IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [10th March]: UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]: Synopsis

  • IASbaba
  • March 11, 2016
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IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [10th March]: UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]: Synopsis


1. Write a short essay in about 500 words on the crisis of West Asia. (Note: The purpose of this question is twofold, one to encourage you to explore more about the issue and two to check whether you can put the information gathered through various sources into words effectively. Kindly take this exercise with utmost sincerity).



Introduction may deal with any/some of the following –

  • short detailing about West Asia (name the countries)
  • short history about West Asia (focus on crisis – WW, Colonialism, 20th century etc)
  • some detailing on current scenario

Body should contain comprehensive analysis or brief writing on some of the following –

(Tip: Focus should be more on 21st century while dealing with crisis, though some history in between in short is fine)

The crisis in West Asia today has its roots in the persistence of illiberal and autocratic regimes and the long-unresolved issue of establishing a secure and viable Palestinian state. Its short-term causes are the invasion by, and continuing presence of, foreign forces, as well as regional rivalries. This has put pressure on national sovereignty, regional and national security, the authority of the state, and the economic well-being of the people.


Body 1

  1. Arab Spring and the political upheavals in the Arab countries (must)
  2. American foreign policy in the Middle East
  3. Development deficits in the Arab world
  • Political freedom and good governance
  • The acquisition of knowledge
  1. Nature and trajectory of the protests
  2. Democracy paradigms

Body 2 Focus more on West Asia today – The scenario in West Asia now has the following elements:

  1. Sectarianism; (must)
  2. The Palestine issue; (must)
  3. Iran’s ascendance; and (must)
  4. the Israel dilemma(must)

Body 3

  1. Challenges posed by the uprisings/crisis
  2. The volatile impact of the Arab awakening

Body 4

The future course of the uprisings

  1. The emergence of Islamic governance
  2. The emergence of Islamic principles in the economy
  3. Shifting dynamics of regional rivalries and the presence of western powers
  4. Heightened attention to the Palestine issue
  5. Regional rivalries


The future course of action

Best Answer: Resmi

The history of the West Asian Crisis dates back to 20th century, however the crisis has deteriorated in recent years due to various geo- political factors. Civil wars in the West Asian countries such as Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen are threatening to destabilize the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Tunisia, and Egypt. In addition radical Islamist groups have gained control over territory and populations. Lets analyze the reasons for this crisis.

  1. Weakening of states in contemporary West Asia: Most of the countries in the region were ruled by dynasties or authoritarian Govt in the past. Absence of an accountable and democratic Govt resulted in the democratic uprisings which started in Tunisia and spread across the Arab world naming it as Arab Spring.
  2. Saudi-Iran antagonism: The Sunni- Shia conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two major leaders in the region divided the entire region into two. They started involving directly or indirectly in all the conflicts in the region. The roles of Saudi and Iran in Yemen and Syrian crisis etc are not a secret anymore.
  3. External interventions: In the middle of 20th century, US calling itself as a protector of democracy has started intervening in the power politics of the region.Launch of Global war on terror and subsequent invasion in Iraq by US, exacerbated the tensions between Shias and Sunnis. US support to the rebels in Syria to topple the then Govt in Syria led to the rise of the terrorist outfit ISIS. Till the recent exploration of shale gas, the natural resources of the region has always remained in the economic interests of US.


The major consequences of crisis:

  1. Loss of Peace: If Arab spring happened to remove poverty and unemployment they have actually worsened in the recent years .Million of Innocent people have killed or injured in the conflict . Civil wars raging in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen have also resulted in large-scale human displacement resulted in Global refugee crisis.
  2. Infrastructure: Widespread damage to physical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools, power generation, and water supply.
  3. Economy: Economic growth in Arab countries dropped from 5.9 percent during the period 2005-2010 to 4 percent during 2011-2013.Most of the people in the region are living below poverty line.


Way ahead:

  1. UN intervention to find a bipartisan solution to Israel Palestine conflict.
  2. Role major powers: Instead of reviving a cold war era, US and Russia should engage in constructive negotiations with leaders to find amicable solution in Syria.
  3. Role of India: India depends on these West Asian countries for her larger energy needs. Therefore political stability in the region should be a priority in India’s Look west policy. Being the torch bearer of democracy India can play constructive humanitarian role to establish peace and stability in the region.
  4. End of civil war: We cannot deal with ISIS or al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria without dealing with the larger regional problems which have given rise to them. Therefore external powers can help bring about a rapid end to civil wars by providing military assistance and helping in establishment democratic governments.


2. Urban flooding has become a recurring phenomenon in Indian cities. What are the main reasons behind this? Also explain the preventive and mitigative measures to handle urban flooding

  • Intro

Definition of flood : As per NDMA -A  flood  is  an  excess  of  water  (or  mud)  on  land  that’s  normally  dry  and  is  a    SITUATION  wherein the  inundation  is  caused  by  high  flow,  or  overflow  of  water  in  an  established  watercourse,  such  as  a river,  stream,  or  drainage  ditch;  or  ponding  of  water  at  or  near  the  point  where  the  rain  fell.  This  is  a duration  type  event.  A  flood  can  strike  anywhere  without  warning,  occurs  when  a  large  volume  of rain falls within a short time.

  • Body

Causes of urban floods

  • Natural causes:

Heavy rainfall/flash floods, Lack of lakes and ponds, Siltation of water bodies and canals which reduces water reducing capacity

  • Manmade causes
  1. Population demands :increased population causes increased consumption, which causes overgrazing, over cultivation and soil erosion which increases the risk of floods
  2. Deforestation: large tracks of forests and trees are cleared for roads, residential and market complexes and farmland, which reduces the rate of ground water percolation
  3. Lack or Storm drains and its poor maintenance.
  4. Urbanization: rapid urbanization causes more paving of surfaces, which decreases ground absorption and increases the speed and amount of surface flow
  5. Unplanned urbanization: currently habitations are followed by amenities rather than planning ,amenities and settlements,
  6. Vertical growth of cities: more inward migration causes, vertical growth increasing the population density, per capita use of water increases, so does discharge in such cases even small leakage and rainfall can cause flooding
  7. Unauthorized colonies and construction on flood plains constricts the flow of rivers which increases the risk of flooding
  8. Poor water and sewerage systems: most sewers are old and lack capacity to effectively carry the waste, failure in these will cause heavy flooding
  9. Lack of attention to the nature of hydrological system.
  10. Lack of flood control measures.
  11. Multiple authorities in a city but owning responsibility by none.
  12. Lack of master drainage plans for urban areas
  • Preventive measures:
  1. Construction of  flood  protection  structures: Dams, Marginal bunds, embankments, spurs and studs need to be constructed with proper inner linings for consistent discharge
  2. Improving drainage efficiency: Desilting, cleaning  of  road,  bell  mouth,  gullies,  removal  of  debris,  solid  waste  materials  from all  drains  of  all
  3. Rainwater harvesting: rain water harvesting should be made compulsory for all houses, huge concrete tanks under parks, stadiums etc can be constructed to prevent the excess runoff
  4. Flood plain management: construction activities and temporary structures should not be allowed on the flood plains ,so that natural flow of river is unaffected
  5. Solid waste management: most of the sewers are clogged with plastics and solid wastes, local authorities must make solid waste segregation at source mandatory
  6. River basin planning: whole of river basin must be considered as a single unit for planning ,and urban planning of towns along the river beds must be synthesized with the pilot plan
  7. Coastal zone regulations(CZR) must be strictly implemented and mangroves must be grown
  8. Artificial lakes and ponds must be built in urban areas
  9. Planting trees along roads and afforestation efforts must be stepped up to increase the rate of percolation
  10. Land usages must be strictly regulated to prevent encroachment on river plains and open spaces
  • Mitigation:
  1. Efficient use of manpower(NDRF,POLICE AND CIVIL society ),
  2. Managing proper communication systems and use of boats, pumps ,etc
  3. Building temporary shelters with sufficient food, fresh water and medical supplies
  • Conclusion

State your opinion and conclude the answer


Urban flooding is the inundation of land or property in urban areas caused due to un-even distribution of rain fall coupled with massive urbanisation and lack of proper drainage.

Reason for Urban flooding
1. Natural cause : Rainfall pattern has been changing because of climate change. With heavy flooding and flash floods, people living in urban areas specially low lying areas are caught unaware.
2. Urbanization : Wetlands and lakes, which are regulator of water flow, are reducing in size because of massive urbanization. People encroach upon natural drainage channels and make illegal buildings. Also there is lack of open soil that can be used for water storage.
3. Political Will : Real Estate Mafia and their political nexus often overlook the need of wetlands and exacerbate the problem of Urban flooding.
4. Expanding Urban areas : Cities like Delhi is expanding. The responsibility for proper drainage of city is divided among various municipal corporation. There is lack of coordination among them which is important for better planning.
5. Proper Sewage Management : In many cities drainage system needs upgradation and should be able to carry four times the water flow during normal situation. Problem of drainage siltation should also be taken care of.
6. Deforestation also leads to shallow drain bed causing overflow.
7. Lack of flood control measures.

1. Sensitizing people about the risk to Urban flooding in their area. Specially the poor people in low lying area must be moved to some liveable place.
2. Upgrading the drainage system by collective action of all municipal corporation.
3. Building proper dams to check urban flooding. We can learn it from our past or other cities.
4. Building constructor should build a water harvesting system for water conservation and giving a outlet to excess water.
5. Every cities should prepare a evacuation plan in case of flood.

1. Plan for city expansion or development must be drawn by experts after proper consultation.
2. Regulatory authority for real estate should ensure growth of city in sustainable manner.
3. People should pressurize their representative for their safety.
4. Proper Prediction mechanism is necessary.
5. Deforestation in upper stage of river must be prevented.
6. We can learn from other countries.
7. Preventing agglomeration of people in low lying area

3. Academics and research must not be divorced to make Indian universities world class. What do you understand by this statement? Do you think research scholars should be allowed to take classes in universities? Substantiate your answer.


  1. India’s world ranking among top 200 universities.
  2. Academics and research are divorced in India.


  • Research facilities and remuneration to research scholars isn’t much.
  • Brain drain is a constant problem. Mostly via campus placement of Indian human resource by foreign companies.
  • Family pressure and societal psychology does not support research but encourages securing a good job.
  • These don’t allow innovation and advancement of research in the country. It furthers academics learning only as a commercial product to cater to the demands of the job markets.

Research scholars:

Research scholars in India must be allowed to take classes in universities. Reasons:

  1. More students will be attracted to research.
  2. Alternative learning methodologies in universities would be promoted advancing the scientific temper in the country.
  3. The recent success story of Dr Dhurandhar, the man behind gravitational waves ,whose students went to work across the world on researching GW proves that many inventions and discoveries start in research labs. It also puts Indians at the helm of crucial research works which might have global implications.
  4. Research scholars as teachers can overhaul the current UGC and AICTE norms and help in ensuring quality research in technical and non-technical research.
  5. In a scenario where funds for grant often arrive late, Teaching (with salary) should act an incentive for more people to take up research.
  6. Some examples can be given like that of APJ Abdul Kalam and CNR Rao.


Support the promotion of research in universities and encourage teaching of research scholars in universities. GIAN can be mentioned.

Best answer: CSE2016 aspirant

Functions of universities are two fold : (1) to provide quality higher education to students, (2) to conduct world class research projects. The function to educate students is known as academics, while working on some project requiring innovation and originality of thoughts is known as research.

Primary job of most of the professors in an university is research. Most of the scholars argue that taking part in academics

——> takes away their valuable time and concentration required for research projects.

——> affects the performance in academics also, as time and efforts are divided into two jobs.

——> cost benefit is low, as students only look for lucrative job offer, not for further studies. For ex: IITians going for high paying non-core jobs.

On the other hand, it is important that academics and research are not divorced.

—–> academics provides the platform for interaction of scholars and young, inquisitive minds of scholars.

—–> index of higher education is a key indicator of country’s development. There is serious lack of good teachers in India.

—–> students will get motivated to go in research field.

It is not important that a good teacher is a good researcher and vice versa. Involvement of research scholars in taking class of bachelor students, which involve general knowledge about the topics, is not worthy.

—–> Most of the students interested in masters level program are interested in research field. If scholars take their classes, their valuable time will be effectively utilised. Ex : IISc, one of the best universities in India, has only masters and PhD program.

—–> Non specialist teachers, who are excellent in teaching skills, can concentrate better on imparting knowledge to bachelors level students.

—–> Although, there should be some special sessions of scholars open for bachelors students, so that they provide a source of motivation for students.

Research and Development is one of the most lagging sectors in India. The interests of scholars need to protected. At the same time, it should be ensured that students are provided proper higher education.

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