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QUESTION: im doing an essay on how India is transforming into a modern society, yet it is still considered a developing country. Im meant to discuss challenges facing the Indian population and some of the strategies developed to promote wellbeing for its people. Any ideas on what I could do?

ANSWER: Hi Lily,

The most important step in writing such an essay is research to gather the information you need. I'm not an expert on India by any means, but do have an idea about issues that might be important in describing these challenges. Here they are:

1. India is a vast country with many ethnic and class differences as well as educational and resource gaps.

2. Fundamentalist religion, especially Hindu and Muslim, seems to be a significant negative factor there (actually religious fundamentalism of any kind is dangerous anywhere, including in your country and mine (US)) and leads in India to such atrocities as the brutal gang rape and murder of that young woman a couple of years ago because her assailants did not approve of her being out on a date with her young man.

3. The lingering influence of the caste system.

4. The sheer size and continued growth of its population.

5. The challenge of providing the energy for economic growth without relying on coal, which will help doom the whole planet.

This is not everything, of course, but I hope it gives you a start in your research.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much, that really helped a lot. English is not my best subject and writing essays definitely does not come naturally to me, so if you could take a little bit of time to read what i have done i would really appreciate it. I dont mind however if you dont as i understand it is really long (4128 words). If you do read it then i would welcome your feedback and be forever grateful.

Although India is quickly turning into a modern society through social, economic and political change, it is still considered a developing country.  This is due to the many challenges and barriers they face such as ethnic and class differences, fundamentalist religion, influence of the caste system, size and growth of population, providing energy for economic growth, and more.  India has put strategies in place to assist in overcoming these barriers and becoming a developed country, such as the National Solar Mission, Energy Efficiency Mission, feed-in tariffs, renewable portfolio standards, and reexamination of deployment of public funding for energy projects.  The above interventions to address the boundaries will ultimately increase the wellbeing of the people.
One of the reasons India is still considered a developing country is because of the many barriers to wellbeing such as diseases, lack of sanitation, climate related hazards and geographical location to necessities (eg. Health care, healthy food, recreation facilities).  This is an ongoing issue but it has a massive impact on society as it affects life expectancy, income, social status, and pretty much every other aspect of your life.  Sanitation is a serious problem in India and has a substantial and extensive impact on human wellbeing.  It involves the transmission of infectious diseases, exposure to toxic chemicals, environmental degradation, exposure to radio-active and health-care wastes, exposure to solid wastes and involvement in informal waste recycling.  The lack of toilets in rural areas and slums of India often means that people use rivers as toilets, which is washed further downstream where someone may be using the river water to drink from.  This is a classic example of an initial domino that starts a cascading wave of other problems.  In India, there are more people who openly defecate on a regular basis than live in the whole of Africa.  
Not only does this open doors to masses of infectious and often deadly diseases, but it also has social safety consequences as well.  When women and children need to relieve themselves, they are forced to go out onto the streets instead of using a toilet in the safety of their home, which compromises their safety.  A senior police officer in Bihar stated that 400 women would have avoided rape in 2013 if they had toilets in their homes.  
Out of the 1.2 billion people in in India, 103 million lack safe drinking water and 802 million lack any sanitation services.  Combining such an unhygienic environment with a high population density creates a breeding ground for preventable disease epidemics.  Diarrhea and typhoid are examples of 2 common hygiene related diseases which prevent victims from absorbing necessary nutrients which leads to malnutrition.  Malnourished children experience developmental delays, weight-loss and illness which leads to other problems.  The root of this problem is the lack of accessible toilets to the general population, however the toilets used in developed countries would be impractical and near impossible to accomplish in India.  A waste disposal system would need to be put into place, and toilets like these require a large amount of water which is rarely consistent in developing countries.  Analysis of census data shows that rapid population growth has meant that most Indians are being exposed to more human waste than ever before.
Currently there are 1,287,621,241 people in India, which is approximately 17% of the world’s population.  The causes of overpopulation include the fact that India’s birth rate is higher than the death rate, and the high fertility rate. Some major impacts of high population are unemployment, pressure on infrastructure, decreased production and increased costs, inequitable income distribution, and resource utilization (Land areas, water resources and forests are over exploited, there is a scarcity of resources).  There is also the challenge of providing the energy for economic growth without relying on coal, which will help doom the whole planet.  Presently, India’s electricity mix comprises 69% coal, which is the primary cause of global warming.  Burning coal is also a leading cause of smog, acid rain, and toxic air pollution, which all have a strongly negative impact on India’s and the rest of the world’s environment.
Another major barrier to overcome in India which will lead to human wellbeing, is labour and exploitation, particularly in children.  Labour is where people are forced into slavery by the form of debt bondage or servitude.  Debt bondage is a person’s pledge of their labour or services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation.  Servitude is the state of being slave or completely subject to someone more powerful.  India is home to the largest number of child labourers in the world, with official figures showing over 12 million child workers, but non-government organisations think that the real figure is up to 60 million.  They are made to use dangerous tools and machinery that are inappropriate to their mental and physical development, and are often exposed to hazardous chemicals.  They work long hours, have no chance to go to school and are isolated from family and friends.  Children are treated horribly and are frequently physically and sexually abused.  This has a massive impact on their health and wellbeing as it puts them at risk of STDs like HIV/AIDS, pregnancy, and internal damage.  There are also long term problems from child abuse, like physical disabilities, brain damage, disordered interpersonal relationships, feelings of low self-esteem, depression, increased potential for child abuse as a parent and self-destructive behavior.  Spiritual and emotional effects include changes in how we view trust, anger and blame, shock, numbness, loss of disorientation, fear, helplessness, sense of vulnerability, and feeling like these reactions are a sign of weakness.  There are also psychological effects such as powerlessness, responsibility (the offender coerces the child to feel responsible for concealing the abuse), isolation, betrayal, anger, sadness, and flashbacks (like nightmares when the child is awake).  When you put all these feelings, emotions and damages together and consider exactly how many children feel this way, you realize that these children are our next generation and they are learning at an early age that this is the appropriate way to behave.  There is a Child Labour Act in place in India, but many argue that it is not effective.  
The Indian government accept bribes from powerful exploiters to not say anything.  An example of this bribery is a major corruption scandal that has taken place over the last couple years, where a string of mysterious deaths has been linked to a high profile bribery scandal.  Politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen are alleged to have been involved in manipulating the selection process for thousands of government jobs and places at professional colleges in the central state of Madhya Pradesh since at least 2007.  At least 30 people accused of facilitating or benefiting from the scam have died since it first came forth,  some seemingly from illness, while others were killed in car crashes or apparently committed suicide.  Some say that it is no coincidence that those involved in these scams are dying of one ailment or another, and that there is something else to it.  The most recent deaths include a young national television journalist covering the case, who began foaming at the mouth and collapsed during an interview with the family of a girl who herself died after being accused of cheating in exams.  Also in the last few days, a policeman who had been questioned in connection with the scandal was found hanging from a ceiling fan and a trainee policewoman allegedly recruited through the crooked process was found dead in a lake.  Elsewhere in the country, the body of the head of a medical college implicated in the cheating was discovered in a Delhi hotel room on Sunday.  The cheating was thought to be very sophisticated. In return for bribes, in some cases imposters were allowed to take tests instead of the real candidates, while in others applicants were asked to leave their exam sheets blank so that they could be filled in later to match a high score that had been fraudulently awarded.  
A particular form of corruption which involves ‘black money’ being deposited, untaxed, in overseas accounts, detracts from the developmental potential of Indian states.  It results in a significant loss of revenue, and estimates put the loss of taxable income at AU $581 billion over the past decade.  What the Indian government could have done with that money would have resulted in something productive for the country.  Because they are sending off this untaxed money, India’s development potential is nowhere near as strong as it could be without this corruption.  
The issue of trafficking is just as serious.  Children as young as 13 are trafficked internally and internationally as ‘mail order brides’.  In most cases the girls and women are powerless, isolated and at great risk of violence.  This is horrible because these girls have no real future and no opportunities or choices.  They are sent off to where they will most likely be abused sexually, physically, mentally and psychologically.  
Sexual activity is commonly seen as a private matter, which may be a contributing reason as to why communities are reluctant to intervene in cases of sexual exploitation.  Myths- such as the belief that HIV/AIDS can be cured through sex with a virgin, technological advances such as the internet which has facilitated child pornography, and sex tourism targeting children, all add to children’s vulnerability.  Surveys indicate that 30-35% of all sex workers in a particular sub-region are between 12 and 17 years of age.  In India, prostituted children account for 40% of people engaged in prostitution, and there are approximately 1,200,000 child prostitutes in India alone.  This is arguably the worst form of exploitation as not only are we introducing extremely young children into a world that they certainly should not know about, but we are also encouraging it, forcing it upon them and telling them that it is the right thing to do.  Kids from children’s homes, some as young as 7, are currently being used to make pornographic movies.  Protecting these children from violence, exploitation, trafficking, and abuse is an integral component of protecting their rights to survival, growth and development, and also making India as a whole a developed, modern society.
India is prone to climate related disasters, particularly floods and flash floods.  Droughts, cyclones, avalanches, landslides brought on by torrential rains, and snowstorms also pose a great threat.    The heavy southwest winter rains cause the Brahmaputra and other rivers to overflow their banks, often flooding surrounding areas.  Additionally, roadways and infrastructure is damaged, properties are destroyed along with thousands of lives lost, and the displacement of millions.  
Geographical location is always an important factor in an individual’s health and wellbeing.  A person who lives out in rural areas with little access to healthy food or food in general, non-intoxicated safe drinking water, recreation facilities and health care will logically not be in a very good position health-wise than a person who lives metropolitan or urbanely who do have access to these amenities.  
A report published by the National Crime Records Bureau which compared the crime rates of 1953 and 2006, found that murder has increased by 7.39%, and kidnapping has increased by 47.80% in 53 years.  Police records also show that there is a high incidence of violence against women, rape being the most common form.  Official sources show that rape cases in India has doubled between 1990 and 2008, and in most of the cases, the offender is known to the victim.  Dowries are considered a major contributor towards violence against women in India. Some of these offences include physical violence, emotional abuses, and murder of brides and girls.  Most dowry deaths occur when the young woman, unable to tolerate the harassment and torture, commits suicide.  India has by far the highest number of dowry related deaths in the world according to Indian National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB). In 2012, 8,233 dowry death cases were reported across India. Dowry matters caused 1.4 deaths per year per 100,000 women in India.  Domestic violence towards women in India is widespread.  Around 70% of women in India are victims of domestic violence and abuse.  The NCRB reveal that a crime against a woman is committed every three minutes, a woman is raped every 29 minutes, a dowry death occurs every 77 minutes, and one case of cruelty committed by either the husband or relative of the husband occurs every nine minutes. This occurs regardless of the fact that women in India are legally protected from domestic abuse under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.  
India is located between two major unlawful opium producing centres in Asia – the Golden Crescent including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, and the Golden Triangle covering Burma, Thailand and Laos.  Because of such geographical location, India experiences large amount of drug trafficking through the borders.  India is the world's largest producer of legal opium for the medicinal trade.  But an undetermined quantity of opium is diverted to criminal worldwide drug markets.  The most commonly used drug in Mumbai is Indian heroin.  Both public transportation and private transportation are used for this drug trade.  Drug trafficking affects the country in many damaging ways.  Cultivation of illicit narcotic substances and drug trafficking affects the health of the individuals and destroys the economic structure of the family and society.  It results in growth of organised crime which affects social security, and also aggravates the political instability in North-West and North-East India.  A survey conducted in 2003–2004 by Narcotics Control Bureau found that India has at least four million drug addicts.  The most common drugs used in India are cannabis, hashish, opium and heroin.  Only in 2006, India's law enforcing agencies recovered 230 kg heroin and 203 kg of cocaine.  In an annual government report in 2007, the United States named India among 20 major hubs for trafficking of illegal drugs along with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Burma.  Several measures have been taken by the Indian government to fight drug trafficking in the country. India is a party of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.  An Indonesian and Pakistani committee was set up in 1986 to prevent trafficking in narcotic drugs.  India signed a convention with the United Arab Emirates in 1994 to control drug trafficking, and in 1995, India signed an agreement with Egypt for investigation of drug cases and exchange of information and a Memorandum of Understanding of the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Drugs with Iran.
Currently, the living conditions in the slums are abominable; therefore, children are dying at a rapid rate.  In a 2011 census, surveyors counted 108,000 slum towns, 13.8 million households, and 64 million people located in city slums nationwide.  That is 17.4% of all urban households, which account for roughly 1/3 of Indian population.  Nationwide, more than one-third of slum homes surveyed had no indoor toilets and 64 percent were not connected to sewerage systems.  About half of the households lived in only one room or shared with another family.  These are horrible living conditions and have a negative impact on the individuals who dwell there and the environment.  This kind of atmosphere is a breeding ground for infections, diseases and illness.  HIV is twice the national average in slums, and diarrhea is the leading killer of children under 5.  Financial problems are a serious issue in these areas as banks refuse residents as they are considered ‘un-bankable’.  Without the support of a financial institution, slum dwellers must gain interest charges from loan sharks (a moneylender who charges extremely high rates of interest, typically under illegal conditions), which serve to further impoverish them.  They are ignored by governments and excluded from voting, city development plans, and full protection under the law.  Without the rights and voice that other citizens have, people living in slums constantly face political and social exclusion.  Many slum inhabitants in India live in danger of a rise in sea level. Storms, earthquakes, and other disasters affect city slums more seriously than other areas, as substandard houses crumble, or poor drainage systems promote prolonged flooding.  These conditions and regulations must change in order for India to become properly developed and increase wellbeing for its people.  
Fundamentalist religion, especially Hindu and Muslim, seems to be a significant negative factor in India, and leads to such atrocities as the brutal gang rape and murder of a young women a couple years ago because her attackers did not approve of her being out on a date with her young man.  Fundamentalist religion can be defined as religion with very strong foundations, lots of rules and regulations, and strict laws and adherence to the fundamentalist principles of any beliefs.  They lean more towards laws than the teachings of the gospel.  In December last year, political and religious tensions rose after Hindu fundamentalist groups launched a drive to convert Muslims and Christians.  There are also so many other conflicts arisen due to powerful religions.  Prime Minister Modi’s most extreme nationalist supporters have regularly occupied the streets, using violence and intimidation to press their claim for a purely Hindu India.  Muslims have been forced to convert to Hinduism, homes burnt down and people even murdered for allegedly consuming beef, as cows having special status in the Hindu faith.  On September 28 this year, an Indian filmmaker and journalist Mandakini Gahlot,  herself a Hindu, went in search of those who want a purely Hindu nation and find out what their comeback means for the future of the world's most populated nonspiritual democracy.  Gahlot reported that a 52 year old man was murdered by a Hindu mob on suspicion of slaughtering cows and consuming beef.  His 22-year-old son also suffered severe injuries in the attack. He was hit over the head with a sewing machine and remains in hospital recovering from two major brain surgery procedures.   Hindu nationalists have been demanding the law be more severely applied and even calling for a total ban on beef. In March, the local government in the Indian state of Maharashtra, where Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power, did just that, introducing a wide-ranging ban on the sale and consumption of beef.  Emboldened mobs of Hindu nationalists seem unwilling to wait for such laws to be approved in other states, so they have taken matters into their own hands.  Ajju Chauhan, leader of the fundamental group Bajrang Dal who consider themselves foot soldiers in the Hindu nationalist movement, agreed to let Gahlot film him and his followers on their patrol. Gahlot joined the group as they walked the city roads examining vehicles and looking out for anyone transporting cows for slaughter. Chauhan was apparently quite open about what would happen to anyone who was caught; they might not be killed, but they would be "badly beaten."  
Hindu constitutes 79.8% of the population, making it by far the largest religious group in India, followed by Muslims at 14.28%.  
The Indian constitution is supposed to guarantee smaller groups the freedom to practice their religion without fear. But today there are disturbing signs everywhere suggesting that fundamental right to freedom of expression and affiliation is under threat.
India is a very vast country with many ethnic and class differences as well as educational and resource gaps.  The lingering influence of the caste system has a played a large part in creating poverty in India.  The caste system is basically a way of dividing people into different social classes, beginning with Brahmins as the highest (Priests and teachers), Kshatriyas (warriors and rulers), Vaisyas (farmers, merchants, and artisans), and Sudras (laborers).  Untouchables, also known as Harijans or Dalits, fall outside of the caste system all together.  The system forced many people who belong to the lower castes into poverty. There are approximately 180 million to 220 million people who are considered to be in the lowest caste in India.  These lower castes or Dalits (broken people) are essentially rejected from society.  Many are banned to hold jobs because their caste may be one of an untouchable, or a person with basically no rights. Out of the 180-220 million Dalits, 40 million are doing slave labor because they have to work off the debts of their previous generation.  These people are taught to expect nothing in life but to work all day in the sun and hope that someone will buy their labor or produce, which is rare because those of higher castes regularly refuse to touch anything an untouchable has touched. This is due to the reasoning that people feared that even a look at an untouchable could pollute your standing in a higher caste position and result in the ultimate downgrade of caste in the next life.  Because of this discrimination and work bondage, it is difficult for many people of a lower caste to have a steady income, consequently keeping them in extreme poverty.  
Another rule within the caste system is that you cannot marry outside of your caste. This concept has helped in preserving the poverty level in India as well. Although India has allegedly denounced the caste system presently, the people still unofficially go by this marriage rule due to social pressures.  As well as people belonging to lower castes being condemned to live in poverty, its also given a lower status to women.  In the caste system, the women were completely neglected. They were deprived of higher education, and could not voice their opinion in public affairs.
The women belonging to the higher castes still led a more hazardous life due to the practice of child marriage and ban of widow remarriage. The desire for a male made women produce more and more children which affected their physical and mental condition. Occasionally the lower caste women were sexually harassed by the higher caste males but they could not protest or report them due to the prevailing social pattern.  
It’s not just the caste system that has given women less value than men in India; there is a serious gender inequality problem that has ultimately resulted in a contributing factor as to why India is still considered a developing country.  Women are frequently malnourished since they are typically the last member of a household to eat and the last to receive medical attention.  Additionally, only 54% of Indian women are literate as compared to 76% of men. They receive little schooling, and suffer unfair and biased inheritance and divorce laws.  While mother’s work, they must also tend to domestic responsibilities, and it is estimated that an average women’s wage is 30% lower than a man’s wage working in a similar position.  Women are less likely to have an education and in most families women do not hold any property in their own name.
India has put strategies in place to promote wellbeing of the people, and is providing missions and projects in attempt to create positive impacts on our planet and environment.  National Solar Mission was officially launched in 2009, and was one of 8 National Missions laid out in India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).  It aims to incentivize the installation of 22,000 MW of on- and off-grid solar power using both Photovoltaic Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technologies by 2022, as well as a large number of other solar applications such as solar lighting, heating, and water pumps.  The Solar Mission will be executed in three stages, with precise targets defined for the individual sections.  Phase 1 is from 2010-2013, and will experiment with incentive structures and create a market for solar power in India by bringing in investors, engineer-procure-construct (EPC) contractors, and equipment manufacturers.  In total 700 MW will be installed.  
Phase 2 will go from 2013-2017, and the goal is to build on the experience of phase 1.  Finally, phase 3 will go from 2017-2022.  
Banks have also pushed for fixed feed-in tariffs for the Indian solar power projects.  
India has a lot of minor and major problems that as a whole make a very large barrier to overcoming these challenges and transforming into a modern society.  The government has created small stepping stones which has certainly made an impact, however it will take a lot more time and a lot more stones to become a fully developed country.  All civilizations will have issues to overcome and no country is perfect, but there is a certain line that you cross to becoming a modern society and arguably at the moment India is well below that line.  Through social, economic and political change I believe that India will become developed, however there are still many challenges to face and barricades to overcome.


This is a far longer essay than I can edit in detail for no fee. But I did take a look at it, and it appears to be well written and argued. A few things I noticed:

1. When you use "which" in this way <<rain, which makes the ground wet>> precede "which" with a comma. Check throughout your paper for that.

2. "While mother's work, they must..." mothers is correct. This is not a possessive. Plurals should never be formed with an apostrophe.

3. "Phase 1 is from 2010-2013..." should be in past tense throughout. Phase 2 should be in the present tense, not the future tense. Phase 3 should be in the future tense.

Hope this helps.

If you would like me to do  detailed edit, I can be reached directly at But I don't think you really need a heavy edit. This is mostly pretty well written.

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Dan Smith


I have been a professional writer and editor for more than 30 years, taught speech and English composition at the university level, and have developed speech and English composition courses and seminars for businesses. I am experienced in editing a wide variety of materials, especially business, scientific, and other academic papers. I am familiar with all the major style guides.


I have edited any number of graduate papers and other technical materials in such advanced fields as civil and electrical engineering and semiconductor fabrication. I have extensive experience in working with non-native English speakers.

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