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G20 Concludes With Agreements On Climate And Infrastructure With Much Praise For India

European officials were quoted saying China shot itself in the foot by staying away from the summit, allowing India to cement its leadership of the Global South and providing the US and Europe a clear path to strengthen ties with emerging markets.

By Govindraj Ethiraj
New Update
G20 India Praise
On today’s episode, financial journalist Govindraj Ethiraj talks to Dr Arunabha Ghosh, climate expert and CEO of the Council for Energy, Environment and Water, Pushan Sharma, Director Research at Crisil Market Intelligence & Analytics as well as Bimal Kothari, Chairman of the Mumbai-based India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), the apex body for India’s pulses trade and industry.

Our Top Reports For Today

  • [00:50] The G20 concludes, with agreements on climate and infrastructure & praise for India’s handling with Dr Arunabha Ghosh
  • [11:49] How the potato or aloo has become a key force in our fight against food inflation with Pushan Sharma
  • [17:18] India’s love and dependance on dal could set off a trade war shortly with Bimal Kothari
  • [27:14] And hmm..if you are over 50, then you are more important for business than you think.

NOTE: This transcript contains only the host's monologue and does not include any interviews or discussions that might be within the podcast. Please refer to the episode audio if you wish to quote the people interviewed. Email [email protected] for any queries.


There are of course many takeaways from the just concluded G20 Summit in New Delhi leading to the New Delhi declaration.

The key of course was that there was a declaration, which was largely expected not to happen. One question of course lingered around the rift between Russia and the West over the continuing war in Ukraine and the fact that China’s President Xi Jinping skipped the summit in an apparent snub to India which does not seem to have had the intended effect.

On the other hand, India’s role in bringing together the G20 on a range of issues seems to have won the day.

Bloomberg News quoted European officials as saying China shot itself in the foot by staying away from the summit, allowing India to cement its leadership of the Global South and providing the US and Europe a clear path to strengthen ties with emerging markets.

Significantly, the G20 also admitted the African Union, which includes 55 member states, as a permanent member of the G20, among many steps attributed to India’s leadership at the summit.

Among other wins, the US announced a deal with India, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Israel and other Middle Eastern countries to develop an ambitious rail and maritime network across the region.

Very broadly, what did the leaders of the G20 resolve to do at the end of the summit ?

Here go some key points. The leaders committed to

  1.  Accelerate strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.

  2. Accelerate the full and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Pursue low-GHG/low-carbon emissions, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable development pathways. 

  3. Focus on Lifestyles for Sustainable Development (LiFE), and conserve biodiversity, forests and oceans.

  4. Improve access to medical countermeasures and facilitate more supplies and production capacities in developing countries to prepare better for future health emergencies.

  5. Promote resilient growth by urgently and effectively addressing debt vulnerabilities in developing countries.

  6. Accelerate efforts and enhance resources towards achieving the Paris Agreement, including its temperature goal.

  7. Pursue reforms for better, bigger and more effective Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to address global challenges to maximise developmental impact.

  8. Improve access to digital services and digital public infrastructure, and leverage digital transformation opportunities to boost sustainable and inclusive growth. Digital infrastructure comes up quite often by the way in the final declaration.

  9. Promote sustainable, quality, healthy, safe and gainful employment.

  10.  Close gender gaps and promote the full, equal, effective and meaningful participation of women in the economy as decision-makers. 

  11. Better integrate the perspectives of developing countries, including LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS, into future G20 agenda and strengthen the voice of developing countries in global decision making.

Now, a key focus has been climate. While there was no new language on the phasing down of coal from the previous Bali summit, the New Delhi declaration did announce the establishment of a Green Hydrogen Innovation Centre, the tripling of renewable energy by 2030, setting up a global biofuels alliance.

To understand better what the various climate declarations, running into 8 of 37 pages, talked of, I reached out to Dr Arunabha Ghosh, climate expert and CEO of the Council for Energy, Environment and Water. Dr Ghosh also serves on the Government of India’s G20 Finance Track Advisory Group and advises the Sherpa Track for India’s G20 Presidency in 2022-23.

Retail Inflation

We have been tracking inflation levels quite closely. We spoke last week of how the cost of a vegetarian thali rose 24% in August and a non-vegetarian thali rose 13% year on year. 

Having said that, prices are now down, thanks largely to the tomato, whose rising prices caught the nation’s attention and caused everyone, including policy makers, to scramble wildly. Crisil research says that 21% of the rise in thali cost can be attributed to the tomato process which rose from Rs 37 kg a year ago to Rs 102 per kg last month.

Prices of onion, chilli and cumin rose too, taking the cost of the vegetarian thali up, but accounting for much less.

By the way, the non vegetarian thali price did not rise up as much because the price of broilers which form more than 50% of the cost did not rise as much, rather only 1-3% a year.

Speaking of prices that did not go up. Vegetable oil prices are down 17% and potato prices are down 14% year on year, which obviously helped keep overall costs low.

We’ve spoken of vegetable oils and edible oils a few days ago and how imports of them are also touching record highs but prices are stable for now.

Lets now talk about the potato. There are some interesting lessons in potato prices

I spoke with Pushan Sharma, Director Research at Crisil Market Intelligence & Analytics.


From Aloo to Dal

The G20 declaration we spent some time on just now also spoke of commitment to support developing countries’ efforts and capacities to address their food security challenges, and work together to enable access to affordable, safe, nutritious and healthy diets, and to foster the progressive realisation of the right to adequate food. 

It also spoke of open, fair, predictable, and rules-based agriculture, food and fertiliser trade, not impose export prohibitions or restrictions and reduce market distortions, in accordance with relevant WTO rules.

Of course, it is not easy not to have export restrictions when prices are skyrocketing through the roof. Like in India right now.

To remind us all, inflation in prices of rice and pulses has been running at 13%. Within pulses, inflation for tur dal is at 34%, followed by around 8% for urad dal and 9% for Moong.

Lets stay with the dals now.

It is now clear that pulses and dals are one of the biggest categories of foods to be hit by monsoon vagaries and international trade hurdles.

Domestic sowing is less compared to last year but anticipation that the crop could be poor is driving up prices. Total sown area of pulses is down 8.5 percent as of September 9, year-on-year (YoY). The total area of pulse cultivation had fallen last year too, by as much as 11.26 percent.

El Nino is playing a role here too.

On the other hand, Mozambique from whom we import has put a floor price on exports of tur dal. This is a little more complicated and has some background to it as well which I will come to.

Overall, the situation is tricky. More than that, the present situation, dire as it is, is also showing up the Government’s moves as good but not good enough. For example, we were wise to tie up with several countries for imports of pulses but we may not have had a more composite strategy.

To understand what has gone wrong and why, I spoke with Bimal Kothari, Chairman of the Mumbai-based India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), the apex body for India’s pulses trade and industry.


And hmm…why 50 + folks are cool

People aged 50 and older are responsible for a larger share of economic activity than before, says a new Global Longevity Economic Report, put out by the AARP or the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) set up in 1958 and aimed at empowering Americans over 50 in their lives and pursuits.

The report that covers some 76 economies says in 2020, the 50 plus population contributed $45 trillion to global GDP or 34% of the total.

Moreover, at the end of this decade, that is 2030, the contribution of the 50 plus population to global GDP will rise to an inflation adjusted $65 trillion or 36% of GDP.

Moreover, through its spending on goods and services, the 50 plus population supported 1/3rd of the world’s jobs in 2020 or over 1 billion jobs generating $23 trillion in labour income.

Growth will be strongest in the next decade as the number of jobs supported by older people is set to jump by nearly 20% to more than 1.2 billion in 2030 or 35% of the global total.

Interestingly, nearly 1/3rd of the global impact on GDP generated by the 50 plus population is driven by cross border spending on products and services.

Finally, the report argues that in the five largest consumer product categories, the 50 plussers were responsible for half or more of global spending. Which includes health, miscellaneous goods and services, housing and utilities, food and beverages and transport. More than half the spending on recreation and culture and furnishings and household maintenance is driven by the 50 plussers.

The report says that policy makers and business leaders will need to develop clear visions and strategies to address this huge and expanding market.

All this of course is unlikely to be found on the pitch decks of any tech-based consumer facing company, not just in India but elsewhere in the world.

Perhaps it's time to put on a fresh set of glasses.


Speaking of 50 plussers..

A few weeks ago, all of Bollywood and the entire cinema exhibition industry was pretty much written off by several pundits.

And now, it's swung back with an intensity that even stock markets don’t usually see.

All thanks to the 50 plus Shah Rukh Khan’s latest film Jawan which crossed a record Rs 200 crore in just three days of its release. 

And was all set to cross Rs 300 crore overnight including international earnings.

Its primary language is Hindi but it is earning in Tamil, Telugu as well.

The film appears to have learnt a few tricks from the southern films and adopted to create a world of memes and highly instagrammable sequences.

More on this of course in a few days as the dust settles down.

That’s it from me, I wish you a great week ahead and do visit www.thecore.in and see our latest reports, interviews and analysis.

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Bye for now.