TLP – 2017 : UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [22nd Sep, 2017]- Day 55
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Welcome to Day 55 of TLP Phase II. Please understand that the next 12 weeks are not meant to test your knowledge. Most of you are giving your first attempt and its really important for you to self assess yourself over the fundamentals of various subjects. And even if you have appeared for CSM before, it is always desirable to brush up your basics before you go on to attempt highly analytical and thought provoking questions asked by UPSC. TLP Phase I was designed precisely for that. Moving on to Phase II, we will cover all possible issues of contemporary importance as well as touching upon various aspects of static subjects.
Please be sincere and regular in this phase of your preparation because what you build here will become the foundation of phase II of TLP.
1. You are an advisor to the Minister of External Affairs on issues pertaining to bilateral relations. The minister is scheduled to visit a powerful country holding immense strategic and economic opportunities for India. If India can enter into a strategic partnership with the host country, it would help India in tackling challenges related to internal security, defence, energy, food, S&T etc. However, the host country has poor track record in terms of its treatment of its neighbours. In fact in the United Nations, many resolutions have been passed against it for violation of human rights in its neighbouring countries over territorial disputes. The neighbouring countries of the host nation are important for India’s energy security as they have huge petroleum reserves which get exported to India as well. Moreover, the minority community in your country considers these countries sacred for their historical and religious value. They are protesting the visit of the minister and demanding that he must condemn the atrocities made by the host country and also pay a visit to its neighbours. Doing so however will send negative signals to the host nation and whatever goodwill India has earned will be lost. In a situation like this, what are the options available for the minister? Analyse. What would be your advice to the minister and why? Substantiate.
2. You are an honest and upright officer. You are made incharge of a revenue division in the Income Tax Department. You come to know that your division has a poor track record in terms of corruption. Subordinate officers along with the superiors have created a mechanism wherein money flows regularly from the public in lieu of even the regular services provided by the department. You take up the matter and hold a meeting with your officers telling them that any such activity would’t continue further and that you won’t tolerate complaints of graft and corruption. Moreover, you are particular about your image and convey it to the officers also that you don’t need any money from the general public and that you are being paid by the Government for performing your duties. Although the staff seems to have agreed to your instructions, very soon you find yourself in a fix. Firstly, the staff doesn’t feel motivated enough for obvious reasons. Secondly, even general public has started approaching and requesting you to start the old system for it ensured speedy disposal of cases. Analyse the situation and give your comments. Also discuss the way out of this.
3. Powerful countries of the world have often taken recourse to sanctions and unilateral war against other countries. Not long ago, the former UK Prime Minister apologised for some of the mistakes that were committed by his administration in the assessment of intelligence and also the way things shaped up after the war in Iraq. However, there hardly seems any possibility of an international platform condemning such blunders or holding the powerful countries accountable for the war crimes. In a global order like this, how far principles of ethics in international relations hold importance? Analyse.
4. A junior member of staff has just returned to work after taking special leave to care for her elderly mother. For financial reasons she needs to work full-time. She has been having difficulties with her mother’s home care arrangements, causing her to miss a number of team meetings (which usually take place at the beginning of each day) and to leave work early. She is very competent in her work but her absences are putting pressure on her and her overworked colleagues. You are her manager, and you are aware that the flow of work through the practice is coming under pressure. One of her male colleagues is beginning to make comments such as “a woman’s place is in the home”, and is undermining her at every opportunity, putting her under even greater stress. How would you deal with this situation? Do you think the mentality of the male colleague is not surprising keeping in mind the current social structure? Critically examine.
5. Democratic polity has its own merits and drawbacks. It can throw surprises sometimes. Not always leaders of our own liking are awarded with the ultimate prize of leading the country. In a situation where an election has been contested and eventually won on the sentiments of fear, hatred and xenophobia, its natural for the masses to be insecure and scared. How do you perceive this phenomenon? How can one ensure the normal continuance of his/ her personal and political life in a situation like this? Suppose, you have to address a scared and apprehensive lot of people fearing backlash and violence. What will be your message to them?
Note – The answers will be reviewed only if it is posted before 9.30 pm everyday