Indian lessons for consensus building - Hindustan Times
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Indian lessons for consensus building

Oct 10, 2023 10:00 PM IST

G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit in Delhi seeks to usher in a new era of cooperation between parliaments on global issues

The G20 summit chaired by India has been praised all over the world. It is a matter of pride that this summit concluded with a joint declaration strengthening our concept of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” — One Earth, One Family, One Future. G20 also underlined India’s growing global influence, as it successfully played the role of a consensus builder. Coming on the heels of the G20 Summit, the Parliament of India is getting ready to host another important congregation, i.e. the P20 or the G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit on October 13 and 14 in New Delhi. P20 brings together the Speakers or the Presiding Officers of Parliaments of G20 and invitee nations.

Our Parliament has presented a model of meaningful discussion and dialogue to the world (ANI)
Our Parliament has presented a model of meaningful discussion and dialogue to the world (ANI)

Parliament is the supreme legislative body of every nation, through which public representatives present aspirations and expectations of people in the Houses and formulate laws and policies. India is an ancient civilisation with a rich cultural heritage. Democracy has been an ingrained concept in India for ages. Even in our ancient texts, there is mention of participatory institutions such as sabha and samiti, which existed as public representative institutions in the Vedic age. Democracy, diversity and demography have been our strengths in our 75-year journey since Independence. With the power of democracy, we have created harmony among all sections of society and ensured social and economic development for all. People-centric, inclusive development is at the centre of our democratic journey. Even in our Parliament, public representatives form a collective view on issues after extensive discussion. This helps us find collective solutions to challenges.

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Therefore, in the P20 conference also, the Parliament of India will try to develop a common vision to address the important contemporary issues facing the world and humanity. The importance of organising the P20 Conclave in India increases because the consensus on global issues is related to the common future of humanity. The focus of the P20 conference will be on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the climate crisis, women-led development and the shared future of humanity. It will also discuss topics related to Lifestyle for Environment i.e. Mission LiFE, India’s contribution to the lexicon of managing the climate crisis.

Sustainable Development Goals: The SDGs have certainly given impetus to efforts to realise the concept of holistic human development in the world. As we approach 2030, it becomes even more important to assess the achievements made under this initiative and accelerate efforts to realise them. Among the SDGs, there are many whose impact is universal. There is a need to discuss these issues in parliaments and build consensus to eliminate all contradictions. Policy consensus needs to be developed while maintaining the sovereignty of nations.

Towards a green future: India has attempted to adapt its development process to the needs of a green future even while facing the challenges of a huge population and maintaining the aspiration of becoming a developed nation. Today, India is in a leadership role in the field of alternative energy. Policy initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance and Global Biofuel Alliance championed by India have received wide global support. Environment-related issues have also been discussed continuously in our Parliament. Through this dialogue, a consensus has been formed in the country on policy-making for renewable energy beyond political differences.

Women empowerment to women-led development: Women have been considered the embodiment of power and devotion in India’s ancient culture. Women have proved their capability and strength in all fields, be it science and technology, defence, space science or in the field of sports. Our Constitution has empowered women by giving them equal rights in all spheres, including voting rights. As our journey of democracy progressed, policy decisions were taken to provide political and economic empowerment to women and to give them leadership opportunities. Initially, laws were made for reservation for women in gram panchayat- and municipal-level elections. Taking this forward, laws have since been made for reservation for them in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. There has been a consensus on this law among every political party in the entire country. We will share our positive experiences on this topic at the P20 conference and strive to make women-led development a global movement.

Transforming people’s lives through public digital platforms: India has been at the forefront of digital transformation, leveraging technology to improve the lives of its citizens. Initiatives such as Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric identification system, have streamlined access to government services. Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has become one of the largest financial inclusion tools that brought digital banking to the masses. The Digital India programme aims to provide digital access to all citizens and is revolutionising governance at the grassroots. The lives of millions of Indians have been transformed with the adoption of digital technology across various sectors such as education, agriculture, and finance. At the P20 summit, we will share this landmark achievement with the parliaments of the world so that India’s success in digital transformation becomes a model for the entire world.

India’s Parliament has played a big role in shaping the destiny of the world’s largest democracy. Our Parliament has made public welfare laws after extensive discussion, always keeping the interests of the public in mind. Despite having a multi-party system, we have reached a consensus on issues. In this way, our Parliament has presented a model of meaningful discussion and dialogue to the world. I am confident that just as the G20 summit achieved consensus on global challenges, the P20 summit will also underline the essential role of parliaments in addressing contemporary challenges and usher in a new era of cooperation between parliaments on global issues.

Om Birla is Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The views expressed are personal

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