The B20 Conference under India's G20 presidency commenced in the picturesque city of Gangtok, Sikkim on March 16, 2023 with the theme of "Tourism, Hospitality, Pharmaceutical and Organic Farming." The event was inaugurated by Chief Minister P.S. Tamang Golay, who highlighted Sikkim's success in creating sustainable livelihoods through pro-people policies and achieving a high SDG index score of 71.
The conference aimed to explore opportunities for multilateral business partnerships in the fields of tourism, hospitality, pharmaceuticals, and organic farming. The event was a collaboration between the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Government of Sikkim, the Ministry of External Affairs, and the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
During his address, Chief Secretary V.B. Pathak emphasized the potential of Sikkim in organic farming, tourism, pharmaceuticals, and hospitality. He also mentioned that the state has adopted investment-friendly policies to attract tourists, particularly in eco and adventure tourism. The conference brought together delegations from 22 countries, including 53 overseas participants, and over 100 Indian delegations.
The conference showcased Sikkim's commitment to organic farming, with the state being the first in the world to be certified as 100% organic. Organic farming is a type of agricultural production that stresses the use of natural inputs and practices to produce crops and livestock free of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The state achieved this milestone by converting 75,000 hectares of farmland into certified organic land and expanding the scope of cultivation in Sikkim, with over 22 lakh hectares of production recorded.
In addition to organic farming, Sikkim also highlighted its potential for green technology, market access, value addition, research, and capacity building for organic products. These sectors offer immense opportunities for multilateral business partnerships, with India's G20 presidency presenting an opportunity for the country to showcase its achievements and engage with private and individual players to further its growth prospects.
The B20 conference is one of the most prominent groups among various engagement groups with companies and business forums, representing the global business community. It aims to deliver concrete actionable policy recommendations on priorities by each rotating presidency to spur economic growth and development. India's G20 presidency provides an excellent opportunity for the country to address pressing global challenges and showcase its leadership on the global stage to shape the international agenda on critical issues.
The conference concluded with delegates being taken to the Rumtek Monastery, the largest monastery in Sikkim, to showcase its rich cultural heritage. The Northeast region of India, especially Sikkim, is blessed with stunning natural beauty and diverse cultural heritage. Tourists from all over the world have been visiting India to witness its traditions and incredible cultural heritage, which have laid the groundwork for the Indian tourism sector, contributing about 5% of GDP. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, India implemented numerous reforms to promote tourism, which have significantly boosted the sector.
In summary, the B20 Conference under India's G20 presidency held in Sikkim showcased the state's potential in organic farming, green technology, market access, value addition, research, and capacity building. With delegations from 22 countries and over 100 Indian delegations, the conference was a significant step towards multilateral business partnerships in the fields of tourism, hospitality, pharmaceuticals, and organic farming.
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