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[Insights Secure – 2018] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 14 March 2018

[Insights Secure – 2018] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 14 March 2018

Click on EACH question to post/upload you answers.

How to Follow Secure Initiative?

How to Self-evaluate your answer? 

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) As with the Mughals, under European colonial rule, architecture became an emblem of power, designed to endorse the occupying power. Examine the salient features fo the British architecture in India. (250 Words)




Why this question?

It’s in our topic list.   

Key demand of the question:

Direct question. Examine the salient features of British architecture (not colonial architecture – make sure not to include Portuguese, Dutch, French) 

Directive Word:

Examine– From reference links, extract relevant information, organise neatly and present in answer. 

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction, write about relationship between power, prestige, pride and architecture, and how the British were not an exception. 

In the body, divide answer into 4-5 broad categories such as form, purpose, locations, style, inspiration etc. Within each category provide example and explain salient features. 

In the conclusion write 1-2 lines about the influence these structures have had on modern Indian architecture. 

Related Question/Articles: Here

General Studies – 2



Topic: Functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies; Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,

2) What were the objectives of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006? Recently, the  Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) released an audit report on the ‘Implementation of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006’ . Examine its findings and recommendations. (250 Words)



Why this question?

Post – Maggi episode, issue of food safety is mainstream and has attracted lots of policy attention. It’s a very important question for Mains-2018.   

Key demand of the question:

First, briefly write what were the objectives of food safety act; secondly examine findings of CAG and then write its recommendations. Give more weightage to last two parts. 

Directive Word:

Examine: From the article, extract relevant points and write them in your answer as per question’s demand. Your opinion is not required.

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction write in 1-2 about need for plugging loopholes in food safety act to ensure safe food to citizens (link with SDG or any report finding) 

In the body, divide answer into TWO main parts: One for writing the objectives of the law (briefly 3-4 direct points). In the Second part, Combine CAG Findings and Recommendations (as is done in reference PDF). Also, categorise each finding and recommendation (as is done in reference PDF).  However, you may further divide each finding into 1-2 points. 

In the conclusion, write in 1-2 lines why it’s utmost important to prioritise food safety (give number of children that eat junk food) Or write that food safety is important but before that food security must be ensured (give no. of hungry mouths in India) 

Related question/Articles: Here , Here , HereHere

TIP: As you can see in the reference PDF, categorising points helps notice important points easily. Try to emulate it i your answers.


Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

3) What is digital protectionism? Is digital protectionism good for India as it has been good for China so far? Analyse. (250 Words)



Why this question?

It’s a new and evolving concept. It’s important for Mains-2018 (there have been questions on protectionism). 

Key demand of the question:

Explain the concept (how well you understand it) and then analyse if it’s going to be good for India to protect its digital companies as is done by China. 

Directive Word:

Analyse: Apart from TWO main parts that are there in question, divide the Second part into sub-parts and examine if it’s going to help India or not.   

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction write in 2-3 lines about new frontier in protectionism i.e. digital and its likely impact on global order(US-China equations) and India’s aspirations. Write a line about your opinion on impact on India (good or bad).

Define digital protectionism. Give 2 examples. 

In the body, divide answer 4-5 categories and examine/opine if digital protectionism will be good for India or not. For each category(such as digital economy, privacy, innovation etc), try to compare with China’s example. 

In the conclusion, write in 1-2 lines on need for India to create an appropriate ecosystem for digital innovations before competing with US and China (we don’t have our own Alibaba, Weibo etc to protect!!)

TIP: Whenever you encounter new concepts such as these, definitely attempt these type of questions in Secure


Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, 

4) India is rightly acclaimed to be the pharmacy of the world, with its huge private sector capacity for producing branded and unbranded generic drugs. However, India has seen the decline and near disappearance of public sector capacity for manufacture of drugs and vaccines. Why is healthy and robust public sector drug manufacturing is important for India? How can India boost this sector? Examine. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Why this question?

It’s an important issue, especially when public sector units are facing flak for all reasons, here is the need for revival of these units in pharma sector.   

Key demand of the question:

Write importance of reviving public sector drug manufacturing units and measures to boost them. First part needs more weightage (70%). 

Directive Word:

Examine: Address both parts of the question with relevant information extracted from article. your opinion is not needed.    

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction write in 2-3 lines about complimenting efforts of private players with public players to make drugs affordable and accessible to huge population not only in India, also for the world.  Quote SDG/NFHS. 

In the body, divide answer into TWO main parts: First to answer why pubic sector drug companies need revival. Categorise into 4-5 parts such as Universal Healthcare, Affordability, etc. In the second part, write 4-5 points on how government should revive these. 

In the conclusion, write 1-2 line on uncertainty that exists in private sector and how public sector can be a saviour when situation(drug scarcity) arises.

Related question/Article: Here, Here

General Studies – 3



Topic: Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

5) Recently, the union cabinet took a decision to change the basis of classification of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Examine on what basis classification of MSMEs will be done and how would this classification impact industries such as defence. (250 Words)



Why this question?

Updates you on this important issue and its impacts, especially on defence sector. Question combines two topics from GS-3 paper.  

Key demand of the question:

Examine the basis on which MSMEs are going to classified and how such classification would affect industries, especially defence.   

Directive Word:

Examine:  Just present facts from the article. 

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction write 1-2 lines on the central role MSMEs are playing (share in GDP and employment) and how new classification was overdue. Write a line that it would boost defence sector which is in dire straits.  

Define MSME (present definition)

In the body, in TWO main parts address demand of the question. First, in point format write basis of new classification and how it’s different from the old. 

In the Second part, write likely impact on defence sector. Categorise into make in India, cost of production, investment etc. 

In the conclusion, write about the need for complimenting this effort with other reforms and industrial policies. 

Related Questions/Articles: Here, Here, Here


Topic Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment

6) What are Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) and letters of comforts (LoCs) that are issued by banks? Recently the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) banned both LoUs and LoCs. Examine the causes and consequences. (250 Words)

The Indian Express


Why this question?

It’s in news thanks to Nirav Modi issue. This questions tests your basics about this issue.   

Key demand of the question:

Plainly define what’s LoU and LoC. Next, write causes and consequences of banning them (why didn’t RBI band them earlier?!?)  

Directive Word:

Examine:  Write related information as per demand of the question.  Your opinion not needed(except in the intro and conclusion may be, that too based on the issue in question)  

Structure of Answer:

In the introduction write 2-3 lines about RBI’s central role in regulating banking frauds and how its latest measure may be too late.  

Define LoU and LoC with examples.

In the body, divide answer into Causes and Consequences: First part, give reasons why RBI has banned them. In the Second part, explain likely impact on various stakeholders (banks, traders, stock market etc).

In the conclusion write why RBI should be more proactive in preventing bank frauds to restore public faith in institutions including RBI. 

Related Article/Question: Here

General Studies – 4

Topic: Ethical concerns and dilemmas 

7) You are part of a trekking expedition to a remote stretch of Western Ghat hill section that has rough terrain and dense forest. The team consists of ten women and five men. As you climb up and reach the final point, your team notices that forest fire is spreading rapidly. There is no mobile network available.No satellite phone is also available. The team leader suggests spending night on the hill. 

a) What will you suggest to the team in this situation?

b) Before trekking, what are the precautions that your team should have taken? 


Why this question?

It’s based on recent tragedy in Theni, Tamil Nadu. This question wants to make you aware of precautions that needs to be taken before going ahead with such adventures, and also tries to test decision making ability in the face of adversities like this.   

Key demand of the question:

Firstly, write the measures/suggestions you would want team to take in such a situation. Information is limited and within this based on imagination, you should suggest practical measures. Secondly, write points about precautions that should have been taken (read reference article). 

Directive Word:

No directive word: for each question, based on its demand, explain and illustrate your arguments with examples. 

Structure of Answer:

Write a general introduction before answering Question (a). Here write 3-4 lines on facts of the case, issues you are facing and stakeholders involved. 

Question (a):   Write in paragraphs, all the measures that you want to suggest. Imagine the terrain, food-water supplies you have, safety of women/their concerns, need for unity, team work, methods to douse fire with or without water, can you camp using tents in such a situation? (Use imagination and suggest practical measures) These should try to uphold values such as courage, fortitude, empathy, presence of mind, emotional intelligence etc. 

Question (b): Based on given reference, write down all points. 

In the conclusion write a line on need for related agencies to maintain their integrity and adhering to rules to prevent unnecessary loss of lives (quote recent event).


 Other IMPORTANT issues that are NOT covered Today in Secure/Covered Previously:

  1. Futility of Loan waivers
  2. Indo-Pacific Challenging times
  3. Clean fuel, not EV Needed
  4. Rural health infrastructure needs urgent fixes

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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