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[MISSION 2023] Insights SECURE : Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 30 January 2023

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General Studies – 1


 

Topic: The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

1. To make political independence more meaningful, there were certain weaknesses in the Indian social structure which needed to be strengthened. Discuss the statement in the context of Gandhiji’s constructive programme. (250 Words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Indian Express (Gandhi in Amrit Kaal (by Shyam Saran)), TOI

Why the question:

Today is the 75th death anniversary of Gandhiji

Key Demand of the question:

To show the weakness of Indian society in that period and how Gandhiji tried to achieve social freedom along with political one.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

You may begin by writing:

Centuries of  British colonial rule destroyed the intricacies of Indian social structure, it created fissures in communal harmony, strengthened caste rigidities and criminalized tribals, to highlight a few. Gandhiji tried to address these

Body:

Next briefly write about the major weaknesses of Indian society e.g. religious conflict, untouchability, Education, economic disparity etc.

Next, write about Gandhi’s constructive program in different spheres (as shown in the image below)

Describe a few with examples.

Conclusion:

You may write:

Most of the weaknesses still exist, though in different forms and even today India needs Constructive programmes 2.0 to uplift several sections of society from poverty, illiteracy and discrimination and achieve true political independence.

 

Topic: Indian Society: Communalism

2. Communalism turns the strength of diversity of Indian society into its Achilles heel. Critically evaluate. (150 Words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of the Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about communalism and how it leads to fractures in Indian society.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Introduce communalism E.g. you may write: Communalism is described as an ideology stating the division between people or communities on the basis of ethnicity, religion, beliefs, values, etc. The difference between two or more religious, ethnic and social communities can sometimes produce clashes in society. 

Body:

Briefly write about the strength of diversity of Indian society: E.g. Coexistence, Assimilationist, cultural cosmopolitanism etc.

Next, write about how communalism turns this strength into its Achilles heel: E.g. Exclusion, Violence, Economic inequality, stereotyping etc.

Briefly write a few positives of communalism as well e.g.

  • Integration: communalism can lead to the integration of some previously excluded groups into their political identity.

In conclusion,

Briefly write some measures which can be taken to address this issue.

 

 

Topic: Indian Society: Social Empowerment

3. What does the ‘Social Progress Index’ (SPI) measure? In light of the report, discuss the status of social mobility in India and the factors affecting it. (250 Words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

 Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of the Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

 Key Demand of the question:

To write about the Social Progress Index (SPI), its measure of social mobility and the factors that affects it.

 Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining social mobility or write about the SPI index.

You may define Social mobility as:

Social mobility or progress refers to change in a person’s socio-economic situation, either in relation to their parents (inter-generational mobility) or throughout their lifetime (intra-generational mobility).

Body:

In the first part, write about what does ‘Social Progress Index’ (SPI) measure.

Next, write about the status of social mobility in India:

  • Global SPI: India’s performance was quite poor as it was ranked 110 out of 169 nations in the global SPI 2022 and the score of 60.2 is well lower than the global average of 65.2. India also ranks low at 76th out of 82 places on WEF’s global Social Mobility Index 2020.

Next, write the factors affecting it: E.g. rural-urban divide, caste-religion markers; social security etc.

Conclusion:

You may write,

A stronger association between one’s starting point and their outcomes in adulthood indicates lower social mobility and less meritocracy. For India, realising the potential of its population will be a key driver of progress and growth. Thus, ongoing initiatives relating to each component must be implemented in a timely and effective manner.


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population

4. Critically examine the need for reforms in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), 2005. Suggest various reform measures to address the issues. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Last year parliamentary panel report asked for reforms. This editorial article suggests various reforms needed in the  Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Key Demand of the question:

To critically write about the need for reforms in the MGNREGA and suggest ways to improve its performance.

Directive word: 

Critically 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. 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: 

Give a brief introduction of the aims and objectives of MGNREGA.

Body:

First, in brief, write about the issues with MGNREGA and therefore need for reforms.

Next, Suggest reform measures e.g. address delays in wage payments; strengthen implementation capacities where expenditure is low instead of curbing expenditure where employment generation is high; run the programme like a demand-based law and not a scheme; make discussions on any proposed reforms participatory etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the way forward.

 

Topic: Governance

5. Throw light on the significance of the Census exercise in understanding population changes. How does the exercise help in planning for development? (250 Words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The 2021 census exercise has been postponed, thus affecting the implementation of various schemes.

Key Demand of the question:

To understand the significance of census exercise and its role in developmental planning.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

You may introduce by:

The census provides information on the size, distribution and socio-economic, demographic and other characteristics of the country’s population. The first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years except for the current 2021 exercise.

Body:

First, briefly write about the census report and its data heads e.g. two phases, house-listing, population enumeration etc.

Next, write about the significance of the Census exercise in understanding demographic changes e.g. demographic changes, confidential gathering of information etc.

Next, write its role in development e.g. Welfare estimation; allotment of resources, Evidence-based planning etc.

Conclusion:

Thus, it is understood that the Census is very important in planning for maximizing the development of Indians and creating viable, data-supported policies. Therefore, it is important to not delay the currently pending Census exercise any further to uphold regularity and get the latest data on the status of Indian demography.


General Studies – 3


 

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

6. India is said to have done better than many many other nations in terms of economic growth. Elaborate on why economic growth matters, and also on the human cost of slow economic growth for a developing country like India.  (250 Words) 

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Budget is around the corner and this interview by Kaushik Bashu (former economic advisor) is a reminder of what India needs to do.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about India’s economic growth, its importance and what happens when there is slow growth.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving statistics regarding India’s growth. How it fared compared to other countries.

Body:

In the first part, mention the significance of having good economic growth, particularly for a country like India with a large youth population.

Next, write about the possible impact that a country like India can face in case of slow economic growth.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.


General Studies – 4


 

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

7. What is the meaning of ‘crisis of conscience’? Give instances of it in public life. (10M)

Difficulty Level: Easy

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Philosophical Mondays’ in Mission-2023 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

Write about the ‘crisis of conscience’ and describe it in the case of public life. Try to give practical examples.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by describing what you understand by ‘Crisis of Conscience’

You may write:

Conscience refers to an individual’s inner sense which helps him/her’ to distinguish between right and wrong. ‘Crisis of conscience’ is a situation wherein a person is drawn between two or more choices all of which appear to be morally acceptable. Such situations can arise in both private and public life.

 

Body:

Elaborate on the concept by dividing it into various parts and giving examples for each from your own life or others. E.g. Lives vs. livelihoods conundrum; Transparency and confidentiality, e.g. the right to information law allows disclosure of information on public issues but not those related to sensitive defence matters; Independence and obedience of higher authority, e.g. order to carry out the raid on some ex-ministers family members due to political reasons

Very briefly write how these crises can be resolved.

Conclusion:

You may conclude by writing:

A crisis of conscience is an integral part of everyone’s lives, and mechanisms to face this situation should be taught and developed amongst us in a consistent and ethical manner both in our private and public lives. Failure to do so might push a person into anxiety, depression, fear etc. 


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