Dear Readers,

Yesterday, we gave you the following practice topic for WAT – “A great city should not be confused with a populous one.” This topic had appeared in the IIM Lucknow entrance in 2013. In this article, we will look at the approach to use and some of the primary points to be mentioned.

Guidelines – How to Approach this Question

· For a criterion as subjective as greatness, there is no one correct answer. This is primarily a test of your rational, logical and creative thinking abilities because the topic seeks your take on what makes a city great.

· You can introduce the essay with a quote on population, if you can remember any. Example: “Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth are growing exponentially, along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill.” – Stephen Hawking or “Man begets, but land does not.” – Cecil Rhodes

· You may also use factual knowledge to address this question, like some data.

· Basically, you have to enlist the qualities which, in your opinion, define a great city. While coming up with these, try to think of those attributes which are the most crucial and also those which are relevant in the ongoing events. This way you can connect your essay to current affairs.

· You can also present a counter view. The fact that you are not limiting your view to merely one side shows how rational you are.

What to Write in the Answer

· Start with how a great city is more than its population and how it needs to have a certain set of parameters to be termed “great”.

· Enlist some of the major qualities which make up a city – health facilities, educational institutes, power supply, water supply, employment opportunities, infrastructure, transportation, etc.

· In the main body, start elaborating the most significant of these qualities in 2-3 lines each. Make sure that you do not spend too much time on one aspect. Below are some of the possible ideas that you can use.

· Health: Health is one of the most important areas for any city’s development. Proper medical infrastructure and pharmaceutical facilities, for instance, are pivotal to a city. You can relate it to the ongoing air pollution crisis in Delhi. Explain how despite being the national capital, the city has been deemed the world’s most polluted city by WHO.

· Employment Opportunities: A major factor is the sort of industries flourishing in a city. Accordingly, only relevant kind of employment opportunities will be generated. Before the boom in the IT sector, for instance, Pune and Bangalore were the ideal retirement homes. Only after this change have the two sprung up on the map of developing cities.

· Infrastructure: Sub-components like power and water supply will come under this criterion. Cite the example of Mumbai – explain how the meagre rains in 2015 led to a substantial cut in water supply. Similarly, the cities of Uttar Pradesh have been facing perpetual power supply shortages and continue to lag far behind in the development canon.

Transportation can also be discussed in the same point. Despite having an extensive metro network, Delhi government has to come up with methods to de-congest roads and divert the masses to public vehicles.

· Other factors can be education and housing. Delhi is the host of some of the finest colleges of the country and this affects the real estate prices in certain areas. Mumbai has ample career opportunities and thus, the demand for housing has led to high property rates. In contrast, cities like Jaipur have significantly lower housing rates but not many employment sectors.

Counter View

· By presenting a counter view, you can easily make your essay stand out.

· Metropolitan cities are densely populated and it is only because of the excessive demand for amenities that it has all the facilities – health, transportation, employment, education, etc.

· In developing cities, the markets and eateries, etc. shut down before midnight and the residents have not many options regarding nightlife. The variety in shopping and eating joints is also similarly affected. One cannot expect to have all kinds of restaurants in smaller cities.

· Thus, populations of a city is a huge factor in its development, and thereby its greatness.


· Summarize both the views in a total of 3-4 lines. Explain how the population of a city is a major factor in determining its greatness, and how both the domains are interlinked.

The next topic is – “Euthanasia – To do or not.” (XIM Bhubaneshwar, 2013)

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