G-20 summit: PM Modi backs fight against economic fugitives

The Prime Minister also took part in a special session on empowerment of women.

New Delhi/Osaka: At the G-20 summit in Osaka on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for strong measures to deal with fugitive economic offenders and also highlighted his government’s slogan of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas” (support, progress and confidence from all) as he spoke about social welfare schemes initiated in India.

Mr Modi highlighted his government’s policies at a G-20 session on “Addressing inequalities — Realising an inclusive and sustainable world”.

In separate engagements, the Prime Minister invited G-20 countries to join global coalition on disaster resilience; joined other leaders in resolving to prevent the use of the internet to fund and facilitate terrorism and extremism and promoted India’s traditional healing measures, yoga and his flagship Ayushman Bharat health scheme.

“Emphasised on healthcare including India’s traditional healing measures, yoga and our present efforts like the world’s largest healthcare programme, Ayushman Bharat,” Mr Modi said on Twitter.

The Prime Minister also took part in a special session on empowerment of women. The session witnessed an in-depth dialogue on how to further women empowerment and work towards gender equality.

India’s G-20 sherpa and former Union minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday described the slogan of “Sabka Saath...” as a “very important issue and most inclusive statement”.

On a day of hectic activities, India stopped short of joining the Osaka declaration on digital economy. Mr Prabhu said that the reasons for New Delhi’s decision have been communicated to the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and described Japan as a “dear friend”.

On the issue of data, it may be recalled that India had on Friday officially articulated its position that international rule-making on data flows be done within the ambit of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as data flows are a form of trade and that “digital divide” among nations must be prevented.

The slogan of “Sabka Saath” was described by Mr Prabhu later as a “very important issue and most inclusive statement”.

Highlighting Mr Modi’s anti-corruption fight at the global level, Mr Prabhu said, “We strongly put forward the need to deal with fugitive economic offenders. It has been a strong agenda, we have been working on tax evasion, corruption, economic offences and fugitive offenders running away (from the country).”

He said, “We (India) strongly feel that we as a global community must act in unison to deal with such issues of people committing economic offences and running away from their national domicile country.”

According to reports from Osaka, 19 members (including India) of the G-20, without the United States, also agreed to the “irreversibility” of the Paris climate deal and pledged its full implementation, after two days of talks.

Warning that there are growing risks to the global economy, leaders of the G-20 called for a free and stable trade environment and reform of the WTO.

The G-20 bloc said it will play a lead role in the global efforts to prevent fight against corruption by denying safe haven to persons sought for corruption and “work more closely” on asset recovery cooperation.

Among others issues that India raised during the summit were clean energy, environment protection, agriculture, tourism and systemic shift towards providing social security and financial benefits for the ageing population.

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