Social issues of the 21st century

The world is anything but a perfect place and the issues confronting the society of present times have seen an exorbitant rise with the passage of time. While to list them all would require a compendium of mammoth proportions, at least a few of them can be discussed here. The prevalence and intensity of a particular issue varies from country to country and even within regions therein. But the social issues mentioned below seem to have established a global presence and are beginning to endanger the very core of our social structure.

1. Poverty

Poverty and income inequality are two issues that are faced by governments all around the world. The scenario is particularly grim post the recession of the last decade as even the developed countries haven’t been spared.  And in countries like India, it remains to be seen how effective the various government schemes and legislations like the MGNREGA and Food Security Bill prove to be to eradicate poverty and reduce the income inequality.

2. Pollution

While it is more of an environmental problem, but who can deny the effect that large scale pollution’s gonna have on the world’s population. While the developed countries are claiming to have taken huge strides in reducing their carbon footprint, the outlook isn’t that positive in the developing countries like India and its larger neighbour China, where pollution levels seem to be increasing exponentially with each passing year.

3. Unemployment

While some amount of unemployment will always be there what with the seasonal nature of certain jobs or the time required to shift from one job to another, but massive unemployment and underemployment can cause jeopardy in a country. Whether it be during the Great Depression of the last century or the recent Global Recession, unemployment levels have suddenly reached such high levels that it has taken years to bring them down to a manageable percentage.

4. Human rights violation

While articles and books abound on how the human rights violations are rampant in the war zones and certain third world countries, but if you take a closer look, you will be astounded by how commonplace such instances have become. Whether as a result of sloppy governance or as an excuse to fight terrorism; Illegal detention, rape, curbing of free speech and other such human rights violations have become a regular feature in the daily newspapers.

5. Discrimination

Whether it is discrimination based on the nationality and sex of an individual or just his/her race and religion, such instances have become very much rampant in today’s world. While western countries led by the USA have been accused of racial profiling post the September 11 attacks, discrimination based on religion and region of an individual have seem to become quite common even in a country like India which has always claimed to have had “unity in diversity”.


6. Addiction

It is a really narrow way of looking at things to equate addiction with just drugs. Even alcoholics are addicted to drinks and smokers are addicted to cigarettes although we hardly use the term addiction to describe them. It is just that the intensity and ill-effects may be vary in magnitude and imminence depending on the manna that the particular addict swears by.

7.  Illegal immigration

You don’t have to look further than our very own borders to realize how big an issue illegal immigration has become. It is a major issue particularly for a landlocked country like India where the illegal immigrants just need to cross over poorly fenced borders and settle on a foreign country. And given the politics surrounding it in a country like ours, it is questionable as to how many of them are actually ever deported back even when their illegal immigrant status has been established.

8. Education

While many third world and developing countries claim to have an increase in the literacy rate with every census, they fail to recognize that it is the quality of education that is much more vital. With many scholars claiming that the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan has in fact degraded the standard of school education, and with the companies repeatedly complaining about the lack of employability of our country’s engineers, the simple fact that the literacy rate of the country is seeing a boost isn’t going to take us anywhere.

9. Terrorism

There is hardly any country in the world that is not grappling with terrorism in one form or another. Right from the time of the Kanishka bombing to the regular cross-firing between Pakistani militants and the Indian Army at the LoC of present times, terrorism is one issue that doesn’t seem to be eradicated any time soon. With even internal terrorist outfits like the ULFA and the Maoists creating ruckus from time to time, the Indian government has its hands full pretty much all the time.

10. Obesity

Obesity has become a highly debated issue with the fast food chains regularly drawing flak for being the source of it. But in spite of the heated discussions on obesity and its ill effects on a person’s health, there doesn’t seem to be any reduction on the number of obese people walking this planet. Especially with child obesity on the rise, it is the moral and social responsibility of companies like Macdonald’s to offer healthier foods on their platter.

Image Sources:

1. Unemployment:

2. Addiction:

Surojit Chakraborty

Writer, HR, Bibliophile, Polyglot, Optimist

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