The tenth ministerial conference of World Trade Organisation (WTO) is set to take place at Nairobi from December 15-18, 2015. The students and teachers are of the view that if the government commits the higher education to WTO during this conference, education in India will become a tradable commodity. Sadly, this is one of the proposed issues of Nairobi conference. Thousands of students from various prestigious educational institutions, including JNU, DU, AMU, Jadhavpur University and Allahabad University gathered at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi under the banner of All India Students’ Association. Democratic Teachers Federation and other organisations launched a campaign to ‘Save Education’ in order to exert pressure on the Union Government. Their agitation would continue in New Delhi from December 7 to 14. The intellectuals are protesting against the proposed negotiations at the ministerial conference in the capital of Kenya. Well-known social activists like Medha Patkar, Yogendra Yadav, Kavita Krishnan, Tanika Sarkar, Harbans Mukhia, etc. raised voice against the proposed WTO policy. Last week retired Chief Justice (Delhi High Court) Rajinder Sachar came out in support of the movement alleging that the government is moving towards opening room for private plunder at the hands of global capital. Justice Sachar heads the organising committee; a group of 64 organisations.
The agitated civil society groups organised a whole day meeting at the Constitution Club on December 8, 2015; a few days before the Nairobi conference of the WTO. They received moral support for their cause from BJP leader and former Union Minister Murli Manohar Joshi and former BJP leader K.N. Govindacharya, who addressed the conference. Civil society groups and workers organizations such as Forum Against FTAs, National Working Group on Patent Laws and WTO, Madhyam, New Trade Union Initiative, National Confederation of Officers Association, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh and others participated in the national conference. Certain members from South Asian Dialogue on Ecological Democracy (SADED) Vijay Pratap, Marko Ulvila, Pawan Arora, Reeta Kumari and myself were participating the event. Marko Ulvila, a Green Socialist from Finland and Chairperson of Siemenpuu Foundation, supports the protest of students, teachers and social activists in India against WTO—General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) agreement in higher education.
BJP leader and former Union Minister for HRD Murli Manohar Joshi and K.N. Govindacharya delivered talks on the WTO-GATS issue. They described different aspects of the Swadeshi movement. It was stated that no commitments should be made before due debate and ratification by Indian Parliament and public consultation at the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi. The initiatives of Swadeshi Jagran Manch and their association with other such groups were the main point of his speech. The English daily, i.e. The Hindu reported the point of the former Union Minister’s view under a subtitle: Battle for Protection, that is as follows: Mr. Joshi said India should treat the Nairobi meet as an ‘important battle’ for protection of the interests of poor farmers and small traders as well as India’s food security programmes.
The experts focused on the negotiations towards an agreement to open up global trade, civil society groups, and they have urged the Union government not to undertake new binding commitments without public consultation as well as before debate and ratification by Parliament. The organizations asked the Parliament to take inputs from all stakeholders and carry out a thorough assessment of the employment, social and environmental impacts arising out of the commitments India makes at the WTO-level talks as well as due to the various free trade agreements (FTA) between India and other countries.
The new issues pertain to global value chains, e-commerce, competition and investment provisions, transparency in government procurement and state-owned enterprises were also discussed in detail that represent the corporate agenda of the advanced countries to further pry open developing country markets. Former BJP leader Govindacharya said the government should publish a ‘white paper’ on the gains and losses from the WTO agreements and FTAs and place it before Parliament.
This report is based on ongoing protest on WTO-GATS (World Trade Organization- General Agreement on Trade in Services) in Higher Education sector of India and Civil Society Conference held in the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi on December 8, 2015
 Tenth WTO Ministerial Conference, Nairobi, World Trade Organization 2015 https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/minist_e/mc10_e/mc10_e.htm as seen on December 9, 2015
 Don’t Commit Higher Education to WTO: Students urge Centre, by PTI, Economic Times, December 8, 2015 http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/education/dont-commit-higher-education-to-wto-students-urge-centre/articleshow/50096729.cms as seen on December 9, 2015
 Delink Education from WTO: Teachers Body, Special Correspondent, The Hindu, December 7, 2015 http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/delink-education-from-wto-teachers-body/article7957223.ece as seen on December 9, 2015
 Shiksha ko WTO Deshon ke liye Kholane ke Virodh me Sangh, Poonam Pandey, Navbharat Times, New Delhi, December 4, 2015 http://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/india/wto-countries-to-open-up-to-protest-education-association/articleshow/50029451.cms as seen on December 9, 2015
 Don’t Make Commitments at WTO without Parliament Debate: Civil Society to Govt., Amiti Sen, The Hindu-BusinessLine, December 8, 2015 http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/dont-make-commitments-at-wto-without-parliament-debate-civil-society-to-govt/article7962335.ece as seen on December 9, 2015
 Parliament must Ratify WTO Deals, say NGOs, Arun S. The Hindu, December 9, 2015 http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/parliament-must-ratify-wto-deals-say-ngos/article7962825.ece as seen on December 9, 2015