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From UPI to street food, India to showcase its tech prowess, soft power at G-20 summit

India's UPI transactions boom (Pic. Courtesy IANS)

Apart from showcasing its rich culture, varied crafts and diverse cuisine at the G20 summit, India will also display its progress in the digital sector, a senior official said on Wednesday while noting that experience panels will be created for delegates to experience how UPI payments are made and how India has been leading in digital payments.
Muktesh K Pardeshi, Special Secretary, G20 Operations, told ANI in an interview that  not everybody is able to understand how India has been able to leapfrog in the sector of digital payment and delegates will also get to know how the CoWin app was developed and how over a billion people were connected with Aadhar.
“…the G20 meetings focusing on three Cs. But there is one unmistakable aspect of our approach. We are going to showcase progress in the field of the digital sector. So there’ll be an experience zone created to showcase the progress we have achieved in the field of technological transformation, particularly digital transformation,” he said.
“There will be some experience panels created for delegates to experience, for instance how UPI payment is done. People will get to know how biometric enrolment was done and one billion people were connected through Aadhar. How the CoWin app was developed. Not everybody is able to understand how India has been able to leapfrog in the sector of digital payment. So we want to showcase the modern face of India as well.”
G20 Summit will be held in New Delhi on September 9 and 10.
“The catering at the Convention Centre is to be done by the ITC which is a leading hotel chain. They have created a large team comprising of chefs and other associates to not only have the menu ready, but also the service experience should be impeccable. So there’s a lot of focus on both the cuisine, the menu planning as well as the service aspect. And we have selected one of the best hotel chains for the purpose you want them to explore the street food of India,” Pardeshi said.
He said an exhibition named ‘Bharat, the Mother of Democracy’ is being organised to show the roots of democracy in India.
“There is another aspect of showcasing India. Not many people know that the democratic roots or democracy …as a concept of participatory governance. The roots are here and thousands of years back there were concepts of Sabha and Samiti. So democracy has not come from outside. It has evolved over a period of time in Indian soil. So there is going to be an exhibition called Bharat, the Mother of Democracy,” the senior official said.
He said there is ample parking place at New Delhi airport.
“We have been in touch with the Dial and GMR. The arrangements have been made both at the Palam Technical Area and at Indira Gandhi International Airport. So far as taking care of the logistical aspects is concerned we are a big country, we are resourceful and what we have gained over the last 8-10 months is a sense of organizational excellence,” he said.
India assumed the G20 presidency on December 1 last year and about 200 meetings related to G20 have been organized in 60 cities across the country.
He referred to directions of political leadership about reflecting the country’s organisational skills.
“We have to excel not only in promoting the G20 substantive agenda, we have to also showcase to the world that India is not behind any country in terms of organizational skills and logistical strengths. And I think it has been now recognized by all visiting delegations. We have done extremely well to offer our hospitality. All the meetings 200 so far have been error-free. There has been no incident,” he said.
“So we expect the forthcoming G20 summit to also be excellent, in terms of no glitches. We would like to conduct the meeting with a very high sense of warmth, and hospitality, taking care of our guests and at the same time showcasing what India has to offer in terms of civilizational and cultural space as well as an India that is technologically advancing and which has the capacity to make as a developed nation in another 25 years,” Pardeshi said.
The Special Secretary further said that there will also be separate programmes for the spouses accompanying the leaders.
“They will be taken to Rajghat, Pusa Institute, and as part of the programme, they are also likely to visit the National Gallery of Modern Art, where they will see exhibitions, and also have some kind of shopping experience, which is being specially curated for spouses,” he added.
Pardeshi further informed that a variety of different dishes are being prepared to showcase the regional cuisine of the country, and street foods of India.
“From the Government of India, it will be offering meals at the Convention Centre. So, you see a variety of dishes being served. Millet will find a prominent place on the menu. The chefs are working to develop different kinds of regional cuisine. They are experimenting and some menus are being developed at some point in time the decision will be taken,” he said.
“But the overall philosophy is that we should have exposure to street foods of India. We should have exposure to millet. And the delegates should also experience different regional cuisines of India. And also our chefs are experimenting with different kinds of grains, different kinds of vegetables and different kinds of dairy products to come up with very innovative dishes…Delhi itself is a leader in street food. What is being served in Chandni Chowk around some of the things the gol gappe or chat”.
The 18th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit in New Delhi will be a culmination of all the G20 processes and meetings held throughout the year among ministers, senior officials, and civil societies.
A G20 Leaders’ Declaration will be adopted at the conclusion of the New Delhi Summit, stating Leaders’ commitment towards the priorities discussed and agreed upon during the respective ministerial and working group meetings.