In this blog, we have covered latest social problems and social issue topics for group discussion in India.

Access the complete list of group discussion topics for 2018 here.

  1. The Supreme Court is right. Instant triple talaq is unconstitutional.
  2. Indian adolescents need proper sexual education and reproductive health awareness.
  3. Prenatal sex determination is a heinous crime.
  4. India has a poor immunization coverage.
  5. Tobacco smoking costs hundreds of lives every year. Tobacco must be banned in India.
  6. Juvenile criminals above 16 years of age should be treated as adults.
  7. Delhi needs to revise air and vehicular pollution laws.
  8. India is still a backward nation.
  9. Overharvesting of groundwater in cities is causing water shortage in villages.
  10. Forty-six percent of women in India get married before the age of 18. Child marriage is still a rampant practice.
  11. Economic prosperity is taking its toll on Indian marriages with divorce rates shooting up.
  12. India’s water pollution situation as a time bomb waiting to explode.
  13. Khap panchayat is a modern day evil that needs to be uprooted.
  14. Gender discrimination and child mortality are not specific to any caste or class in India.
  15. Mental illness is more commonplace in urban India, as compared to rural India.
  16. Anemia is affecting our urban society; the main reason is people here prefer fast or junk food.
  17. Drug abuse is rampant among Indian teenagers.
  18. Indian states are poorer than African nations.
  19. Status of sanitization is equally poor in cities and villages of India.
  20. Birth by C-section is becoming a money-making practice for hospitals in India.

The Supreme Court is right. Instant triple talaq is unconstitutional.

For: This judgement by the honorable Supreme Court of India has been heralded as historic by many. The practice of ‘Triple talaq’ itself is unconstitutional, let alone the ‘instant’ part of it. The practice of instant divorce is already banned in 22 Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan. It was high time that independent India got rid of it completely. Afterall, instant triple talaq is a form of gender discrimination towards women and this practice was abhorrent to the tenets of the Quran. Hence the SC has made an absolutely correct judgement.

Neutral: A small five-judge bench set aside triple talaq by a 3-2 majority. Only the ‘instant’ version of it – the utterance of ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting – has been banned. All other means of talaq are still valid and legal. Besides, Muslims have a lower rate of divorce compared to other religious communities of India.

Indian adolescents need proper sexual education and reproductive health awareness.

For: Yes. It is as important and essential, as formal education. It will help India develop a well informed, normal, healthy and aware youth. Well educated teenagers and young adults can make smart and informed choices. But a woeful lack of information and awareness today is causing many adolescents to undergo traumatic experiences.

Against: No. Too much information could lead to paralysis. And it is impossible to have a one-size-fits-all approach in this regard. Telling everything to these young ears might cause unexpected emotional reactions in some, which can scar them forever. Besides, it is the responsibility of parents/guardians, and not the education system, to ensure that every boy and girl is provided with bare-minimum awareness about the sensitive topic.

Prenatal sex determination is a heinous crime.

For: Yes, it is a crime. This practice not only distorts the natural sex ratio of a country, but also leads to infanticide, which is another heinous crime. It also reinforces a discriminatory and sexist stereotype against women. To avoid this, countries like Australia, Canada, China, India and the UK have banned prenatal sex determination completely. Yet, it is a matter of shame that older methods of gender selection like ultrasound or amniocentesis plus abortion, are practiced rampantly in many Asian countries.

Neutral: Sex determination is not a crime if done for a good cause. Sometimes, the procedure is carried out for medical reasons so as to prevent the passing on of genetic diseases or for general infertility treatments such as IVF. Today, it is legal to undergo PGD/PGS in the United States, Mexico, Italy, Thailand and many other nations.

India has a poor immunization coverage.

For: Yes. Immunization rates are at an all time low. India is home to one-third of the world’s unimmunized children. Less than 44% children receive a full schedule of immunizations. There is a serious vaccine deficit in India and the government should act quickly and spend more to strengthen our national immunization programs, before it is too late.

Against: No. The coverage is fine. Low demand as a consequence of poor awareness, especially among the rural masses, is the real culprit. Besides, there are anti-vaccine advocates who manage to convince people otherwise, which further causes more unimmunization cases to crop up.

Tobacco smoking costs hundreds of lives every year. Tobacco must be banned in India.

For: Yes. Every year, tobacco kills lots of people, more than AIDS, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, vehicular accidents, homicide and suicide combined . Hence, we should follow Bhutan’s example, where producing and selling tobacco has been outlawed completely. Banning something this dangerous, should not be an issue.

Against: No. Smoking or chewing tobacco is a personal choice. Moreover, the tobacco industry provides a huge tax revenue to the government. If it gets banned, common people will be forced to cough up this money! It also employs thousands of farmers, industrial workers and salesmen. A ban would render all these people jobless. Besides, road accidents and drinking alcohol also cost lives, so should we ban motor vehicles and alcohol too? Think about it.

Juvenile criminals above 16 years of age should be treated as adults.

For: Yes. According to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, minor criminals between 16 and 18 should be tried as adults. This age group comprises of 65% of the minor crimes registered in India every year. Also, the share of juvenile crimes committed by them has shot up from 49% in 2002 to 66% in 2013. Earlier, if convicted of rape, the accused minor was sent to a juvenile home for only 3 years and released during adulthood! Releasing these criminals pose a huge threat to society. Whereas, an adult convicted of rape faces life term, and death sentence in repeat offense. Thankfully, the landmark judgement by SC which upheld the death penalty by Delhi HC for the juvenile rapist from Nirbhaya case, came as a huge relief in this regard.

Against: No. Let children be children. They should be dealt with softly and given a chance to lead a normal life. Juveniles are responsible only for a little over 1% of all crimes committed in our country, most of them belonging to BPL families. Simply pushing children into the adult justice system is not a solution, rather a convenient step for the government. By doing this, authorities can wash their hands off the responsibility of providing ample rehabilitation opportunities for juveniles.

Delhi needs to revise air and vehicular pollution laws.

For: Yes. Delhi is one of the most heavily polluted cities in the world. Haphazard population growth, rapid industrialization and unplanned development are the root causes of pollution in the capital and NCR. Bio-medical waste management, industrial sewage treatment, plastic ban and fossil fuel burning laws must be regulated with immediate effect. Otherwise the capital will become inhabitable in a few years’ time.

Against: No. Delhi is not the most polluted city. Dirty air and water fouls many other cities in India such as Gwalior, Allahabad, Patna and Raipur. Besides, Delhi has improved its ranking and the first place in ‘polluted city’ list by WHO is now occupied by Zabol, in Iran. One cannot blame the DPCC alone for the city’s condition. They already have too many acts and regulations in place. As the citizens, it is our responsibility to improve the air and water quality by taking up small initiatives like garbage management, planting trees, carpooling etc.

India is still a backward nation.

For: Yes. Three out of 4 households in rural India survive on less than Rs 5000 per month. These numbers comprise of more than 75% of our rural households. More than half of our rural families depend on manual labor for livelihood. Today, 670 million Indians live on 33 rupees per day! After hearing these verified stats from the Business Standard, would you still argue in this group discussion round?

Against: No. NDA Govt. is trying to break this myth. Demonetization , less corporate tax, GST bill, Make in India pitch and the Land Acquisition Amendment are crucial steps to bring in fast economic stability in rural and urban India. These are all highly successful measures and positive results are already visible.

Overharvesting of groundwater in cities is causing water shortage in villages.

For: Yes. The dependence on groundwater in Indian cities could lead to a crisis if left unchecked. Our city plans, especially in highly developed metros show a mixed supply plan. Generally the core part of these cities have surface water supply but the extension areas mostly depend on groundwater. This is highly unacceptable.

Against: No. India is responsible for 25% of the global annual total of groundwater extracted. Three-quarters of India’s rural population depends on groundwater for drinking. Besides, over irrigation of crops causes maximum ground water depletion in villages. As a result, villagers are the first victims of groundwater contamination in India.

Forty-six percent of women in India get married before the age of 18. Child marriage is still a rampant practice.

For: Yes. Child marriage is rampant among tribals in Andhra-Odisha border, Telangana and in other poverty stricken rural areas. India must accelerate its efforts to address child marriage and rescue little girls from inter-generational poverty cycle.

Against: No. In the last four decades, incidence of child marriage has decreased from 41% to 32% according to the Hindustan Times. Child marriage below 14 years of age is rare today. Also, less than 1% of the boys are married off before they turn 18. Hence, it is not a rampant practice anymore.

Economic prosperity is taking its toll on Indian marriages with divorce rates shooting up.

For: Yes. Earlier, there were joint families and children learnt to adjust. But cities have a nuclear family culture and most couples have a single child. These children do not learn the concept of sharing. Hence, India witnesses 13 divorces in every 1000 marriages against 500 in 1000 marriages in the UK. Still thousands of more appeals are piling up in family courts across the country and money in the form of dowry or economic instability, seems to be the major reason behind it.

Against: No. Money or economic prosperity causes only 21% of divorces in India. Finance is only one of the many reasons for stress in relationships. It is not the only cause. Infidelity, lack of communication, weight gain, arguments and abuse are the actual major reasons behind rising divorce rates in urban India.

India’s water pollution situation as a time bomb waiting to explode.

For: Yes. UN report has described India’s water pollution situation as alarming. India is able to treat just 10% of its city sewage and industrial waste discharge. Drinking water, is often highly contaminated and carries disease-causing microbes. Major cause of under-five child mortality is water-borne diseases. Rising number of arsenic-affected areas in Bihar and West Bengal. Haryana and Punjab are witnessing high pesticide contamination.

Against: No. National Capital is all set to get India’s biggest sewage treatment plant (STP). National Green Tribunal (NGT) has already considered remedial measures in a landmark judgement ‘Maily Se Nirmal Yamuna Project 2017.’ It is going to be the cheapest STP of its kind in India, costing only Rs. 515 crores in 2.5 years from now.

Khap panchayat is a modern day evil that needs to be uprooted.

For: Yes. Khap panchayat must be ruthlessly stamped out. They hinder progressive changes by following set social traditions and outdated customs. Somebody needs to educate them about modern science, law and way of life. In order to deal with them, Govt. should stress on educating the youngsters in these regions and also on women literacy & eradication of female feticide via strict policing.

Against: No. Khap panchayats have good intentions, but a handful few follow bad practices. As Randeep Hooda said recently, “Khaps are not always wrong. They think about a better society. But they should avoid using unnecessary diktats. It is harmful and negates even the good work.” Contrary to popular perception, these panchayats handle delicate issues like marriages and divorces/estrangements with swiftness and consensus of both the parties, they are not illegitimate bodies who push their own form of justice on the weak and unsupported. So, not all Khap Panchayats are bad. And you can choose which one to follow.

Gender discrimination and child mortality are not specific to any caste or class in India.

For: Yes. Indian have always had a strong preference for male children. Irrespective of social status or educational background, female infanticide and sex-selective abortion is a rampant practice. This strongly reflects in the low status of Indian women in the society and the weird mindset of the so-called ‘educated’ Indian people. Income levels and access to technology is also influencing sex selection and female foeticide in urban India.

Against: No. Poverty and illiteracy are the main causes of female infanticide. Women are considered to be a financial obligation and hence gender discrimination, foeticide and infanticide take place. It is more rampant in the lower strata of the population.

Mental illness is more commonplace in urban India, as compared to rural India.

For: Yes. Prevalence of mental illness is commonplace in the Indian urban areas with higher cases of schizophrenia, mood disorders and neurotic- or stress-related disorders cropping up everyday. Causes include disturbing scenarios such as fast-paced lifestyles, stress, complex relationships, nuclear families, breakdown of support system and challenges of economic instability.

Against: No. 14% of India’s general population suffers from a variety of mental illnesses; and 11% of this requires immediate intervention. These people are equally spreadout in both rural and urban India. Atleast the city dwellers have money and receive treatments on time. Those in rural India are unable to receive quality care due to limited awareness, availability, accessibility, and affordability. Mental health needs immediate attention from the government, policymakers, and civil society organizations.

Anemia is affecting our urban society; the main reason is people here prefer fast or junk food.

For: Yes. Anemia is the most common form of malnutrition found in urban India. Diet of people in cities mainly comprises of unhealthy, greasy and junk food, hence paving way for the lack of iron, folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin B12 in their bodies. Fast lifestyle, alcoholism, exposure to toxic chemicals, and lack of exercising are other factors which cause anemia in city dwellers.

Against: No. It is not a disease, rather the deficiency of iron along with a set of signs and symptoms that indicate a blood disorder. It is more visible in Indian cities because these people stay well informed, and conduct regular medical checkups as compared to villagers. Junk food does not cause anemia, chronic infections do! Anemic people are also more likely to suffer from arthritis or cancer.

Drug abuse is rampant among Indian teenagers.

For: Yes. Emergence and incidence of substance and drug abuse among Indian teenagers, children and adolescents is higher than the general population. 13% of the people involved in drug and substance abuse in India, are below 20 years. 64% of patients who undergo rehab or treatment were introduced to drugs at 15 years of age or before! The main culprit is an acute lack of sensitization program about substance and drug abuse in schools/colleges.

Against: No. 96% of total treatment seekers in various states are adults and only 4% are children. Also, substance abuse such as whitener, alcohol, tobacco, hard and soft drugs is wide spread among adults. Adults have also started to use a cocktail of drugs through injection, and often share the same needle, increasing risk of HIV infection, again a widespread adult disease. Instead of debating about ‘who’ uses drugs, India should immediately think about ‘what’ needs to be done. They can start by rolling out a strict drug and substance abuse policy first.

Indian states are poorer than African nations.

For: Yes. Acute poverty prevails in 8 Indian states, including Bihar, UP, MP, Odisha, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Together these 8 states have more poor people than those living in the 26 poorest African nations combined! Key services such as water, sanitation and electricity are not available in most of the parts of these Indian states.

Against: No. It is unfair and inappropriate to compare poverty in Indian states to the poverty in African nations. Still, if this is the scale of comparison, let me add that according to new data, by 2050 India will be the biggest economy in the world. Most Indian states will have bigger economies than highly developed European countries and US States. The future is bright for India. India is not poor, nor are its states.

Status of sanitization is equally poor in cities and villages of India.

For: Yes. Govt. should accelerate sanitation awareness and coverage in rural and urban areas alike. Public should put in collective effort towards this goal.

Against: No. Status of sanitization is poor in villages and rural areas only. Cities have sewage connectivity among houses and with time, this will get better and better.

Birth by C-section is becoming a money-making practice for hospitals in India.

For: Yes. Cesarean births in India are skyrocketing day by day. Stats show 41% of deliveries in Kerala and 58% in Tamil Nadu are by C-section. Private hospitals are the most scalpel-happy places as they easily make more money from a patient’s longer stay and medical attention. Graduates from private medical schools are also more likely to perform this lucrative procedure to make up for the cost of their expensive education.

Against: No. Several good government and private hospitals charge patients a flat, equal fee for normal and C-section births. Main cause behind high-risk pregnancies are increasing lifestyle diseases these days. Such high-risk pregnancies require special attention and C-section is the best solution in these cases. It is a necessity and not a mandate.

Prepare well with these social issue topics for your next GD round and outshine all your contenders with ease. All the best!

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