Think Learn & Perform (TLP): GS Mains Synopsis [Day 59]

  • October 31, 2015
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Think and Learn-2015, TLP Mains 2015, UPSC, UPSC Mains- Think and Learn-2015
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TLP: GS Mains Synopsis [Day 59]


Q.1) Examine the causes of environmental degradation in hill areas. Suggest an appropriate development strategy for the hilly tracts of India.


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Prakash

Ans) India is land of diverse landmasses. Himalayas in North, Garo-Khasi-Jantia and Mahabharat Range in North east, Aravalli Ranges, Eastern and Western Ghats enclose India to give a unique monsoon feature.

But lately Environmental Degradation is causing loss of livelihood, bio-diversity and endangers sustainablity of agriculture.

Causes of environmental Degradation are:

~Global warming leads to receding glaciers which leads to shifting of agriculture and habitation in upper course of hills.

~Rising influx of tourists, pilgrimage leads to increasing construction, land encroachments, sand stealing from river bank, ignored disaster management strategies and all these results to degraded environment.

~Hills of Eastern and Western Ghats have various MNCs Mining companies vested interest.

~Dam construction and diversion of river’s natural course.

~Illegal sand and quarrying leads to soil erosin and hence land sliding.


Development strategies in hilly tracts:

~Well established disaster management study before any construction.

~Planting as many trees in terai to check soil erosion.

~Controlled tourism in limited region.

~Implementing PESA act on hilly area more effectively to check outsiders buying property. 

Q.2) ‘From Nirmal bharat to Swachch Bharat, the core concern is solid waste management’. Why is there no great leap in addressing the issue of Solid Waste Management in India? Suggest suitable measures to address the problem?


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Ishaan


Ans) Even though India produces less quantity of solid waste compared to some developed nations, it is growth rate of waste is the major impediment in Solid Waste Management( SWM). Other reasons which make programs like Swachch Bharat Abhiyan less effective are:

– Absence of community participation in waste management and the misconception that SWM is the sole responsibility of Government

– Apathy of Municipal authorities, still using outdated technologies

– irregular street sweeping

– Less storage of waste at source like waste bins

– Inappropriate designing of urban areas and population

– Lack of solid waste disposal and processing

– Very few primary collection from door steps

– Increase in quantity of electronic waste


Some measures to address this situation are:

– Educate and mobilize people for treatment of waste within their own house hold

– Use technologies like Composting, vermin composting, Bio-ethanation etc

– Increase the number of incinerators for paper, plastic waste

– Promote policies to increase reuse of electronic equipment

– strict laws and fine for littering

– increase accountability of municipal corporations

– Increase private participation in implementation of policies


More over it is our cultural mentality is to be changed to be hygiene and to increase tourism. 

Q.3) With increase in the number of smart cities are we moving toward more number of heat islands and radiation pollution? Discuss.


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Shiuli


Ans) Urban Heat Islands (UHI) are formed due to the cumulative effect of accelerated pollution, modification of properties of the atmosphere, lowering of vegetation cover and covering of soil surface. Hence, these factors play the biggest role in UHI formation in urban areas.

The Smart cities Mission (SCM) is an ambitious programme of the GoI which is aimed at solving the issues of the metropolitan cities. However, the solution itself seems suspect as the creation of urban centres will increase the instances of increased UHI formation.

Here, it must be understood that the Smart City concept aims at following the principles of Sustainable development for creating new cities. The Mission aims at investing in renewables, waste-to-energy projects and intelligent transportation to reduce pollution generation.

Additionally, Digital India is an essential component of the SCM. Synergy between the two is aimed at providing services to the inhabitants through a ‘Just-in-time’ approach to ensure optimal resource utilization.

Alongwith all these measures, smart cities aim to provide a smart environment by ensuring that components of natural environment are integrated into the building process.

Urbanization is one of India’s pressing needs and hence, creation of UHIs is inevitable. However, with the innovative ideas being implemented through the utilization of technology in SCM, the impact of UHIs will possibly be moderate compared to current urban centres. 

Q.4) What are the basic differences between a national park and a wildlife sanctuary? How do they ensure conservation of wildlife? Discuss.


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Monk Who Sold his Nano


Ans) National Parks and wild life sanctuaries differ from one another by virtue of-

1> Administration – The ‘N’ of NP ensures greater say of union government, whereas sanctuaries are managed solely by state forest department

2> Land rights and usage – All rights of people within a National Park have to be settled while rights over land can be allowed inside a Sanctuary. Similarly grazing and cultivation isn’t allowed inside national parks, but can be allowed inside a sanctuary

3> Hierarchy – (IUCN class ii and IUCN class iv) This implies a Sanctuary can be upgraded as a National Park. However a National Park cannot be downgraded as a Sanctuary.


National parks and wildlife sanctuaries provide insitu conservation of flora and fauna through

a series of measures-

a)preventing hunting and poaching through surveillance(drones, GPS tracking) and stringent anti poaching laws.

b)preserving the natural habitat- restriction on tourist activities and timings. Even linear projects(railways and highways) passing through NPs and WS are often closed for specific period of time.

c)veterinary services for injured or infected animals

d)enabling the forest tribal community to conserve and protect the forest for themselves against poachers and mafias.


Other measures like better enforcement of UN CITES, better R&D facilities, promoting social forestry and sliviculture, through incentives of subsidy and rights would help conservation efforts in the long run. 

Q.5) What are the principal causes of coral bleaching. Why we should be concerned about it? Discuss.


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – BST


Ans) CORAL REEFS are large underwater diverse ecosystems formed from the hard skeletons of small invertebrate marine organisms called as “polyps”. Coral Reefs are referred as “Rain forests of oceans” as they are home to 25% of total marine life despite occupying only 0.1% of ocean floor.

CORAL BLEACHING: Coral Reefs are well known for their symbiotic relationship with algae. When the relationship becomes stressed due to change in ocean temperature or pollution, the algae leave the corals. By losing the primary source of food , corals becomes white and are vulnerable to diseases. This phenomenon is known as coral bleaching.



# Increased green house emissions are making ocean warmer. Corals are sensitive to temperature. If the temperature is more or less than 26-27 degrees celsius, corals undergoes stress followed by bleaching and eventually dies.

# Sedimentation from undersea activities such as dredging and through inappropriate fishing methods that uses explosives, poison.

# Pollution, discharge of untreated industrial effluents, sewage , pesticides etc.

# Diseases also play role in coral bleaching. Secretion of high amounts of protective mucous during stress which leads to growth of blue green algae are thought to be responsible for black band disease of corals

Coral Reefs play unique and vital role as they protect ocean floors by absorbing wave energy, used in medicines for treating cancer, source of food for people living near oceans, indicator of Ocean water quality and it is a never ending list. So,there is a need to conserve this precious organisms urgently because once they are lost, it takes millions of years to form again. 

High Order Thinking


Q.1) Divergence on issues related to IPR, climate change, trade facilitation and global economic governance defy the rhetoric of India and US being “natural allies”. Do you agree? Critically examine the issue in light of the recent developments in Indo-US relations.


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Monk Who Sold his Nano


Ans) Two countries with common historical, socio-economic and geo-political interests can be termed as natural allies.


The Indo- US relationship has seen cycles of freeze and thaw. The current differences over issues of IPR, climate change, trade facilitation and global economic governance seems to have slowed the process of thawing of relations that began with 2005 nuclear deal. Exclusion of India from TPP, pushing developing nations to accommodate climate adaptation measures, getting India to WTO over solar cells, or pharmaceutical , or apprehensions of volatility due to Fed tapering hasn’t shown the spirit of ‘natural ally’ that is claimed by both nations.

However the 2 countries have come around on several issues to strengthen each others stand globally and remove apprehensions of conflict. US has extended the peace clause for amber subsidies under AOA for India. The strategic relations have strengthened with joint exercises and deal of Apache and Chinook, to restore the pivot to Asia, and keeping SLOC free and unfettered. The doubts over nuclear insurance has been removed by mutual efforts.

India and US being the 2 largest democracies, share more values than differences, Both have mutual beneficial interest in peace in middle east or FTAs in services, or cleaner efficient world. India has today higher diaspora in US than jews or Irish. Indeed we are natural allies. 

Q.2) Labour reforms, disinvestment and FDI are being seen as imperative measures to realise the full growth potential of the economy. However, serious concerns have also been raised about the adverse effects of these measures on the workers class. How do you view this issue? Is it possible to harmonize both these aspects? How?


IASBaba’s Views –

Some common mistakes:

– Most of you are focusing on labor laws and its problems, but the question has 3 keywords – LL , FDI and Disinvestment. Utilize all three.

The answer should have two parts:

1. Assessment of pros vs cons of above mentioned reforms (~100 words)

2. Can they be harmonized and how? (~100 words)


You MAY start by briefly saying why the three reforms have been taken up?

1. Labor Reforms – for obsolete labor laws

2. FDI – for a liberal economy

3. Disinvestment – to improve loss making PSUs + generate investment

Then take a STAND by comparing the cons with above pros. The answer to part 2 will follow automatically. If you downplay cons, then give points as to how they are already harmonized or can be ‘easily’ harmonized

If you say they cons are overpowering pros – then while answering second part, you have to give stronger suggestion regarding how they can harmonize.

Main Point – Stick to a stand and generate a flow in your answer.


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Rahul Agarwal


Ans) Foreign investment and technology is essential for fulfilling the developmental aspirations of our country. Simplification of labour laws, prudent disinvestment and liberalized FDI regimes are considered as the enabling factors to attract foreign investors.But, these steps often come under sharp criticism of labour unions as exploitative and violate their fundamental rights.

There concerns generally stem from the apprehensions of :


a. Hire and Fire policy : As labour reforms intend to ease the process of restructuring the workforce, workers feel apprehensive about their security of job.

b. Exploitation : They also feel that with privatization of management, they will lose their collective bargaining power for their welfare.

c. Unfair treatment: with disinvestment , they feel that fruits of their efforts of building company is being reaped by private players.

Although, there concerns are genuine,but our labour laws are plagues with several loopholes and inconsistencies. Therefore, there is a need to initiate labor reforms while keeping their concerns in mind. Some of the steps could be :

a. To remove the perception, that labour reforms are about “hire and fire”. The proposed laws regarding transfer of PF account and unique PF number is a step in this direction

b. Adequate social security coverage for those workers who temporarily fall out of employment due to economic factors.

c. Setting up of robust regulatory bodies having workers representation,to oversee the protection of workers right at workplace.

d. To provide some of the divested shares to workers to reward their involvement and commitment to company.


With hundreds of obsolete laws, its in interest of both workers and management to go for much simpler and relevant labour laws, and workers should be engaged to cooperate in evolving new labour laws. 

Q.3) ‘The occasion of the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII was used by China to display it’s military might to the world. At the same time the Chinese head of the State also declared to reduce the strength of it’s military force.’ What conclusions can be drawn here keeping in mind the evolving geopolitics of the Asia- Pacific? Is there any message for India in this regard?


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Sepoy No 1446


Ans) -Chinese rise has been inconspicuous by absence of any big bang events. This “slow rise” was driven by a persistent economic growth and it is very recently that world has come to recognize the irreversible nature of Chinese rise which has come to define the overall growth of Asia-Pacific region.

-China wants to and have been trying to project its image as a peaceful rising country. The reality is quite different though and hence suspicion lingers over its actions

-The display of military strength is a message for its neighbors like Japan and Vietnam who have been engaged in disputes over islands in south china sea and also to US for its pivot to Asia and the new cold war that has come to define US-Sino relations


What India can learn:

-Strong economy is must to provide a base. For that India needs at least 20 to 30 years of 10+ GDP growth rate.

-India also needs to be militarily very strong. For that indignesiation and domestic capabilities is more important than simple procurement of weapons. Changes in defense strategy need to reflect that

– India must protect its “good country” status. Somehow this image has come under tarnish recently. The recent verbal exchange b/w India-Nepal over Nepali constitution, India-Myanmar over military action over NSCN (IM) etc needs a more careful approach. India must grow but cannot afford to lose its neighbor, This is what “peaceful rising” should mean.

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