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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 28 October 2023


  1. Women can make the World Better
  2. Rev up Anganwadi workers to fight neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs)

Women Can Make the World Better


Economic history has traditionally been portrayed from a male perspective, highlighting the roles and viewpoints of men. The most recent recipient of Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Claudia Goldin, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2023 for her research on the gender wage gap, explaining why women earn less than men even when performing the same work.


  • GS1- Role of Women and Women’s Organization
  • GS3- Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it.

Mains Question:

The changing landscape of employment poses a significant challenge to the future of work, with serious repercussions for women. Comment (15 marks, 250 words).

Details of Claudia Goldin’s work

  • It specifically addresses the gender pay disparity issue. Her research sheds light on why women tend to earn less money than men, even when they are engaged in equivalent work.
  • It highlights that a woman’s contributions to family well-being, such as caregiving, do not contribute directly to economic growth or GDP.
  • Goldin’s findings suggest that women, who often balance work and family responsibilities, are perceived as less valuable in economic enterprises since they may not commit to full-time continuous employment to the same extent as men.

Challenges of employment in India

  • The changing landscape of employment poses a significant challenge to the future of work, both globally and in India.
  • Long-term employment in traditional industrial establishments is becoming increasingly scarce, even in affluent nations. More jobs are being generated in the gig economy and informal sector.
  • In large industrial establishments, jobs are often offered on short-term contracts. These shifts in the nature of work pose a particular challenge for India, a country with the world’s largest youth population.

Women-centric challenges

  • Despite India’s rapid economic growth, young people in the country are struggling to find dignified work with sufficient income and social security.
  • Furthermore, India is ranked 132nd out of 191 countries in terms of human development, underscoring the need for more investment in caregiving services.
  • Unfortunately, caregiving work, which predominantly involves women, is undervalued in the monetary economy.
  • GDP, as a monetary measure, only captures the economic aspect of society and does not account for caregiving work.
  • As a result, policymakers in India and elsewhere aim to pull women out of their homes and informal work and place them in more efficient, industrial-style establishments to contribute to GDP growth in pursuit of a “$10 trillion GDP” economy.
  • Millions of women providing domestic services and others working as ASHA workers (Accredited Social Health Activists) and anganwadi workers in primary health and education are often paid very low wages.

Analysis of the efforts taken in this regard

  • At the midpoint to 2030, the G-20 has reported that global progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is off-track, with only 12% of the targets on course for attainment. To make progress more inclusive and sustainable, a change in approach is necessary.
  • The prevailing public policy paradigm often relies on domain experts to determine solutions within their respective fields, with government organizations and non-governmental organizations responsible for delivering these solutions on a large scale.
  • However, solutions that work in one region or context may not be suitable for others. Issues related to the environment, livelihood, health, and infrastructure must align with local conditions.
  • Mainstream economics, traditionally influenced by men, has resulted in a “Tragedy of the Commons.” Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom demonstrated how local communities, often led by women, cooperatively and sustainably manage their local resources.

Way Forward

  • A paradigm shift in economics is essential. Such changes always involve a power shift, which can be challenging because those with power tend to resist relinquishing it. Power can come from money, political authority, formal education, and scientific recognition (PhDs and Nobel Prizes).
  • This power dynamic forms the basis of a caste system present in all societies. Those with financial, authoritative, and formal educational power occupy the upper castes in the hierarchy.
  • These groups often form coalitions, ostensibly aiming to improve the lives of the common people, whom they argue cannot govern themselves and need development.
  • It is high time for those in positions of power to humbly listen to the people and learn from them, rather than imposing their ways that have contributed to pressing problems of environmental degradation and economic disparities.
  • The prevailing global system, which is male-dominated, money-driven, and institution-based, requires a thorough reevaluation.
  • Women should be granted the freedom to shape institutions that are more family-oriented and inclusive, rather than merely seeking promotions within male-dominated organizations.
  • Additionally, local communities should be granted greater authority to design and implement inclusive and sustainable solutions to their problems.


India’s Prime Minister has urged the G-20 to support human-centric development, moving beyond a sole focus on GDP. While the prevailing global vision has been “One Earth, One Economy, One Future,” India has advocated for a different approach within the G-20: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, meaning “One Family, One Earth, One Future.”  Fundamental institutional reforms are necessary to achieve the vision of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: “One Family, One Earth, One Future.” Without such reforms, this vision, along with the G-20’s banners, may fade away.

Rev up Anganwadi Workers to Fight NDDs


The importance of capacity-building programs for Anganwadi workers in India becomes evident when addressing the growing concern of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) and their associated disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). DALYs encompass years of life lost due to premature mortality (YLLs) and years of life lost due to living in states of reduced health or years of healthy life lost due to disability (YLDs).


GS2- Health

Mains Question:

Capacity-building programs for Anganwadi workers is important to lessen the burden of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). Analyse.

Relevant Statistics

  • A 2018 multicentric study revealed a prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders among children aged 2 to less than 6 years to be 9.2% and 13.6% among children aged 6 to 9 years.
  • These disorders include vision impairment, epilepsy, neuromotor impairments (such as cerebral palsy), hearing impairment, speech and language disorders, autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and learning disorders.
  • The impact of these disorders extends beyond affected individuals, affecting families, communities, and society as a whole.
  • In India, out of 25 million children born annually, approximately 3.5 million babies are born prematurely, 1.7 million have birth defects, and one million newborns require prolonged hospitalization and specialized healthcare or reliance on technology at Special Newborn Care Units (SNCUs) to improve their health outcomes and reduce medical complications after birth.

Causative Factors

  • Genetic and environmental factors, including non-institutional delivery, a history of perinatal asphyxia, neonatal illness, postnatal neurological/brain infections, stunting, low birth weight/prematurity, severe acute malnutrition, and smaller head circumference, are significantly associated with neurodevelopmental delays in infants under 2 years of age.
  • Children growing up in poverty face additional disadvantages, as heightened adversity and stress can negatively affect their neurodevelopment.
  • Poverty and stunting are considered potential markers of developmental impairment due to environmental factors, affecting at least 250 million children under 5 years old in low- and middle-income countries.
  • These children often fail to reach their full cognitive and socioemotional development potential.
  • Lower socioeconomic backgrounds can lead to heightened stress response systems, influenced by differences in parenting practices related to income and education.
  • Factors like parent-child interaction, vocabulary, and responsiveness can impact the maturation of specific brain areas.


Early identification and intervention are essential to support each child in reaching their full potential. Early monitoring of children’s developmental progress from birth to 2 years allows for the timely identification of developmental delays or sensory impairments. These delays can also serve as early indicators of compromised neurodevelopment. Early Childhood Interventions (ECD) implemented during these critical developmental periods can effectively address the root causes of these challenges.

December 2023