Ex-NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant to replace Piyush Goyal as India G20 Sherpa
The Centre on Thursday appointed Amitabh Kant, former chief executive officer (CEO) of the government’s policy think tank NITI Aayog, as India’s Sherpa for the Group of Twenty (G20) grouping, replacing Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal.
G20 is the premier forum for the world’s largest industrialised and emerging economies for international economic cooperation and plays a pivotal role in global economic governance.
Kant, a career bureaucrat who retired last month from the Aayog, will be the personal representative of the head of the government — Prime Minister Narendra Modi — at the G20 summit.
As Sherpa, Kant will be responsible for pre-summit meetings and negotiations with partner countries on various policy issues.
Goyal, who is also Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and Textiles, was appointed Sherpa in September last year.
People aware of the matter said that with the G20 Presidency coming to India this year from December, there was a need for a full-time Sherpa to devote time to numerous meetings scheduled to be held in different parts of the country.
Goyal has already been tasked with other pressing duties such as Leader of Rajya Sabha, which was given to him after his appointment as Sherpa.
The Union Cabinet in February this year had approved setting up a G20 Secretariat and its reporting structures, which will be responsible for the implementation of policy decisions and arrangements needed for steering India’s forthcoming G20 Presidency.
The Secretariat will be manned by officers and staff from the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Finance, other relevant line departments, and domain knowledge experts, and will remain functional until February 2024.
The Secretariat will be guided by an apex committee headed by the Prime Minister, and comprise the finance minister, home minister, external affairs minister, and G20 Sherpa to provide guidance to India’s G20 Presidency.
Further, a coordination committee will be set up to oversee G20 preparations and report to the apex committee.
The G20 Secretariat will enable long-term capacity building, including knowledge and expertise, for India’s leadership on global issues on multilateral fora.
The government is also redeveloping Pragati Maidan to build a state-of-the-art convention and exhibition centre that will serve as venue for the G20 Summit next year.
G20 countries represent more than 80 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product, 75 per cent of international trade, and 60 per cent of the world population.
India has been a member of the G20 since its inception in 1999. India is part of the G20 troika (preceding, current, and incoming G20 Presidencies) from December 1, 2021, until November 30, 2024.