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Editorials/Opinions Analyses For UPSC 20 December 2021

Contents

  1. Can India become a technology leader?
  2. Testing the red lines in the Iran nuclear talks

Can India become a technology leader?

Context:

Every time a technology giant chooses an India-born techie as its leader, there is a justifiable swelling of pride in the country, but also some disappointment. Despite having so many celebrated technologists around the world, India is still considered by many to not be a major player in technology. India has the potential to occupy the upper echelons of the global technology ladder if only it identifies its shortcomings and acts upon them urgently.

Relevance:

GS-III: Science and Technology, GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Learning from the case of U.S.
  2. The strategies of China
  3. The Case of India
  4. Challenges for India
  5. Favourable Factors for India
  6. Way Forward

Learning from the case of U.S.

  • The Indian immigrants in the U.S are the part of the most educated and professionally accomplished communities in that country.
  • As of 2019, there were 2.7 million Indian immigrants in the U.S.
  • The government of the U.S has been instrumental in the triumphs of enterprise and the free market.
  • The governmental agencies have been actively supporting the research and developments which carry a higher risk and thus the private sector would not enter into those.
  • Google’s success and discovery of the molecular antibodies are some of the successful results of such government fundings.

The strategies of China

  • China marked its dominance on the global market by combining the strengths of the public sector, markets and globalisation.
  • It restructured the state-owned enterprises which were seen as inefficient.
  • The state-owned enterprises strategically participated in the technologically dynamic industries such as electronics and machinery.
  • The state retreated from light manufacturing and export-oriented sectors, leaving the field open for the private sector.

The Case of India

  • The starting pitch for the development goals for industry and technology was rightly put as there were industry-oriented objectives in the Indian Planning in the early 1950s.
  • There was public sector funding of the latest technologies including space and atomic research.
  • The era of globalisation required greater efforts to strengthen the technological capabilities of the country.
  • But the spending on research and development as a proportion of GDP declined in India from 0.85% in 1990-91 to 0.65% in 2018.
  • The spending on research and development as a proportion of GDP has increased over the years in China and South Korea.

Challenges for India

  • The educational infrastructure for higher studies poses certain challenges with respect to quality and accessibility.
  • The domestic industry has not yet managed to derive the benefits of the large consumer base of India.
  • Also, India is operating far below its potential in sectors like electronic manufacturing.
  • India is also highly dependent on imports for electronic goods and components.

Favourable Factors for India

  • India has the potential to become a leading nation in the field of technology by the right recognition and strengthening of the supply and demand factors.
  • India has the highest enrollment for tertiary education after China.
  • The tertiary education enrollment in India was 35.2 million in 2019.
  • As per the UNESCO data, India has one of the highest graduates from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programmes as a proportion of all graduates.
  • India is a potential market for all kinds of new technologies with the increasing internet consumption across the nation.
  • India will soon have twice the number of Internet users as the U.S.

Way Forward

  • As India accounts for one of the highest tertiary education enrolments, the universities and public institutions in the country should be strengthened to deepen and broaden India’s technological capabilities.
  • The public spending on education should be increased to improve the quality of and access to higher education.
  • A strengthened public sector will create more opportunities for private businesses and widen the entrepreneurial base.
  • The PSUs should be valued for their long-term contributions to economic growth and asset building for the nation.
  • The government should be more versatile for increasing the business participation of private industries.
  • For example, an initiative like ‘Make in India’ needs to be more comprehensive than a singular focus on ease of doing business.
  • The domestic markets should be categorically strengthened to avail the advantages of a large consumer base for the technology sector.

-Source: The Hindu


Testing the red lines in the Iran nuclear talks

Context:

Multilateral nuclear talks have started once again in Vienna with a new Iranian negotiating team.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. JCPOA and the History regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal
  1. Stand of Iran and USA
  2. Perspective of European countries on Iran vs USA on nuclear talks
  3. China’s Stand
  4. Israel’s Stand

Click Here to read more about the JCPOA and the History regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal

Stand of Iran and USA

  • Both parties are trying to bargain hard with each other, with no one agreeing to back first.
  • Iran wants economic sanctions on it to be lifted first but the US wants Iran to reduce enrichment of uranium and accept full International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections and thereafter economic sanctions will be lifted.
  • Iran, like North Korea, is trying to strengthen its economic relations with Russia and China to reduce the impact of economic sanctions by the USA.
  • USA has no direction of dealing with Iran, with President Joe Biden not commiting to lift sanctions during his tenure.
  • These factors have created an impasse between the two nations, reducing the chances of success of Vienna talks.

Iran’s Stand

  • In the Vienna talks, Iran has come up with a new general nuclear strategy.
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei arguments have centered around complete upliftment of sanctions imposed by US and its allies and now the newly elected Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has stated that nothing is agreed on unless everything has been agreed on.
  • It seems that Iranian government is trying to fructify its expanding nuclear programme to get maximum concessions from the international community, without paying significant costs.
  • This has reduced the chances for success of the nuclear deal.
  • IAEA is nervous about the continuing efforts being made by Iran to pursue 20% uranium enrichment at the underground Fordow facility.

Perspective of European countries on Iran vs USA on nuclear talks

  • Till now there has not been much participation by European countries.
  • However, Enrique Mora, Deputy Secretary General/Political Director, European External Action Service is positive about the talks that have been resumed.
  • He is of the view that the USA and European side should take care of the new political situation in Iran.
  • However, it seems that Europeans want to salvage the deal as soon as possible as Iran has enhanced its effort to enrich uranium.
  • At the same time, they do not want to act as forceful mediators as Russia and China are on Iran’s side.

China’s Stand

  • China has sided with Iran stating that the USA has done injustice to Iran and in this the Europeans have helped them, terming the whole saga as “nuclear hypocrisy” of the West.
  • While the Iranian negotiators are saying that time is running out for the US to negotiate successfully, U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has said the same for Iran, that time is running out of Iran’s hand to renegotiate the deal.
  • However, Blinken is positive about the deal and said it is not too late for Iran.

Israel’s Stand

  • Israel is trying its best to project Iran as a serious nuclear threat in front of the USA and European governments.
  • Former Israeli Defence Minister, Moshe Ya’alon has stated the decision of Trump’s administration to quit the JCPOA as a big mistake.
  • However, the current Prime minister of Israel has stated that the mistake made in the 2015 nuclear deal won’t be repeated again.
  • He has also asked the USA to adopt a different approach to thwart Iran’s nuclear enrichment of Iran.

-Source: The Hindu

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