuring the Digital Economy (2018) put together by Argentina under its Presidency: Infrastructure, Technology Adoption and Innovations, Empowering Society, and Jobs, Skills and Growth. Engaging in measurement discussions in multilateral fora and strength.
National Policies and International Co-operation for Cybersecurity and a Trustworthy AI Establish a Working Group to formulate the International Standardization of Digital Technology. India will propose to form another International Working Group on Digital Currency and Financial Cooperation Mechanism. In the end let me also make a brief comment on the future agenda for the BRICS cooperation.

The So called “BRICS Plus” Cooperation model

BRICS cooperation is aimed at complementing and strengthening existing bilateral and multilateral relations between Member States. It aims to promote peace, security, prosperity and development in multipolar, interconnected and globalized world. At previous G20’ meetings, the BRICS was influential in shaping macroeconomic policies in the aftermath of the recent financial crisis. The “BRICS Plus” cooperation model was first proposed by President Xi at the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China in 2017. For the first time, the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries was established. On the one hand, as an innovative form of international cooperation, BRICS Plus enables more emerging markets and developing countries to share the opportunities brought by BRICS. On the other hand, BRICS Plus, unlike alliances, allows all parties to engage in international cooperation in a flexible and flexible manner. Most of BRICS audience view the “BRICS Plus” cooperation model proposed by Xi, which reflects his farsightedness and correct judgment of international situation. At the 14th BRICS Summit held in China last year, Xi Jinping, in his speech, compared the BRICS to “a big ship” that braved stormy seas, winds and rains to forge ahead. What do you think of Xi’s such comparison and metaphor? What kind of risks and difficulties do you think the stormy seas, winds and rains refer to? At the same time, President Xi pointed out that while crises bring disorder, they also bring change and reform.

In principle, all BRICS countries are committed to strengthening the G20 as a premier forum for international economic cooperation. They will continue to actively participate in the work of the G20, exchange views with the aim of further strengthening international financial and economic architecture and achieving strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. BRICS countries will continue to coordinate and hold preparatory meetings during the series of G-20 events.

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