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Still not ‘Highly Educated’ from India?



According to the latest data available with Ministry of External Affairs, there are around 11,33,749 students currently studying abroad. This number is likely to increase to 1.8 million by 2024 as per Redseer’s India focused report titled ‘Higher Education Abroad’. Moreover, the growth of Indian students studying abroad for Higher Education had outpaced the domestic student growth by 6x in 2016-19 to reach 770,000.

Consequently, with the increased number of students going abroad, higher education remittance from India is predicted to grow up to USD 80 billion in 2024.With a view to curb this outflow of Indian currency and also to further the goal of internationalisation of education, the Hon’ble Finance Minister in her 2022 Budget speech announced ‘world-class foreign universities and institutions will be allowed in the GIFT City to offer courses in Financial Management, FinTech, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics free from domestic regulations, except those by IFSCA to facilitate availability of high-end human resources for financial services and technology’.

Ankit Bhansali, DGM, IFSCA, on the said development, comments, “We have a large pool of talented Indians serving in the IFSCs at London, New York, Singapore and Dubai. With the government’s move to allow foreign universities within the GIFT city, we will hopefully have home grown talent with the requisite skills needed for the technological and sectoral growth of the financial industry.”

The move sets a pathway for foreign universities to establish in India, providing India an opportunity to attract talent from overseas to flow in India as well as retain the Indian talent within India. With that in the background, it is important for us to understand the policy measure and discuss whether Indian students would choose to stay within India or still go abroad for their higher education.


The government policy is in line with NEP 2020 which also proposes to set up world-class foreign universities within India. These universities in IFSC would be regulated by a unified regulator i.e., IFSCA, free from multiple regulators in the Indian education sector in order to facilitate universities from diverse countries to establish in the GIFT City. As described by the finance minister, these universities will be allowed to function with 100% foreign ownership, no restriction on the repatriation of profits and an opportunity to collaborate with domestic universities, students and the financial industry.

Additionally, foreign universities would be allowed to setup as business entities functioning for profit. The move has generated interest from renowned universities like London Business School, Cambridge University, King’s College amongst others to establish within the country.

While IFSCA would be the regulator for these educational institutions, its scope of authority requires more clarification since its scope of authority under IFSCA Act, 2019 relates to regulation of financial services. In matters such as fee structure entry level qualifications, accreditation and others, it is not clear whether foreign universities would be allowed the requisite autonomy. Also, as per the budget statement, the universities in GIFT city would be allowed limited scope of subjects which could hinder the participation from Indian students.

The setting up of foreign universities within IFSC would ensure the availability of trained human resource for latest financial products and services. It would also lead to promotion of different financial services including remittance services within the zone. Since Indian students would also be required to pay their fees in foreign currency, it will create an ease of transaction, converting to ease of living.

Lastly, the investment by these universities within India would majorly depend on its ability to attract students from abroad and within India. Some of the major drawing factors for Indian students to study abroad remain better quality of education, higher standard of living and job opportunities after completing education from these institutions. Another factor is the world class professors and the highly diverse peer network that these universities offer with their campuses abroad. There are also sector specific factors like in case of medical students, we see the gap in demand and supply in government educational institutions and the hefty fees charged by private colleges as the motivating factors for students to study outside India.


The Act governing IFSCA needs to be adequately amended in order to allow for clear scope of governing the education sector. Domestic legislations need to be altered as well to allow collaboration between these universities set up in the GIFT city and outside it. A major reason hindering participation of foreign universities in India has been finance. These universities depend on large donations from private and government funders and also run on for profit-basis in order to function. The government needs to look into these factors in order for the policy to materialise.

India has remained an education hub for students from low-income and neighbouring countries.

As per available data, around 3.33 lakh foreign students have arrived in India over the last five years, 2016-2021. Nearly 22 lakh Indian students went abroad between 2016 and end of January 2021 and spend around $28 billion or 1% of GDP every year on education and related expenses. Out of this, around $6 billion are fees received by foreign universities.

“Lending and remittance activities being a regulated space, Fintechs and neo banks need to take into account not just the regulations applicable in India but also the regulations of the countries to which the students move for education. This being e regulated space, the regulators in India and across the globe should ensure not just compliances by the organisations but also a hassle free and streamlined standard operating procedure laid down for obtaining licenses and compliances thereafter” as pointed out by Anuroop Omkar, Partner at AK & Partners.

With the coming in of foreign universities, it could be possible to attract students from the west and high-income countries apart from the traditional countries if the universities are structured accordingly.

While the outward remittance under ‘Studies Abroad’ has declined from $455.51 million in January 2021 to $345.76 million in January 2022, this trend maybe short lived due to the ongoing pandemic and geopolitical uncertainties.

Pawanjit, co-founder of Reeudo, comments, “In the current outbound remittances payment ecosystem from India students have to face multiple friction points at both ends of the corridors, the needs of the students in the origin countries vs the destination countries are very different. In the absence of a completely digitized journey for outbound remittances, the students have to face significant cost and time delays in sending or receiving payments abroad.” Reeudo was recently granted an FMCC license by RBI to carry out its activities pertaining to student remittance.

The possibility of Indian students to be highly educated from within India thus depends on the government’s ability to allow the foreign universities to set up and function with the requisite autonomy and its ability to attract qualified professors and students from abroad. There would always be a section of students willing to go abroad to study for exposure but government can focus on the middle-class section which aspires to raise their living standard by ensuring the best education for their children and are spending their crucial savings to provide the same.

Going forward, Indian government needs to look into sector wise education needs of students within India and ways to attract students from abroad in these universities in order to truly internationalise education and save on the large amount of remittance flowing outside.

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Kejriwal unveils ‘Guarantee’ for LS Polls: AAP’s pledge for change



On “Kejriwal ki Guarantee”, he said 24X7 power supply, good education and health facilities, and arranging two crore jobs for youths every year are part of it.

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal declared “Kejriwal ki Guarantee” on Sunday, outlining 10 urgent initiatives to be pursued swiftly, including the liberation of Indian territory from Chinese control, should the INDIA bloc come to power at the Centre. This opposition alliance, comprising parties like AAP, Congress, Trinamool Congress, and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, was established to challenge the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the Lok Sabha elections.

A day after his release from jail on interim bail, Kejriwal on Saturday said the INDIA bloc will form the next government and his AAP will be part of it. Addressing a press conference on Sunday, the AAP leader said people will have to choose between “Modi ki Guarantee” and “Kejriwal ki guarantee”. The latter is a “brand”, Kejriwal said.

On the announcement of his guarantees, Kejriwal said, “I have not discussed with my INDIA bloc partners about this. I will press upon my INDIA bloc partners to fulfill these guarantees.”

Kejriwal said while the AAP has fulfilled its “guarantees” of free power, good schools, and Mohalla Clinics in Delhi, “(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi has not fulfilled his guarantees”.

On “Kejriwal ki Guarantee”, he said 24X7 power supply, good education and health facilities, and arranging two crore jobs for youths every year are part of it.

“We worked on management to ensure 24×7 power supply in Punjab and Delhi. We can do it in the entire country. The government schools in the country are in a bad shape. We will arrange good quality education across the country. We know how to do it,” he said.

Kejriwal also promised to end the Agniveer scheme and ensure that farmers get MSP for their crops as per the Swaminathan Commission’s report. “Rashtra Sarvopari is our guarantee. China has occupied our land and we will free it from their occupation,” he said. Kejriwal also promised to provide full statehood to Delhi.

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Macro & financial stability, boost to infra, extended PLI likely key areas in Modi 3.0



If one were to go by the Central Government’s poll manifesto which has stayed aligned to the pre-poll interim Budget, a strong adherence to the path of macro and financial stability as priorities, marked by low inflation, strong external balances, high growth, and fiscal prudence, appears to be the likely scenario if it comes back to power. A DBS Group research by Radhika Rao, senior economist, DBS Group Research and Taimur Baig, MD and Chief Economist, DBS Group Research indicates that the government will continue with the infrastructure push, policies to expand the manufacturing sector, and establish the country’s position as a voice of the Global South.

On the first, the focus will be on improving physical and digital infrastructure, marked by new metro networks, new railway tracks, new-age trains, improved connectivity, new bullet trains, roads, and energy infrastructure. Concurrently, besides expanding the 5G network, improving rural broadband connectivity, exploring 6G technology and the digitization of land records, amongst others, were highlighted in the to-do lists, as per Rao and Baig.

Secondly, Make-in-India and PLI schemes are likely to be expanded, with an emphasis on employment creation, simplification of regulatory processes, appropriate infra for manufacturing hubs, and R&D. A mix of traditional and new-age sectors will likely be prioritized, including a globally competitive food-processing industry, and core sectors (steel, cement, metals, engineering etc), besides a push towards indigenous defense manufacturing, pharma, new age & chip manufacturing, auto and electric vehicles, amongst others.

Existing social welfare programs are likely to be enhanced with better outreach, including, a middle-class focus through the provision of high-value jobs, quality healthcare and infra to improve ease of living, amongst others. Also on the radar is affordable housing program expansion with a focus on slum redevelopment, sustainable cities, etc. The PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana is to be a priority, which will continue to provide free foodgrain ration to about 800 mn residents. On healthcare, Rao and Baig see continuity to provide quality free health treatment to up to 500,000 poor families under Ayushman Bharat.

The economists are also of the view that the PM Ujjwala Yojana, which has already benefited 100 mn with cooking gas connections, will be expanded. Subsidies for solar panels on roofs of 10 mn households up to 300 units/month under the PM Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana, unorganized workers, farmers and continuation of financial assistance to farmers under PM Kisan, farm self-sufficiency, etc.), start-ups and micro-credit enterprises, will be the other focus areas to boost the economy from a bottom-up approach.

Rao and Baig foresee limited fiscal implications from these announcements as part of these were included in the interim budget and the manifesto did not outline any new big-bang reforms or fresh social welfare spending programs. “We maintain our FY25 fiscal deficit assumption at -5.1% of GDP with the existing borrowing program,” says the economists.

A broad-based push towards more contentious structural reforms (land, labor, farming, etc.) did not receive a mention in the manifesto, which may still be prioritized if the party returns for a third term. In our view, the incoming government is neither limited by nor will be restricted by the poll promises. To that extent, the scope of reforms can be wider than what has been laid out in the respective manifestos.

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Govt extends date for submission of R&D proposals



The Government has extended the deadline for submission of proposals related to R&D scheme under the National Green Hydrogen Mission. The R&D scheme seeks to make the production, storage, transportation and utilisation of green hydrogen more affordable. It also aims to improve the efficiency, safety and reliability of the relevant processes and technologies involved in the green hydrogen value chain. Subsequent to the issue of the guidelines, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy issued a call for proposals on 16 March, 2024.

While the Call for Proposals is receiving encouraging response, some stakeholders have requested more time for submission of R&D proposals. In view of such requests and to allow sufficient time to the institutions for submitting good-quality proposals, the Ministry has extended the deadline for submission of proposals to 27th April, 2024.

The scheme also aims to foster partnerships among industry, academia and government in order to establish an innovation ecosystem for green hydrogen technologies. The scheme will also help the scaling up and commercialisation of green hydrogen technologies by providing the necessary policy and regulatory support.

The R&D scheme will be implemented with a total budgetary outlay of Rs 400 crore till the financial year 2025-26. The support under the R&D programme includes all components of the green hydrogen value chain, namely, production, storage, compression, transportation, and utilisation.

The R&D projects supported under the mission will be goal-oriented, time bound, and suitable to be scaled up. In addition to industrial and institutional research, innovative MSMEs and start-ups working on indigenous technology development will also be encouraged under the Scheme.

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India, Brazil, South Africa to press for labour & social issues, sustainability



The Indian delegation also comprises Rupesh Kumar Thakur, Joint Secretary, and Rakesh Gaur, Deputy Director from the Ministry of Labour & Employment.

India, on Thursday, joined the G20’s two-day 2nd Employment Working Group (EWG) meeting under the Brazilian Presidency which is all set to address labour, employment and social issues for strong, sustainable, balanced and job-rich growth for all. India is co-chairing the 2nd EWG meeting, along with Brazil and South Africa, and is represented by Sumita Dawra, Secretary, Labour & Employment.

The Indian delegation also comprises Rupesh Kumar Thakur, Joint Secretary, and Rakesh Gaur, Deputy Director from the Ministry of Labour & Employment. India has pointed out that the priority areas of the 2nd EWG at Brasilia align with the priority areas and outcomes of previous G20 presidencies including Indian presidency, and commended the continuity in the multi-year agenda to create lasting positive change in the world of work. This not only sustains but also elevates the work initiated by the EWG during the Indian Presidency.

The focus areas for the 2nd EWG meeting are — creating quality employment and promoting decent labour, addressing a just transition amidst digital and energy transformations, leveraging technologies to enhance the quality of life for al and the emphasis on gender equity and promoting diversity in the world of employment for inclusivity, driving innovation and growth. On the first day of the meeting, deliberations were held on the over-arching theme of promotion of gender equality and promoting diversity in the workplace.

The Indian delegation emphasized the need for creating inclusive environments by ensuring equal representation and empowerment for all, irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic background. To increase female labour force participation, India has enacted occupational safety health and working conditions code, 2020 which entitles women to be employed in all establishments for all types of work with their consent at night time. This provision has already been implemented in underground mines.

In 2017, the Government amended the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, which increased the ‘maternity leave with pay protection’ from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for all women working in establishments employing 10 or more workers. This is expected to reduce the motherhood pay gap among the working mothers. To aid migrant workers, India’s innovative policy ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ allows migrants to access their entitled food grains from anywhere in the Public Distribution System network in the country.

A landmark step in fostering inclusion in the workforce is the e-Shram portal, launched to create a national database of unorganized workers, especially migrant and construction workers. This initiative, providing the e-Shram card, enables access to benefits under various social security schemes.

The portal allows an unorganized worker to register himself or herself on the portal on self-declaration basis, under 400 occupations in 30 broad occupation sectors. More than 290 million unorganized workers have been registered on this portal so far.

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India to spend USD 3.7 billion to fence Myanmar border



India plans to spend nearly $3.7 billion to fence its 1,610-km (1,000-mile) porous border with Myanmar within about a decade, said a source with direct knowledge of the matter, to prevent smuggling and other illegal activities. New Delhi said earlier this year it would fence the border and end a decades-old visa-free movement policy with coup-hit Myanmar for border citizens for reasons of national security and to maintain the demographic structure of its northeastern region.

A government committee earlier this month approved the cost for the fencing, which needs to be approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet, said the source who declined to be named as they were not authorised to talk to the media. The prime minister’s office and the ministries of home, finance, foreign affairs and information and broadcasting did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Myanmar has so far not commented on India’s fencing plans. Since a military coup in Myanmar in 2021, thousands of civilians and hundreds of troops have fled from there to Indian states where people on both sides share ethnic and familial ties. This has worried New Delhi because of risk of communal tensions spreading to India. Some members of the Indian government have also blamed the porous border for abetting the tense situation in the restive north-eastern Indian state of Manipur, abutting Myanmar.

For nearly a year, Manipur has been engulfed by a civil war-like situation between two ethnic groups, one of which shares lineage with Myanmar’s Chin tribe. The committee of senior Indian officials also agreed to build parallel roads along the fence and 1,700 km (1,050 miles) of feeder roads connecting military bases to the border, the source said.

The fence and the adjoining road will cost nearly 125 million rupees per km, more than double that of the 55 million per km cost for the border fence with Bangladesh built in 2020, the source said, because of the difficult hilly terrain and the use of technology to prevent intrusion and corrosion.

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However, Stock highlighted the enormity of the challenge, noting that between 40% and 70% of criminal profits are reinvested, perpetuating the cycle of illicit financial activity.

In a press briefing held on Wednesday, Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock unveiled alarming statistics regarding the extent of undetected money laundering and illegal trade transactions plaguing the global banking network. Stock revealed that over 96% of the money transacted through this network remains undetected, with only 2-3% of the estimated USD 2-3 trillion from illegal trade being tracked and returned to victims.

Interpol, working in conjunction with law enforcement agencies and private financial sectors across its 196 member countries, is committed to combating the rising tide of fraud perpetrated by illicit traders. These criminal activities encompass a wide spectrum, including drug trafficking, human trafficking, arms dealing, and the illicit movement of financial assets.

Stock emphasized the urgent need to establish mechanisms for monitoring transactions within the global banking network. Currently, efforts are underway to engage banking associations worldwide in setting up such a framework. However, Stock highlighted the enormity of the challenge, noting that between 40% and 70% of criminal profits are reinvested, perpetuating the cycle of illicit financial activity. The lack of real-time information sharing poses a significant obstacle to law enforcement agencies in their efforts to combat money laundering and illegal trade.

Stock underscored the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in exacerbating this problem, citing its use in voice cloning and other fraudulent activities. Criminal organizations are leveraging AI technologies to expand their operations and evade detection on a global scale. Stock emphasized the importance of enhanced cooperation between law enforcement agencies and private sector banking groups. Realtime information sharing is crucial in the fight against illegal wealth accumulation.

Drawing inspiration from initiatives such as the “Singapore Anti-Scam Centre,” Stock called for the adoption of similar models in other countries to strengthen the collective response to financial crimes. In conclusion, Stock’s revelations underscore the pressing need for concerted action to combat global financial crimes. Enhanced cooperation between public and private sectors, coupled with innovative strategies for monitoring and combating illicit transactions, is essential to safeguarding the integrity of the global financial system.

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