Ayushman Bharat Scheme (UPSC Notes)

Last Updated: June 2023 (Ayushman Bharat Scheme (UPSC Notes))

Ayushman Bharat Scheme (UPSC Notes)

This article deals with ‘Ayushman Bharat Scheme (UPSC Notes).’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’ (GS 1) and ‘Governance’ (GS 2). For more articles, you can click here.

Models of Health Care

Models of Healthcare across World (case study of Free Market Insurance Based Model vs. Cuba Model of Healthcare)

There are two main models of healthcare that are worth discussing: the Free Market model and the Cuba model.

Model 1: Free Market Model

  • Countries like Japan, Switzerland, Germany, and South Korea rely on the private sector and insurance companies to provide healthcare services. 
  • In these countries, the government does not directly provide healthcare services, but it still has significant control over the system. The government regulates the services offered, sets prices for healthcare services, and establishes protocols for treatment. 
  • If any country, including India, wants to promote a healthcare system that involves the private sector and insurance providers, strict regulation and effective implementation of those regulations are crucial.

Model 2: Cuba Model

  • In Cuba, all healthcare services are provided by the public sector. 
  • The country has made substantial investments in medical education, producing a large number of doctors. These doctors now work under the government to provide healthcare services to the people.

Ayushman Bharat Scheme

Ayushman Bharat has two components i.e.

  1. Health and Wellness Centres 
  2. National Health Protection Scheme 

Component 1: Health and Wellness Centres

  • The government is converting 1.5 lakh existing sub-centres into Health and Wellness Centres. 
  • Services provided in these centres will include 
    1. Pregnancy Care and Maternal Health Services 
    2. Neonatal and Infant Health Services
    3. Child Health
    4. Chronic Communicable Diseases
    5. Management of Mental Illness
    6. Dental Care
    7. Eye Care
    8. Geriatric Care 
    9. Emergency Medicine

Component 2: National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS)

Ayushman Bharat Scheme (UPSC Notes)

10 crore households across the country, constituting 40% of the total population selected based on “deprivation and occupational criteria” as per SECC data, 2011, are covered under this scheme.

The main provisions of the scheme are

  • Annual medical insurance coverage of Rs. 5 lakhs per household.
  • All secondary care & most tertiary care procedures are included.
  • Benefits can be availed both in public as well as empanelled private hospitals. 
  • There is no cap on the family size. 
  • It is Centrally Sponsored with Centre and State sharing 60: 40 (90: 10 in case of Special Category States)
  • Implementing Agency: National Health Authority (NHA) (body under Health Ministry)
  • The scheme includes pre and post-hospitalization expenses as well.
  • It includes transportation allowance per hospitalization.
  • Pre-existing diseases are covered under the scheme.
  • Access is given by cashless health card.
  • Benefits are portable throughout the country.

Significance of the Scheme

  • It leads to massive cuts in the Out of Pocket Expenditure of the patients.
  • It increases access to affordable healthcare, especially for the poor.
  • It has strengthened the public healthcare infrastructure.
  • The scheme has also incentivized the creation of new healthcare infrastructure in rural, remote and under-served areas.

Critical Appraisal of the Scheme

Achievements of the Scheme
  • The Ayushman Bharat Scheme implemented by the Indian government is the largest publicly-funded health program globally.
  • The Ayushman Bharat Scheme has successfully consolidated various health insurance schemes and offers greater health coverage compared to the previous Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana.
  • The scheme has expanded the beneficiary base of health insurance schemes, and several states have achieved universal coverage for their citizens.
  • It incorporates a robust monitoring mechanism, leading to the identification and blacklisting of numerous hospitals involved in fraudulent activities under the scheme.
  • The scheme serves as a solution to address the issue of rising out-of-pocket healthcare expenditure, which often leads to individuals falling into a cycle of poverty.
Limitations of the Scheme
  • Limited Government Control over Private Hospitals: Regulation of clinical establishments in India is ineffective, resulting in many fraudulent activities. It includes the creation of ghost beneficiaries and the conversion of outpatient (OPD) patients into in-patient (IPD) patients.
  • The evaluation of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) in the past has revealed a lack of institutional expertise and capacity in India to effectively implement public health insurance. India doesn’t have the prerequisite regulatory framework to regulate Insurance based healthcare. 
  • International Experience: International experiences have demonstrated that relying on insurance-based healthcare provision can be a costly financing model for governments.
  • Against the Federal Principles: The scheme limits the autonomy of states as healthcare is a subject under the jurisdiction of the state list, thus posing challenges to federalism.
  • Budget Constraints: The allocated budget for the scheme is insufficient to cover the overall costs, posing financial limitations on its effective implementation.
  • Quality Control Issues: Out of the 18,000 private hospitals enlisted under the scheme, only 600 have received quality certification, raising concerns about the overall quality control measures in place.
  • Low Coverage as Middle Class not covered: NITI Aayog has suggested to include the ‘missing middle class’ within the ambit of PMJAY as they can’t afford private health insurance and are currently not covered under PMJAY.

Question: In India, since Public Health Infra is weak, is Insurance the way out? 

  • No doubt, Insurance provides a simple way out, but it isn’t a sustainable way. Examples from the U.S., the Netherlands etc., have shown that a simple solution at one time becomes a problem for the next generations. The U.S. tried to rely on Private Insurance, and the result was a politically empowered industry dedicated to preserving its business at the expense of better risk pooling, equality, more efficiency, and simpler administration.
  • Building strong Public Healthcare is the sustainable way to reach the goal of providing Healthcare facilities to all. Countries such as Cuba have shown to the world that in spite of their lower GDP, the best and cheap health services can be provided to people if the government has a vision.
  • But since Public Healthcare can’t be built in a day, we can’t ignore Insurance altogether. There is a need to provide Insurance coverage to people as a cushion. But at the same time, we have to build a strong regulatory framework so that Insurance companies don’t charge exorbitant rates to vulnerable people. Government should try to stop Insurance companies from “actuarial” rate-setting.  

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM)

  • Announced by the PM on Independence Day Speech of 2020.
  • Implementing Agency: National Health Authority (NHA) (body under Health Ministry)
  • This initiative enables citizens to generate their Unique Health ID (UHID), which serves as a central point for their digital health records. 
  • By using this UHID, individuals can securely access health records in an electronic format. Further, the system allows patients to share their health information with doctors and insurance companies, eliminating the need for multiple physical files, photocopies, or X-rays.

Human Development Report

Last Update: June 2023 (Human Development Report)

Human Development Report

This article deals with ‘Human Development Report’ This is part of our series on ‘Economics’ and ‘Society’. For more articles , you can click here .


UNDP defines Human Development as the process of widening people’s choices and raising the level of well-being.

For instance, look at the following example.

Human Development Report

Human Development is the critical enabler for upward social mobility.

Human Development Report

  • It is prepared by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) which provides a comprehensive analysis of human development across countries. 
  • In 1990, Mahbub-ul-Haq of Pakistan and Amartya Sen of India gave the concept of HDI. 
  • In various reports, it has been found that the Human Development of everyone is not taking place.
    • The human development of males is 20 points greater than females in South Asia.
    • Everywhere, the Human Development of elites and religious majorities is more than others.
    • Due to Climate Change, the Human Development of the present generation is more than what can be achieved by future generations. 

In Human Development Report, there are 5 Indexes.

  1. Human Development Index (HDI) 
  2. HDI – Inequality Adjusted 
  3. Gender Development Index(GDI) 
  4. Gender Inequality Index 
  5. Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI)

The latest report for 2021/22 was released in 2022

1. Human Development Index  (HDI)

  • It was developed by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 1990 by a team headed by Prof. Mahbub ul Haq. Prof Amartya Sen was also a prominent member of this. 

Dimensions of HDI

Dimension Indicator 
Health Life Expectancy at Birth 
Knowledge Mean Years of Schooling
Expected Years of Schooling
Standard of Living GNI per capita
  • Switzerland topped the ranking in the latest report (2021/2022). India was ranked 132.

Indian Ranking

  Indian Ranking HDI Score
1990   0.429
2015 130 0.624
2016 131 0.624
2017 130 0.643
2018 129 0.647
2019 131 0.645
2021/22 132 0.633

Based on a report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), approximately 90% of nations have witnessed a decline in their Human Development Index (HDI) value during either 2020 or 2021. It signifies that global human development has come to a halt for the first time in 32 years.

2. Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI)

  • Human Development Index is Geometric Mean. Hence HDI masks internal inequalities.
  • UNDP releases another Index which also accounts for inequalities.
  • HDI (Inequality adjusted) = HDI -(minus) HDI (lost due to Inequality), i.e. Human Development which is lost because of inequalities present in the country wrt gender is adjusted in this. 

IHDI (2022) Ranking

Rank Country HDI Score HDI-Inequality Adjusted Score
1 Iceland 0.959 0.915
2 Norway 0.961 0.908
—— —–    
108 India 0.633 0.475

When there is perfect equality, the HDI and the Inequality Adjusted HDI (IHDI) are equal. However, as the difference between the two increases, it indicates greater levels of inequality within the country.

Note: SDG Goal 10 calls for ‘reducing the Inequalities.’

3. Gender Development Index

  • The Gender Development Index (GDI) is a separate measurement released by the UNDP to complement the Human Development Index (HDI) to address females’ development specifically. 
  • While the HDI does not provide specific information on female development, the GDI calculates the ratio of Female HDI to Male HDI. 

GDI = Female HDI/ Male HDI.

  • If the Development Index for females exceeds that of males, the GDI can be greater than 1.

4. Gender Inequality Index

  • The Gender Inequality Index (GII) has been calculated since 2010.
  • Despite improvements in life expectancy and access to education for women, they still face specific forms of inequality, such as early pregnancies, lack of representation, and limited participation in economic activities. Therefore, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) introduced a specialized index to examine gender inequality.

Dimensions of Gender Inequality Index

Dimension Indicator 
Reproductive Health Maternal Mortality Rate
Adolescent Birth Rate
Empowerment Parliament Seats occupied by Women
Higher Education Attainment Levels
Economic Activity Female Labour Force Participation

The calculations used for the Gender Inequality Index (GII) are represented on a scale of 0 to 1, with 0 indicating no inequality (i.e., women fare equally to men) and 1 representing complete inequality (i.e., significant disparities between women and men).

GII (2022) Ranking

  • India is Ranked = 122 (Score: 0.490)
  • This score is better than that of the South Asian region (value: 0.508) and close to the world average of 0.465. This reflects the Government’s initiatives and investments towards more inclusive growth, social protection, and gender-responsive development policies. 

5. Multidimensional Poverty

  • In India, we calculate poverty using Tendulkar Method based on household consumption.
  • But UNDP takes a holistic view of poverty and measures it differently. 
  • The report has been released since 2010.
  • In Multidimensional Poverty, they look into the following components to measure poverty (HES)
    • Health with components like child mortality
    • Education with components like years of schooling
    • Standard of Living with components like electricity, water etc.
Multidimensional Poverty
  • According to the 2022 Report, 16.4 per cent of the Indian population (22.8 crores) is Multidimensionally Poor
  • Additionally, Multidimensional Poverty is continuously decreasing in India.
Multidimensional Poverty  in India - Trend

Child Sexual Abuse in India

Last Updated: May 2023 (Child Sexual Abuse in India)

Child Sexual Abuse in India

This article deals with ‘Child Sexual Abuse in India . This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.

Child Sexual Abuse

Child Sexual Abuse 
Children's involvement in a sexual 
activity that they (according to WHO) 
don't fully comprehend 
can't give informed consent to 
violates societal laws and taboos
  • 1.07 Lakh cases of Child Sexual Abuse in 2016 (NCRB data) 
  • (In)famous Example: the Bombay Orphanage Case ( 2011), where there was sexual abuse of young boys.

Causes of Child Sexual Abuse

Causes of Sexual Abuse
  • Poverty: In slums, children are most vulnerable to sexual abuse. 
  • Unregulated web content: Porn is freely available.
  • Psychological reason: The person involved in these types of crimes has a history of sexual violence & generally, the culprit is once a victim of the same crime
  • Cultural Norms and Taboos: cultural norms and taboos in India reinforce gender inequality, resulting in the stigmatization of survivors. Hence, these incidents are not reported.
  • Lack of Sex Education: Sex Education is considered taboo in India. Hence, there is a lack of awareness about consent in healthy sexual relationships. 
  • The emergence of nuclear and dual-carrier families
  • Weak Justice System: In India, laws such as POCSO Act exist. But due to a weak justice system, there is inadequate enforcement of laws.
  • Lack of sanitization facilities within the home 

Measure to Control Child Sexual Abuse in India

1. Constitutional Measures

  • Article 23: Prohibition of traffic in human beings, begar & other similar forms of forced labour.

2. Legal Measures

2.1 POCSO (Prevention of Children against Sexual Offence) Act, 2012

  • POCSO defines a child as a person below 18 years.
  • Section 7 defines sexual assault of a child as “whoever, with sexual intent, touches the vagina, penis, anus, or breast of such person.”
  • POCSO is gender-neutral law (the safety of both boys and girls is covered). 
  • It has widened the ambit of sexual abuse. It includes touch as well as non-touch behaviour. 
  • The act is non-bailable, cognizable and non-compoundable. 
  • For Penetrative Sexual Assault, the burden of proof is shifted on the accused. 
  • It has the provision of special courts, special public prosecutors and in-camera trials.
  • The media is barred from disclosing the identity of the child.  

2.2. Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018

Section 376 of IPC has been amended with the following provisions.

  • The minimum punishment for the offence of rape has been increased 10 years (from 7 years). 
  • The rape of a woman below 16 years has been made punishable for life.
  • The rape of women below 12 years has been made punishable with imprisonment for life or death.
  • The time limit of the investigation has been reduced to two months and six months for the disposal of cases.

2.3 CrPC (Amendment) Act, 2013

  • The age of consent for sex increased from 16 to 18.

2.4 IT Act, 2000

  • IT Act deals with the issue of pornography affecting children. Section 67 B states that browsing, publishing or transmitting any content which involves children in sexual activity is a criminal offence (5 years in jail).

3. Conventions

3.1 United Nations Convention on Rights of Child (UNCRC)

  • It prohibits the use of children for sexual purposes.

4. NGOs

Various NGOs work in this regard

  1. Child Rights and You
  2. Bachpan Bachao Andolan 

5. Schemes

  • Aarambh Initiative: To curb sexual abuse of children through the internet and remove child pornographic content.
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
  • Operation Muskaan: It aims to rehabilitate the missing children.

Diversity of India

Last Update: May 2023 (Diversity of India)

Diversity of India

This article deals with ‘Diversity of India’. This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Diversity is a prominent and defining characteristic of India. India’s diversity is often celebrated and acknowledged as a source of pride, showcasing the country’s pluralistic and inclusive character. 

Diversities in Indian Society

Diversities in Indian Society

India has a variety of races, religions, languages, castes and cultures.

Religious Diversity

  • India is known for being the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Additionally, it is home to significant populations of Muslims, Christians, and various other religious communities. Apart from that, there are tribal societies that still live in the pre-religious state of animism and magic. Hindus are divided into several sects, such as Vaishnavas, Shaivates, Shaktas, Smartas etc. 

Linguistic Diversity

  • India is linguistically extremely diverse, with 22 languages declared as official languages under the 8th Schedule of the Constitution. There are 124 major languages and 652 dialects being spoken in various regions. Each language carries its literature, poetry, songs, and oral traditions, contributing to the overall cultural mosaic of India.

Caste and Jati Diversity

  • Caste and Jati is an intrinsic features of Indian society. People from four castes reside in India, viz. Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. Apart from that, there are more than 3000 Jatis in India. 
  • These systems have been prevalent in India for centuries and are crucial in shaping social relationships, occupations, and identity. Each caste and Jati has its own distinct customs, rituals, occupations, and social interactions. Marriage within one’s own caste or Jati has been a traditional practice to maintain social and cultural boundaries.
  • While the Indian Constitution prohibits caste-based discrimination and ensures equal rights for all citizens, the influence of caste is still prevalent in various aspects of Indian society.

Racial Diversity 

  • India is home to various ethnic groups, including Indo-Aryans, Dravidians, Tibeto-Burmans, Mongoloids, Mediterranean, Proto-Australoids and Western Brachycephals. These groups exhibit distinct physical features, cultural practices, and historical backgrounds.
  • India’s history of invasions, migrations, and interactions with neighbouring regions has contributed to its diverse genetic and cultural landscape.

Geographical Diversity

  • India spans an area of 3.28 million square kilometres with great diversity of physical features like deserts, evergreen forests, lofty mountains, perennial and non-perennial river systems, long coasts and fertile plains.  

Unity & Diversity in India

Unity and diversity are two fundamental aspects that characterize India. Despite being a diverse nation with a multitude of languages, religions, cultures, and traditions, India has managed to maintain a sense of unity.

The concept of unity in diversity emphasizes the idea that although India is composed of diverse communities, there is a collective sense of belonging and shared values that bind the nation together.

Unity in diversity essentially means “unity without uniformity” and “diversity without fragmentation”.

How such a diverse society living together in India

Most states are generally suspicious of their cultural diversity and try to reduce or eliminate it. It is because community identities (like language, religion, ethnicity and so on) can act as the basis for nation-state formation. Hence, already existing states see all forms of community identity as dangerous rivals. That is why states generally tend to favour a single, homogenous national identity. However, suppressing cultural diversity can be very costly in terms of alienating the minority whose culture is treated as ‘non-national’. 

1. Constitutional Identity

  • With such diversity, it becomes essential to have a unifying force that binds the country together, and the Indian Constitution, by providing a common set of values, rights, and principles that transcend regional, linguistic, religious, and cultural differences, serves that purpose.

2. Religious Coexistence

  • The concept of religious coexistence allows people from different religious backgrounds to coexist harmoniously, acknowledging and appreciating the beliefs and practices of others.
  • Religious coexistence encourages interfaith dialogue, fostering understanding, empathy, and respect among religious communities.

3. Economic Integration

  • Economic integration creates opportunities for individuals and communities from different backgrounds to engage in economic activities. When people share economic interests and benefits, it helps to bridge the gaps and reduce social divisions based on cultural or ethnic differences.

4. Fairs and Festivals

  • Fairs and festivals provide a platform for people from different regions and communities to come together and celebrate their shared heritage. For example, Diwali, celebrated across India, unites people of different religions as they light lamps, exchange sweets, and share the joy of the festival.

5. Climatic Integration

  • The entire Indian subcontinent is intricately connected to the monsoon season, which influences flora and fauna, agricultural practices, and the way of life for its people. Hence, the festivities celebrated by the people are also centred around this significant climatic event.

6. Insight of our founding fathers

  • India’s founding fathers, the architects of the Indian Constitution, deeply understood the importance of unity in diversity. They recognized that India, with its vast array of languages, religions, cultures, and traditions, needed a strong foundation that could accommodate and celebrate this diversity while ensuring a cohesive and united nation. 
  • Indian Constitution makers envisaged India as a Mosaic culture. In a Mosaic culture, different languages & cultures coexist with each other. Although they stay together, their individuality remains intact (The concept of Mosaic Culture was given by Canadian sociologist John Murray Gibbon, who disapproved of the American melting pot concept. In American society, immigrants were encouraged to cut off their ties with their home country & assimilate into the American way of life).

7. Geopolitical Unity

  • India’s geographical unity, marked by the Himalayas in the north and oceans on the other sides, has played an important role in the formation of a shared cultural identity in India.

8. National Signs

  • National signs like Flag, Anthem, National figures and National sporting teams unite Indians and promote a sense of belonging and national pride among the diverse population.
  • These symbols are prominently displayed during national events, public ceremonies, and important occasions, instilling a sense of unity, patriotism, and collective pride. 

9. Interaction between societies, i.e. Acculturation 

Interaction between different groups has both positive & negative effects. They either reduce differences or increase differences  

  • Samuel Huntington, in his book “Clash of Civilizations”, argues that globalization, when more & more people are meeting, is leading to an increase in differences which is the leading cause of terrorism in Western nations because two communities are so different that they can’t live in harmony with each other. Even in India, we can see this process playing out when two communities are not able to live peacefully, as seen in Assam (Assamese vs Bangla Muslims)
  • But in India, mainly the process of Acculturation has occurred, i.e. the original culture of both communities changes somewhat to accommodate each other. It has led to the development of a secular fabric in India.

10. Other

  • Language: Hindi and English act as unifying threads on a pan-Indian basis.
  • Cinema: Bollywood is seen all over India 

Factors that threaten the unity of India

  • Communalism: Communalism divides people based on religion. 
  • Regionalism: Regionalism tends to highlight the interests of a particular region over national interests. They threaten national unity by following policies such as the policy of Sons of Soil.
  • Caste Politics: Caste-based parties promote the division of sections of society based on caste to create vote banks.
  • Linguistic Movements like the Dravidian movement sowed the feeling of difference between people of north and south India.
  • Development imbalance: Uneven socioeconomic development patterns can lead to a region’s backwardness. Consequently, this can result in violence, kickstart migration waves and even accelerate separatism demands. E.g., separatist demands in North-East India. 
  • Influence of external factors: Sometimes, external factors such as foreign organizations, terrorist groups, and extremist groups can incite violence and sow feelings of separatism. E.g., Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been accused of supporting and training mujahideen to fight in Jammu and Kashmir and sow separatist tendencies among resident groups.
  • Rise of the ultra-right wing in India, which try to mix religion with nationalism and impose the majority’s values on minority groups. 

Side Topic: Diversity in Unity

‘Diversity in Unity’ means the same sociological system manifests itself in different ways 

  • Patriarchy: Within Patriarchy, there are different forms of Patriarchy, like Brahmin Patriarchy, Dalit Patriarchy etc.
  • Hinduism: Within Hinduism, there are various sects like Shaivism, Vaishnavism etc.
  • Marriage: Marriage is a feature of almost all Indian Societies, but there are different types of marriages like Monogamy, Polygamy, Matrilocal, Patrilocal etc. 
  • Language: There are various dialects of the same language spoken in different areas

Issue of Hunger in India

Issue of Hunger in India

This article deals with ‘Issue of Hunger in India.’ This is part of our series on ‘Governance’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

What is Food Security? 

Issue of Hunger in India

It has three aspects wrt access

Physical There should be a presence of food  
Social There should be social access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food. Consider the following situations
1. Dalits aren’t given food or given food on the ground
2. Male child is given nutritious food than the girl child
Economic People should have money to buy safe, sufficient and nutritious food  


Malnutrition in India
  • It is a physiological condition due to an unbalanced intake of macro and micronutrients manifested in the form of 
    • Wasting, i.e. low weight: height ratio
    • Stunting, i.e. the height is lower wrt age.
    • Underweight, i.e. weight is lower wrt age. 
    • Anaemia, i.e. low Red Blood Cells 
  • Malnutrition at early stages reduces intelligence and affects the formation of cognitive and non-cognitive skills that affect long-term wellbeing. 
  • The cost of malnutrition is high both for individuals and nations. 


  • Anaemia is a condition of having a lower quantity of red blood cells or lower haemoglobin in the body. 
  • Its causes include 
    1. Inadequate intake of iron, folic acid or vitamin B12
    2. Infections such as malaria, hookworm infestation, and other parasitic diseases which cause blood loss, impairing nutrient absorption
    3. Women are vulnerable to Anaemia due to menstrual blood loss, pregnancy, and lactation

Sustainable Development Goals and Hunger

SDGs also deal with the issue of Hunger. For example,

Sustainable Development Goals and Hunger

IFPRI Global Hunger Index

  • Status of India on the Global Hunger Index (2022) released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
    • Rank = 107 (out of 121 countries)
    • According to the report, India is home to the largest number of hungry in the world.    
  • But they have also appreciated MGNREGA, NRHM & ICDS programs of the government and recognized their role in reducing Hunger, but even after that, the absolute number is very high. 

Concept of Hidden Hunger

  • 2014 Report has spoken about HIDDEN HUNGER 
  • If the person is just taking Carbohydrates in his diet, he willn’t die. But this isn’t enough for the overall development of the human body. Vitamins and other micronutrients are equally important. It is known as Hidden Hunger because it often goes unnoticed.
  • More than 50% of women & children in India suffer from Anaemia. 
  • To fight Hidden Hunger, one can use  
    • Iodized Salt
    • Fortified Flour
    • Biofortification of crops 
    • PDS Reforms
    • Education 

Causes of Malnutrition

The green revolution phase saw new, fast-growing varieties of staples, especially wheat and rice; the following decades saw a steady decline in the food basket diversity, especially of traditional grains such as bajra and millet, which have nutritional value.

  • Micronutrient Deficiencies / Hangover of Green Revolution: Green Revolution phase saw new and fast-growing varieties of staples, especially wheat and rice; the following decades saw a steady decline in the food basket diversity, especially of traditional grains such as bajra and millet, which have high nutritional value. Indians suffer deficiencies in vitamins and minerals- iron, vitamin A, zinc and iodine due to faulty diet. 
  • Breastfeeding Practices:  Lack of improvement in infant and young child feeding practices are also responsible for poor nutrition status.
  • Poor Sanitation: About half of Indians defecate outside without using toilets, and from here, children pick up parasites and chronic infections that impair the ability of the intestines to absorb nutrition.  
  • Problem with Public Distribution System (PDS) 
    • Leakages in PDS: In 2012, 46% of total grains released through PDS leaked 
    • Wastage: 62,000 tonnes of wheat & rice damaged in Food Corporation of India godowns
  • Social Causes: Women in the household and Girlchild don’t get proper food (compared to other members) 
  • Social and Cultural Factors: Social and cultural factors, such as traditional food practices, dietary beliefs, and taboos, can influence food choices and dietary patterns.
  • Climate Change and Agricultural Challenges: Climate change impacts agriculture, affecting crop yields and food production affecting food availability and affordability.


Implications of NFSA

What India is doing to fight Hunger / Malnutrition

  • National Food Security Act (NFSA):  Explained below
  • Mid-Day Meals in School: The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is a school feeding program providing free meals to students in government and government-aided schools to meet their dietary requirements.
  • POSHAN Scheme:  Explained below
  • National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM): NRLM aims to alleviate rural poverty by promoting livelihoods. 
  • MGNREGA: Provides guarantee of 100-day work and has increased income of poor. 
  • Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM): SBM aims to eliminate open defecation, thus contributing to reduced waterborne diseases, improving sanitation, and enhancing nutrition outcomes.
  • Integrated Child Development Program (ICDP): It focuses on the holistic development of children under six years by providing supplementary nutrition, healthcare, immunization, early childhood education, and other services through Anganwadi centres. 
  • Initiatives such as India Food Banking Network (IFBN) are promoting the concept of collaborative consumption with support from the private sector and civil society organizations. 
  • Other Schemes
    • National Iron Plus Initiative and Vitamin A Supplements 
    • Guidelines on Infant and Young Child Feeding  

National Food Safety Act (NFSA)/ Public Distribution System

National Food Safety Act
  • Central government procures the produce from farmers at MSP, store and then supply it to states at Central Issue Price.
  • State Government identifies the beneficiaries using Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) in a way that it cover 67% of population and then distribute cereals /allowance to them at low price through Fair Price Shops.

Eligible Households

There are two types of eligible households under NFSA, 2013

Priority Household State Governments shall prepare guidelines to prepare the list of Priority Households (consisting of 67% of population).
Antyodaya Household Houses covered under Antyodaya Anna Yojana

Entitlements under NFSA

National Food Safety Act


  • Fiscal Deficit: There is no need to cover 67% population & it should have been a targeted scheme. Such a broad coverage leads to a Fiscal deficit.
  • The Hidden Hunger Problem remains because it doesn’t have pulses, edible oil, fruits, veggies and milk component in it. The present diet entitlement just provides carbohydrates.  
  • Nothing done to reduce leakage: GPS Truck tracking, CCTV etc., should have been used in this, but there isn’t any provision like this in the act.
  • Exclusion Errors: Deserving beneficiaries are excluded due to inaccurate identification of eligible households, ineffective ration card distribution, and corruption, thus limiting the reach of the program.
  • Quality of Food Grains: The quality of food grains provided through the PDS is often substandard due to poor quality, adulteration, and insect infestation.
  • Storage Issues: Large amount of grains rot in godowns because proper infrastructure is not present

Economic Survey is of the view that instead of this, Food Stamps should be given to target people who can buy the food of their choice from the market.  

Best Practices Introduced by States

Issue of Smart Card Haryana , Tamil Nadu, Punjab
Using GPS Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu
SMS based Monitoring Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, UP

One Nation One Ration Card

Issue: Currently, the ration card for accessing the benefits provided under National Food Safety Act (NFSA) is location specific. Hence, if a person migrates to another state or another place in the same state, the beneficiary can’t buy cheap grains.

Way out: The government has introduced the One Nation One Ration Card, under which all the ration cards have been connected to the central server. Beneficiaries can access their entitlement to cheaper food grains anywhere in the country. 


  • POSHAN, or PM’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment Abhiyaan, aims to ensure holistic development and adequate nutrition for pregnant women, mothers and children.
  • The mission’s target is to reduce stunting in children aged between 0-6 years. It also aims to reduce Anaemia among women and adolescent girls.
  • In 2021, Central Government merged schemes like the Supplementary Nutrition Programme under Anganwadi Services, Scheme for Adolescent Girls and POSHAN Abhiyaan, known as POSHAN 2.0.

Anti-Microbial Resistance

Anti-Microbial Resistance

This article deals with ‘Anti-Microbial Resistance – for UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.

What is Anti-Microbial Resistance?

Anti-Microbial Resistance (aka Antibiotic Resistance) happens when microorganisms (such as bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi) evolve when they are exposed to the antibiotic and develop resistance mechanisms to it or acquire that resistance from another bacterium. 

Anti-Microbial Resistance


2010 It became a topic of debate in India when the British journal Lancet named an enzyme as New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1 or NDM-1, which had antimicrobial resistance  
2016 Resistance to Colistin was detected in China. Colistin is the last resort of antibiotics.   
Sept 2016 United Nations held a high-level meeting to tackle Antimicrobial Resistance.  

Note: It was only the fourth time the general assembly held a high-level meeting for a health issue (previously, it was for HIV non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and diabetes and Ebola).
2017 A US woman died from an infection that was resistant to all 26 available antibiotics. 
2023 Muscat Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance held.  Muscat Manifesto was released, calling for
1. Accelerating the political commitments in the implementation of One Health Action
2. Recognize the impact of AMR on humans as well as Animals. 

Causes of Anti-Microbial Resistance

Causes of Anti-Microbial Resistance

Significant sources of resistance: 

  • Overuse of antibiotics by human beings  (over prescription)
  • Self-medication
  • Overuse of antibiotics in the veterinary sector
  • Environmental antibiotic contamination due to pharmaceutical companies and hospital discharge. 
  • Lack of new antibiotics being developed
  • Patients not finishing treatment 
  • Poor infection control in hospitals 

Ways to control Anti-Microbial Resistance


Prescriber should 

  • Follow guidelines
  • Perform Antimicrobial susceptibility tests
  • Maintain hygiene, disinfection and sterilization in the hospital


Farmers should

  • Follow guidelines.
  • Use only animal-specific antibiotics
  • Maintain hygiene


Public should 

  • Follow the prescription and don’t self-medicate himself
  • Public awareness and education should be carried out 


Politician should

  • Establish Antibiotic Resistance related laws
  • Make National Plans and Guidelines 
  • Invigorate the antibiotic development of pharmaceutical companies


Researcher should 

  • Develop a new generation of antibiotics 
  • Develop Molecular Techniques for identifying resistance genes.

Initiatives taken by Government 

1. Red Line Campaign

Red Line Campaign for Anti Microbial Resistance

2. National Surveillance System for Anti-Microbial Resistance 

  • The program keeps a close watch on such cases.

3. National Action Plan on Anti-Microbial Resistance

  • The program was started April 2017  
  • It focused on
    1. Hand Hygiene and Sanitation programs
    2. One Health Strategy

4. National Health Policy, 2017

  • It had specific guidelines for the use of antibiotics and limiting the use of antibiotics.

5. Schedule H1 of Drugs and Cosmetic Rule, 1945

Schedule H1 was added to the Drugs and Cosmetic Rule 1945. Drugs in Schedule H1 are required to be sold in the country with the following conditions:-

  1. Their sale has to be registered in the register with the name of the prescriber and patient  
  2. Drugs shall be labelled with the symbol Rx & drug warning.   

International Steps

1. By WHO

  • WHO is providing technical assistance to countries to develop national action plans to combat Antimicrobial Resistance and strengthen their surveillance systems. 
  • One Health Approach: The One Health approach recognizes the interconnectedness between human, animal, and their shared environment. It emphasizes the importance of addressing health issues comprehensively by considering the interdependencies and interactions between humans, animals, and their shared environments. The ‘One Health’ approach calls for optimal antibiotic use in both humans and animals.

2. UNO

  • A high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance was held at the United Nations General Assembly.  

3. New Antibiotics 

  • For example, ODLs are a new class of antibiotics discovered by the University of Illinois and Nosopharm, a French company.

Indian Healthcare Sector

Indian Healthcare Sector

Indian Healthcare Sector

This article deals with ‘Indian Healthcare Sector  – for UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.

Healthcare Data

Healthcare Expenditure

Healthcare Expenditure in India

Global Burden of Disease Report (2018) by LANCET

Global Burden of Disease Report (2018) by LANCET

Other Relevant Data

Doctor-Population Ratio 1:834 (against the WHO norm of 1:1000)
Number of Hospital Beds per 1000 0.7 (against the WHO norm of 3.5)

Political & Constitutional Angle

  • Health is under the State List. But there is debate regarding whether it should be moved to the Concurrent List, given that even after 70 years of independence, the state of Health in India is still poor. The Centre can only make model laws to which states can voluntarily subscribe.
  • Article 47 of the Indian Constitution (Directive Principle of State Policy) speaks about raising its people’s nutrition levels and living standards and improving public health as among its primary duties.
  • Article 21, i.e. Right to Life is Fundamental Right under the Indian Constitution.

Health and SDG

Sustainable Development Goals also talks about Health and SDG-3 aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well being for all at all ages.

Health and SDG

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Healthcare

Primary Healthcare

  • Primary Healthcare is the first level of contact between people & health system
  • It includes family planning, immunization, treatment of common diseases, health education etc. 
  • In India, it is provided through a network of 
    • Primary Health Centres in Rural Areas
    • Family Welfare Centres in Urban Areas

Secondary Healthcare

  • Secondary Healthcare denotes the second Tier of the health system.
  • It includes 
    • District Hospitals 
    • Community Health Centre (CHC) at Block Level

Tertiary Healthcare

  • Tertiary Healthcare denotes the third tier of the health system.
  • It provides specialized consultative care.          
  • Tertiary Healthcare is provided through Medical Colleges & Medical Research Institutes. 

Rural Healthcare System

Indian Healthcare Sector

State of Health Services in India

Health services in India need a booster shot, vouched by the following data. 

  • Prominence of Private Sector: According to Economic Survey, out of 4% of expenditure on Healthcare in India, Public Sector accounts for just 1.15% 
  • High Out-of-Pocket Expenditure (OoPE): The OoPE in India is as high as 62% compared to the world average of 18%. High OoPE pushes 39 million people every year under the poverty line. 
  • Indian Doctors are not willing to serve in Rural Areas due to various factors, such as a lack of adequate healthcare infrastructure and low opportunity for professional growth.
  • The dominance of the Medical Council of India has hindered the development of nurses and other health cadres.
  • Hesitancy/Ignorance of common people: Even after a person has TB symptoms, they delay visiting a doctor (for a minimum of 5.2 months, even in Delhi). As a result, their disease becomes worse, and they infect more people. 

With the implementation of the Ayushman Bharat program, the strengthening of SCs and PHCs is being done by converting them into Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) in a phased manner to deliver comprehensive Primary Healthcare services through these Centres. 

Health Schemes

1. National Health Mission

  • National Health Mission (NHM) is a flagship program of the Indian Government that aims to provide affordable, accessible, affordable, and quality healthcare to all citizens.   
  • It is Core Scheme (60:40 Division) 
National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) In areas having a population below 50,000
National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) In areas having a population above 50,000

2. Pradhan Mantri  Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)

  • The scheme aims to provide affordable generic medicines to the masses to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. These are made available through Jan Aushadhi Stores. 

3. Rogi Kalyan Samiti

  • Rogi Kalyan Samiti is a registered society consisting of citizens of the area who act as trustees to manage hospital functions.
  • It acts as a check and increases the accountability of doctors.

4. Universal Immunization Program (UIP)

Under Indian Immunisation Program, Vaccine is given for 12 life-threatening diseases

National (11 Diseases) 1. Diphtheria
2. Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
3. Tetanus (DPT)
4. Polio
5. TB
6. Rotavirus Diarrhoea
7. Hepatitis B
8. Meningitis & Pneumonia caused by Haemophilus Influenza Type-B
9. Measles
10. Rubella
11. Pneumococcal Pneumonia (latest entry in 2021, earlier it was given in select districts of Himachal and Bihar)
Sub-National (1 Disease) 12. Japanese Encephalitis

5. Menstruation Health

Government is running following schemes for Menstruation Health.

  • Menstrual Hygiene for Adolescent Girls Scheme: To address the need for menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls residing in rural areas. 
  • Project Stree Swabhiman (by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology)
  • Menstrual Hygiene Scheme  (by Health Ministry as part of Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram. )
  • Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (by Ministry of Human Resource Development)

6. Drug Price Control Order

  • The Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) of India is a regulatory framework established by the government to control and regulate the prices of essential medicines in the country.
  • Schedule 1 of DPCO contains the List of Essential Medicines. Their price can’t be more than the ceiling price.  

Public Health Policy, 2017

The previous policy was formulated in 2002. There was a need for a new policy because 

  • 15 years have passed, and new challenges have come up in the health sector. 
  • At that time, Polio was a major problem. Now, WHO has declared India to be Polio Free.
  • That policy was keeping in view of Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Now, we are in the era of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).  
  • At that time, Communicable Diseases were a major problem. Now Non-Communicable Diseases have come into the scene.

Provisions of the National Health Policy, 2017

1. Finance 

  • Presently, the government spends 1.15 % of GDP on healthcare. The target is to increase that to 2.5% of GDP by 2025.  

2. Targets to be achieved

  • Increase the life expectancy from 67.5 to 70 by 2025.
  • Reduce premature mortality from Non-Communicable Diseases by 25 per cent by 2025.
  • Achieve the global 2020 HIV target (also termed 90:90:90)

3. Preventive and Curative Care

  • The policy will rely on Preventive as well as Curative Health Care (the 2002 Policy relied just on curative )

4. Focus on Primary Care 

  • Policy advocates allocating two-thirds (or more) of resources to primary care.  

5. Promote AYUSH 

  • AYUSH will be promoted 

6. Promote Make in India

  • Promote drugs and devices manufactured in the country.


  • The policy has abandoned the idea of making health a right proposed under the Draft Health Policy. NHP (2017) speaks of an “assurance-based approach”.
  • Raising Government Expenditure to 2.5% of GDP till 2025 is too far-fetched given problem India is facing is serious. Along with that, no year wise plan of yearly incrementation is given. There is lesser hope that even this will be attained given the past experience that the health policy of 2002 had promised health expenditure of 2% of its GDP on Health by 2010
  • Governance issues are ignored: The policy is silent on whether health should be moved to the Concurrent list.
  • Professional issues are ignored, e.g., MCI issues and private practice by Govt doctors.

State of Education in India – Issues, Schemes and Acts

State of Education in India – Issues, Schemes and Acts

This article deals with ‘ State of Education in India – Issues, Schemes and Acts  – for UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.

State of Education in India - Issues, Schemes and Acts

Sustainable Development Goals and Education

Sustainable Development Goals and Education

Apart from that, education has an equalising impact as it increases employability, thus helping the person escape poverty. Hence, imparting education is important for achieving other SGDs, like removing poverty and achieving gender equality.


Timeline of Education in India

Data on Education

  • Pupil-Teacher Ratio: The Pupil-Teacher Ratio, i.e. Number of Students per Teacher, has been continuously improving from 34.0 in 2013 to 26.2 in 2022.
  • Gender Parity Index: It is the (No of Females / No of Males ) at any given level of education. Although gender disparity still prevails in higher education, it has improved substantially at primary levels through measures like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP). 
  • Gross Enrolment Ratio: The Gross Enrolment ratio has been continuously increasing. In 2021-22, the Gross Enrolment Ratio at the Secondary level has increased to 79.6%.
Trend of Gross Enrolment Ratio in India
  • Government Spending: Public spending on education is approx.—3.5% of GDP. But NEP 2020 aims to increase it to 6%. 
Public spending on education in India
  • Improving School Infrastructure: Basic facilities in the schools have been improving continuously, corroborated by the following data. 
Improvement of School Infrastructure in India

But even after that, India has the largest number of illiterates worldwide (approx. 28 crores).

Issues with Primary Education

Reasons for Poor Learning Outcomes in Primary Education

  • Input focus approach, which focuses just on inputs (like school buildings, classrooms, water and sanitation facilities etc.) and not outputs (like learning outcomes).  
  • Quality of teachers is low: Primary teaching is the least lucrative profession in India. Conversely, in Scandinavian Countries, teaching is the most lucrative profession. Even in its 12th Five Year Plan (2018-23), Bhutan has announced that teachers will provide salaries greater than civil servants of corresponding grades to attract talent to become teachers. 
  •  School Management Committees: School Management Committees (SMCs) consist of representatives from the local community, parents, teachers, and school management constituted under the provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act of 2009 to oversee the school’s finances, maintain infrastructure, and improving the quality of education. But SMCs are not working properly due to political interference, lack of participation in the meetings and inadequate funding. 
  • No Detention Policy: The No Detention Policy was introduced in India in 2010 as part of the Right to Education Act. Under the No Detention Policy, students from classes 1 to 8 are not detained for failing to pass the annual exams. Instead, the policy required schools to conduct continuous and comprehensive evaluations (CCE) to assess students’ learning outcomes. But Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation System (CCES) is not introduced in letter and spirit due to the lack of training of teachers to implement it. Detention Policy has become problematic in the absence of CCES. 
  • Overburdening of teachers with administrative responsibilities like election duties and government surveys
  • No Pre-School Facilities: A child’s interest in education starts from the early years. One cannot develop an interest in education at the age of 6. 3-year-old should be subjected to play-based learning. 
  • Lack of funds due to low budgetary allocation.  The government spends just 3.5% of its GDP on education. 

Suggestions to improve Primary Education

  • Focus on Output: Use SEQI (School Education Quality Index) to measure the educational outputs (as recommended by Niti Ayog) 
  • Teacher Education: More programs like Madan Mohan Malviya Teacher Training Program should be implemented. Moreover, proper training should be imparted to implement Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation System (CCES) properly.  
  • The School Management Committees should be made to work properly.
  • Reducing political activism among teachers Article 171 (3c) guarantees teachers representation in state legislative councils, and it has turned many teachers into politicians. This provision needs to be scrapped. 
  • Reap gains from the co-location of schools at all levels of schooling, which include
    • Improved utilisation of physical infrastructure – classrooms, science labs, computers etc. 
    • Improve the transition rate and reduce the dropout ratio while transitioning from primary to secondary to senior secondary. 
    • Single schools for siblings facilitate safe transport.  

Indexes about Primary Education

1. ASER Report, 2022

  • ASER (Annual Survey of Education Report) has been prepared and published by NGO named Pratham since 2006 
  • It is an annual survey aimed at knowing the status of education and learning outcomes among children in India.

Significant findings from the latest ASER-2022 Report (released in 2023)

  • Overall enrolment: The school enrolment of children aged 6 to 14 has been above 95% for the past 15 years. Contrary to expectations, the enrolment ratio has increased from 97.2% in 2018 to 98.4% in 2022 despite the closure of schools due to the pandemic. 
  • Paid private tuition classes: In a negative development, the number of Standard 1st to 8th students taking private tuition has increased from 26.4% (2018) to 30.5% (2022). It points towards the issue with the quantity and quality of teachers in the schools. 
  • Foundational skills in reading and arithmetic (learning levels): Covid has negatively impacted the children’s learning outcomes. In both public and private schools, the reading and arithmetic ability has dropped to pre-2012 levels. E.g., only 25.9% of Class 3 students were able to do simple subtraction (which was 28.2% in 2018).

2. PISA Report, OECD

  • PISA, or Program for International Student Assessment, tests the Maths, Science and Reading abilities of 15 years old students.   
  • PISA is an initiative of the OECD.
  • India decided to participate in the PISA in 2009 but was ranked at the bottom. Hence, India boycotted PISA since 2012, complaining about questions being set “out of context” with the Indian socio-cultural milieu. A decision was reached to join it again, but India didn’t participate in 2022 due to the impact of Covid on education. 

3. SEQI, NITI Aayog

  • SEQI, or School Education Quality Index, is an initiative of NITI Aayog to rank States on education quality.
  • It has the following features
    • Focus on outcomes (rather than inputs)
    • Provide objective benchmarks 
    • Encourage state-led innovations to improve quality.
  • Currently, SEQI ranks the states based on 34 indicators, with the highest weightage given to learning outcomes.

National Education Policy, 2020

NEP 2020 was launched in July 2020 to lay strong foundations for the Atmanirbhar Bharat, transforming the education sector and making it more accessible, equitable, and inclusive. It aims to increase public spending on education to  6% of GDP. It has replaced the NEP 1986.

The main objectives of the policy are to:

  • Promote universal access to quality education. 
  • Emphasize multilingualism and encourage students to learn in their mother tongues. 
  • Equity and inclusiveness: NEP aims to reduce the disparities in the education system by making it inclusive and providing equal opportunities.
  • Encourage vocational education with a focus on preparing students for the job market
  • Strengthen the use of technology in teaching and learning.
  • Promote research and innovation with a focus on interdisciplinary research.
  • Improve teacher training and quality. 
  • Ethics and human & constitutional values like empathy, democratic spirit, scientific temper etc., should be imbibed into students. 

Issues with NEP 2020

  • Funding: NEP talks about spending 6% of GDP on education. But the policy does not elaborate on how to raise this fund.  
  • Excessive stress on vocational education: Stress on vocational training from the preparatory stage, many fear, would lead to students from marginalized backgrounds dropping out early to take up jobs.
  • Multilingualism: With inter-state migration for employment, and India’s large diversity of languages, regional language will hobble some students’ learning.  
  • Federal Setup: In a federal system like India, where education is a concurrent subject, any educational reform can be implemented only with support from the States.
  • Fear of coaching classes: The NEP suggests that admission to all higher education programmes should be based on standardized test scores conducted by the National Testing Authority. It may encourage coaching classes and rote memorization

Right to Education 

RTE rests on 3 Pillars

Right to Education  Act

Important Points to note from (Prelims Point of View)

  • It covers Private Institutions ( 25% of seats are to be reserved) 
  • It doesn’t cover – Boarding Schools & Minority Institutions 
  • Admission to age appropriation class 
  • Nobody will get failed – No Retention Policy 
  • Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) – Evaluation throughout the year

Evaluation of Working of RTE Act

To evaluate the working of the Right to Education Act, we have to look at the working of various features of the RTE Act and evaluate their impact and their shortcomings

1. 25% Reservation in Private Schools

  • Private schools to keep 25% of seats reserved for children belonging to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS)
  • But, there are lacunae.
    • Children from EWS still struggle to find their seats in schools, as 18 states show zero schools implementing this provision.  
    • States have to notify per-child costs to pay the private schools=> only 14 states have notified per-child costs. 
    • Lack of awareness in ordinary people about provision.

2. No Detention Policy (Section 18)

  • Under the No Detention Policy, students from classes 1 to 8 are not detained for failing to pass the annual exams.
  • The rationale of the No Detention Policy: If children fail, chances of dropping out increase. 
  • No Retention policy is also a failure because 
    • It led to a lack of motivation to study.  
    • Parents have become less concerned about child’s studies.
    • When students are moved to a higher class without prerequisite knowledge, it leads to lower learning outcomes. 
  • Problems are not in No Detention Policy but somewhere else. No Detention Policy wasn’t the alone provision of RTE. It was suggested as a package with a Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation System (CCES) & upgradation of educational infrastructure.
  • Hence, an amendment was made to No Detention Policy in 2019. RTE was amended with a provision that there will be regular examinations in the 5th and 8th standards. If the student fails, they will be granted an opportunity for re-examination within 2 months. If they again fail, then the school can hold back the children. 

3. School Management Committees

  • School Management Committees (SMCs) consist of representatives from the local community, parents, teachers, and school management constituted under the provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act of 2009 to oversee the school’s finances, maintain infrastructure, and improve the quality of education. 75% of the members of this committee are Guardians of Students. 
  • It was an innovative step as it made parents a stakeholder in school administration. But SMCs are not working properly due to political interference, lack of participation in the meetings and inadequate funding. Additionally, the majority of schools haven’t formed these Committees. 

4. Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation System

  • Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation System (CCES) means individual assessment by teachers of both academic and co-academic areas throughout the year and accordingly devote time to students to raise in those areas where he is lacking. It aims to reduce the emphasis on rote learning and memorization.
  • Geeta Bukkal Committee & Yashpal Committee has favoured Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation System.
  • But there are problems in implementing this provision.
    • There are not enough teachers in schools.  
    • Teachers are not trained to evaluate students using CCES.

5. Financial Crunch

  • It suffers because there is always a financial crunch
  • Even the Right to Education Act has no financial memorandum attached to it.

New Schemes

1. Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan (SSA)

  • Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan was started to implement the provisions of the Right to Education Act.
  • Sub-Programmes under Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan include:
    • ‘Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat’ (PBBB) 
    • Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan (RAA) 
    • Vidyanjali 
    • Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas – in educationally backward blocks to promote girls’ education.
  • Apart from that, there is a provision of EGS (Education Guarantee Scheme) and AIE (Alternative Innovative Education) for out-of-school children in areas where constructing schools isn’t possible. Such children are provided non-formal education by the government.

2. Rashtriya Aavishkar Abhiyaan

  • Rashtriya Aavishkar Abhiyaan provides mentoring by institutes like IITs/ IIMs/ IISERs  
  • The Aim is to motivate children of age group from 6-18 years in Science, Mathematics and Technology (STEM)

3. Vidyanjali Scheme

  • It is aimed at boosting the education system by delivering volunteer teachers (like NRIs, retired teachers, government officials, defence personnel, professionals, etc.) to government schools.  
  • It will not replace the regular and professionally qualified teachers in government schools. The volunteer’s responsibility is towards the overall development of the child, not academics.  

4. Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat

This program works on 2 Track approach 

  • 2.5 Hours X 200 Days = for Reading, Writing and Comprehension
  • 1.5 Hours X 200 Days = for Mathematics 

5. PM SHRI Scheme

  • PM SHRI, or Pradhan Mantri Schools for Rising India, aims to develop 14,500 schools as Model Schools in line with New National Educational Policy (2020). These schools will include old and new schools.
  • These schools will follow a holistic learning approach. Assessment in these schools will be based on the conceptual understanding of real-life situations.
  • Such schools will be equipped with modern infrastructure such as laboratories, gymnasiums, libraries etc.
  • These schools will emerge as exemplary schools over a period of time
PM SHRI Scheme

6. National Curriculum Framework (NCF)

  • Under National Curriculum Framework (NCF), the 10+2 System will be replaced with the 5+3+3+4 System.
National Curriculum Framework (NCF)

7. Nipun Bharat 

  • Nipun Bharat, or National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN), aims to achieve universal FLN by 2026-27.
  • The Rationale of Mission: Foundational learning is the basis of all future learning for a child. Not achieving basic foundational skills of reading comprehension, writing and performing basic mathematics operations leaves the child unprepared for the complexities of the curriculum beyond grade 3. 
  • The mission will target children from preschool to Grade 3 to acquire Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) skills. Children in Grades 4 and 5 who don’t possess the required FLN skills will be provided individual teacher guidance to acquire the necessary competencies. 

8. Pilot project of Balvatika

  • Project Balvatika, also known as Preparatory Class, was launched in 49 Kendriya Vidyalayas in 2022 with the goal of developing students’ cognitive, affective, and psychomotor abilities as well as early reading and numeracy skills.

9. Mid-Day Meal Scheme

  • Under the provisions of the Scheme
    • Class 1 to 8 students are given cooked food 
    • Coverage: Government schools, Government Aided, Madrasas 
    • The minimum content of 300 calories of energy & 8-12 grams of protein per day for a minimum of 200 days. 
  • Accountability is ensured through Social Audit, food sampling, interactive voice response system (IVRS) etc.

10. Swayam Prabha (TV)

  • Swayam Prabha (TV) provides high-quality educational content through 32 DTH (direct-to-home) Television Channels.

11. National Academic Depository

  • It is the digital depository of academic awards and certificates.

Samagra Siksha Abhiyan

  • The government has decided to treat school education holistically without segmenting it into pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary, and senior secondary levels.
  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE) are to be merged into a single scheme called Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan.
  • The step has been taken based on Anil Bordia’s committee to reform Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan.

Main provisions of the scheme

  • Pre-School: Strengthen pre-school education through greater convergence with the ICDS program 
  • Integrated School: All the levels of schooling from pre-school to Class XII to be available in one place  
  • Equity and Access: The school will be accessible within a specified distance.   
  • Better curriculum  
  • Use of ICT technologies and aids 
  • Vocationalization of Education with the inclusion of practical subjects 
  • Teacher training 

Higher Education in India and Issues

Higher Education in India and Issues

This article deals with ‘ Higher Education in India and Issues – for UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here .


Since 27% of India’s population is in the 15-29 age bracket, India needs to invest in higher education to improve its quantity and quality to reap the demographic dividend. The Indian government has been doing this, corroborated by the increase in number of India’s premier educational institutions

  2014 2022
Medical College 387 648
IITs 16 23
IIMs 13 20
Universities 723 1113

The number of students enrolling in higher educational institutions has also increased, corroborated by the following data (for FY 2021).

Higher Education in India and Issues

Issues with Higher Education in India

  • Accessibility: The cost of education is high. As a result, the gross enrolment ratio for higher education is just 27% in India (compared to 47% in Brazil and 30% in China)
  • Lack of research funding in a higher educational institution is meagre by global standards.  
  • Lack of faculty: Pupil to teacher ratio in the country, which currently stands at 30:1, needs to improve compared to the USA (12.5:1) and China (19.5:1)   
  • Employability of pass-outs is a significant issue. The skills imparted to the graduates need to be updated.        
  • Low Autonomy: Higher Education System is regulated by many bodies, thus reducing the autonomy of Universities.
  • Locational Disparities: There is regional disparity in college density (number of colleges per lakh eligible population) which varies from 7 in Bihar to 59 in Telangana 
  • Quality: Quality of higher education is also an issue; only 3 Indian institutions feature in the top 200 world rankings of QS world university ranking. 
  • Islands of excellence: The government has developed islands of river excellence in the form of IITs and IISc and allocates the majority of funds to these institutions. At the same time, state universities and colleges remain underfunded. 

Schemes to improve Higher Education in India

1. Rashtriya Uchhattar Siksha Abhiyan (RUSA)

  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in 2013.
  • RUSA aims to provide strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions so that they can improve their infrastructure.

2. Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA)

  • HEFA has been set up with a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore to augment research and related infrastructure.

3. National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)

  • NIRF is the National Ranking of Institutions started by the Government of India in 2016. Like Times and QS Ranking of International Universities, the Indian government has developed NIRF to rank Indian institutions based on parameters well suited for Indian conditions. 
  • All education institutions are assessed on five parameters: 
    1. Teaching learning and resources
    2. Graduation outcomes
    3. Research and professional practices
    4. Outreach and inclusivity, 
    5. Perception
  • The latest such report was released in 2022 (NIRF 2022 Ranking), and IIT Madras was ranked the best institution (overall), followed by IISc Bangalore.

4. Revitalization Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE)  

  • Purpose: For investments in centrally funded institutions like IITs, Central Universities and other such institutes 
  • Funding will be provided through HEFA

5. Uchchtar Siksha Kosh

  • Uchchtar Shiksha Kosh is a non-lapsable fund for the promotion and up gradation of higher education.

6. Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN)

  • Under GIAN Initiative, faculty from 38 countries like Russia, Japan etc., will deliver courses in Indian institutions like IIT, IIM etc.
  • Others can access on MOOCs platform  

7. Impacting Research Innovation & Technology (IMPRINT)

  • It is a joint initiative of IIT and IISc to develop a research roadmap to solve major technological and engineering challenges. 

8. Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan aims to enable higher educational institutions to work with the people of rural India in identifying development challenges and evolving appropriate solutions for accelerating sustainable growth.

9. Guidelines for Pursuing Two Academic Programs Simultaneously

  • Guidelines issued by UGC under which students can pursue two academic programs simultaneously.
  • The guidelines are in line with the National Educational Policy of 2020, which aims to promote creative combinations of multidisciplinary studies 

10. Interest Subsidy on Education Loans

  • Under this scheme, 
    • No interest is charged from the student in the moratorium period (i.e. during the course period + one year after completion)
    • No Collateral or Third Party Guarantee is required.
  • Eligibility: Students belonging to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) with combined parental income lesser than Rs. 4.5 lakh annually.

Institutions of Eminence

  • In 2018, the Government constituted a panel headed by N Gopalaswami to identify the top 20 best higher education institutions (10 public and 10 private). The aim was to promote the development of world-class educational institutions. 
  • These Institutions of Eminence include
Institutions of Eminence


  • UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulations 2017 will govern all such institutions. These regulations will override all other UGC regulations.  
  • Institutions of Eminence will enjoy administrative and financial autonomy in a wide range of matters, including faculty and staff salaries, student fees, course offerings etc. 
  • Institutions of Eminence will get financial assistance up to Rs. 1000 Crore over the period of five years to enhance their research and academic capabilities. 
  • The status of Institutions of Eminence would bring a greater reputation, attracting greater funding and increased collaborations with world-class universities. 

Features of such institutions

  • Preferably multidisciplinary and have both teaching and research focus 
  • Apart from the regular courses, it should also offer various interdisciplinary courses.
  • The institution has a good mix of domestic and foreign students.  
  • Transparent merit-based selection in admissions
  • The faculty-student ratio should not be less than 1:10 after three years of declaration.
  • It should have student amenities comparable with that of globally reputed institutions.  
  • The institution should have a reasonably large owned campus with adequate space for expansion. 

Safety of Women at Workplace

Safety of Women at Workplace

This article deals with ‘ Safety of Women at Workplace  .’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


In India, women face several challenges regarding safety in the workplace. These challenges include

Safety of Women at Workplace

In 2018, under the #MeToo Campaign, a large number of women came forward to share their old experiences of harassment in the workplace by men in power. 


The lack of woman’s safety in the workplace has the following impacts

  1. Decreased Female Labour Participation Rate: According to NSSO Data, Women’s workforce participation has reduced to 25%  (one of the lowest in the world).   
  2. Increased absenteeism and turnover: When women don’t feel safe at a particular workplace, they take excessive leaves and are forced to change jobs regularly, leading to increased absenteeism and higher turnover. 
  3. Impact on Mental Health of Women: The women who suffer from harassment and abuse at the workplace face mental health issues such as depression, anxiety etc.
  4. Damage to the reputation of country and companies: The reputation of companies and countries who face the allegation of women’s unsafety at work is negatively impacted.  

Initiatives taken so far

  • Vishakha Guidelines by Supreme Court in 1997.
  • Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act based on  Vishakha Judgement.  
  • She Box Portal to enable woman employees to file harassment complaints at the workplace. 

Case Study of Bhanwari Devi

Bhanwari Devi was a Saathin in Rajasthan with the job of raising consciousness in her village about child marriage, dowry etc. Men of the dominant caste resented her efforts wrt Child Marriage, and she was brutally gang-raped. NGO named Vishakha filed a Case in Supreme Court culminating in Vishakha Guidelines.

Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2012

Provisions of the Act

  • It defines sexual harassment as laid down by Supreme Court in the Vishakha case.
  • It puts the legal responsibility on the employer to provide a safe & conducive environment for the woman worker. 
  • Provision of forming an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) or, in case of an unorganized sector, forming a 5-member Local Complaint Committee under the supervision of the District Collector. 
  • Those who don’t comply with the act’s provisions will be fined up to Rs 50,000.  

Limitations of the Act

  • Till 2015, 36% of Indian companies had not constituted ICC.
  • Non-inclusion of the armed forces and all paramilitary forces within its purview
  • If a complaint is found to be “malicious”, the woman is liable for punishment. It discourages the victims.  
  • The limited time period of 90 days to file a complaint
  • Provide security to only women and not men.
  • Punishment for misconduct is as per the service rules of the employer ( if it exists) or else as per the rules of the act. The Act is, however, silent on the situation where employers’ service rule contains less stringent punishment provisions.