Synopsis and Review-Think and Learn [Day 2]

  • IASbaba
  • June 30, 2015
  • 4
Mains Examination, Think and Learn-2015, UPSC Mains- Think and Learn-2015
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Archives-Think and Learn-Mains 2015


Synopsis/Feedback/Review/Remarks on Think and Learn-[Day 2]


Tuesday, June 30th    


1) Compare and contrast the regimes of Himalayan and Peninsular rivers of India and examine their implications in the irrigation system of the country. (200 Words, 10 Marks)

The first part is a very fairly basic conceptual question, which can be written within hundred words, if you have done a basic reading of NCERT – Geography. The second part also is easy, but the mentioning of canal irrigation, tank irrigation and names of some dams would be enough.

So, here is a model answer, within 200 Words. We have tried to cut down on a lot of unnecessary information and points, keeping the examination environment in mind. Remember these basic points, you can easily write any answer within 7 minutes.


For a better practice, use a timer and try to write as fast as you can. This will teach you answer formulation and writing practice.


Ans) India is a land of rivers, which are mainly divided into two types based on various characteristics, like –

  1. The Place of Origin – While the Himalayan rivers originate from the ice-cold glaciers adorning the high Himalayas, the Peninsular rivers are pre-dominantly rain-fed.
  2. Lifetime of the River – While the Peninsular rivers get dried up during the summers due to shortage of rains, the Himalayan rivers are perennial, because even the melting of ice would produce more water.
  3. The Himalayan rivers are known to bring fertile alluvial soil and deposit on its banks, thus creating very flat, fertile, agriculture plains in its watershed.


Implications to the irrigation system –

  1. Canal systems are predominant in the Himalayan Rivers, due to the Plains and fertile soil, for example the Indira Gandhi canal.
  2. Tank irrigation systems are used in the Peninsula, since the rivers are not perennial, it is prudent to store water.
  3. Whereas dams are used in both types of irrigation systems, but they tend to displace a lot of people, which needs to keep in check.


These days, to have a level-playing field in both type of river-systems, inter-linking of rivers is also being considered.


Today’s Top Answer would go to – Pushkal, for giving a short, compact, concise answer within the word limit, including all the important points. These are the ones which can be realistically and practically can be written in the tense exam environment.


“Indian river system is mainly divided into Himalayan and Peninsular river systems having noticeable differences regarding pattern of flow, length, volume, etc.

These are :

1) Himalayan Rivers(HR) are perennial while Peninsular Rivers(PR) are seasonal and depend on monsoons in summer season.
2) Flow of HR is antecedent while that of PR is super-imposed.
3) HR are larger,have wide basins, brought huge sediments while PR are smaller, narrow basin.
4) HR forms meanders due to large sediments while PRs don’t have large catchment area, so, no shifting of course.
5) HR are navigable while PR are not navigable.

Since, HR are perennial,these are helpful for irrigation in northern region of India by increasing the ground water level, where tube well irrigation method is applied.These areas, where there are no rivers or rainfall is low, can be irrigated by constructing canals through these Perennial rivers like IG Canal in Rajasthan. But in case of PR, since these are seasonal, a major part of the south India remains dry and also, since soil of S.India is hard,mostly of igneous & meta. rocks, it is difficult to build canals in these areas. So these regions mostly practice tank irrigation like regions of Andhra, Karnataka , Maharashtra.”

We shall not take those answers, which are excellent content-wise, nor those answers which have included all the points, thus breaching the word limit by a huge margin.


Note- Our Top Answers would be those, which are within 200 words, with simple english, easy to remember content, a bit generalistic answer, yet which deal with a broader scope, trying to put in the maximum number of diverse points. 🙂


2) Outline the constraints SAARC is facing to emerge as an effective regional organization. (200 Words, 10 Marks)

This is a beautiful question which has a lot of scope in mentioning various factors, disputes and conflicts. Do try to cover a broad range of issues within 20 words per issue.

This is more of an International Relations question, than an International Bodies questions. Focus should be more on the distrust between the SAARC countries.

So, start the question describing SAARC and what intends to do. Then, give a series of points why it is not able to fulfill it’s objective and then conclude the answer agreeing to the question.


We have tried to write the answer within 200 words, so only the most important, easily re-collectible, generalist points are given. 🙂


Ans) The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a collaboration established to promote the welfare of the people of South Asia. It strives to improve peace, progress, quality of life and tries to enhance the mutual trust amongst these countries.

But, SAARC is facing a lot of constraints to emerge as an effective regional organization, due to the following factors –

  1. The South Asian countries are undergoing major financial challenges like, economic crisis, high inflation, limited market access, lack of adequate FDI, high external debt, lack of transfer of technology and existence of inqualities in financial and monetary governance systems.
  2. This has automatically led to the failure of SAARC Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and other such agreements.
  3. Most of the countries are inimical to each other and have a high sense of distrust, like India-Pakistan, India-Sri Lanka, Pakistan-Bangladesh etc.
  4. Water Politics – Since there are many trans-boundary rivers like Ganga, Indus, Brahmaputra, Sutlej etc., many water-sharing disputes occur between co-riparian countries.
  5. Terrorism, illicit drug trade in the Golden Crescent of Afghanistan, Religionistic fundamentalism, illegal migration, lingual attacks like LTTE-Sinhalese-Tamil disputes, etc, create havoc in the environment.


Thus, SAARC has a lot of internal contradictions and complications to be an effective regional cooperative organization.


Today’s Top Answer goes to – Subash Tadala


“Despite three decades elapsed after SAARC formation, there is no significant output or at the best, we can say no outcome except for a few agreements. The constraints which stood as a road block for an effective SAARC are:


Suspicion and India : Every country suspects other for any activity and India being a big country in the grouping was suspected always for its activities.

Their Beginning: The seeds of these suspicion laid down in these countries formation with reference to Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.

Unstable political system : Unless India, every country has one or the other time political instability. Ex- Afghanistan terror, Pakistan military coup, Srilankan Tamils issue.

Feeling of Insecured: Nepal and Bhutan often being a landlocked states has a feeling that they have to depend on India. This obviously results in lack of trust.

Agreements, but no implementation : Though some agreements are made like SAFTA, but there is absence of will to implement them effectively owing to suspicion.

Finally the place itself: South asia being located near to main maritime routes result in the international community interference in strategic matters and there by interfering in SAARC countries.”


3) The evolution of SDGs from MDGs would be a critical event in the history of mankind. Discuss India’s performance in MDGs and comment if India is ready to face SDGs. (200 Words, 10 Marks)

This is a very important question this year, mainly because the MDGs will be discontinued in 2015 and the SDGs would be discussed in the Paris Summit. So, this might be a sure-shot question, either this year’s Mains or the next year’s Mains.

So, do try to remember one-line performace of each MDG by India and try to make a list of all the important SDGs also. The official list would not be announced till the Paris summit, which will be held in December 2015, by which the Mains Question Paper will be set.

So, the main outline for this answer would be simple. List out the performance for each MDG by India within 150 words, and try to answer positively about it’s readiness for the SDGs in the next 50 words.

Ans) The Millenium Development Goals are a list of 8 Goals envisaged by the UN for all the countries to achieve by 2015. Now, after the expiry of this date, the Paris Summit will decide upon the Sustainable Development Goals for it’s future course.

India’s performance in MDGs

  1. Performed Well – Reduced poverty and hunger by half(MDG 1), Achieved control on the spread of HIV, malaria etc. (MDG 6), Improved access to adequate sanitation to eliminate open defecation; has increased forest cover and has halved the proportion of population without the access to cleaning drinking water, (MDG 7), India’s international relations and expanding regional cooperation is positive. (MDG 8)
  2. Not reached the Goals in – Rising inequality in poverty (MDG 1), lesser women’s literacy, (MDG 3), not satisfactory enough in MMR and IMR (MDG 5)
  3. Some of the constraints for not achieving all the MDGs are over-population, lesser economic strength, government bureaucratic apathy etc. But, India is on the right path in reaching the other goals too, especially through it’s various flagship programs and an increased concentration on the UN MDGs even in the Budget, Economic Survey and Five-Year Plans.

Thus, India’s first priority would be to finish reaching all the MDGs and gear itself to accomplish the futuristic SDGs as well.


And Today’s Top Answer would be by – Urvashi Saini


Even though she has breached the word limit by a few words, her structure and way of presentation was good. 🙂


“SDGs are proposed set of 17 goals and 169 targets relating to future international development, proposed in RIO+20 conference in 2012.
MDGs are eight international development goals that were established in following the millennium summit of UN in 2000..
India’s performance on MDG’s:-

>>. Goal 1

(+) Achieved target for reducing poverty and hunger by half.
(-) Divergent growth experiences & rising inequality have led to poverty becoming increasingly concentrated in poorer states.

>>. Goal 2

(-) lagging behind for achieving universal school enrollment & completion & achieving universal youth literacy by 2015.

>>. Goal 3:

(+) On track to achieve gender parity at all education levels, having achieved it primary level already.
(-) But women’s literacy lag that of man, indicating women’s poorer learning outcomes & opportunities.

>>. Goal 4 & 5

(+) Achieve the reducement in child mortality and improvement in maternal health.

>> Goal 6

(+) Achieved control on spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB.

>> Goal 7 :

(+) Improved access to adequate sanitation to eliminate open defecation; has increased forest cover and has halved the proportion of population without the access to cleaning drinking water.

>> Goal 8

(+) India is expanding regional cooperation and partnership through ‘Neighbors First’ ‘Act East’ policies in ASEAN, SAARC , BIMSTEC, BBIN etc.

India’s take on SDGs:

India’s achievent on SDG will require a focus on acceleration of inclusive economic growth; guaranteed access to comprehensive services, vast investment in basic infrastructure & women’s empowerment . On the top of this, the formulation of effective and responsive development policies & programs is essential to fulfill development for all. The recent “Sabka sath sabka vikas” initiatives of Government like “Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”, “Jan Dhan Yojna” etc are welcome sign of the intention of India to adopt this strategy.”

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