27 March 2024 : The Hindu Editorial Notes PDF



1. A cry for help, a call for reflection and action

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Education

The topic highlights socio-economic challenges and educational reforms, relevant for UPSC’s social issues and governance segments.

●  The article discusses the concerning socio-academic climate in India, focusing on the stress faced by students, particularly those preparing for competitive exams in Kota, Rajasthan, and the societal and systemic challenges contributing to student suicides.


Overview of Socio-Academic Climate in India:

  • The socio-academic climate in India is causing concerns regarding the nurturing of students, with socio-economic shifts inducing despondency and stress, leading to tragic outcomes like suicides.
  • Instances like the suicide of a Bihar teenager in Kota, Rajasthan, highlight the immense stress faced by students preparing for competitive exams like JEE and NEET.
  • Kota serves as a hub for coaching institutes, attracting over 2,00,000 aspirants annually, generating significant revenue for the city.

Challenges Faced by Students in Kota:

  • Despite efforts by coaching institutes to prevent suicides, challenges persist due to the vast number of paying guest accommodations lacking uniform anti-suicide features.
  • The local government has suspended routine testing in coaching institutes temporarily and is training hostel staff in various aspects of student welfare.
  • Police initiatives like “darwaze pe dastak” aim to improve proactive measures, while kitchen staff are urged to report any concerning behavior.

National Suicide Statistics and Education System Challenges:

  • National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data reveals a distressing rise in student suicides, connected to the lack of viable job opportunities and intense competition.
  • The education system’s focus on limited government seats and high fees in private institutions exacerbates competition, leading to immense pressure on students.
  • Financial constraints prevent many families from providing additional educational support, intensifying pressure on students to succeed.

Impact of Society and Family Expectations:

  • Shifts in family structures and weakening bonds contribute to parental imposition of academic preferences on children, affecting their social relationships.
  • Parental control and societal expectations often overshadow a student’s individual interests, leading to feelings of humiliation and desperation.
  • Lack of emotional support and societal discrimination intensifies the hardships faced by students from socioeconomically underserved communities.

Need for Supportive Social Infrastructure:

  • There is an urgent need for the social infrastructure to become more supportive and accommodative of students’ emotional and academic needs.
  • Educational institutions should provide emotional support and encouragement instead of chastising students for subpar performance.
  • Empathy, acceptance, and positive reinforcement are crucial for fostering a conducive environment for students’ well-being and academic success.


  • The socio-academic climate in India presents significant challenges, including intense competition, parental expectations, and societal pressures, leading to tragic outcomes like student suicides.
  • Addressing these challenges requires a holistic approach encompassing supportive social infrastructure, emotional support in educational institutions, and efforts to mitigate societal discrimination.
  • Ensuring the well-being and success of students is essential for building a brighter future for India
Student Suicides in India

Reasons for Student Suicides:

●  Academic Pressure: High expectations from parents and society lead to intense academic pressure on students.

● Competitive Environment: Cut-throat competition for limited educational and career opportunities exacerbates stress.

●  Lack of Mental Health Support: Inadequate mental health infrastructure and stigma surrounding mental health issues prevent students from seeking help.

● Financial Burden: Financial constraints can add to the stress, especially for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

●   Failure Fear: Fear of failure in exams or achieving career goals contributes to feelings of hopelessness and despair.

●   Social Isolation: Loneliness, peer pressure, and bullying can negatively impact mental well-being.

Way Forward:

● Mental Health Awareness: Promote awareness campaigns to destigmatize mental health issues and encourage students to seek help.

●  Counseling Services: Increase availability of on-campus counseling services and helplines for students in distress.

●  Skill-Based Education: Shift focus from rote learning to skill-based education to reduce exam-related stress.

●  Parental Education: Educate parents about the importance of emotional support and healthy communication with their children.

●  Teacher Training: Provide training to educators on identifying signs of distress and providing support to students.

● Community Support: Engage community organizations and NGOs to provide mental health support and create safe spaces for students.

● Policy Intervention: Formulate policies to regulate academic pressure, promote holistic education, and address mental health concerns in educational institutions.

● Early Intervention: Implement early intervention programs to identify and support students at risk of mental health issues.

● Research and Data Collection: Conduct research to understand the root causes of student suicides and develop targeted interventions.

PYQ: Explain why suicide among young women is increasing in Indian society. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2023)
Practice Question:  Discuss the socio-economic factors contributing to student suicides in India, emphasizing the role of educational institutions and societal pressures. Evaluate potential reforms. (250 Words /15 marks)

2. The democratic political process is broken

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity

Critical for understanding systemic challenges within India’s democratic framework, pertinent to UPSC’s governance and political science syllabi.

●     The article discusses systemic failures in India’s democratic political process, focusing on challenges in public discourse, civil society, and political parties, hindering constructive collaboration and consensus-building.


Challenges in the Democratic Political Process:

  • The democratic political process in India is perceived as broken due to structural impediments hindering constructive collaboration and consensus-building.
  • Traditional sites of consensus-building such as public discourse, civil society, and political parties are failing to facilitate dialectical cooperation, obstructing progress on critical issues.

Nature of Discourse:

  • Public discourse, essential for evolving consensus in a democracy, faces challenges like loss of credibility in institutional news media, rise of social media-driven virality over substance, and hyper-partisanship.
  • Fragmentation of collective attention and transient issues in media have made gaining visibility and capturing attention more critical than meaningful dialogue.

Role of Civil Society:

  • Civil society, vital as the voice of conscience, has increasingly become dependent on a permissive state, focusing more on single-issue campaigns than reconciling multiple viewpoints.
  • It often bypasses the political process in favour of institutional interventions, reducing its ability to negotiate and intervene effectively.

Challenges within Political Parties:

  • Political parties suffer from internal pathologies, shifting focus away from policy deliberation towards internal issues and power struggles.
  • Elected representatives often lack power and inclination to extrapolate constituency issues into a policy agenda within the party setup, leading to a preoccupation with internal dynamics.

Fractured Ability to Come Together:

  • Pathologies within media, civil society, and political parties exacerbate each other, fracturing the ability to come together for collective action.
  • Dysfunction in the information ecosystem empowers individuals lacking seriousness, while top-down party structures raise the bar for grassroots mobilization in civil society.


  • The interplay of various pathologies in media, civil society, and political parties hampers collaborative efforts in the democratic political process.
  • Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts to overcome structural impediments and foster meaningful dialogue and consensus-building in India’s democracy.
 Role of Public Discourse and Civil Society in Protecting Democratic Values:

● Promotion of Accountability: Public discourse and civil society play a crucial role in holding elected officials accountable for their actions, ensuring transparency and integrity in governance.

● Defending Human Rights: They act as watchdogs, advocating for the protection of fundamental human rights, including freedom of speech, assembly, and expression, thus safeguarding democratic principles.

●   Fostering Inclusivity: By providing platforms for diverse voices and opinions, they foster inclusivity and representation, preventing marginalisation and discrimination within society.

● Challenging Authoritarianism: Public discourse and civil society organisations serve as bulwarks against authoritarian tendencies by raising awareness about threats to democratic institutions and mobilising citizens to resist encroachments on their freedoms.

●   Promoting Civic Education: They contribute to civic education efforts, empowering individuals with knowledge about their rights and responsibilities as citizens, thereby strengthening the foundation of democracy.

●   Facilitating Dialogue and Compromise: Through constructive dialogue and negotiation, they facilitate consensus-building and compromise, essential for resolving conflicts and maintaining social cohesion in pluralistic societies.

Practice Question:  Examine the systemic challenges hindering constructive collaboration and consensus-building in India’s democratic political process. (150 Words /10 marks)

3. It is time for comprehensive reforms to municipal elections

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Local Government

Critical for understanding democratic governance and constitutional compliance at the grassroots level, relevant for UPSC’s governance syllabus.

●   The article discusses challenges in municipal elections in India, focusing on delays, constitutional violations, and the need for Supreme Court intervention to strengthen democratic governance at the grassroots level.


Challenges in Municipal Elections:

  • Municipal elections in India face significant challenges, including delays in holding timely elections and the constitution of elected councils, mayors, deputy mayors, and standing committees.
  • These delays violate constitutional mandates, leading to a lack of democratic representation and effective governance in urban local governments.

Timeliness of Municipal Elections:

  • Janaagraha’s Annual Survey and CAG’s audit reports highlight widespread delays in municipal elections across India, with over 1,400 municipalities lacking elected councils.
  • Key cities like Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru have experienced substantial delays in holding elections, affecting democratic processes and governance continuity.

Delay in Constitution of Councils:

  • After elections, delays in constituting elected councils and electing mayors, deputy mayors, and standing committees further exacerbate governance challenges.
  • Karnataka witnessed significant delays in forming councils, leading to prolonged periods without effective governance structures in urban local governments.

Challenges in Electoral Processes:

  • Challenges include government officials’ discretion in scheduling elections, potential undue influence from state governments, and conflicts of interest in selecting presiding officers.
  • Additionally, the manual ballot paper-based process and shorter terms for mayors and standing committees contribute to electoral inefficiencies.

Role of State Election Commissions (SECs):

  • While SECs are constitutionally mandated to oversee local government elections, their role remains limited in many states, with only 11 empowered to conduct ward delimitation.
  • Strengthening SECs and evaluating their potential role in conducting elections for mayors, deputy mayors, and standing committees could enhance electoral transparency and accountability.

Potential Supreme Court Intervention:

  • Given the reluctance of state governments to empower SECs and address electoral challenges, Supreme Court intervention may be necessary to ensure the integrity of municipal elections.
  • Aligning municipal election processes with constitutional mandates and empowering SECs could enhance democratic governance at the grassroots level.
PYQ: The states in India seem reluctant to empower urban local bodies both functionally as well as financially. Comment. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2023)
Practice Question:  Examine the challenges plaguing municipal elections in India and evaluate the role of constitutional mandates in ensuring electoral integrity (150 Words /10 marks)

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