SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [9th January 2018]- Day 32

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  • January 11, 2018
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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General

Studies Questions [9th January 2018]- Day 32


1. What is ‘realpolitik’? What policies characterized realpolitik and how did they affect the course of the Cold War? Explain.


  • Introduction: Mention what you mean by Realpolitik.
  • Body: There are two parts here. First part is what characterized realpolitik and second part is how it affected course of cold war from beginning to breakdown of USSR.
  • Conclusion: 2-3 line conclusion about how it brought end to cold war.


Realpolitik refers to politics or diplomacy based on practical objectives rather than on Ideological principles. It is a Pragmatic, no-nonsense and disregard for ethical considerations.


Policy that characterized realpolitik:

“The Enemy of my enemy is my friend” is the guiding principle which characterized realpolitik during cold war. USA and USSR both started supporting dictatorships and corrupt governments under this policy.

How it affected the course of cold war:

  • Proxy wars: Direct confrontations were no-win situation so proxy wars like Vietnam war etc.
  • Afghan war: Funding radical elements when Russia invaded Afghanistan.
  • Pakistan: Supporting military dictatorship which was anti-communist while Russia supported India.
  • Iraq: US and other western power supported Saddam Hussein to prevent country falling into communism. Financial Support from western powers to keep Saddam away from USSR.
  • Cuban Missile crisis: Castro took over from American backed corrupt government so USSR started becoming closer by providing funds.
  • Bases: US started setting up bases in and around Europe to threaten USSR with ICBMs. Ex: Turkey missile base.
  • NATO: Military alliance was formed for combined fight in case of aggression on any member.
  • Neo-colonialism: A new form of colonialism was started in barb of containing the other super power and their ideology.


Cold war era led to many proxy battles due to policy of containment implemented by both super powers in which neither of the two super powers was involved directly but indirectly. At the end with the breakdown of USSR, US and capitalism won the war against socialism and gained Hegemony.

Connecting the dots:

  • Cold war era.
  • Break down of USSR.
  • Truman doctrine.
  • Cuban Missile crisis and Domino theory.

Best Answer: Kindar


2. Why did the USA become involved in either the Korean or Vietnam wars? What were the consequences of the involvement?


While the WW II brought an end to the multiple European conflicts, it gave birth to a new era of hostility between the two new super powers – USA and USSR – known as the Cold War. It lasted from 1945 to the fall of Soviet Union in 1990.


The involvement of US in both the Vietnam (1954-75) and Korean War (1950-53) should be seen from the prism of Cold War tactics. The reasons offered by US government were:

  • United Nation’s support to the struggling army of South Korea against the uncalled aggression by North Korea for the unification of Korean peninsula
  • To maintain peace in the temporarily parted Vietnam before elections

However, the real intentions for US involvement are as follows:

  1. It was part of US policy of containment against the perceived threat of communist expansion by Soviet Union. Both North Korea and Northern Vietnam were under Communist influence, hence it was feared that without intervention both countries would be governed by Communist governments similar to China.
  2. US wanted to expand its sphere of influence in countries that were on the edge politically
  3. US wanted to emerge as a leader in the newly decolonized world

Consequences of the Involvement:

  1. Heavy casualties – 3 million Vietnamese people and 58000 US soldiers died
  2. Genesis of the present Korean Crisis – hostility between South and nuclear armed North Korea
  3. Loss of prestige for US and her allies – both domestically and internationally
  4. Start of the proxy Mujahedeen war in Afghanistan by the US to counter Soviet Union without direct confrontation and possibility of a disaster like Vietnam


US involvement in both the wars was an unmitigated disaster. It brought the world on the brink of a possible third world war. It sowed the seeds of the current Korean crisis as well it gave birth to a new form of rebellion called ‘terrorism’ as it armed Afghan people to fight against the southward Soviet expansion.

Best Answer: Amit Kumar



3) The recent histories of Nigeria and South Africa show that ethnic and racial conflicts can hinder democracy. Comment.


Nigeria and South Africa could be likened to the Biblical Aaron and Moses, who were endowed with the responsibility to bring Africa out from the bondage of despair, decline and underdevelopment. As regional powers, history has imposed on them the enormous task of finding solutions to some of the most pressing African concerns, the role of a certain ethnocentrism or tribalism in conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa, which hindered democracy.


African countries today face greater challenges to peace and stability than ever before. The countries of sub-Saharan Africa countries lack the political will to maintain previous peace agreements, and thus have fallen prey to continuous armed ethnic and racial conflicts.

Reasons for ethnic and racial conflicts:

  • This is partly due to ineffective conflict management.
  • The conflicts in these countries are mostly between ethnic groups, not between states. If not checked, ethnic conflicts are contagious and can spread quickly across borders like cancer cells.
  • That ethnic and conflict has been at the heart of both countries’ development problems.
  • Politicized ethnicity has been detrimental to national unity and socio-economic well-being.
  • It is important to note that most of these ethnic conflicts were caused by colonialism, which compounded inter-ethnic conflict by capitalizing on the isolation of ethnic groups.
  • The divide-and-conquer method was used to pit ethnicities against each other, thus keeping the people from rising up against the colonizers.
  • Distribution of economic resources was often skewed to favor a particular group, pushing marginalized groups to use their ethnicity to mobilize for equality. These are the seeds of conflict.
  • In multi-ethnic and multi-racial societies like Nigeria and South Africa, ethnic communities violently compete for property, rights, jobs, education, language, social amenities and good health care facilities.
  • Economic factors have been identified as one of the major causes of conflict in Africa.
  • Ethnic and racial conflict is a sign of a weak state or a state embroiled in ancient loyalties. In this case, states act with bias to favour a particular ethnic group or region, and behaviours such as preferential treatment fuel ethnic conflicts.


The democratic transformation process in both countries is not yet complete. The significance of ethnic and racial conflict management in Africa is underlined by the continent’s underdevelopment and weak economic growth. This points to the need for a change in the continent’s approach to conflict management. Peace in Africa is not the absence of war, but the provision of the people’s basic human needs.

Best Answer: Barbarika


4. Critically analyse the reasons behind justice delivery being delayed in India and the associated effects on livelihood and polity.


  • Introduction
  • Reasons behind delayed justice delivery.
  • Effects on livelihood
  • Effects on polity
  • Measures taken
  • Conclusion


The problem of delay in Indian judicial system is too grim. Various factors are responsible for the same.

Reasons behind delayed justice delivery:

  • Pending cases- More than 30 million court cases are pending in India.
  • Acute shortage of judges. A brief study says we have 13 Judges per 1 million people in our country, where as the need is of 50 Judges per 1 million people.
  • Poor infrastructure- Low number of courts
  • Large number of cases-
    Government being the biggest litigant.
    Frivolous PILs being filed for self-interest.
    Too many laws make the judicial process cumbersome resulting into large number of cases being filed.
  • Poor investigation mechanism, forensic mechanism etc.
  • Lack of awareness among poor and backwards regarding their rights lead to their exploitation without any justice.

Effects on livelihood:

  • Long pendency of cases takes a toll on the livelihood of poor- man days lost in attending court, expenditure incurred on traveling.
  • Disputes related to property, forgery when not solved on time results into mental trauma apart from loss of revenue.
  • Trust deficit between the common man and government increases.
  • Rise in number of cases of rape, dacoity etc can be attributed to delayed justice as there is no deterrent.

Effects on polity:

  • Criminaliztion of politics
  • Legal disputes between the governments go on for long disturbing governance.

Way ahead:

  • The police reforms suggested by Supreme Court in 2006 must be implemented. Given law and order comes under state list, the state governments must take the lead.
  • The political impasses between executive and the judiciary regarding judicial appointments needs to be resolved. An amicable solution can emerge only after a healthy discussion.
  • The National Judicial Service Commission as highlighted by PM can be seen as a solution.
  • The Lok Adalats, Fast track courts and other ADRs needs to be promoted.
  • Frivolous cases under PIL should be penalised. The judiciary should avoid admitting not that important cases under special leave petition under Article 136.
  • The governments- both central and states needs to resolve matter through mediation and conciliation rather than filing cases against each other. Inter-state council and similar platforms should be used to resolve long standing matters of dispute.


Justice delayed is justice denied truly. Reforming judicial mechanism is the need of the hour in this light.

Best answer: Maximus



5. To solve the growing water crisis, the solution that is proposed and pushed by world bodies such as WTO and IMF through international agreements is privatisation of water. Do you think India should also privatise its water? Critically analyze.


  • Introduce by writing about given statement in the question and define water privatization
  • Write about need for such step
  • Write disadvantages or other issues involved
  • Write Indian experience and various alternates
  • Conclude suitably

Introduction: Access to safe drinking water has been recognized as a human right by UN. But due to increasing consumption patterns, water is becoming scarce and this scarcity is an emerging threat to the global population. Thus to overcome this issue, the solution proposed by world bodies such as World Bank, IMF is privatization of water.

Privatisation of water involves transferring of water control and/or water management services to private companies. The water management service may include collection, purification, distribution of water and waste water treatment in a community.

Need for privatization:

  1. Water is a basic need of life and even the United Nations (UN) has recognized this need as a human right. The UN World Water Report of 2006 notes that “there is enough water for everyone” and “water insufficiency is often due to mismanagement, corruption, lack of appropriate institutions, bureaucratic inertia and a shortage of investment in both human capacity and physical infrastructure“.
  2. The process whereby all resources not limited to water are transformed from a public good to a tradable commodity is due to economic processes at work.
  3. Fears over water scarcity and the need to manage water efficiently by giving it an economic value is the starting point from where privatization is pushed.
  4. Critics of public supply of water insisted on the state’s inability to operate efficiently and created a case for a shift towards market-based water governance.
  5. Privatization always focuses on Quality hence Water Upgrading Water quality will lessen the water prone diseases.
  6. It will reduce waste of water as Privatization will make the use of water as per need.Also it will reduce the delay in water supply.
  7. It will also help in reducing Government expenditure on Water officials,Water infrastructure etc.
  8. Additional source of govt. revenue which can be used in developmental schemes in a cyclic manner

Why privatization of water is not a good idea?

  1. By privatizing water and sewer systems, local government officials abdicate control over a vital public resource.
  2. Privatization limits public accountability. Multinational water corporations are primarily accountable to their stockholders, not to the people they serve.
  3. Loss of transparency. Private operators usually restrict public access to information and do not have the same level of openness as the public sector.
  4. The objectives of a profit-extracting water company can conflict with the public interest. Because a water corporation has different goals than a city does, it will make its decisions using a different set of criteria, often one that emphasizes profitability. This can create conflict.
  5. Private water companies are unlikely to adopt the same criteria as municipalities when deciding where to extend services. They are prone to cherry-picking service areas to avoid serving low-income communities where low water use and frequent bill collection problems could hurt corporate profits.
  6. As a result of price hikes, service disconnections, inadequate investment and other detrimental economic consequences, water privatization often interferes with the human right to water.
  7. Empirical evidence indicates that there is no significant difference in efficiency between public and private water provision. In theory, competition would lead to cheaper contracts, but in practice, researchers have found that the water market is “rarely competitive.” The only competition that can exist is the competition for the contract, and there are only a few private water companies that bid to take over municipal water systems. Once a contract is awarded, the winning company enjoys a monopoly. A lack of competition can lead to excess profits and corruption in private operations.
  8. A survey of 10 privatization contracts found that after taking over a system, water companies reduce the workforce by 34% on average. Other surveys have found similar results.

India’s experience:

Nagpur was the first large city in India to hand over its entire water service to a private firm. Smaller experiments in privatisation in Khandwa, Mysore, and Aurangabad, among others, have followed similar trajectories. Social mobilisation against the introduction of PPP (Public-Private Partnership) projects in metros such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore have led to the plans being aborted.

Water services Latur were handed over to a private operator — but within a few years, the Maharashtra water supply department had to take back control after high tariffs without any improvement in water quality triggered strong protests.

What can be done?

Instead of privatizing water systems, municipalities can partner together through public-public partnerships. Public partners are more responsive, reliable and cost-effective than private water companies. Intermunicipal cooperation, interlocal agreements and bulk purchasing consortiums can improve public services and reduce costs, while allowing communities to retain local control.


Because private sector focuses on profit it is important that Government’s restructure Water Utilities to reverse the infrastructural decay and improve their performance. There is a need to have greater engagement with the public and make Water Utilities accountable and capable of delivering water services.

Best Answer: Lucifer





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