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[Insights Secure – 2020] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 11 March 2020

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Topic: Urbanization, their problems and their remedies..

1. What do you understand by “Urban commons”? Examine their importance in ensuring ‘Just and liveable cities’ to all in the urban areas. (250 words)

Reference: Down to earth

Why this question:

Urban commons represent those rare spaces in increasingly segregated cities where the rich and the poor can still meet, children of all classes play together and collaborations for conservation can occur. Yet, across cities the commons seem to be the most dispensable of spaces. Forests like Mumbai’s Aarey are threatened for infrastructure projects, wetlands in Thiruvananthapuram acquired for technoparks and trees in South Delhi felled to build apartments.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the importance of urban commons and how they act as a nutritional buffer and safety net for migrants who flock to cities from distressed parts of the country as well as for other classes in the urban areas.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Give a definition of Urban commons with examples.

Body:

Discuss the importance of urban commons in urban areas

They act as a nutritional buffer and safety net for migrants who flock to cities from distressed parts of the country by providing them with wild plants, greens and brushwood, places to bathe, defecate, wash clothes and protection from winter nights.

The middle-class and wealthy residents of the city are no less dependent on the commons, though they may not recognise the extent of it.

Lakes, parks, wetlands, rivers and even roadside trees play a role in cleaning the air, raising groundwater levels and maintaining people’s physical and mental well-being.

Discuss about the various challenges faced by the urban commons and how we have failed in India to conserve the same

Forests like Mumbai’s Aarey are threatened for infrastructure projects, wetlands in Thiruvananthapuram acquired for technoparks and trees in South Delhi felled to build apartments..

smart city plans and restoration projects take an approach that de-commonises the commons by evicting people who depend on them most.

Beach sides, river fronts, lakes and parks become gated spaces, accessible only to those who can pay, and available only for recreational use, often coupled with “entertainment” in the form of flashing lights, loud music and food courts that evict wildlife.

What measures are needed to tackle it?

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward about how Our cities can hold out any promise of a better future only if the commons play a central role in urban planning

 

Topic: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country

2. Land reforms remain an unfinished agenda even after 70 years of independence. Critically comment. (250 words)

Key demand of the question:

The question first expects us to explain why land reforms are criticized so many years post its initiation as being incomplete. Discuss the reasons why the task of land reforms is still incomplete. Discuss the steps being taken to complete it.

Directive:

Critically comment – When asked to comment, 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. When ‘comment’ is prefixed, we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief highlight about the land reforms that have taken place in India post-independence.

Body:

Discuss how land reforms were carried out post-independence and their results.

Discuss the fact that only some state implemented it properly while the other sought to preserve the status quo.

Discuss why land reform is an unfinished agenda – non modernization of land records, increasing fragmentation of land holdings etc.

Discuss the steps being taken still to complete the task of land reforms.

Conclusion:

discuss the importance of completion of land reforms and highlight way forward.

 

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

3. A public school system that guarantees universal access, good learning and all facilities has to be among the highest national priorities. Examine. (250 words)

Reference : The Hindu

Key demand of the question:

The absence of basic infrastructure like toilets, playgrounds and electricity in govt. schools speaks poorly of policy priorities. Here, the question demands us to write in detail the issues faced, the implications of same on education and the possible way forward.

Directive word:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

write a few introductory lines poor infrastructure conditions present in the Government schools in India. The lack of power in schools is taken note of by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development in its latest report on budgetary grants for school education and literacy for 2020-21.

Body:

Discuss the various infrastructural issues found in our education system.

The panel found from data for 2017-18, only 56.45% of government schools had electricity and 56.98% a playground, while almost 40% lacked a boundary wall.

neglect of toilet construction for children with special needs, failure to build toilets for girls in a third of secondary schools and laboratories for higher secondary science students etc.

Reasons for such poor conditions:

the allocation to the School Education and Literacy department has suffered a cut of 27.52%, amounting to ₹22,725 crore in the Budget Estimate for 2020-21,

Implications of lack of basic infrastructure on children and demographic dividend on large.

Discuss about the policy measures needed. Talk about the Delhi model of education or any other successful model which could rejuvenate the broken infrastructure of our schools.

Conclusion:

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

 

Topic: Agriculture- Issues; Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

4. Explain the concept of Agroforestry. Discuss how agroforestry could solve climate crisis. (250 words)

Reference : Down to Earth

Why this question:

Agriculture and climate change are deeply intertwined. Agriculture is responsible for almost 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is the root cause of 80 per cent of tropical deforestation. Intensive agriculture — characterised by monocultures and aimed at feeding farm animals — is one of the sectors that generates the highest amount of CO2 emissions.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss in detail the concept of Agroforestry. The benefits of Agroforestry and how it can help tackle the climate change crisis being faced across the globe and India

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief explain the scenario of how agriculture and monoculture has led to increasing emissions of GHG’s and adding to the climate change crisis

Body:

Explain the concept of Agroforestry in detail.

Discuss how Agroforestry can help mitigate the climate change effects.

Use case studies which has proven to be successful across the globe to substantiate your answers.

Give a brief idea about the agroforestry potential in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy; Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

5. Despite attempts by the government to cut imports of coal, there has year on year growth in shipments of the fuel. Discuss the causes and measures needed to switch to renewables in light of India’s INDC goals. (250 words)

Reference : The Hindu

Why this question:

India’s thermal coal imports rose 12.6% to nearly 200 million tonnes in 2019, government data reviewed by Reuters showed, reflecting the second straight year of growth in shipments of the fuel despite attempts by the government to cut imports.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain why there has been an increase in the coal imports in India. Further analyse the impacts of increased coal usage on environment. Conclude the answer with measures needed to switch to the Renewable sources of energy in line with India’s INDC goals.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction

Give a brief overview of India’s coal usage scenario.

Body

Explain how important is coal for increasing energy needs of India.

Discuss the various reasons for increased import of coal resources.

Discuss the various implications of increased coal usage on environment and climate change.

Finally, talk about the measures needed to switch to Renewable sources of energy

Conclusion

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges.

6. Curbing hate speech and fake news has emerged as a critical challenge for governments globally. But this is not just a technological issue; it is also a societal problem. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference : Hindustan Times

Why this question:

Online forums are often looked at in a vacuum, but they are merely a reflection of society. In India, polarising content and hateful material on the Internet has proliferated in the recent past. Opinions that an individual would earlier hold back for fear of societal backlash have now found their safe spaces online. The Internet harbours a variety of extreme statements.

Key demand of the question:

One has to discuss the various reasons for degradation of the lake ecosystems in India and provide the measures for safeguarding the same.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Explain the concept of fake news and hate speeches.

Body:

Give an account of how the fake news and hate speeches have manifested into various societal issues across the globe.

In 2019, a terrorist opened fire in two mosques that killed at least 49 worshippers and wounded dozens of others in Christchurch, New Zealand. The attack was live-streamed on Facebook by the perpetrator.

Discuss the challenges posed by hate speeches and fake news using social media?

Polarization of the society

Increased communal violence

Targeting of the minorities

Ghettoization etc.

Talk about how the Governments across the globe have started taking measures and implications of such stringent measures. Also, mention how Indian Cyber laws are toothless in tackling such cyber hate crimes.

       Discuss the feasible measures to overcome these menaces.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface. Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration

7. Diligence is an imperative value for a civil servant as it stems from the belief that work is an end in itself and not a means to an end. Explain. (250 words)

Reference : Ethics by Lexicon

Why this question:

The question is about the concept of ethical due diligence, its importance in civil or public services.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must explain in detail the concept of ethical due diligence, discuss its significance and in the later part of the answer one has to explain how as an individual (as a civil servant) you would inculcate it in your daily life.

Directive word:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the  particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines define what is diligence.

Body:

Discuss the concept of diligence.

Then highlight its importance in civil services – why is it essential to profess due diligence? To what extent is it required by civil servants etc.

Discuss how to inculcate it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of diligence in civil services.