The crowded and chaotic roads can’t be seen anymore and the once-dark sidewalks are now illuminated by lights. The city’s buildings and walls have been adorned with vibrant murals and flowers seem to bloom everywhere. This transformation is not merely an aesthetic one but a grand “beautification project” undertaken by the Indian government, with a hefty price tag of $120 million. The goal? To showcase India’s rich cultural heritage and fortify its position on the global stage.
As India readies itself to host the G20 Summit, the world’s most populous nation is pulling out all the stops to make this event a global spectacle. Since the beginning of the year, this grand endeavour has seen the demolition of hundreds of houses and roadside stalls, displacing thousands of people in the process. Dozens of shantytowns have been razed to the ground, often with residents receiving eviction notices shortly before the demolitions took place. While authorities claim these actions were against illegal encroachers,” human rights activists and those directly affected by the demolitions have raised concerns about the policy’s consequences, alleging that it has pushed thousands more into homelessness.
The two-day global summit will be held at the newly constructed Bharat Mandapam building, an expansive exhibition centre located in the heart of New Delhi, near the iconic India Gate monument. The G20 Summit is attended by the world’s 19 wealthiest countries plus the European Union, with India currently holding the rotating presidency. This significant international event is set to welcome leaders from across the globe.
Delhi is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to make this summit memorable. The city has been transformed into a vibrant canvas, adorned with fountains, statues, and street art that tells the story of India’s rich history, mythology, art, and culture. Lush greenery and colourful flora further enhance the city’s visual appeal, creating a stunning backdrop for this global gathering.
As the summit approaches, various agencies are working tirelessly to ensure everything is in order. The Public Works Department (PWD) is particularly focused on preventing waterlogging, a common challenge during the monsoon season. They’ve meticulously checked and readied all pumps, pump houses, and permanent pumps to address any potential water-related issues.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi plans to make this G20 Summit a memorable experience for all attendees. He will personally welcome leaders from around the world, hosting a working lunch for them on the first day of the summit. This personal touch underscores the importance of this event in India’s diplomatic calendar.
India is not only showcasing its cultural heritage but also its technological prowess. The newly constructed Bharat Mandapam, the primary venue for the summit, features state-of-the-art facilities, including digital experience zones. These zones will allow visiting leaders, delegates, ministers, and media personnel to explore India’s advancements in the digital sector.
To highlight India’s strides in financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India is setting up special zones where delegations can experience Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions first-hand, even if they are not registered for it. As New Delhi prepares to welcome world leaders, it transforms into a vibrant and welcoming host city. With meticulous planning, cultural showcases and technological demonstrations, India is poised to make the G20 Summit a truly unforgettable event, reflecting the nation’s rich heritage and its aspirations for a progressive and inclusive future.