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Forging a China-India-Pakistan-Bangladesh axis would be a game changer for all of South Asia.
The plan to give select universities autonomy and create a multi-tier academe is a crisis for our democracy.
Greater autonomy to institutions of higher education
- The new regulations on providing graded autonomy to institutions of higher education can transform the higher education sector and strengthen the foundations of a knowledge economy
- To make that happen, universities, teachers and students need to create many more forums for interaction
- These interaction would lead to generation of workable ideas and workable courses that can generate wealth
We reality check of innovations
- For the most part, innovation happens in increments and builds on what has gone before
- And innovation needs to be tested against reality
- Setting up incubation centres is just one step. We need much more: Internships for students, work on real world problems and building databases of knowledge that could be useful for artificial intelligence
- This is where the forums for interaction(mentioned above) can help
- These interactions would provide good guide maps for what students should be taught and the research that is needed
Teaching in Indian Universities
- Today teaching in universities is largely guided by convention and to some extent by what is taught on foreign shores
- Two factors are responsible for this:
One, the need to constantly look to the UGC for guidance and two, the lack of discussion with local communities about their needs
- The new regulations have removed the first obstacle
- We should now direct our attention to the second
What is needed to be done by the universities?
- There are many people who are already doing great work
- We just need more of them
- Universities need to set up structures to encourage such people willing and able to devote their time to real world problems and to improving productivity
- For universities to be able to generate wealth, they need to encourage and fund all kinds of ideas
- One possible way to do this would be to give greater value to project work
- All of the above ideas need investment in human capital, namely faculty
- The government can facilitate this entire process by funding capability building of teachers
- We need to invest far more in our teachers than we do. Given the scale of the task, and past neglect, we need to move fast
hat is happening to U.S.-China trade?
In the latest round of tit-for-tat, China, on Wednesday, announced plans to hike tariffs by 25% on 106 imports from the U.S. The Chinese move was in response to a U.S. announcement on Tuesday, of a 25% tariff on 1,333 Chinese imports. The proposed U.S. tariffs are the result of the administration’s investigation into whether China has been indulging in unfair intellectual property and technology transfer practices under a “Made in China 2025” industrial promotion policy. If implemented, China’s retaliatory tariffs, on products such as soybean, whisky, orange juice and cars, would hit the U.S. where it hurts; 60% of U.S. soybean exports go to China.
The Supreme Court asked if this open-ended clause in the Aadhaar Act ‘isn’t excessive delegation’ if the UIDAI is given the authority to add whatever attribute as biometric.
The Compensatory Afforestation Fund is a deeply flawed and unjust mechanism.
Collection in the Central compensatory afforestation fund (CAF)
- Ministry of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Mahesh Sharma informed Parliament that his Ministry has collected over Rs. 50,000 crore in a CAF
- This money is to be used though the CAF Act, 2016 or CAF, a purported mechanism to offset forest loss
- Before issuing forest clearances to a mine, dam or industry, the Ministry fixes a monetary value for the forest that is to be destroyed and collects this as “compensation”
- The funds are to be then used to “afforest” alternative land
Issues with the CAF
- The fund’s growth over the past decade is a measure of the forest destruction under way in India
- The CAF Act is a deeply flawed piece of legislation because it reduces their displacement, hardship and loss of livelihood and food sources to a monetary value — to be paid to the state
- The law, and now its draft rules, spells further capture of Adivasi lands in the name of compensatory afforestation
The CAF Act, 2016 : Not an effective safeguard
- The Forest Rights Act (FRA) was enacted in 2006 to provide forest-dependent communities with resource rights via individual and community forest land titles
- The act formally established the authority of the gram sabha in forest stewardship
- A decade on, the FRA remains grossly under-implemented, and its vision of devolving power to rural communities delayed
CAF Act, 2016
- The rules(in the act) provide no meaningful safeguards against the forest bureaucracy implementing compensatory plantations on dense forests
- It gives unchecked powers to bureaucracy to undertake plantations on private and common property resources
- The rules provide for mere “consultation” with communities in the planning of compensatory afforestation:
a clear step backward from the consent provisions in the FRA and the 2014 Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act
Opposition of the CAF bill
- Since the CAF Bill was floated, forest rights advocates report that over 2,500 gram sabhas across India have opposed it
- But resource rights movements by Adivasi and forest-dwelling communities are marginal in our public discourse, except during momentous events like the recent Nashik-Mumbai march
- The government’s ongoing policies do not address such demands for justice and dignity
he global IT services and consulting major Accenture said AI has the potential to increase India’s annual growth rate of gross value added (GVA) by 1.3 percentage points, lifting the country’s income by 15 percent by 2035.
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