G20: India Must Flaunt Its Social Development Achievements

IN a major decision last year, the Government of India decided to provide free ration to 81 crore poor people (810 million) under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) for one year. Under NFSA also called the Right to Food Act, the government already provided 5 kilograms of food grains per person per month @ Rs 2-3 per kg. The families covered under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) get 35 kg of food grains per month. Rice is given to poor persons under NFSA at Rs 3 per kg and wheat (flour) at Rs 2 per kg. The annual cost to the exchequer is estimated at Rs 2 lakh crore (30.76 Billion USD) .

Before this scheme, the government was providing free dry ration under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) which ended on December 31st last year. This programme was taken up during the COVID-19 outbreak and continued for almost three years.

People die because of hunger in many  underdeveloped and poor countries and these countries need to start similar programmes and the G20 group of nations can play a great role to support this programme.

Providing 810 million population free ration is indeed a great achievement and developing nations need to replicate this model in their countries.

Infact, the Government of India has always been known for its great food policy as subsidised food grains have been provided to the poor in the country for the last many decades @ Rs 2 to 3/Kg of rice/ wheat flour. Getting subsidized food grains is a right in India under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

In addition, the rural housing scheme like PM Awas Yojna (PMAY) and supplying clean drinking water under Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) are two other Govt’s social development programmes which needs to be highlighted during the upcoming G20 leadership summit.

Sustainable Growth 

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) set up in 2015 are the guiding principles to achieve better growth and development across the world by 2030. This growth as per the SDGs has to be in tandem with our climate and environment. By adhering to these goals, the nations are likely to address challenges which include climate change, environment,  inequality, poverty, peace and justice. Economic growth, environmental protection and social inclusion are three core elements of sustainable development. The sustainable environment and climate can only be achieved when we ensure increased investments in renewable energy, saving water, supporting non fossil fuel sustainable mobility.

Governments across the world are making great innovations in sustainable construction and architecture and India is also playing a great role in this sector like utilizing construction and demolition waste (CND), fly ash, M-sand and other materials. The advancements made in these sustainability sectors by India should also be discussed during G20 meetings.

Pertinently, the Government of India has allocated Rs 10,000 Crore this financial year for setting up Compressed Biogas-CBG units which is indeed a great achievement towards achieving sustainable energy transition.  In Jammu & Kashmir especially we need to get rid of bricks made from clay or sand as they destroy our climate and environment, especially our river and mountain landscape.

The Jammu & Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) is playing a great role in setting up sustainable business units by providing soft loans and subsidies to young entrepreneurs to set up dairy farms,sheep farms, flower farms etc.

Innovation and research and development has to be done by EDI towards setting up industrial units where alternative building materials are produced or even setting up of small CBG units.

World is One Family 

As per the national review report on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) in India, the opening statement begins with Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which is a Sanskrit phrase whose literal meaning is “the world is one family”. Prime Minister Modi in his statement at the UN during SDG summit in 2015 said:

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are thus part and parcel of the country’s long standing tradition and heritage. Indeed, the goals substantially reflect the development agenda of India. Much of India’s development agenda is mirrored in the Sustainable Development Goals. Our national plans are ambitious and purposeful; Sustainable development of one-sixth of humanity will be of great consequence to the world and our beautiful planet.”

Having been much influenced by this great phrase, the Govt of India chose the same title ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ for the upcoming G20 meeting which India is hosting for the first time. Even the Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristina Georgieva during her visit to India in February this year said that One Earth One Family and One Future resonates on a human level with all. Ms Georgieva said this while addressing G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Bengaluru,

G20 Leadership Summit

For the first time India will be hosting the G20 leadership summit which will be held in New Delhi around September this year. The member nations in G20 include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the U.K. and the US, as well as the European Union, represented by the rotating council presidency and the European Central Bank.

India is hosting over 200 meetings in over 50 cities across 32 different work streams which include ministers meetings, working groups meetings on health, agriculture, culture, environment, climate change, anti corruption, energy transitions, education etc.

Srinagar is also hosting one of the G20 meetings from May 22 to 24th. The G20 nations including India have to play a great role in eradicating poverty and addressing the climate crisis in the least developing nations. There are millions of people who struggle to make ends meet because of the high cost of living. Millions cannot afford fuel even for cooking. Safe and clean drinking water is not available in many nations. By showcasing its achievements in the social welfare sectors like public distribution system (PDS) , housing for poor PMAY and supply of clean drinking water under Jal Jeevan Mission-JJM, similar welfare programmes can be replicated in underdeveloped nations.


Under the Indian Presidency, the G20 nations are focussed on the theme, ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future. After the series of other meetings, the 18 heads of states from G 20 nations will sit together in New Delhi in September this year to affirm the aforementioned theme. As the World is like a single family, it is the duty of G-20 nations to work for upliftment of underdeveloped nations. India can showcase its success stories with G20 nations during the series of meetings vis a vis implementation of its centrally sponsored schemes on food , housing for poor, supplying of clean drinking water and many other social welfare programmes. Allocating a massive budget of Rs 2 lakh crores ( 30.76 Billion US dollars) for free distribution of ration is self explanatory especially at a time when flour is selling at highly exorbitant rates in many south Asian countries.

Jammu & Kashmir’s 220% budget (Rs 5000 Crores) has been allocated towards enhancing the drinking water sector this financial year which clearly indicates the seriousness of the Govt to undertake social developmental programmes.

During the series of G20 meetings, these issues need to be highlighted and discussed so that representatives of the G 20 nations will not only impress on their Governments to replicate these models in their nations but some serious initiatives can be taken up to implement these programmes in poor and underdeveloped  nations with the active support from G20 countries.

  • Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer 

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Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat

Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat is an Acumen Fellow and Chairman Jammu & Kashmir RTI Movement. Feedback [email protected]

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