SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [5th Nov] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]

  • November 18, 2016
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SYNOPSIS- IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [5th Nov] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]


1. Why is it important to have a healthy work culture in an organization? Do you think government organizations usually lack a healthy work environment? Examine.


Start with what is work culture. Just a line or two in your opinion about work culture.

Body: – Both parts should be given equal concentration.

1st part should be about why is it important to have healthy work culture:-

-Start with how it improve the organization as whole by improved communication which is very important and it gives rise to team work culture and innovative ideas.

-Talk about how unethical practices will get reduced and it ensures healthy competition for growth.

2nd part is in your opinion do you think government lacks it:-

-If you think yes, then give reasons like lack of guidelines due to which they lack discipline, punctuality, abuse of power, lack of empathy for public, outside interference like political influences etc.

-If you think no, then give reasons like many great achievements have been made by them without work culture it would not have been possible like talk about Maharatna PSU’s, Pamban railway, agriculture success like NFS, green revolution etc.

-Whatever stand you take give points to prove it. But avoid taking stand when question itself asks u to take a particular stand.


End with mentioning about how with establishment of RTI, e-governance, Right to clearance (Telangana government) etc. the ground situation is changing and with new government at center taking reforms at increased pace, the gap between private and government work culture is almost narrowed.


Best Answer: Sahil Garg


Best answer 2:Rahul Skanda


3. There is massive siphoning of public money by the government officials operating at various levels. Why is it difficult to curb it? Discuss.

Introduction: –

Your introduction should mention about the presence of corruption in government functioning in India. Also mention about some of the recent cases and CAG findings which shows how Indian officials have siphoned the public money in large amount.

  • Rajiv Gandhi said that for every rupee sent to the common man, only 17 paise reached him
  • Plan panel study on PDS recently found that only 16 paise out of a rupee was reaching the targeted poor, as he went on to suggest that 1% of every scheme money be earmarked for monitoring and evaluation.
  • CAG in its various reports have pointed out that how governments schemes are not being implemented properly by the authorized officials.


Body: –                                                                                                                                               

  • Discuss the impact of such siphoning on the Public: – (mention in brief)
  • The promise of social justice is not being fulfilled.
  • Impact on the weaker section of the society
  • Corruption
  • Low quality infrastructure and wastage of tax payer’s money.
  • Dissent against the government gives opportunity to groups like Naxalites etc which in turn result into threat to internal security.
  • Mention the difficulty in curbing it
  • Weak laws and no serious punishments
  • Pending cases in judiciary
  • Political- bureaucracy nexus
  • Lack of awareness
  • Culture of corruption and social acceptance
  • Weak implementing agencies
  • Lack of transparency and auditing system.
  • Lack of man power in government
  • Black money and hawala transactions.
  • Steps to improve the situation: –
  • RTI and ”social audits” in welfare schemes are expected to help plug the leaks
  • UID numbers and bio-metrics identification to cut the fraud in targeted schemes (direct benefit transfer)
  • Appointment of lokayuta and lokpal
  • Awareness campaigns


Conclusion: –

Your conclusion should say that siphoning of funds not only impacts the poor but also creates a trust deficit in the tax payers and the government. There is a need to institutionalise stronger independent regulators and strong laws to punish the defaulters.

Best Answer1: – valar dohaeris

Govt sector in India has been marred with the image of being corrupt for long and continued uncovering of various scams and political-official nexus engaging in profiteering off public money keeps the image intact. What’s more disappointing is eventually very few get punished for illegal activities. It has become so difficult to curb this rampant corruption because-

  • Awareness– their rights-duties and jurisdiction
  • Confidence– of corrupt officials for they have the money with which comes power to manipulate
  • Poor whistle-blower protection norms and laws in the country- identity ousted easily, threat to life
  • Strong nexus– regulatory bodies, politicians provide support in lieu of power and money
  • RTI– law enacted only a decade ago and gaining popularity now, empowering people to check corruption
  • Delayed justice– complaints and cases stretched for years, discouraging litigants standing for good cause
  • Illegal channels– Swiss bank accounts, hawala transaction etc making it easier to stash black money
    Nation needs an active citizenry and efficient judiciary at all levels, enforcing accountability. Frequent checks using state machinery- ED, CVC, Lokayukta etc keeping all stakeholders in loop and check. Also, regulatory authorities need to be independent and outside any political influence to be able to do their job without any bias or pressure.


Best Answer2: -Ishaan

Recent CAG report revealed that crores of rupees were syphoned off by corrupt officials LIKE:
• Relief assistance of MULTICRORE distributed without verification of identity proofs (Maharashtra floods)

  • Ex-gratia (Rs 4.39 crore) disbursed without following guidelines
  • Distribution of foodgrains and kerosene was made to 10 lakh and 9.47 lakh families

respectively, whereas government figures show only 7.47 beneficiaries on record
DIFFICULTIES seen in 2G spectrum scam, Commonwealth scam, Adarsh Housing scam, Coal

mining scam, etc are:-

1-The problem still is the slow working judiciary that takes the time to pronounce any conviction in most corruption charges.

2- Higher partici[pation of Intermediaries leads to more complications because most of them are foreigner ot they flew away.

3-High degree of political or business tycoon support.

4-Dilutes rules and laws regarding corruption.

5-Make WHISTLEBLOWER act , e-governance and RTI deliberately harmless to corrupt officiials.
CIC,CVC AND CAG etc.there should be no control of the government on these bodies and they should act independently to bring in effective results with more stringent laws and its enforcement.

3. In the private sector in general is obsessed with quality as it determines the success of the brand. However, the State is hardly accountable for the quality of public goods and services which are provisioned by taxpayers’ money. Is there a way to address this issue? Examine.

In order to address an issue we need to understand where the problem is.

Private sector pays attention to quality because they have to compete in a competitive market where their competitors are working day and night to edge ahead. With public sector the scenario is a bit different. Most of the time either they have the monopoly. So it is generally seen that they don’t care about the quality and public have to settle with whatever they are getting. This is the case with roads, quality of water supplied etc.

IN order to address this issue following steps can be taken:

  • Where ever it is possible, open the market for private player. This will increase the competition and public units will be forced to improve their quality.
  • Where ever it is not possible to bring in the private sector, proper quality standards and accountability mechanism should be fixed.
  • A citizen’s charter based on the Sevottam model should be made where the customers can be told about the expected quality of goods and services. In case the promised service is not provided, there should be proper grievance redressal mechanism to address the concerns.
  • Periodically an unbiased quality check should be done by an independent agency. Social audits can also be done to increase the confidence of public.
  • Whistle blower protection should not be compromised and if there is an issue of corruption, it should be sincerely pursued.

Best Answer : Akshay

Quality of goods and services has always been a mantra for the private players while the public sector has always lacked focus on the quality except few exceptions. This is mainly because of various reasons:

  1. Lack of competition: Huge competition in the private sector makes it inherently accountable for providing better quality. The present private sector is characterised by the monopolistic competition where its quite easy for the consumers to find substitutes. As a result in order to keep hold over its customers private players compete in terms of quality than price.
    On the other hand most of the public sector is characterised by the Monopoly markets. since the customers have no options so the the public sector is least worried about quality.
  2. Lack of accountability: Private sector is highly accountable both by the public and the higher management which is not the case in many public sectors.
  3. Budget pressures: Private sector provide high quality so as to earn maximum revenues while the public sector has no budget constraints since they know that they can be financed by the government so they have no incentive to attract customers through better quality or innovation.

There are many ways through which this mismatch of quality can be reduced in the public sector. Some of them are:

  1. Increase competition in the public sector by removing their monopolies and allowing private payers in the market.
  2. Government can improve the accountability of the public sector through various ways such as proper monitoring of the targets, through providing robust Management Information System on real time basis so that deviations can be seen on time and corrected.
  3. Ensuring that all the public organisations have proper Public grievance Redressal Mechanism so that these organisations are made accountable to the public.
  4. Ensuring that the public organisations do not have free budgets so that they are motivated to compete by attracting more and more customers and thus earning higher revenues.
    e. Removing the price controls over the Public organisations under certain regulations so that they can provide better quality of services and are still affordable by the public.

In this regard government has also taken certain initiatives so as to improve quality of public services:
a. Disinvestment in various PSU.

  1. Outsourcing of various services such as the cleaning of trains has been outsourced which has shown good results.
  2. Allowing FDI and private sectors in various earlier government reserved sectors.

Thus government is also working in providing quality services to the public.

4. What are the institutional mechanisms to curb corruption? Are they effective? What role can Lokpal play in curbing corruption? Analyse.

Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (POCA)

POCA is India’s principal legislation against corruption. Its main thrust is to prohibit public servants from accepting or soliciting illegal gratification in the discharge of their official functions. In addition, bribe-givers and intermediaries may be held liable under POCA for bribing public officials. However, prosecution under POCA requires prior approval of high authorities which severely limits its usefulness particularly where there is collusive activity within government branches.

Indian Penal Code (IPC)

In addition to POCA’s prohibitions, various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) provide criminal punishment for public servants who disobey relevant laws or procedures, frame incorrect or improper documents, unlawfully engage in trade, or abuse their position or discretion.

Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002

The PMLA 2002 seeks to prevent money laundering including laundering of property through corruption and provides for confiscation of such a property. It mainly targets banks, financial institutions and intermediaries such stock market intermediaries. They must maintain records of all transactions exceeding Rs 10 lakhs. Later amendment has also brought non-profit organizations under PMLA.

Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005

The RTI Act represents one of the country’s most critical achievements in the fight against corruption. Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen may request information from a “public authority” which is required to reply within 30 days. The Act also requires every public authority to computerize its records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information for easy citizen access. This act provides citizens with a mechanism to control public spending. Many ani-corruption activists have been using the RTI to expose corruption.

Institutional mechanisms –

India endorsed the ADB-OECD Anti-Corruption Action Plan in 2001 and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC) recently in May 2011. Therefore, it is duty bound to bring its legislative framework closer to the International norms.

There are various bodies in place for implementing anti-corruption policies and raising awareness on corruption issues. At the federal level, key institutions include the Supreme Court, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Office of the Controller & Auditor General (C&AG), and the Chief Information Commission (CIC). At the State level, there are local anti-corruption bureaus such as the Anti-corruption Bureau of Maharashtra.

Are they effective?

The assessment of the legal and institutional anti-corruption framework points to a combination of robust institutions and lack of accountability in key areas. Some institutions such as the Supreme Court or the Election Commission have taken a stronger stance to combat malpractice in recent years, while key pieces of legislation such as the RTI Act promote greater bureaucratic transparency, granting citizens access to public records.

Despite these emerging trends, however, the institutional anti-corruption framework generally suffers from a lack of coordination, and overlapping and conflicting mandates between institutions addressing corruption. Key institutions often lack the staff and resources to fulfill their mandate adequately and struggle to protect themselves from political interference. Often, they primarily focus on investigating alleged cases of corruption at the expense of preventive activities. Influential politicians and senior officials are rarely convicted for corruption, eroding public confidence in the political will to effectively tackle corruption.

Role of Lokpal

The Lok Pal is supposed to be a watchdog over the Ministers and the Members of the Parliament. The Lok Pal was intended to be similar to the institution of Ombudsman existing in the Scandinavian countries.

The institution of Ombudsman has emerged as a bulwark of democratic government against the tyranny of officialdom. The Lok Pal Bill provides for constitution of the Lok Pal as an independent body to enquire into case of corruption against public functionaries, with a mechanism for filing complaints and conducting enquiries ets. The role of Lok Pal in ethical conduct in high places cannot be over-emphasized.

If Lok Pal is given Constitutional status, it would provide the eminence and status and Constitutional safeguards appropriate for such and important institution, which is expected to be watchdog against wrong doings by high public authorities. Besides this the Lokayukta and UpaLokayukata also play a vital role to eradicating corruption in various States.

Best answer: Mani



5. There is an increasing need of devolving financial powers to local bodies. Do you agree? Can it curb the misuse of public funds? Critically examine.

Introduction: –

Your introduction should mention about the demand of devolution of financial powers to local bodies. Do mention the recommendations made by ARC, Finance commissions, Niti ayog etc. for the same.

Also discuss the present constitutional setup and mandate (73rd & 74th amendments) for the same.


Fact showing comparison between 13th and 14th finance commission (regarding local government devolution): – http://ideasforindia.in/Images/ArticleImg/meera.JPG


Body: –

Mention why to devolve the financial powers to local bodies.

Few important issues for understanding the legal framework for the decentralisation process in the country

  • First, the Constitution assigns decentralisation including funding entirely to the discretion of State governments. It does not clearly assign the functions or sources of finance, but leaves it entirely to the discretion of the States
  • Secondly, the constitutional framework does not (and perhaps should not) prescribe any pattern, standard or model of decentralisation which again is left to the discretion of State governments.
  • Third, there are no easy mechanisms to ensure compliance of even the prescribed provisions of the Constitution by the States. Most States have not complied with the requirement of having to appoint gram sabhas (243 A), ward committees (243 sabhas) district planning committees and metropolitan planning committees.
  • The States are required to appoint a Finance Commissions every five years and their reports are required to be placed in the legislatures with the action taken reports. Unfortunately, the States’ record in this regard has been pathetic. Their record of appointing the State Finance Commissions and actions on their reports shows complete violations of Article 243 I and Y. The State legislatures are required to make laws to ensure maintenance of accounts and auditing of such accounts by panchayats and municipalities. The record of experience is that these provisions have been observed in their violation rather than compliance in most of the States.
  • Fourth, on the financial side, local bodies do not have any independent revenues. There is no separate list of tax bases assigned to them in the Constitution and they have to depend on the State governments to levy the taxes that the States choose to devolve. There is also the problem of administrative capacity and interest groups resisting payment of taxes and user charges.

Other important reasons include

  1. Better targeting
  2. Autonomy and accountability
  3. Prevent leakages etc.

Can it curb the misuse of public funds?


  1. Better targeting and utilization
  2. More transparency
  3. Usage according to local needs i.e. Bottom up approach
  4. Reduce leakages


  1. Corruption
  2. Nepotism
  3. Presence of politics in local governments.
  4. Lack of regulations
  5. Weak administration and lack of implementation ability
  6. Require lot of man power to keep check by doing audits
  7. Lack of awareness in some rural areas.


Conclusion: –

Your conclusion should say that the devolution of power will be the ultimate goal and government is taking cautious step in realizing it while taking care of the limitations of the local government at present.


Best Answer1: – Kamlesh Dheerendra



Best Answer2: – Dharavi Writer

Rise of Local bodies in 73rd and 74th Amendment was important milestone to enhance grassroot democracy. However, problem of devolution of fund still persist.
With advent of NITI Aayog which advocates “bottom-up” approach and recommendation of 14th Finance commission for more devolution of funds from the centre, there is an increase in demand for devolving financial powers to local bodies. Local bodies inspite of carrying out important tasks like education, health facilties etc are devoid of financial powers to carry on task effectively and are at mercy of state govt. Narrow politics play negative role in devolution of funds to LBs
Devolution of funds can help in preventing misuse of funds because:

  1. Better targeting: since, local corporator has better idea of problems in his ward
  2. preventing leakages and delay in service delivery since middle man eliminated
  3. Autonomy and accountability of LBs will be enhanced

However, there are few problems in devolution of funds as well:
1. Muncipal Corporations in metros like Mumbai and Delhi are often in news for corruption

  1. There is no expertise in these bodies, lack of man-power and hence devolution of funds will not be beneficial
  2. LBs are rules by Political parties hence funds maybe used to fulfill narrow political gains.

Although, financial devolution is necessary for development of LBs . It must be complimented by better strucutral change and accountability in these bodies


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