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[Insights Secure – 2019] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 31 DECEMBER 2018

[Insights Secure – 2019] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 31 DECEMBER 2018

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INSIGHTS NEW SECURE – 2019: YEARLONG TIMETABLE

 

Tomorrow’s Static Topic:  Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-
partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion
towards the weaker sections.


General Studies – 1


Topic – changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes

1) Analyze the reasons behind the extra cold winters in parts of north India this year.(250 words)

Reference

Reference

Why this question

This year has witnessed some of the lowest temperatures recorded in last two decades. India has seen severe cold in its northern states. It is therefore essential to examine the reasons behind the same.

Directive word

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.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the record low temperatures witnessed in the winter of this year across the northern states of India and bring out the reasons behind it, and any related phenomena.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a few introductory lines about some of the lowest temperatures recorded this year’s winters.

Body-

Discuss as to why the temperatures are so low this time. E.g

  • Cold wave conditions form due to lack of western disturbances which are are extratropical storms that mostly appear during the winter months. They are called extratropical storms because they originate outside the tropics. They originate somewhere near the mediterranean sea and the Atlantic Ocean and are laden with moisture. Western disturbances create precipitation and bring down day temperatures, but night temperatures remain steady.
  • They change the wind patterns in the northern parts of India. Presence of an active western disturbance cold winds from the Himalayas continue to blow in to the northern parts of India thereby allowing the prevailing cold conditions to continue and intensify.
  • Once the western disturbances pass, day temperatures increase but night temperatures dip significantly.   Parts of the plains of north-west, central and west India encounter cold wave, fog and ground frost conditions etc.

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


General Studies – 2


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

2) The government has recently rolled out a national strategy for artificial intelligence (AI) and identified five sectors (health care, agriculture, education, infrastructure and transportation) for  GBits adoption. Examine the usefulness of AI for these sectors? (250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question

The government including the prime minister has placed much great emphasis on the transformative potential of AI and consequently has rolled out the National strategy for AI targeting sectors as highlighted in the question above. Understanding the impact of AI in these sectors is thus important for mains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain about the National strategy for AI in the introduction and thereafter bring out how AI can be useful in the sectors as highlighted in the question.

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 – explain about AI and the National strategy for AI.

Body

  • Discuss about how AI can help in the 5 sector
    • Health – AI-based tools to detect outbreaks ahead of time and facilitate accurate and efficient intervention strategies. In India, a similar predictive tool and an underlying system that can integrate data from hospitals, can predict, stop and take preemptive measures for future surveillance, safety and follow up in case of outbreaks of dengue or Nipah virus.
    • Agriculture – predicting weather successfully and, therefore guidance, in what to grow and what price they can expect. Additionally, such tools can help farmers monitor soil health, mine historical weather data including satellite imagery, predict the price of agricultural products and maintain supply-chain efficiency.
    • Education – introduction of tutoring apps, which use data to provide better support and information for students, have replaced the dependency of students on their parents and teachers for guidance and tuitions. Etc

Conclusion – based on the usefulness of AI in the sectors give an overview of how useful AI can be for the country.


Topic – Statutory, regulatory and quasi-judicial bodies

3) Explain the role of SFIO? Examine what role it can play in averting crises such as one at IL&FS?(250 words)

Financialexpress

Why this question

The article discusses about the issues with auditing practices at IL&FS and why it is necessary for the SFIO to look into the matter. UPSC in the past has focussed on the role of such bodies and this article provides some interesting insights into the problems associated with IL&FS and role of SFIO.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the role of SFIO in detail. Thereafter, it expects us to explain the problem with auditing at IL&FS and how SFIO can play a role in ensuring that such issues are not repeated again. Finally, we need to provide a way forward.

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 – Explain about the IL&FS crisis.

Body

  • Explain that the government has told the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) that it plans to reopen the accounts of IL&FS since it suspects large auditor lapses, to be conducted by SFIO
  • Explain the role of SFIO
    • The SFIO is a fraud investigating agency in India, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
    • The SFIO is involved in major fraud probes and is the coordinating agency with the Income Tax Department and the Central Bureau of Investigation
  • Discuss the issue in IL&FS regarding auditing which the SFIO has to investigate and highlight what would be the impact of these investigations.

Conclusion – Give your view on the role of SFIO and discuss way forward.


General Studies – 3


Topic– Indian economy : issues

4) In view of some of the recent steps taken by the government, critically examine whether the government is micromanaging startups and e-commerce players?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article delves deep into some of the recent steps taken by the government and its agencies with respect to start ups and e-commerce players. The key question here is whether these steps amount to micromanagement on the part of the government and will negatively affect startups and e-commerce players. The question expects you to form an opinion on these issues.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain the step taken by the government with respect to startups and e-commerce players and thereafter, examine the pros and cons of it. We need to discuss whether these steps are required in order to prevent money laundering and protecting domestic e-Commerce investors or whether these steps amount to micromanagement which would negatively impact these sectors. 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 – Explain that the government and its agencies have taken certain steps which has had sizeable impact on start ups and e-commerce players.

Body

  • Explain the recent steps taken by the government
    • start-ups started receiving tax notices under Section 56 (2) (vii, b) of the Income Tax Act, which quickly became known as the ‘angel tax’. Simply put, tax authorities argued that any company that raises capital that is above its fair-market value is actually earning income from that investment. They demanded tax at the maximum marginal rate on the difference between the fair market value (as determined by the taxman and not the investors who actually put in the money) and the price at which the shares were issued.
    • in a press note titled ‘Review of foreign direct investment in e-commerce’, the government imposed a fresh set of curbs on e-commerce players. Any entity where an e-commerce firm has an equity stake is now barred from selling on that platform. Any e-commerce entity vendor’s inventory will be deemed to be controlled by the e-commerce player if more than 25% of its purchases are from the latter or related firms. In that case, the e-commerce firm becomes inventory-based, where FDI isn’t allowed.
  • Discuss the impact of these steps taken by the government. You need to debate from both sides highlight the pros and cons
    • Overvaluation of startups can indeed be used for money laundering. However, to treat all legitimate venture funding as money laundering and to attempt to tax it will negatively affect the ability of these startups to raise capital especially in their formative years etc

Conclusion – give a fair and balanced opinion based on all the arguments made in your answer and discuss way forward.


General Studies – 4


Topic– Part of static series under the heading -Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service

5) Examine how a neutral bureaucracy can take India forward on the path envisaged by our founding fathers?(250 words)

Epw

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what is meant by neutral bureaucracy as opposed to committed bureaucracy and thereafter, using illustrations, explain how a neutral bureaucracy can take India closer to the ideals as enshrined in the constitution.

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 – Explain about the recent incident where a group of civil servants post retirement have written a letter in public domain flagging certain issues with governance.

Body

  • Explain what civil services neutrality is and how it differs from committed bureaucracy
  • Explain the advantages of having civil services neutrality and how it results in better upholding of the principles enshrined in the constitution.
  • Give your view on the role played by retired bureaucrats in flagging issues with governance and how officers who are in service should react in such situations.

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view on the issue and discuss way forward.


Topic– Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

6) The top echelons of public services in most Westminster countries now face a real pressure to be  partisan. Do you agree. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

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 opinion as to whether or not top echelons of public services in most Westminster countries now face a real pressure to be  partisan. It also wants us to write in detail as to why it is necessary for public servants to be impartisan.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  meaning of being impartisan. E.g To carry out tasks or a mission in a manner impartial to Party Politics, loyalties, advantage or agenda.

Body-

Discuss about the Westminster form of government with a shifting political setup and a permanent bureaucracy and discuss the problems of partisanship faced by public servants in such arrangements. E.g

  • An increased emphasis on transparency and accountability has seen senior public servants face intense public questioning from parliamentary committees one hand and press on the another.
  • Political masters inappropriately pressurize public servants to promote and defend government policies.
  • The capacity of public servants to act as custodians of proper practice has broken down beginning with the developments in new public management, when the established balance of power between the political and bureaucratic executive was altered in favour of politicians etc.
  • Increasing aggressiveness of the media, who seek out scandals, happily identify public servants, and routinely accuse them of wrongdoing. This pressure has been compounded by the steady concentration of power in the Prime Minister, meaning the only way to survive and thrive at senior levels  of public services is to demonstrate and display personal loyalty to the PM by championing the government’s policy agenda and fending off persistent media criticism.
  • Erosion of institutions and rise in political advantages associated with partisanship etc.

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


Topic– Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

7) “Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain.”Comment with an example.(250 words)

Reference

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 about integrity and form a substantiated opinion as to whether integrity is/ is not choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain. We have to illustrate our opinion and understanding by giving a suitable example.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Give a simple definition of integrity by comparing it with honesty. E.g While honesty is being true to others, integrity is being true to oneself.

Body-

Discuss about integrity in detail and its relationship with values and personal gain. E.g

  • Integrity means- Behaving in an honest, fair, and ethical manner. Showing consistency in words and actions. Modelling high standards of ethics.
  • Integrity in its bare-bones essence means adherence to principles. It is a three-step process:
  • choosing the right course of conduct; acting consistently with the choice—even when it is inconvenient or unprofitable to do so; openly declaring where one stands.
  • Accordingly, integrity is equated with moral reflection, steadfastness to commitments, trustworthiness.

Give an example to illustrate your concept and understanding of integrity.


Topic- Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

8) How do you think can the value of integrity be realized in public services. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about our thoughts as to how we believe, the value of integrity can be realized/ demonstrated in public service.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Give a simple definition of integrity. E.g Integrity means behaving in an honest, fair, and ethical manner etc.

Body-

Discuss how integrity can be realized in public services. E.g

  1. Treating others fairly and with respect
  2. Taking responsibility for own work, including problems and issues
  3. Using applicable professional standards and established procedures and policies when taking action and making decisions
  4. Identifying  ethical dilemmas and conflict of interest situations and takes action to avoid and preventing them
  5. Anticipating and preventing breaches in confidentiality and/or security
  6. Does not acquiesce to inappropriate personal requests for favors, political pressure, or promise of gain
  7. Displays fortitude to support ethical actions that may negatively impact self or stakeholders etc.

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



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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