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[Insights Secure – 2019] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 14 DECEMBER 2018

[Insights Secure – 2019] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 14 DECEMBER 2018

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INSIGHTS NEW SECURE – 2019: YEARLONG TIMETABLE

 

Tomorrow’s Static Topic:Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance-
applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency &
accountability and institutional and other measures.


General Studies – 2


Topic:  Statutory, regulatory and constitutional bodies

1) Explain the role of RBI in the economy and critically analyze whether it makes sense to restrict the primary role of RBI to inflation management?(250 words) 

Livemint

Why this question

The article critically analyzes the role of RBI in the past in comparison to post MPC. Thereafter, it examines whether it doesn’t make sense for RBI to limit its role to inflation management. In light of the recent debate surrounding RBI’s role , this question becomes important.

Key demand of the question

The first part of the question expects us to bring out the role of RBI in the economy. Thereafter, we need to explain how the monetary policy framework has made inflation targeting the primary role of RBI. We need to critically analyze whether this is the right approach and give a fair and balanced conclusion .

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. You need to conclude with  a fair judgement, after analyzing the nature of each component part and interrelationship between them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the current controversy with respect to RBI.

Body

  • Discuss the various functions that RBI performs such as money management, inflation targeting etc
  • Thereafter explain how inflation targeting has become the primary function of RBI post MPC.
  • Give reasons why this is the right approach. You can refer to Urjit Patel committee’s report on the same based on which the MPC had been formed. From there you will be able to figure out why it makes sense for RBI to focus on inflation
  • Bring out the experience of RBI in the past as a juggler of various functions and how focussing on inflation brings out the inflation growth conundrum.

Conclusion– Give a fair and balanced opinion and discuss way forward.


Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “e-governance”

2) E-governance in not only about utilization of the power of new technology but also much about the critical importance of the ‘use value’ of information. Explain.(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to examine the importance and relevance of e-governance as not only limited to use of technology in government functions but more to do with the importance of information and what we do with it. We have to analyze the statement in light of the various initiatives taken by the government under NeGP and how that utilizes information.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what e-governance is.

Body

  • Emphasize that technology is only a facilitator for e-governance but the real purpose of e-governance is the critical use value of information
  • Thereafter, emphasize on the National e-governance plan and the steps taken thereunder and explain that technology acts as a facilitator but the important application of e-governance is the relevance of information that we get from e-governance. For instance, by updating court cases on judicial grid , one can get information about pendency of cases , and take steps to improve the status quo.

Conclusion – Give your view on the relevance and importance of e-governance and discuss the way forward.


Topic– Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

3) India must offer unique services, not just depend on low-cost production. Comment in context of the Teacher-student ratios in India.(250 words)

Indian express

Indian express

Why this question

Low income countries in general and India in particular have a low teacher-student ratio and with the growing adoption of technology the role of teachers has changed. The article discusses the issue and in detail.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge about the teacher-student ratios in India and express our opinion as to why there is/ isn’t a need to bring uniqueness in teaching services.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Low teacher-student ratios and the desired levels at school, college and university levels.

Body

Discuss what does such low ratio signify and hence teaching should not be pursued as a low cost service. E.g For students, this increasingly represses individuality — in curricula, teaching and examination methods. The lower down the education ladder, the more accentuated this is; But, as we move up the education ladder and progress towards jobs, we want some criteria to gauge the applicant’s individuality. However, since we have progressively reduced students to commodities, there is no option but to raise the bar or filter higher. Earlier, an undergraduate degree ensured differentiation. That role shifted to post-graduate degrees. In academia, that role later shifted to PhDs. Subsequently, it shifted to publications. Still later, it shifted to citations etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.


Topic– e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential;

4) Some authors have defined e-Governance as the e-business of the state. Do you agree. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding about the concept of e-governance and express our opinion as to whether it is simply the e-business of the state, or not.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  e-gov. E.g e-Governance is in essence, the application of Information and Communications Technology to government functioning in order to create ‘Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent’ (SMART) governance.

Body-

Discuss the connection- similarities as well as differences between the e-business and e-governance. E.g Business corporations have discovered over the last few decades that information technology can make the value chain more efficient and lead to quality improvements and cost savings; Similarly, Governments have discovered that information technology can make the provision of services to the citizen more efficient and transparent, can save costs and lead to a higher level of efficiency; he purpose of implementing e-Governance is to improve governance processes and outcomes with a view to improving the delivery of public services to citizens;  both e-Governance and e-business use similar technologies, infrastructure and hardware etc.

Conclusion- based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.


Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Role of civil services”

5) One of the neglected areas of reforms of India’s senior civil services relates to the rationalisation of its branching structure and the related debate of generalist vs specialist services. Comment.(250 words)

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to delve into the branching structure and division of India’s higher civil services into generalists and specialists, and express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and bring out the need for reforms in this aspect of civil services.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.  .

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the need for reform in India’s higher civil services. E.g need to reform method and mode of recruitment and selection, promotion and performance evaluation, tenure and stability, job security and time-bound promotion, lateral entry and equal opportunity etc.

Body-

Discuss the need rationalisation of its branching structure and the related debate of generalist vs specialist services. E.g  The periodic restructuring of individual branches has hardly achieved any objective goal with a long-term reform focus. Essentially, these exercises have been reduced to the rigmarole of inter-service comparison and then trying to ensure career/promotion prospects vis-à-vis other branches, often resulting in increasing the size of the service/branch, and creating a redundant structure and superfluous posts, especially at the senior management level. The result has been that no meaningful or rational end has been achieved, to say nothing of visionary change; Further, as all these services have a theoretical parity with the IAS, the very different reality that actually prevails has a further dampening effect. A recent Government of India study itself has rightly identified that at the national level, the issue of IAS officers occupying most of the senior management-level posts is a cause of deep concern and resentment among other branches; mention that  in this era of highly dynamic social and economic challenges of our country, and also in light of the fact that these challenges are no less humongous or complex than they were at the time of independence etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.


General Studies – 3


 

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

6) Stagnant incomes has more than offset any “asset” gains made in the recent period. Analyze.(250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

The recent elections can be objectively analyzed if we look at the conditions of the rural sector of India during the recent years. The article looks into asset creation and stagnant incomes in rural India.

Directive word

Analyze-here we  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to discuss the asset creation in recent years in India and the reasons for stagnant income besides such improvements.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Mention about the size, demographic composition and other important data related to rural India.

Body-

  1. Discuss the asset creation during the recent years. E.g The last three fiscals have seen over 1 crore houses being built under Central schemes, including the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin;  The number of active domestic LPG connections has, thanks to the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, gone up from 15.33 crore in June 2015 to 24.72 crore in October 2018, with overall household penetration levels, too, rising from 57.86% to 88.51%; Of the country’s 21.69 crore rural households, 20.87 crore (96.24%) are now electrified. Under the Saubhagya scheme, launched on September 25, 2017, the number of un-electrified households has reduced from around 4 crore to just 81.53 lakh; More than 8.98 crore household toilets have been built in rural India since October 2, 2014 under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin;
  2. Discuss the stagnant incomes due to low crop prices and stagnant wages. E.g Since 2014-15, the average annual increase in the wholesale price index has been only 2.75% for “food articles” and 0.76% for “non-food” agricultural articles. As against this, the same during the preceding five-year period amounted to 12.26% and 11.04%, respectively, while higher than the average annual general wholesale inflation of 6.89%; a marked decline in rural wage growth for agricultural and non-agricultural occupations after 2014-15, with the average yearly increase working out to about 5.2% in nominal terms. That is slightly above the corresponding rise of 4.9% in the rural consumer price index, pointing to a virtual stagnation in real rural wages.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.


Topic – Environmental pollution and degradation

7) Compare and contrast the performance of Delhi vis a vis Beijing in tackling air pollution?(250 words) 

Financial express

Why this question

The article compares and contrasts the performance of Delhi and Beijing in tackling air pollution. Learning from the example of a city that has managed to successfully alleviate part of the problem that Delhi grapples with will help us in deciding the way forward for Delhi.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the steps taken by Delhi and Beijing in tackling air pollution and explain what gives Beijing the edge and what lessons Delhi can learn from Beijing in tackling air pollution.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the scale of the problem of air pollution faced by Delhi and Beijing.

Body

  • Discuss the steps taken by Delhi in tackling air pollution – odd even scheme, ban on construction etc
  • Discuss the steps taken by Beijing in tackling air pollution – Beijing set doable targets and made sure they are achieved. For this, the government restricted movement of diesel trucks within the city and major cargo corridors in and out of Beijing, resulting in reduction of PM2.5 pollution by 35%. All construction-related activities were banned from November 15, 2017, to March 15, 2018. Carbon emissions reduction was strictly imposed on heavily polluting industries.
  • Explain that Beijing on the basis of research and data has tackled the major causes and achieve significant improvements. Delhi on the other hand has lagged behind in upgrading it’s infrastructure for combating vehicular emissions etc

Conclusion – Discuss the lessons that are there for Delhi and the way forward.


General Studies – 4


Topic– Part of  the series of Ethics Case Studies

8) A woman is sexually harassed by a top-level senior executive in a large company. She sues the company, and during settlement discussions she is offered an extremely large monetary settlement. In the agreement, the woman is required to confirm that the executive did nothing wrong, and after the agreement is signed the woman is prohibited from discussing anything about the incident publicly. Before the date scheduled to sign the settlement agreement, the woman’s lawyer mentions that she has heard the executive has done this before, and the settlement amount is very large because the company probably had a legal obligation to dismiss the executive previously. The company however wants to keep the executive because he is a big money maker for the company.

 

  1. What are the issues of integrity, ethics and law posed in the case study?
  2. What options does the woman have?
  3. What should she do and why? (250 words)

 

Structure of the answer

Some of the issues raised by this case study include initial issues of unethical and unlawful conduct, by the executive and the company; whether the company should allow the executive to continue working because of the revenue he generates, in view of his propensity to harm co-workers, and whether this action is ethical or reflects integrity; whether the company should require the woman to state that the executive did nothing wrong as part of the settlement agreement; whether the woman should agree to this settlement in view of the harm future employees are being exposed to; and whether the woman is prioritising justice for herself over harm to future employees in an acceptable way.

Discuss about these issues and give the best ethical solution possible under such situation.



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. 

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