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[Insights Secure STHIR– 2021] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 24 December 2020

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General Studies – 1


 

Topic:  Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent);

1. Explain the distribution of major non-metallic minerals in India. Critically Analyze the National Mineral Policy, 2019 in revitalizing the mining sector, increasing output and focusing on responsible and sustainable mining. (250 words)

Reference: NCERT CLASS – XII: India People and Economy.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question: To

Explain the distribution of major non-metallic minerals in India and to analyze the National Mineral policy, 2019.

Directive:

Critically analyze –

When asked to analyse, 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 ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by mentioning about non-metallic minerals in India and their importance.

Body:

In the first part of the body, with a neat illustrative map, highlight the distribution of major non-metallic minerals such as Mica, Limestone, Dolomite, Asbestos, Magnesite, Gypsum and Kyanite etc.

In the second part, mention about the latest National Mineral Policy, 2019 and its aims in fueling growth, improve India’s minerals sector that can catalyse sustained economic growth, achieve mineral security and growth would have also ensured a globally competitive investment regime along with sustainable development of mining sector.

The NMP talks of increasing mineral production by 200 per cent in seven years. It’s a very ambitious target. It also talks of reducing the trade deficit in mineral sector by 50 per cent in seven years. Bring out the positives of the policy such as business-friendliness of the policy, ease of doing businesses’ and attracting investments, Creating exclusive mining zones and simplifying clearances,

Next mention about, how India’s mining sector has grappled with multiple challenges including illegal and unscientific mining, environmental and statutory process violations, increased cases of fatalities in mine sites and lack of investments in the sector. Mining curbs in Goa and Karnataka along with mine closures in top producing states, Odisha and Jharkhand have led to reduced employment opportunities for the mineral sector professionals and associated contract personnel; as a result, hundreds of young geology and mining graduates face a bleak future.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Topic: factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).

2. Agglomeration industries have been analyzed in the literature as drivers of economic growth, as these contribute to productivity enhancement. Elaborate on the reasons as to why firms agglomerate? (250 words)

Reference: NCERT CLASS – XII: India People and Economy.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question:

To bring out the reasons for agglomeration by industries and firms.

Directive:

Elaborate – Give 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:

Begin the answer by defining agglomeration industries. Cite few examples of Agglomeration Industries in India such as Diamond Agglomeration of Surat, Transportation Industry of Namakkal etc.

Body:

In the first part of the body, elaborate upon Agglomeration industries as drivers of economic growth. From improved access to market centers to from enhanced intra-industry linkages and inter-industry urbanization economies, which all enhances productivity.

In the next part of the body, bring out in detail, the factors responsible for agglomeration of Industries such as Proximity to Customers and Suppliers, Labor Market Pooling, Intellectual or Technology Spillovers, Natural Advantages, facilities for the development, local trade of specialized inputs and better availability of public intermediate inputs tailored to the technical needs of the industry. Substantiate these with examples from India and across the world.

Conclusion:

Summarize the overall importance of agglomeration industries, especially in their role in urbanization and conclude the answer.

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. For these unprecedented times, the true test of democracy lies in Free, Fair and Safe elections. Elaborate. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

Overlapping with the pandemic, elections have been held across the globe. From the United States to South Korea, straddling India, they have brought massive numbers of people out to vote.

Key Demand of the question:

To explain the importance of conducting elections even in the time of a pandemic.

Directive:

Elaborate –

Give 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:

Start by giving context how citizens across the world have braved the pandemic and came to vote in elections held in U.S.A, South Korea and India etc.

Body:

Firstly, highlight the need to hold free and fair elections.

Second, bring about how countries across the world adopted safety measures and some novel measures so that voting in elections could be continued uninterrupted. Appreciate the efforts of election commission of India on successfully and safely conducting Bihar elections.

Third, write about how postponing the elections because of the pandemic would regressive democratically.

Finally, suggest measures to how India and the world should brace up to conduct free, fair and safe elections in 2021 as mass vaccination may still take time.

Conclusion:

Complete the answer by highlight how the situation is set to continue and new risks maybe emerging due to mutations but with adequate precautions and safety measure, the exercise to uphold democracy must go on.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. Define Social Commerce. Assess its scope with respect to opportunities and challenges in the commercial ecosystem of India. (250 words)

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

According to a report, social commerce in India is set to touch $16-20 billion in GMV by 2025. This article captures its potential.

Key Demand of the question:

To bring the out the opportunities and challenges in social commerce in the Indian scenario.

Directive:

Assess – When you are asked to assess, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define social commerce and briefly mention its features. Put forward the increasing trends towards social commerce with a few examples of social commerce.

Body:

In the first part, mention the increasing scope for social commerce in India. Social commerce is a growing and changing field of online marketing which works in conjunction with social media and the growth in online shopping. The enabling of social commerce by platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram etc, the increasing digital connectivity, helping to democratize online commerce, provision of trust and wide reach of social commerce channels etc.

In the next part, bring out the challenges faced in social commerce. Competition from social media giants, lack of branding, lack of on ground insights, pricing of goods and lack of awareness in public.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to minimize challenges and harness the full potential of social commerce in India.

 

Topic:  Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilisation of resources, growth, development and employment.

5. The opportunity has come to finally close the long chapter on retrospective tax that has done such damage to India’s reputation as an investment destination. Comment. (250 words)

Reference: Business Standard  , The Hindu 

Why the question:

India has been ordered to return up to $1.4 billion to Cairn Energy PLC of the U.K. after an international arbitration overturned tax demanded retrospectively.

Key Demand of the question:

Put forward arguments against retrospective taxation in India which has done more harm than good.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by defining what constitutes a retrospective tax and its genesis in India.

Body:

Mention about the need for retrospective taxation in India. Talk about the Vodafone and the Cairns case.

Highlight with examples as to how the retrospective taxation has been more damaging than it has helped. Vicious cycle of arbitration and appeals which are ultimately lost, disincentive investor sentiment, a PR failure, fear of Indian tax regime and using retrospective tax as a tool to meet revenue targets.

Put forward the opportunities that arise by moving away from retro tax such as formation of a coherent investment strategy, boosted investor confidence,  ease of doing business and harmonious bilateral investment treaties etc.

Conclusion:

Underscore the need of India to respect the decision of arbitrators and not to resort to appeals and move towards actually achieving ‘vivad  se vishwas’.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic:  laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance;

6. When morality is not in consonance with a law, what should prevail – the moral principle or the law? (150 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

To debate as to what should prevail if morality is in conflict with the law.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start the answer by mentioning the relationship between morality and law.

Body:

Explain that the popular conception of the connection between law and morality is that in some way the law exists to promote morality, to preserve those conditions which make the moral life possible.

Write about the reason for conflict. They conflict most often because morality gives you a sense of what is right and wrong or acceptable and what is not according to human nature. Law commands obedience not out of a sense of right or wrong but out of necessity. Substantiate the above with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by underscoring that Morality forms the foundation, the pre-condition, for laws. Put another way, laws do not have the necessary foundation or reason to be, if there is no such thing as morality.

 

Topic:  Case Study

7. As the Chief Project Officer, you have been given an emergency grant for re-construction of the bridge that collapsed due to recent flash floods in the area surrounding Malgudi. Although it is a small project for you but it is vital one as it is a sole way in and out of the rural hamlet of Malgudi. After the collapse, people of Malgudi are forced to navigate the river in an un-safe means for reaching to jobs, hospitals and educational institutes etc.

The instruction from the higher ups is to get the project completed at the earliest as well as ensure highest level of quality so that bridge remains strong for a long time irrespective of the weather conditions.

As it is a small project, you need to assign, just one engineer to it. Most of the engineers under you are involved in other major projects and you have two engineers who are relatively less burdened – Mr Swami and Mr Rajam. Both are similar in the quality of work. Mr Swami is known for his honesty and uprightness in the department but his efficiency is low. He has missed many deadlines in the past. On the other hand, Mr Rajam, is a highly efficient worker and know for doing high quality work on time but in the past he had some allegations of corruption against him and many have complained against his nexus with the contractors.

With the bridge needing to be constructed at the earliest, who will you appoint as the engineer for this project? (250 words)

Why the question:

The question is part of the case studies in static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

To analyse, who is better suited for this project by taking both ethical considerations and their efficiency.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by giving the context of choosing between an effective but dishonest guy or an honest but ineffective individual.

Bring out the key stakeholders in the above case study and major ethical dilemmas present

Body:

In the body, analyse the case of Mr Rajam, who is highly productive but integrity is questionable. Bring forward both the short term and long term consequences of put Mr Rajam in charge of the Malgudi bridge project.

Then take up the case of Mr Swami, who is known for his honesty but is not efficient and prone to missing deadlines. Bring forward both the short term and long term consequences of put Mr Swami in charge of the Malgudi bridge project.

 Conclusion:

Follow this up with ethical reasoning and justify it is always better to choose a person with high standards of morality as efficiency can always be improved by training and monitoring. Integrity on the other hand, cannot be taught so easily.


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