QUESTION : Critically analyse the New Education Policy-2020 in the light of challenges to the education system in India. 






Critical Analysis of NEP,2020




The government has asked the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) to develop separate National Curriculum Frameworks (NCFs) for school, early-childhood, teacher and adult education, as part of the process to implement the new National Education Policy.


  • The four NCFs will be crucial for developing new textbooks and designing the pedagogy when the new policy is rolled out across India.




  • So far, India had only one NCF, which formed the backbone of the school policy, and teaching-learning model.


  • Currently, the NCF 2005 serves as a guideline for syllabus, textbooks, and teaching practices for the schools in India


  • NCF is a national curriculum framework published by NCERT .


o The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an autonomous organisation set up in 1961 by the Government of India to assist and advise the Central and State Governments on policies and programmes for qualitative improvement in school education.


  • NCF provides framework for making the textbooks and setting syllabus for the books which are published by NCERT and read by students in most of the Indian schools .


o The NCF document provides the framework for teaching practices within the school education programmes in India.


  • Modules for teachers’ education were so far devised by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE).


  • The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has tasked the State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) to develop four State Curriculum Frameworks (SCFs).




  • The policy redraws the schooling system by replacing the existing 10+2 model with a 5+3+3+4 formula.


  • Students in the 3-8-year age group will be part of the foundation stage, 8-11 years for preparatory schooling, 11-14 years for middle school and 14-18 for secondary education.


  • Vocational education will also be part of the curriculum from Class 6 and 10-day internships will be introduced at schools.


  • It also does away with the rigid course structures for science and arts streams, curricular and extracurricular activities, and emphasizes on the need to track students’ learning outcomes.
  • Early Childhood Care and Education: The first six of life are critical years of human life since the rate of development in these years is more rapid than at any other stage of development.


o Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE in NEP) makes a positive contribution to children’s long term development and learning by facilitating an enabling and stimulating environment in these foundation stages of lifelong learning.




1) Lack of integration


  • In both the thinking, and in the document, there are lags, such as the integration of technology and pedagogy.


  • There are big gaps such as lifelong learning, which should have been a key element of upgrading to emerging sciences.


2) Language barrier


  • There is much in the document ripe for debate – such as language. The NEP seeks to enable home language learning up to class five, in order to improve learning outcomes.


  • Sure, early comprehension of concepts is better in the home language and is critical for future progress. If the foundations are not sound, learning suffers, even with the best of teaching and infrastructure.


  • But it is also true that a core goal of education is social and economic mobility, and the language of mobility in India is English.


3) Multilingualism debate


  • Home language succeeds in places where the ecosystem extends all the way through higher education and into employment. Without such an ecosystem in place, this may not be good enough.


  • The NEP speaks of multilingualism and that must be emphasised. Most classes in India are de facto bilingual.


  • Some states are blissfully considering this policy as a futile attempt to impose Hindi.


4) Lack of funds


  • According to Economic Survey 2019-2020, the public spending (by the Centre and the State) on education was 3.1% of the GDP.


  • A shift in the cost structure of education is inevitable.


  • While funding at 6% of GDP remains doubtful, it is possible that parts of the transformation are achievable at a lower cost for greater scale.


5) A move in haste


  • The country is grappled with months of COVID-induced lockdowns.


  • The policy had to have parliamentary discussions; it should have undergone a decent parliamentary debate and deliberations considering diverse opinions.


6) Overambitious


  • All aforesaid policy moves require enormous resources. An ambitious target of public spending at 6% of GDP has been set.


  • This is certainly a tall order, given the current tax-to-GDP ratio and competing claims on the national exchequer of healthcare, national security and other key sectors.


  • The exchequer itself is choked meeting the current expenditure.


7) Pedagogical limitations


  • The document talks about flexibility, choice, experimentation. In higher education, the document recognizes that there is a diversity of pedagogical needs.


  • If it is a mandated option within single institutions, this will be a disaster, since structuring a curriculum for a classroom that has both one-year diploma students and four-year degree students’ takes away from the identity of the institution.


8) Institutional limitations


  • A healthy education system will comprise of a diversity of institutions, not a forced multi-disciplinarily one.


  • Students should have a choice for different kinds of institutions.


  • The policy risks creating a new kind of institutional isomorphism mandated from the Centre.


9) Issues with examinations


  • Exams are neurotic experiences because of competition; the consequences of a slight slip in performance are huge in terms of opportunities.


  • So the answer to the exam conundrum lies in the structure of opportunity. India is far from that condition.


  • This will require a less unequal society both in terms of access to quality institutions, and income differentials consequent upon access to those institutions.




  • Following the Secondary Education Commission Report (SECR) and Zakir Hussain’s Basic National Education (BNE) report: These are coherent and rigorous documents because they place the values and principles of democracy and a morally, aesthetically and intellectually rich individual life at the starting point and try to resolve current economic problems in alignment with them.


  • Flexibility in secondary education, examination reform, more exposure to Indian languages, and taking on board Indian knowledge systems can make our education system better.


  • What needs to be done now according to experts from various fields that there is a need for a comprehensive roadmap of implementation as previous policies also promised things that were not fulfilled.


  • The school-level reforms touch most of the aspects. Care should be taken that in the quest of making exams easier, we don’t create a numerical surge in passed students without any real term knowledge base. The current system of giving high marks in 10 and 10+2 level exams have been criticized by many educational experts.


  • The policy of a multi-disciplinary approach in higher education is welcome but a foolproof framework needs to be created so that the core interests and preferred knowledge streams are not neglected.


  • As Education is in the concurrent list, there remains a huge task of consensus-building among states. The cooperative federalism approach is most conducive to critical fields like education.


  • The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that there is a need to build huge digital capacities to digitize the education sec The lack of online teaching facilities is hampering the education and there is a fear of washing away of this academic year.


  • The BharatNet scheme may be extended to include digital infrastructure for public and private schools throughout the nation.


  • The vocational training program for school children needs synergy between the ministries of HRD, skill development, and labor.




It is time to again place the democratic ideal at the centre of our education. Not as an object of lip service or reverence, but as the source of a framework of values and principles to judge and justify all other aspects.


QUESTION : Discuss how the Open Network for Digital Commerce project can help deal with the issues with the e-commerce sector? 






New E-commerce Rules , Advantages and  Challenges




The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) recently issued orders appointing an advisory committee for its Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) project.


The Hindu Editorial Topic : ABOUT ONDC PROJECT :


  • The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) project aims to make e-commerce processes open-source.


  • In simple terms, it aims at creating a platform that can be utilised by all online retailers.


  • This is another effort by the government to facilitate the creation of shared digital infrastructure, as it has previously done for identity (Aadhaar) and payments (Unified Payments Interface).


  • It will digitise e-commerce value chains, standardise operations, promote inclusion of suppliers, and derive efficiencies in logistics.




  • Level playing field: When done well, this approach can level the playing field and create value for users.


  • Curb monopoly: The market is dominated by a few players who are facing investigations for unfair trade practices in many countries.


  • Prevent market failure: The sector is characterised by many small players who individually do not have the muscle to have an equitable bargain with e-commerce companies.


  • Economists call this a “market failure”, and it presents a legitimate case for intervention.


  • Push for made-in-India products: The e-commerce companies will have to provide domestic alternatives to imported goods. This will boost made-in-India goods.


  • Lead to more accountability: The proposed amendments will lead to more accountability from stakeholders of e-commerce firms. The e-commerce companies need to provide an explanation on how they rank the products, which consumers can understand easily, and also create transparency.


  • Weed out fly-by-night operators: With mandatory registration for e-tailers with DPIIT, the fraudulent e-commerce operators can be tackled.




  1. Mandatory registration for e-commerce entities: Any online retailer will first have to register itself with the Department of Promotion for Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).


  1. Appointing a chief compliance officer.


  1. A nodal contact person for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies,


  1. Requiring e-commerce entities offering imported goods or services to ‘incorporate a filter mechanism to identify goods based on country of origin


  1. Suggest alternatives to ensure a fair opportunity to domestic goods’.


  1. Specific flash sales or back-to-back sales “which limit customer choice, increase prices and prevents a level playing field are not allowed”.


o Govt. will not seek disclosure of other flash sales from e-commerce companies


  1. All e-commerce entities must provide information within 72 hours on any request made by an authorised government agency, probing any breach of the law including cybersecurity issues.


  1. Introduced the concept of “fall-back liability”: The rules made the e-commerce firms liable in case a seller on their platform fails to deliver goods or services due to negligent conduct, which causes loss to the customer.


The three layers of an open digital ecosystem and their conceptual framework for adoption and safeguards


1) Tech layer


  • The “tech layer” should be designed for minimalism and decentralisation.


  • The government should restrict its role to facilitating standards and protocols that provide open access, and in getting them adopted organically.


  • Building an entire tech platform should happen only if a standards-based approach doesn’t suffice.


  • If built, the platform should be built on “privacy by design” principles.


  • It should collect minimal amounts of data (especially personal data) and store it in a decentralised manner.


  • Tools like blockchain could be used to build technical safeguards that cannot be overridden without active consent.


2) Governance layer


  • Avoid excessive government intervention: The “governance layer” around this should allay business fears of excessive state intervention in e-commerce.


  • Legal provision: Any deployment of standards or tech should be accompanied by law or regulation that lays out the scope of the project.


  • Independent regulator for personal data: If collection of any personal data is required, passing the data protection bill and creating an independent regulator should be a precondition.


  • Handling by independent society: To assure the industry of fairness, the government could hand over the stewardship of the standards or platform to an independent society or non-profit.


3) Community layer


  • A community layer can foster a truly inclusive and participatory process.


  • This may be achieved by making civil society and the public active contributors and seeking wide feedback on drafts of the proposal.


  • Once the framework is implemented, ensuring quick and time-bound redressal of grievances will help build trust in the system.




  • Greater oversight over all online platforms: Following on the heels of the recent IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules , the draft e-commerce amendments show the Government’s increasing enthusiasm to exercise greater oversight over all online platforms.


  • Cannot sell retail products of their own: The new rules mention “none of an e-commerce entity’s ‘related parties and associated enterprises is enlisted as a seller for sale to consumers directly”. This impacts several platforms that retail products supplied by vendors with arm’s length ties.


  • Any entity having 10 percent or more common ultimate beneficial ownership will be considered an “associated enterprise” of an e-commerce platform.


  • Legal challenges overburden Judiciary: The enforcement of many of these norms is bound to spur extended legal fights. This will overburden the Judiciary.


  • The rules will open the door to subjective government intervention. For instance, flash sales are prohibited if they are back-to-back and limit customer choice. The decision on whether a sale violates these terms remains vulnerable to regulatory interpretation.


  • Impact on growth and job creation: The new e-commerce rules create over-regulation, along with a scope for interpretative ambiguity in rules. This will retard growth and job creation in the hitherto expanding e-commerce sector.


  • Discourage MSMEs: E-commerce also has provided MSMEs with a wider audience to sell their products. Tightening of rules for marketplaces will discourage these MSMEs from coming online.


  • Deprive the strategic autonomy: The proposed draft rules look like a manual for micro-management of e-commerce companies like pre-1991 Licence Raj. Further, If all e-com websites are forced as generic market platforms, these companies could lose their ability to outperform rivals and serve the market’s ultimate cause.


  • These rules appear to be catering to traditional retailers, who have been increasingly unhappy with the huge success of deep discount festive-season flash sales on Amazon and Flipkart.


  • Contradiction with Commerce and Industry Ministry rules: The new draft rules said no related parties and associated enterprises should be listed as sellers on marketplaces. On the other hand, the Commerce ministry rules forced companies like Amazon to bring down their shareholding in what they called preferred sellers to 24%. This was done to provide a more level playing field among sellers. This creates confusion on the rules.




  • The government’s championing of open-source technology for digital commerce is commendable.


  • It should also push the envelope on the other principles of the open-source movement — transparency, collaboration, release early and often, inclusive meritocracy, and community.


  • Even if we do all things right, an infrastructure-led approach may not be sufficient.


  • Therefore, we need to supplement infrastructure with tightly-tailored regulation.


  • We need to explore the concept of interoperability, that is, mandating that private digital platforms like e-commerce firms enable their users and suppliers to solicit business on other platforms.


  • To drive the adoption of an open e-commerce platform in a sector with entrenched incumbents we need to create “reference applications”, and financial or non-financial incentives.


  • Useful learnings can be drawn from the adoption of UPI: The government supported the rollout of BHIM as a reference app, and offered incentives.




It is timely that India is exploring innovative ways to bridge the gaps in e-commerce markets. But the boldness of this vision must be matched by the thoughtfulness of the approach.

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