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Period Poverty



  • GS Mains paper I, II
  • Women related issues, women health issues, period poverty

Why in news?

  • A new report published by UNICEF and WaterAid found that more than a third of girls in South Asia miss school during their periods, mainly due to lack of access to toilets and pads in schools and no proper education about menstruation.
  • According to the report, most of the schools in South Asia fell short of the WHO standards of one toilet for every 25 girls.

What is Period Poverty?

  • In a nutshell, ‘Period poverty’ refers to having a lack of access to sanitary products, and other essentials like toilets with clean water due to financial constraints.
  • Imagine being a young teenage girl feeling too guilty to ask your parents for sanitary items when you see it’s already a struggle buying the food that the family needs.
  • Add to that the fact that menstruation is still a taboo subject for many people, making it even more difficult to ask for help when it is needed.

Why is this an issue?

  • As per the statistics, in India 60% of adolescent girls missed school on account of menstruation and about 80% still use home-made pads.
  • As per the statistics, in India 60% of adolescent girls missed school on account of menstruation and about 80% still use home-made pads.
  • Though the UN has recognised menstrual hygiene as a global public health and human rights issue, globally 1.2 billion women lack access to basic sanitation and hygiene.
  • Girls have an irrevocable right to education, which is lost if they feel unable to attend lessons because of a lack of sanitary products or clean, private toilets at school.
  • With taboos and superstitions in different countries, even an open discussion in schools is impossible and about 71% of girls in India are unaware about menstruation before their first period.
  • The report calls on government agencies and NGOs to increase efforts to provide proper sanitation.
  • The government should also include menstrual hygiene management as a component in its health policy and device strategies to address this issue plaguing the country.

What efforts have been made by government to address the issue?

  • Recently, the Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi launched a campaign named “YESIBLEED” to end the ‘period poverty’ in the nation.
  • The ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers have been assigned the duty to raise awareness on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM).
  • The government has strengthened National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
  • The adolescent girls are made aware about the MHM through Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) since 2011.
  • From 2014, the centre is supporting the state governments for the procurement of sanitary napkins for rural girls, which are available at a very low cost of Rs 6 per unit.
  • The MHM awareness is also an integral part of ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’.

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Threat of Hyper- Nationalism to the Federal structure of India and US



  • GS Mains Paper-2
  • Governance and International Relations

Why in news?

  • Deep questions of equity are raging in India and the U.S. and hyper-nationalism is blurring the debate.

What is the issue?

  • In US and India, there are many concerns in terms of federalism and the regional power balance, citizenship, identity and marginalization of religious, linguistic and ethnic minorities.

What happened recently?

  • In US, the decision of Trump Administration to include question on citizenship in 2020 census is being challenged by several states.
  • The new census will suppress the count of non-citizens.
  • The non-citizens are legal residents and potential future citizen.
  • They pay taxes without legislative representation.
  • This is against the founding principle of US ‘no taxation without representation’.
  • The new census will shift political power from North east states like New York and Michigan to south states like Texas and Washington.
  • The census will determine allocation of federal, state and local government funds for social service, community programme and infrastructure.
  • Many fear that the citizenship question in the Census could be a prelude to citizenship-based redistricting and resource allocation which would disempower immigrants, legal and undocumented.
  • Second critical principle of democracy is ‘one person one vote’.
  • In US, the massive growth of cities led Rural-Urban divide in terms of representation.
  • US cities represent massive political power.
  • Several Republican States in recent years have introduced measures that make minority voters less effective, diluting the “one person, one vote” principle

What is the current scenario in India?

  • In India, current practice of distribution of parliamentary representation among various states is based on 1971 census, until the first census after 2026.
  • Redrawing of constituencies is done without affecting the number of seats in individual states.
  • But when delimitation of constituencies will be done after 1931 census the states with higher success in controlling population, better education and welfare strategies will be penalized.
  • Due to this delimitation political power in India will shift to northern states such as Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar post 2031.
  • Kerala could lose six of its current 20 Lok Sabha seats and Tamil Nadu could lose 11 of its 39.
  • The impact on the political character of a region or the country as a whole due to these shifts is difficult to anticipate.
  • In recent years, the political power in India and relative share of tax revenue is slowly shifting from non-Hindi States to the Hindi belt.

How regionalism is affecting the federalism of India and US?

  • Regionalism has always been a part of Indian and US politics but is more prominent in the recent years with growing emphasis on competitive federalism.
  • This has been institutionalized and undermined by the market economy.
  • NITI Aayog has been ranking states on the basis of Ease of Doing Business.
  • Amazon is conducting a competition among American States to decide where to house its second headquarters.
  • This institutionalization of competition among states would create tensions as the State which wins would have to give resources to the weaker states for the good of the nation.
  • This indicates that an imbalance of power is as problematic as the regional imbalance of power.
  • The current Lok Sabha has 4% Muslim members against their share of 14% in the total population.
  • Debates over taxation and representation have been central to the evolution of democracy over centuries.


  • Democracy is based on the principle of equality. This involves redistribution of wealth from well off regions to the poorer regions.
  • The hyper-nationalism undercurrents in India in 2014 and in the U.S. in 2016 undermine the core issues of representation and taxation.
  • Several policies enacted by governments in both countries are considered as a majoritarian project.
  • The challenge before both democracies is to manage a national community that is inclusive, representative and reassuring for all its minorities — religious, linguistic, ethnic and the economically marginalised.

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Paper Chase: The Need To Review Use Of VVPATs


  • GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper- 2

Why in news?

  • About 4.2% of the VVPAT machines deployed in the Karnataka Assembly elections this month developed glitches during the testing as well as polling processes.
  • The overall fault rate was as high as 11.6% in the by-elections held in four parliamentary and nine Assembly constituencies on Monday.

What is a VVPAT?

  • VVPAT stands for Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail.
  • These are the machines adjunct to ballot and EVMs.
  • These are used to verify that the vote polled by a voter goes to the correct candidate.
  • These were used after continuous allegations made by political parties about EVM tampering.
  • These have been in use since Goa assembly polls in February 2017.

How VVPAT machines work?

  • When a voter presses a button in the EVM, a paper slip is printed through the VVPAT.
  • The slip contains the poll symbol and name of the candidate.
  • It allows the voter to verify his/her choice.
  • After being visible to the voter from a glass case in the VVPAT for seven seconds, the ballot slip will be cut and dropped into the drop box in the VVPAT machine and a beep will be heard.
  • VVPAT machines can be accessed by polling officers only.

Why it is now a matter of concern?

  • VVPAT machines, deployed in Karnataka assembly elections and recent by-elections, had developed glitches during the testing as well as polling process.

What are the issues?

  • Introduction of VVPAT machines has increased the complexity of the polling process.
  • According to the ECI (election commission of India), the VVPATs are more prone to malfunctioning due to their sensitivity to extreme weather conditions and exposure to light.
  • The inexperience of the polling officers with the VVPATs is also another reason behind these faults.

What are the solutions?

  • The technical committee of ECI needs to be more cautious about the efficiency and accuracy of these machines.
  • The ECI should deploy the machines in limited and randomly chosen polling booths to reduce the possibility of glitches affecting the polling process. Also, well-tested machines can be deployed.


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