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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 07 October 2023


  1. Aligning Higher Education with the United Nations SDGs
  2. De-risking is Better Than Decoupling

Aligning Higher Education with the United Nations SDGs


The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) consist of 17 objectives and 169 targets unanimously embraced by all 193 UN member states, aiming for realization by 2030. These goals urgently demand coordinated efforts from both developed and developing nations to eradicate poverty, address socio-economic and environmental issues, and enhance quality of life and education.


  • GS2- Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • GS3- Environment

Mains Question:

The National Education Policy 2020 shows a commendable positive alignment with the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals. Examine. (10 marks, 150 words)

Status of implementation of SDGs:

  • Despite the passage of eight years since their inception, the 2023 SDGs Report reveals sluggish progress, influenced by the prolonged impacts of COVID-19, the climate crisis, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and a weakened global economy.
  • The lack of advancement is universally experienced, with more pronounced setbacks in the Least Developed Countries.
  • India, though navigating global economic crises and overcoming pandemic challenges, has faced setbacks in SDG attainment.

National Education Policy and SDGs:

  • However, recent policies and actions indicate India’s commitment to SDG realization.
  • Notably, the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aligns with many SDGs, with a particular emphasis on higher education. Recognizing the transformative role of higher education in fostering social mobility, creativity, critical thinking, and employment skills, NEP 2020 is crucial in this regard.
  • Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) emphasizes the significance of higher education in employability and income, thereby contributing to several SDGs.
  • Universities are urged to strengthen the research-teaching nexus, producing multi-talented individuals capable of addressing global challenges.
  • Sustainable development requires a paradigm shift in production and consumption patterns, necessitating collaboration between universities, innovative startups, and private companies.
  • Value-Based Education (VBE) is recommended to instill responsibility towards self, society, and the planet.
  • NEP 2020 mandates that Indian higher education align its operations with SDGs, emphasizing the need for universities to integrate sustainability into their strategies.

Way Forward:

  • Ranking universities based on SDG achievements is a positive step, but more concerted efforts are required. Stakeholders in higher education should be educated and oriented to ensure no activity leaves any SDG behind.
  • Collaboration among the vast number of higher educational institutions in India is essential.
  • Universities should actively engage with local communities in education, innovation, culture, and civic life, fostering a culture of community health, energy conservation, efficient resource allocation, waste reduction, and skill development.


It is imperative that universities adopt sustainability as a guiding principle, incorporating SDGs into their daily administration, teaching, and research, recognizing their integral role in socio-economic development and nation-building. Every citizen should perceive universities as direct contributors to their well-being and national progress.

De-Risking is Better Than Decoupling


Globalization has reached a point where complete economic decoupling of a country or region is impractical. The way forward involves de-risking and realignment instead.


  • GS1- Effects of Globalization on Indian society.
  • GS2- Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.

Mains Question:

Is economic decoupling of a country relevant in the present global scenario? Use illustrations to substantiate your argument. (15 marks, 250 words).

Economic Decoupling and Present Scenario:

  • The current world dynamic, highlighted by the Ukraine war and questions about the effectiveness of the United Nations, emphasizes that economic decoupling of a country or region is neither feasible nor justifiable.
  • Over the last two decades, globalization has become so entrenched that de-risking and realignment emerge as the only viable paths for nations to make economic progress.
  • Powerful nations openly express their intent to build economic resilience by diversifying partnerships and focusing on de-risking rather than decoupling.
  • Despite NATO’s efforts, Russia remains interconnected, trading within Asia, Europe, and Africa. Isolating one country disrupts trade and hinders overall development.
  • Future strategies should avoid isolating nations, particularly if the UN’s sustainable development goals are to be achieved.

Decoupling from China:

  • Recognizing that decoupling from China is challenging, there’s a growing acknowledgment of the need to de-risk economies vulnerable to China’s debt trap diplomacy.
  • While the U.S. treasury secretary admits that decoupling from China is nearly impossible, tit-for-tat tariff exchanges are seen more as protectionism than genuine decoupling.
  • China’s strategy involves “dual circulation,” exercising control over both external and internal trade, raising concerns about the global trade order and prompting discussions of decoupling.
  • Recognizing that decoupling from China is impractical, the West emphasizes the importance of de-risking.
  • Strategies for de-risking Global South economies involve building infrastructure, transferring technology, and promoting equitable policies.

Way Forward:

  • De-risking must extend to curbing China’s expansionist policies, both economically and in the realms of politics and society.
  • It should also restrict China’s access to advanced technology with military applications, spanning both economic and defense aspects.
  • India’s cooperative approach to mutually beneficial trade may gain global traction, particularly in Global South countries.
  • De-risking from China could be a significant step in this direction, aligning with India’s inclusive policy framework.
  • De-risking also involves addressing climate change by transferring technology to promote clean energy, benefiting not only individual nations but humanity as a whole.
  • Reducing over-reliance on exclusive Chinese products, especially concerning the transition to clean energy, is crucial.
  • Ensuring the safety of critical raw material supplies for green energy and preventing monopolistic tendencies are imperative for global well-being.


In this era, characterized by a need for common goals and shared interests, de-risking becomes essential for humanity to achieve sustainable development goals.

December 2023