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Sat Mar 5, 2016, 01:36 PM

Like US, Indian government has now sacrificed their students right to education to join the WTO

The change has been extremely controversial, and will likely mean we see lots more global subcontracting as the developed countries open up their employment markets in the developing world in exchange for access to their services markets and national treatment/most favored nation status..

The education, nursing, IT and many other services businesses in formerly high wage developed countries may become far more profitable because of lower wages.

here are the first few bits of some news stories about it.


Will the GATS close on higher education?

Shubashree Desikan

In a GATS regime, there would be no means of ensuring that only high-quality universities enter the fray to set up shop, nor would there be any means of controlling the cost of education they provide

After extended talks in Nairobi, India and other member countries of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) signed the ministerial agreement on December 19. At the forefront of the talks was India’s struggle to get developed countries to agree to reduce their food subsidies, which are perceived to be adversely affecting farmers from developing nations. India and the U.S. resolved differences over public stockholding of foodgrains, with the U.S. agreeing to an indefinite “peace clause” which protects member countries from being challenged under other WTO agreements. The document released by the WTO also states that developed countries will remove export subsidies immediately, while developing nations will do so by 2018. Almost everything that has been agreed upon has qualifiers and is time-bound, and all this will be discussed by experts. But what has been stunning in the agreement is the lack of dialogue and social concern about the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) agenda — of offering for global trade, as commodities, services such as higher education; health; life insurance; research and development in the physical sciences, social sciences, humanities; and so on.

The WTO document refers to a waiver, according to which the non-least developed country (LDC) members can give preference to services and service providers from LDCs. This will be in place for another 15 years. India is categorised as a developing country, a non-LDC. As of now, 35 countries which have been classified as LDCs by the United Nations have become members of the WTO, with Afghanistan being the latest to join as a member during the Nairobi conference. Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that India has negotiated hard to ensure that the interests of the LDCs and the developing countries are kept at the centre of the WTO agenda. With India looking to play a greater role in the South Asian region, this might be a persuasive argument. But while this is laudable, there are other pieces to the puzzle that do not add up. (truncated)



"Government urged to not to sign WTO GATS agreement (June 15, 2015) All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) today urged the Centre to not to sign the WTO-GATS(General Agreement on Trade and Services) in education sector, as the entire higher education system in India would be changed.

"Education is a right, but WTO is considering it as a service and if the Government sign the agreement our education policies would be entirely changed," AIFRTE organising secretary Ramesh Patnaik, told reporters here.

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