Amritsar prepares ‘golden’ welcome for G20 summit in March

The holy city of Sikhs and home to the Golden Temple is getting a facelift ahead of the summit, in which presidents and prime ministers and other dignitaries are expected to participate

Golden Temple Amritsar G20 summit
The Golden Temple in Amritsar | Photo - iStock

Amritsar, holy city of Sikhs and home to the Golden Temple, is making arrangements for preparations of the prestigious meeting of the powerful G-20, a grouping of world’s major economies, to be held in March 2023.

The AAP government in the state led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has already kicked off preparations for the summit meeting. Earlier this month, he appointed a sub-committee of the cabinet, headed by Local Government Minister Inderbir Singh Nijjar, to monitor the preparations for the meeting.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh Statue Amritsar
View of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Statue in Amritsar | Photo – iStock

The government has also sanctioned around ₹100 crore for beautification of the city. Mann has stressed that the quality of works should be of the highest so that it will benefit the residents of the city for a long time.

Mann has said that this is a golden opportunity to show Punjab as a land of opportunities and bring maximum investment to create new employment opportunities for the youth. The state considers itself fortunate to have the opportunity to host this event, a state government spokesperson said in a statement.


India’s G20 presidency

India will assume the presidency of the G20 for one year from December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023, and is expected to host over 200 meetings across the country.

The G20 or Group of 20 is an international grouping of the world’s major developed and developing economies comprising Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US, and the European Union (EU).

India’s presidency of the grouping would ensure focus on issues concerning macroeconomic vulnerabilities in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war and the consequent supply chain issues, especially with regard to food and energy security.

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“The entire idea of the presidency would be to identify consensus-based solution, accelerating the scale and scope of the response of the global community, trans-border challenges such as regulation of virtual assets, dealing with cross border remittances, and also the issue of global capital flows and how to create buffers and safety nets for developing countries that get affected by spillovers from policies of developed nations,” Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) V Anantha Nageswaran said at an event earlier this month.

The summit is expected to happen on March 15-17, and presidents and prime ministers and other dignitaries are expected to participate in the event.

Tourism to get a fillip

Besides Local Government Minister Inderbir Singh Nijjar as chairperson, the sub-committee formed by the Punjab government to monitor the preparations for the G20 meeting are cabinet ministers Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, Harjot Singh Bains and Harbhajan Singh.

Amritsar city has been divided into five major sectors, and senior officers of the civil and police administration will be deployed in these sectors for effective management. These officers will be responsible for the smooth conduct of all activities under their areas.

Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers personnel of India and Pakistan showing their strengths in Beating Retreat ceremony at the India-Pakistan Attari-Wagah border | Photo – iStock

Tourism will be one of the major areas of focus for development in the holy city of the Sikhs which houses the Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple, and welcomes around 4 lakh tourists every day.

Efforts will be taken to enhance the beauty of the marble and gold gurudwara of the Sikhs to ensure higher footfall of devotees and tourists from across the world, as on certain festive occasions.

This will ensure higher business to shopkeepers, transporters, and hotel owners, and employment to thousands of young people living in the city.

Jallianwala Bagh, the site that commemorates the 2000 Indians who were killed or wounded in indiscriminate firing by the British under the command of Gen Michael O’ Dyer on April 13, 1919, will be another major tourist spot that can be expected to be spruced up.

One of the key incidents of India’s freedom struggle will definitely attract tourists as they would wish to relive the story of the martyrs through memories, artwork, writing and bullet marks on the walls.

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Wagah border, the border point between India and Pakistan, where every evening Indian and Pakistani troops show off their pomp and pageantry, will be another site which is likely to get attention.

Other tourist attractions such as the Partition Museum and Summer Palace of the renowned Maharaja Ranjit Singh will also be decked up to lure visitors from across the globe with their rich information on Sikh and regional history.

As part of the beautification and enhancement drive, road, rail and air travel to Amritsar will also get a fillip. International flights to the city are likely to increase around the time of the summit in March, and the Amritsar junction too is likely to get a revamp.

Security will be another key aspect of the summit in view of the location of Amritsar along the border of India and Pakistan and because of the number of high profile international dignitaries who are set to descend on the holy city. A huge force of  CRPF and other paramilitary personnel along with border guards are expected to be stationed in the city.

The summit and the preparations will also give a boost to employment generation for youths. The government is focussed on getting the best done for the visitors and will require the same from its workers in different departments.

The Centre had in September notified about vacancies for policy specialists for the G20 secretariat. These specialists are expected to work towards setting a global agenda at the G20 summit. More opportunities are set to follow.