UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing (17-11-2022) - GS 1


Q1. What do you understand by modernization? Is Indian society a modern one? Justify your answer.   (150 words)   10 marks

Q2. Though women face discrimination everywhere, their manifestations and consequences vary from region to region. Discuss. (250 words)  15 marks

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Model Solutions

Q1. What do you understand by modernization? Is Indian society a modern one? Justify your answer. (150 words) 10 marks

Model Structure

  • Modernization is a process of social progress where society generally evolves from being traditional, rural, and feudal to becoming modern, urban, liberal, and democratic.
  • It is the consequence of the development of science & technology, ideologies, and systems like capitalism, globalization etc. that have led to political, economic, social and cultural transformations.

Main Body:

  • Modernization can be understood in different contexts:
    • In the economic sphere, modernization implies the development of the industrial and service sector, the free market economy, free enterprise, mechanization, electrification, automation, globalization etc.
    • Political modernization results in the decline of traditional rulers and the rise of systems based on principles of decentralization of power, rule of law, democracy, equality, liberty etc.
    • Social modernization means abandoning discriminatory social practices, leaving orthodox traditions, developing a more accommodative attitude towards others, cultural diversity and vibrancy, gender equality, protection of vulnerable sections, respect for individual choice etc.
  • Indian society can be called modern because:
    • Modern education has broadened the outlook of people and introduced new values, and rational ideologies like equality, and justice.
    • Indian institutions like parliament, bureaucracy, judiciary, army, banking etc. are modern.
    • Several traditional beliefs and dysfunctional practices have been discarded and many new customs have been adopted. For example: sati was abolished; affirmative actions have been adopted for ensuring social justice.
    • Modern technology like the internet, computers; modern industries and infrastructure have transformed India.
    • India has modern political values like liberal democracy, constitutionalism, gender equality, justice etc.
  • However, Indian society cannot be called a modern one because
    • Gender, caste, class and racial discrimination still persist. Eg. Son-meta preference, sex-selective abortion, untouchability etc.
    • Religious identity taking precedence over national identity leading to communalism and riots in the country.
    • Cultural practices are losing their relevance and traditions are getting lost due to blindly following of western ideals.
    • Misuse of technology, for example, cyber-crimes, show that people may not be ready for use of modern technologies.
    • Political mobilization on divisive lines like caste and religion means people are still not modern in their outlook.


  • Modernization is a process and India is modernizing. We are on the right track to developing a ‘scientific temper and rationality but a lot has to be achieved before we can call India modern.

Q2. Though women face discrimination everywhere, their manifestations and consequences vary from region to region. Discuss. (250 words) 15 marks

Model Structure

  • Gender equality is a human right, but our world faces a persistent gap in access to opportunities and decision-making among men and women.
  • SDG 5 aims to empower all women and girls and address gaps in gender equality which are visible around the world in different manifestations.

Main Body:

  • Universally, women's discrimination can be seen in the following forms:
    • Uneven access to education: Of all the illiterate people in the world two-thirds are women. This impacts their future in fundamental ways and limits their opportunities and social status.
    • Inequality in Employment: Stereotypes about gender roles limit women’s employment opportunities.
      • Women are assumed to be suited for only certain jobs, and are paid less than men.
      • A glass-ceiling effect is seen wherein women's presence reduces as we go up the hierarchy in businesses and governments.
    • Lack of legal protections: According to the World Bank, more than 1 billion women around the world lack legal protection with respect to domestic violence, harassment at workplace, etc.
    • Lack of bodily autonomy: According to the UNFPA report, most women don’t have complete rights over their own pregnancy.
      • This aspect is also related to her financial dependency which restricts her autonomy in childbearing decisions.
  • There are regional variations in women discrimination, such as:
    • Rural areas have much lower literacy among women.
    • Issues of healthcare for women as seen in high MMR, low immunity level, improper nutrition, child marriages, young pregnancies, and institutional bottlenecks are more acute in rural areas.
    • In western India, women discrimination manifests as the problem of ‘missing girls’ due to sex-selective abortions facilitated by easier access to sex-determination technologies.
    • Associated exploitative practices such as ‘buying of bride’, gram vadhu, mulki pratha are coming to fore.
    • In eastern India, a situation of unwanted girls is seen due to son-meta-preference as couples, instead of abortions, choose to keep on having children till they have a male child.
    • Women practically face forced pregnancies due to lack of agency. Issues of human trafficking persist.
    • Small towns in India see proliferation of sex-selective abortions for couples from bigger cities due to lack of sufficient oversight.
    • In southern India, combined effects of better education, health and economic development are noticeable in gendered development. Only economic prosperity of states such as Punjab and Haryana which have seen sex-ratio reach crisis level.

Through the thick and thin of gender discrimination seen universally or in its regional manifestations, if we have to achieve lasting impact in gender equality, society, families, individuals and governments must make conscious efforts towards this end.

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