SYNOPSIS [20th NOVEMBER,2020] Day 35: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)

  • IASbaba
  • November 24, 2020
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Question Compilation, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS [20th NOVEMBER,2020] Day 35: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)


1. Perfect objectivity is an unrealistic goal; fairness, however, is not. Critically Comment.

Approach – You need to critically comment on the aspect of perfect objectivity as an unrealistic goal whereas being fair has no such impediment. You need to substantiate this argument with proper examples.


Objectivity is considered one of the most fundamental values because it helps the people to make correct decisions on the merit of evidence. It compliments other values like Integrity, impartiality, non-partisanship, empathy, tolerance and compassion but pursuit of perfectness in objectivity can be counterproductive, which leaves the space for fairness.


  • Objectivity in one’s daily life helps in taking right decisions in case of ethical moral dilemmas and further helps in enhancing professionalism. It also helps to overcome biases, favouritism and helps in management of conflict of interest.
  • Whereas absolute objectivity limit’s the flexibility in decision making. In real life it is almost impossible to maintain hundred percent rationality. Flexibility in decision making is essential in actual life.
  • Sometimes such situations and circumstances arise where in the spirit of taking justiciable decisions the objectivity needs to be compromised.
  • Due to complexities in the nature of laws in India, it is sometimes impossible to attain hundred percent adherence to a law without breaching a few other laws.
  • In such a situation absolute objectivity in decision making is not suggested, a pragmatic approach becomes very necessary when such ethical dilemmas occur.
  • Maintaining basic flexibility in objectivity requires allowing exceptions in extraordinary situations. For example, adopting violent methods is against the constitutional spirit of Justice but in extraordinary situations like terrorist attack and riots, sometimes it becomes necessary to issue orders of shoot at sight.
  • Indian society being pluralistic, it is necessary to give scope for implementation of laws according to diverse sociocultural and economic needs. Absolute objectivity in governance would eliminate such administrative space for adjustment.
  • Further, following absolute objectivity in governance could cause delays, inaction and inability to take policy decisions by the government or its various departments and agencies which run the country and the economy.

On the other hand, the concept of fairness is closely related to a number of other moral concepts, such as equality, impartiality, and justice. It centres on how people are treated by others, especially the requirement that they be treated alike, in the absence of significant differences between them.

  • The distinctive focus of fairness is decision-making processes or institutions that apply rules. For instance, in regard to the application of rules, a fair procedure is one that applies them similarly to all cases, unless there are strong reasons for making exceptions in particular cases.
  • Presence of fairness and justice in civil services increases the confidence of the citizens in administration. It ensures the people that decisions are being made in an objective manner. Fairness also leads to equitable distribution of resources in the society.
  • Fairness is concerned with actions, processes, and consequences that are morally right honourable, and equitable. In essence, the virtue of fairness establishes moral standards for decisions that affect others. Fair decisions are made in an appropriate manner based on appropriate criteria.
  • In this COVID-19 crisis when big insurance companies were offering COVID-19 insurance, which in turn gave a tough competition to small insurance companies. Here, IRDAI intervened & mandated all general and health insurers to offer to have a COVID-19 specific product, addressing basic health insurance needs of insuring public related to the pandemic and have a standard product with common policy wordings across the industry. It ensured fairness.
  • Failure to tackle discrimination and to provide equal opportunities hurts individuals and families, negatively impacts our society, and costs the economy. Crucially, a society that is fair and equal also helps improve all other public value outcomes.

At the same time, perfect objectivity is a reality in places where pure facts are available in fields like science (Physics, Chemistry, etc.). Here fairness can’t be the target as it would be professional dishonesty.


Perfect objectivity may not be ethical solution in all cases like same fine cannot be imposed on both rich and poor, which may be objective but not fair. In public life objectivity as a value must strives for in all interaction but at many times being objective become difficult. Fairness as a value closest to objectivity can be practiced which progressively leads to objectivity.

2. Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself. Elucidate.

Approach – Student are expected to write about the meaning of the term tolerance and also discuss in detail as to why it is an essential value considered in the society. 


According to UNESCO, “Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human “Tolerance involves acceptance of differencing of the opinions with a fair, objective, and positive attitude. Tolerance, the virtue that makes peace possible, contributes to the replacement of the culture of war by a culture of peace.


Tolerance is restraining from reacting to unfavourable happenings and respect for contradictory views. Tolerance is learning of giving respect to others as well as their opinions and should not impose our opinions on them because everyone has the same and equal rights. As famous saying, “treat others the way you want to be treated”. At personal level it helps individual to widen his perspective and thinking with multiple angles for the same issues. 

Example- A Specific food may be religiously banned for a person, but it should not become issue for him if the other consuming it. Same applies for vegetarian – Non-vegetarian group.

Tolerance is the responsibility that upholds human rights, pluralism (including cultural pluralism), democracy and the rule of law. It is vital because it promotes acknowledging new ideas which ultimately helps to break social norms. Tolerance is needed in complex society like India where people with varied belief stays together. Every person has right to choose His/her life partner and as it is individual’s choice of choosing, there should not be a problem on the basis of religion.

Example- Recently in Tanishq advertisement, they implicitly indicated interreligious marriage. Still the whole outrage and withdrawal of advertisement shows lowered tolerance level of society

Being a Democracy, we as a nation also expect tolerance from elected govt as there is always scope for criticism on govt. Easy permissions to peaceful rallies builds legitimacy of the govt and, build the confidence among the different group. In order to enjoy the rights, people should be free from ruling parties’ moral burden. 

Example- As recently Former PM Manmohan Sing quote to Voltaire in the “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” 

Tolerance as virtue is important to pursue high ideal of secularism enshrined in constitution. Intolerance would breed injustice and violence which are antidotes to a balanced development of a diverse nation.

Example: A civil servant posted in a state other than his own if not tolerant may face problem in adapting and dedicating himself to the service of people.


Historically tolerance has been the central virtue of some of the greatest empires. Be it Asoka’s Dhamma or Akbar’s Sul-i-kul, tolerance was a key principle. Being tolerant of each other and caring for each other is what makes us human. This is why we have believed tolerance is important and an essential aspect of a healthy, liveable society. In fact, it is the only way in which a country as diverse as India (Politically, religiously, economically) can function and use each and every difference to make its people thrive rather than suffer.

3. Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself. Illustrate.

Approach – It expects students to write about – ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place leads to empathy.


Empathy is, at its simplest, awareness of the feelings and emotions of other people. It is a key element of Emotional Intelligence, the link between self and others, because it is how we as individuals understand what others are experiencing as if we were feeling it ourselves.


  • Empathy involves essentially putting yourself in someone else’s position and feeling what they must be feeling. When you see another person suffering, you might be able to instantly envision yourself in the other person’s place and feel sympathy for what they are going through.
  • Empathetic people care about others and show interest in and concern for them. It is the ability to non-judgmentally put into words your understanding of the other person’s perspective on the world, even if you do not agree with it, or even if you find that perspective ridiculous.
  • Empathy facilitates prosocial or helping behaviours that come from within, rather than being forced, so that people behave in a more compassionate manner. 
  • Empathy stands in contrast to sympathy which is the ability to cognitively understand a person’s point of view or experience, without the emotional overlay. It should also be distinguished from compassion, even though the terms are often used interchangeably. Compassion is an empathic understanding of a person’s feelings plus a desire to act on that person’s behalf. 
  • There are individual differences in empathy between individuals, and there are certain conditions in which empathy is blunted or altogether absent.  Psychopaths are capable of empathic accuracy, or correctly inferring thoughts and feelings, but they have no experiential referent: a true psychopath does not feel empathy.

There are a number of benefits of being able to experience empathy. Some of these include:

  • Empathy allows people to build social connections with others. By understanding what people are thinking and feeling, people are able to respond appropriately in social situations.
  • Empathizing with others helps you learn to regulate your own emotions. Emotional regulation is important in that it allows you to manage what you are feeling, even in times of great stress, without becoming overwhelmed.
  • Empathy promotes helping behaviours. Not only are you more likely to engage in helpful behaviours when you feel empathy for other people; other people are also more likely to help you when they experience empathy.
  • Despite claims that empathy comes naturally, it takes arduous mental effort to get into another person’s mind and then to respond with compassion rather than indifference. 

It’s role in Civil services:

  • It’s essential for CS, they can’t have impartiality, compassion, objectivity without feeling of empathy.
  • Empathy also deals with emotional intelligence which is essential for quality of decision making.
  • Since our society, there are ‘stereotyping’ can be related to caste, religion, region, gender. Such negative feeling can be overcome by imbibing values of empathy in people through socialisation.


While empathy might fail sometimes, most people are able to empathize with others in a variety of situations. This ability to see things from another person’s perspective and sympathize with another’s emotions plays an important role in our social lives. Empathy allows us to understand others and, quite often, compels us to take action to relieve another person’s suffering.

4. There is no higher calling in terms of a career than public service, which is a chance to make a difference in people’s lives and improve the world. Comment.

Approach – It expects students to write about –in first part write how someone can make difference through public service in someone’s life – while in second part write about how public service is not only career to transform someone’s life.


Public service is a service intended to serve all members of a community. It is usually provided by the government to people living within its jurisdiction, either directly (through the public sector) or by financing provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus (usually expressed through democratic elections) that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income, physical ability or mental acuity.


Making difference through career in public service:

  • A primary reason many people undertake public interest work is to further the public good. 
  • Helping underserved people, groups, and causes can provide a feeling of personal satisfaction and achievement that you might not gain defending large corporations in private practice.
  • Public interest work can allow you to achieve greater goals beyond earning a pay check, such as working to effect societal change, supporting an important public cause, or providing equal access to justice for needy individuals and organizations. In fact, the lowest-paid public servant report the highest levels of happiness.
  • Working in the public sector offers many benefits: a sense of purpose, the opportunity to learn and grow, and a means of making a difference in the world.
  • Selflessness: Holders of public office act solely in terms of public interest. They not do so in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.
  • For e.g. TukaramOmble of Maharashtra police tackled Kasab one of the terrorists of Mumbai attack so that he couldn’t attack his fellow servicemen. Thus showing exemplary courage and the highest degree of selflessness by giving away his life for the cause of his nation.

However, public service is not only career to transform someone’s life:

  • Innovator and entrepreneur regularly attempted to make a difference and ease the life of people.
  • Professionals like Doctor, lawyers etc. help people in various ways by providing their service free of cost.
  • Many NGO’s, Social activist, pressure groups do make difference in people’s life as they bring and act towards issues concerning the vulnerabilities of ignored people.
  • Anand Kumar, founder of Siuper30 has been doing an impactful service by providing free classes to IIT aspirants and securing their admissions in good colleges.


Hence public service is not restricted to any specific profession but depends upon one’s mind-set. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” – Mahatma Gandhi.

5. True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it. Examine the significance of this statement for a public servant.

Approach – In the introduction candidate needs to explain the meaning of given statement in short and in sub intro it is expected to explain the meaning by considering various angles. In the next part of answer, candidate is expected to give significance of the ‘statement’ for a public servant. 


The simple meaning of the given statement that can be deciphered is, compassion is empathy followed by action. Hence, it is said that the real compassion is about taking action to relieve the pain of other after feeling other person’s pain, suffering. 


Practise of true compassion is about feeling another’s pain and being moved to relive it:

  • Practise of true Compassion offers the possibility of responding to suffering with understanding, patience, and kindness rather than, say, fear and repulsion. It is a readiness to help or to want to do something ourselves about another person’s situation. 
  • For instance, IAS Amit Gupta felt the pain and suffering of manual scavangers while serving in Uttar Pradesh. He started the movement ‘Daliya Jalao’ which led to improvement eradication of manual scavenging besides providing rehabilitation package and another livelihood opportunity for the 2750 liberated manual scavengers. 

Significance of the statement for a public servant: 

  • Implementation of govt schemes requires the co-op and trust of the public and the public will respond well to a civil servant who practises compassion.
  • For instance, Popularly known as ‘Collector Bro’, a civil servant from Kozhikode started the ‘Compassionate Kozhikode’ and ‘Compassionate Keralam’, winning the trust and volunteer help from the locals to successfully clean ponds, feed the hungry, help and improving lives after the recent floods and involving youth in the betterment of the society.
  • Practise of true Compassion allows the public servant to have a feeling of self-satisfaction and self-contentment of helping others whether an animal, human or even a plant.  
  • For instance, moved by the plight of vulnerable sections of society, IAS S.R. Shankaran (Andhra Pradesh cadre) took steps for empowerment of vulnerable sections of society. He started anti-poverty programme through land reforms, distributing land to S.C. and S.T., irrigation techniques were applied to cultivable lands which provided livelihood opportunity. With this he got the feeling of fulfilling his duty and up-liftment of vulnerable sections of people took place. 
  • The paraphernalia around a civil servant already elevates him & sets him apart and creates a distance b/w the people and the Govt (which is represented by the civil servant). Empathy and subsequent action i.e. Compassion could help reduce this distance and make the Govt appear more accessible to the people.
  • For instance, IAS Omprakash Chouhary in Dantewara region took up educational initiaitve for childern residing in the region affected by Naxalims. This initiative provided not only improved literacy rate in the region but also provided 98% employment to the educated people. There by it reduced the distance between government and people. 
  • Self-actualization and societal growth: When such a society evolves having compassion for others and helps others in need, each individual is taken care of by the society and in turn he also helps the society. 
  • Strong social capital: Strongly integrated social capital grows with a co-operative and co-existing ecosystem, resulting in reduced toxic or criminal outbreaks and instances.
  • For instance, IPS J.K. Tripathi broadened the normal police role by instituting “community policing”. It reduced crime rate and localised police system was established.


Practise of true compassion ensures a Civil servant to act sensitively and act in the public interest. This is far more important in a country like India where people are not aware of their rights and obligation due to their socio-economic conditions. With the practise of true compassion administration becomes more accountable, transparent and  efficient towards solving people’s problems. Hence, a public servant needs to empathise with the pain of another and take subsequent action to relieve the pain i.e. a public servant needs to practise true compassion to ensure that she abides to the obligation of duty. 


TLP HOT Synopsis Day 35 PDF

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