SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [9th Sep] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]

  • September 13, 2016
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SYNOPSIS- IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [9th Sep] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]


1. Why are values like impartiality, non-partisanship and objectivity fundamental to the civil services? Why can’t a civil servant discharge his duties without having these values? Substantiate by taking an example.

2nd ARC:

16.11 The Commission is of the view that in addition to commitment to the Constitution these values should include:

  1. Adherence to the highest standards of probity, integrity and conduct
  2. Impartiality and non-partisanship
  3. Objectivity
  4. Commitment to the citizens’ concerns and public good
  5. Empathy for the vulnerable and weaker sections of society.

(Only for your knowledge.)


So according to 2nd ARC, Impartiality, Non-Partisanship and Objectivity are important values for a Civil Servant. Now the question asks why these values are important for Civil servants.

Approach should have been to describe all three in one line and then moving to an example to answer why are they important and why a civil servant cannot discharge his duties without them.

Impartiality: Discharge of duties without any bias of client’s nature (Rich vs poor etc.) or any sort of social pressure (caste, Religion, region etc).

Non-Partisanship: It means no political affiliation and serving different regimes with same enthusiasm.

Objectivity: Decision making and advice of a civil servant should be based on fact and figures.

Why are these important?

  • The most important point is, a civil servant is a public interface of the government. These values build public’s confidence and trust in the government and bureaucracy.
  • It also creates faith of political class in bureaucracy.
  • This helps the civil servant to focus on the larger good rather than personal benefits.
  • This protects Civil Servants, the permanent executive, from external or internal biases and help them discharge their duties with full honesty.
  • This gives credibility to Civil servant’s actions and help him maintain transparency and accountability.

(This list can go on depending upon your ideas and articulation. Just remember not to get carried away and breach the word limit. Also the example that you will mention should have all three values to justify them.)


Best Answer: FedEx

Values like impartiality i.e. treating everyone equal, non-partisanship i.e not biased towards any particular ideology or political group and objectivity i.e. decision making based on merit rather than personal opinion are fundamental to civil services due to following reasons:

-Decision making & performing duty: Civil servants are required to take decisions related to procurement, recruitment, allocation of tenders, delivery of public goods etc. And being partial/partisan/ non-objective will influence this decision making, even in negative sense. These values become more important where laws or guidelines are absent or not defined clearly

-uphold public faith & trust: civil servants are link between government and the people. If they themselves lack above values than public will lose faith in the system and ultimately in the government. this will ultimately weaken the democratic governance setup.

These values are required for civil servants to discharge their duties like take for example, in the current unrest in Kashmir valley, if a public servant with image of being against Muslims is involved in peace-making, people will not entertain him. Or if a public servant had some connections with a political party in past and in allocating tender, he decided in favour of one of the members from that political party based on merit, then also people will have doubts about his/her intentions.

2. What is the difference between attitude and aptitude? Explain by taking an example. What does civil services aptitude imply? Can it be acquired or is it only in born? Discuss.

Aptitude versus attitude:

  • Aptitude: An aptitude is a component of a competency to do a certain kind of work at a certain level. Outstanding aptitude can be considered “talent”. Aptitudes may be physical or mental. Aptitude is inborn potential to do certain kinds of work whether developed or undeveloped. Ability is developed knowledge, understanding, learned or acquired abilities (skills) or attitude.
  • Attitude: An attitude is “a relatively enduring organization of beliefs, feelings, and behavioral tendencies towards socially significant objects, groups, events or symbols” or “attitude is a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor”
  • Aptitude and attitude are complementary to each other as aptitude without attitude is meaningless/ directionless and attitude without aptitude is worthless.
  • g: aptitude decides whether one has a potential be a good businessman, sportsman or an artist. But, attitude of the person will decide weather he will be a good businessman or not. Because apart from talent of aptitude, skills, temperament and hard-work and motivation are needed which is provided by attitude.

Civil services aptitude:

Means to have the ability to perform one’s duty basing one’s actions on logic and reason. It means to have a rational bend of mind while mind and having acumen of solving issues objectively, strong problem solving skills are needed too. A civil servant must possess good analytical skills, to analyze different circumstances, must comprehend situations easily and respond faster.

Innate or not: Civil services aptitude is innate in nature, but can be developed with conscious efforts. Here attitude of the person plays an important role which will decide how fast he will learn and deep he will internalize the qualities.


Best answer: El nino

An attitude is a mental state of readiness, organized through experience and motivation, influencing the individual’s response to ideas, objects and situations. Attitude is associated with behavior. Aptitude is the natural capability to acquire certain skill or ability in the future through appropriate training. It is associated with competence. Aptitude unlike attitude is both physical and mental.

Both aptitude and attitude is required to become successful. A person with aptitude also needs to have good attitude of dedication, conviction and fortitude to become successful. Apart from civil service aptitude, attitude of record keeping, responsiveness to need of people, empathetic and compassionate attitude is also necessary.

For instance Sehwag had inbuilt eye-hand coordination but only through attitude of hard work and dedication he could become opener batsman of India. On the other hand Vinod kambli also had aptitude in batting but due to missing require attitude he could not do well in international cricket.

Civil service aptitude includes:
a) Intellectual aptitude – to imbibe the values of rationality, objectivity etc
b) Emotional aptitude – to develop empathy and compassion for weak and vulnerable
c) Moral aptitude – to work with honesty, integrity and maintain probity of his/her office.

Aptitude is in-born and varies to different degree in different individuals. Civil servants with high aptitude will learn the skill quickly. But even a civil servant with low aptitude can develop the same level of skill by training, interest and right attitude towards learning. For example Ashok Khemka, a senior IAS officer, recently unearthed irregularities in the Haryana Seed Development Corporation. He learnt out of interest, how land deals occur in government functioning which helped him in recognizing irregularities.

Hence civil service aptitude and right attitude both are required for effective and efficient civil service

3. Civil servants have adequate powers (even coercive powers) to perform their duties. Yet the values of empathy, compassion and tolerance are considered indispensable. Why? Elucidate.

(Outline for the answer is given below. Most of the points have been covered under Best Answer section.)

Introduction: –

Your introduction should tell about the duties of a civil servant in brief. Also tell how power and inter personal skills are essentially needed in performing duties.

Body: –

You should explain the terms like empathy, compassion, tolerance in brief.

Try to give real time situation which a civil servant has to face which you have come across through newspapers/magazine etc. or your personal experiences.

Conclusion: –

You should conclude by saying that civil servants are appointed for the service of the people in our country. These attribute make them more sensitive towards the need of a common man.


Best answer 1: The Credible Hulk (Alo0413)

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”

A civil servant is expected to work in public interest and needs to put aside the immense power mandated to him while interacting with people and understanding their issues and finding resolutions. While coercion is necessary in some places, these subtle inter-personal techniques help establish a personal rapport and help avoid many instances where coercion is needed.

These attributes help an officer in:
– Establishing connect with the people and clearing communication channels.
– Reduces the gap between the governors and the governed.
– Encourages people to suggest solutions and cooperate with the administration.
– Remedying corruption, exploitation and bureaucratic apathy.

Several civil servants have introduced innovative measures to connect with the people in their regions. Some have used social media tools like Facebook, etc. to understand the local issues at personal level and this has often resulted in much better and sustainable solutions than what could have been achieved using brute power.

Power is an indispensable tool for civil servants to ensure the rule of law and dispensation of civil administration. But without proper checks and balances, power turns into despotism. In addition to the statutory limitations and accountability mechanism, values like empathy, compassion and tolerance act as internal checks and self-guiding mechanisms


Best answer 2: CSE2016 aspirant (ABG)

Civil servants have to do their duty in presence of the environment surrounding them. In dealing with outside world, one needs not only Intelligence Quotient, theoretical knowledge, but Emotional Quotient (EQ) and pragmatic decision making power, which requires the values of EMPATHY, COMPASSION and TOLERANCE.

Every decision needs to be EMPATHETIC taking due cognisance of people’s problems and requirements. In absence of it, the work done will have no effects in improving the lives of people making the whole process futile. In addition, APATHY towards people will DISTANCE the AUTHORITIES from them causing TRUST DEFICIT.

One of the main aims of civil service is to work for humanity and public welfare. Without COMPASSION for people, a civil servant can’t act in desired way. Ex : A civil servant having no compassion for poors, can use COERCIVE power to alienate them from slums without adequate provision of alternate housing.

Society is made up of different faiths, communities and people following different customs. Ideology clash is evident. A civil servant needs to be TOLERANT to any dissenting voice. This is important for ensuring COMMUNAL HARMONY, PEACEFUL existence of different factions in the society. For eg, It is duty of civil servant that minority voices are not crushed in influence of MAJORITARIAN view.

PERSUASION using EMPATHY, COMPASSION and TOLERANCE can have a bigger and more sustainable EFFECT than COERCION and hence should be employed by a civil servant in dealing with any issue.

Best answer 3: kyu

India is a democratic country which implies that the main source of power is derived from the people. Therefore, whatever decisions are taken and policies formulated must be in the interest of the people. Such a form of government cannot survive on coercion alone since the opinions, sentiments and beliefs of the people must be carried along as well in order to survive politically and have moral legitimacy.

Values such as empathy, compassion and tolerance are thus indispensable in governance. They aid in understanding the issues of the people and ensure that decisions are taken in utilitarian spirit and not benefiting any single community over the other. More importantly, they contribute towards “humanizing” the administrative apparatus.

For example, in order to tackle the issue of children in conflict with the law, it is necessary to understand the root causes as to what drives so and EMPATHISE with their situation- poverty and growing up in a hostile environment has led these children to the path of crime.
What’s important isn’t that these children are merely punished according to the law but it is also essential they are nurtured and cared for in order give them a chance to reform themselves. This requires COMPASSION. Finally, it is important that one’s judgement isn’t clouded by bias against the child’s community/religion, which requires a TOLERANT attitude.

Best answer 4: Yogesh Bhatt

To deliver the duty honestly and serve the last person power need to complement with empathy, compassion, and tolerance.

Compassion means to have concern for other suffering and while empathy guides to understand others feelings and problems. Tolerance is important character to allow others also to share view and perspective even there is difference of opinion. There all characters are indispensable in civil services because

1- Help to most deprive section– compassion and empathy is important to understand the pain of most deprived section that cannot raise their voice for social justice.

2- Handle critical issues– like molestation, trafficking, religious conflicts, manual scavenging, and so on, all such issues just do not need power. It demands human touch to understand issues before taking any further step.

3- Conscience keeper– Power alone do not help to take decisions, it helps in implementation but for right implementation, right and justified decisions also important which can get from these traits.

4- Representation– tolerate the ideas, listen all minds from different section of society before using power can solve many problems as it is now civil servants trying in J&K.

5- Control the misuse of power– power is value neutral so can be used any way. To guide it for constructive work, compassion and empathy must be integrate with its use.

So it is not just power can drive best for society but integration with compassion and tolerance in diversified society like India.

4. The President gave his assent to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill recently. The roll-out of GST will usher India into an era of simplified tax statutes and also help India improve its position in the Ease of Doing Business rankings. Elucidate.

Refer to http://iasbaba.com/2016/08/iasbabas-daily-current-affairs-4th-august-2016/

GST is an important indirect tax reform that has been on the cards for more than a decade.

What is GST?

  • In simple terms, Goods and Services Tax is a unified indirect tax imposed on goods and services across the nation.
  • In broader terms, GST is a comprehensive tax levy on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services at a national level.
  • In principle, GST is same as the Value-Added Tax (VAT) – already adopted by all Indian States – but with a wider base. While the VAT was imposed only on goods, the GST will be a VAT imposed on both goods and services.

Current Tax Regime (without GST)

In the current tax regime, States tax sale of goods but not services. The Centre taxes manufacturing and services but not wholesale/retail trade.

The GST is expected to usher in a uniform tax regime across India through an expansion of the base of each into the other’s territory.

Under current tax regime, without the GST, there are –

  • multiple points of taxation
  • multiple jurisdictions
  • imperfect system of offsetting credits on taxes paid on inputs, leading to higher costs
  • cascading of taxes (tax on tax)
  • inter-state commerce are hampered due to the dead weight burden on Central sales tax and entry taxes, which have no offset

All this will go once the GST is in place.

Why GST? What are its benefits?

GST will create a unified, un-fragmented national market and pushes competitiveness.

  1. GST, by subsuming an array of indirect taxes under one rubric, will simplify tax administration, improve compliance, and eliminate economic distortions in production, trade, and consumption.
  2. GST will widen the tax base and make it identical for both the Centre and States. (Unlike an excise duty whose base consists of manufacturers, the GST is paid only by the final consumer)
  3. By giving credit for taxes paid on inputs at every stage of the supply chain and taxing only the final consumer, it avoids the ‘cascading’ of taxes, thereby cuts production costs, and makes exports more competitive.
  4. GST will create a single market, enhances ease-of-doing business and make our producers more competitive against importers.
  5. GST will eliminate inter-state taxes and reduces black money, thus will free up some capital. All this will add to demand and also efficiency.
  6. According to the economists, thanks to these efficiencies, the GST will add 2 per cent to the national GDP. (at least GDP growth can go up by one percentage point on a sustained basis)

Co-operative Federalism:

The adoption of GST is an iconic example of

  • ‘Cooperative Federalism’ and
  • ‘Nationwide, multiparty consensus-building exercise’


Best answer 1: Deep

The idea of Goods and Services tax (GST) was first coined in 2003 by Kelkar Task Force. GST incorporates the spirit of “One nation, one indirect tax.”

The role of GST in simplifying tax statutes:

  1. EASY tax compliance as only one tax to be paid
  2. TRANSPARENCY in tax regime and easier to be understood by common people
  3. Easier to collect taxes by govt
  4. It is expected to WIDEN tax base and decrease fiscal deficit
  5. Self-policing mechanism in tax administration will evolve
  6. Better control on leakages as more transparency and easy monitoring
  7. Better revenue control and welfare spending

The benefit of GST for improving ease of doing business:

  1. NO CASCADING burden thus it will lower price and boost demand
  2. Increase competitiveness as it will put a similar structure throughout the nation
  3. Consumers will bear only the GST charged by the last dealer in the service chain
  4. Reduced price will control inflation
  5. Dual monitoring by Centre and States hence better cooperation
  6. AS GST is a DESTINATION BASED tax it will benefit poor states
  7. It will UNIFY the market so will expedite Ease of doing business

Though GST has some challenges such as less flexibility for states to decide their tax structure or deciding RNR, still GST is the need of the hour. A reform like GST is a leap of faith where challenges are to be resolved with time and cooperation

Best answer 2: Mani

Roll out of GST is the most crucial reform in Indian economy after the liberalisation of 1990s. It will create a national market for goods and services with simplified structures:

  1. Tax statutes:
  2. It will subsume major indirect taxes levied by centre and state governments like service tax, sales taxes, octroi, excise duties etc.
  3. It will create a unified tax structure with tax rates at central and state level decided collectively by the GST council.
  4. With uniform taxes in all states, interstate tax contradictions will be removed.
  5. Since GST is a destination based tax, it will promote tax compliance
  6. Streamlining of tax statutes will promote better tax administration and tracking of tax evasions.
  1. Ease of doing business:
  2. It will lead to more uniform market resulting in smoother flow of goods and services.
  3. Paying taxes will be much more simpler for companies
  4. Simplified structures will help in reducing unintentional evasions
  5. Since tax rates will be decided by council it will lead to more predictability in tax administration, will help in curbing tax terrorism.
  6. It will promote industries in states in a more balanced way. Currently, states having more favourable tax structures attract more companies.

Thus, GST will help Indian economy grow in a significant way. It will ensure transparency in the way indirect taxes are levied, paid and collected.

5. In an age of start ups, the agricultural/ farm sector hasn’t seen much innovation and enterprise. Do you agree? Discuss.

(Outline for the answer is given below. Most of the points have been covered under Best Answer section.)


Your introduction should tell about the importance of agriculture in Indian economy. Also tell the importance of technological advancements especially in field of agriculture. (in brief)


If you are agreeing with the statement, then you should give

Arguments in favour of the statement

Mention the hurdles in front of startups ex: – lack of funding, gestation period, rural – urban divide, lack of institutional support etc. (you can add many more points -see best answers)

And then talk about silver lines in brief! Ex: –  http://www.thealternative.in/business/10-technological-innovations-revolutionizing-indian-agriculture/

If no, then you should reverse the above order.

Add about government schemes in brief – ASPIRE, AIM, SETU etc. for startups and specific areas where startups can work.


Your conclusion should say that going by the extent and reach of agricultural sector we do need more innovations and startups. They should be encouraged by providing institutional support etc.


Best answer 1: SherniZaad

India’s agricultural sector is stuck in a paradoxical situation where at the one hand it has almost 50% population depending on it directly and on the other its contribution to GDP is dismal. Moreover, not much of innovation or startups are popping up here because: –

1) Lack of incentives in terms of profitability.
2) No serious efforts in Research and development.
3) Little importance to agricultural education.
4) Better prospects in urban areas causing migration of youth from farm areas.
5) Reluctance of private players to invest in agricultural.

However, with the changing scenario towards agriculture in other countries like Israel who are doing pretty well in this field with the help of technology like precision farming as well as new initiatives of government like Start up India, has showed a new path towards holistic development of agriculture. Many new startups like MITRA, SKYMET and DIGITAL GREEN are making commendable efforts towards this sector.

Agriculture is a heart of Indian economy on which the whole nation relies for its sustenance. Therefore, it’s imperative to create awareness about its importance, give incentives to youth to contribute in this field and most importantly, go for a robust R&D system.

Best answer 2: Definite [ILP – Nil1210] 

With the announcement of Start Up India mission a positive ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation has been created. But is this atmosphere conducive to Agricultural/ Farm sector as well?

Yes: (a) In recent times, there is a spur in biotechnology startups especially in southern India which focus on increasing rice productivity at farm level. Ex. SRI (System of Rice Intensification), and proper taxonomic research to extract the best from indigenous strands.

(b) Advancement in farm level mechanization like introduction of new Combine machines with efficient fuel consumption Ex. a latest engine developed by IIT-Kharagpur tailor made for small farms

(c) Numerous startups promoting Organic Farming and having proper market linkages with giants like Big Basket, Reliance Fresh give viable returns to the farmers.

(d) Micro irrigation and artificial means of agriculture (Hydroponics) is also being pursued by many budding startups.

(e) Multiple startups in Food processing sector which promise to good returns on raw material provided by farmers.

But, still there exist some issues in penetration of this startup culture in farmlands-
(a)High risk factor is associated with such firms
(b) These ideas become successful only when they are implemented on large scale and especially in cooperative manner with proper linkages to the market

Clearly, a proper convergence between Start Up India, Digital India and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana can do miracles in our currently stressed agro sector.

Best answer 3: Kyu

Investment and innovation in agriculture has the most potential to boost rural incomes and lifting millions out of poverty, considering that around half of India’s population is engaged in this sector despite yielding low productivity.

Though there are notable startups such as:

Skymet– dealing with risk prediction by analyzing weather pattern,

EM3– which provides farm machinery on demand; and

Villfarm– which deals with sustainable agriculture, many scarcely venture into this sector due to a myriad of reasons:

–It is viewed as a risky sector with strong government intervention in the sector along with the vagaries of nature, therefore startups face difficulty in raising funds

–Government policies and legislations such as APMC act discourage private enterprise

–Startups face difficulty in attracting adequate talent

Also technology adoption by startups operating in this sector already is pretty low considering high density of mobile phone usage.

Considering these above challenges, providing an enabling environment for agro startups to flourish in the form of incubators and funding from the Government, academic and private sector is the need of the hour. Government initiatives such as Startup India and Digital India initiative have already infused life into agriculture and piqued the interest of talented individuals, what is required now is more thrust from all stakeholders.

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