SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2017 : UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [22nd Sep, 2017]- Day 55

  • September 25, 2017
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IASbaba's Think Learn and Perform 2017, UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2017 : UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [22nd Sep, 2017]- Day 55


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.


The country holds immense significance to India and cancelling the visit is not a option. So, it should be handled diplomatically and as an advisor to external affairs ministry I would suggest follow options.



·         Visit the host country and engage with strategic talks which are advantages to both countries. After returning, invite the neighboring country for bilateral talks.

·         Send a ministry level expedition to other powerful neighboring countries and invite the neighbor country of host country for trilateral talks.

·         Before or after visiting the host country, hold talks with minority group religious heads to convey them the significance of visit and how advantageous it is for countries development.

In diplomacy, National interest is the first priority. Most of the countries has boundary issue with its neighbors, so that should not hold the international relations to be jeopardized.


We are a secular country and we protect it to our best interests. At this stage of relationship, as a friendly country we can advise them behind closed doors because every country has its own issues. We should keep Kashmir issue in mind before criticizing the host country.

Best Answer: Krishna

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.


Minister has to balance the needs of the country and the feelings of the minorities. Options with him are:

  1. To visit the said country along with the neighboring countries. this is to convey the impression that we value all of the nations in the region equally and we do not tend to undervalue relations with one or other.
  2. Continue with the planned visit and assuring the minorities that the visit is purely pragmatic and in national interest. Minister must clear that we value minorities feelings and any engagement is strictly limited to specific areas.
  3. Visiting the said nation and keeping a distance as far as the symbolic and sentimental areas are concerned. Visit can be truncated to few days and statements issues reflect sensitivities of minorities.

My advice to the minister is to minister that since minorities of a nation are naturally attached to the surrounding nations of the said country and these countries are also of strategic interest to us because of their being exporter of useful commodities. Therefore it is in national interest to not to offend ties with these nations.
Also, the state with poor human relations records shall not be seen in good light in international arena. it will be prudent to keep engagement to strictly necessary areas. Any ideological sympathy can be avoided.

Therefore best advice in the case is to choose from above three options. Offending minorities is not in line with our democratic ans secular credentials. 

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.


This is a situation of public not being aware of their rights and also encouraging corruption. As per recent laws, not just bribe taking but also bribe giving is a criminal offence and both can be punished by rule of law.



  • Corruption: It’s a criminal offence and has to be stopped and brought culprit under law of land.
  • Public: They are annoyed with the system and have in turn started adjusting to the corruption atmosphere.

Way out:

  • Digitalize the records and prevent public and staff interaction.
  • Involve the same staff to update day to day clearance on net and make it available in public domain or IT website.
  • Use of social media and local NGO to bring in awareness to public about their rights and services.
  • Rewarding the officers who take extra effort to solve the issues of public by recognition, certain type of benefits need not be monetary.
  • Taking help from higher authorities to solve the issue, as it might need transfer of certain officials to break their hold and bringing in new staffs.


This is an issue not just about one department but most of the government departments. Digitalization and empowerment of public about their rights is need of hour. Corruption also starts when there is mistake from public side. So the matter should be solved with due care not to harass both sides.

Best Answer: Gurpreet Singh 

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.


We are living in the era of globalisation where an event happening in one nation at times affects all other nations. In such a scenario the importance of ethics in dealing with one another has increased. Despite this the global community has many a times failed to do the needful.

Principles of ethics in international relations:

Are followed only when:

  • There is no direct involvement- as in Sri Lanka western nations are condemning Sri Lankan govt for war against humanity.
  • Might is right- Nations like US and UK are rarely criticized because of their economic contribution in international institutions like IMF.
  • Refugee issue- Be it Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh and India or people from Middle East fleeing to Europe. No action is take on ethical grounds knowing

Importance of ethics in international relations:

  • Ensures much needed mutual cooperation on global issues like climate change, terrorism, nuclear proliferation etc. Instances like China vetoing UN resolution declaring Masood Azhar as a terrorist compromises international security.
  • To ensure equitable development across the world.
  • Easier and amicable resolution of disputes
  • global communities towards more prosperous, peaceful, inclusive sustainable development.
  • Unilateral actions like sanctions hurts not only the economy of a nation but the people who make that nation.
  • Not being ethical can lead to issues never thought of. US led war in Iraq, 14 yrs back, made the region so unstable that it is yet to recover from it.
    Western nations exploiting Middle East countries for crude oil, supporting dictatorial powers in these nations led to what we call Arab spring which in many places have only added to the instability.

Way forward:

  • Reforming UN and UNSC- making it more democratic and accountable. Wider representation in UNSC.
  • Strengthening of ICC and ICJ.
  • Media, Civil society and similar pressure groups must raise their voice against any ethical violations as they have been doing recently.


Of course, national interest is paramount but to ensure it, solving global problems ethically is sine qua non. Terrorism is one such example. The comprehensive convention against international terrorism is long overdue and countries across the world is facing the menace of terrorism at much higher level. Global community needs to understand the importance of ethics in international relations. The sooner it is done, the more peaceful and sustainable the world is going to be for future generations.

Best answer: Frictionally Unemployed

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.


As a manager the ethical dilemma facing me is the conflict between my personal ethics

(Compassion, empathy) vs. Organizational ethics (timely delivery of work, punctuality, team work). Since the junior member is known to be efficient and her loyalty and work ethics and the personal crisis she is undergoing is well known it is time for the organization to support her as the problem appears to be transitory one.


As a manager it is my responsibility to take care of my colleague’s well being but also to put organizational interests above personal ethics so there is no option for her to skip work as all her colleagues are equally burdened

Some of the options available to me are

  • Use of technology and make her available for office meetings via skype and facetime.
  • Talk to my superiors and explore the possibility of work from home for a short period.
  • Convince the team and make them agree for redistribution of work for a short time and make them understand the ethics of teamwork etc.
  • Counsel the male colleague to make him understand how his behavior is effecting workplace atmosphere and give him knowledge on the Vishaka guidelines and reprimand him in case he doesn’t fall in line.
  • Female staff member must be made aware regarding her situation and should be told that these concessions are temporary and she should complete job assigned to her within prescribed time limit and any laxity will be reflected in her quarterly evaluation.

 The nature of the comments made by the male colleague is also a reflection of hidden patriarchy and the glass ceiling present in the corporate set up which has made their thought process about women’s role and responsibility being inferior to their male counterparts

Also the casual remarks about sexism at home between parents, friends can also cultivate and nurture this habit  there is a greater need for gender sensitization at workplace about the need to appreciate women for balancing both responsibilities at home and workplace and also about gender equality by taking up role modeling etc.

There must also be filters to end this menace at social media which has bred the habit of threatening and defaming women so that the workplace and society as a large become much more sensitive and safer for women to work.


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?


Winning of elections based on sentiments of fear, hatred and Xenophobia poses a threat to the nation’s interest and is a major drawback for democratic polity. This phenomenon can be perceived on following anomalies,

Role of Post truth phenomenon: Wave of opinionated news often shakes the outcome disregard to solid facts.

People undermining their role in democracy: while people guided by charisma are motivated to vote, many aware and well versed voters abstain from voting predicting wrong outcomes.

Role of Media: Especially fake news has strong bearing on elections outcomes.

Depicts growing restlessness among masses: Economic and Social issues faced by masses often reflect in misdirected tendency of xenophobia, racial and religious intolerance. Political representation of such attitude results in election of surprise leader.

One can ensure continuance of his/her political life in a situation like this by,

  1. Sticking to ones constitutional and ethical duty.
  2. Following the legal safeguards as long as it does not encroaches outside ethical framework.
  3. Participate in civil society’s opposition to faulty government practices.
  4. Avoid direct clash with supporters and try to remain peaceful in attitude.

My message to them will be,

  1. To let go fear and apprehensions as the legal and constitutional bodies will continue to protect their rights in a democratic polity irrespective of political leadership.
  2. While government policies may undergo change the constitutional duty of political and executive as well as independent judiciary remains the same.
  3. To remain vigilant regarding government policies and asses and educate them about the pros and cons of the same.
  4. Highlighting the crucial role of opposition in ensuring the accountability of government.
  5. Convey the people’s right to vote and direct and indirect role it play in country’s future development so that in next election, they vote in large numbers based on solid fact based on vision and achievement rather than their temporary sentiments and hatred.

Best Answer: Redeemer


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