Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – June 22

  1. Unplanned urbanisation in India has added undue stress on social and physical infrastructure in our country. Discuss.(GS 1)


  • India is projected to add 404 million peopleto its urban population between 2014 and 2050.
  • The annual growth in urban population in India between 2010 and 2015 was 1.1% the highest among the major economies, according to the UN world urbanization report 2014.

Yes,there is stress on social and physical infrastructure in India :-

  • Social infrastructure:-
    • The socio-spatial hierarchy in the country’s ever-expanding cities is growing deeper,even as inequalities of income,access and opportunities remain un-arrested.
    • Marginalisation and ghettoisation remains appallingly commonplace in Indian cities, particularly in Tier I cities where rural-to-urban distress migrants end up in large numbers.
    • Inequality in urban India is rising much faster than in rural India.The consequences are large.
    • According to a 2014 research paper “poor health and inequality in urban India reduces human capital attainment and productivity, increases social fragmentation, and threatens sustainable development.
    • Ever-growing Indian cities are also emerging as poverty centres.
    • There were 0.9 million homeless people in urban India as per the Census data of 2011 in addition to a slum population of roughly 65 million (or 17% of urban India).
    • Of the total urban population, about 83% have access to sanitation facilities.
    • An undercurrent of a raging class war is apparent in the fast-paced, migrant-filled cities of 21st century India. The potential for a major tear in the social fabric of India’s urban geography is considerably large.
  • Physical infrastructure:-
    • At the same time, 5 lakhs apartments remain unsoldacross the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the National Capital Region, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, indicating the high demand-supply mismatch.
    • As of today, piped water, which is anyway available to only about half of the urban population, is never distributed for more than a few hours per day.
    • The amount of Non-Revenue Water, which basically means water unaccounted for (i.e. leakages, stealing, unauthorised connections, collection inefficiencies, etc.), is incredibly large, at anywhere between 40 to 70%.
    • One is only reminded of the same situation with power transmission and distribution losses in urban India
    • Only about 18% of slum areas have precarious access to piped water. Non-notified slums (which amounts to 60% of all slums) are completely deprived of water supply.
    • Add to that inefficient ULBs, unplanned and precarious construction, half-baked public transport, unbreathable air, crippling traffic snarls, vulnerable populations, dehumanising slums, inequality of growth, rising crime, underemployment and disguised employment, and what we have is an urbanisation that is dangerously chaotic and hardly smart.
    • Most Indian metros are generally a traffic nightmare, especially during rush hours.
    • Encroachment also leads to urban heat islands, blocking of natural hydrological channels, which might to lead to floods for example chennai floods.

However with government efforts like smart cities,Housing for all by 2022 ,giving more powers to Urban local bodies,concentrating on RURBAN mission can help reduce pressure on the cities.

2.Caste based inequality is a social reality in contemporary times. How does caste based discrimination exhibit itself in modern times? Critically Analyse.(GS 1)


  • The caste system, with its societal stratification and social restrictions,continues to have a major impact in the country.
  • Belying popular perception, caste based inequality is prevalent in cities too along with villages in India.

Yes it’s a reality and it is displayed in the following way:-

  • It persists in many traditional villages and communities.Caste also forms the basis for a range of quotas and affirmative-action policies enacted by the Indian government aimed at erasing the legacy of discrimination in higher education and government employment.
  • In many instances, these quotas and preferences have exacerbated tensions and resentments between caste groups and deepened caste-based identity and prejudice.
  • Communities or castes can discourage marrying, associating or even dining with people of other groups.
  • Ghettoisation /residential segregation specially of SCs/STs results in less social intercourse and thus, weakens social cohesion.
  • Cases of mob lynching are already in news in the name of cow vigilantism or by targeting the surnames of a person.
  • Segregation of students in schools :
    • In many rural areas, students belonging to Dalit community are segregated and even provided mid day meals in separate utensils.
  • Marriages :
    • Inter-caste marriages are still considered taboo.
    • Honour killing, social ostracization are prevalent in India.
  • Jobs :
    • Majority of labour in industries such as leather, which is considered polluting by some Indians, are from Dalit community.
  • Unequal access to basic amenities ( water ,sanitation) gives way to substandard life
  • Manual scavengers are still mostly from Dalit community.
  • Mindset of purity and pollution has not been eliminated. Many dalits are subjected to forced and bonded labour. Due to exclusion practiced by both state and non-state actors, they have limited access to resources, services and development, keeping most Dalits in severe poverty.
  • Elections being contested in the name of caste and not developmental issues.


  • Caste discrimination affects an estimated 260 million people worldwide, the vast majority living in South Asia.

However, there has been a lot of progress made in India:-

  • In modern India, formalisation of jobs have resulted in people being identified by their job and not their castes.
  • In multi-storey flats in urban areas, people from every caste reside in the same building.
  • Students from Dalit community are securing high ranks in competitive exams, breaking every glass ceiling.
  • With mid day meals scheme students are sitting together in school .
  • Society is giving more importance to performance rather than ascriptive criteria.
  • The need of the hour is to implement Art15, Art16 in letter and spirit and remove all shackles of discrimination from society.
  • Caste discrimination can and should be eliminated, but it requires action on many levels – from the grass roots level to state and national level, as well as to the international level. Legislation, its implementation as well as the change in the people’s mindsets should be looked at.

3.Glass ceiling for woman’s progression in workplace is a serious concern. Comment. (GS 4)


  • “Glass ceiling” is the term used to describe barriers that prevent women and minorities from advancing to management positions in corporations and organizations.


  • The presence of women in senior
    managerial positions is very low in spite of having good scholastics, plethora of knowledge, quality and efficiency.
  • An international survey finds 73% of female managers believe barriers to advancement still exist, compared with only 38% of men.
  • The world of work has not caught up with the needs of modern families where both parents work, with few senior positions offering flexibility around working hours and it is still on the whole women who require flexibility in order to manage childcare commitments, thus restricting their career.
  • Sexism, including women being passed over for top jobs, serves to further reinforce the glass ceiling.
  • Glass ceiling further reinforces patriarchal mindset in the society.
  • Affects gender equality in policy making.
  • Perpetuate the thinking that girl child is not needed and is a burden which can lead to rising cases of female infanticide.
  • Gender Gap report of WEF highlights disparities in salary, promotions
  • Women labor force participation is stuck in low growth sectors like textile, leather, food processing, handicraft with near absence of skill mobility
  • Even political representation is mere 12% in Lok Sabha as well as ministeries in central government.
  • Also recent ILO report suggests that only 15% of managerial posts are held by women, and glass ceiling is one of the factors leading to such low representation of people.
    • Every person hopes to reach the zenith of the institution, which results in efficiency in their work. Glass ceiling virtually kills these aspirations and zeal to work hard.


  • Women’s liberation, feminismand civil rights legislation already provide for women’s equality.
  • Women’s job choices keep them off of the executive track.
  • Women who do make job choices that put them on the executive track and do have the right educational preparation have not been in the corporation long enough to build up experience and this will automatically correct itself with time.

Hence, glass ceiling on women’s progression is not only harmful for women, but for society as a whole. Many countries like USA, Nordic countries have adopted flexible work timing for women and equal opportunities to them to rise to the top most designations.


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