Transnational Politics opening a window of opportunity for policy adoption 

By Rama Mohana R Turaga & Harsh Mittal

A new government came to power in India in May 2014 with the promise of reviving falling growth rates of the gross domestic product (GDP) used to measure economic growth of countries. Within only one and half years of its tenure, the government adopted stringent environmental standards to regulate coal-fired power plants. The new government’s consistent position on coal as an indispensable option for power generation in the near-term made the adoption of standards even more puzzling. This development thus took most stakeholders by surprise. This unexpected policy adoption presented a research opportunity to investigate the political process leading to adoption of the standards to better understand how agenda-setting and decision-making happen within the Indian federal (national) government.   

Our research article addressing this issue, just published in Policy and Politics, draws on a modified multiple stream framework (MSF) to analyse the policy process of adopting environmental standards. At its core, the MSF suggests that quite often there are independent developments with respect to the framing of the policy issue as an urgent problem, the acceptability of various policy solutions to the problem, and the overall political environment, making it imperative for the government to address the policy issue. Such developments are considered as ripening of the respective streams, making them ready for policy change to happen. At certain moments, which are referred to as windows of opportunity, a policy entrepreneur can use their resources to couple the three streams (problem, policy, and politics) to secure policy change. We used a range of data sources, including interviews, official documents, and publicly available speeches and interviews of key actors to sketch the developments in each of these streams and the coupling between them. 

Our analysis suggests that there was considerable opposition to the stringent standards from the industry and the associated interest groups. Yet, they were adopted within a relatively short time-frame due to entrepreneurial action on the part of a top federal government bureaucrat, who was also leading the Indian contingent in Paris on climate change negotiations. We provide evidence to show that the window of opportunity opened up by the Paris climate summit enabled the top bureaucrat to adopt the draft standards as the final standards, despite resistance from powerful interest groups. These findings have led us to argue for transnational political dynamics to be considered as an important factor ripening the politics stream at the decision stage.  

To conclude, while there has been considerable acknowledgement of the transfer of policy solutions across national boundaries in the contemporary globalised world, our research broadens these conversations by pointing to the possibilities of transnational political dynamics affecting the domestic policy arena. 

You can read the original research in Policy & Politics:

Turaga, R. M. R., & Mittal, H. (2023). The policy process of adopting environmental standards for coal plants in India: accommodating transnational politics in the Multiple Streams Framework, Policy & Politics (published online ahead of print 2023) from

The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are solely those of the original blog post authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Policy & Politics, the Policy Press and/or any/all contributors to this site.

If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also be interested to read:

Heaphy, J. (2022). British counterterrorism, the international prohibition of torture, and the multiple streams framework, Policy & Politics50(2), 225-241 from

Simons, A., & Schniedermann, A. (2021). The neglected politics behind evidence-based policy: shedding light on instrument constituency dynamics, Policy & Politics49(4), 513-529 from

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