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India’s engagement with Africa

Relevancy

  • GS Mains Paper-2, International Relations

Why in news?

  • Ahead of BRICS leaders’ summit in South Africa, Indian PM made visits to Rwanda and Uganda.
  • This is a reflection of the intensity and significance of India’s engagement with Africa.

What is the significance?

  • Rwanda is one of the Africa’s fastest growing economies.
  • After the end of its civil war, it is moving steadily on the path of recovery and national reconciliation.
  • Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame is chair of the African Union (an intergovernmental organization of African states).
  • About 3,000 Indian nationals and PIOs live in Rwanda.
  • Rwanda’s only sugar refinery, only modern textile mill, and a soap and cosmetic factory are all PIO-owned.
  • India-Rwanda bilateral relations have been cordial and have grown steadily over the years.
  • In 1999, Rwanda officially opened its mission in New Delhi and posted a charge d’affaires.
  • In 2001, it appointed its first resident ambassador in New Delhi.
  • India has taken a decision to open a diplomatic mission in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.
  • Uganda – In Uganda, India established its diplomatic presence in 1965.
  • But the ties dates back to the era when trade began across the Indian Ocean.
  • Eventually a number of Indians settled in East Africa, and many made Uganda their home.
  • There are over 30,000 Indians/PIOs in the country.
  • Uganda is currently chair of the East African Community.
  • India – Africa – The visit of more than 40 leaders for the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit in 2015 was a significant event in this regard.
  • The present visit to African countries takes forward India’s engagement with Africa.

What are the outcomes of the visit?

  • India signed two loan agreements with Rwanda worth $ 100 million each.
  • It contributes for investments in agriculture and development of special economic zones.
  • With both Rwanda and Uganda, India signed defense cooperation agreements.

What role does China play?

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping is also making visits to some of the African States, including Rwanda.
  • China gave a loan of $126 million to build two roads.
  • China began its outreach to Africa earlier than India.
  • The first ministerial meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was held early in 2000.
  • Africa, in many ways, has been a learning ground for China’s international role.
  • China first took a proactive position on an internationally significant Sudan conflict
  • It was in Mali that China sent its first combatant unit under the UN peacekeeping framework in 2013
  • Djibouti will be the first location of the People’s Liberation Army’s overseas base
  • China’s role in the African continent is thus noteworthy as it showcases the future of Chinese power.

 

Predatory Journal Scandal

 

Relevancy

  • Gs Mains- Paper-2, Education

What is the issue?

  • Predatory journal scandal raises questions about the undermining higher education system in India.

What is predatory journal scandal?

  • Predatory open-access publishing is an exploitative open-access academic publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals.
  • The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in May filed a case in the District Court of Nevada against a Hyderabad-based outfit called OMICS for making false claims for journals it publishes.
  • OMICS is neither a new offender nor the only one, An American academic had raised this charge as far back as 2013 and the FTC had charged OMICS in September last year.
  • An investigative report has established that India specifically Hyderabad has become the hotspot of the predatory journal industry with over 300 such bucket-shop outfits.
  • They charge between $30 and $1,800 to “publish” a “research paper” in a so-called international journal complete with editors, peer reviews and so on.

What are the concerns spotlighted by the scandal?

  • FTC discovered that journals published from India are owned by fraudulent self-publishing outfits and the papers mostly written by Indian academics, it turns out had not gone through even the minimum of checks.

The absence of the basic editorial standards means three things:

  1. The veracity of these papers is unconfirmed.
  2. The quality and rigour of the research are unverified and dubious.
  3. The level of plagiarism is shockingly high.
  • Academics have frequently discovered their researches reproduced verbatim in someone else’s paper without any attribution, though some writers have had the chutzpah to tag on the name of the original writer (without permission, of course) in a joint by-line.

Why such academic Scandals are on the rise in India?

  • The principal factor appears to be a performance indicator, the number of papers an academic published instituted by the University Grants Commission for promotion.
  • This metric and the UGC’s failure to create the kind of environment that fosters high-quality research have driven Indian academics to cut corners for advancement.
  • The knock-on effects on the quality of higher academics do not require a peer-reviewed paper to understand.
  • In India is caught between poorly designed regulation, inadequate funding and governments whose approach ranges from benign neglect to disturbing attempts to shape arts and science curricula to ideological agendas.

What needs to be done?

  • Union government takes creative attempts to develop an environment of greater autonomy for universities, technical and management education institutes, outside the purview of the stultified and discredited regulatory authorities.
  • These are all part of the search for academic excellence, principally in terms of achieving higher placement on influential global rankings of academia.
  • The lesson from the countries with the most reputed institutes of higher learning is the criticality of political forbearance in academia.
  • Apart from that India must encourage the light touch regulation that enables private funding to drive and sustain quality research and development.

 

 

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