IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [18th February]: UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]: Synopsis

  • February 19, 2016
  • 10
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IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [18th February]: UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]: Synopsis


1. Should institutions of higher learning be kept indifferent to political ideologies and their students be prompted to keep their hands off active politics? Critically examine.

Institutions of higher learning in India like DU, JNU and others are centres of excellence imparting high quality education in various streams like humanities and sciences. However, recent incidents in such institutions have attracted nationwide attention but for the wrong reasons. It is in this context that the question arises whether these institutions should be indifferent to political ideologies and their students be prompted to keep their hands off politics.

Reasons for keeping the institutions indifferent to political ideologies:

  • As educational institutions, they are expected to be neutral
  • They are not political institutions
  • It reduces the effectiveness of these institutions
  • It affects the autonomy of these institutions
  • The institutions are prone to be biased


Reasons for not keeping them indifferent:

  • The institutions should encourage the development of political consciousness
  • Help in ensuring constructive criticism on important policies affecting them
  • They have an important role in creating leaders of tomorrow
  • They have an important role in nation building


Should the students keep off politics?

Arguments in favour:

  • They should concentrate on their studies
  • Achieve professional competence
  • Not wasting tax payers’ money on political activities


Arguments against:

  • They are the budding leaders of tomorrow
  • It’s very important to develop political consciousness as it helps in creating awareness about the problems plaguing the country
  • Creates a fertile ground for development of critical reasoning


Concluding, we may say that staying indifferent to political ideologies is not an answer to curbing violence in campuses. Instead, the students should be allowed to participate in political activities albeit with suitable safeguards to ensure that the limits are not breached and the activities are confined to peaceful activities only.

2. Hill areas have fragile ecosystems which can’t cope up with the frantic pace of infrastructure development being pursued currently by the state. The need of the hour is to strike a balance between ecology and economy in these regions. Elucidate.


  • Recent examples: – Uttrakhand floods of 2013 due to unsustainable construction activity and J&k floods of 2015
  • Hill areas like Himalayas and Western ghats are designated as UNESCO biodiversity hotspots due to their fragile ecosystems.
  • Hill states faces 2 inter related and prominent challenges – environment protection and development.

What is the problem?

  • Mass cutting of trees in the name of development.
  • Poaching is a threat but tourists are required to generate economic cycle of employment and income.
  • Degradation of forests leading to reduction in carbon dioxide sinks defeating the purpose of signing REDD+ convention.
  • Building dams and reservoirs in hill areas for hydroelectricity generation without proper environmental concerns would lead to biodiversity loss, habitat loss of human settlements and adversely affect the food chain.
  • Lack of proper monitoring by states and lack of local awareness leads to hazardous impacts of tourism.


How can the balance be achieved?

  • Project analysis by EIA and SEA( Strategic Environmental Assessment).
  • Community participation in developmental projects will enhance awareness.
  • Use of region specific tools and infrastructure.
  • Regular monitoring by government officials.
  • Restricting development in high and sensitive biodiversity areas.
  • Check dams, watershed development projects, micro Hydel projects, eco tourism.
  • Promotion of ropeways
  • Implementation of Kasturirangam committee report and Rakesh Chopra committee report.


Development of the hilly regions is the need of the hour but it has to be done meticulously. Balancing ecology and economy is the need of the hour. Case by case analysis of every hill project should be done.


Best Answer: Amay

Hill areas with their fragile ecosystems are vulnerable due to infrastructural development in following ways:

  • Construction of Dams and Reservoirs: Hydro Electric Power projects in hilly areas leads to forest submergence, Biodiversity loss, tribal displacement. Added to it, these HEP projects in areas like Uttarakhand (seismic zone V) increases vulnerability- Uttarakhand landslides 2013
  • Slope destabilization- rampant and uncontrolled construction of roads, buildings etc. Malin Landslide in 2014 was due to land leveling using heavy machinery
  • Mining activity- use of blast mines compounded with deforestation leads to biodiversity loss and fragmentation
  • Road connectivity- cutting across forests leading to habitat fragmentation like that in Bandipur National Park
  • Tourism influx- this adds vulnerability to already stressed infrastructure

However, to attain sustainable development by balancing ecology and economy in hilly areas following could be done:

  • Micro grid- Focus on developing micro grid connectivity (reduced infrastructure cost) to meet energy demand
  • Land zoning- to study vulnerability of hill areas, land zonation with specified vulnerability could be used for planning purpose
  • Eco-tourism- promotion of eco-tourism would help in sustaining rural economy along with protecting environment
  • Promote Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA)- EIA and SIA helps to protect local population as well as ecology from exploitation as seen in Niyamgiri hilling mining case (SIA) and India Neutrino Observatory (INO) initial proposed site at Singara in nilgiris (EIA- proximity to Bandipur and Mudumalai Tiger reserve)
  • Rural industry- promote rural industries with use of local skills and resources

To balance between ecology and economy we need to promote Hill Area development program (HADPs) as watershed based management program with focus on ecology, economy, environment and equity.

3. Do you observe any change in the trend of assertion of Dalit rights in India? Do you think the Dalit question has been overly politicised? Critically examine. What can be the possible fallouts of this trend?

There is a prominent change in trend of assertion of Dalit rights; the mode has shifted from without to assertion from within, from being seen as from sympathy approach to constitutional rights approach

  • Can be seen in political sphere: mushrooming of exclusive dalit parties ,headed by dalit leaders
  • Academic and intellectual sphere: from being written from top down approach to history being written from dalit point of view
  • Literature: emergence of dalit writers, artists ,and play writers
  • They are becoming aware of their rights which can be seen in high no of complaints being registered NCRB data (from 12% to 17%)
  • Because of pressure from dalit groups the POA act has been amended with stringent provisions
  • Now, there are demands for reservation for private sector jobs as well



  • The Rohit case of Hyderabad university where leaders from every party showed up
  • 50% reservation breach in Tamilnadu.
  • Race to be registered as backward classes, Jats and patidars


  • Increased animosity from uppercastes, e.g burning of dalit houses and anti reservation agitations
  • Further social isolation of dalits:
  • In extreme circumstances threat to sovereignty of nation
  • Inclination towards naxalism by dalits
  • Struggle may lead to dalits getting their due rights, respect and dignity


Best Answer: Heidi

The struggle of ‘untouchables’ for justice and equality still continues. There has been changes in its trend due to politicization of the issue, resulting significant ‘sociopolitical’ fallouts.



  1. During freedom struggle ‘Dalit Rights’ were considered as SEPARATE RIGHTS (special-electorate, Reservation). But today it was realized that the rights they were demanding are BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS (equality, justice)
  2. There were few leaders (BR Ambedkar, Jyotiba Phule ), but today they are increasingly getting support from society.
  3. Colonial era was discriminatory and oppressive, but Human Right Activism is strong today to support ‘Dailt cause’


  1. Dalit demands get better political attention due to several reasons like vote bank politics, Dalit Political Parties, Educated youth etc.
  2. Political parties use Dalit issue to accuse each other and gain their support during elections.
  3. Increasing atrocities against the depressed classes make it a burning political issue for media and public.


  1. Dalit cause has a history of ‘DIVIDING POLITICS’ (Communal Award-1932). The same danger is likely to repeat (Anti-Nationalism)
  2. Increased attention is likely to benefit Dalits in getting their demands fulfilled (TN-Reservation, Carry-forward Policy)
  3. Indian image in the world is likely to be affected as news of ‘INTOLERANCE’ spreads (Dadri, Haryana, Hyderabad)

Politics should be a means to undo the historic injustice to the untouchables and to bring them to the mainstream

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