[Insights Secure – 2018] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 21 February 2018

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[Insights Secure – 2018] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 21 February 2018

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LIST of TOPICS (Static)


General Studies – 1


 


Topic
:  Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times; 

1) It is argued that democracy is integral to the Indian nation and that there are many examples of its rich democratic traditions in the ancient Indian republican polities before Independence. Do you agree? Critically comment. (250 Words)

The Indian Express

 

Why this question?

This question tries to test how objective you are about India’s history. It’s our tendency to claim first in everything. Were ancient republics truly democratic? Knowing right answer helps in Essay. This question can be asked in Mains as it’s directly related to syllabus (India’s culture and political philosophy topics)

Key demand of the question:

You should substantiate that ancient India ‘republics’ were not true democracies (disagree unless you are historian of national/world repute). 

Directive Word:

Critically comment – You MUST be objective in your opinion. You have to write about counter argument (why some say ancient republics were democratic) and come back to main argument that they were not democracies. Critically comment is not writing positive and negative about something. It’s about giving space to counter-views (agree or disagree). 

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction write contribution of ancient republics to India’s rich tradition, but say that democracy was not one of their contribution (You have to take a stand). You may say they were less democratic though. 

In the body, first talk about democracy being integral to India. Then with examples, write why ancient republics were not true democracies.  You may also argue that the definition of democracy has changed since past and try to make an argument (it’s an hint to make similar arguments).

Try to focus on cultural aspects (conform to GS-1 syllabus)

In the conclusion, convey that India is indeed blessed to have had such republics which have made India more secular and accommodative which are the hallmarks of democracy. You should not be too critical or harsh. Show love for the country – objectively though.  

 

 

TopicIndian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2) Discuss the origin of Tantrism and nature of its influence of both Hinduism and Buddhism.  (250 Words)

Oxford

Why this question?

It is in our list of static topics. Any question related to Buddhism is important from exam (prelims and mains) point of view. Also, it’s good to learn about these concepts – enriches your knowledge and who knows when and where you might use it!

Key demand of the question:

It’s a direct question where you should write about origin and impact of Tantrism (or Tantricism) on Hinduism and Buddhism. It’s a factual questions where you need to present facts as they are. 

Directive Word:

Discuss – Firstly, discuss important aspects of origin. Secondly discuss (categorise into Hinduism and Buddhism, within which you can write categories such as influence on Rituals, Art etc) As it’s discuss, you may write about impact of tantrism on contemporary rituals as well. 

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction, write about significance of Tantricism in defining Hinduism and affecting Buddhist tradition (Vajrayana).

In the body, in TWO mains parts, discuss origin and impact. 

In the conclusion, you may write how tantricism has not only influenced Hinduism and Buddhism, but has also affected Jainism. 


General Studies – 2


 

 

Topic:    Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these; Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act;

3) What are the main features of India’s anti-defection law? Also examine interpretations and recommendations made by the courts and committees on the law. Do you think, instead of the Speaker, the decision on defections should be decided by an external neutral body such as the Election Commission? Comment. (250 Words)

PRS-India

Why this question?

Defection is key feature of our polity and this issue keeps repeating itself as and when elections take place. Proper understanding of underlying concepts is important to make arguments in related essay topic or in GS question. It’s an important question for Prelims, Mains and interview. 

Key demand of the question:

First part is direct. In the second part, question demands your opinion whether the Speaker is the right person to disqualify or should there be a neutral body to do this. 

Directive Word:

First question is direct one and you need to write about features, judgements and recommendations. 

Comment:  In the second part, you should write about merits and demerits of having either Speaker or EC as decision maker in disqualifying MP/MLA. Your opinion in the end who should decide qualification should be written. 

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction write about threats of defections and how the Law has been misused despite SC and many committees’ recommendations.  

In the body, there should be Four Parts: One on features; One on court judgements: One on committee/commissions; One on your opinion about who should decide disqualification. Also write about model defection laws that exist in other democracies to substantiate your opinion.   

In the conclusion, write about how defections act as burden on people and polity.

 

 

 

Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act;

4) The Supreme Court’s recent decision on information disclosure ( Lok Prahari v. Union of India ) paves a way for future constitutional interventions in India’s party funding regime, including the scheme of electoral bonds. Analyse. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Why this question?

Electoral reforms is very important for Mains – 2018 (and for India). Supreme Court has been at the forefront of formulating a framework to bring electoral reforms. You must know SC rulings on electoral reforms and their implications. 

Key demand of the question:

You should write how the Lok Prahari v. Union of India judgement will affect electoral bond scheme and also pave way for future interventions w.r.t party funding. Don’t deviate and write everything you know about electoral reforms. 

Directive Word:

Analyse: Divide answer into parts and within them examine implications (see below)

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction, write about the role of SC in electoral reforms and implications of its verdicts for representative democracy. And then write a line about party funding and electoral bonds (in introd, always address key demand)

In the body, there should be THREE main parts, and within these there should be sub-parts (depending on the amount of information you have). First part is about content of SC judgement (divide into 2-3 sub-parts such as Funding, Disqualification etc); Second part is about future constitutional implications; Third part is about fate of electoral bonds.

In the conclusion, write about need for other institutions to step up to bring reforms in electoral process and party politics to strengthen democracy in India. (or write any similar conclusion using your understanding)


General Studies – 3


 

Topic:   Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, 

5) Artificial Intelligence(AI) heralds the next phase of digital capitalism where capital accumulation is powered by data. Elaborate the statement and discuss who should own data in AI driven digital capitalism and why. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Why this question?

By the time Mains exam comes, the debate on AI will evolve and encompass many dimensions. Role of AI in capitalism is one such dimension that is going to be a major issue and expect UPSC to notice it either in 2018 or 2019. It’s an important question both of GS and Essay.   

Key demand of the question:

You should first explain the statement. Show that you have conceptual clarity on meaning of both AI and digital capitalism, and relationship between them, especially in the light of Big Data. Secondly, question demands your opinion (yes, you can give opinion even when the directive word is DISCUSS) on who should own data and why.   

Directive Word:

Elaborate: Make the meaning clear – no opinion, no analysis. Explain the statement. 

Discuss: Here, discuss how should own data in AI driven economy and why. It requires your opinion as well as facts. 

Structure of Answer:

In the intro, you should address question in holistically – AI, digital capitalism, data and its ownership. Intelligently write 1-2 statements that value (For ex, you can say that AI driven digital capitalism should acknowledge and reward users who generate data)

After introduction you must define AI and Digital capitalism (this is must wherever you find certain keywords/terms in question whose definition is key to write relevant answer)

In the body, there should be TWO Mains Parts: One to elaborate statement; Second part to discuss who and why aspects of data ownership. You should divide second part into further two sub-parts. (in any answer, highlight main Parts to let examiner notice that you are answering all parts of the question)

In the conclusion, show concern for the user (the invisible labour) and say that new era of capitalism shouldn’t be built at the cost of privacy and life of ordinary users. You may also bring Aadhaar dimension. (Again, use your creativity and knowledge to write interesting conclusion that is thought provoking)

 

 

 


General Studies – 4


Topic:  Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators
General

Why this question?

There will be 2-3 statement based questions in GS-4. It is important to learn how to decipher these statements and write an answer that justifies demand of the question. 

Key demand of the question:

This question demands YOUR OPINION on the statement. It specifically doesn’t demand any facts or particular opinion. What it demands though is your proper understanding of the meaning of the statement. Here, demand of the question depends on the Directive word (see below).

Directive Word:

Comment: You should either agree or disagree with the statement. You need to write your opinion on the statement. As it’s open ended, you can opine about relevance of meaning of the statement today; or you may opine that the meaning of integrity goes beyond doing right thing anonymously (Think hard and come up with original answers)

If the directive word was JUSTIFY, you just had to give two examples and substantiate the statement. 

Structure of Answer:

 In the introduction, you may mention a related quote; or you may define integrity in broader sense. But make sure, you write a sentence that makes it clear to examiner that you have first understood the statement. 
In the body, through various examples include 3-4 dimensions i.e. opinions on the statement. One opinion can be agreeing with the statement but opining that it’s difficult to find such individuals in today’s world (who doesn’t want credit when they do right thing?!). Likewise, write few opinions but make sure you give examples. 
In the conclusion, you may highlight importance of integrity – especially in bureaucracy and politics. Wherever possible, try to link answer with civil/public services.

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. Ultimately you should use your reason and judgement to write your own answer. 

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

 

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