The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 14 March 2024

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The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 14 March 2024

1. Indian R&D funding: a breakdown of the figures

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Education GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Issues arising out of their design & implementation. 
From a UPSC standpoint, evaluating India’s potential for innovation and economic competitiveness requires an understanding of the country’s R&D funding environment.

– The article addresses the state of R&D funding in India, highlighting the necessity of greater industry-academia collaboration and a larger role for the private sector in order to promote innovation and economic growth.


  • The scientific and research communities were excited when the interim Budget for 2024–25 announced a ₹1 lakh crore corpus to support India’s research and innovation ecosystem.
  • The renaming of the national development slogan from “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” to “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan, Jai Anusandhan” highlights the significance of research and innovation.

Current R&D Funding Landscape in India

  • Growth of GERD: Between 2010–11 and 2020–21, India’s Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) increased significantly, from ₹6,01,968 million to ₹12,73,810 million.
  • Low GDP-Related R&D Invested: India’s GDP-Related R&D Invested is only 0.64%, well below the rates of major economies such as China (2.4%), Germany (3.1%), South Korea (4.8%), and the United States (3.5%).

Research Output and Innovation

  • Academic Talent: India ranks third in the world, behind the US and China, producing 40,813 PhDs annually.
  • Research Output: With over 3,00,000 publications in 2022, India ranks third globally, demonstrating a strong research ecosystem.
  • Patent Grants: In 2022, India ranked sixth in the world with 30,490 granted patents, demonstrating a changing environment for innovation.

Government Sector Dominance in R&D Funding

  • The primary driver of GERD is the government sector, which includes the federal government, State governments, HEIs, and the public sector industry.
  • Important Agencies: Significant funding is provided to important scientific organisations such as the Department of Atomic Energy, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Department of Space, and Defence Research and Development Organisation.

Private Sector Lag and HEIs Contribution

  • Private Sector Contribution: In India, the private sector accounts for only 37% of Gross Domestic Product (GERD). This is in contrast to global trends, where business enterprises account for over 65% of GERD.
  • Higher Education Institutions’ (HEIs’) 8.8% R&D investment shows that they play a small part in comparison to other stakeholders.

Need for Stronger Industry-Academia Collaboration

  • Global Trends: Market forces and profit motives drive strong industry-academia collaboration in leading innovative economies.
  • Indian Scenario: To promote innovation and knowledge transfer, India’s R&D ecosystem could gain from closer industry-academia collaboration.

Impact of Initiatives

  • The National Deep Tech Startup Policy (NDTSP) encourages private sector participation in R&D by signalling a commitment to technological advancement and innovation.
  • The Anusandhan National Research Foundation (ANRF) Act seeks to increase R&D spending in India by bridging the gap in R&D investment and promoting a strong research culture within HEIs.

Challenges and Future Prospects

  • Equitable Fund Distribution: Promoting interdisciplinary collaborations and making sure that funds are distributed fairly.
  • Global Standards: Maintaining high standards for innovation and research worldwide.
  • Policy Implementation: Ensuring that programmes to promote innovation and research led by the private sector are carried out successfully.


  • With programmes like the NDTSP and ANRF Act, India has demonstrated its commitment to strengthening its research and innovation ecosystem.
  • To fully realise the potential of India’s R&D landscape, however, issues like equitable fund distribution and private sector involvement must be addressed.
  • India can solidify its standing as a global leader in research and innovation through strategic planning and cooperation amongst various stakeholders.

PYQ: Because a career in science is not as appealing as one in business, engineering, or administration, scientific research is decreasing in Indian universities, and these institutions are shifting to a more consumer-focused curriculum. Provide a critical analysis. (12.5 m/200 words) (CSE (M) GS-3, UPSSC 2014)
Practice Question: Talk about the importance of industry-academia cooperation and the private sector’s involvement in India’s R&D landscape for promoting innovation (150 words, 10 marks).

2. Higher engagement, better learning

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Education 
The subject is important to UPSC because it deals with issues in education that affect social development and governance.

– The article highlights the need for active student engagement and hands-on teacher training in order to foster meaningful learning experiences and enhance educational outcomes. It also discusses India’s persistent learning deficit despite high enrollment rates.

 Learning Deficit in India:

  • According to the Annual Status of Education Report 2023, nearly 86.8% of people between the ages of 14 and 18 are enrolled in school, but 25% of them find it difficult to read a text at the Class 2-level in a regional language with fluency.
  • Little progress has been made in addressing the learning deficit despite greater awareness, and ineffective learning experiences are a result of low attendance in public schools.

Challenges in Classroom Engagement:

  • Traditional teaching approaches that don’t inspire students or foster meaningful learning environments are the reason why classroom engagement is still a problem in India.
  • Limited cognitive and emotional engagement results from teachers frequently focusing on a small group of students seated in the front rows while others quietly copy information from the whiteboard.

Importance of Active Learning:

  • Random student participation, peer cooperation, experiential learning, and immediate teacher feedback are all components of active learning.
  • Regardless of background or ability, this method promotes student engagement, ownership of the learning process, and a welcoming learning environment for all students.

Barriers to Implementing Active Learning:

  • The broad implementation of active learning is hampered by inadequate teacher allocation, problems with systemic governance, antiquated teaching methods, and a dearth of coaching and support for teachers.
  • In India, teacher preparation programmes are often theoretical in nature, devoid of opportunities for hands-on learning and engagement.

Addressing Teacher Training Needs:

  • In order to engage teachers as active learners themselves, teacher education should place a strong emphasis on practical experience and provide a balance between 70% practice and 30% theory.
  • To ensure that new teaching practices are successfully implemented by teachers, they also require continuous coaching and support.

Focusing on Student Engagement:

  • Better learning outcomes, a focus on well-structured lessons, excellent teacher-student relationships, and student autonomy all depend on student engagement.
  • The learning environment and results can be greatly enhanced by making small adjustments to classroom procedures.

Shifting Focus to the Right to Learning:

  • Although the Right to Education has been the main topic of discussion, it is crucial to move the emphasis to the Right to Learning in order to provide all students with worthwhile educational experiences.
  • A comprehensive strategy that places an emphasis on student participation and active learning techniques is needed to address the learning deficit.


  • In conclusion, overcoming obstacles to student engagement in the classroom and giving priority to active learning strategies are necessary to address the learning deficit in India.
  • This entails giving teachers hands-on training, continuing assistance, and developing encouraging learning environments that encourage student participation and ownership of the learning process.
  • Better learning outcomes and meaningful educational experiences for all students will depend on reorienting attention to the Right to Learn.

Lack of Quality Education in Indian Schools
Reasons for Lack of Quality Education in Indian Schools:
– Infrastructure Deficiency: Many schools are devoid of essential amenities like clean restrooms, libraries, and classrooms.
– Teacher Shortage: There is a severe lack of certified educators, which causes classrooms to be overcrowded and student-teacher ratios to be low.
– Low Teacher Training: Outdated pedagogical approaches and ineffective teaching methods are the result of teachers receiving insufficient training and professional development.
– Curriculum Challenges: Outdated teaching strategies and curriculum materials don’t motivate students or meet the needs of the modern workforce.
– Socioeconomic Disparities: The issue is made worse by differences in educational access, particularly in rural areas and among marginalised communities.

Way Forward to Improve Quality Education:
– Infrastructure Investment: To guarantee sufficient facilities for efficient learning, the government makes infrastructure investments in schools.
– Teacher Training: Extensive programmes designed to give educators cutting-edge methods and subject-matter knowledge.
– Reforming the curriculum on a regular basis to make it more interesting and relevant for students is known as curriculum reform.
– Technology Integration: Using technology in the classroom to improve instruction and give students access to online resources
– Community Involvement: Creating a supportive learning environment in schools by involving parents, communities, and local stakeholders in the educational process.

PYQ: Without raising awareness of the value of education, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, is still insufficient in promoting an incentive-based system for kids’ education. Examine. (15 minutes, 250 words) (UPSC GS-2 2022 CSE (M))
Practice Question: In order to address India’s learning deficit, discuss the importance of encouraging active student engagement and providing practical teacher training (150 words/10 marks).

3. Even if benefits are modest, India’s free trade agreement with four EU countries is important.

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Agreements involving India or affecting India’s interests 
Since UPSC evaluates India’s trade policy changes and their effects on diplomatic relations and economic growth, the subject is vital.

– The Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) that India recently signed with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is discussed in this article, with special attention paid to its importance, advantages, and inclusion of non-trade issues.


  • Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, as well as India, signed the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
  • The goal of the negotiations, which had begun in 2008 but picked up steam after the UPA government left office, was to increase trade, investment, and employment.

Benefits for Indian Services Firms:

  • Professionals such as architects, accountants, and nurses can benefit from the TEPA, which provides simplified visa regulations and easier access to European markets for Indian services firms.
  • Over a 15-year period, it seeks to bring $100 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) to India and generate one million jobs.

Tariff Reductions and Consumer Benefits:

  • The largest EFTA trading partner, Switzerland, already offers duty-free treatment to the majority of Indian goods exports.
  • While producers have access to more reasonably priced machinery, Indian consumers can anticipate cheaper imports, such as wines and chocolates.

Long-Term Impact and Assessment:

  • India is tying its tariff reductions to investment inflows, and after 20 years, a thorough evaluation of the results is anticipated.
  • Both parties must maintain their efforts in order to accomplish the stated objectives.

Significance of the EFTA Deal:

  • Following agreements with the UAE and Australia, India is committed to growing its trade partnerships, as evidenced by the speedy completion of the EFTA deal.
  • It shows that India is ready to accept free trade and marks a change from previous hesitation to enter into trade agreements.

Inclusion of Non-Trade Issues:

  • A major divergence from conventional economic agreements is the inclusion of non-trade issues like gender, the environment, labour, and human rights in the TEPA.
  • Even though it’s debatable whether these topics should be included in trade agreements, doing so shows that India is prepared to address more general issues, which could improve ties with allies like the EU.


  • An important turning point in Indian trade policy has been reached with the TEPA with the EFTA, which aims to increase investment, job creation, and economic growth.
  • The fact that non-trade issues are included indicates India’s changing views on free trade and readiness to participate in extensive agreements that will benefit both parties.

India’s hesitancy in engaging in trade pacts and willingness to embrace free trade
Reasons for India’s Hesitancy:
– Protectionism: Historically, domestic industries were protected through protectionist measures.
– Agricultural Concerns: Worries about how low-cost imports will affect small-scale farmers’ means of subsistence.
– Industrial Competitiveness: The ability of home industries to compete internationally is a concern.
– Fear of widening the gap in economic performance between different regions.
– Trade alliances are influenced by geopolitical considerations, which are strategic concerns.

Impact of Hesitancy:
– Limited Growth: The potential for economic growth is limited by impediments to integration into global supply chains.
– Lost Opportunities: Not taking advantage of possible benefits from trade agreements.
– Declining Competitiveness: In the long run, domestic industries may suffer from less exposure to international competition.
– Stifled Innovation: Innovation and technological advancement may be hampered by a lack of exposure to international markets.
– Risks of Isolationism: Peril of being excluded from the dynamics of international trade, which could impact diplomatic and commercial ties.

Recent Steps by the Indian Government:
– Trade Policy Review: In order to better align trade policies with both domestic economic priorities and the changing dynamics of global trade, the government started a thorough review of trade policies.
– Bilateral Agreements: To investigate opportunities for mutually beneficial trade, concentrate on negotiating bilateral trade agreements with important allies such as the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom.
– Export Promotion Programmes: To increase outbound trade and improve competitiveness in international markets, export promotion programmes and incentives are being introduced.
– Domestic Reforms: Putting structural changes into place to make doing business easier, encourage manufacturing, and draw in foreign investment. 

Way Forward:
– A balanced approach: is one that maximises prospects for economic growth by balancing the protection of home industries with the acceptance of free trade.
– Diversification: is the process of reducing reliance on particular areas and industries by varying export markets and products.
– Investing in technology, infrastructure, and skill development to increase competitiveness in international trade is known as capacity building.
– Stakeholder consultation: Working together to develop inclusive trade policies with stakeholders, such as trade associations and industry experts.
– Adaptive Strategy: Addressing domestic socioeconomic issues while continuously adjusting trade policies to changing global economic dynamics. 

PYQ: What impact might the current global trade phenomena of protectionism and currency manipulation have on India’s macroeconomic stability? (15 minutes, 250 words) (CSE (M) GS-3, UPSSC 2018)
Practice Question: Talk about the implications for India’s international trade relations and economic growth of its recent Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). (10 marks, 150 words)

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