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Class Notes: Sep 2019 – Part 2

1. Polity: Lateral Entry in Civil Services ................................................................................................................................. 3
2. Education: Draft Education Policy 2019 ............................................................................................................................ 7
3. Education: Issue of Poor Ranking of Indian Universities ................................................................................................ 17
4. EDucation: Institute of Eminence .................................................................................................................................... 20
5. IR: Regional COmprehensive EConomic Partnership ...................................................................................................... 23
6. IR: USA’s Inevitable Withdrawal from Afghanistan and Its Implications for India ........................................................ 27
7. IR: Trade War and Its Implications for India ................................................................................................................... 29
8. IR: France.......................................................................................................................................................................... 32 (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 2 | 35
- Why in news recently?
▫ In July 2019, BJP led government unveiled the plan to recruit 40 new officers at the level of
deputy secretary and director through lateral entry mechanism.
▪ 9 lateral entrants are set to join government soon the process for which was started
last year only.

- Example Questions
▫ "Lateral entry in civil services has its own limitations" Discuss. [10 marks, 150 words]
▫ "External reforms like lateral entry in civil services should be complemented with internal
reforms" [12.5 marks, 200 words]

- What is lateral entry?

▫ Conventionally, to get into Indian civil services, a candidate have to go through the UPSC civil
services examination. One-third of the vacancies are also filled by promotion of eligible
candidates working in different state services.
▫ Lateral entry by-passes these two options to hire people in civil services.
▫ Lateral entry is not new in India
▪ Domain experts have been brought in from outside the services to head various
committees, advisory bodies and organizations. Nandan Nilakeni, Montek Singh
Ahluwalia, Vijay Kelkar, Arvind Subramaniam, Raghuram Rajan are all such examples.
▪ Both NITI Aayog and Planning Commission before it, have allowed lateral entry.
▪ Some states like Jharkhand are experimenting with it.
▫ Recommendations by various committees
▪ First ARC had pointed out the need of specialization as far back as in 1965.
▪ The Surinder Nath Committee and Hota Committee followed suit in 2003 and 2004
respectively and so did 2nd ARC.
▪ In 2005, the 2nd ARC recommended an institutionalized, transparent process for
lateral entry at both the central and state levels.
▪ It was not initiated due to push back from bureaucrats, serving and retired, and
the sheer institutional inertia of civil services that have existed largely
unchanged for decades.
▪ NITI Aayog in 2017 in its 3 year action agenda had said that policymaking is a
specialized activity and lateral entry will have beneficial side effect in brining
competition to the established career bureaucracy.

- Need/ Rationale of lateral entry

i. Shortage of officers at middle level
▪ In central ministries and departments
▪ The Baswan Committee (2016) has shown that large states such as Bihar, MP,
Rajasthan etc have a deficit of 75 to over 100 officers.
ii. Diverse demands of competitive federalism (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 3 | 35

▪ At the time of independence India had some pressing concerns over the need of socio-
economic development and central planning was the imperative to hold together the
▪ But, now - 7 decades later - those dynamics have changed.
iii. Specialization requirements in certain fields
▪ Current lack of correlation between the postings and officer's area of specialization
▪ This correlation only develops in later stages
▪ Political interference and the use of transfers as carrot and stick further
complicate the picture, often making it difficult for bureaucrats to stay in a
posting long enough to gain relevant expertise.
▪ Some fields like Economy, Science and Technology, Infrastructure etc. need
specialized officers and it is therefore important that an option of hiring experts at
senior government position be available. A judicious combination of domain
knowledge and relevant expertise is a critical requirement in governance. It is felt that
many of these attributes are often not present in a cadre of generalists.
iv. Complacency has set in a career based service
▪ Lack of any competition and no threat over job security has made our bureaucrats
complacent. The weakness has been compounded by a heavy reliance on seniority,
an inadequate annual reporting system and frequent transfers.
▪ Lateral entry can act as antidote to complacency that can set in a career based
▪ ARC felt that civil servants ought to compete with domain experts from outside
the regular civil services for senior positions.
▪ Lateral entry will infuse fresh energy and thinking into an insular, complacent
and often archaic bureaucracy.

- Limitations
i. Jobs of a civil servant is very different than in private sector
▪ Officers at this level are not recruited to market products or made responsible for
generating higher profits. They are expected to present well-researched and sourced
information in a manner that the political executive can understand, weigh and
consider options before making equitable and effective policy choices.
▪ Therefore, there is no guarantee that those who succeed in non-government sectors
will succeed in administration.
ii. All India Services provide a unique link between the cutting edge at the field level and the
top policy making positions
▪ This has also been mentioned by 1st ARC and Sarkaria Committee.
▪ Laterally hired people will have no experience of the ground level situation. The width
and depth of field experience which the civil services provide is simply not available
with outside talent.
iii. Politicians can use this mechanism to plant people
▪ Once an in-house mechanism process is set in motion, it will become precedent for
all time to come and may well be cited and manipulated by the future governments
to plant people regardless of their worth. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 4 | 35

▪ It would open the gates for spoil system which will further drive the talented people
away from a civil service career.
iv. Not clear how lateral entrants will be more performance oriented
▪ Our bureaucrats are process compliant as it is a pre-requisite. Any variance from the
process can be seen as irregularity or corruption. Therefore it is not clear how lateral
entrant would be more performance-oriented and less process compliant than the
civil servants.
v. Short term services will also lack accountability and responsibility
▪ Unless there is a long term association, it will be difficult to hold some officer
responsible for failure of a project/scheme : TSR Subramaniam (former Cabinet
▪ Further, a short term service will promote the culture of lobbyism which is prevalent
in USA (where the whole administration changes after the new President comes to
vi. May increase the disconnect between policymaking and implementation
▪ The lateral entry will lead to inequitable sharing of the benefits and burdens of
government service, with permanent civil services left to bear the burden of "humble"
implementation and lateral entrants getting access to "glamorous" policymaking
positions, without having roughed it out in remote and rural India in the rough and
tumble of Indian democracy.
vii. Discourage talent at the entry level
▪ The best talent can be attracted only if there is a reasonable assurance of reaching
top level managerial positions. Any dilution of potential horizon for growth would
discourage competent and motivated people.
viii. Loss of focus on internal reform
▪ A good managerial system encourages and nurtures talent from within instead of
seeking to induct leadership from outside. Any failure in this matter is primarily a
failure of the system to identify and nurture talent at the appropriate stage. Lateral
induction would further lead to loss of focus from these issues.

- Conclusion/Way Forward
▫ Indian civil services need reform. Internal reforms such as insulation from political pressure
and career paths linked to specialization - and external reforms such as lateral entry are
complementary, addressing the same deficiencies from different angles.
▫ In principle, the idea of lateral entry is a good one and will help fill the gaps which exist in
government sector from private sector. But certain safeguards have to be ensured.
▪ The selection process even at the lateral level should be controlled by UPSC. This
would ensure that merit is the sole criteria and no scope exists for preferential
induction on grounds of region, community or ideological allegiance.
▪ Looking outside the UPSC will destroy the tenets of parliamentary democracy,
which is inescapably linked to placing reliance on merit based, politically neutral
civil service.
▪ Further junior government officials and officers form other sectors of
government should also be given an option to compete for the position along
with the outside private talent. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 5 | 35

▪ Further, lateral entry should be restricted to posts where domain expertise is not
available within the service.
▫ In long run, inductions through competitive exams must expand incrementally in keeping
with the country's needs.
▪ In long run, the remedy lies not through lateral induction but through more rigorous
performance appraisal and improved personnel management. Lateral entry can't be
a panacea for everything. It has been an exception in the Indian Civil Service system
and should continue to be so.
▪ Further concerted efforts should be made to help IAS officers, after their first decade
of ground work at district level, to acquire specialization in broad sectors like social,
infrastructure and financial, based on their qualification, aptitude and preference. We
need to pursue this idea seriously.
▪ We can't allow the steel frame of India to remain weak from within and only seek
external repair. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 6 | 35

- Why in news?
▫ The Dr K. Kasturirangan Committee on National Education Policy submitted its report on
May 31, 2019.
- Example Questions
▫ Critically analyze the key recommendations of Dr. K Kasturirangan Committee to improve
the early childhood care and education in India. [10 marks, 150 words]
▫ Discuss the key challenges faced by Indian Education System. How far the Draft Education
Policy, 2019 work towards resolving these challenges.
- Why a new Policy?
▫ The last education policy was framed in 1986 and since then several changes have taken
place in socio-economic condition of the country, the type, quality and quantity of
education being demanded and the role of technology in education. Thus to meet the
contemporary and futuristic demands of India, the policy needed change.
▫ Further, India's education system has
continued to suffer from a number of
problems and shortcomings in terms of
Access and Participation, Quality Issues,
skills and Employability, Curriculum and
Assessment, Information and
Communication Technology, Teacher
Development and Management, Equity
Issues, System Efficiencies, Governance
and Management, Research and
Development, Budgetary Constraints and
Global Commitment. A new policy is
expected to focus on these problems.

- Key Features of new Policy

▫ The policy aims to make India a
knowledge superpower by equipping students with the necessary skills and knowledge. It
also focuses on eliminating the shortage of manpower in science and technology,
academics and industry.
▫ The policy is built on the foundational pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability and
Accountability (5 key challenges in India's education sector).

▫ Key Observation and Recommendations for School Education

- Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)
▪ Observations: The system suffers from problems of accessibility as well as
▪ Most of the early childhood education is delivered through Anganwadis
and private preschools, there is a lack of focus on education aspects of early
childhood care. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 7 | 35

▪ The current curriculum doesn't meet the development needs of the
▪ Lack of qualified, trained teachers and substandard pedagogy are some
other challenges in ECCE
▪ Recommendations
▪ Developing a two-part Curriculum for early Childhood Care and Education
i. Guidelines for upto three-year-old Child (for parents and teachers)
ii. Educational Framework for three to eight year old children.
• This would be implemented by improving and expanding the
anganwadis system and co-locating Anganwadis with primary
iii. Replace Rot learning by play and discovery based learning.
▪ Amend RTE to
extend it to include
early childhood
education and
secondary school
education. This will
make sure that all
children between 3-
18 years of age are
covered under the

- Curriculum Reforms
• Observation: The current education system solely focus on rot learning of facts
and procedures.
• Recommendations:
▫ Curriculum load in each subject should be reduced to its essential core
content. This would make space for holistic discussion and analysis based
▫ Restructure Curriculum Framework of school education on the basis of the
development needs of students.
▪ The current 10+2 model should be replaced with the more globally
accepted 5+3+3+4 format. This would consist of (5 foundation -3
Preparatory -3 Middle - 4 Secondary) design.
▫ Focus on building a foundation for reading and arithmetic from class 1
▪ It thus recognizes severe learning crisis which is highlighted by the ASER
report which says that 50% of class V students were unable to even
read the text meant for students three level below.

- School Exam Reforms (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 8 | 35

• Observation: Current board examinations force students to focus on a few
subjects, don’t test learning in a formative manner and cause stress among
• Recommendations
▫ State Census Examinations in class three, five and eight to track student's
progress throughout the school experience.
▪ It also says that there should be no detention of children till class 8 and
the recent amendments to RTE opposing this should be reviewed.
▫ Restructure board exams to test only core concepts, skills and higher
order capacities.
▪ These board exams should be on range of subjects and students should
be able to choose their subjects, and the semester when they want to
take these board exams.
▪ The in-school final examination may be replaced by these board

- School Infrastructure
• Observation: Schools in every habitations across the country -> increased
accessibility -> very small schools -> complex to deploy teachers and physical
• Recommendations
▫ Multiple public schools should be brought together to form a school
complex. Each school complex will be a semi-autonomous unit providing
integrated education across all stages from early childhood to secondary
education. This will ensure that resources such as teachers, infrastructure
etc can be efficiently shared across the school complex.
▪ Each complex will have one secondary school (class 9-12), and all
public schools in the neighbourhood that offer education from pre-
primary to class eight.
▪ It will also include anganwadis, vocational education facilities, and an
adult education centre.

- Teacher Management
• Observations: There is a steep rise in teachers' shortage, lack of professionally
qualified teachers, and deployment of teachers for non-educational purposes.
• Recommendations
▫ Teachers should be deployed in a particular school complex for at least five
to seven years.
▫ They will not be allowed to participate in an non-teaching activities (such
as cooking mid-day meals, vaccination campaign) during school hours that
could affect teaching capacities.
▫ Replace existing B.Ed. Programme with an four year integrated B.Ed.
Programme that combines high quality content, pedagogy, and practical
training. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 9 | 35

▫ An integrated continuous professional development will also be
developed for all subjects. Teachers will be required to complete a
minimum of 50 hours of continuous professional training every year.

- Regulation of Schools
• Separate regulation of schools from other aspects such as policy making, school
operations, and academic development.
▫ It suggests creation of an Independent State School Regulatory Authority
for each state that will prescribe basic uniform standards for public and
private education. The body will decide the accreditation of different
▫ The Department of Education of the state will formulate policy and
conduct monitoring and supervision.

- Higher Education:
▫ The Gross enrolment ratio (GER) for higher education in India is only 25.8%. This is
39% in China, 86% in USA and 65.5% in Germany. The main reason for this is the lack
of access of higher education.
▫ The draft policy aims to increase GER to 50% by 2035 from the current level of about

• Key Observations and Recommendations for Higher Education

i. Regulatory Structure and Accreditation:

- Observation:
▫ Current regulatory framework has multiple regulators with overlapping
mandates. This reduces the autonomy of higher educational institutions
and creates an environment of dependency and centralized decision
- Recommendations:
▫ Setting up of National Higher Education Regulatory Authority (NHERA) to
replace existing individual regulators in higher education, including
professional and vocational education.
▫ Separation of National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)
from the UGC
▪ NAAC should be an independent and autonomous body which will
function as top level accreditor, and will issue licenses to different
accreditation agencies, who will assess higher educational institutions
once every five to seven years.
▫ All existing HEIs should be accredited by 2030.

ii. Establishment of New HEIs

• Currently, new HEIs can only be set up by Parliament of state legislatures. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 10 | 35

• The draft policy proposes that these institutions could be allowed to be set up
through a HEI charter from NHERA. Such HEIs should receive accreditation as
mandated by NHERA within five years of being established.

iii. Restructuring of HEIs

• HEIs should be restructured in three types/Tiers
1.Research Universities focusing equally on research and teaching
2.Teaching Universities focusing primarily on teaching
3.Colleges focusing only on teaching at UG level.
• All such HEIs would be gradually moved towards full autonomy - academic,
administrative and financial.
iv. Establishing a National Research Foundation (NRF)
• Observation: Total investment on research and innovation in India has declined
from 0.84% of GDP in 2008 to 0.69% in 2014. India thus also lags behind many
nations in terms of number of scientists (per lakh population), patents and
• Recommendations:
▪Establishment of NRF, an autonomous body, for funding, mentoring and
building the capacity for quality research in India.
▪ The foundation will consist of four main divisions: Sciences,
technology, social sciences and arts and humanities, with the
provision to add additional division.
▪The foundation will be provided with an annual grant of Rs 20,000 crore (0.1%
of GDP)

v. Moving towards a liberal approach

• Make undergraduate programs interdisciplinary by redesigning their
curriculum to include:
1.A common core curriculum
2.One/two areas of specialization
▪ Students will be required to choose an area of specialization as major and
an optional area as 'minor'.
• Four Year undergraduate programmes in Liberal Arts will be introduced and
multiple exit options with appropriate certifications will be made available to
• Further, in next five years, five Indian Institute of Liberal Arts must be set up as
model multi-disciplinary liberal art institutions.

National Scholarship Fund to financially support students for higher education.

Professional Development of Faculties

• Observation:
▪ Low faculty motivation due to poor service condition and heavy teaching
loads at higher educational institutions. Further, lack of autonomy, and no (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 11 | 35

clear career progression system are also major factors in reduced
motivation of faculties.
• Recommendations
▪ Development of a Continuous Professional Development Program and
introduction of a Permanent Employment (tenure) track system for
faculty in all higher educational institutions by 2030.
▪ Further, a desirable student-teacher ratio of not more than 30:1 must be

viii. Autonomy in curriculum design and teaching methodology

• Observation: The Curriculum remain rigid, narrow, and archaic. Moreover, the
faculty often lacks the autonomy to design curricula, which negatively impacts
• Recommendations: All HEIs must have complete autonomy on curricular,
pedagogical and resource-related matters.

▪ Improving Education Governance

• The committee observed that there is a need to revisit the existing system of
governance in education and bring in synergy and coordination among the different
ministries, department and agencies.
• Key Recommendations
1. Creation of a National Education Commission (NEC) or Rashtriya Shiksha
Aayog, as an apex body for education, to be headed by the Prime Minister.
▪ This body will be responsible for developing, implementing, evaluating and
revising the vision of education in the country on a continuous and
sustained basis.
▪ It will oversee the functioning of several bodies including NCERT, the
proposed NHERA, and National Research Foundation.
2. Rename MoHRD to Ministry of Education to bring back focus on education.

▪ Improving Financing for Education

• Observation:
• Public expenditure on education in India was 2.7% of GDP in 2017-18. This was
lower than most of the developed and developing countries (USA-5%, UK-5.5%,
Brazil 6%). This is in spite of the fact that the NEP, 1968 and NEP, 1986 had both
recommended to increase the public expenditure to 6% of GDP.
• Further, the committee observed operational problems and leakages in
disbursement of funds.

• Recommendation:
• Double the public investment in education - from the current 10% of total public
expenditure to 20% in the next 10 years.
• Optimal and timely utilization of funds through the institutional development
plans. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 12 | 35

- Technology in Education
▫ The committee observed the significance of technology in Education:
a. Improving the classroom process of teaching, learning and evaluation
b. Aiding in preparation of teachers and continuous professional development of
c. Improving access to education in remote areas and for disadvantaged groups
d. Improving the overall planning, administration and management of the entire
education system

▫ Key Recommendations
▪ Electrification of all educational institutions should get high priority as it is pre-
requisite for all technology-based interventions.
▪ National Mission on Education through ICT -> encompass virtual laboratories
that provide remote access in various discipline.
▪ A National Education Technology Forum will also be set up under the
Mission, as an autonomous body, to facilitate decision making on the
induction, deployment and use of the technology.
▪ This forum will provide evidence-based advice to central and state
governments on technology-based interventions.
▪ National Repository on Educational Data
▪ To maintain all records related to institutions, teachers and students in
digital form.
▪ A single online digital repository will be created where copyright free
educational resources will be made available in multiple languages.

- Vocational Education
▫ Observation: The committee observed that less than 5% of workforce in the age
group of 19-24 receives vocational education in India. This is in contrast to 52% in USA,
75% in Germany and 96% in Korea.
▫ Recommendation:
▪ Integration of Vocational Education Program in all educational institutions
(Schools, colleges and universities) in a phased manner over a period of next 10
▪ Upward revision from the National Policy on Skill Development and
Entrepreneurship (2015) which aimed at offering vocational education in 25% of
educational institutes.
▪ Compulsory Vocational Courses in All Schools:
▪ All school students must receive vocational education in at least one
vocation in grades 9-12.
▪ The proposed School Complexes must build expertise in curriculum
delivery that is aligned to the competency under the existing National Skills
Qualification Framework.
▪ HEIs must also offer vocational courses that are integrated into undergraduate
education programmes. The policy targets to cover 50% student coverage by
2025 from the current level of 10%. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 13 | 35

▪ National Committee for Integration of Vocational Training to work towards
steps that need to be taken for achieving the above goals.
▪ A separate fund should be set up for integration of vocational education into
educational institutions. The committee would work out the modalities for the
disbursement of these funds.

▪ Adult Education
• Observation: India has a total of 26.5 crore adult non-literates (15 years and above).
• Recommendations:
▪ Establishing an autonomous Central Institute of Adult Education, as a
constituent unit of NCERT, which will develop a National Curriculum framework
for adult education.
▪ The framework should cover five broad areas: Foundational Literacy and
numeracy, critical life skills, vocational skills development, basic education and
continuing education.
▪ Adult Educational Centres will be included in the proposed School Complexes.
Relevant courses for youth and adult will be available at the National Institute of
Open Schooling.
▪ A cadre of adult education instructors and managers, as well as a team of one-
on-one tutors will be created through a newly established National Adult Tutors

- Education and Indian Languages

▫ Observation: A large number of students are falling behind since classes in schools
are being conducted in a language that they don't understand.
▫ Recommendation:
▪ Medium of instruction must either be the home language/mother tongue/local
language till grade five, and preferable till grade eight, wherever possible.
▪ Continuation of three language formula first recommended by the First
National Education Policy.
▪ The committee recommended that implementation of the formula needs to be
strengthened, particularly in Hindi speaking states.
▪ Further, Schools in Hindi Speaking areas should also teach Indian
languages from other parts of India for the purpose of national
▪ To provide flexibility in the choice of language, students who wish to change
one or more of their three languages may do so in grade six or grade seven,
subjected to the condition that they are still able to demonstrate proficiency in
three languages in their modular board exams.
▪ Note: Initially, the draft had made English and Hindi as mandatory
languages in non-Hindi speaking states. This had faced severe backlash and
HRD ministry had then altered the policy to say that students are free to
choose any language they wish to learn.
▪ To promote Indian languages, a National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit
will be set up. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 14 | 35

- Analysis: Positives
i. Looking at the education in continuum
• Thus, this policy is extremely comprehensive in not only the coverage of school
education, higher education, professional education etc, but also looks at verticals of
vocational education, teacher education and adult literacy.
ii. Focuses on Foundation: Extending RTE to younger children through Early Childhood
• The focus the draft places on the early years is welcome, and the continuity it
recommends between the pre-primary and primary years is necessary.
• If implemented properly, it will ensure a play based, developmentally
appropriate curriculum for children up to not just 6 but 8 years, which would
give them a stronger foundation.
• Thus, draft's recommendation of infusing the existing child development schemes,
which are primary nutrition oriented, with a learning component is in line with the
thinking of the holistic development.
• These changes will further smoothen the transition from pre-school to the primary
school and consolidate the foundation for future learning.

iii. Emphasis on teacher quality through continuous training and teacher motivation through
reduced workload can contribute heavily towards reducing the barriers in attracting more
talent in the field of teaching.
iv. Special Focus on research by clearing mandating research universities, establishment of
National Research Foundation etc will go a long way in enhancing the quality and quantity
of research in India.
v. Recognition of education as a public good, rather than a commodity to be consumed.
• And hence a significant role of government has been envisaged in the policy. The
policy insists on continued allocation of government funds to strengthen the
education system.
vi. Removes Conflict of Interest by separating Regulatory functions from other functions.
vii. Acknowledgement of India's diversity
• For e.g. transgender children also are referred to in the policy.
viii. Special focus on autonomy especially in HEIs
• The policy envisaged space for teachers to create and transact courses at least in
higher education and insists that all HEIs will eventually be moved towards higher
ix. Research is one area where Indian Universities have lagged. The new draft policy specially
focuses upon it by focusing on Comprehensive Teaching Research Institutions, National
Research Foundation etc.

- Limitations
▪ Early Childhood Education
• Integration Pre-Schools and Anganwadis with primary schools may lead to
infrastructural issues. Further, it may impact the nutritional role of Anganwadis. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 15 | 35

• The draft don't address with sufficient clarity curricular, pedagogical and teacher
education related issues that plague the teaching and learning of early literacy in
many Indian classrooms.
▪ Increasing Centralization
• More role to NTA, NAAC and NHERA.
▪ Ignores the role of States and Private Sector
▪ Implementation will be challenge as the draft policy expects doubling of budgetary
allocation in near future which may be difficult to achieve.

- Way Forward
▪ Infrastructure/Human Resource requirement should be the focus to make 3-language
formula successful.
▪ Accountability (especially to Type1) institutions need to increase.
▪ Consider a few models of Decentralization of MHRD, DST and other agencies.
▪ Political will (as shown recently by Delhi government) can ensure budgetary increase
required to achieve the above objectives. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 16 | 35

- Why in news?
▫ QS Ranking: IIT Bombay (152), IIT-Delhi (182) and IISc Bangalore (184) among the top 200
(June 2019)
• For the 2nd Year in a row IIT Bombay has emerged as the country's best university,
rising 10 places in the 2019 QS World Ranking.
• IIT Bombay's rise is attributed to its improved research performance.
• It now ranks 184 in the Citations per faculty indicator, and its faculty's research
impact ranks above the global average.
• IISc Bangalore, has achieved the world's second best score for research impact,
adjusted for faculty size. The institute has scored a perfect score of 100/100 for QS's
Citation per faculty metrics, and is the first Indian Institution ever to see its research
cited more than 100,000 times in a five-year period.
• Overall ranking, Indian Universities in 2019 have seen an average decline of 12 ranks,
attributable to two main factors -> Faculty/Student Ratio and International Student
▫ In the Times Higher Education (THE) top 300 list - India Universities draw a blank. (Sep
• IISc Bangalore and IIT Ropar are in 301-350 groupings, IIT Indore figures in 351-400
• According to THE, IISc's fall is due to a fall in its (research) citation impact.
• This is for the first time since 2012 that not a single Indian University figured in top
300 of the ranking.

▫ Key Factors Impacting Ranking of Indian Universities

1. Low proportion of international staff and students
• Generally, the weakest element for Indian universities is the proportion of
International staff and students.
• This is not one of the objectives of our educational institutions so not a cause of worry.
• Why less foreign students
• Government funded institutions like IITs have national mandate, and they
cannot admit foreign students at the undergraduate level.
• And restrictions on assistantships for international students make it difficult to
attract foreign students at PhD level.
• Why less foreign staff
• Less salaries, remuneration, autonomy and poor research infrastructure.
2. Lack of autonomy
• All great universities have full academic, financial and administrative autonomy to
chart their own future. Indian universities lack the autonomy needed to be world
• Indian universities are controlled heavily by regulators/government that they cannot
innovate, be current nor aspire to reach the top. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 17 | 35

3. Lack of Funding and Infrastructure
• Compared to biggest universities like MIT, NUS, Harvard and Stanford, the funding to
Indian universities is meagre making it difficult to compete with them.
4. Socia-Economic Factors
• Since the major section of students in higher educational institutions in India come
from middle, lower middle and lower class of the society, they find it better to take a
well-paying jobs rather than persuing there research which is most of the times less
rewarding economically
• Student prefer to pursue their research abroad where stipends are better and future
prospects are also great.
5. Research Environment
• Quality of research
• Vicious Cycle - not attracting good researchers.
• Even our top universities/institutions doesn't publish world class research
6. Faculty
• A shortage of faculty and the use of ad hoc teachers affects almost all universities.
▪ In the last 10 years, there has been a massive ad hoc expansion of central
universities, IITs and IIMs further resulting in a shortage of faculty
▪ Appointment of ad hoc teachers at salaries close to minimum wages and for
years at a stretch is demoralising and results in deterioration of quality.
▪ This leads to poor quality of research as number of students managed by one
teacher is much higher than the UGC norms.
• Salaries
▪ Government institutions have an upper limit to what a professor can be made
thus making it further difficult to attract the world class teachers to these
▪ Moreover, none of India's public funded higher education institution can hire
foreign nationals as regular faculty members since guidelines prohibit hiring of
foreigner for jobs with salaries less than $25000 a year.
▪ Moreover even at higher salaries, international faculty can only by brought in on
contract for up to five years.
Number and quality of publications
• All the above issues prove detrimental to number and quality of publications we have.

- Non-Suitability of these rankings for India

▫ Ranking are based on parameters that are evolved to suit universities of a particular type :
globalized comprehensive ones.
▪ These globalized comprehensive universities are places where nearly half of the students
and faculty are form other countries and where all subjects are taught.
▪ Most of the Indian top institutions only deal with particular subjects, like IITs dealing only
with engineering. Moreover India has no comprehensive university. For undergraduate
education India mostly depend on affiliated college system.
▫ International and subjective opinion carry a lot of weightage. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 18 | 35

▪ For instance the US News ranking gives 12.5% weightage each to global research reputation
and regional research reputation.
▫ Times ranking has 55% weightage to research indicators and 30% to teaching environments
including 15% to faculty, don't take into account accentuating Indian circumstances.
▫ Both THE and QS focus on research and teaching while Indian universities are organized around
teaching and learning. The situation is unlikely to change in short run, unless we begin to
seriously focus on research and innovation, while continuing to excel in teaching.

- Some Steps taken in India

▫ Institute of Eminence -> to help top universities do better through complete autonomy. Thus,
create institutions of global reputation.
▫ Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) -> to give a major push for creation of high quality
infrastructure in premiere educational institutes. HEFA will leverage the equity (Rs 2000 crore
(1000 (govt) + 1000 crore (corporate sector) to raise upto Rs 10,000 crore from market for
funding projects for infrastructure and development of world class labs in IITs/IIMs/NITs and
such other institutions. These funds will be provided as 10 years interest free loans.
▫ NIRF Ranking -> to promote health competition among national universities -> this will also
contribute towards improving international rankings
▫ Ucchattar Avishkar Yojna -> promotes industry sponsored, outcome oriented research projects
in IITs
▪ The project cost is met to the extent of 50% by the MHRD and 25% each by industry and
participating ministry/department
▫ RUSA (Rashtriya Uchchatar Siksha Abhiyan) -> the overall quality of existing state higher
educational institutions is sought to be improved by ensuring their conformity to prescribed
norms and standards and adoption of accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance

- Steps that should be taken to improve the higher education system in the country : An ancient seat
of learning, India was once home to globally reputed institutions like Taxila University and Nalanda
which attracted foreign students too. At present, we need an infusion of fresh ideas, and teaching
mechanism to create a new educational infrastructure that not just deliver knowledge, but also
encourages new thinking and boost the spirit of innovation in the new generation.
▫ Improving Quality of Infrastructure/Funding . Government needs to make massive investment
in higher education. According to C. N. R. Rao , the investment should be in tune of 3% of GDP.
This will require a lot of political will. Improving the system of higher education should be a
national mission since it will determine the future of our country.
▫ Faculty : Grooming adequate numbers of well qualified competent and committed teachers;
▪ They are in short supply and for young graduates teaching is not an attractive career option.
▪ Ensuring that recruitment of teachers is not done on any criteria other than merit.
▪ Thanks to the Assured Career Advancement Scheme in Indian Universities which has taken
away whatever little or more peer pressure has existed in Indian universities and
institutions during 60’s and 70’s.
▪ Attracting global faculty
• Student and Teacher exchange programs with institutions across the world.
▫ Quality of learning and Research Environment (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 19 | 35

▪ Do away with strict curriculum delineation.
• Students should be given the opportunity to pursue literally any interest they might
▪ Latest R&D facilities should be made available to researchers/students
▫ Connecting world of learning and world of Industries
▪ Solving real life practical problems makes students motivated towards the goal.
▫ Making private sector Contribute
▪ Private sector in India has made a lot of money but they have not put effort to set up
institutions like Stanford and Harvard which are the top private universities of world.
▫ Structural Changes in our Universities
▪ Our universities act as affiliating bodies and take pride in giving examinations to thousands
of undergraduate students every year.
• This should not be the role of universities. Universities should worry about higher
education and research.
▫ System of Approval to new Universities
▪ It should be made more stringent.
▪ System of approval doesn't currently involve a detailed assessment of quality parameters
such as the quality of faculty, quality of teaching, learning processes and that of research
and innovation environment in the institution or a university.
• There is not benchmark specified for quality thus leaving a lot on subjectivity.
▪ The regulatory bodies should be well advised to emulate some of the best practices for
assessment of the institutions and universities prevalent in the advanced countries such as
US, Europe and even in neighbouring countries like Singapore, Korea and China.
▫ Issue of Autonomy
• Higher education in India suffers from a lack of democratic leadership that understands its
true nature. For those heading academic institutions, accountability is personal and not
institutional or societal. The erosion of autonomy and accountability in centres of
education is the biggest challenge an aspirational rising India faces.
- Conclusion :
Ranking is an evaluation of our education system's performance. And in this sense we should be
worried about low rank. Number of foreign students and teachers might not be a cause of
concern but the number and quality of publications should be taken seriously.
As shown by recent QS ranking, while the Indian Higher Education System is making progress in
some key areas, the sector requires a substantial, sustained and strategic investments both in
research and education. The current budget is inadequate for a country with incredible potential
and great ambitions.


- Why in news?
▫ UGC announced names of another 14 institutions out of the 24 recommendations by the
government's Empowered Expert Committee (EEC), selected for Institute of Eminence (IoE)
status. (Aug 2019)
▪ Under the Public Institutions category, UGC picked IIT-Madras, IIT-Kharagpur, Delhi
University, Central University of Hyderabad, Jadavpur University, Anna University, and
Banaras Hindu University. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 20 | 35

▪ Under the Private Institutions category, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, VIT Vellore,
Jamia Hamdard, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, O P Jindal University and
Shiv Nadar University will be awarded IoE status.
▪ With these announcements, total number of universities and institutions selected for
the eminence tag has gone up to 20, of which 10 are public institutions and 10 private.
▫ Last Year, UGC had chosen BITs-Pilani, Manipal Academy of Higher Education and Jio
Institute (yet to be established)
▫ In Sep 2019, HRD Ministry issued orders to five public institutions including IIT Madras, IIT-
Kharagpur, DU, BHU and University of Hyderabad, and five private institutions including
VIT, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Jamia Hamdard, and the Kalinga Institute of Industrial
Technology, declaring them as IoEs. The new greenfield Bharti Institute, a project of
Airtel's Satya Bharti Foundation, has also been issued the letter.
▪ Each of these institutions will now sign an MoU with the Ministry, laying out its plan
to achieve the objective of becoming a world-class institution.
▪ The public institution on the list will then be eligible for a government grant of Rs
1,000 crore.

- Background
▫ The Institute of Eminence tag is aimed at creating an enabling architecture for 10 public
and 10 private institutions to emerge as world class institutions since the country has little
representation in the international ranking of the educational institutions.
▪ The plan was first announced by former FM Arun Jaitely in Budget 2016.
- UGC in 2017 came up with regulation "UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be
Universities) Regulations 2017 to government all such private institution that will be conferred
with such status, ensuring their complete, academic, administrative and financial autonomy.
▫ These regulations will override all other UGC regulations and free the institutions form
UGC's restrictive inspection regime, the regulation control over fee and curriculum.
▫ The institute will have to achieve a place in the top 500 of any of the global ranking within
10 years of being declared an institution of eminence and eventually reach the top 100 slot.
▫ The institute will have a teacher student ratio of 1:20 to begin with and 1:10 in five years.
▫ Student enrollment of 15,000 in 15 years.
▫ It should have good mix of Indian and international faculty.
▪ Only those who come with a degree from top 500 institutions will be considered
eligible for foreign faculty.
▫ Institutions will be multi-disciplinary but unitary, meaning they will not affiliate with
colleges or use the word university for description.
▫ Student's Selection will be through a merit based transparent admission process to ensure
that no meritorious student is turned away for lack of funds. Reservation will only be
applicable to government institutions.
▫ Institute of complete autonomy in deciding course structure, Faculty hiring mechanisms,
Academic Collaboration etc.
- Who selects these institutions?
▫ An empowered expert committee (EEC) with three to five eminent persons appointed for
three years with the final approval of appointments committee of the cabinet headed by
the PM selects the 20 institutions. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 21 | 35

▫ EEC recommends the names to the UGC, which forwards its decision to the HRD ministry
that issues a letter of intent to such institutions and decide on the final conferment of the
status after a memorandum of understanding.

- Analysis
▫ This seems to be another effort at the trickle down approach of improving the quality of
education in the country.
▪ Tiering of education has done well for countries like China and Singapore
▫ Positives
▪ Multi-disciplinary but unitary provision will ensure sole focus on a single institute and
hence will improve the quality.
▪ Funding also appears to be at critical level, with Rs 1,000 crore earmarked for each of
the designated institutions over a 10-year period.
▪ The announced Teacher-student ratio is very favorable
▪ Institutions will be free to select up to 30% of foreign students
▪ Allowing foreigners as faculty will enhance the quality of teaching and solve the
problem of shortage of quality teachers/researchers.
▫ Limitations
▪ Very few seats for general category?
• With 30% of foreign students, and 50% reservation, will there be only 20% seats
left for general category students.
▪ Reservation for teachers too?
• This excellence-equity dichotomy will be the real challenge. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 22 | 35

- Why in news?
▫ Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed, while speaking on the sidelines of ASEAN
summit have said that India should be excluded from RCEP negotiations if it doesn’t come
on board on major issues by the End of the Year. (June 2019)
▪ India has said that it would be premature to suggest that India could be cut out of RCEP and that
it has consistently engaged with RCEP negotiations.
- Example Questions
▫ Discuss the key factors hindering the finalization of Regional Comprehensive Economic
Partnership (RCEP). [12.5 marks, 200 words]
- Introduction
▫ RCEP is a proposed FTA between 10 member states of ASEAN (Myanmar, Thailand, Laos,
Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Phillipines) and the six states
with which ASEAN has existing FTAs (Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea and
▫ RCEP negotiations were formally launched in Nov 2012 at the ASEAN summit in Cambodia.
▫ Strength of RCEP: In 2017, RCEP population is 3.5 billion with around 35% of the world's

- Significance of RCEP
▫ It is expected to be an ambitious agreement which would form world's largest trading bloc
covering a broad spectrum of issues such as trade in goods, services, investment,
competition, IPRs and other areas of economic and technical cooperation.
▫ It is expected to boost goods trade by eliminating most tariff and non-tariff barriers. This
move is expected to economically integrate the region and provide greater choices to
consumers in the region.

- Challenges in Final Negotiations of RCEP

▫ There are a number of issues which may act as spoilers
▪ Huge Economic Disparities among the negotiating countries is posing a big challenge.
▪ Trust Deficit between China and the rest has the potential to constraint regional
economic cooperation. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 23 | 35

▪ Already existing FTAs vary greatly in their terms, pose a significant hurdle to RCEP
• The lack of commonality across FTAs and varying internal policies of countries
would prove to be a difficult task to harmonize and consolidate under RCEP.
▪ Demand for stricter Intellectual Property norms
• It would affect India's generic medicine industry

- Significance of RCEP for India

▫ Boost to Act East Policy: Better strategic and economic integration with South East Asia
▫ India will get integrated with sophisticated regional production networks
▪ RCEP will facilitate India's integration into sophisticated "regional production
networks" that make Asia the world's factory.
This would help Indian companies plug into regional and global value chains and
would unlock the true potential of Indian Economy.
▪ Complement our existing FTAs with ASEAN and some other countries.
▪ It can address challenges emanating from implementation concerns vis-a-vis
overlapping agreements, which is creating a "noodle bowl" situation obstructing
effective utilization of FTAs.
▪ RCEP would help India streamline the rules and regulations of doing trade and
investment which will reduce the cost of trade for India.
▪ New Market for export of India's leading IT, healthcare and pharmaceutical products.

- Challenges/Concerns which India is facing/might face in RCEP negotiations

▫ Tariff Barriers :
▪ Both agriculture and to a lesser extent, industry, in India are still protected by tariffs
or import duties.
▪ There are demands in RCEP negotiations that India should reduce duties on most of
its agricultural and industrial products.
• India is not ready to do it as fear of surge in inflow of cheap goods into India from
the countries including China, in turn impacting India's industry and farmers. In
fact, in Aug 2018, India has set up a Group of Ministers to see of the mega trade
deal is in the country's best interest. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 24 | 35

• Similarly there is fear that India will be flooded by imports of vegetable oil,
notably palm oil and coconut oil, rubber, fruit and nut, cocoa, coffee, vanilla,
cinnamon and cloves.
• Further, countries like Japan,
Australia, New Zealand provide large
subsidies per farmer when
compared to India. But subsidies, as
it turns out, cannot be negotiated
under an FTA.
• Dairy industry in India have
opposed RCEP as imports from
New Zealand and Australia may
affect them adversely.
▪ Moreover, India's huge trade deficit with
as many as 11 of the RCEP countries is a
cause of concern.

▪ Non trade issues such as environment and labor laws

▪ Many countries in RCEP want stricter provisions whereas India's interest lies in liberal
environment and labor norms.
▪ Stricter IP Norms might be problematic for India
▪ It would affect India's generic medicine industry
▪ Slow progress of the services negotiations
▪ India is pushing for liberalization of services, including easing norms for movement of
professionals across borders for short-term work. However, the slow progress of the
services negotiations has been worrying India.
• In services, India is looking at opening up issues under Mode 4, which deals with
cross-border migration of service professionals.
▪ Demand to open up public procurement segment
▪ India is not willing to undertake any binding commitment on that. The government is
keen to retain the policy space to ensure development of local industry and social
sector using the public procurement policy.
▪ E-Commerce
▪ India has said no to e-commerce negotiations at the WTO and any difference in its
stance at the RCEP is likely to have repercussions.
▪ Stricter Investment Agreement
▪ The RCEP asks for stronger protection provisions for its investors than in some of
India's current investment treaties. India has raised issues about investor-state
dispute settlement clause that allow foreign investors to sue governments in
international tribunals.

- Way forward for India

▫ Hard negotiations: India negotiators should protect India's interest and ensure that FTA is
not unfair to India.
▪ India should ensure that IP, Public Procurement, Investment protection or any other
norms should not be made in a way that affects India's long term interest. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 25 | 35

▪ Our negotiators should be well prepared and they should not be bogged down by arm
twisting of other countries.
▫ Comprehensive negotiations: It is important for India that RCEP is really comprehensive
and doesn't just focus on market access for goods.
▫ Reforms in Domestic economic policies
▪ India will need second generation reforms in its domestic economic policies, to make
its trade more competitive.
▪ These reforms will help India better access other markets , and will mitigate some of
the repercussions for the Indian economy of the other two mega regions.
▪ Domestic Reforms
▪ GST (already done)
▪ Land and labor laws
• Labor reforms are especially important in sectors like textile as RCEP will
definitely bring investments in these sectors.
▪ Reduction in subsidies
▪ Trade reforms
▫ Finally, there needs to be more transparency in the issues being discussed under RCEP.
▪ At minimum, we need to open up the negotiation to public scrutiny and parliamentary
- Conclusion
▫ India needs to ensure that their concerns are taken care of in RCEP negotiation. We should
also ensure that deal is not finalized without India included in it as suggested by some
countries. Joining such FTA later is generally associated with neglect of most of the new
joining members concern. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 26 | 35

- Why in news?
▫ The recent events indicate that US is looking to further thin its presence in Afghanistan. The
US President Donald Trump has called regional players like Russia, Pakistan and India to get
more involved in stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan indicating US' intentions of
decreasing its role in the war torn country. India should be ready to deal with both
immediate and long term implications of this withdrawal
- Example Questions
▫ "The US' exit will end its long war in Afghanistan but growing political uncertainties will only
exacerbate Afghanistan's ongoing conflict" Elaborate [15 marks, 250 words]
- Introductions
▫ The US war in Afghanistan, which had started as a revenge for the 9/11 attacks, later
morphed into a mission for ensuring democracy and prosperity in the country. But, over
the last few years, realizing its inability to successfully tackle Taliban, the mission is now no
more than ensuring an honorable exit for USA.
▫ The recent events indicate that US has discarded its South Asia Strategy that was
announced in 2017. The strategy had three important components:
i. Continuous engagement in Afghanistan and Open Ended Commitment: Not quitting
Afghanistan till "victory" is attained
▪ In fact, US had authorized an additional 4,000 soldiers and gave US forces a freer
hand to go after the Taliban.
ii. Putting Pakistan on Notice for its support to Taliban, and political settlement with
Taliban only after an effective military effort.
iii. Furthering the strategic partnership with India and promoting its role in Afghanistan.

- Each element of the US' South Asia Policy on the ground has shifted if not entirely reversed
▫ The recent USA-Taliban deal indicates that US is no longer willing to wait for military effort
to take effect.
▫ Further, the talks had no involvement of India and Afghan government.
▫ Instead of taking a strong stand against Pakistan for its support for terrorism and Taliban,
the Mr. Trump has written a letter to Pakistan PM thanking him for his efforts in bringing
Taliban on negotiation table.
▪ US realized that it wasn’t possible to bring Taliban on negotiating table without
Pakistan's help.

- Why US Withdrawal is being given very high priority?

▫ Trump's American First Policy -> The current American administration believes that
wasting treasure and blood in distant land is not in America's interest. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 27 | 35

▫ Military Efforts haven't been Successful -> Even after 17 years, Taliban continues to have
an influence over 30-40% of the land area of Afghanistan. It has become US' longest running
war and has had huge economic as well as human costs.
▫ Winning against Taliban not possible -> peace deal and withdrawal is an indication of that.

- How US withdrawal from Afghanistan may impact India

▫ Unstable Afghanistan is not good for India's strategic interests
▪ "A gradual descent into a civil war is likely as various regional stakeholders try to
reshape the battlefield in accordance with their own strategic priorities counting on
American forces to eventually leave,” Harsh Pant
▫ Pakistan may regain its strategic depth in Afghanistan
▪ And with Pakistan increasingly moving into the Chinese orbit, Beijing will get to have
major role in Afghanistan, becoming further disadvantageous for India's strategic
▫ Security situation in Kashmir may worsen
▪ If Taliban gets a stronghold in Afghanistan, it may join forces with Pakistani militants
to create safe havens for terrorists targeting India.
▪ India's nightmare scenario is that once US withdrawal takes place, the ISI will send its
out of work jihadist proxies into the valley as it did in 1990s, after the first Afghan
war ended in 1989 with the soviet withdrawal.
▪ Some experts see that the recent move of withdrawing Article 370 from Kashmir is
focused on this issue.
▫ India's investment in Afghanistan - Political, diplomatic, economic and security - may go
up in smoke.
▫ Future exemptions from Iran Sanctions may become difficult
▪ If US role in Afghan decreases, Pakistan may get its way there and future exemption
for India's investments in Iran may get hampered. The current exemptions are based
on the ground that Indian projects are strategically significant for Afghanistan's
- Way forward
▫ For India, the above outcomes may seem discouraging, but a more pragmatic view is
needed to deal with all possible outcomes. "The US's eventual pullout as Afghanistan's
peacekeeper is inevitable, and it would make more sense to prepare for it than to deny it
will happen" Suhasini Haider.
▫ Increased cooperation with Iran and Russia
▪ With the US pull-out, the role of Russia and Iran may go up in Afghanistan.
▫ Build partnership between various stakeholders and raise the capacity and capability of
Afghan government to resist the Taliban onslaught.
▪ This will also ensure that Pakistan won't have disproportionate stake in Afghanistan.
▫ India's best course with Afghanistan remains its own regional strategy, not becoming a part
of any other country's strategy. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 28 | 35

▫ Continue close bilateral consultation with Afghanistan -> they may not always yield
dramatic results, but are the basis of India's ability to help Afghanistan, and the reason for
immense popularity of India's efforts in country.
▫ Use hard power to promote India's interest
▪ Sushant Sareen says that instead of being soft-headed and putting a lot in store of
soft power, India's policy should be both hard-headed and hard hearted enough to
not hesitate to use hard power to further its interests.
▪ Till now, India has tried to not provoke Pakistan and thus have been reluctant to
provide weapon systems and platforms Afghan government require to fight enemies.
▫ Reaching out to Taliban may not be a good idea
▪ Taliban is too much dependent on Pakistan, and for foreseeable future this
dependency will not reduce. Moreover, India seen dealing with Taliban would make
us loose our friends and allies in Afghanistan.
▪ Further, there is the whole moral, philosophical and political issues of dealing with
medieval barbarians like the Taliban
- Conclusion
In Afghanistan, alliances and allegiances keep shifting, equations keep changing, interests keep
getting redefined. And, these are the opportunities that must be grabbed. India must therefore
always remain prepared and keep its approach flexible.


- Why in news?
▫ Morgan Stanley, a leading investment bank has warned in Aug 2019 that if US and China
continue to raise tariff and non-tariff barriers over the next four to six months, the global
economic growth rate will fall to a seven year low of 2.8 % (Aug 2019)
▫ The trade war has seen a significant escalation in past the month of Aug 2019
▪ America has branded China a currency manipulator which is seen as a step towards
intensification of the trade war (Aug 2019)
• US had not charged any country with currency manipulation formally in last 25
• President Trump has already announced new tariffs of 15% on roughly $300
billion of Chinese goods. China as a countermove has also announced tariffs on
5,000 US products.
▪ On Sep 2, China has also initiated a dispute in WTO against the US's unilateral tariff
- Example Questions
▫ "The fact is that all sides engaged in trade war eventually lose. The longer it goes on, the
greater the cost as growth slows down under the increasing burden of taxes." Elaborate
[12.5 marks, 200 words]
- Introduction (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 29 | 35

▫ The huge trade deficit that US faces with countries like China, India and the European Union
has led US to impose high tariffs on imports from these countries. The retaliations and
counter-retaliations from the other countries has converted this into a big trade war at
global level impacting international trade and commerce and thus the economic growth.
▫ The issue began in March 2018, when US president imposed a 25% tariff on steel imports
and a 10% tariff on aluminium imports, citing national security as one of the key reasons
behind the move.
- Global impact
▫ Derailing Economic Growth: The prospect of trade restrictions and counter-restrictions
threatens to undermine confidence and derail growth prematurely.
▪ The global economy continues to be hit by bad news as one big economy after another
falters on economic growth.
• The US has grown by just 2.1% in Q2 of 2019 as against 3.2% in Q1. Similarly
bond yield in US is plummeting. An inversion of bond yield at big levels points to
likelihood of recession in coming future.
• China has also not been doing well, the unemployment level in Chinese cities is
now at the highest recorded level.
▫ Financial markets are seeing the impact with major indices throughout the world falling
▪ Investors have begun to take threats of trade war more seriously.
▫ Reduction in Global trade is visible from the fact that volume of global trade has stagnated.
▫ In long run, a reversal of globalization of supply chains may take place - perhaps that is
the very aim of the Trump administration.
▫ Negatively impact WTO and other multilateral rule making body as they lose their
authority in dispute resolution.
▫ This will also go against the economic principle of division of labor and comparative
▪ In much longer term, this will be a loss for the world community of nations.
- How is it impacting India?
▫ India's trade is already suffering, and jobs are being lost.
▫ Negatively impacts capital market
▪ Falling stock market
▪ Foreign capital outflows
▫ Adds pressure on INR
▪ Rupee has seen a depreciation over the last few months and this puts pressure on
inflation and fiscal consolidation
- Some beneficial implications for India
▫ Tariffs on US agro-products by China can open up opportunities for Indian farmers
▪ E.g. China's clamp of 25% duty on US soyabean could provide opportunities for Soya
producers in India.
▪ This would also indirectly help India reduce its trade deficits with China.
▫ It may help India cooperate better with China, EU and Japan.
- Impacting Geopolitics
▫ "Trump's policies have persuaded Beijing to demonstrate greater flexibility towards the
US as well as its immediate neighbours, including India and Japan" C. Raja. Mohan
▫ Coming together of China-Japan and China-India have been promoted by the trade barriers. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 30 | 35

▪Japan has also been affected by US' tariff on Steel and Aluminium import. Japan was
not given an exemption in spite of it being a U.S. ally.
▪ Simmering possibility of trade war with US makes it mandatory for China to have good
relations with other economic heavyweights.
- Way forward
▫ Trade war is another example displaying that huge trade deficit is unsustainable and
countries (including India) should work towards trade balance at global levels.
▫ India should continue engagement bilaterally with its key trading partners to promote
▫ India should also start exploring new opportunities which the trade war brings
▪ US is the largest agri-exporter currently. With tariffs, these exports will decrease and
the importers will look for other sources. India should be ready to fill the gap.
▫ Addressing Domestic Bottlenecks: A 2016 analysis by HSBC global research showed that
the domestic bottlenecks were more responsible for India's lack of competitiveness in
exports than the lack of global demand and overvalued rupee put together. Addressing
bottlenecks such as better roads, electricity, easier rules of doing business will also
contribute in promoting exports. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 31 | 35

- Why in news recently?
▫ PM Modi traveled to France for the annual bilateral summit on Aug 22 and 23 (Aug 2019)
• He was also invited by the French President Emmanuel Macron to the G-7 summit,
which occurred from Aug 25-26 at Biarritz, a reflection of the growing depth of the
partnership between India and France
- Example Questions
i. "Space, Nuclear Energy and Defence are the three pillars of Indian-France relations" Discuss
[12.5 marks, 200 words]
ii. Discuss the key aspects of India-France Defence Cooperation. [10 marks, 150 words]
iii. "In an increasingly uncertain world order, India and France are natural partners in building
the new coalition" Comment [10 marks, 150 words]
iv. "India and France have a shared interest in developing a coalition of middle powers
committed to multi-polarity" Elaborate [15 marks, 250 words]

- France - General
▫ France (Geography - for Pre)
• France is a country which consist of
metropolitan France in Western Europe
and Several Overseas regions and
• The metropolitan area extends from
Mediterranean Sea in the south to
English Channel and North Sea in the
north, from Atlantic in the west to Rhine
in the east.
• Overseas territories include French
Guiana in South America and several
islands in Atlantic, Pacific and Indian
• The country’s 18 administrative regions includes 13 in metropolitan regions (including
Corsica) and 5 overseas regions.

2. Politics of France (Constitutional comparison)

• The politics of France take place with the framework of a unitary semi-presidential
republic system determined by the French Constitution of the French Fifth Republic.
• The political system of France consists of an executive branch, a legislative branch,
and a judicial branch.
• Executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic and the Government.
• The Government consists of the Prime Minister and ministers. The Prime Minister is
appointed by the President and is responsible to Parliament.
• The government, including the Prime Minister, can be revoked by the National
Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, through a "censure motion"; this ensures (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 32 | 35

that the Prime Minister is always supported by a majority of the lower house (which,
on most topics, has prominence over the upper house).

- France - India
▫ Introduction
▪ France, like Russia has been a special friend of India and has stood with us even
during rough hours.
▪ After 1974 nuclear explosions, when US and Canada terminated their nuclear
engagement with India, France had supplied fuel for Tarapur Nuclear Power
▪ Similarly, in 1998 French President opposed US sanctions against India.
Therefore, France was the first country with which India established a strategic
partnership in 1998, which has since been accorded to more than 30 countries.
▪ Therefore, PM Modi's first term was characterized by increased efforts to boosting
ties with France.
▪ Nuclear, Space and Defence has been the three pillars of our special
relationship. Recent years have also seen the expansion of cooperation in fields
such as Counter-Terrorism, Maritime Cooperation, Climate Change, Clean
Energy and Urbanization.
▫ India's Strategic Engagement with France have grown in Leaps and Bounds in recent years
▪ Among the P-5 Members France has remained one of the steadiest partner of India
in recent decade, a place that used to be reserve for Russia/Soviet Union in the past
▪ Backing of India's Stand in Kashmir at UNSC was the ultimate demonstration
of France's firm resolve to stand with India.
▪ The two countries have similar stands of international laws and have reiterated the
importance of respecting international laws by all states, in maintaining freedom of
navigation and overflight, piracy, health, weapons and human trafficking, illegal
fishing an smuggling.
▪ France also acts as a gateway of Europe for India. It provides India with an opportunity
to go for deeper engagement with Europe on global issues.
▪ Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation
▪ Cooperation dates back to 1951 when the first agreement between Atomic
Energy Commissions of the two country was signed.
▪ France has consistently supported our nuclear efforts.
▪ Even after 1974 Nuclear test, France had provided as with nuclear fuels.
▪ Similarly, after in 1998 France had criticized US sanctions.
▪ After NSG waiver France was the first country with which we signed a Civil
Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.
▪ France has also signed an agreement to construct six EPR of 1600 MW each
in India.
▪ Defence Cooperation and Defence trade
▪ The two countries also have a Joint Action Plan on Indian Ocean which envisages
greater use of space assets to gain a more useful appreciation of the maritime
environment. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 33 | 35

▪ Further, France has always remained a vital source of arms supply to India
▪ From Sep 2019, Dassault will start supplying the Rafale fighter jets.
▪ France has also developed Scorpene Class Submarine for India
▪ India and France go for regular military exercises to strengthen the cooperation
and coordination between these forces.

▪ Space Collaboration
▪ Background
▪ Space Collaboration between India and France spans over 50 years and is
one of the cornerstones of the Indo-French Strategic partnership. There is
no other country, other than France which has contributed and benefitted
the most in partnering with India in the space sector.
▪ The two countries have a vision to use outer space assets in proactive manner
in developing maritime domain awareness in addition to focusing on areas of
cooperation including high resolution earth observation, space domain and
situational awareness, satellite navigation, space transportation, and human
exploration of space.
▪ The 2019 summit saw an agreement for development and launch of a
series of LEO satellites that will continuously provide maritime surveillance
and security.
• This will cover a wide belt around globe but will specifically focus on
the Indian Ocean Region where France, with its reunion islands, has
a strategic interest.
▪ In July 2019, the two space agencies also signed an agreement regarding a
Joint Maritime Space Fleet.
• This will be the first space based system in the world capable of tracking
ships continuously.
▪ Counter terrorism has emerged as another key area of cooperation between the two
▪ Terror attacks in France by the home-grown terrorists drawn from the large
French Muslim community provide much scope for counter terrorism and de-
radicalization cooperation.
▪ Cyber Security and digital technology was a key area of discussion during PM Modi's
Aug 2019 visit to France.
▪ During the visit, a roadmap for cooperation in cyber security and digital
technology was also concluded.
▪ Economic, Commercial and Cultural ties have also seen a growth in recent years.
▪ Number of Indian students going to France is expected to go upto 10,000 in
▪ Around 40 Indian companies have offices in France and similarly around 39
French companies have India as a key area of operation.
- The steady expansion of cooperation in above fields have increased the comfort levels
between two countries. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 34 | 35

- "India and France have a shared interest in developing a coalition of middle powers
committed to multipolarity" Rakesh Sood.
- "France and India are natural partners in building the new coalition for an uncertain era"
C. Raja. Mohan
▫ Uncertain Era:
• The growing tensions between USA on one hand and China and Russia on the
other hand are roiling the international waters
• Further, the cracks in western political world is also widening because of Trump's
• Rise of China and increasing partnership between Russia and China is making it
harder for New Delhi to rely on Moscow the counterbalance Beijing.
• Under President Trump the American policies have begun to produce
complications for India on a range of issues - from bilateral trade to regional and
global affairs.
▫ Therefore, India and France recognize the urgency of constructing coalition with
like-minded countries that can provide measure of stability in an increasingly
unstable world.
▫ The new imperatives driving India and France have manifested themselves in five-
fold agenda for Modi and Macron.
• Enhancing Bilateral Cooperation in Strategic Sector
▪ France has always helped India in development of advanced technologies
such as space technology, nuclear reactors, weapons etc.
▪ The 2019 Summit saw artificial intelligence and digital revolution being
given high priority in bilateral agenda.
• Going Beyond Buyer Seller relationship
▪ This will increase synergies between India's large defence market and the
French strength in armament production
• Increasing Political Corporation
▪ Political cooperation between India and France is very new but is steadily
expanding with France emerging as most important partner for India at
UNSC and on issues related to Kashmir and terrorism.
• Expansion of relationship from bilateral to regional
▪ In the 2019 summit, the two countries have agreed to intensify maritime
and naval cooperation in the Indian Ocean and more broadly the Indo-
• Prospect of Global Agenda setting is also making India-France relation very
▪ India and France have already worked towards global agenda setting in the
field of climate change and renewable energy (The Solar Alliance).
▪ The framework for cybersecurity and digital technology as discussed by
Modi and Macron during the 2019 summit are other areas where both the
countries can work together to achieve global agenda setting roles.
- Conclusion
▫ France is going to remain important to New Delhi for some time to come, irrespective
of the label that best applies to the growing ties between the two countries. (Classes by Santosh Kumar ( P a g e 35 | 35