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[Insights Secure – 2019] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 17 DECEMBER 2018

[Insights Secure – 2019] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 17 DECEMBER 2018

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Tomorrow’s Static Topic:  Role of civil services in a democracy. 


General Studies – 1


Topic modern Indian history

1) The charkha was Gandhi’s attempt to crystallise the very deep paradox of an Indian economy and culture in the hands of Western imperialism. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article talks about how British used the textile industry as a tool of economic imperialism and made full use of it, at India’s cost. The article then talks about how Gandhi recognised that domination of British in textile industry in India was not only economic exploitation but domination over the spirit of Indians and thus he emphasized on Swadeshi and the power of charkha. The question expects us to discuss these issues and comment on them.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out how British dominated textile trade in India and used it to prosper at the cost of India’s resources and in the process negatively affected the life of many Indian skilled craftsmen. Thereafter, it expects us to bring out how Gandhi through the symbolism of charkha and the message of Swadeshi fought against this domination and the impact it had.

Directive word

Comment – When you are asked to comment, you have to pick main points and give your ‘opinion’ on them based on evidences or arguments stemming from your wide reading. Your opinion may be for or against, but you must back your argument with evidences.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – explain that the theory of economic drain has been put forward by several historians and explain that charkha symbolised the power of Swadeshi – the most valiant resistance against the capture of domestic textile industry.

Body

  • Explain how the British systematically dismantled the cotton mill industry of India and reduced Indian trade in this segment, destroyed economic opportunities for Indians and reduced India to a position of exporter of raw material.
  • Highlight the impact it had on poverty and economic underdevelopment of India.
  • Explain that Gandhi understood the ghostliness of an industry that had mummified weavers into power looms. And one of the first strikes he led was at a cotton mill in Ahmedabad in 1918. Discuss the steps he took and analyze its impact. Highlight the opposition to his policies. by the 1930s, the Mahatma, passionate about exorcising the ghosts of previous centuries, wanted to boycott not only British-manufactured cotton, but also cotton produced in Indian mills. Even though two of his most notable companions, Ghanshyam Das Birla, a cotton magnate, and Jawaharlal Nehru, opposed this theatrical idea of swaraj.

Conclusion – Comment on the power of charkha and the impact it had on the freedom struggle.


General Studies – 2


Topic – Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

2) Critically examine the impact of TDSAT’s order on predatory pricing? Also explain the function of TDSAT?(250 words)

Economictimes

Why this question

This article discusses the recent judgmental of TDSAT where it rejected the telecom regulator’s order that had changed the definition of ‘significant market power’ (SMP) to identify predatory pricing. This order has significant impact on the telecom sector of the country and thus needs to be understood and its impact analyzed.

Key demand of the question

The question first expects you to first explain the role of TDSAT. Thereafter, we need to explain the order and by referring TRAI regulations. We need to discuss the pros and cons of the impact of the order. Finally, we need to provide a fair and balanced conclusion and discuss the way forward.

Directive word

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 or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss why this question has come by explaining TDSAT’s order.

Body

  • First answer the second part of the question regarding role and function or TDSAT.
    • In order to bring in functional clarity and strengthen the regulatory framework and the disputes settlement mechanism in the telecommunication sector, the TRAI Act of 1997 was amended in the year 2000 and TDSAT was set up to adjudicate disputes and dispose of appeals with a view to protect the interests of service providers and consumers of the telecom sector.
    • The Tribunal exercises jurisdiction over Telecom, Broadcasting, IT and Airport tariff matters under the TRAI Act, 1997 (as amended), the Information Technology Act, 2008 and the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008
  • Explain what predatory pricing is. Explain how by altering the definition of significant market player, the order has has a huge impact on reliance Jio, Airtel , Vodafone etc.
  • Analyze the impact of the order on enhancing the reach of cell phones and telecom connectivity in the country versus the upholding of principles of transparency and effectiveness

Conclusion – Give your view on the verdict and discuss about the way forward.


Topic-Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

3) Kashmir stands today at the cusp of a new and dangerous phase. Comment in the context of the present turmoil in Kashmir.(250 words) 

The hindu

Why this question

The recent report about the spate in the number of casualties in Kashmir and a handful of other incidents point out to the grim situation in Kashmir today. It is therefore important to discuss the present situation and bring out the reasons behind the same.

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 of the present situation in Kashmir and express our opinion as to why/ why not Kashmir is at the cusp of a new and dangerous phase.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  increase in number of casualties in Kashmir witnessed during the past few years. E.g 2018 has turned out to be the worst for the j&k state, with nearly 50 policemen & dozens of civilians killed, hundreds of militants neutralized etc.

Body-

Discuss why the present situation is critical and at the cusp of a new and dangerous phase. E.g

Four years of mismanaged politics have plunged J&K into its worst ever cycle of violence and confusion; failure to sustain democracy in the state as the recent dissolution of the assembly denotes; Over the past three years, South Kashmir had been the main epicentre of violence, but more recently, North and Central Kashmir have also emerged as violence prone;  This year has witnessed some of the highest levels of violence since 1989; Areas such as Srinagar which had previously been declared a ‘militancy free zone’ have again witnessed a series of militant attacks; a distinct feature of the situation in Kashmir today is the divide between the administration and the populace, which is possibly at its widest today; mention the turnout in recent years in the elections held for the local bodies etc.

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


General Studies – 3


Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

4) The Rule book agreed to in COP 24, is not ambitious enough to prevent the dangerous effects of global warming. Critically analyze.(250 words)

The hindu

Downtoearth

Downtoearth

Why this question

Nearly 200 countries have agreed to the rule book to the Paris agreement in the recently held COP 24 held at Kavotice recently. However the rule book has been criticised for being not enough to tackle the Climate change issue. It is therefore necessary to discuss its shortcomings as well as its positive implications.

Directive word

Critically 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. based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to delve deeper into the provisions and main points of the rule-book agreed to in COP 24. It wants to bring out the shortfalls and deficiencies of the rule-book and also bring out the positive implications/ points, if any. Based on our discussion we have to form an opinion on the issue in the form of a way-forward.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  COP 24 and the rulebook recently agreed to by the group of nearly 200 countries. E.g mention what is rulebook and its relation to the Paris agreement.

Body-

Discuss the shortcomings of the rulebook. E.g Fine-tuning of some of the technical aspects under sub-article 6.2 (concerned with cooperative approaches and internationally transferred mitigation outcomes  or ITMOs), and sub-article 6.4 (Sustainable Development Mechanism or SDM) has been left for COP25 in 2019, and will be based on the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice’s (SBSTA’s) recommendations and guidance. Similarly, sub-article 6.8 (non-market approaches) has also been relegated to the SBSTA for guidance, which unlike the other sub-articles, largely lacks content; The ambitious options of levying an automatic or discounted cancellation on the transfer of emission reductions, as proposed by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), have been removed etc.

Discuss the positive points. E.g While some rulebook elements still need to be fleshed out, it is a foundation for strengthening the Paris Agreement and could help facilitate U.S. re-entry into the Paris Agreement etc.

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


Topic-Environmental pollution and degradation

5) The results of Lancet Planetary Health study are disquieting, for they point to a looming public health emergency that necessitates a renewed focus on mitigating the hazards of air pollution in India. Discuss and critically analyze government policies for dealing with the crisis?(250 words)

Epw

Why this question

The article highlights the results of the planetary health study and emphasizes on the sizeable problem caused by the scourge of air pollution. The article also critically analyzes the policy of the government to deal with air pollution and provides alternative solutions. At a time when air pollution has become a daily news item, the question is relevant for mains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to to highlight the major problem that air pollution is in the introduction. Thereafter, we need to explain the findings of Lancet study and discuss its implications. Thereafter, we need to bring out the steps taken by the government to deal with the problem of air pollution and highlight it’s shortcomings. We need to end with emphasizing on the magnitude of the problem and discuss the way forward.

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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that air pollution has become a major issue with aqi constantly showing very poor or worse results in several major cities of the country.

Body

  • Discuss the findings of the Lancet study
    • Indians suffer from disproportionately high mortality and disease burden on account of polluted air.
    • It revealed that in India, the annual population weighted mean exposure to ambient particulate matter, PM2.5,in 2017 was 89.9µg/m3, which was one of the highest in the world. None of the states in India could comply with the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended norm of ambient particulate matter air quality of less than 10µg/m3. Moreover, about 77% of the population was exposed to pollution levels higher than 40µg/m3, the level recommended by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
  • Discuss the impact of these findings
    • Air pollution caused more disease burden in India than tobacco use, leading to respiratory infections, diseases of the lungs and heart, stroke and diabetes.
    • The study estimated that about 1.24 million deaths in 2017 were attributable to air pollution. Of these, about 51.4% were of persons aged less than 70 years. The average life expectancy would have been higher by 1.7 years had the air pollution level been less than the minimal level. Etc
  • Explain the steps taken by the government in dealing with air pollution and examine its shortcomings.
    • government acknowledged air pollution as a pan–India problem with the drafting of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which was intended to build and strengthen the institutional capacity to monitor air quality across India, carry out indigenous studies to understand the health impacts of air pollution and create a national emission inventory.
    • programme has been criticised by environmentalists for lack of clear reduction targets and strategies to ensure compliance to standards within a specified time frame. The criticisms are especially pertinent as the government has recently relaxed regulations for polluting coal-fired thermal power plants which were required to comply with emission standards

Conclusion – Give your view on the problem of air pollution and discuss way forward.


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

6) Despite the environmental and human costs,  and NGT orders banning rat -hole mining, it is widely practiced across Meghalaya. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Downtoearth

Reference

Why this question

Rat-hole mining is a dangerous business and it recently took over the life of around 13 people in Meghalaya. This highlights the need to discuss its harms and also why the activity has continued even though NGT has banned it.

Directive word

Critically 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. based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to bring out in detail about the environmental and human costs of rat-hole mining in Meghalaya and bring out the reasons as to why the activity continues even after NGT orders banning it.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  Rat-hole mines. E.g briefly present a picture of a rat-hole mine as to how it is dug etc.

Body-

  1. Discuss briefly the environmental and human costs of rat-hole mining. E.g it is a dangerous pursuit putting at risk the lives of miners who venture inside without any safety; danger of flooding and mine collapse; environmental hazard posed by mined out coal etc.
  2. Discuss why rat-hole mining continues in Meghalaya even after the NGT has banned it. E.g the relaxations granted by the court have made it difficult to enforce the ban; The green tribunal, too, on several occasions, has caved in to appeals by miners and allowed the transportation of coal that had already been extracted; in January miners tend to sneak in fresh coal with previously extracted coal etc.

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


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

7) There is an urgent need to reconsider green clearance mechanism for small-scale mining in India. Examine.(250 words)

downtoearth

Why this question

Small-scale mining is a huge source of resource exploitation, environmental degradation as well as corruption. It is necessary to look into the issue in detail and discuss why there is a need to reconsider the regulatory aspects of Small-scale mining in India.

Directive word

Examine- here we have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.  

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deeper into the issue of small-scale mining in India and bring out the reasons in detail as to why there is an urgent mechanism to reconsider the green clearance mechanism designed for small-scale mining.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  regulatory aspect of small-scale mining in India. E.g the regulating authorities identify the areas where mining can be allowed and also where mining must be prohibited due to geological and physical limits etc.

Body-

Discuss in points about the problems with the green clearance mechanism for small-scale mining and why therefore there is a need to reconsider it. E.g In its December order, the NGT has observed that the 2016 EIA Amendment has failed improve environmental safeguards for mining in small scale leases; the tribunal questioned the competence and knowledge of authorities dealing with such ECs; There are mounting cases of rampant and illegal activities particularly related to sand and stone mining,; DEAC is not competent enough to conduct proper scientific evaluation of project impacts allowing it to evaluate sand mining proposals, which is a major small scale mining activity in all states and has huge environmental implications, is also not suitable for the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, proposed by the union ministry in 2016; The NGT has particularly questioned expertise and qualification of the DEAC members as outlined in the 2016 Amendment; To ensure environmentally responsible mining, the Centre should develop guidelines in spirit of the SC judgment that was given in 2012. The SC in its 2012 judgment in the matter of Deepak Kumar etc. vs State of Haryana & Ors. had emphasised the ills of unscientific sand mining and the importance to deal with it through proper regulatory mechanism.

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


Topic– Environmental pollution and degradation.

8) NGT’s fine on Karnataka government for improper management of city’s lakes is a timely reminder to other states to take care of their water bodies. Discuss.(250 words)

Financialexpress

Why this question

The article examines the recent decision of NGT of imposing fine on karnataka government for mismanagement of city lakes and the larger issue it raises about the mismanagement of water bodies and sewage disposal in general. This question would help you understand the issue and think over the way forward.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first highlight and explain the reasons behind the order of NGT of imposing fine on Karnataka government. Thereafter, it expects us to highlight the poor condition of water bodies and improper waste disposal which causes such condition of your water bodies across the states. Next, we need to bring out the steps required for proper management of such lakes and provide the way forward.

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 – Highlight the decision of NGT – The National Green Tribunal’s order earlier this month, imposed a Rs 50-crore fine on the Karnataka government and a Rs 25 crore one on the city’s municipal government for negligence that led to the city’s lakes sporting flotillas of toxic froth—and even catching fire in the case of Bellandur.

Body

  • Highlight the reasons behind NGT’s order
    • BBMP had sanctioned illegal construction around a lake, in violation of an earlier NGT order, via a circular that was later withdrawn.
    • NGT also pulled up the state government for its “apathy”, saying projects were being “sanctioned without ensuring preventive, restorative and controlling measures”.
    • The NGT made note of how the state and the local governments’ failure to act has led to rampant encroachment—98% of lakes suffer from this—that has choked off recharging and the unchecked flow of untreated wastewater (90% of the lakes suffer from this; more than 35% of the sewage that flows into Bellandur is untreated).
  • Comment on the larger issues that the order raises – that of mismanagement of city lakes and poor waste disposal. Highlight the situation across the country. Non-profit water pollution monitor WaterAid estimates nearly 80% of surface water in India—rivers, lakes, canals, etc—to be highly polluted, mostly due to untreated domestic sewage flowing into these water bodies from urban areas and, in the case of some rivers, due to untreated effluent from factories
  • Discuss the solutions that can mitigate this issue

Conclusion – Highlight that NGT’s decision should serve as an eye opener for other states to take care of the water bodies.

 



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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