India is currently going through a phase of transition as it embarks on a great journey towards development. This is a very interesting and probably the most important phase which the country is witnessing. Today, old ideas and institutions are being challenged by modern ideas. Innovative solutions are being provided to old and new issues alike. However, there are few major issues and challenges which need to be dealt effectively for the successful journey.
Today we take you through the list of 10 contemporary issues in India and how you can change them. These challenges span through various realms of politics, society, economy, climate and human rights. We encourage you to join our platform Swipe and contribute towards betterment of India by voicing your opinion and making it count.
Around 33 crore people have been adversely affected due to drought. India witnessed extreme drought especially in Marathwada and Vidarbha region in eastern Maharashtra. El-Nino weather conditions are being held responsible for the drought. Water scarcity became such a grim issue that Bombay High court ordered shifting out of IPL matches from Maharashtra. Supreme court pulled up centre to issue a deadline for declaration of drought. Water scarcity also brought out caste based conflicts present in Indian society as dalits were denied water in public tubewells at few places. Finally, central government took up the challenge and sent water trains to the parched areas like Latur. The question remains how do we address the issue of water scarcity in long term. Indian weather is dependent on erratic monsoons. However that does not give us the liberty to waste water. Should govt end subsidy on water to promote its judicious use or make rainwater harvesting be mandatory for each household?
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2. Air Pollution
In India air is so much polluted that it is estimated around 5 lac people die annually due to air pollution. As per WHO study, 6 Indian cities made it to the top 10 of the most polluted cities across the world. Air pollution occupied a centerstage in Delhi where Odd-Even scheme was launched with much fan fare to counter air pollution. Due to the lack of adequate public transport, it created some problems for the common man. In the midst of all this, Supreme court banned diesel based cabs only to agree later that it will allow a gradual phase-out if there was a substantial plan. Various solutions are being suggested. People are discussing other options like promoting car-pooling, imposition of green tax on diesel vehicles throughout India.
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3. Hunger and Malnutrition
According to the United Nations Development Programme, up to 40% of the food produced in India is wasted. This includes food wasted both at farm level due to poor storage facilities and also food which is wasted at households, restaurants, canteens, weddings etc. It is said that India wastes as much food as is consumed by the entire United Kingdom. This is not a matter of pride but of shame. Due to our careless attitude, we waste a lot of food which could have been used to feed the hungry and the poor. On Global Hunger Index, India ranks at a dismal 55 out of 76 most hunger prone countries. Our neighbours Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh score much better than us. Half of our children are malnourished and under-weight and this has been called as “National Shame”. Around 20 crore Indians sleep hungry on a daily basis. The food wastage is a major issue which needs to be tackled. Should we start imposing penalty on deliberate or careless wastage of food?
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4. Women safety
Not only gender disparity in India but safety and security of women continues to be a major challenge faced by India. Even after Nirbhaya episode in 2012 which led to huge hue and cry and various legal reforms, women continue to face considerable vulnerability in Indian society. In Kerala a 28 year old law student was brutally raped and murdered, in Assam a 20 year old girl was raped and set ablaze and in Haryana, women were dragged out from their vehicles and raped during Jat protests for reservation. About 92 rapes take place on a daily basis with max number of rapes in Delhi. Despite legal reforms and increased sensitivity of police towards women safety, the rape challenge is yet to be tackled. The issue of women safety is also closely related to the issue of women empowerment in India. However, with increase in rape in India, the debate on death penalty for India’s rape crisis has kickstarted. Voice your opinion here if you think death penalty should be awarded for rape.
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5. Student Politics
The recent controversies in University of Hyderabad, Jawaharlal Nehru National University and National Institute of Technology Srinagar have been widely discussed in present days. While Rohith Vemula’s suicide at University of Hyderabad brought caste politics into picture, the protests in favour of Afzal Guru at JNU and against separatism at NIT Srinagar brought issue of nationalism into picture. In the midst of these controversies, questions have been raised on the nature of student politics in India. Whether students are liasoning with and promoting the interests of mainstream political parties or whether political parties are exploiting students for vote bank politics, the debate has captivated every Indian. The role of media in taking sides in these controversies has also been questioned. These protests were intricately linked to the intolerance debate as well by the media.
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Terrorism exported by Pakistan has been a major issue for India throughout last two decades and continues to be so. Failing to achieve goals through direct means, Pakistan diverted the terrorist groups (fighting USSR in Afghanistan) towards India in order to give effect to the theory of “death by thousand cuts”. India has probably been the worst sufferer of terrorism in entire world. The attack on Pathankot Air Force Station by the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad has been the biggest one in 2016 so far leading to the death of seven security personnel and one civilian. Apart from attacking Indian establishment in India, the terrorist groups are now targeting Indian missions in Afghanistan as well. Another threat from terrorism comes from Naxalites within the country. Naxalites have been described as the biggest threat to internal security by former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. In 2016 Naxalites continue to attack security forces while government is trying to win them through development.
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7. Farmer Suicides
Maharashtra alone reported 3228 farmer suicides in 2015. The issue of farmer suicides is burning issue in India except to those who work for TRPs. Drought and poverty problems in India are considered the primary cause behind these suicides because farmers fall into a debt trap and are unable to come out of it. In India it’s easier for farmers to break away from the trap of worldly affairs than debt. Another major reason for farmer suicides is the inability of government to reach rural areas with formal financial system to provide loans at cheaper rate. Lately, it has come to limelight that banks torment poor farmers for petty loans while they let go off rich defaulters. Most of the farmer suicides are centred in the states of Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Apart from drought which hurts the parched areas in these states the most, acceptance of suicidal ideation as a means to do away with all problems is another reason for high rates of farmer suicides in these states.
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One of the major mandate of Modi government was to fight corruption and so far it has been successful in putting a break to a series of scams which started under ten year UPA rule. However, corruption in India continues to be a burning issue especially at the interface which common man has to face.From Medical Council of India to Regional Transport Offices, all have been in news for corruption. India ranked 9th on crony capitalism index for 2015. Apart from it, the Agusta Westland bribery issue brought back the issue of corruption back into public discourse. Additionally, the leak of Panama Papers highlighted how Indians are stashing black money in offshore accounts.However, the good news is that India’s crony wealth reduced to 3% of GDP from 19% in 2014.
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9. Basic Hygiene
Two years back India launched Swachh Bharat Mission, with a vision to clean up the dirt and garbage which veneers the streets and roads of the country. The mission also aims to fight to the problem of sanitation which is one of the major social issues in Indian society. India accounts for the 90% of the people in South Asia and 59% of the 1.3 billion population still defecates in the open, making it the single largest contributor to open defecation in the entire world. Apparently, poor sanitation has also been cited as a cause for short and stunted growth among children. It vitiates the functioning of gut bacteria, leading to poor absorption of nutrients. This causes poor development of cognitive abilities in children along with stunted growth. It’s impact ultimately is witnessed in increased health expenditure and poor skill development leaving the country with a poor human resource. Connected to basic hygiene are also the rights of people engaged in manual scavenging.
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10. Demographic dividend
At present India has the world’s largest youth population standing at 356 million. The real challenge is to harness the benefits of such a huge force and not allow it to turn into demographic burden for the country. With this aim, government has launched various initiatives like Skill India to impart quality skills, Make in India to create jobs in manufacturing sector in order to solve the conundrum of jobless growth and provide employment, and Startup India to encourage self-employment among others. All these issues are closely related and have a profound impact on one other.
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Democracy is both an idea as well as an institution. The idea is achieved only through the means of institution. The solution to the challenges have to come from the people themselves. They need to brain storm, discuss and innovate. To make these efforts democratically participatory and inclusive we built Swipe, a platform where your opinion, voice and vote matter. Download our free app and make a difference – share your opinion, vote, and ask questions.