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[Insights Secure – 2018] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 13 JULY 2018

[Insights Secure – 2018] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 13 JULY 2018

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LIST of TOPICS (Static)


General Studies – 1


Topic – Social empowerment

1) Examine how far Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 has succeeded in empowering women at workplaces?(250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

The article explores how successful Maternity Benefits Amendment Act has been in ensuring that women are not discriminated against at workplace. It touches upon various issues still impacting women from achieving true equality at workplaces. We need to examine the lacunae and explore how can we address it.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain the provisions of the Act in brief and the experience of implementation of the Act so far. The key focus here is on understanding why despite such progressive provisions in the legislation, the act falls short in ensuring equality of opportunity for the two genders.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss the aims and objectives of Maternity Benefit Amendment Act.

Body

  • Discuss the safeguards provided to women through this Act – enhancing leave provisions, creche facility etc
  • Highlight the main issues in the Act that has created issues for women. Divide the answer into headings like cultural biases – burden of child care on women, issue aggravated by the provisions of the Act; provisions of the Act creating entry barriers for women etc
  • Discuss how these issues can be mitigated as discussed in the article

Conclusion – Highlight the economic benefits that will accrue through gender equality in LFPR and the role of this Act in achieving that objective.


General Studies – 2


Topic:Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

2)Discuss the provisions of the Dam Safety Bill 2018 and the role of National Dam Safety Authority. Critically examine how far the Bill goes in ensuring structural and operational safety of dams?(250 words)

Hindustantimes

Why this question

The article talks about the provisions of the Dam Safety Bill 2018, role of NDSA and critical analysis of the provisions of the bill, all of which is quite important from mains point of view.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first detail out the provisions of the said bill, the role of NDSA. Thereafter, we need to highlight the pros and cons of the Act in ensuring operational and structural safety of dams, and provide our view on how far the Act would go in achieving the objectives of the Act.

Directive word

Discuss – Here in your discussion the provisions of the bill and the role of NDSA is to be brought out.

Critically examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any . When critically is suffixed, you have to highlight the pros and cons and give a balanced conclusion.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss the necessity of such an act – frequent floods, the environmental impact of dams etc

Body

 

  • First explain the provisions of the bill – the various organizations and regulators created under the bill for purposes of mandatory surveillance, operations and maintenance of all specified dams to ensure safe functioning.
  • Examine the role of NDSA as envisaged under the Act
  • Examine the pros and cons of the act in improving the structural and operational safety. mention that the bill is much required because of the sheer number of dams, the safety concerns on account of them etc. Highlight how the Bill falls short of ensuring operational safety of the dams

Conclusion – Present a fair and balanced view on the efficacy of Dams Safety Bill and what the way forward should be.


TopicGovernment policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3)What do you understand by net neutrality. Critically analyze India’s policy response in this regard.(250 words)

The hindu

wikipedia

Why this question

Net-neutrality is undeniably an important issue, given the increasing relevance and adoption of  IT and the growing integration of internet in our lives. India has explicitly supported the principle earlier in the form of TRAI regulations and now India has released its formal policy in this regard.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to give a simple definition of net-neutrality along with a brief discussion of the principle. Then it wants us to analyze India’s policy response in this regard and bring out the pros and cons of the policy. In the end we have to form a personal opinion on the issue.

Directive word

What do you understand by- Give a simple definition along with a brief description/ explanation/discussion as per the requirement of the question.

Critically analyze- we have to dig deep and discuss both the aspects of the issue, and come up with a personal opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – give a brief and a simple definition of net-neutrality. Write a few lines about the relevance of net-neutrality in our lives.

Body-

  • Discuss India’s policy response in this regard. Mention TRAI regulations and then mention the recent policy approval by Telecom Commision. Discuss how the policy response is a progressive step. Mention about “reasonable traffic management practices” by the service provider;  that certain emerging and critical services would be kept out of the purview of these norms. Discuss why this flexibility/exclusion is a good response.
  • Discuss the cons of net-neutrality vis a vis India. E.g support for digital infrastructure from private sector will be less; more time will be taken for digitization of the society; less free/ subsidized services from private sector etc.

Conclusion– write a few lines about why the pros outweigh cons and based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on India’s policy response towards net-neutrality.

 


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

4)The newly envisaged body for higher education, Higher Education Commission of India,goes against  several of its ke objectives. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

There has been a discussion around HECI in several questions, posted in the past few days. This questions further adds to the criticism of HECI and its limitations.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to simply look into the provisions and the s objectives of HECI and how the provisions  themselves oppose those objectives.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue in terms of the key demand of the question. We have to draw an opinion on the issue for/ against the statement  and substantiate/ support it though proper arguments/ facts etc.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Write a few lines about HECI and its replacement of UGC.

Body-

  • Discuss the key stated objectives of forming HECI. E.g providing more autonomy to educational institutions; minimum government and maximum governance; to promoted ethos of academic freedom, diversity, and knowledge production etc.
  • Discuss how the provisions of the HECI (bill) are against the above objectives. E.g nature of the structure of the commission and its advisory council shows that they are bound to have more “government” in decision-making processes; non-compliance (of directions of the HECI) could result in fines or jail sentence; universities will have to take the concurrence of the HECI before offering a course; proposal to empower the Centre to remove the HECI’s chairperson and vice-chairperson for reasons including “moral turpitude”; focussing on homogeneous, one-size-fits-all administrative models etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion form a personal opinion in the nature of the way-forward. E.g prioritizing school education, learning outcomes, give enough powers to HECI to deter institutes from any misconduct but at the same time giving sufficient autonomy to the institutes in order to foster innovation, research, creativity and academic freedom etc.


Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “ordinary legislation and constitutional amendment Bill”

5) Discuss how the passage of ordinary legislation differs from the passage of constitutional amendment Bill.(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to compare the process of passage of constitutional amendment Bill and an ordinary legislation, highlighting the similarities and differences between the two.

Directive word

Discuss – Here in your discussion the focus should be on bringing out the differences and similarities between the two starting from the process of introduction of the Bill in the Parliament to the time the Bill gets published in the official Gazette and becomes an Act.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss the types of bills.

Body – explain the differences and the similarities between the passage of ordinary legislation and a constitutional amendment legislation starting from the process of introduction of the Bill in the Parliament to the time the Bill gets published in the official Gazette and becomes an Act. Mentioning the relevant constitutional provisions will fetch you extra marks. Also discuss why the process for the two differs, answering this part is important for it is here that you will be able to showcase your understanding.

Conclusion – Mention that indian constitution is called neither rigid nor very flexible because of this process of passage of constitutional amendment Bill.


General Studies – 3


Topic– Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

6)In its drive towards sustainability and energy security, India must ensure  its sustained support for diverse cooking fuel choices. Discuss.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Energy use is a key indicator as well as a key tool for development. Energy use should not only be cost-effective but also environmentally sustainable. In this regard it is imperative for India to evaluate the current fuel choices and, seek to diversify its fuel choices, according to the need for and availability of fuels, in an area.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to  write in detail about the need for India to explore diverse cooking fuel choices, in order to ensure energy security as well as sustainability.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which directs us to write in detail about the key demand of the question and all the necessary and relevant aspects of the question, so as to bring out a complete meaning/ picture of the issue in hand.

structure of the answer

Introduction – write a few lines about the present cooking choices available in India. What are the major energy sources used for cooking, in urban and rural India (PNG, LPG, Kerosene, Wood, Biogas etc.). Present a few statistics (to get more marks).

Body-

  • Discuss why the present energy use vis a vis cooking is unsustainable and not good for energy security of the country. Bring out the desire to diversify the energy sources. E.g high foreign exchange spent on imports, not cost-effective in far-flung rural areas,  high GHG emissions, indoor pollution etc.
  • Discuss the potential and benefits of biogas as a cooking fuel. E.g huge amount of cattle dung and organic waste generated which can be used to produce biogas; cleaner fuel; low indoor pollution; cost-effective etc.
  1. Discuss the challenges faced in  exploitation of biogas. Mention the  National Project on Biogas Development and the reasons for its failure.

Conclusion- Based on your discussion form a fair and a balanced conclusion, summing up your whole discussion. Mention the newly launched Gobar-dhan scheme and its relevance for the question in hand.

 


General Studies – 4


Topic :Case study

7)Recently in Maharashtra, a controversy has arisen over a project by the United States Navy to build a radar facility at a nearby site. Much of the debate is concerned about the right of the local community to participate meaningfully in this decision. And a concern has arisen over the possibility that the facility could generate electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that could cause harmful health effects, namely, forms of cancer.

As a public health official, you are familiar with some of the recent research that has been done on EMFs. Among the important facts are the following:

 

 

 

  • But other epidemiological studies do not show significant risk ratios.
  • Some have argued that there is a causal mechanism to explain the cancers associated with EMFs. For example, it is argued that EMFs interfere directly with cellular activity. But EMFs are pervasive (including the earth’s own field) and it has not been demonstrated why the EMFs generated by electric power lines or radar facilities are special. Another series of studies have been carried out to see if EMFs trigger (or activitate) a cancer-causing gene that is directly responsible for the cancer. But scientists have not been able to confirm this hypothesis.

  • An extensive animal study conducted at the Illinois Institute of Technology showed no positive results. It involved a controlled experiment in which three groups of rats were exposed to varying EMFs while a control group had no exposure. No significant difference between the four groups was found.

 

 

You have been asked to speak to a group of concerned citizens about the health effects of living near electromagnetic fields. Furthermore, you are personally opposed to the US Navy’s project; you feel that it is being imposed on the community without their informed consent. How do you respond to the community’s health concerns about EMFs?

Questions:

 

 

  • What kinds of ethical responsibilities do experts have related to communicating risk information to the public?

 

 

(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The questions poses a practical problem that may arise in the professional life of a person. The basic purpose of the question is to test the analytical capabilities of the student. It wants us to bring out the key ethical questions posed by each question (following the narration of the situation) and answer accordingly.

Structure of the answer

  • Discuss the ethical issues involved in the given responsibility. E.g personal values/ convictions/ prejudices vs available evidence; responsibility of declaration of personal views and keeping them aloof from the available research evidence etc. form an opinion based on your discussion as to whether you should accept the responsibility of answering the public’s questions.
  • Define risk assessment in a simple definition. DIscuss the need for inclusion of the interest of different stakeholders; subjectivity in risk assessment; need to consult all the relevant sources of information; etc. Discuss why it is not a value neutral process.
  • List the responsibilities of such experts. E.g disclosure of all information; disclosure of personal views; consultation and comprehensive perusal of relevant information; taking adequate precautions etc.

 

 


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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