How India is Climbing International University Rankings

Source: University World News via Academica

Institutions from around the world can learn much from the progress that China and India are making in global university rankings, writes Anand Kulkarni for University World News. The author highlights how both countries have fared well in recent years, noting for example that India has risen to eighth in the world for the number of students it graduates in science and engineering. Kulkarni warns, however, that graduating more students in a particular area “does not necessarily say much about quality, the ability of graduates to find meaningful jobs or research capability, among other things.” This is part of the reason, Kulkarni writes, that China has advanced in world university rankings at a better pace than India. The author attributes this success to China’s more consistent distribution of institutions among the different tiers of rankings, while India’s tendency to have a “best and the rest” system, with only a few elite institutions, continues to hold back the country’s overall performance.

India’s Outbound Student Growth Rate Surpasses China’s

Source: University World News via Academica

A new study from an Indian firm has found that the growth rate of the number of students from India attending university in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand has surpassed that of China. The number of Chinese students attending universities in the five countries grew by 8% between 2013 and 2014, while the number of Indian students grew by over 10%. However, the total number of Chinese students attending school abroad is more than double that of India. The report also notes that Indian students’ interest in Canada has grown, possibly because of negative attitudes toward Australia. Much of the growth in Canada has been driven by community colleges.

International Student Enrolment Grew Faster at ON Colleges Than at Universities in Last Decade

Source: HEQCO via Academica

Data shared on the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario’s (HEQCO’s) It’s Not Academic blog sheds light on the growth in international enrolment at Ontario’s publicly funded colleges and universities. The data show that in the past decade, the rate of growth in international enrolment at colleges has generally exceeded the rate of growth at universities. The growth in college enrolment spiked in 2010; HEQCO attributes this to the 2009 introduction of the Student Partners Program, which expedites the Canadian study permit process for citizens of India and China.

Steel imports to remain a hot issue for India

Source: Business Standard

The speed at which China built steel capacity has left the rest of the world bewildered

Overcapacity and production more than the market can absorb at rates remunerative for suppliers have remained principal concerns for the world steel industry since the 2008-09 global financial meltdown, the members of which still keep flying. In the first quarter of this year, the world steel production at 388.696 million tonnes (mt) clocked a growth of 2.3 per cent over the corresponding period of 2012. In contrast to growing production restraints in most parts of the world, Asian steel output in the first three months of 2013 advanced on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis by 6.4 per cent to 259.8 mt. The speed at which China built steel capacity has left the rest of the world bewildered. Once again the progress in Asia’s production so far this year is largely on account of the world’s second largest economy.

China’s production growth when steel prices remain under pressure and capacity lay off in particularly high-cost centres continues, is not endearing the steel goliath to others. The first quarter steel production in the European Union was down 5.4 per cent to 41.5 mt, while North American output slid 5.7 per cent to 29.7 mt. This led an official of consulting firm Wood Mackenzie to tell Reuters that “most of the world is in decline, but the steel industry in China isn’t disciplined in the way Europe might be”. He thinks with Chinese production remaining “persistently high,” steel prices cannot but remain under pressure leading to margin erosion for producers everywhere. The issue is why should China be courting criticism of other producing nations and still stick to growing steel production. Moreover, near-term industry outlook is not at all encouraging. An official of ArcelorMittal credits China for building a “fearsome low-cost steel industry”. At the same time, some spirited house cleaning operation notwithstanding, the Chinese industry is still left with a good amount of high cost and polluting capacity.

That China supports its steel industry and steel products exports by way of subsidies is widely known and resented. The subsidy issue comes to the fore at regular intervals as China will have scrap with countries alleging dumping of steel products by it to the detriment of local producers. What, however, should not be lost sight of is that an industry with China’s capacity is a massive provider of employment in steel mills, upstream mines, downstream value-adding enterprises and tertiary sectors. More than half the steelmakers in China are government owned. Neither Beijing nor the provincial authorities are ready to risk economic disorder and social unrest by withdrawing life-sustaining government support to steel mills. The ArcelorMittal official says, “We are mesmerised by China, but if you look at its steel industry, despite its rise, 92 per cent of steel companies are trading at a loss.” Rising cost of energy and finance is steadily robbing Chinese industry of the status of a low-cost producer. Steel mill wage bill too, is spiralling. And this is happening when world steel demand grows slowly.

In case China sustains steel production at the first quarter rate, then it will end the year with an output of 768 mt against 716.5 mt in 2012. In its short range outlook, World Steel Association says steel use in China in 2013 should rise by 3.5 per cent to 668.8 mt. This is to leave China with an exportable surplus of nearly 100 mt. A point of concern for India, which already is a net steel importer: We should also keep an eye on Japan where softening of yen has significantly improved export competitiveness of its steel. At the same time, “conditions in Europe will remain under pressure in spite of acceleration in production discipline. We, therefore, expect southern European steelmakers to increase their presence in export markets,” says an analyst with Metal Bulletin. In this context is to be seen SAIL Chairman Chandra Shekhar Verma’s observation that “Steel imports will remain a hot button issue for India as long as the world will have much surplus capacity and producers in many places will be in some desperation to export extra metal with them.”

India’s March steel production at 6.86 mt shows a y-o-y rise of 6.5 per cent. However, production rise in this year’s first quarter at 19.826 mt was 2.8 per cent more than in the corresponding period of 2012. Production rises here are due to more and more capacity coming on stream from new projects and existing mill expansion. In fact, this will remain the trend as the country targets a steel industry of the size of 180 mt to 200 mt by 2020. As we go forward, large capacities on account of SAIL, Tata Steel, Vizag Steel and others will get commissioned in close proximity. But will local demand be growing at a rate to ensure that the steel industry will not at any stage be left with much surplus capacity. To go by the observations of Tata Steel Managing Director Hemant Nerurkar and SAIL’s Verma, steel demand in an emerging economy with its focus on infrastructure development should be more than tracking the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate. A six per cent GDP growth in 2013-14 should, therefore, translate into Indian steel use growing at double last year’s 3.3 per cent.


Looking for India’s Zuckerberg

Source: The Economist

A pioneer in outsourcing but a laggard in the internet era, can India become a leader in mobile technology?

Information technology has been a mighty force for good in India. Its first tech revolution began 30 years ago, when a few engineers came up with the unlikely idea of doing back-office IT work for far-off Western firms. Today that outsourcing industry is a capitalist marvel. It has annual sales of $100 billion, mostly from abroad, and these export earnings have been vital in a country with a weak balance of payments. Millions of good jobs in India have been created. Young Indians have seen that globalization creates winners. India’s reputation in the world has changed, too: Bangalore’s shining IT campuses have become as famous as the Ganges and the Gandhis.

Yet India has been a comparative failure in terms of innovation over the past decade. You might have expected India’s many advantages (the English language, abundant engineers and a thriving diaspora in Silicon Valley) to pay off spectacularly on the internet. But only a few start-ups have made clever technical innovations that have been sold abroad. And at home e-commerce is in its infancy, with sales only 6% of China’s. Thanks to lousy infrastructure, useless regulation and a famously corrupt telecoms sector, the web is available to only 10% of Indians, many of them squinting at screens in cafés.

India boasts no big internet firms to compare with Chinese giants such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent, nor start-up stars like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Instead, it has seen a succession of false dawns, from its version of the dotcom bubble in 1998-2002 to more recent hype over deal-of-the-day websites and text-based cricket updates. In 2010-11 lots of start-ups raised cash, but they have struggled since. Venture capitalists grumble that their returns have been poor. The original emerging-market tech pioneer has fallen behind in the internet era.

Feeling luckier

Catching up should be a priority for India—not least because its outsourcing champions are now reaching middle age. As the wages of India’s engineers rise, its IT industry cannot rely for ever on doing straightforward work cheaply for foreigners. The good news is that India now has a chance to lead again; the bad news is that this opportunity relies in part on Delhi’s bureaucrats not messing it up.

Optimism springs, first, from a healthy stock of young entrepreneurs (see article). Many have gained valuable experience working in America or for multinational firms. Many are battle-hardened through previous ventures that flopped, from dairy farms to bowling alleys. As in California, failure is no longer frowned upon in India. New firms such as Flipkart and Redbus are adapting Western e-commerce models to deal with India’s rickety logistics and cash-based economy. They are transforming mundane areas such as bus tickets, and opening up scores of smaller cities to modern retailing. Tens of millions of people are benefiting as a result.

The second change is the mobile internet. India’s fixed-line system may be abysmal, but cheap smartphones and fast wireless networks are rapidly spreading. India is poised to leapfrog the era of the personal computer and go straight to the mobile-internet age. Already a quarter of internet traffic is from phones, compared with a seventh worldwide. E-commerce sites are getting a surge in activity from phone-users.

But this budding revolution needs clever regulation. Outsourcing boomed in part because it avoided government: the product was exported through global networks. The mobile internet needs capital, payment systems, and wireless capacity. In all three areas the government is in the way.

The e-commerce industry appears stymied by the same restrictive rules on foreign investment that have bedevilled bricks-and-mortar retailing. Only a fifth of Indians have credit or debit cards—and using them online is a nightmare, again thanks to regulations (India could learn a lot from Africa’s use of mobile money). And India needs more and better wireless networks; some big players such as Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, have been tempted in, but the telecoms regime is a tangle of overcomplicated rules and graft.

India has the talent to lead in the mobile internet, as it did in outsourcing. But so long as Indians struggle to get a signal or to make payments, the revolution will be held back.

India set to be fastest growing trading nation: HSBC

Source: Times of India via Indian Economic Business News

Rising bilateral trade with China, growing consumer wealth and high confidence level among its traders will push India to the top league of trading nations beginning 2013 and it is set to retain the fastest growth rate till 2020, says HSBC. “The growing Indo-China bilateral trade is set to increase significantly and the country will be the fastest expanding market for Chinese products, with import growth averaging 20 per cent annually during 2013-15 and 17 percent during 2016-20, while exports clipping at 23 per cent during 2013-15 and 19 percent during 2016-20,” says the HSBC trade forecast released recently. India tops the tables for all 23 markets surveyed as either their fastest import or export growth partner out to 2020, it said. The country also tops the HSBC trade confidence index apart from having the most promising global outlook with 61 per cent of traders expecting to see growth.” With a score of 135, India is the most confident country.