IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [1st March]: UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]: Synopsis

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  • March 2, 2016
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IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [1st March]: UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]: Synopsis


1. The debate over net neutrality and differential pricing is being held on a tightrope which requires intricate balancing between consumer welfare and promotion of the start-up ecosystem in India. Do you agree? Critically analyse in light of the recent decisions taken by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).


  1. Define net-neutrality.
  2. Give examples of Free Basics by face book and Airtel zero.
  3. TRAI’s decision: disallowance of differential pricing in support of net neutrality.

Give your stand:

Yes/No an intricate balance is needed between consumer welfare and promotion of the start-up ecosystem in India. TRAI’s decision tries to balance these two aspects of the economy.

Critical analysis:

(it is to be done keeping in mind the consumers and the start-ups and not net-neutrality.)


  1. Penetration of internet would increase from 33% today.
  2. Free education and health facilities. E-governance facilities.
  3. Boost to digital India and effort towards bridging the digital divide.
  4. Govt initiatives will be given a push and digital empowerment will become easier.


  1. Monopolization will become a hindrance to growth of start-ups.
  2. Competitiveness of the market discouraged.
  3. Prevent regulation by authorities.
  4. New innovative products won’t reach the users easily.


Though TRAI’s decision is being hailed as a victory to right to equality and freedom of choice a lot needs to be done to accommodate the consumer welfare in the country. Promotion of Digital India and increasing penetration of NOFN can be the first step. Start-up ecosystem can be boosted in the field by providing various incentives keeping in mind the welfare of the consumers to attain last mile connectivity.

Best answer: bhawana

TRAI’s disallowance for differential pricing of data would be hailed as the biggest victory of the right to equality of netizens. Month’s long debate which attracted attention of the whole world has now ended declaring free basic and Airtel Zero as defeated and net neutrality as winner. But a mixed response that is given by different groups has made us to think about striking a balance between welfare of citizens and blooming start-up ecosystem.

Why such a balance is required?
*We have more than half of our people (about 70%) which are still offline so bringing them in this awesome world of knowledge is must but the route which is discriminatory would lead only to the monopolization of some powerful websites.
*Free basic and Airtel Zero would surely help in bridging digital divide and would be instrumental in enhancing digital literacy but a platform where some ISP would act as gatekeepers would not serve the purpose.
*The initiative would make it possible for our citizenry to access certain socio-economic services but the walled garden that would be created around them would limit their understanding of internet. In such a situation face book would be internet and internet would be face book.
*Free basic and Airtel zero would have led to accelerated growth of all sections of society and particularly of those who are now underprivileged and are vulnerable. But at the same time allowing data discrimination might have against the aspirations of younger minds who are now excited to make the world feel surprise on their innovative skills.

Balance between penetration of internet and development of entrepreneurship in the country is necessary because we need both of them for the growth of our economy.

It can’t be said that free basic and Airtel Zero had no good but as they are disallowed on the grounds of Net Neutrality so now regulation of tariffs and boost to projects like Bharat Net, Digital India and project loon is must.

2. The widely prevalent notion that the demilitarization of the Siachen region by India and Pakistan is a diplomatic low hanging fruit is a wrong one if perceived in light of the strategic upper hand that India has in the region and the existing trust deficit between the two neighbors. Critically examine.


Siachen Glacier has been militarized by both India and Pakistan since 1984 as a result of the countries’ conflicting claims over Kashmir, and inadequate attention to achieving a permanent border in the regions’ northernmost reaches. Also the failure of 1948 Karachi ceasefire agreement and 1972 Simla Agreement to delineate a complete border led both the countries to station troops.

India continues to guard its own territory in Siachen, since 1984. It occupies the entire area. Pakistan holds lower ridges. India should continue guarding Siachen for the security of the nation.

Part 1: Existing trust deficit between the two neighbors (Choose any 2 – 3 points)

  • There is the continuing myth that Pakistan’s military is a monolith, unitedly focussed on destroying India through overt and covert means.
  • There have been very credibly sourced accounts of the ‘army within the army’, or jihadi elements that run counter to the country’s military establishment
  • Differences in the Pakistan-India equation:
  • India tends to work towards the longer-term goal of restoring the strategic unity of the subcontinent, enlarge its strategic space, and enhance its security options.
  • On the other hand, Pakistan’s identity is often defined by its opposition to and rejection of India. It has shorter-term goals and sees talks and negotiations as a mere stratagem.
  • Continuous incidents of ceasefire violation and Kargil incidence raise the question as to whether Pak State Actors has control over Pakistan’s India policy or not. Intrinsic to this is whether in the future can we rely upon state actors
  • Demilitarisation would help infiltration by militants
  • The question, hence, is whether it is wise in the circumstances to embark upon major diplomatic demilitarisation and risk further embarrassment in the future.


Part 2: On the strategic upper hand that India has in the region (Choose any 2 – 3 points)

  • The issue is simple if India had not occupied Siachen, then Pakistan from the West and China from the East would have a stranglehold over the Karakorum Pass.
  • The Chinese have military advantage in the Daulat Beg Oldi area, which can cause a strategically and tactical imbalance and if India withdraws from Siachen and Pakistan, in collusion does a ‘Kargil’, the area will be lost forever and the continuity of China’s domination of illegally occupied territories from Aksai Chin to Shaksgam Valley will be complete.
  • It overlooks the disputed area of Gilgit-Baltistan and prevents joining of PoK with Aksai Chin
  • Saltoro ridge guards the route leading to Leh and presently, India can monitor the Karokaram highway being developed under CPEC


Part 3:

Because of the various hurdles and challenges like prevalent avalanches, vulnerability of the soldiers to frostbite and pneumonia etc and hypoxic conditions at such a high altitude, the thought to demilitarize the region surfaced many a times and also is considered low hanging fruit. It is so because

  • The loss of life of soldiers can be prevented by avoiding the placement of soldiers and the area can be kept under surveillance through helicopters and UAVs
  • Huge amount of budget which defence ministry is spending in capacity building and training of soldier to survive in such region can be saved
  • Environmental aspects: Compounding the problem of retreating glaciers is the ongoing military presence of the Indian army and Pakistani militia. Massive infrastructure and runoff of chemicals linked to military activity have degraded the glacier.


Part4: Write appropriate conclusion 

Best answer: Kept6363

Siachen dispute revolves around the triangle formed by NJ9842, Indira Col and Karokaram Pass. It emanates from the ambiguous demarcation in the Karachi agreement and from the silence in the Shimla agreement

The notion that Siachen dispute is a low hanging fruit between the two countries is misplaced

  1. a) It overlooks the disputed area of Gilgit-Baltistan
  2. b) It prevents joining of PoK with Aksai Chin


a)If the AGPL ( line joining NJ9842 and Indira Col) is extended to Indo-Tibet border, major portion of Shaksgam valley would come under Indian Kashmir, forcing China to negotiate. The latter has maintained that negotiation on Shaksgam valley would depend upon Kashmir settlement

b)Saltoro ridge guards the route leading to Leh


  1. a) If India withdraws, Pakistan may occupy it like Kargil
  2. b) Presently, India can monitor the Karokaram highway being developed under CPEC, despite Indian protests
  3. c) demilitarization can be used in operations against India by both China and Pakistan

4) POSSESSION IS NINE POINTS IN LAW :In case of border settlement, India would retain the area
5) SECURITY:- Demilitarisation would help infiltration by militants

6) CONTROL OVER RIVERS : India maintains control over Nubra and Shyok river

Why occupation does not hold any strategic advantage

1) DIFFUCULT TERRAIN: – prevents India from staging offensive against Pakistan or China. Terrain different from KARGIL so comparison useless.

2) ASYMMETRICAL SITUATION:-Occupation by Pakistan is difficult due to difficult terrain and lack of military equipment and medical facilities like India

3) TECHNOLOGICAL HELP:- Aerial imaging and helicopters can survey the area without personnel deployment

India should reduce (not abandon) physical deployment in light of disasters due to global warming but increase technological surveillance. Amicable resolution of dispute by taking into account concerns of all stakeholders would help all parties in the long run 

3. Non tariff revenue augmentation has been the hallmark of the recently presented Rail Budget. What avenues have been identified by the ministry to generate the much needed revenue? Discuss.

  • Intro
  1. Write briefly about the tariff revenue and non-tariff revenue(NTR).
  2. Provide data about NTR of India and world average.
  • Body
  1. Write about need to increase non-tariff revenue and shortcomings of traditional model.
  2. Write about the proposed measures and explain them briefly, I.e., the end it tries to achieve.
  3. Use data where ever applicable, like income potential or timelines etc.
  4. Measures may include new type of trains , new services etc.
  • Conclusion
  1. Give your stand.
  2. Write any suggestions that you want to give.


Best answer: Heisenberg

Indian Railways (IR) has been providing one of the cheapest transportation facility from years. Passenger fairs when compared at global level are the lowest in India. This is one of the major reason why IR has always been under finance crunch and overly dependent on budgetary allocation.

To solve this perennial fund crunch, this years budget proposes to explore non tariff revenue(NTR). Proportion of revenue generated from non tariff avenues is abysmally low ie 3-4% of total revenue whereas one in developed country is about 15-20% of total revenue.
Avenues identified by ministry
1) Advertisement – Nearly 23mil people travel in train everyday. Thus offers great platform for business marketing. Advertisement on railway stations through more than 20000 digital displays can generate much revenue
2) Data monetization – User data can be sold to service industry to know about preferences of people. This will help various product industry in targeted marketing
whereas IR can also enhance customer experience through customized services.
3) Land property monetization
4) Paid WiFi facility. Though revenue generated would be quite small but with increasing mobile penetration and WiFi coverage, revenue may increase significantly
5) Tie up with e-commerce businesses

NTR can reduce the need to increase passenger charges as well as help in reducing freight charges to make it more competitive. This will revert back the freight revenue lost to road transport
Thus exploring more NTR may subsequently help in increasing tariff revenue as well through enhanced facilities and better experience

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