The Minister was speaking at the third G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting held at Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) through video conferencing.
Sitharaman, in the first session of the meeting, spoke about the G20 Action Plan in response to COVID-19. The plan laid out a list of collective commitments under the pillars of health response, economic response, strong and sustainable recovery as well as global financial coordination, aimed at co-ordinating G20 efforts to fight the pandemic.
Emphasising that the plan needs to reflect how the economies are balancing their supply-side and demand-side measures in response to COVID-19, Sitharaman shared with her counterparts the manner in which India is working on ensuring this balance through credit schemes for greater liquidity, direct benefit transfers, and employment guarantee schemes.
The Finance Minister specifically referred to India’s comprehensive economic package to address recovery and growth amounting to over USD 295 billion, about 10 per cent of India’s GDP.
Adding to this, Sitharaman also spoke about the procyclicality of credit rating downgrades by the rating agencies and its deterrent impact on policy options, particularly for EMEs.
Meanwhile, in the second session of the meeting, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors discussed the developments on G20 Finance Track deliverables. First, enhancing access to opportunities for women, youth and SMEs as a priority agenda especially at a time when the pandemic has most impacted the vulnerable sections of the society.
Second, referring to the international taxation agenda and the intended deliverable of formulating a solution for addressing challenges related to digital taxation, Sitharaman noted the progress on the agenda and said that it is imperative that this consensus-based solution should be simple, inclusive and based on a robust economic impact assessment.
The Finance Minister also shared some of the policy measures taken by the Government of India to fight the pandemic, including direct benefit transfers, special support to agriculture and MSME sectors, rural employment guarantee measures and others.