Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the UNGA in New York on 25th September 2015 [Image: UN]
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the UNGA in New York on 25th September 2015 [Image: UN]

Addressing a special summit of the UN, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined India’s “new era of inclusion and empowerment”.

On Friday, Modi listed the schemes of financial inclusion, education and skill development, direct benefits transfer, and pension schemes for the vulnerable among the initiatives that would promote sustainable development in India.

“Today, much of India’s development agenda is mirrored in the Sustainable Development Goals,” claimed Modi.

Countries such as China, India and Brazil are home to millions of people living in extreme ($1.25 a day) poverty – 80 million, 280 million and 10 million respectively.

“It is not just about fulfilling the needs of the poor and upholding their dignity, nor about assuming moral responsibility for this, but realising that the very goal of a sustainable future cannot be accomplished without addressing the problem of poverty,” he said.

Nearly 60 per cent of India’s rural population qualify for “deprivation” estimated through the yardstick of seven socio-economic parameters, said a new government survey earlier this year.

The Indian Prime Minister also referred to climate change negotiations, reasserting India’s position that developed nations must do more to help countries like India to deal with the impact of climate change.

“The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is the bedrock of our enterprise for a sustainable world,” Modi said referring to the term that evolved during climate negotiations.

The “common but differentiated responsibilities” argue that the richest countries bear the lion’s share of the burden of global renewal.

Developing countries have insisted that the INDC (intended nationally determined contributions) should include plans for adaptation to climate change as well as emissions cuts, and for developed countries to include financial support for poorer nations.

Developed countries have criticized positions of the emerging bloc that they say refuse to accept global responsibility for sustainable development while simultaneously insisting on a seat at the top global tables.

Meanwhile, the Indian Premier on Friday also urged reforms of the UNSC “so that it carries greater credibility and legitimacy and will be more representative and effective in achieving our goals”.

India’s position on the expansion of the UNSC will be echoed in the UNGA address of another BRICS leader, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Monday.

Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov said last month that Africa, Asia and Latin America are underrepresented in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and said Moscow favors expanding its membership.

Lavrov said that Moscow was particularly supportive of Brazil’s and India’s applications to become permanent UNSC members.