Indian Minister of State Jitendra Singh Wednesday urged G20 member states to adopt strict anti-corruption stances in advance of the group’s 2023 New Delhi summit. According to Singh, the G20 is in a unique position to tackle the “complex social, political and economic challenge” of corruption. He proposed measures designed to promote information sharing, prioritize asset recovery and the return of assets, and expedite the process of returning fugitive economic offenders to face prosecution.
In his statement to the delegates representing the world’s twenty largest economies, Dr. Singh highlighted the significant financial impact of corruption on India’s economy. Public sector banks in the country lost roughly $272 billion due to fraud from “high net-worth individuals.” The high losses, in part reimbursed by the government, sapped funding from gender equality and poverty reduction programs. Singh said that the ripple effects of fraud and the lack of opportunity for asset recovery affect economic growth, quality of life, and sound governance within and outside of the G20.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi championed the current anti-corruption stance. Modi described corruption and nepotism as “the biggest enemies of development, democracy and social justice.” The government, under Modi, passed the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act in 2018. The act allows for persons to be designated a “fugitive” if they have a warrant out for their arrest and have left or refuse to return to India. Additionally, the Indian Central Vigilance Commission, an independent advisory agency, is acting against corruption by raising awareness of the issue and advocating strict punishment of offenders.
As host of this year’s conferences, India holds the G20 presidency. In addition to advancing anti-corruption cooperation measures, the country is also advocating increased disaster relief, increased food and energy security, and the healing of deep global divisions caused by the war in Ukraine.