G20 leaders to discuss finance and economic policy on the ghats of Varanasi


NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, considered the spiritual capital of India, will soon be getting on the international diplomacy map. The VIP city will play host to G20 financial and economic policy mandarins who will brainstorm on the state of the global economy next week.

The meeting is scheduled for March 28-29, a senior government official told ET.

Besides delegates from the G20 member countries, officials from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, OECD and the Asian Development Bank will also be present for the high-profile gathering that will see one of Hinduism’s holiest places take on a new avatar.

Varanasi’s ghats have undergone a swift transformation over the past two and half years, with Modi taking a personal interest in on-the-ground implementation of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in the city.

He spent three days in his constituency during the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, which his party won by a thumping majority. Modi won in Varanasi, leading Bharatiya Janata Party to a sweeping victory in the 2014 general election.

India had earlier hosted such a meeting of officials in Goa, which is one of the country’s top tourist destinations, indicating the stridesBSE -0.60 % Varanasi has made after it became the most important Lok Sabha constituency in the country.

The government is confident the city, also known as Benaras or Kashi, will successfully pull off the hosting of this important gathering.

It will also be an occasion to show the success of the Swachh Bharat mission in a city that was once considered among the 10 dirtiest in the country. Varanasi is well connected by rail and road, and has flights from most big Indian cities.

The G20 is an informal grouping of key countries founded in 1999 that represents 90% of the world’s GDP. In the aftermath of the global economic crisis, it emerged as the key international forum for coordinating a global response after US President George W Bush invited its leaders to Washington DC in November 2008 for the grouping’s first summit.

Germany is currently the G20 chair and the next summit of its leaders is scheduled to be held in Hamburg in July.