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[Insights Secure – 2020] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 16 December 2019

[Insights Secure – 2020] Daily UPSC Mains Answer Writing Practice: 16 December 2019

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General Studies – 1


Topic: Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1. Formal recognition of land rights allows for cleaner cities and better living conditions for slum dwellers. Examine. (250 Words)

Indian Express 

Why this question:

Slums are an omnipresent reality for most of the major cities of India and various efforts have been made by the government to address the issue. In this context it is essential to understand the relationship of India’s slums with its political and economic structure and discuss why the slum development and relocation strategies have not borne the results.

However, Odisha’s slum rehabilitation project is transforming lives. The World Habitat Mission recognised the state government’s Jaga Mission that used drones to survey slums. It is the world’s largest slum land title project. It involves the government surveying and awarding slum dwellers a legal land title.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the importance of how the formal recognition of land rights to the slum dwellers can help in improving the living conditions of slum and in turn lead to sustainable urbanization.

Directive:

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

write a few introductory lines about the growth of urbanization in India and the problems this has led to.

Body:

Discuss the importance of slums from the point of workforce

  • One cannot just remove them. (If we do that) there will be no one (left) to work as domestic staff or in garbage disposal and road constructions — their most common occupations that also happen to be the lifeline of the city. Slums are the pillars of the urban (city) economy. Especially in India, the formal economy runs on the engine of the informal economy.

Discuss about the various challenges faced by the slum dwellers due to lack of recognition of land title and reasons why most slum development strategies have failed in India.

  • g. There are many hurdles, both major and minor. The lack of adequate data and land titles in slums meant expensive, time-consuming delays were common. Failure to take slum dweller representatives on board meant that the informal economic networks underlying the slum economy would be disrupted by the redevelopment. So would the community networks that fill the gaps left by missing social safety nets. Lack of common standards meant that the housing built for slum dwellers was often of execrable quality. As for the problem of slum dwellers selling or leasing the houses and returning to their previous housing, poor quality, unaffordable maintenance costs and disrupted networks often had a role to play here etc.

Using the Odisha’s Jaga mission as an example, substantiate as to how the formal recognition of land title can lead to betterment of living conditions.

What other measures needed to tackle it?

E.g.: After LRC distribution, the focus must shift to individual and public toilets, household tap water supply, LED street lighting, and skill improvement etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.


General Studies – 2


Topic: Indian Constitution – features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure; basics of cyber security

1. Is Indian law on the freedom of religion flawed? Critically comment. (250 words)

The Hindu Centre

The Hindu Centre

Why this question:

The Supreme Court has referred to a 7 judge- bench a clutch of review petitions challenging its September 2018 verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple. The Supreme Court’s majority opinion recently in the Sabarimala review petitions, which opens up the possibility of a reference to a larger bench, is bizarre and deeply problematic.

Key demand of the question:

One must explain how the verdict in the Sabarimala review petitions could also be seen as an opportunity for a larger bench to examine the entire gamut of jurisprudence on the relationship between faith and the judiciary.

Directive:

Critically comment – When asked to comment, 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 ‘comment’ is prefixed, we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief highlight the details of the recent verdict.

Body:

Explain the various observations made by the court:

  • Restrictions on women in religious places are not limited to Sabarimala alone and are prevalent in other religions too. The issue of entry of women into mosques and Agiyari could also be taken by the larger bench.
  • Both sections of the same religious group have a right to freely profess, practise and propagate their religious beliefs as being integral part of their religion by virtue of Article 25 of the Constitution of India.

Discuss about the pros and cons of the judgement with respect to Gender justice.

Discuss the various facets of religion and constitution:

  • The Constitution does not define ‘religion’. It does not shed any light on how courts are to deal with the myriad questions that arise from the interaction between law and religion. How then are constitutional courts to deal with such issues?

Then finally argue that how the verdict in the Sabarimala review petitions provides the Court with a rare opportunity to settle a particularly troubling area of its jurisprudence. Against this background, this article seeks to analyse the Constitutional provisions with regard to the freedom of religion and the judiciary’s interpretation of these articles. It argues that existing jurisprudence and the use of the ‘essential religious practices’ test is patchy and needs serious reconsideration.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.


Topic: Role of civil services in a democracy.

2. The competence, commitment and confidence of the civil services helps make a difference to the governance landscape of our country. Discuss the above statement with respect to the importance of civil services for a democratic country like India. (250 words)

Indian polity by Lakshmikant.

Source

The Hindu Centre

Key demand of the question:

The question wants us to write in detail about the role and importance of civil services for a country like India.

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

write a few introductory lines about the Civil services in India.

Body:

Discuss in points the role played by civil services in a democracy and try to connect them with Indian civil services. E.g.

  • Role in Governance
  • Role in provision of public goods and services
  • Economic policy improvement and implementation
  • Role in fiscal sustainability
  • Role in institutional development

Conclusion:

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


Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

3. The success of such a huge social scheme cannot be measured in terms of mere distribution of connections without ensuring the transition to clean fuel through sustained usage of LPG. Critically Examine in light of the recent findings of CAG on the government’s marquee Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). (250 Words)

Line Mint

Bloomberg Quint

Why this question:

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has expressed concerns over National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s marquee Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in terms of low consumption, diversions and considerable delays in supply of cylinders. This comes in the backdrop of the Ujjwala scheme that provides free cooking gas connections to poor families; hailed as the NDA government’s version of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss in detail the significance of behavioural and attitudinal change brought in by the PMUY scheme. However, point out to the challenges faced by the scheme and the measures to overcome the same.

Directive:

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 judgement.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief explain the background of the scenario           .

Body:

Highlight the findings of the CAG report:

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its report on the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), has highlighted the risk of diversion of domestic cylinders for commercial use as 1.98 lakh beneficiaries had an average annual consumption of more than 12 cylinders.
  • The CAG said this level of consumption seemed improbable in view of the BPL status of such beneficiaries.
  • Similarly, 13.96 lakh beneficiaries consumed 3 to 41 refills in a month. Further, IOCL and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) in 3.44 lakh instances issued 2 to 20 refills in a day to a PMUY beneficiary having single-bottle cylinder connection

On the contrary, provide with the significance of Ujjwala scheme and in what way it addresses the behavioural and attitudinal aspects. Explain the need of getting rid of conventional cooking methods, necessity of clean cooking fuel methods.

What needs to be done to address these issues and challenges?

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.


General Studies – 3


Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

1. The Supreme Court has asked government to look into the feasibility of hydrogen-based tech to deal with vehicular air pollution in capital. In light of the above statement, Discuss the hydrogen fuel cells technology and its applications. Also evaluate India’s preparedness to adopt it. (250 words)

Indian Express

Why this question:

Supreme Court has asked government to look into the feasibility of hydrogen-based tech to deal with vehicular air pollution in capital. India is looking closely at Japan, which has made progress in this field. The article provides deep insight into hydrogen fuel cell technology which are going to become the preferred mode of transportation in the days and years to come.

Key demand of the question :

The question expects us to explain how hydrogen fuel cells battery work. Thereafter, we need to highlight the pros and cons of technology, its possible applications. Further we need to analyse India’s steps to accept and adopt the technology to combat the pollution issues. And finally give a fair and balanced view regarding the future of these technologies.

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:

Explain that electric vehicles are the way forward because of threats of climate change

Body:

Explain how hydrogen fuel cell batteries work

At the heart of the fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) is a device that uses a source of fuel, such as hydrogen, and an oxidant to create electricity by an electrochemical process. Put simply, the fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate an electric current, water being the only by-product. Like conventional batteries under the bonnets of automobiles, hydrogen fuel cells to convert chemical energy into electrical energy. From a long-term viability perspective, FCEVs are billed as vehicles of the future, given that hydrogen is the most abundant resource in the universe.

Discuss the pros and cons of HFC technology

Discuss the various applications of the technology.

Finally, talk about how far is India ready to adopt the FCEV technology.

Conclusion:

Give your opinion on which technology is the future and what should India do.


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

2. The Wular lake, once Asia’s largest freshwater lake but today little more than a big pond. In the light of above statement, discuss the challenges faced in safeguarding the lake ecosystem and provide measures. (250 words)

The Wire

Why this question:

Wular lake, once Asia’s largest freshwater lake but today little more than a big pond. It once occupied an area of 272 sq. km but has since shrunk to 72 sq. km, with only 24 sq. km of open water left.

Key demand of the question:

One has to discuss the various reasons for degradation of the lake ecosystems in India and provide the measures for safeguarding the same.

Directive:

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:

One can start off with the importance of lakes in a given environment. Further substantiate it with the context of the Wular lake itself.

Body:

Discuss the challenges faced in safeguarding the lake ecosystem?

  • Encroachment and increasing stress on the lake boundaries
  • Dumping of the solid waste, sewerage etc.
  • Industrial and residential effluents from the cities that discharge into the lake
  • spread of the invasive alligator weed is slowly destroying the beneficial vegetation growing in the lake
  • Increasing siltation etc.

       How can this be overcome?

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.


General Studies – 4


Topic: Role of civil services in a democracy; 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

1. Integrity compels individuals to be socially conscious and to welcome both personal and professional responsibility. Analyse the reasons for a decline in civil service integrity and suggest solutions. (250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon

Why this question:

The question is because of the rising cases of corruption in the civil services, declining dutifulness, delayed decision making due to various societal, political pressures faced by the civil servants.

Key demand of the question:

The question is about analysing the importance of integrity for civil servants and analysing the reasons for the declining trend of integrity in civil services.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines define what is integrity.

Body:

The question is straightforward, thus doesn’t require much deliberation, one must discuss the concept of integrity in detail, its importance for civil services and relevance in Indian democracy.

Discuss the reasons for the declining integrity among the civil services.

  • The rising materialism and acquisitiveness in social life.
  • Increasing trend of political executive involving in the administrative matters.
  • Rising quid-pro-quo between political and permanent executive.
  • Loss of neutrality and increasing bias towards a particular political parties.

Provide the various measures needed to rebuild and follow the path of integrity.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of integrity in good governance.