IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [23rd February]: UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]: Synopsis

  • February 25, 2016
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IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [23rd February]: UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]: Synopsis


1. Governments in few states have waived off water and electricity bills for the local people. Do you think such steps are sustainable? What could be the possible fallouts? Examine.

Sustainable??? No, anything that is given for free will not be valued

Can be used to support very poor families during normal times and to others only is extremes cases such as draughts or any other natural hazard

These steps are regressive: they will help only those who already have water and electricity supply and not to the poor who have none

Possible fallouts

1) Economic: detrimental to state’s finances.in the long run if these steps are continued inflation will increase as state will have to increase taxes to cover losses

  • States will have to divert funds which otherwise can be used for infrastructural development
  • Discoms and water supply boards: huge losses and less to invest in better technology and capacity addition, sets up vicious circle and triggers water crisis and power crisis

2) Environment:

  1. a) Overuse will deplete resources faster than usual, leaving less or nothing for the future generations
  2. b) India’s energy supply is largely dependent on *fossil fuels*. Such waivers would put off India’s ambitious INDC goal of shift to renewable energy and would further contribute to global warming. More thermal production means more pollution

3) Resource exploitation: Subsidies in electricity for farmers have led to overuse of water leading to adverse effects such as groundwater depletion, soil degradation and groundwater pollution. Eg, free water through canals has led to waterlogging in Punjab and Haryana and free electricity has led to use of less energy efficient pumps,

4) Agriculture: leads to changing cropping pattern: people start growing cash crops which are not suitable for the soil

5) Political: Competitive populism: These sops can become a political culture for the concerned state and a vicious circle would ensue where every political party would compete with one other in providing such sops. Instead of focusing on long-term solutions, it will encourage short term myopic populist steps

5) Consumer behaviour suffers, people tend to waste, tendency of not paying the utility bills grows, even well off consumer may try to escape payments i.e., promotes culture of free riding

Best answer Heidi

Government policies of waving-off energy bills and subsidizing resources often leads to resource-scarcity. It threatens sustainable development and fiscal stability by enhancing over-exploitation and debt-burden.

Unsustainable because

1-It fails to reflect the VALUE and AVAILABILITY of resources leading to its over-use and possible FUTURE SCARCITY.

2-It compromises the ability of the future generations to meet their energy requirements (Against SUSTAINABLE-DEVELOPMENT).



1-ECONOMICAL: It leads to FISCAL-DEFICIT and makes the future generation TAX-BURDENED and DEBT-RIDDEN., Subsidies to rich Worsens economic-inequality.

2-POLITICAL: Political parties may use it as a populist tool to get voters support leading to undue influence of PRESSURE-GROUPS in POLICY-MAKING (Green-revolution)


4- INFRASTRUCTURAL: Financial loss leads to less investment in our GRID-INFRASTRUCTURE of our DISCOMS worsening the TRANSMISSION-LOSS and electrification of Rural-India.

5-AGRICULTURAL: More water-intensive crops leading to overproduction of certain crops and scarcity of other essential crops (threatens FOOD-SECURITY).

Waiving of pending bills and providing resources cheaper, if well targeted, will be a welfare measure for poor and disadvantaged. It serves as a SHORT-TERM remedy to address issues. As far as a LONG-TERM SUSTAINABLE policy is concerned, ‘waiving off’ would lead to serious fallout than its populist comforts.

Welfare policies regarding resource -allocation must be sustainable and secure future generation’s RESOURCE-DEMANDS.

2. What do you understand by the term ‘energy mix’? Elucidate it’s importance for India in fighting out the ensuing energy crisis.

To meet its energy needs, each country uses the energy available to it, in different proportions. This is what we call the energy mix. While it varies significantly from one country to another, globally fossil fuels account for over 80% of the energy mix.

The term energy mix refers to how final energy consumption in a given geographical region breaks down by primary energy source. It includes fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal), nuclear energy, waste and the many types of renewable energy (biomass, wind, geothermal, water and solar). These primary energy sources are used to generate electricity, provide fuel for transportation, and heat and cool residential and industrial buildings.

For each region or country, the composition of the energy mix depends on:

  • The availability of usable resources on its territory or the possibility of importing them.
  • The extent and type of energy needs to be met.
  • Policy choices determined by historical, economic, social, demographic, environmental and geopolitical factors.

Energy mix in India:

In the profile of energy sources in India, coal has a dominant position. Coal constitutes about 51% of India’s primary energy resources followed by Oil (36%), Natural Gas (9%), Nuclear (2%) and Hydro (2%).

Addressing Energy Crisis:

To address the issue concerning energy consumption, and more particularly, the need for enhancing the energy supply, India has accorded appropriate priority to both – supply side management and demand side management. On the supply side management, while it is essential for India to radically expand the capacities on all the fronts and all the segments of energy, equally important is the need for efficient consumption of energy


India targets 9 – 10% economic growth rate in a sustainable manner over next 10-15 years. Adequate availability of energy would be sine–qua–non for this objective to materialize. There are shortages in all the energy segments. Substantial expansion of capacities in coal, petroleum, gas and electricity is, therefore, the thrust of the Government policies and programmes. Ultimate goal is to develop these markets and facilitate, through various policy initiatives, their matured functioning in a competitive manner. Skilful development of road maps to reach the goal is a challenge. During the period of transition, therefore, regulatory interventions to harmonize the interests of investors, developers and consumers, is an approach, which is being pursued by various energy groups. In most cases, development of energy sector, in various segments, has happened under government-controlled organizations. Over last 10-15 years, private investments are being encouraged, particularly in petroleum, natural gas and power. While India is fully committed to develop and expand its energy markets, it is equally committed to ensure environmental safeguards. Using latest cost effective technologies in all the energy segments forms an important part of policy and strategy.

3.Fish resources form a vital component of the marine and freshwater ecosystems of India. However, in terms of tapping their actual potential, we are far behind our international competitors. Why? What policy and technological changes are required to enhance fish production?

< Why is the sector important for India>:

  1. Huge source of employment to 14 million people living in 8100kms of coastal regions of India.
  2. Source of nutrition and aids in food security of the country.
  3. Production is only 90 lakh tonnes today compared to 413 lakh tonnes of China.
  4. An avenue of lucrative exports.
  5. Contributes 8.8% to GDP.

< Reasons for untapped potential>:

  1. Lack of quarantine facilities to check export of disease free fish.
  2. Lack of logistic support like freezing, canning, storage, transportation.
  3. Pollution and climate change hamper fish production
  4. Security reasons and international boundary: fishing along boundaries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
  5. Use of age old equipment, like traditional boats, which become a hindrance to commercial deep sea fishing.
  6. Natural disasters.

< Policy changes needed>:

  1. Promote R&D.
  2. Aggressive marketing.
  3. Use of MGNREGA, Sagarmala, Start up India, Mudra.
  4. Zero tolerance policy can be adopted on antibodies and heavy metal residue on fishes.
  5. Encouraging the PPPs to develop the much needed infrastructure.
  6. Encouraging flow of FDI.

< Technological changes>:

  1. GIS and mobile based alerts.,
  2. Employing biotechnology and marine technology.
  3. Employing IRNSS.
  4. Establishing targeted weather cells for fishermen in Indian Meteorological Department.
  5. Set up Fish Breed Banks.
  6. Cage cultivation technology.

< Conclusion>:

  1. Efforts of national fisheries development board can be mentioned.
  2. Blue revolution.
  3. Recommendations of Meena Kumari Committee.


Best answer: akshay Kumar

Fisheries both in marine & freshwater are a major source of livelihoods the people living in coastal & river, lake side areas as is forests are to the people living in mainland. India being a major exporter of fisheries lags behind in the global exports because:

  1. Fishermen are dependent on it as their sole means of livelihood – entry of commercial trawlers & vessels will deride them of their subsistence.
  2. Inadequate application of technology viz remote sensing for potential fishing zones, weather forecasts, tidal surge, ocean currents etc – untapped areas and overdependence on known fishing zones
  3. Inadequate food processing and packaging infrastructure- lower shelf life of fisheries
  4. State investment & infrastructure development towards fisheries was low until recently.
  5. Underutilisation of knowledge management of agriculture & fisheries universities & research organisations.
  6. Coastal areas prone to tropical cyclones
  7. Territorial water disputes between India & Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh – Water border demarcation not clear & unknown to ignorant fishermen.


Policy changes to enhance fish production:

  1. Blue revolution – increased investment (Make in India) & skill training (Skill India)
  2. Settlement of territorial water disputes and release of captive fisherman by India & other countries.
  3. Ensure safety of fishermen during deep sea fishing by navy & coast guard
  4. Prohibition of deep sea vessels & big fishing trawlers into fishermen area solely dependent on fishing as subsistence.

Technological inputs to enhance fish production:

  1. Use of GPS enabled devices – IRNSS for exploring virgin fishing zones, GIS mapping
  2. Scaling up of cold chain logistics & cold storage facilities for safe transportation & storage
  3. Advanced weather monitoring for coastal areas
  4. Provision of motorized boats to poor fishermen on loans or subsidies
  5. Disaster warning alerts ahead of cyclones, tsunami etc.

Ensuring such means will enable development of both fishermen & exports in a sustainable way.

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