SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [30th Sep] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]

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  • October 17, 2016
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SYNOPSIS- IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [30th Sep] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]


1. Is it always difficult to reconcile ethics and law? Examine by giving suitable examples.


Ethics can broadly be considered as norms that guides individual action in society. It is strongly drawn from morality and conscience. Law, on the other hand are set of rules, regulations, written or unwritten that have legal backing. At times, laws are a reflection of socially accepted behavior listing out the do’s and don’ts.


  • Use of tear gases and lathi charges is against the value of not harming anyone but it is necessary to use the same to disperse the unruly mob undermining the national security and public safety.
  • Deliberately killing of a living organism is blatantly unethical and inhumane but provisions of capital punishment, culling of animals and termination of pregnancy with fetal abnormalities are legal for larger good.
  • While ethics can be subjective, laws have a universal value, if not for all, at least for that particular socio-political group that formulated them. Hence, there could be instances when those two could be found to stand at odds with each other. For example, a civil servant respecting only merit can find himself serving under a corrupt but lawfully elected minister.
  • Laws can evolve to be more ethical with time. For example, earlier the international community couldn’t do anything against human-rights violations committed by States due to law-obliged sovereignty. But later, this was modified to justify international intervention to protect human lives under threat from a cruel state.
  • The case exists where ethics and law go together
  1. Banning untouchability.
  2. Banning inhumane practice such as sati.
  3. Determination of sexes of an unborn child.


Write a brief conclusion.


Best answer: Bhavana

Ethics is the morality of a specific individual, group or society and is more likely to be flexible but laws are universal to the region concerned and are considered to be more stable and rigid.

Both law and ethics affect each other and this becomes the bone of contention in the administration.

Use of tear gases and lathi charges is against the value of harming anyone but it is necessary to use the same to disperse the unruly mob undermining the national security. Deliberately killing of a living organism is blantat unethical and inhumane but provisions of capital punishment, culling of animals and termination of pregnancy with abnormal child are legal for larger good.

Ethics and law are liable to be contrasting and more frequently in a democratic and diverse country as opposed to a despotic monarchial nation but a balance is required as laws minus ethics are mere dictats and ethics sans laws is grossly value laden.

The situational conflict between the two can be easily resolved by the logic that laws too are formed on the basis of ethics of the state which in India are- liberty, equality and justice.

India has rightly maintened this balance seen in provisions like the “Preferential discrimination”, subsidized public amenities and reservation by which state itself treats inequally to form an equalitable society.

2. Lack of high pay packages and perks is often given as a justification for illegal gratification. Is it against the very concept of public service? Examine. How do you convince a constable to remain honest in a salary that might be grossly inadequate to fulfill even his basic needs?


Introduction: –

Your introduction should tell about the basic values linked with Public services. Public services are not forced on somebody (especially in our country). It is a choice which a person makes while choosing his job.


Body: –

Your body of the answer should outline the perks which a person in getting by being in public services. Apart from that explain that the reputation, trust, responsibility which he is having is also an important factor in being in public service.

Mention the steps which you will take to convince a constable to remain honest which can be on the lines of:

  • Honesty is a virtue
  • Cost benefit analysis of being honest
  • Also show the threat of being punished (carrot and stick policy)
  • Explain him the steps taken for his family by the Government.
  • Also mention him about the reputation he has in the society and how corruption can impact it

(You can add more points here)

Best answer1: -Simplex

Justification of illegal gratification in any form is unethical, immoral and against the very concept of public service. It has been increasing trend that unethical desires and motives are justified on grounds of law pay scale and rising inflation. However, such justification is against the integrity, honesty and probity demanded out of a public servant. Joining a public service is a free choice and no one is forced upon, even the pay scale is well known before applying for the post. So justifications on basis of perks and salary is making a scapegoat. Further, the pay scales and perks given to public servant is evaluated in a timely manner with due consideration of prevailing standards, thus the pay-packages are sufficient for a dignified survival. It is only the greed of human being that unwarranted luxuries and status pressure grips in, which eventually leads towards corruption and illegal gratification.

I would convince the constable by explaining him:

1) That being honest is not a task to achieve, but an innate human virtue which we happen to ignore because of various reasons like societal pressure, alcoholism, unwanted luxuries etc.

2) explain him the cost-benefit analysis of honesty and corruptness. It would become aptly clear that honesty is the best policy in the long run.

3) would further, tell him about regarding managing the expenses in a such manner that, a small amount of money must be saved, in different heads, every month for yearly expenses like insurance, school fees etc.

4) Would also inspire him with the noble works of great men like gandhi, shashtri etc. as to make him understand the real earning that honesty gives.

Best answer2: – Krishna



Best answer3: – TheCredibleHulk

“There is enough in this world to satisfy everyone’s needs, but not enough to satisfy even one man’s greed.” – Mohandas Gandhi

There is no end to our desires. Even the men sitting in the highest echelons indulge in bribery and corruption. There are no surprises when we see the same happening at the lower steps as well. The reason, often aren’t low wages, but a complicit attitude that gives up in the face of illicit desires. Moreover,the job of a policeman and any public service is of virtue.

I would help that constable understand –

– the impact he is able to make by being honest, especially for those who are far lower in the social hierarchy than him.

– the indirect influence his flawed attitude would have on his own family and kids.

– that money earned through shortcuts can bring more problems than solve his woes.

That being said, it would be unreasonable to ignore his concern of lower spending power. I would suggest him to –

– work out some extra source of income, like a small business that he could oversee when he gets time, or invest smartly.

– make a case in front of his superiors to increase his wage, if possible along with his colleagues.

– work hard and move up the ladder professionally. (214 Words)

3. An officer takes money from rich industrialists and distributes it among destitute and orphans. Is his act unethical? Critically examine.

(As ethics answers can be written in ‘n’ no of ways. We are just providing the outline and guidelines in which your major arguments should focus.)


Introduction: –

Your introduction should mention the values of an officer. Also mention about the ethical values, legal limits under which an officer comes. Also try to make a link between legal and ethical but with a caution that it’s not necessary if a thing is legal it also means it is ethical.


Body: –

Body of your answer should tell in detail about the ethicality of this act. You can take the help of various schools like consequentialism, utilitarianism, kant’s philosophy, Gandhian, Machiavellianism etc. to make your point.


You can also suggest other legal/ ethical paths for an officer to show the compassion toward the downtrodden.

Also mention the examples from current affairs (if you have come across any)

Conclusion: –

You should conclude that even though an officer should be compassionate but he should not use unethical and illegal practices to achieve the goal.

Best answer1: Simplex

Ethics are the standard rules of the society on the notion of good and bad. The purpose of ethics is to promote goodness and condemn badness, for overall prosperity of the society. Breaching against the ethical principles, for whatever noble cause, would eventually shake the very basis of society.

The act of officer taking money from rich industrialists and distributing it among destitute and orphans, though appears to be very noble and magnanimous, but is unethical. As a civil servant, the officer has to abide the law and his act must be accordance with the established procedures. It may be possible that the monies earned by the industrialist is itself not earned ethically, but that does not warrant the officer to robe all his money. Equitable distribution of resources is a state mandated work and must be left to state.

If one officer is allowed to do such an act that it may eventually led to anarchy. The example of Napolean would be apt in this case. During French revolution, he rose to power defending the ideal principles of justice, equality and fraternity, but after coming to power he himself become autocratic and the feeling of Nationalism was replaced with Napoleanism.

The Same story holds good for Good terrorism and Bad terrorism. Terrorism is bad, what ever may the noble cause it holds, and it must be condemned in all forms. It must not be forgotten that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It is for such reasons, the act of officer is unethical and unwarranted.

Best answer2: Jimboomba 

The act of taking money illegally from rich and distributing it among destitute and orphans invokes a debate on many ethical issues.

Viewed from a lens of the philosophy of consequentialism , of the ends justifying the means,this act seems ethical and acceptable.He is serving the cause of redistribution of wealth,which the constitution itself envisages and is a basic pillar of the egalitarian ethos of Indian constitution.

At the same time , the money taken by the officer may be rightfully earned by the rich industrialist in a completely legal and rightful manner through hardwork and due diligence.As per the deontological perspective,taking away such rightfully earned money is unacceptable even if it is meant to serve a good cause.

The right manner could be incentivizing the industrialist to voluntarily comply to contribute money to the good cause through moral persuasion.

But if the rich industrialist in question is unscrupulous and crooked who earned money through dubious and willful means, it is appropriate to impose a condition of mandatorily contributing to the cause of social welfare as a form of penalty.

Best answer3: Yogesh Bhatt

Indian civil service is bound to follow the constitutional values, and civil service code of conduct. None of these allows such conduct where officials can take money from rich and distributing to poor. This is part of government system and for that constitutional mechanism has been set in form of taxation system. Officer act is unethical because
1- It is not as per constitutional values

2- By doing this, Officer is violating law so he is not qualified for the role.

3- This act proves that officer has emotions but not emotional intelligence.

4- Ethics do not justify and it may seen as passive corruption

5- Also it proves that officer is lacking creativity and innovation to involve poor people in livelihood activities.

Officer act can be justified on only one ground that his intentions are pure to help the neediest section of society. Rather doing it directly officer can follow alternate path

1- Ask Rich industrialist money in the form of CSR and use it for livelihood promotion and skill development.
2- Orphans and children can push for education and quality life.

3- Money under CSR can be used to build the old age home where old and different able people can live with dignity.

Such steps will have long run effect and same time officer act will be also as per law. Civil servant has lot of responsibility so that he need to fulfill while always follow the constitutional values.

4. The recent terrorist attack in Uri has revealed fault-lines in the state that can be exploited by external state and non-state actors to destabilize India. Elucidate.

Elucidate mean, you need to explain what are the fault-lines in the state because of which militants are able to carry such audacious attacks on Indian soil.

Some of the important factors are:

Lapse in intelligence report: Despite having very active intelligence agencies like RAW, IB and military intelligence, we are not able to trace the actions of terrorists.

Porosity of Border: Although Indo-Pak and Indo-china border is not porous, there are frequent reports of people crossing over to our side. These leakage holes need to be plugged.

Laid back attitude of Government: Despite facing multiple attacks, concrete steps have not been taken by the government. These anti-social forces are encouraged due to this complacency. However, the recent surgical strike by the Indian Army might change it.

Local Support: It is observed that sometimes, terrorists get the local support, as locals don’t see them as terrorist, rather liberators who have come to protect them from the army. Local police and army should work together to change their image and make the local public realize that they are there to protect them.

Lack of International Pressure on Pakistan: It is a well established fact that Pakistani territory is being used as a breeding ground for terrorists. Many of the attacks on India have been planned there and Pakistani nationals have been involved in these attacks. Despite these facts, the Indian Government have not been able to successfully build the international pressure on Pakistan to take strict action against the insurgents.

Corruption in Armed forces: There have been reports of corruption at higher level in the armed forces in the arms and ammunition’s deal. A mechanism of financial transparency needs to be established to make it more accountable.

Lack of Political will: There is no consensus in the political community regarding a standard procedure to deal with such attacks. Also lack of coordination was seen in political brass and army during Pathankot Attack.

(Note: more points can be added like lack of technology and advanced methods of surveillance. These points can also be added in measures to be taken.)

In Conclusion, give some points as measures to handle the situation, like:

  • More coordination in intelligence agencies, as well as army and the government.
  • Use of modern technology in surveillance like NATGRID, IRNSS, drone surveillance etc.
  • Making the border non-porous.
  • Mounting international pressure on Pakistan to destroy terrorist training camps in POK.
  • Clear political consensus to take strict action in case of such emergencies.
  • Mock drills and emergency preparedness of army to counter such threats.


Best Answer 1: Vidhu

The recent terrorist attacks in Uri, Pathankot have been a huge eye opener for the Indian state in political, diplomatic, strategic and defence fields. Solely putting the blame of rouge neighbours and non state actors won’t help in the long run and this weakness in the armour can be lethal for India.

Some exposed fault lines are:


No consensus among the national parties on how to handle and respond to these attacks. No clearly defined national policy for terror attacks

1. No Standard Operation Procedure for the armed forces

  1. Lack of cooperation and coordination in intelligence sharing among the armed forces and intelligence agencies and police forces. Quick implementation of the NATGRID
  2. porous borders and lapse in guarding border areas which allows infiltration. Lack of deployment of technology (IRNSS, infra red cameras, laser fences) to protect the borders
  3. Absence of a Chief of Staff for all 3 services who could centralize the chain of command
  4. Failure of intelligence agencies to provide correct and timely inputs to forces.

1. Ambiguity in our nuclear deterrence policy

  1. poor coordination among the government, local people, media when responding to these attacks

The need of the hour is to:

  1. develop a cohesive and pragmatic defence policy for all kinds of attacks
  2. strengthening of the local intelligence network and implementation of NATGRID
  3. police reforms are needed and increase in man power of local police
  4. One border one force to implemented
  5. Defence upgrade and modern equipment for the forces

Best Answer 2: RahuKetu

We live in turbulent times. A nuclear armed state, that has allowed the use of its land for terrorist training, cross border extremism, jihadi threat from non state actors, and a possinility of a full scale conventional war looms over. The recent attacks must act as a wake up call and fault lines identified be rectified:

  1. The LoC has been repeatedly transgressed, thus calles for a laser, underground wire welding and infrared camera fencing, as suggested by Naresh Chandra Task Force.
  2. BSF has ha d lack of coordination with Army that has been repeatedly mentioned. There should be a common command structure and doctrinal approach as suggested by Madhav Godbole Task Force.
  3. Floodlighting and use of drones for surveillance,
  4. Lack of intelligence input and coordination must be rectified by ensuring inter agency data sharing in real time.
  5. The fact that a majority of soldiers were killed due to the fire that erupted in the tents, calls for an improvement in the infrastructural facilities being provided -> which must be insured.
  6. In earlier attacks there have been indications of involvement of insiders , which is a grave threat as data leakages would become more frequent. Enhanced checks and counter balances on the information shared is needed.
  7. Moderation over social media and the cyber forces must be activated for intelligence inputs from there.

It is the policy several state and non state actors to bleed India at several cuts and hence the threats are very much alive. Prompt action on the above fronts are required and inter military coordination wherever possible must be promoted.

5. Whether or not the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) should continue in the areas declared as ‘disturbed’ is a political question which requires consultations at the ground of it’s operation. Unfortunately, the lack of political will in this regard has further alienated the people in these areas. What is your assessment of this argument? Critically examine.

Note: Many of you have failed to understand the question properly. Some of you have deviated while answering.

Please read the question twice, try to highlight important demand areas. There is no need to write whether AFSPA is needed or removed; in favour or against.

Understand the demand areas:

1) Statement – Whether or not the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) should continue in the areas declared as ‘disturbed’ is a political question which requires consultations at the ground of its operation.

Statement simply says – While declaring whether AFSPA should continue or not, government should consult the ground of its operation.

2) Unfortunately, the lack of political will in this regard has further alienated the people in these areas.

Again here, question gives a statement arguing that there is a lack of political will – i.e. government is not ready to consult the state or security forces at the ground of its operation. And this lack of political will to consult the ground operation has resulted in alienating the people in these areas.

3) Now the question starts – What is your assessment of this argument? Critically examine.

So one need to give their opinion whether there is lack of political will, whether the Centre failing to consult the respective state or security forces and assesses the ground situation while it considers continuing or declaring an area “disturbed”.

AFSPA empowers the governor of the state, or the central government to declare any part of the state as a ‘disturbed area’, if in its opinion there exists a dangerous situation in the said area which makes it necessary to deploy armed forces in the region.

The lack of precision in the definition of a disturbed area under the AFSPA demonstrates that the government is not interested in putting safeguards on its application of the AFSPA.

The Supreme Court in its 1997 order in the popular NPHMR case (Naga People Movement for Human Rights vs Union of India) said there is ‘no requirement’ but it is ‘desirable’ that the central government consults the state government before making the declaration.

Provide substance by providing examples of those states or disturbed areas where this lack of political will has resulted in alienating people. Manipur is an apt example where protests against AFSPA rule the street but AFSPA remains out of the political mind space.

Tripura has shown the way to withdraw AFSPA, political will, smart governance and an effective utilization of the force. So you can give contrasting arguments by citing Tripura’s example.

While assessing issues, always substantiate your views with some reports/committees etc.

  • Amnesty International (AI) in its recent report has termed “impunity” to security forces personnel under AFSPA and “lack of political will” to get the law repealed as “long standing problems” in J&K.
  • You can provide contrasting view by writing recommendation of Justice B P Jeevan Reddy Committee or 5th report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission on public order.

In next part of the question, provide both the views depending on the kind of disturbance and dispute whether the Centre should consult the ground of operation or not.

Also provide your opinion whether AFSPA (because of lack of political will) has alienated the people in these areas. Also provide some of the examples where AFSPA was declared and successful.


Pic. link: http://www.livemint.com/r/LiveMint/Period1/2015/05/29/Photos/WEB_AFSPA.jpg


This said, it must be clearly understood that the final decision on this must rest on the advice of the armed forces. It might be said that the idea of redeployment has in fact originated from amongst army officers that have served in the State, with a high sense of purpose. If, by mutual consultation it is agreed that the law must continue, this must then be subject to review and Rules carefully crafted for its enforcement, which must bring the law into the fullest conformity with the freedoms of every Indian citizen guaranteed to them by no less than the Constitution of India.

P.S. We request everyone to rewrite answer (as none have satisfied the full demands of the question) and provide your opinion/argument whether there is lack of political will while consulting state and security forces and how this is leading to alienation of people.


Best Answer: Lokesh

(Only some points are good and in line with demands of the question. But compared to other answers, yours is best. Try rewriting again, Lokesh, with above inputs)

Experts are divided on the assessment of instability in Jammu and Kashmir. Some view it as problem which require military solutions, and other differ, and view it as a political problem requiring political solutions.

They argue that imposition of ASFPA is a political question because :-

  1. It infringes on the political rights of the people such right to privacy, right to safe and secure environment and right to justice for alleged act of excesses by armed forces.
  2. The root of the Kashmir problem is right to self determination which requires a consultation among all political stakeholders.
  3. Similarly, in North East, the root cause of problem is political right of ” limited sovereignty ” and demand for ” greater Nagaland ” , demand for protection of tribal rights, lands, customs, traditions

But lack of political will has alienated people further for eg.

  1. The interlocutors report on J&K had recommended decentralization and strengthening of local bodies which is yet to be implemented.
  2. Justice Jeevan reddy commission report that recommended repeal of ASFPA and put the required provisions in other existing acts is still in shelf for want of political consensus.
  3. Inability to bring all political groups other than NSCN ( I-M ) in the talks.

Delay in solving problems has alienated people.

But, there is also military question of :-

  1. State sponsored terrorism which requires act like AFSPA that strengthens capacity to counter react and take preventive steps.

2 cross border infiltration and radicalization of the minds of people.

  1. Use of violence in the North -East and incapacity of police to handle the insurgency. ( even admitted by Tripura high court ).

Hence, there is also a military element, but it is the political will to resolve the root issues which will provide solutions to military related problems.

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