It is cliche to say that UPSC is unpredictable. Of course, it is! Everyone knows that. But what unpredictability are we talking about? Is it about the pattern?
Well, that changes every now and then. In fact, this aspect of UPSC has become predictable of sorts! The fact of the matter is that pattern, questions, word limit etc do change every year but that dear friends is not unpredictability. What is really unpredictable is the demand of UPSC. What exactly does UPSC want from an aspirant? Should an aspirant have critical thinking or must she possess the attributes of an honest civil servant? Should the candidates have the ability to memorise and reproduce information or should they be able to think and create a response at will? Does UPSC want to check your knowledge or does it only want to test your integrity? Being the ardent UPSC aspirants you are, the obvious response from you would be a mix of all the above! Isn’t it? But is that the case?
We at IASbaba think differently. We believe that UPSC just wants to see your ability to adapt. How exactly do you respond to unlikely and difficult situations? How do you tackle a tricky scenario? How do you think vis a vis others in similar conditions posed with same problems?
At the end of the day, what UPSC does is a comparative analysis of your performance. Even if you score less marks in paper 4 but somehow manage to sneak into the top 1000, UPSC can’t reject you. Is there a pre-decided cut-off in Mains or interview? No. There isn’t.
So ultimately everything boils down to your ability to adapt better than others. You just have to be the least stupid candidate (don’t get offended by the choice of word). There is no absolute measurement of your performance. Its all about the way you respond to a change, the way you change your approach and the way you sync your mind, heart and soul to the demand of UPSC every year.
But after all, its easier said than done. How does one adapt? What are the tools that can help one guide in changed conditions? Well, the answer lies in the game of Cricket. Of all the great Indian batsmen, the one who stands tall and garners respect from all the quarters is Rahul Dravid. While Sachin was a genius, Dravid was a fighter. He had this uncanny ability to adapt to any condition and perform despite all the odds. He could tackle spin in a dustbowl and overcome swing on a seaming wicket not only in India but anywhere in the world. That made him great. He once took 40 deliveries to open his account against Australia! That is the mark of his temperament and perseverance. People used to joke that he should be made the defence minister keeping in mind his superb defence! But then he tasted success everywhere making him the most successful player in overseas conditions. He adapted with ease and adapted to win.
UPSC wants that from you also. In a traditional community that civil service aspirants belong to, the ability to transform has vanished. From thinking individuals of yesterday, aspirants have turned into internet scholars who can search, research and discover any information but hardly possess the ability to analyse them. That’s the sad truth.
You have started to prepare according to the pattern (which changes almost every year) whereas your preparation should be pattern proof. Questions, marks, word limit etc are nothing but a means to check your knowledge. You should focus on getting that knowledge and not bother about the pattern much. You should also have the temperament to be defensive in a hostile scenario. GS Paper I was difficult this year and that must have led to three sets of people. The first would have filled the sheets irrespective of their lack of information and felt satisfied. The second would have left the difficult ones and started thinking about their next attempt already. The third set of aspirants are those who must have ducked the difficult ones and given their 100% to the ones that they knew. After coming out from the examination hall, they would have started to think about the next paper not worrying about the previous one. See the difference here. Even though the performance of the third set of aspirants would be poor by absolute standards, it would be better than the other two. Why? Simply because they could adapt. They could manage the temptation to attempt the unknown questions. They were clinical in their approach, just like Dravid.
This examination is such that it requires peace of mind and the commitment to adapt to any situation. Read and think later. Think and contemplate later. Contemplate and evolve later. Evolve and execute later. Execute and succeed finally. That’s the mantra of success in UPSC.
Many aspirants preparing for 2018 have enquired about How IASbaba was helpful for this year’s Mains. Here is a brief description that will surely boost your confidence to prepare with us in coming days. Note that we have not added ILP and Offline part here since not everyone can access its content
Q 1. Conflict of interest in the public sector arises when
(a) official duties,
(b) public interest, and
(c) personal interest
are taking priority one above the other.
How can this conflict in administration be resolved? Describe with an example. (150 Words, 10)
If you qualify the Civil Services Examination, you will get the opportunity to work as an administrator in public life. You will have many duties to perform, and very often you might be faced with ethical dilemmas. In the context of the scenario explained herein, do you have a role model to follow? Which famous philosopher/ leader/ administrator you would derive inspiration from? Why?
Q 2. Examine the relevance of the following in the context of civil service: (150 Words, 10)
(c) Fairness and justice
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.
(d) Courage of conviction
(e) Spirit of service
Q3. Young people with ethical conduct are not willing to come forward to join active politics. Suggest steps to motivate them to come forward. (150 Words, 10)
Discuss the ideas of Swami Vivekanand about youth and patriotism. How relevant are his ideas today? Analyse.
Q4. (a) One of the tests of integrity is complete refusal to be compromised. Explain with reference to a real-life example. (150 Words, 10)
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?
(b) Corporate social responsibility makes companies more profitable and sustainable. Analyse. (150 Words, 10)
Financial institutions, the corporate world and civil society – all must uphold high standards of probity in their working. Only a genuine partnership between the Government and its people can bring about positive change to create a just society.
Q5. (a) “Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte.
Stating examples mention the rulers (i) who have harmed society and country, (ii) who worked for the development of society and country. (150 Words, 10)
Today success is valued by the height of one’s achievements. It puts a lot of pressure on individuals. Everyone appears to be fiercely competitive to outperform each other to become successful in the eyes of the society. In this context, how relevant is the quote provided below?
(b) “If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. they are father, the mother and the teacher.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. Analyse. (150 Words, 10) \
“If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.” Comment on this famous quote by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
Q6. (a) How will you apply emotional intelligence in administrative practices? (150 Words, 10)
(b) Strength, peace and security are considered to be the pillars of international relations. Elucidate. (150 Words, 10)
Q7. (a) The crisis of ethical values in modern times is traced to a narrow perception of the good life. Discuss. (150 Words, 10)
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?
(b) Increased national wealth did not result in equitable distribution of its benefits. It has created only some “enclaves of modernity and prosperity for a small minority at the cost of the majority.” Justify. (150 Words, 10)
Q8. (a) Discipline generally implies following the order and subordination. However, it may be counter-productive for the organisation. Discuss. (150 Words, 10)
(b) Without commonly shared and widely entrenched moral values and obligations, neither the law, nor democratic government, nor even the market economy will function properly.
What do you understand by this statement? Explain with illustration in the contemporary times. (150 Words, 10)
If you are given an opportunity to lead a government initiative, how would you balance between bureaucratic compulsions that lead to delays and urgent needs of the poor requiring immediate attention? Discuss.
SECTION – B
Q9. You are an honest and responsible civil servant. You often observe the following:
(a) There is a general perception that adhering to ethical conduct one may face difficulties to oneself and cause problems for the family, whereas unfair practices may help to reach the career goals.
(b) When the number of people adopting unfair means is large, a small minority having a penchant towards ethical means makes no difference.
(c) Sticking to ethical means is detrimental to the larger developmental goals
(d) While one may not involve oneself in large unethical practices, but giving and accepting small gifts makes the system more efficient.
Examine the above statements with their merits and demerits. (250 Words, 20)
The salary and perks of civil servants are not commensurate with the amount of work and responsibilities that they are burdened with. Do you think the concept of ‘public service’ needs a relook in this regard? Examine.
Q10. You are aspiring to become an IAS officer and you have cleared various stages and now you have been selected for the personal interview. On the day of the interview, on the way to the venue you saw an accident where a mother and child who happen to be your relatives were badly injured. They needed immediate help.
What would you have done in such a situation? Justify your action. (250 Words, 20)
Q11. You are the head of the Human Resources department of an organisation. One day one of the workers died on duty. His family was demanding compensation. However, the company denied compensation because it was revealed in investigation that he was drunk at the time of the accident. The workers of the company went to strike demanding compensation for the family of the deceased. The Chairman of the management board has asked for your recommendation.
What recommendation would you provide the management?
Discuss the merits and demerits of each of the recommendations. (250 Words, 20)
Q12. You are the manager of a spare parts company A and you have to negotiate a deal with the manager of a large manufacturing company B. The deal is highly competitive and sealing the deal is critical for your company. The deal is being worked out over a dinner. After dinner the manager of manufacturing company B offered to drop you to the hotel in his car. On the way to hotel he happens to hit motorcycle injuring the motorcyclist badly. You know the manager was driving fast and thus lost control. The law enforcement officer comes to investigate the issue and you are the sole eyewitness to it. Knowing the strict laws pertaining to road accidents you are aware that your honest account of the incident would lead to the prosecution of the manager and as a consequence the deal is likely to be jeopardised, which is of immense importance to your company.
What are the dilemmas you face? What will be your response to the situation? (250 Words, 20)
Q13. A building permitted for three floors, while being extended illegally to 6 floors by a builder, collapses. As a consequence, a number of innocent labourers including women and children died. These labourers are migrants of different places. The government immediately announced cash relief to the aggrieved families and arrested the builder.
Give reasons for such incidents taking place across the country. Suggest measures to prevent their occurrence. (250 Words, 20)
Q14. You are a Public Information Officer (PIO) in a government department. You are aware that the RTI Act 2005 envisages transparency and accountability in administration. The act has functioned as a check on the supposedly arbitrarily administrative behaviour and actions. However, as a PIO you have observed that there are citizens who filed RTI applications not for themselves but on behalf of such stakeholders who purportedly want to have access to information to further their own interests. At the same time there are these RTI activists who routinely file RTI applications and attempt to extort money from the decision makers. This type of RTI activism has affected the functioning of the administration adversely and also possibly jeopardises the genuineness of the applications which are essentially aimed at getting justice.
What measures would you suggest to separate genuine and non-genuine applications? Give merits and demerits of your suggestions. (250 Words, 20)
Q.1 Among several factors for India’s potential growth, the savings rate is the most effective one. Do you agree? What are the other factors available for growth potential? (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.2 Account for the failure of the manufacturing sector in achieving the goal of labour-intensive exports rather than capital-intensive exports. Suggest measures for more labour-intensive rather than capital-intensive exports. (150 words, 10 marks)
The labour market ecosystem in India has witnessed many structural changes that include- increasing use of contract labour, competitive federalism and relocation of labour-intensive manufacturing to smaller cities. Can these changes ensure the growth of productive employment in the economy? Evaluate.
Q.3 Examine the developments of Airports in India through Joint Ventures under Public-Private Partnership(PPP) model. What are the challenges faced by the authorities in this regard? (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.4 Explain various types of revolutions, took place in Agriculture after Independence in India. How have these revolutions helped in poverty alleviation and food security in India? (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.5 What are the reasons for poor acceptance of cost-effective small processing unit? How will the food processing unit be helpful to uplift the socio-economic status of poor farmers? (150 words, 10 marks)
The food processing sector in India has got immense potential and the government has taken many initiatives to tap the same. In this light, examine the need, objective and significance of the SAMPAN scheme for the food processing industry in India.
Q.6 Stem cell therapy is gaining popularity in India to treat a wide variety of medical conditions including leukaemia, Thalassemia, damaged cornea and several burns. Describe briefly what stem cell therapy is and what advantages it has over other treatments? (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.7 India has achieved remarkable successes in unmanned space missions including the Chandrayaan and Mars Orbiter Mission, but has not ventured into manned space mission, both in terms of technology and logistics? Explain critically. (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.8 Not many years ago, river linking was a concept but it is becoming reality in the country. Discuss the advantages of river linking and its possible impact on the environment. (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.9 Discuss the potential threats of Cyberattack and the security framework to prevent it. (150 words, 10 marks)
The cybersecurity ecosystem in the country requires to be more robust and agile in order to realise the objectives of Digital India. In view of the statement, examine the necessity of having a National Encryption Policy. What has been the recent controversy over the draft National Encryption Policy?
Q.10 The north-eastern region of India has been infested with insurgency for a very long time. Analyze the major reasons for the survival of armed insurgency in this region. (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.11 One of intended objectives of the Union Budget 2017-18 is to transform, energise and clean India’. Analyse the measure proposed in the Budget 2017-18 to achieve the objective. (15 Marks)
Budget 2017-18 and agriculture- The ‘Transform, Energise and Clean India’ TEC agenda of budget may seem like a new term but is, in fact, a continuation of various earlier initiatives of the Government.
Q.12 “Industrial growth rate has lagged-behind in the overall growth of Gross-Domestic-product (GDP) in the post-reform period.” Give reasons. How far the recent changes in Industrial-policy are capable of increasing the industrial growth rate? (15 Marks)
Q.13 What are the salient features of inclusive growth? Has India been experiencing such a growth process? Analyse and suggest measures for inclusive growth. (15 Marks)
Q.14 What are the major reasons for declining rice and wheat yield in the cropping system? How crop diversification is helpful to stablise the yield of the crops in the system? (15 Marks)
Q.15 How do subsidies affect the cropping pattern, crop diversity and economy of farmers? What is the significance of the crop insurance, minimum support price and food processing for small and marginal farmers? (15 Marks)
Q.16 Give an account of the growth and development of nuclear science and technology in India. What is the advantages of fast breeder reactor programme in India? (15 Marks)
Q.17 ‘Climate change’ is a global problem. How India will be affected by climate change? How Himalayan and coastal states of India will be affected by climate change? (15 Marks)
Q.18 On December 2004, tsunami brought havoc on fourteen countries including India. Discuss the factor responsible for occurrence of tsunami and its effects on life and economy. In the light of guidelines of NDMA (2010) describe the mechanisms for preparedness to reduce the risk during such events. (15 Marks)
Q.19 Mob violence is emerging as a serious law and order problem in India. By giving suitable example, analyze the causes and consequences of such violence. (15 Marks)
Q.20 The scourge of terrorism is a grave challenge to national security. What solutions do you suggest to curb this growing menace? What are the major sources of terrorist funding? (15 Marks)
Q.1 “The local self-government system in India has not proved to be an effective instrument of governance”. Critically examine the statement and give your views to improve the situation. (150 words)
Q.2 Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgement on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014’ with reference to the appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India. (150 words)
Q.3 ‘Simultaneous election to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies will limit the amount of time and money spent in electioneering but it will reduce the government’s accountability to the people’ Discuss. (150 words)
Q.4 How do pressure groups influence Indian political process? Do you agree with this view that informal pressure groups have emerged as powerful than formal pressure groups in recent years? (150 words)
Pressure groups and their roles in a democracy are not always unharmful. Do you agree? What are the fallouts of having notorious pressure groups in a democratic polity? Examine with the help of suitable examples.
Q.5 Discuss the role of Public Accounts Committee in establishing accountability of the government to the people. (150 words)
In a recent move, Public Account Committee (PAC) had intended for bringing about a legislative change to make the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) accountable to the Parliament. Critically examine the consequences if this decision is carried out in India.
Q.6 ‘To ensure effective implementation of policies addressing water, sanitation and hygiene needs, the identification of beneficiary segments is to be synchronized with the anticipated outcomes’ Examine the statement in the context of the WASH scheme. (150 words)
Q.7 Does the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 ensure an effective mechanism for empowerment and inclusion of the intended beneficiaries in the society? Discuss (150 words)
Q.8 Hunger and Poverty are the biggest challenges for good governance in India still today. Evaluate how far successive governments have progressed in dealing with these humongous problems. Suggest measures for improvement. (150 words)
Q.9 ‘China is using its economic relations and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Asia’, In the light of this statement, discuss its impact on India as her neighbour. (150 words)
Q.10 What are the main functions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)? Explain different functional commissions attached to it. (150 words)
Q.11 Explain the salient features of the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016. Do you think it is efficacious enough ‘to remove cascading effect of taxes and provide for a common national market for goods and services’? (250 words)
Q.12 Examine the scope of Fundamental Rights in the light of the latest judgement of the Supreme Court on Right to Privacy. (250 words)
Q.13 The Indian Constitution has provisions for holding a joint session of the two houses of the Parliament. Enumerate the occasions when this would normally happen and also the occasions when it cannot, with reasons thereof. (250 words)
Q.14 To enhance the quality of democracy in India the Election Commission of India has proposed electoral reforms in 2016. What are the suggested reforms and how far are they significant to make democracy successful? (250 words)
Q.15 Is the National Commission for Women able to strategize and tackle the problems that women face at both public and private spheres? Give reasons in support of your answer. (250 words)
Q.16 ‘The emergence of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in contemporary times points to the slow but steady withdrawal of the state from developmental activities’. Examine the role of the SHGs in developmental activities and the measures taken by the Government of India to promote the SHGs. (250 words)
SHGs in India are the living embodiment of a concept that has led to women empowerment. However, the success stories are few and far in between. Do you agree? Do you think the successful models of SHGs should be adopted on a much wider scale? What are the constraints?
Q.17 ‘Poverty Alleviation Programmes in India remain mere show pieces until and unless they are backed by political will’. Discuss with reference to the performance of the major poverty alleviation programmes in India. (250 words)
Q.18 Initially, Civil Services in India were designed to achieve the goals of neutrality and effectiveness, which seems to be lacking in the present context. Do you agree with the view that drastic reforms are required in Civil Services? Comment (250 words)
Q.19 The question of India’s Energy Security constitutes the most important part of India’s economic progress. Analyze India’s energy policy cooperation with West Asian Countries. (250 words)
The structural change in the global energy market has contributed to the changing paradigm of West Asian strategic thinking. Discuss. In this light, examine the approach that India has adopted to cultivate ties with this region of the world.
Q.20 Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in South-East Asian countries’ economy and society. Appraise the role of Indian Diaspora in South- East Asia in this context (250 words)
Q.1 How do you justify the view that the level of excellence of the Gupta numismatic art is not at all noticeable in later times? (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.2 Clarify how mid-eighteenth century India was beset with the spectre of a fragmented polity. (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.3 Why did the ‘Moderates’ fail to carry conviction with the nation about their proclaimed ideology and political goals by the end of the nineteenth century? (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.4 What problems are germane to the decolonization process in the Malay Peninsula? (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.5 How does the Juno Mission of NASA help to understand the origin and evolution of the Earth? (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.6 “In spite of adverse environmental impact, coal mining is still inevitable for development”. Discuss (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.7 Mention the advantages of the cultivation of pulses because of which the year 2016 was declared as the International Year of Pulses by United Nations. (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.8 How does the cryosphere affect global climate? (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.9 In the context of the diversity of India, can it be said that the regions form cultural units rather than the States? Give reasons with examples for your viewpoint. (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.10 What are the two major legal initiatives by the State since Independence addressing discrimination against Scheduled Tribes(STs)? (150 words, 10 marks)
Q.11 The spirit of tolerance and love is not only an interesting feature of Indian society from very early times, but it is also playing an important part at the present. Elaborate. (250 words, 15 marks)
Q.12 Examine how the decline of traditional artisanal industry in colonial India crippled the rural economy. (250 words, 15 marks)
Q.13 Highlight the importance of the new objectives that got added to the vision of Indian Independence since the twenties of the last century. (250 words, 15 marks)
Q.14 Account for variations in oceanic salinity and discuss its multi-dimensional effects. (250 words, 15 marks)
Q.15 Petroleum refineries are not necessarily located nearer to crude oil producing areas, particularly in many of the developing countries. Explain its implications. (250 words, 15 marks)
Q.16 In what way can floods be converted into a sustainable source of irrigation and all-weather inland navigation in India? (250 words, 15 marks)
Q.17 What characteristics can be assigned to monsoon climate that succeeds in feeding more than 50 percent of the world population residing in Monsoon Asia? (250 words, 15 marks)
Q.18 The women’s questions arose in modern India as a part of the 19th-century social reform movement. What are the major issues and debates concerning women in that period? (250 words, 15 marks)
The nature of the struggle for women’s issues has been changing with time. Draw a comparison between the nature of movements centered around women in the 19th century India and post-independence India.
Q.19 Distinguish between religiousness/religiosity and communalism giving one example of how the former has got transformed into the latter in independent India. (250 words, 15 marks)
Q.20“The growth of cities as I.T. hubs has opened up new avenues of employment, but has also created new problems”. Substantiate this statement with examples (250 words, 15 marks)
On the Ending note,
We are happy to announce and share with you certain things and one of them is our NEW WEBSITE in the offing.
Second is the New TLP Mains Answer Writing 2018 Phase I to be started very soon.
Third, is a surprise to be disclosed in a few days.
With all the Best Wishes
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