SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [2nd January 2018]- Day 27

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  • January 4, 2018
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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General

Studies Questions [2nd January 2018]- Day 27


Q.1 “The first and greatest concern for the immense majority of every nation is the stability of laws—never their change.” In the light of this statement, discuss Metternich’s Plan for Europe in the Congress of Vienna.


  • Start the answer by mentioning what the Vienna Congress was?
  • What were the circumstances under which it was organized?
  • Then write the salient points of Metternich’s plan along with reasons for the same
  • Conclude your answer by writing how it shaped Europe’s future and how successful was it?


After the fall of Napoleon in 1814, the Congress in Vienna was called for by Austrian leader Kinnem Von Metternich to chalk out a long term peace plan for Europe. The five major powers of Europe – Austria, Russia, Prussia, France and Great Britain – attended the Congress.

The major considerations were reversing the changes due to French revolution, Napoleon wars, the rise of ideals of nationalism, equality, liberty etc.

Salient Points of Metternich’s Plan

  1. Surround France with stronger countries to prevent future French aggression
  2. Restore the ‘balance of power’ so that no country would be a threat to others
  3. Restore European monarchy to pre-Napoleon heights

Creation of the Holy Alliance

The rulers of Europe were very nervous about the legacy of the French Revolution, so Czar Alexander I, Emperor Francis I of Austria, and King Frederick William III of Prussia signed an agreement called the Holy Alliance. In it, they pledged to base their relations with other nations on Christian principles in order to combat the forces of revolution

Was it Successful?

The Congress of Vienna was a triumph in many ways. For the first time, the nations of an entire continent had cooperated to control political affairs. The settlements agreed upon were fair and no country was left to grudge. Therefore, the Congress did not sow the seeds of future wars. In that sense, it was more successful than many other peace meetings in history.


The Congress of Vienna thus created a time of peace in Europe. None of the 5 major powers waged wars on each other for 40 years. However, the proposals of Metternich’s plan didn’t hold for long with the rise of new nations of Italy and Germany which further increase in European rivalry. The ideals of French Revolutions strengthened with time and could not be reversed leading to the ultimate downfall of monarchy across Europe.

Best Answer: Hobbes



Q.2) Discuss the reasons behind China’s traditional disinterest in trading with the West? Why did China succumb to western pressure eventually?


Although there was some trade between China and the rest of the world for some time, the silk trade was significantly expanded and promoted by the Han Dynasty which ruled from 206 BC to 220 AD. Later, under the rule of the Yuan Dynasty set up by Kublai Khan of the Mongols, trade from China along the Silk Road would reach its peak. During this time the Mongols controlled a significant portion of the trade route, enabling Chinese merchants to travel safely. Also, merchants were granted more social status during the Mongol rule.

Reasons for isolation:

  • They pretty much had all they needed resource-wise in the country, trade was not a prerogative and even though Zheng He did go out exploring they were not interested in colonies or mercantilism.
  • Mercantilism was pretty much frowned upon within the Confucian system, merchants did not produce goods they moved them around and made money which made them a drain on the system. The few who were enterprising and maybe came up with some new product might often find themselves in competition from the government
  • The Emperor system considered itself the center of the world, the focus of the heavens. When outsiders came they gave tribute and fealty to the Emperor, so the outside world came to them, they did not need to go out

Imperial China didn’t need the outside trade, they were a large country that didn’t have need for resources from the outside and their technology at that point was sophisticated enough for what they needed.

China and western pressure:

  • In the 1800s China simultaneously experiences major internal strains and Western imperialist pressure, backed by military might which China cannot match.
  • Through the 1700s, China’s imperial system flourishes under the Qing or Manchu dynasty. China is at the center of the world economy as Europeans and Americans seek Chinese goods.
  • By the late 1700s, however, the strong Chinese state is experiencing internal strains particularly, an expanding population that taxes food supply and government control and these strains lead to rebellions and a weakening of the central government.
  • Western nations are experiencing an outflow of silver bullion to China as a result of the imbalance of trade in China’s favor, and they bring opium into China as a commodity to trade to reverse the flow of silver.
  • China’s attempt to ban the sale of opium in the port city of Canton leads to the Opium War of 1839 in which the Chinese are defeated by superior British arms and which results in the imposition of the first of many “Unequal Treaties.”
  • These treaties open other cities, “Treaty Ports” — first along the coast and then throughout China — to trade, foreign legal jurisdiction on Chinese territory in these ports, foreign control of tariffs, and Christian missionary presence. By the late 1800s, China is said to be “carved up like a melon” by foreign powers competing for “spheres of influence” on Chinese soil.
  • The end of 1976 as the start of post-Mao reform and argue that China basically became a market economy by the end of the 90s before it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
  • China moved away from a free market economy in the second decade of reform, it misses a fundamental change in the economy in the 1990s; the emergence of a common national market, which was a precondition for regional competition to work.


China’s embrace of both its history and globalization leads us to believe that Chinese capitalism, which just started its long journey, will be different. This is desirable not just for China, but for the West and everyone else as well. It is also desirable for the global market economy.

Best answer: Akshat dwivedi


3. World War played an important role to bring about the Russian Revolution. Critically comment.


  • Introduction
  • How WW I led to Russian revolution?
  • The underlying causes- This part should be focused upon as the answer clearly demands to comment critically.
  • Conclusion


In the nineteenth century, almost, entire Europe was undergoing important social, economic and political transformation. Most of the countries were republics like France or constitutional monarchies like England. Russia, however, was still living in ‘the old world’ under the autocratic rule of the Czars, as the Russian emperors were called. The Russian revolution was a watershed event in history as it led to the establishment of the first communist state based on Marxism-Leninism and also heralded the communist era in many parts of the world.

How WW I led to Russian revolution?

Russia joined the Allied power in world war with major objective to support its alliance with Germany and for territorial gains from war. Russia had to withdrew after Russian revolution of February and October 2017.

  • The war revealed the ineptitude of the country’s aristocratic elite.
  • The diversion of foods for army further aggravated the shortage.
  • Heavy loss of lives due to ill-equipped army caused unrest among the Russians.
  • Investment into wars and not on social welfare along with rising inflation made people live a miserable life.
  • Lenin, heading communist group, took WW I as an opportunity to further garner support against czar regime and finally overthrow Nicholas II in October revolution.

Thus, The Russian entry in the war created an atmosphere of discontentment among the people.

The underlying causes:

  • The autocratic Czarist regime. The Russian state under the Czars was completely unsuited to the needs of modern times, Czar Nicholas II still believed in the divine right of kings.
  • The bureaucracy that the Czars had built was top heavy, inflexible and inefficient, the members being recruited from amongst the privileged classes rather than on the basis of any ability.
  • Country’s economic backwardness along with glaring inequality between rich and poor, both social and economic.
  • Industrialization began very late in Russia, more than half of the capital for investment came from foreign countries. Foreign investors were interested in quick profits and showed no concern for the conditions of workers.
  • Serfdom had been abolished in 1861, but it did not improve the condition of peasants. They still had miserably small holdings of land with no capital to develop even these.


Thus, it can be concluded that World War I was the direct catalyst of Russian Revolution of 1917.  But it was just an aggravating factor. There were underlying reasons which got revealed and felt more strongly only after the country’s entry and poor performance in the war.

Best answer: Sameer



4. India can fill its vacuum of unemployment by developing a multimodal logistics network. Do you agree? Explain.

Background: The government has granted infrastructure status to the logistics sector, including multi-modal logistics parks and cold chains.


  • Write about multimodal logistics network in introduction
  • Write about issue of unemployment in the country
  • Write how this MMLN can fill the vacuum of unemployment and conclude suitably


India is moving forward with ambitious multi-modal programme which aims for effective transportation grid by integrating major transportation mode (roadways, airways, ports & railways).It has vision to provide better connectivity, reduce cost , improve logistic infrastructure & ensure track ability and traceability of freight movement. India can fill its vacuum of unemployment by developing a multimodal logistics network.

Every month, a million Indians become age-eligible to join the workforce, but the growth in jobs has not kept pace with the rising number of aspirants. The result: unemployment has been on the rise, despite India supposedly being one of the brighter spots in a slowing global economy.

What Is Multimodal Logistics network?

The Multi Modal Programme is being development GOI to meet the above objective through the following drawn out plan –

1) Location Planing- to be conducted to set up logistics park based on need and requirement as per objectives in semi urban localities

2) Construction – of Hubs/ Parks to be undertaken by SPV between Government and Private Parties.

3) Land Acquisition and clearance to be spearheaded by the GOI.

4) Financing to be undertaken through selling of the acquired land. GOI is also trying to get infrastrcture status for these projects to attract further investment.

5) Key projects would include – cold storage, warehouses, truck maintenance, agriculture storage etc. at the logistics park.

The programme has adopted a hub and spoke model under which 35 multi-modal logistics parks will be set in semi urban localities on railways, highways, inland waterways and airports transportation grid. The logistic parks act as hubs for freight movement enabling freight aggregation and distribution with modern mechanized warehousing space. Fifteen such logistics parks will be constructed in the next five years, and 20 more over the next 10 years.

How India can fill its vacuum of unemployment by developing a multimodal logistics network?

  1. It is vital to enhance trade and commerce with improved multi modal infrastructure.
  2. It will help in encouraging exports and provide ample employment opportunities to the youth.
  3. Transportation will be made more cost effective and goods will become cheaper hence more demand and creation of jobs.
  4. Improving logistic network will help attract FDI and enhance Ease of doing business.
  5. Efficient transportation and logistics are important for boosting India’s competitiveness. They reduce transport time and costs, of course—but they also reduce cost of production by minimizing the need for large inventories. This means less capital required for warehouses, insurance and the like.
  6. While the conventional view of demand in the logistics sector states that it is derived demand, growth in transport and logistics enterprises can create markets for other goods.
  7. Efficient logistics networks can reduce divergence in regional growth.
  8. As the last Economic Survey points out, inter-state trade flows in India stand at a healthy 54% of GDP. Reducing friction via improved logistics could boost this.
  9. While the demand for transport grew at around 10% annually in the 1990s, it has accelerated since. Failing to keep pace will hamstring everything from the manufacturing push and attempts to boost farmer earnings to the benefits of urban agglomeration economies.


So successful implementation of programme will not only help India to achieve a double digital GDP growth, but also generate employment opportunities & reduce pollution due to traffic congestion etc which offers a route to sustainable development & inclusive growth.

Best Answer: Aditi Dhaka



Q.5) Is intolerance also a right to freedom of expression? Analyse. How can tolerance prevail over intolerance?


  • Introduction: Mention what is intolerance and a line or two about prevailing situation in the country.
  • Body: Here most of the people will go wrong. You need to mention both side of story not just a single view of intolerance not being part of freedom of expression. Give examples. Then mention how tolerance can prevail.
  • Conclusion: 2-3 lines are must.


Intolerance is person’s unwillingness to accept the belief and behavior of others. Even a moderate expression of a different point of view is viewed with resentment and hostility.  India today is witnessing an alarming increase of intolerance in society spanning across regions, religions and castes.


Intolerance always need not be in form of physical violence it can also be in form of verbal insults, mental and psychological harms.

Intolerance is not a right to freedom of expression:

  • Not absolute: The right is not absolute and under Article 19(2) is subjected to ‘reasonable restrictions’, public order being one of them.
  • It curtails other people’s right of freedom of expression. Ex: Hussain Paintings, Padmavat movie.
  • Violence: Intolerance when expressed in form of violence. Ex: Cow protection related killings, Rajasthan Youth killing etc.

However Intolerance when expressed in non-violent way can also be a tool for social revolutions:

  • Corruption: Intolerance to corruption should be inculcated. Ex: Anna Hazare movement.
  • Abuse of Power: By Politicians and bureaucrats. Ex: CAG report, Whistle blowers.
  • Right to dissent: Is provided and protected under constitution.

Tolerance can prevail over intolerance

  • Role of government –Stricter laws,
  • Role of press –Not distort the truth, promote all kinds of views with their rationale
  • Role of political parties –Avoid vote bank politics over dividing issues
  • Role of civil society –Awareness campaigns, accommodation of differing views, finding solution through talks, inculcating tolerance through schools
  • Role of religious institutions –Preaching brotherhood and true essence of the religion

Answer should consist of 8-10 points. Both part of answer should be given equal weightage.


So intolerance (Dissent) can also be a form of Right to “Freedom of Expression” depending on the form it takes. For the democracy to survive, it is for the government and institutions to create awareness between right and wrong form of intolerance so that a culture of right to accept and dissent prevails.

Connecting the dots:

  • Article 19 of Indian constitution and its importance.
  • Ideologies of Radicalism, Extremism, Pluralism and Xenophobia.

Best Answer: No Best answer.

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