India showed its ability to drive multilateralism in G20: Amitabh Kant
27 September 2023: Mr Amitabh Kant, India’s G20 Sherpa, presented Managing India Awards at the Golden Jubilee National Management Convention in New Delhi.
Mr Aroon Purie, Founder Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The India Today Group, got the Lifetime Contribution to Media Award while Mr R C Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, received the Lifetime Contribution Award. Ms Rohini Nilekani, Chairperson, Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies took the Corporate Citizen Award. All awardees were joined by their spouses during presentation of trophies.
The citations for the awards were read by Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman, Hero Enterprise, Mr Rajiv Makhni, television show host, and Ms Nandita Das, renowned cinema actor and director.
Presenting the awards, Mr Kant said that it was a great honour for him to present awards to three great people who he had grown up admiring.
Sharing his experience as India’s G20 Sherpa, Mr Kant said that it was a job of taking one’s leader to the top of Mount Everest.
Talking about India’s strategy and achievements during its presidency of G20, Mr Kant said that the PM wanted the opportunity to be used to transform the districts and cities where the 220 G20 meetings were to take place, which was done.
The negotiations proved tougher than anticipated, Mr Kant said. However, he could be ambitious and courageous as G20 Sherpa because he had the full backing of the Prime Minister. “The PM’s directive was to be decisive and action oriented,” he said. It took nine days of non-stop negotiations in a room without phones, away from media, to achieve consensus on the Russia-Ukraine statement. “We pushed the limits and took it to the level of brinkmanship to achieve success,” he said.
India demonstrated its ability to drive multilateralism and bring everybody on board, Mr Kant said, and attributed India’s ability to do so to India’s status as the 5th largest economy in the world.
Talking about pushing the agenda of global south in G20, Mr Kant said that the PM wanted India to put the global south first and India’s G20 presidency began with a virtual meeting of the region’s countries. This year, 80% of the global growth came from the south, he pointed out.
Mr Kant said that India managed to achieve consensus on a every issue, including redesigning the multilateral institutions, pushing digital public infrastructure, climate change, climate finance, green growth, women-led development, and inclusion of Africa. He pointed out that India achieved 112 outcomes during its presidency of G20 compared to 50 by the previous president, Indonesia.
India’s digital public infrastructure was a key focus during the presidency, as 133 countries lack fast payment systems. “It became important to evangelize DPI model, which are open and interoperable unlike the big tech model of the US and China,” he said.
Accepting the Managing India Award, Mr Aroon Purie said the he was delighted to receive the award at this particular time because the media has become the whipping boy for everyone and everyone blames all ills of the society on the media. “We’re not perfect. Bad apples exist in every industry and profession. Aren’t there bad apples in business and bureaucracy?” he said.
Stressing the importance of the media in today’s India, Mr Purie said,”A free press is essential for our democracy, especially when democracy is not functioning so well…when more debates are held on television than in Parliament.” Mr Purie expressed worry about the epidemic of fake news, and the potential of AI to make it worse. “Truth is in danger of becoming an endangered species…journalists have to step up and do their job honestly,” he said.
Mr Bhargava said that the award was somewhat an anomaly because when he joined Maruti, he knew nothing about management. He credited his colleagues for teaching him management. “Individuals can never achieve. All achievements are collective,” he said.
In her acceptance speech, Ms Nilekani said, “We live in complex and challenging times. We need to cultivate empathy, self-restraint and charity to create a successful samaaj, a safe harbour for our children and grandchildren.”
Opening the awards ceremony, AIMA President Mr Shrinivas Dempo brought attention to the focus of the 50th National Management Convention and emphasized that India needed to raise its thinking and action to the next level. “The new India needs a new dream – a dream of being a country with high standards of living for every Indian, a dream of being an evolved country that offers the world new models of economy, democracy, governance, technology and culture,” he said.
Mr Nikhil Sawney, Senior Vice President, AIMA thanked Mr Kant for presenting the awards and congratulated the winners. “Each one of you is special and each one of you has made transformative contribution in a critical sector of Indian economy,” he told the awardees.
Mr Sudhir Jalan, Co-Chairman, Rieter India Pvt Ltd, introduced the awards and complimented the jury for its excellent selection of awardees.
The awards ceremony was live streamed on AIMA’s social media channels.