India to push poverty alleviation agenda at G20, says Panagariya

Thursday, Jan 14, 2016,15:03 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | India will push for poverty alleviation and sustainable development besides trade and investment at the G20 forum, according to NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya. The emphasis is not on just trade and investment. Both the subjects have been there in the G20. I think China is trying to take it to a higher level. We want to connect this to the issues of poverty, Panagariya told. Panagariya is India’s Sherpa for the forum and is attending a Sherpas’ meet at Beijing in China, where the agenda for deliberation in next meeting of G20 nations will be set. Elaborating about India’s stance at the agenda setting meet, during an interview earlier this week he said efforts would be made to push the goal of sustainable development.

Goal number one is that our Prime Minister wants to push for elimination of poverty by 2030. Trade and investment are also instruments of eliminating poverty, he said. About the clean energy figuring in next G20 meet, he said, That is one area we want to push for. We have always pushed for this. Giving more details about it, he said, The contentious issues on energy is that the US has been arguing that we commit to some specific date by which we would put an end to the fossil fuel subsidies but, our position is that we are not going to go for a deadline. China is the Chair of the G20, which is a grouping of the developed and developing nations, and deliberates on important issues concerning the world. However, he said apparently the energy ministries have agreed that at some point in the medium term, India will endeavour to eliminate the fossil fuel subsidies.

Panagariya explained, Policy is to work in the direction of eliminating the petrol and diesel subsidies. But there are also political sensitive subsidies we have, in agriculture, at present subsidies on fertiliser. So we are not in a position to really accept any kind of deadline. So we had opposed it in the last G20 meeting. On automatic exchange of information to check black money he said, The general agreement is there, the philosophical agreement is there, but the concrete progress we need to see. On BEPS he said, we have been the strongest advocate, but its success depends on the other countries commit to it.

On BEPS, general agreement exists within G20 and we are certainly implementing it. But its full success depends on most of the other countries coming forward and participating in it. BEPS or Base Erosion and Profit Shifting refers to tax planning strategies that exploit these gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations where there is little or no economic activity, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid. BEPS is of major significance for developing countries due to their heavy reliance on corporate income tax, particularly from multinational enterprises. On the possibility of discussion of devaluation of yuan at G20, he said, It is unlikely to figure in G20 talks. So far I have not seen it.