SYNOPSIS- IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [19th May] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]

  • May 24, 2016
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SYNOPSIS- IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [19th May] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]


1. The route to comprehensive digitisation of governance starts from the piled up files of government offices. Do you agree? Examine.



All the government work is done on paper files. When a citizen goes to any office for some work, he is often told that the relevant file is unavailable. If he pays a bribe it becomes available. It is common knowledge that depending on the amount of the bribe in many offices a record in the file can be altered, replaced or lost. A significant percentage of corruption and inefficiency is a consequence of this method of keeping paper files. Many government offices create records which they cannot access after a few months. Most have computers, which are usually used as electric typewriters.


  • If all the work was done on computers and each day the default mode was that it would be displayed on the website, there could be a sea change in our governance. Only some information, which is thought to be exempt as per the RTI Act, should not go on the website. If Parliament proceedings can be telecast live, there is no reason why our executive cannot function in a transparent manner. Only with transparency can there be hope of accountability.
  • If purchase orders of CWG ordering toilet paper rolls for Rs. 400 each had to be displayed on the website, such orders may not have been given. The fact that the information on decisions will be available transparently will itself curb some of the arbitrariness and corruption.
  • Information in various files and registers is usually collated manually. Errors in this consolidation are common and difficult to identify. If all government offices work only on computers and transmit files on intranet or the Internet the decision making process would be much faster. Transparency could be achieved by design if all the files — except that which is thought to be exempt as per the RTI Act – were to be displayed at the end of each day on websites.
  • If any change is made or any record deleted it is possible to identify the person who did it and also what it was initially. Backup could be taken at regular intervals in a different city, so that even an earthquake or fire accident would not be able to destroy the records.
  • India prides itself on superiority in Information Technology, but fails to use it effectively for governance. Reports could be extracted from the computerised data which could be as accurate as the data collected and decision making would be more efficient and reasoned. We would also save billions of rupees spent on paper, files, printing machines and cartridges, and also save the space for keeping the files.

At present, a lot of money is being spent by government on ‘digitisation’. This involves scanning all piled up files and sometimes even the files after they are closed. This has no real benefit, but is only an expense with no benefit. Besides, most government departments say they will go digital after all the pending files are scanned and this is never completed. If a decision was taken to go digital say by 2017 April, all new files should be only on computers after that day, and only earlier files on which further work has to be done need to be scanned.


Accountability to citizens is the rationale and foundation of democracy and this cannot be achieved unless transparency is built into our governance as a default mode. The benefits would be enormous and we would have a meaningful democracy, where government will have credibility and citizen’s trust. Instead of piecemeal e-governance solutions, a commitment for digital governance would make a discernible change in our governance.

Best answer: El Nino

The purpose of digitization is efficiency, transparency, accountability, better public service delivery and good governance in general. The starting point in digital governance should be piled up files of government offices. This will set platform for digital ecosystem and help in following ways:

Information sharing – with the public will be enhanced. Aadhar, Voter Id, PAN, reports of various committees, briefings of various meetings and submits, views on various bills etc will be easily available.

Fight corruption – as any changes in the digital file would be recorded. So scope of bureaucratic manipulations in FIR’s, factory inspector report, auctions etc will be removed or minimized.

Efficiency – When files are digitized, fetching information is just a matter of few clicks. This also add to job satisfaction in public sector.

Fast clearance – as reports can be accessed by various ministries simultaneously and not have to through them one by one.

Accountability – Who has the file and who gave the permission etc, everything would be recorded.

Less legal tangle – as land records etc would be well recorded and preserved

No loss of crucial data – due to hazards like earth quake, flood, fire, theft etc.

National Informatics Centre (NIC) is providing technical support on digitization of files. E-Office is Mission Mode Project under the National E-Governance Plan. Digitization effort by government will have cascading effect on private sector as well because information will be given and taken only digitally.

Digitization of files of government offices should be done in mission mode under “Digital India” along with training to employees to handle digital data and beefing up our cyber security capability.

2. The Indian cuisine needs to be promoted and made an integral part of the branding of Indian tourism. Do you agree? Discuss.


The moment names of few nations/areas are heard one thing that rings in the mind is about their cuisines like that of China, Italy. Such recognition has been created through active promotion by their governments. This would only strengthen the tourism sector of the nation, providing another choice for the tourists to look forward to.

Why there is a need?

  1. As a country of different religion and language, each state has a cuisine which is unique to it for e.g. Gujarat-dhokla, karantaka-masala dosa, etc. These different cuisines are intangible heritage of India, which must be promoted.
  2. Street foods are mouth watering and are a hit among all sects. But, they are not well known to all and many doubt on their quality. E.g. chats, Gol gappe etc.
  3. Places like Punjab, Kolkata, Delhi, and Kerala are food hotspots. They need preservation as well as Govt mandating to perform well like Tirupati Laddu, Mathura Peda etc.
  4. Cottage industries in India such as saffron in Kashmir, spices in Kerala would thrive from exposure.

How it will help:

  1. Women Empowerment: – It’s mostly the Indian women which are the inventors and source of knowledge of Indian cuisine, its promotion will directly help women by providing them business opportunities and suitable jobs. Besides, objective of Art 39 can be fulfilled.
  2. Economic: – Promotion of Indian cuisine and tourism will help in creating a vibrant tourism industry and also help ripple effect on other business like Hospitality, transportation etc.
  3. Demographic Dividend: – Making India a popular tourist destination will help in creating jobs for local youth and business opportunity for entrepreneurs helping India utilize India’s Demographic Dividend.
  4. Foreign Exchange: – Branding of India tourism and exotic Indian cuisine will attract foreign tourist and help India gain more foreign exchange.
  5. Promotion of Indian Culture: – Indian cuisine is part of India’s rich culture and its promotion will help in promoting and enriching Indian culture.
  6. Image of India:-Promotion of Indian cuisine will improve India’s image and help transform it.
  7. Food processing Industry– India is a leader in agriculture. With popularity to Indian cuisine, ready to eat food like prepared biryani, Amla Jam etc will much needed impetus.
  8. Employment– Semi skilled and low skilled employment will increase. More local employment at tourist spots, in processing industry as foreigners can pay higher prices owing to processing and packaging; profit margin would also increase.
  9. Soft power– Popularity of Indian cuisine provide us soft power in the world.
  10. Invites travelers and food-bloggers to write about Indian food and culture which it is an inalienable part.


How can it be done?

  1. Linkages between tour operators and local restaurants and hotels to serve good quality and hygienic Indian cuisine.
  2. Integrating element of Indian cuisine with schemes like PRASAD and HRIDAY. Both the local and foreign tourists would benefit.
  3. Organizing food festivals and incorporating them in travel itinerary.
  4. Promoting TV channels dedicated to food.
  5. Help of world renowned Indian chefs like sanjeev kapoor can be taken in attracting tourists’ world over to Indian cuisine.
  6. Major delicacies from all the major regions must be a part of the national tourism brochure.
  7. Each state must popularize its famous cuisines through electronic and print media.
  8. Indian offices in foreign countries must support overseas Indians in setting up restaurants and eateries.
  9. More publications should be sponsored describing Indian recipes across the world.
  10. It has the potential of putting on the world travel map, some of the often neglected parts of our country like North-East, etc. which are home to some of the most exotic recipes in the world.


Hence, we can say that promotion of Indian cuisine as part of tourism promotion can set milestone and may turn it as the destination for “food tourism” too. Government is already running “Incredible India” complain which focuses on natural and cultural assets of India. Natural assets are presents in all other countries but every cuisine is endemic to a country. So, Incredible India campaign should also give thrust on “Indian cuisines”.

Best answer: Toothless

Indian cuisine is as diverse as the people of India. It ranges from South Indian Dosa to Kashmiri Rogan josh, from Gujarati theple to Assamese Xaj. Cuisines changes with change in time. E.g. with the introduction of spices in western world, there cuisine has been change. The same is occurred in India when western world introduce fruits & vegetables in India, e.g. potato, tomato, etc.

Cuisine is the source of history of civilization. It shows how the culture of peoples changes since time. From the Harappa peoples to Aryan to Muslim rulers to British,

The following things should be noted for this.
1) Museum cum library should be established showing history of cuisines.
2) Good cuisine can bring more tourist as they do not have to search for their home cuisine here. Indian cuisine is economical hence will reduce the cost on food.
3) India should advertise cuisine so the tourist will visit to see how the cuisine is made. E.g. in North East most of the tribal’s made rice beer as per their tradition e.g. assemese xaj.
4) It will help to our Geographical Indication tag product. These products are exclusive to the area and hence have unique value. Tirupati Laddu, Mathura Peda, Mysore pak, fenny, Nagpur orange, etc will get boost in productivity and hence will increase income of the area.
5) We can use cuisine in diplomacy as well for cordial relations. In 2014, US President Barack Obama & Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in 2014 ate at Sushi Restaurant. Such incidents increase publicity of countries cuisine and boost in tourism.

Tourism is about showing what is unique in the country. Hence we should promote cuisine as well along with our architecture, culture for tourism.

3. Discuss the significance of coal as an energy resource. What reforms are needed to cure the ailing coal sector?

India is the world’s third largest energy consumer, and its energy use is projected to grow at a rapid pace supported by economic development, urbanisation, improved electricity access and an expanding manufacturing base.

(Should contain any 3 points)

  • Coal is expected to play significant role as an energy resource of fulfilling all these demands, because of its easy accessibility, affordability, availability and continuous supply compared to other energy resources.
  • Coal is India’s primary source of energy (equaling 44% of total energy consumption), and the country ranked as the third-largest global coal producer, consumer, and importer of coal.
  • In particular the coal sector is important for the power sector in the country given that about 76 per cent of coal consumed in the country is used by the power sector and that 67 per cent of the electricity generated comes from coal.
  • Coal is also an input for a large number of other industries, like iron and steel, cement, fertiliser and so on.

Despite its significant coal reserves, India has experienced increasing supply shortages as a result of a lack of competition among producers, insufficient investment, and systemic problems with its mining industry. Net coal import dependency has risen, aggravating the current account deficit.

Reforms needed to cure the ailing coal sector (Should contain any 3-4 points)

  • Increase CIL (domestic coal) production – The government should usher in state-of-the-art technology in the mining processes through the public-private partnership route.
  • CIL’s monopoly on mining and third party sales should be reduced and the involvement of the private sector, especially international mining players with a proven track record should be increased. It will bring in fresh investments and technology and expose this sector to globally accepted best practices.
  • Create a national data bank of coal blocks and the quality of coal available – build new transport links and dedicated rail freight corridors linking to these blocks.
  • Setting up of special purpose vehicle that secures in principle environmental approvals and speed up land acquisition procedures.
  • Changes to pricing policies for coal should be designed to encourage more efficient mining, lower ash content, and investment in washing and beneficiation.

There is a need to encourage development and deploy technologies which involve extraction, transportation and burning of the black gold in the most efficient and environment friendly manner and at the same time maintain the fast depleting green cover in the country.

Best answer: Shubhangi

Coal plays a major role in Indian economy. It accounts for more than 50% of electricity generated in India. For growing GDP rate of 7-8%, energy production needs to increase by 6-7% annually; so coal will remain major source of energy for at least coming 3-4 decades. Coal is India’s primary source of energy because of its easy accessibility, affordability, availability and continuous supply compared to other energy resources.

Problems in Coal sector:

  1. Commercial mining of coal can be done only by Coal India Limited (CIL). But CIL doesn’t have enough manpower or advanced technology to fulfill the huge demand.
  2. Most of the mining done in India is open cast mining, which is inefficient, prone to smuggling and increases air pollution.
  3. Selective mining is done, in which good quality coal is extracted, while inferior quality coal is left behind, resulting in wastage of resource.
  4. Coal mines in India also contain coal bed methane (CBM). But the CBM policy for exploration and production doesn’t allow simultaneous extraction of coal and CBM. This results in release of CBM in atmosphere before coal extraction, which is again wastage of natural resource.

Reforms needed:

  1. Encourage private sector and FDI in mining to reduce the gap between coal demanded and supplied.
  2. Primitive deep mining techniques should be abandoned, while new technology like coal gassification should be encouraged to reduce pollution as well as mining casualties.
  3. Processes like washing, dressing, blending of coal extracted should be mandatory to reduce pollution.
  4. Simultaneous extraction of coal and CBM should be allowed.
  5. Setting up of Coal Regulatory Authority of India.

Coal will remain a key component of energy sector of India in future. Thus, sustainable and judicious extraction and usage of coal is required. Recent Coal Mines Act is a step in right direction.

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