The Hindu Editorial Topic-1 : Turning the spotlight on the urban poor

GS-1 Mains 

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

Question : Discuss the factors contributing to the stability and changes in major occupations within slums of Kolkata over the past decade. How do these occupational dynamics reflect broader economic trends in urban areas of India?

Employment and Wages in Slums of India (compared with India Employment Report (IER) 2024)

IER 2024 Findings

  • Overall economic growth in India (2015-16 to 2022-23): 5.4% average real economic growth.
  • Divergent trends between rural and urban areas:
    • Higher unemployment rate in urban areas (4.8% in 2000 vs 1.5% in rural).
    • Higher average monthly earnings in urban areas:
      • Self-employed: 76% higher
      • Regular employed: 44% higher
      • Casual labor: 22% higher
    • Need to investigate the coexistence of higher unemployment and wages in urban areas.

Kolkata Slum Survey (2012 & 2022-23)

  • Compared slum findings with IER 2024 to understand urban poor’s economic mobility.
  • Surveyed 37 slums in Kolkata in 2012 and 29 in 2022-23 (due to redevelopment/eviction).
  • Compared findings with 2019 data (pre-COVID) to avoid pandemic’s effects.

Occupations in Slums

  • Major occupations remained stable over a decade:
    • Unskilled labor: Most significant (around 25%)
    • Skilled/semi-skilled labor
    • Private employees
    • Petty businesses/small shops
  • Decline in skilled/semi-skilled labor (-6%) and private sector jobs (-3%) between 2012-19.
  • Increase in petty businesses/shops (+9%) and casual work (truck driving, cleaning, construction) by 9%.

Income Trends in Slums

  • Average monthly income in 2012: ₹4,900 (decreased by 5% at constant prices by 2019).
  • Highest income earners: Government employees (though their income also decreased by 5% at constant prices by 2019).
  • Lowest income earners: Domestic servants and unskilled workers (their income remained stagnant).
  • Highest decline in real income (2012 vs 2019):
    • Construction work (-51%)
    • Petty businesses/shops (-32%)
    • Government services (-32%)
  • Increase in real income: Unskilled labor (+33%) and skilled/semi-skilled labor (+12%).

Comparison with IER 2024

  • Similar trends in IER 2024:
    • Increase in self-employment (including business) in urban areas.
    • Decline in real monthly wages for self-employed and regular workers.
    • Increase in real wages for casual workers.
  • Implication: Slum transformation reflects the broader urban economic trends.

Other Findings

  • Decline in slum income inequality (2012-19):
    • Highest earners (government workers) faced income drop.
    • Lowest earners (domestic servants) saw income increase.
  • Lower female workforce participation in slums (-3%) compared to 2012 (contradicts IER 2024’s national increase).

Policy Implications

  • Need for public support in urban areas for:
    • Affordable food access
    • Gainful employment opportunities
  • Importance of rural non-farm sector development due to slow growth and negative employment growth in agriculture.



The Hindu Editorial Topic-2 : Distrust in Democracy and Rise of Authoritarianism

GS-2 Mains 

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

Question : Critically analyze the findings of the Pew Research Center Survey (2023) regarding the preference for authoritarian rulers over multi-party democracy in various regions. What factors contribute to this trend, particularly in countries of the Global South compared to the West?

Distrust in Democracy and Rise of Authoritarianism

  • Pew Research Center Survey (2023): Preference for authoritarian rulers over multi-party democracy
    • Global South: India (85%), Indonesia (77%), South Africa (66%), Brazil (57%)
    • West: United Kingdom (37%), United States (32%)

Causes of Distrust

  • Citizens in democracies distrust economic policies:
    • Rising inequality: Rich getting richer faster
    • Corporations and financial institutions influencing policy for their benefit (reduced taxes, weaker labor unions, environmental exploitation)
  • Unsustainable Growth:
    • Overuse of fossil fuels threatening future life on Earth
    • Water scarcity: India among most water-stressed countries
  • Case of India:
    • Large population (17.5% of world’s population on 2.4% of land)
    • Declining environmental performance (155th in 2014, 180th in 2022 on Environment Performance Index)
    • Need for faster income growth while protecting the environment

Importance of Systems Thinking

  • Understanding complex interconnected problems requires a holistic approach
  • Current specialization in sciences creates knowledge silos hindering communication and collaboration
    • Social, medical, and natural sciences operate in isolation
    • Expertise increases in narrow areas but understanding of the whole system suffers
  • Systems Thinking Failures:
    • Weakening of democratic institutions and rise of large corporations (cause-and-effect unclear)
    • Economists focused on GDP neglecting inequality and environmental impact
  • Specialization vs. Holism:
    • Medical advancements can extend lifespans but miss the bigger picture of human health
    • Climate change solutions often ignore their impact on livelihoods
  • Limits of Scientific Approach:
    • Scientific progress has led to arrogance about controlling nature
    • Scientific solutions can have unintended consequences

Yearning for Certainty in Uncertain Times

  • People seek strong leadership during uncertainty: godmen, dictators, wealthy technologists
  • Leaders guided by incomplete scientific understanding can harm both people and the environment

Specialization vs. Generalization

  • Isaiah Berlin’s distinction between “foxes” (know many things) and “hedgehogs” (know one big thing)
  • Great thinkers like Leo Tolstoy were both foxes and hedgehogs (broad perspective with scientific understanding)

Need for a New Science

  • A “science of holistic, self-adaptive systems” is required to address complex challenges
    • Systems being (humility)
    • Systems thinking (hedgehog-fox mentality)
    • Systems acting (taking action)

Cooperation over Competition

  • Organizations driven by cooperation, not competition, are needed to improve the world
  • Businesses and armies prioritize profit and power, while families prioritize well-being
  • Women’s contributions to families and societies are undervalued


  • The world needs more cooperation and less competition
  • Men can learn from women’s nurturing approach to build a better world


The Hindu Editorial Topic-3 : Should State Governments borrow more?

GS-3 Mains 

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

Question : Examine the dispute between the Kerala government and the Central government regarding borrowing limits, analyzing Kerala’s arguments against the Centre’s restrictions and their implications for the principles of federalism and fiscal autonomy. How does this dispute reflect broader tensions in India’s intergovernmental fiscal relations?

Financial Relationship Between Centre and States

  • Dispute between Kerala government and Central government on borrowing limits.
  • Kerala argues Centre’s restrictions violate federalism and limit ability to meet financial obligations.

Spending Responsibilities

  • Central government has power to raise most taxes.
  • State governments spend more on social services like health and education (e.g., ₹19,182 billion by States vs ₹2,230 billion by Centre in 2022-23).
  • State spending on social services has grown significantly (8.8% of GDP in 2004-05 to 12.5% in 2021-22).

Kerala as an Example

  • Kerala spends 40-50% of budget on social sectors, contributing to positive social and economic transformation.
  • Spending on social sectors by Kerala LSGs might still be higher than national average.
  • Large government workforce (teachers, nurses) drives social achievements.
  • High proportion of budget allocated for pensions (16.4% vs 9.7% national average).
  • Low capital expenditure (10.6%) hinders infrastructure development.

Sources of Funds for State Governments

  • Own revenue (tax and non-tax)
  • Transfers from Central government (tax shares and grants)
  • Market borrowings

Kerala’s Case

  • Increased spending (18% of GSDP) during COVID-19 pandemic with relaxed borrowing norms.
  • Decreased Central government transfers to Kerala (2.8% of GSDP in 2023-24).
  • Kerala’s own revenue stagnant at around 8% of GSDP.
  • Borrowing needed to meet budget (3.4% of GSDP) exceeds Centre’s limit.

Arguments for More Government Spending in Kerala

  • Needed to improve higher education, research, and build a knowledge-based economy.
  • Large domestic savings available for productive investment.
  • Effective borrowing can create a virtuous cycle of income and job creation (Keynesian economics).
  • Similar challenges faced by Kerala (aging population, pensions, outmigration) will affect other states too.

Future Considerations

  • Centre and States need collaboration to address challenges.
  • Kerala needs to convince Centre that borrowing is part of an economic rebuilding plan, not just meeting immediate needs.



The Hindu Editorial Topic-4 : Dangerous game

 GS-2 Mains 

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

Question : Critically analyze the actions taken by the Supreme Court against Patanjali Ayurved for misleading advertisements, highlighting the violations of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act (1954). How effective have these actions been in curbing the dissemination of false information to the public?

Patanjali Ayurved in Contempt for Misleading Ads

Supreme Court Actions

  • Feb 2024: Contempt notice for misleading advertisements violating Drugs and Magic Remedies Act (1954).
  • Feb 2024: Perjury proceedings threatened against Baba Ramdev for violating court assurance.
  • Nov 2023: Warning against advertising permanent cures and ₹1 crore penalty threat per product.

Patanjali’s Actions

  • Feb 2020: Claimed Coronil as “cure” for COVID-19 (later clarified as “supporting measure”).
  • Feb 2021: Promoted Coronil with Union Ministers present, misleading public.
  • 2022: Advertisements with false cures and criticizing evidence-based medicine.
  • Nov 2023: Defended products in press conference despite court warning.
  • Dec 2023 & Jan 2024: Continued misleading advertisements.

Government’s Role

  • No action against false claims about Coronil.
  • Absence of restraining order against misleading advertisements.
  • Suspected tacit support for Patanjali.


  • Commercial interest shouldn’t override public health and safety.
  • Government favouritism towards Patanjali is dangerous.





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