The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : India’s Population Growth: Challenges and Education as a Key

 GS-1 Mains Exam : Society

Revision Notes

Question : Analyze the role of education in reducing the total fertility rate in India. How does improving women’s education contribute to better reproductive health outcomes and population control?

India’s population growth story has two sides: a large and growing population, but also signs of slowing growth. Here’s a breakdown with some additional details:

The Challenge: A Large and Growing Population

  • Surpassing China: In 2023, India became the world’s most populous country with 1.4 billion people.
  • Projected Growth: The UN estimates a peak of 1.7 billion around 2064 before stabilizing at 1.53 billion by 2100.

Signs of Slowdown:

  • Falling Fertility Rate: The good news is the total fertility rate (average children per woman) has dipped below replacement level (2.1 children). This means families on average are having fewer children, which can slow population growth in the long run.

Focus on Youth and Reproductive Health:

  • World Population Day (July 11th): Experts highlight the importance of addressing the sexual and reproductive health needs of young people, especially young women.
  • Education Matters: Studies show a clear link between education and lower unmet needs for family planning, particularly among teenagers and young women (15-24). Educated women are more likely to make informed choices about family planning.

Barriers to Family Planning:

  • Early Marriage: Young women married early, especially in less developed regions, often have limited agency and may not be able to discuss or choose family planning due to social pressures.
  • Societal Expectations: Traditional norms can discourage young couples from using contraception after marriage, with the expectation of quickly proving fertility with children.
  • Lack of Sex Education: The absence of comprehensive sex education leads to misconceptions about sex and contraception, hindering young people’s access to information and resources.
  • Teenage Pregnancy: A growing concern is the rise in teenage pregnancies, both within and outside of marriage. However, families are often reluctant to acknowledge their children’s sexual activity, further limiting access to reproductive health services.


  • Culturally Sensitive Communication: Promoting behavior change through culturally sensitive communication strategies can address social norms and encourage responsible family planning.
  • Contraceptive Options: Offering a variety of safe and effective contraceptive options empowers individuals to choose the method that best suits their needs.
  • Women’s Education: Investing in women’s education remains the most effective long-term solution for controlling population growth. Educated women are more likely to delay marriage, have fewer children, and have better health outcomes for themselves and their families.
  • Safe and Legal Abortions: Ensuring access to safe and legal abortions under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act is crucial for protecting women’s health and reproductive rights.


Addressing India’s population challenge requires a multifaceted approach. By prioritizing education, access to reproductive health services, and tackling social norms that hinder family planning choices, India can empower its youth and ensure a healthy and sustainable future for its population.




The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Radiation Biodosimetry

 GS-1 Mains Exam : Society

Revision Notes

Question : Examine the challenges associated with large-scale radiation biodosimetry following a nuclear or radiological event. How does the Rapid Automated Biodosimetry Tool (RABiT) and its iterations address these challenges?

Context: After a radiological event (nuclear device or reactor accident), identifying people with high radiation exposure is crucial for treatment with recently approved drugs.


  • Measures radiation exposure by analyzing blood, urine, or hair.
  • Useful when people lack personal radiation monitoring devices.

Gold Standard Assay: Dicentric Chromosome Assay (DCA)

  • Measures chromosomal aberrations in white blood cells.
  • Radiation breaks DNA, which is repaired, but sometimes incorrectly forming a Dicentric Chromosome (DC) with two centromeres.
  • Specific and sensitive indicator of radiation exposure.
  • Requires culturing cells and analyzing slides – takes 2-3 days.
  • Successful for small-scale events but labor-intensive for large ones (tens of samples per day).

Alternative Assay: Cytokinesis-Block Micronucleus Assay (CBMN)

  • Slightly simpler than DCA.
  • Arrests cell division before completion, forming a cell with two nuclei.
  • Radiation exposure can eject DNA fragments forming a micronucleus.
  • Takes longer than DCA (~3 days) due to longer cell culturing.

Faster Option: Gamma-H2AX Assay

  • Measures phosphorylated histone protein (gamma-H2AX) – potential to differentiate exposed from unexposed within 6-8 hours.
  • Needs to be performed within 24 hours due to histone phosphorylation kinetics.

Increasing Throughput

  • Traditional approach: Lab network sharing samples – insufficient for large events.
  • Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research: Developed automated biodosimetry assays.
  • Rapid Automated Biodosimetry Tool (RABiT):
    • First iteration (RABiT) used custom robotics for CBMN assay with a target of 6,000 samples per day per machine.
    • RABiT-II: Implemented CBMN and DCA assays on commercial High Throughput Screening (HTS) platforms.
    • HTS platforms use automation for faster analysis.

Benefits of HTS Platforms

  • Significantly increased throughput – potentially analyzing thousands of samples per day.
  • Reliability:
    • Commercial systems undergo rigorous quality control during development, manufacturing, and maintenance.
    • Broad base of trained users and maintenance personnel ensures successful operation during a crisis.


High-throughput automated biodosimetry offers large-scale dose assessment after radiological or nuclear incidents. It complements current triage systems and long-term epidemiological follow-up.

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