Social Issues One Year Current Affairs 2020 Set-1 – Free PDF Download


Issues Related to women empowerment

  • Issues related to Economic Empowerment
    • As per Global Gender Gap Report, 2020, Women constitute only 22% of the labour force in India, compared with 82% of men.
    • The female estimated earned income in India is mere one-fifth of the male income (among the world’s lowest).
    • Women representation on company boards in India is also very low at mere 13.8%.
  • Issues related to Political Empowerment
    • Women in India held just 25.2% of parliamentary (lower-house) seats in 2019.

Issues Related to women empowerment

  • Issues related to Educational attainment
    • In India, 66% of women are literate compared with 82% of men.
  • Issues related to Imbalanced sex ratio
    • A combination of son and small family-size preferences and the availability of prenatal sex determination technologies have resulted in imbalanced sex ratios.
    • Despite sex-selective abortions being illegal since 1996, the sex ratio at birth has remained persistently high at 110 male births per 100 females since 2000.

Issues Related to women empowerment

  • Issues related to Crimes against women
    • It increased 7.3 per cent from 2018 to 2019.
    • Majority of cases under crime against women were registered under ‘cruelty by husband or his relatives’.
    • Women in India face domestic violence due to a variety of reasons including Orthodox & Patriarchal mindset and Changing socio- economic relations particularly in urban areas.
    • Higher income of a working woman than her partner, abusing and neglecting in-laws, dowry demands etc. may lead to violence.

Reproductive Right

  • Union Cabinet has approved Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for amending Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.

Reproductive rights and its significance

  • These are the rights of individuals to decide whether to reproduce and have reproductive health.
  • This may include an individual’s right to plan a family, terminate a pregnancy, use contraceptives, gain access to reproductive health services, learn about sex education in public schools.
  • Reproductive rights are significant as a human right, for maternal health and social and economic development of women

Issues Related to Reproductive Right in India

  1. Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971
  2. Challenges in public health system
  3. Societal pressures
  4. Patriarchal structure

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971

  1. Denial of Reproductive rights to Unmarried women.
  2. Upper limit of 20 weeks
  • This is problematic since a number of foetal abnormalities are detected after 20 weeks and resent medical techniques allow for safe removal of a foetus at a relatively advanced state of pregnancy.
  • Also there have been some cases where the 20-week mark passed due to delay in courts or low awareness among young girls, leaving many, including rape survivors, with unwanted pregnancies

Proposed Amendments

  • Enhancing the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for termination of pregnancy.
  • Ensuring dignity and confidentiality of women seeking termination: Name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated shall not be revealed.
  • Relaxing the contraceptive-failure condition for “any woman or her partner” (including unmarried women) allowing them to medically terminate the pregnancy up to 20 weeks.

Challenges in public health system

  • It faces a range of issues, including low public investment, poor infrastructure, including medical and diagnostic facilities, and inadequately skilled human resources etc.

Societal pressures

  • There exists a social stigma related to abortion and contraception and sex education are taboo topics in India. Unmarried women have limited to access birth control due to such pressures.

Patriarchal structure

  • It affects women’s agency to make free reproductive choices and also leads to women undergoing unsafe abortions and sterilizations to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Surrogacy Bill

  • Recently, the Cabinet approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill after incorporating the recommendations of a Rajya Sabha Select Committee.


  • Surrogacy is the practice whereby one woman carries the child for another with the intention that the child should be handed over after birth.
  • Altruistic surrogacy: where the couple does not pay the surrogate mother any compensation other than the medical and insurance expenses related to the pregnancy.
  • Commercial surrogacy: here compensation (in cash or kind) paid to the surrogate mother, which exceeds the reasonable medical expenses associated with the pregnancy.

Surrogacy in India and Related Issues

  • India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from other countries.
  • A study conducted in July 2012, put the surrogacy business at more than $400 million with more than 3000 fertility clinics all in India.

Concerns regarding surrogacy in India

  • Exploitation of surrogate mothers due to poverty and lack of education
  • Abandonment of children born out of surrogacy
  • Rackets involving intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes

Provisions of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019

  • Prohibition of Commercial Surrogacy
  • Other purposes where surrogacy is allowed
  • Lays out various eligibility criteria
  • Establishment of Authorities
  • Insurance cover
  • Appeals
  • Parentage and abortion of surrogate child

Prohibition of Commercial Surrogacy and Exceptions

  • Prohibition includes surrogacy or its related procedures undertaken for a monetary benefit or reward (in cash or kind) exceeding the basic medical expenses and insurance coverage.
  • It also prohibits surrogacy for producing children for sale, prostitution or other forms of exploitation.
  • But the bill allows Altruistic Surrogacy, where no such other monetary compensation is paid to the surrogate mother.
  • Surrogacy is allowed for intending couples who suffer from infertility, for any condition or disease specified through regulations.

Eligibility Criteria

Who can opt for surrogacy

  • Any Indian couples or couples of Indian origin who have a medical condition (could be either or both members of the couple) which necessitates gestational surrogacy.
  • Women who are windows or divorcees (between the age of 35 to 45 years)

 Eligibility Criteria

Establishment of Authorities

  • Both the central and state governments shall appoint one or more appropriate authorities, including the National and State Surrogacy Boards.

Insurance cover

  • 36 months for the Surrogate Mother to take care of all her medical needs emergency conditions/complications.


  • Intending couple or the surrogate mother can file an appeal with the state government within 30 days from the rejection of the surrogacy application.

Menstrual Leave

  • Zomato announced a new paid period leave policy for employees.
  • In 2017, the digital media company Culture Machine, which has offices in five cities in India, put in place a menstrual leave policy independent of vacation and sick days.

Menstrual Leave

  • The State of Bihar has had two extra days of casual leave per month for women government employees to take time off for periods since 1992
  • Menstruation Benefit Bill, 2017 was tabeled in Lok Sabha in March2017.

Need Of Menstrual Leave

  • Age-old taboo: The policy will be instrumental in tackling an age-old taboo in India by generating awareness and open discussions on the issue
  • Addressing the associated shame or stigma: The policy is intentioned at providing women the freedom to tell people on internal groups, or emails that they are on period leave.

Need Of Menstrual Leave

  • Spillover to the unorganized sector: Increased debate and conversation on the issue at national level could lead to recognition of menstrual leave in unorganized sector.
  • Reassertion of reproductive rights: The policy has the potential to make all women conscious of their reproductive rights irrespective of direct effect of policy on them.
  • Availability of associated infrastructure and menstrual products: Provision of sanitary napkins and adequate facilities for sanitation and washing could come into limelight as a result of this policy discussion.

Unintended Consequences

  • Hiring bias: Additional costs associated with extra paid leaves might discourage companies from hiring women employees.
  • Reinforcing the prevalent stereotyping: The policy risks reinforcing the stereotypes of labeling women as ‘needing extra protection and extra time off’.
  • Negative effect on privacy: Asking women to inform their employers they’re on their periods forces women to let go of their menstrual privacy.

Gender Dimensions Of The Covid-19 Pandemic

  • COVID 19 Lockdown and social-distancing norms are likely to have an outsized impact on women
    • Livelihood and Job Security
    • Social Inequities
    • Health
    • Increase in instances of Domestic Violence

Economic Impact

  • Oxfam India estimates the economic loss from women losing their jobs during the pandemic at about $216 billion, around 8% of the GDP.
  • According to the ILO, 81% of Indian women work in the informal economy. The informal sector is the worst hit by the slowdown.
  • Social distancing has temporarily disrupted the functioning of (SHGs).
  • Many women are at risk of a permanent exit from the labour market. The end result will be the feminization of income poverty

Social Impact

  • Migrant Women: Many of the millions of migrant workers forced to flee cities for their rural homes with little notice were women. They have safety concerns, with travel a risk for many.
  • COVID-19 is shifting other household dynamics, too.
    • ✓ Domestic responsibilities that women bear, like cooking and cleaning, have escalated.
    • ✓ As women in Indian families tend to eat last and the least, financial strain and food shortages affect women’s nutrition more than men. Gender inequality in food security will increase further following the loss of employment income.

  • Increase in instances of Domestic Violence: There has been a more than two-fold rise in complaints of domestic violence since the lockdown.
    • Lockdowns imposing stricter control on mobility: It puts women in abusive relationships at extremely high risk of damage from physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
    • Disturbances in relationships: due to stay-at-home rules, economic uncertainties, and anxieties caused by the pandemic.
    • Disruptions in support systems: Healthcare providers and police are overwhelmed and understaffed, domestic violence shelters are closed or full

Government Initiatives to Help Domestic Violence Victims

  • Channelizing One Stop Centres, which provide legal and psycho-social help to survivors of gender-based violence, are linked with local medical teams, police and the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
  • The Uttar Pradesh police launched an initiative in March, “Suppress corona, not your voice” asking battered women to call a helpline number to enable women police officers to reach them following a complaint.

Government Initiatives to Help Domestic Violence Victims

  • Judicial interventions: Delhi high court directed the state and Centre to take measures to protect women from domestic violence.
  • Jammu & Kashmir high court, taking Suo moto cognizance of domestic violence cases during the lockdown, offered a slew of directions including creating a special fund and designating informal safe spaces for women like grocery stores and pharmacies.




 Social Issues Best Current Affairs | Free PDF Download