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[Insights Secure – 2018] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 20 February 2018

[Insights Secure – 2018] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 20 February 2018

Click on EACH question to post/upload you answers.

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LIST of TOPICS (Static)


General Studies – 1


 


Topic
: Art and culture; Role of women

1) Do you agree that taking cue from Shaktism, the idea of shakti can be used to empower Indian women to resist patriarchy? Critically comment. (250 Words)

Reference

Reference

Why this question?

This question tries to test both concept and your ability to link it with contemporary issue. You may not expect this question in UPSC, but Shaktism as a concept can be used in essay on women empowerment. Shaktism and its cultural influence on other religions is important from Mains point of view (for ex – influence on Buddhist art)

Key demand of the question:

Link the concept with various aspects of discourse on women empowerment in the Indian society with special focus on resisting patriarchy

Directive Word:

Critically comment – Here you should provide balanced criticism. Shouldn’t be biased – which means you may both agree and disagree that women empowerment goes beyond Shaktism. 

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction present a grim picture about disconnect between India’s culture and women empowerment. 

In the body, divide answer into  4-5 paragraphs each dedicated to discuss each aspects of women empowerment and whether Shaktism could provide inspiration/solution. 

As said above, spend more words on patriarchy and other solutions (within cultural context) needed to resist it. Give lots of examples and facts to substantiate your views. 

In the conclusion, give a message that idea of women empowerment in the Indian society is complex and requires behavioural and attitudinal change from all stakeholders. 

(it’s difficult to write 250 word answer though)

 


General Studies – 2


 

 

Topic:    Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these. 

2) Through its oversight function, Parliament holds the government accountable and ensures that policies are efficient and in keeping with the needs of citizens. What mechanisms are available to the Parliament to conduct oversight of the executive? Also in the light of criticisms made against parliament’s this role, discuss major recommendations to strengthen this function of Parliament. (250 Words)

PRS-India

Why this question?

Balance between three organs of state is a favourite issue with UPSC. This issue is also important from exam point of view.  

Key demand of the question:

Like yesterday’s question, this is a direct question whose demand is self evident in the question. But in the second part, you should write about current affairs while making recommendations. 

Directive Word:

First question is direct one and you need to write about the mechanisms. 

Discuss:  In the second part, categorise recommendations into 6 parts as given in the document. But, for each part add current affairs example (for ex, in the first part about convening of Parliament, give stats about how many days parliament worked in past 2-3 years in each session – ADR report)

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction write the importance of parliament’s oversight of executive without affecting independence of the executive. 

As discussed above, body should have Two Parts. First part is direct as mentioned above. In the second part, there should be four parts as mentioned above. 

In the conclusion, write about eroding trust of public in the parliament and executive and need to strengthen their mutual relationship in the interest of development. 

 

Topic:  Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate; Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

3) Addressing the plight of refugees is one of the greatest challenges currently facing the international community. Examine the notable multilateral agreements and unilateral policies previously made in this regard and comment on the need for a global refugee policy. (250 Words)

Project Syndicate

Why this question?

This is a pressing issue of our times and definitely needs your attention. This question is more relevant for interview and for essay, in fact very important for essay

Key demand of the question:

While writing about existing refugee agreements and policies (including India’s) you should devote more words about need for a global refugee policy and its nature. 

Directive Word:

Examine: you just have to list out existing policies and agreements (name institutions, countries associated)

Comment: In this part, comment on lack of global policy, why it’s needed and in what form it’s needed. 

Structure of Answer:

In introduction, with stats highlight why world needs a global policy and why present policies are inadequate.

In the body, there should be TWO main parts. In first part, as discussed above write about agreements and policies. In the second part, with facts and examples make arguments why we need a robust refugee policy. Be very critical about role of UN and other institutions. Also be critical about indifference of developed countries on the issue. 

In the conclusion, provide a grim picture of refugee crisis fallout and show concern that it’s an issue that needs urgent attention.  

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic:   Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security

4) Critically comment on the functioning of the existing TPDS mechanism and the role played by the centre and states. Also discuss challenges in the effective implementation of TPDS and alternatives to reform the existing machinery. (250 Words)

PRS India

Why this question?

Food security will always be an issue of importance. Understanding TPDS as a whole is very important. Document attached with the question has very important information in this regard.  

Key demand of the question:

You should comment on the functioning of TPDS and role of centre and states in it. Also write about challenges of TPDS and measures to strengthen it. It’s straightforward question.  

Directive Word:

Comment and Discuss: In the first part there should be two sub-parts (functioning + role of states and centre) and make sure you don’t merely produce facts. You should comment on them (for example, comment in one line on procurement, storage, allocation and distribution aspects of TPDS). 

In the second part (2 sub-parts), Discuss about challenges and measures (reproduce concisely from the reference document)

Structure of Answer:

In the intro, highlight the importance of TPDS for food security. You may quote any hunger report to add current affairs dimension. 

In the body, there should be FOUR sub-parts within TWO main parts (as discussed above). Write everything in points-format. Don’t ignore stats and facts. 

In the conclusion, write about importance of role and responsibility of centre and state in strengthening TPDS. Also quote economic survey (past or present). The issue as a whole should be addressed in 1-2 lines. Don’t just focus on one aspect. 

 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways

5) It is argued that more than a manufacturing-centric EV policy, India needs a set of ecosystem-level EV policies. What do you understand by this? In the light of present EV policy that’s being mooted by the government, discuss the statement. (250 Words)

Livemint

Why this question?

Indian government is keen on introducing EV policy that encourages moving away from fossil fuel run vehicles. This issue will evolve and will catch UPSC attention for sure. 

Key demand of the question:

You should convince through various arguments that India needs  EV policies whose source of electricity should be from renewable sources and should not burden our grid thereby causing more emission (as grid depends more on coal run plants)

Directive Word:

Discuss: Write about all dimensions – lacunae in present policy orientation; need for evolving a greener options to recharge EVs; And suggestions if any (based on foreign models)

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction, talk about climate change and how EVs can be either solution or problem. 

In the body, as discussed above write in 3 parts – lacunae in present policy orientation; need for evolving a greener options to recharge EVs; And suggestions if any (based on foreign models) – with good examples.

In the conclusion, you may talk about India’s climate change commitments and how EV policy is an opportunity to compliment those commitments. 

Topic:  Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies 

6) Discuss the merits, challenges and future prospects of direct benefit transfer (DBT) in fertilizers. Should fertilisers subsidy be directly transferred to the farmer’s bank account? Examine why. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Why this question?

It’s in the news due to Economic Survey’s observation that as there is delay in DBT in fertiliser roll out.  The survey has floated the idea of replacing this input subsidy with direct income support to farmers. Hence this question is important. We have asked basic aspects keeping in mind that you should know in and out of the issue. Very important question

Key demand of the question:

While examining merits, challenges and prospects of DBT in fertilisers, you should come to the conclusion whether its subsidy be transferred to farmers or continue to be transferred to manufacturers.  

Directive Word:

Examine: You don’t have to comment in this answer. There should be two parts and in each part, just examine facts that are already there. Make sure you quote economic survey, talk about government’s plan to double income. 

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction, write about potential of DBT in fertiliser and take a stand (based on expert view) whether subsidy should be transferred to farmers or not. (yes, take a stand in intro itself). Link it with current affairs (Doubling income or eco survey)

In the body there should be two main parts: Within first part, there should be 3 more sub-parts – merits, challenges and prospects. In the second part, your stand with examples. 

In the conclusion, reiterate why this issue is important in the light of agri distress.

Topic: Conservation

7) The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act (CAF Act), 2016 has raised serious concerns about the human and environmental costs of compensatory afforestation (CA). In the light of these concerns, discuss the role of local communities and gram sabhas in ecological restoration. (250 Words)

Livemint

Livemint

Reference

 

Why this question?

This is second time we are asking this question. Today it’s more relevant due to release of latest forest survey and the finding that monoculture forests are rapidly expanding. But this question tries to test how you can link role of gram sabhas in undoing or preventing further loss to forests. 

Key demand of the question:

In your answer you should focus both on negative impacts of compensatory afforestation(CA) and the role of grama sabhas. But write more on role of grama sabhas. 

Directive Word:

Discuss: You have to discuss all dimensions: negatives of CAF Act and CA, How these two have subverted FRA and PESA. Next, discuss central role of grama sabhas within the purview of these Acts (use the third link for more points)

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction talk about central role of communities in preserving forests and in one line comment on the role of government in strengthening these communities and institutions (local governance). 

In the body, divide answer into 2 parts: First part about negatives/concerns about CAF act and CA; Second part role being played by local communities/gram sabhas + how their role can be strengthened (mainly through FRA).

In the conclusion, you may quote forest report and highlight how pressing this issue is and why it warrants attention by the government. 


General Studies – 4


Topic:  Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption

Why this question?

Corruption is unique to each institution and requires unique solution to eradicate it. Rooting out corruption is public sector banks has been a major issue since demonetisation. Understanding how corruption works and coming up with unique solution will help you discern nature and cure of corruption at institution level. 

Key demand of the question:

It’s a very specific question with limited scope. Entire answer should focus on varying solutions to address corruption in public sector banks. Don’t deviate and try to come up with solutions that are not specific to banking system.  

Directive Word:

Discuss: Solutions should be multi-pronged, hence the directive is discuss – which means your solutions should be multi-dimensional.  

Structure of Answer:

 In the introduction, highlight the cost of corruption in banking system and why it needs urgent solution (you can link with current affair as well)
In the body, divide answer into 3-4 parts such as de-nationalisation; better incentives for management etc and provide example or model that already exists (a foreign country might have a solution – if possible quote it as an example). 
In the conclusion, show concern that it’s also an ethical issue and needs cooperation from all stakeholders. 

NOTE: 
We are giving hints for each question. Please use your creativity and originality to come up with answers that are unique to you. But do so without deviating from core demand of each question. 

 Let us know in comments section what do you think about this new change in Secure. Thank you. 

 

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