Indian Express Editorial Analysis- 13 February 2024

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Indian Express Editorial Analysis- 13 February 2024

1. A science for us

Topic: GS2  – Governance – Government policies – Interventions for development in various sectors
In light of recent advancements in Indian science and technology, such as the introduction of SWATI and the larger conversation on gender equity, this topic is relevant for both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– Indian science academies have recently launched Science for Women- A Technology & Innovation (SWATI), a portal that seeks to build an extensive database of women in science in India. This initiative is an attempt to close the gender gap in STEM fields.

– This program expands on earlier efforts and demonstrates the continued dedication to advancing gender parity in scientific fields.

More about the news: Historical Initiatives and Reports:

  • Two decades ago, the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) published a historic report that set the groundwork for addressing gender gaps in Indian science.
  • This government-backed report marked a significant shift from popular discourse by highlighting workplace discrimination and offering solutions.
  • The discussion of gender inequality in STEM fields was furthered by later initiatives like the Indian Academy of Sciences’ Lilavati’s Daughters and national conferences.

Policy Proposals and Implementation Challenges:

  • Despite the great fanfare surrounding the announcement of policy proposals such as flexible working hours and research grants for women scientists, the implementation of these proposals was beset with difficulties.
  • Policymakers frequently broke their promises, displaying a mismatch between the goals and the way things are done.
  • The absence of efficacious mechanisms for implementation impeded the advancement of tackling the underlying factors contributing to gender inequality in higher education.

Gendered Perceptions and Policy Implications:

  • Sociological studies provide a deeper understanding of gendered perceptions, which illuminates the genesis of current policies and initiatives.
  • The focus on “fixing” women through awareness campaigns and mentorship programs ignores structural barriers and places an excessive burden on female scientists.
  • Recognizing discrimination and holding the overrepresented group accountable for maintaining disparities are necessary for addressing gender equity.

Emerging Policy Directions and Inclusive Practices:

  • More progressive language and inclusive frameworks are used in more recent initiatives like the GATI charter and the draft Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) 2020.
  • These policies, which are based on a variety of viewpoints, acknowledge the intersectionality of gender disparities and make an effort to address the particular difficulties that marginalized groups in the scientific community face.

The Role of Inter-Academy Panels and Future Prospects:

  • A renewed commitment to addressing gender disparities in Indian science is signaled by the launch of SWATI by a panel comprising representatives of several scientific academies.
  • Past experiences, however, warn against complacency and emphasize the necessity of persistent efforts and open, inclusive procedures.
  • Although the SWATI initiative’s inclusion of diverse gender identities is a step in the right direction, real progress will not come until accountability and efficacy are ensured.


  • There is a growing awareness of the need for inclusive practices and policies, as evidenced by the establishment of SWATI and larger initiatives to advance gender equity in Indian science.
  • Through tackling structural obstacles and questioning gender-based assumptions, the scientific community can establish a more fair and varied atmosphere that fosters advancement and creativity.
  • Realizing the goal of gender equality in STEM fields requires ongoing cooperation and openness.

Government of India initiatives for promoting women in science:
– Women Scientist Scheme: The Women Scientist Scheme intends to give women technologists and scientists the chance to rejoin mainstream science after taking a career break to take on social responsibilities.

-Knowledge Participation in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN): The Department of Science and Technology reorganized all programs targeted at women into KIRAN. Through gender mainstreaming, the KIRAN program seeks to achieve gender parity in S&T.

– Science and Technology for Women (S&T for Women): This program was started in 1981–1982 with the goal of using S&T to empower women at the grassroots level and to advance gender equality through the development, adaptation, adoption, transfer, and demonstration of suitable and effective technologies.

– Consolidation of university research for innovation and excellence in women’s universities (CURIE): KIRAN is actively involved in developing cutting-edge infrastructure in women’s universities through CURIE in order to draw in and keep talented female students in S&T fields.

Technology parks for women: Women technology parks (WTPs) serve as a single point of convergence for a variety of technologies, resulting in the socioeconomic development of women through the development of women’s capacity and the adoption of regionally-specific technologies.

– Training and capacity building: In collaboration with prestigious institutions, a number of training programs are held specifically to increase the knowledge and skills of female scientists working in a variety of sectors and on a wide range of topics. One such program is the National Programme for Training of Women Scientists and Technologists in the Government, which gave over 1000 women scientists the chance to advance their expertise.

Practice Question: Talk about the steps taken to address the gender gap in Indian science, looking at the difficulties faced during implementation and the advancements made. (10 m / 150 words)

2. Ten years on, India and UAE

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Bilateral Relations
In light of the bilateral relations between India and the United Arab Emirates, which emphasize historical ties, diplomatic contacts, and economic cooperation, this topic is pertinent for both the Prelims and Mains exams.

Prior to the oil boom era, Indian traders have always been important to the Persian Gulf region. Their involvement encompassed everything from furniture, textiles, and spices to investments in pearl fishery operations.

Despite difficult living conditions, Indian businesspeople even brought modern conveniences like electricity to bustling trading hubs like Dubai.

The region’s economy benefited from the apparent impact of Indian entrepreneurship and expertise in a number of sectors.

More about the news:Perception of Bilateral Relations:

  • The perception was that there was insufficient political capital investment in bilateral relations between India and the Emirates, even though the Indian diaspora made significant contributions and was present in the country.
  • This attitude remained, as evidenced by the fact that the final Indian prime ministerial visit took place in 1981.
  • Calls for increased engagement and strategic cooperation between the two nations arose from the perceived neglect of Indian policymakers in contrast to the success of Indian entrepreneurship.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Visit:

  • A major shift in bilateral relations was brought about by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to the United Arab Emirates in August 2015.
  • The commitment to advancing the relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership was signaled by the signing of a Joint Statement and the warm reception from Emirati leadership.
  • The foundation for important projects in a number of areas, including infrastructure, trade, security, and education, was established by this visit.

Progress and Achievements:

  • There has been noticeable progress in fortifying bilateral ties between India and the UAE as evidenced by subsequent visits and agreements.
  • The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), more investment, and collaboration in fields like education and energy transition highlight the partnership’s depth and scope.
  • The founding of a campus of the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi in Abu Dhabi strengthens cooperation in research and education.

Symbolic Gestures and Community Engagement:

  • The UAE and India are becoming more and more connected through symbolic acts like the donation of land for the construction of a temple in Abu Dhabi.
  • Emirati leadership’s ability to adapt to the needs and goals of the Indian community emphasizes how crucial community involvement is to building stronger ties.

Outlook and Future Prospects:

  • A commitment to bolstering bilateral ties and addressing unfinished business of cooperation is reiterated by Prime Minister Modi’s impending visit to the United Arab Emirates.
  • The BAPS Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi’s dedication ceremony represents the accomplishment of the Indian community’s long-standing demands and goals.
  • The chances for both nations’ continued growth and prosperity are encouraging, and this will set the stage for a successful partnership in the years to come.

What are Different Challenges in India-UAE Relations?
– Trade Barriers Affecting Indian Exports:
1) Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), such as mandatory Halal certification and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regulations, have hindered Indian exports, especially in the meat, poultry, and processed food industries.
2) According to a report from India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, these obstacles have caused a notable decline in processed food exports to the UAE by nearly 30% in recent years.

Chinese Economic Influence in the UAE:
1) The low-interest loans that China offers as part of its “Cheque Book Diplomacy” have eclipsed India’s economic efforts in the United Arab Emirates and the wider Middle East.
2) According to data from the China Global Investment Tracker of the American Enterprise Institute, China outspent India by a significant margin on contracts and investments worth over USD 30 billion in the UAE between 2005 and 2020.

Challenges of the Kafala System:
1) Human rights issues are raised by the UAE’s Kafala system, which gives employers extensive control over foreign workers, particularly those employed at low-paying positions.
2) Examples of poor living conditions, unpaid wages, and confiscation of passports highlight the difficulties migrant workers encounter in this system.

Concerns Over UAE’s Financial Support to Pakistan:
1) Given Pakistan’s history of funding cross-border terrorism against India, concerns regarding possible misuse of the UAE’s significant financial assistance to Pakistan are raised.
2) For instance, there were worries that the funds would be diverted to activities that would be harmful to India’s national security when the UAE promised to provide USD 3 billion to support Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves in 2019.

Diplomatic Balancing Act Amid Regional Conflicts:
1) India is in a difficult diplomatic position because of the ongoing conflict between the UAE and other Arab countries and Iran.
2) India continued to import 10% of its total oil imports, or crude oil, from Iran in spite of the U.S. sanctions. This highlights the need for India to exercise caution in navigating its relations with Iran and the Arab world.
3) The current conflict between Israel and Hamas makes matters worse by throwing the planned IMEC into unfavorable circumstances.

PYQ: The most significant aspect of India’s economic development is the issue of energy security. Examine India’s energy policy collaboration with countries in West Asia. (15 minutes, 250 words) (CSE (M) GS-2, UPSSC 2017)

Practice Question: Examine how Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trips to the United Arab Emirates and the results of bilateral agreements contributed to the relationship’s advancement into a comprehensive strategic partnership. (15 m/250 words)


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