Indian Express Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Social Media and Young Minds

 GS-3 Mains Exam : Social Media

Revision Notes

Question : Evaluate the role of parental guidance in mitigating the negative effects of social media on children and adolescents. What challenges do parents face in this regard, and how can policy measures support them?

Social Media’s Impact

  • Global mental health crisis: WHO (2019) reports nearly 1 billion affected, including 14% of adolescents.
  • Studies show correlation between social media use and mental health issues:
    • US teens using social media for 3+ hours/day have double the risk of anxiety/depression.
  • The problem is amplified in India:
    • Second-largest smartphone market
    • High internet penetration
    • Large youth population (under 18)

Warning Labels: A First Step

  • Surgeon General Vivek Murthy (US) calls for warning labels on social media.
  • Warning labels could raise awareness, similar to the impact on cigarette smoking:
    • US legislation (1975) mandated health warnings on tobacco products.
    • Led to increased awareness and improved health outcomes in India (1975).

Why Legislation is Needed

  • Warnings alone might not suffice:
    • May act as an invitation for some young people.
    • Puts onus on parents who may lack digital literacy or constant monitoring ability.
  • Legislation can provide a more comprehensive solution:
    • Similar to the EU’s Digital Service Act (2023).
    • Can regulate targeted advertising, data collection, and content moderation.

The Path Forward

  • A multi-pronged approach is needed:
    • Warning labels
    • Legislation to protect children online
    • Parental guidance
  • Only through a combination of these efforts can we safeguard young minds from the potential harms of social media.


  • Social media overuse can be addictive and detrimental to mental health.
  • We need to act now to protect young people from this growing global problem.



Indian Express Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Unrest Over NEET Exam

 GS-2 Mains Exam : Education

Revision Notes

Question : Critically analyze the role of the National Testing Agency (NTA) in conducting national-level exams like NEET and NET. What are the major criticisms faced by the NTA, and how can these issues be addressed?

Nationwide Anger Over NEET

  • Public anger over NEET exam continues amidst doubts about NTA’s integrity (NET cancellation).
  • Underlying issue: Bad policy leads to cheating in high-stakes exams like NEET and NET.

The Experiment with NEET

  • Introduced in 2010 to address three issues:
    • Standardize medical school entry requirements
    • Reduce entrance exams
    • Eliminate capitation fees in private colleges
  • Initial attempt in 2013 stalled by Supreme Court due to centralization concerns.
  • Reinstated in 2016.

Challenges in Implementing NEET

  • Uneven educational standards across India:
    • Central schools follow CBSE syllabus.
    • States have their own, less rigorous syllabi.
    • High-end private schools often follow International Baccalaureate (IB).
  • Bias towards CBSE syllabus disadvantages state board students, forcing them to seek expensive coaching (Rs 58,000 crore industry growing 15% annually).

Coaching Industry Flourishes Due To:

  • Poor school governance:
    • Lackadaisical approaches
    • Frequent syllabus changes
    • Rote learning emphasis
    • Poor teacher quality, vacancies, inadequate infrastructure
  • Even high-end public schools show marginal improvement.
  • Rise of “ghost classes” prioritizing coaching over school attendance.

NTA and Policy Centralization

  • NTA faces criticism for irregularities in conducting complex exams.
  • Ministries of Education and Health haven’t addressed negative consequences of centralization.

Tamil Nadu’s Opposition to NEET

  • Opposes NEET due to its own functioning state policy linking medical admissions to high school performance.
  • The Rajan Committee (2021) found significant disadvantages for rural Tamil medium students:
    • 2017-21: Average medical school admissions for Tamil medium students dropped from 15% to 1.6-3.2%.
    • Rural student admissions to government colleges fell from 62% to 50%.
  • NEET disadvantages rural and poorer students.
  • Tamil Nadu’s public health system relies on rural students willing to work in local areas, unlike urban students seeking careers in corporate hospitals or abroad.
  • State’s efforts to exempt itself from NEET (legislature passed law) blocked by Governor.

Recommendations for Policy Revamp

  • Revise NEET policy with stakeholder input (beyond politics).
  • Consider an all-party committee to address local realities and education disparities.
  • Possible solutions:
    • Extend MBBS to 6 years with a pre-medical year to standardize critical science subjects.
    • Decentralize exams to states and universities (pre-NEET system).
    • Establish regional boards or a centralized qualifying exam for practicing outside a state/going abroad.

The Bigger Picture: Failing Education System

  • Ideally, standardized schooling enables college admissions based on final exam marks.
  • In India, varied educational standards necessitate centralized exams for professional courses.
  • Intense competition incentivizes irregularities for financial gain.


  • Recent exam controversies expose deeper issues: coaching industry, uneven standards, and institutional irregularities.
  • Long-term solutions: improve school quality, decentralize exams, and strengthen oversight to rebuild trust.
  • Until then, exam leaks will persist.

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