Workload prompts Piyush Goyal to give up G20 Sherpa job, Amitabh Kant takes over

Published on Jul 07, 2022 01:54 PM IST
  • G20 brings together 19 of the world’s major economies and the European Union, accounting for more than 80% of global GDP, 75% of global trade and 60% of global population.
Union minister Piyush Goyal and former NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
Union minister Piyush Goyal and former NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

Former NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has been appointed as the Sherpa for G-20 Summit due to Union minister Piyush Goyal's busy schedule as the leader of the Rajya Sabha and as someone who is leading the negotiations for a fair, equitable and balanced free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union. Goyal requested Kant to take up the role as, with G20 presidency coming to India, a full-time Sherpa is required who would be needed to devote a lot of time to meetings that will be held in different parts of the country.

Goyal was appointed as India’s Sherpa for the G20 in September last year. But with the monsoon session of the Parliament coming, the leader of the Upper House will have his hands full, which means his foreign travel gets curtailed making the work as G-20 Sherpa difficult to sustain.

In the past, Goyal has led the FTA negotiations with the UAE and Australia and India needs his full-time attention for crucial FTAs with the UK and EU. The FTAs involve huge markets and labour-intensive industries that could create hundreds of thousands of jobs. In such a scenario, the Centre would not want his attention to be diverted from core portfolios when FTAs could be game changers for India’s labour-intensive sectors.

Goyal’s guidance is also needed at the World Trade Organization where India achieved the best-ever outcome for the country during the WTO ministerial meeting last month.

The major international grouping of G20 brings together 19 of the world’s major economies and the European Union. G20 members account for more than 80% of global GDP, 75% of global trade and 60% of global population.

India will be hosting the G20 Summit from December 1, 2022 and will convene the G20 Leaders’ Summit in 2023 for the first time. India is also be part of the G20 Troika – which is formed by the preceding, current, and incoming G20 Presidencies – ending November 30, 2024.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been leading India’s representation at G20 Summits since he took the office in 2014.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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