Liisa Toivonen: India is in a change


Liisa Toivonen: India is in a change

The world’s biggest parliament election, lasted 44 days, is successfully carried out to elect 543 members of the Lok Sabha. More than 968 million people were eligible to vote, out of them 642 used their votes. This was largest ever democratic election, and highest ever participation by woman voters. About 22% of all eligible voters are under 30. The highest priority for young voters is employment and second is education. This indicates that the young are concerned not only finding jobs but also getting good education that provides skills and knowledge to manage in working life.

I met a group of young first time voters in Chennai. They appreciated especially education, and said that they proudly voted because India is a democracy.

The result of Indian Lok Sabha elections indicate changes in Indian political landscape. Biggest party BJP lost 63 seats. The second biggest party, Indian congress party, which were in opposition, got 47 seats more. Also many smaller parties increased their number of seats. This means that BJP still gets the PM position but can’t form the government alone anymore. This indicates end of Modi’s current policy and increasing democracy and liberalism. 

India’s  ”Mission Life” –initiative (Save energy, Save water, Say no to single use plastic, Adopt sustainable food systems, Reduce waste, Adopt healthy lifestyle and Reduce E-waste) seems to continue and it is well in line with the core areas of science also Finland has a lot to give. Cooperation in all those sectors would be important in future. 

Ambassador Lähdevirta with Councellors, Business Finland and business delegation visited Chennai in June. IIT Madras visit showed the top expertise in many fields of science and education, in India but also globally. They already have MOU with Aalto University, University of Turku, University of Tampere and close cooperation with the University of Oulu, which also recently visited IIT Madras. Finnish Meteorological Institute and IIT Madras with other Indian partners just received a positive evaluation for a joint EU Horizon grant application for 4 years.  IIT Madras is a potential partner in many sectors for Finnish universities.   IIT Madras is very much emphasizing sustainability issues and is doing lots of research and development collaboration with industry. That would provide many possibilities to Finnish universities in research cooperation but also in education. IIT Madras in one of the 23 Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) having a MOU with Finnish University Consortium (FICORE) for the period of 2020-2025.

The delegation of Oulu University visited India in the beginning of June to strengthen their cooperation with Indian universities in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. During their visit to India University of Oulu signed a MOU with Bharat 6G Alliance at the Embassy of Finland, New Delhi. The Alliance is aiming to help India to take a lead role in the development and adoption of 6G technology. The alliance is an alliance of Indian domestic industry, academia, national research institutions and stardards organizations facilitated by the Government.

Finnish education is continuously a discussion topic in India, and one of the potential sectors for both co-operation and business. Even though there are growing number of projects going on in school sector, they are still very small. Potential is there, and for example state level consultancy projects might be possible. 

The Didac India event is one of the good potential forums to make our education sector visible. The Didac India is taking place 18 – 20 September 2024 in Delhi. It is the largest event in Asia for educational resources and technology-based products and solutions for all levels and segments of the education and skills sector. (read more:

Text: Liisa Toivonen, TFK-expert in the Embassy of Finland in New Delhi
Photo: Balamurugan is a first time voter and Aakaash already voting for second time. For young educated indians voting is an important way to influence their own future. Credits Balamurugan