IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [6th February]: UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]: Synopsis

  • February 8, 2016
  • 5
IASbaba's Hot Questions, IASbaba's Think Learn Perform 2016, IASbaba's TLP - 2016, Think Learn Perform (TLP)- 2016, UPSC Mains Answer Writing - 2016
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IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [6th February]: UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]: Synopsis



1. The ongoing discourse on food and faith has more to do with personal sensitivity than religion. Unfortunately the debate over food has been given a communal colour which is against India’s secular credentials. Examine


Following are the points that should have been incorporated. 

  • Food and religion both pertain to the personal domain of an individual.
  • Apart from religion there are other factors which determine the food habits: culture, geographic location, economic affordability.
  • Forcing someone to change his/her food habits is an infringement of fundamental rights given in Art 21 and 25. DPSP (Art 48) talks about banning the slaughter of mulching animals on economic grounds and not religious.
  • beef  ban being in focus: beef in India includes cow as well as buffalo meat; beef is eaten widely in Kerala, West Bengal , Northeast, UP etc. by a large number of people irrespective of religion or caste. Majority of them belong to middle class and economically backward section; cheap source of protein.
  • Unproductive cattle burden on farmers; livelihood of people working in leather industry, slaughter houses etc are dependent on it.
  • India is one of the largest exporters of beef.
  • Issue has been over hyped for political gains.
  • Communal harmony is of prime importance.
  • Proper balanced conclusion

2. How would you justify the proposal of starting bullet trains in a country where even the low and medium speed trains are being operated at low efficiency levels. What benefits would accrue if the bullet train becomes a reality for the Indian Railways? Discuss.


Inefficiency reasons:
1) Different tracks not uniform

2) Ridership in higher class trains is only 18%, 82% people travel by passenger and sleeper class

3) Airlines provide better service in terms of fare, timing and customer service experience
for the same distance to be travelled ,booking is more convenient and pocket friendly for the customer
4) If there is not enough ridership the whole project will be a white elephant for the already cash strapped railways


Need for bullet trains:

Since already there is proposal for privatization, the bullet train project if operationalized like private sector (eg. Delhi Metro) it can bring huge changes in terms of organizational efficiency and better and safe traveling for people

Shorter distances i.e within 350 km can be better serviced because of absence of air connectivity in this segment and higher travel time. Bullet trains can plug this gap.


  1. If they are extended to all metros travel time will be considerably reduced
    2. The components will have to be manufactured in India which will help in
    a) Make in India program: strengthens manufacturing sector
  2. b) Skill India Programme: technology and research will help making India a knowledge economy
  3. Increased industrial output along the routes clustering of industries
  4. Increased business because of more passengers traveling
  5. Since they run on electricity no combustion exhausts no CO2, NO2, SO2 etc. higher efficiency and Eco friendly
  6. Technology enhancement capability will be increased in terms of tracks and bridges construction, designs and operations
  7. Decongestion of metros and more balanced n sustainable cities

3. What reasons can be attributed to the existing asymmetry in the performance of PSUs in India? Do you think PSUs have not been given their fair share of credit in India’s growth story? Critically examine


PSUs are government owned corporations where 51% or more paid up share capital is held by central government or by any state government or partly by central government and partly by one or more state governments. Organisationally, there are 4 types of PSUs:

  • Departmentally managed
  • Managed by independent boards
  • Run as public corporations
  • Organised as companies(most common type)

However, not all PSUs perform equally. There exists an asymmetry in the performance of PSUs in India. Some are highly profit making like ONGC, SAIL, GAIL, etc while some PSUs like Air India, HMT, etc are struggling to survive.

Some reasons which can be attributed to this asymmetry are:

  • Greater autonomy to highly profit making Maharatnas and Navratnas
  • Greater discretion to raise capital from domestic as well as international markets compared to smaller PSUs
  • Pricing policy more favorable to large PSUs
  • High capacity utilization in large profit making PSUs
  • Efficient management in profit making PSUs
  • Greater political interference in loss making PSUs
  • Rational use of manpower in profit making PSUs compared to the loss making ones


Despite the dismal performance of PSUs, especially in the post-reform period, their contribution to the country’s overall growth is commendable:

  • They have laid a strong foundation for the industrial development of the country
  • They played a key role in nation building activities which take the economy in the right direction
  • They provide leverage to the Government to intervene in the economy directly or indirectly to achieve the desired socio-economic objectives and maximize long term goals
  • They have helped develop rural India by providing basic infrastructure to citizens
  • They have helped in reducing regional imbalances


However, despite the above significant contributions made by the PSUs they have been deprived of their fair share of credit in India’s growth story.


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