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Three messages: On Modi’s Leh visit (The Hindu)



Three messages: On Modi’s Leh visit (The Hindu)



Mains Paper 3: Security 
Prelims level: LAC

UPSC MAINS TOPIC WISE PAPER : Economy 

 



UPSC MAINS TOPIC WISE PAPER :  Economy 



1. The nature of economic growth in India in described as jobless growth. Do you agree with this view? Give arguments in favour of your answer.(UPSC 2015)
2. In what way could replacement of price subsidy with Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) change the scenario of subsidies in India? Discuss.(UPSC 2015)
3. What are the impediments in marketing and supply chain management in industry in India? Can e-commerce help in overcoming these bottlenecks?(UPSC 2015)
4. Craze for gold in Indians have led to a surge in import of gold in recent years and put pressure on balance of payments and external value of rupee. In view of this, examine the merits of Gold Monetization Scheme.(UPSC 2015)
5. "Success of 'Make in India' programme depends on the success of 'Skill India' programme and radical labour reforms." Discuss with logical arguments. (UPSC 2015)
6. To what factors can the recent dramatic fall in equipment costs and tariff of solar energy be attributed? What implications does the trend have for the thermal power producers and the related industry?(UPSC 2015)
7. There is a clear acknowledement that Speecial Economic Zones (SEZs) are a tool of industrial development, manufacturing and exports. Recognizing this potential, the whole instrumentality of SEZs requires augmentation. Discuss the issues plaguing the success of SEZs with respect to taxation, governing laws and administration.(UPSC 2015)
8. Normally countries shift from agriculture to industry and then later to services, but India shifted directly from agriculture to services. What are the reasons for the huge growth of services vis-a-vis industry in the country? Can India become a developed country without a strong industrial base?(UPSC 2015)
9. While we found India's demographic dividend, we ignore the dropping rates of employability.What are we missing while doing so? Where will the jobs that India desperately needs come from? Explain.(UPSC 2014)
10. The right to fair compensation and transparency land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement act, 2013 has come into effect from 1 January 2014. What implication would it have on industrialisation and agriculture in India? (UPSC 2014)
11. Capitalism has guided the world economy to unprecedented prosperity. However, it often encourages shortsightedness and contributes to wide disparities between the rich and the poor. In this light, would it be correct to believe and adopt capitalism driving inclusive growth in India? Discuss.(UPSC 2014)

12. Explain how private public partnership agreements, in longer gestation infrastructure projects,can transfer unsuitable liabilities to the future. What arrangements need to be put in place to ensure that successive generations' capacities are not compromised?(UPSC 2014)
13. National urban transport policy emphasizes on moving people instead of moving vehicles. Discuss critically the success of various strategies of the government in this regard.(UPSC 2014)
14. Foreign direct investment in the defence sector is now said to be liberalised. What influence this is expected to have on Indian defence and economy in the short and long run? (UPSC 2014)
15. With a consideration towards the strategy of inclusive growth, the new companies bill, 2013 has indirectly made CSR a mandatory obligation. Discuss the challenges expected in its implementation in right earnest. Also  discuss other provisions in the bill and their implications.(UPSC 2013)
16. What are the reasons for introduction of Fiscal responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) act, 2003? Discuss critically its salient features and their effectiveness.(UPSC 2013)
17. What is meaning of the term tax-expenditure? Taking housing sector as an example, discuss how it influences budgetary policies of the government.(UPSC 2013)
18. Examine the impact of liberalization on companies owned by Indian. Are the competing with the MNCs satisfactorily?(UPSC 2013)
19. Two questions: each with
(a) Discuss the impact of FDI entry into multi-trade retail sector on supply chain management in commodity trade pattern of the economy.
(b) Though India allowed foreign direct investment (FDI) in what is called multi brand retail through joint venture route in September 2012, the FDI even after a year, has not picket up. Discuss the reasons.(UPSC 2013)
20. Discussion the rationale for introducing Good and services tax in India. Bring out critically the reasons for delay in roll out for its regime.(UPSC 2013)
21. Write a note on India's green energy corridor to alleviate the problems of conventional energy.(UPSC 2013)
22. Adaptation of PPP model for infrastructure development of the country has not been free from criticism. Critically discuss the pros and cons of the model.(UPSC 2013)
23. Why is international trade perceived to have failed to act as an "engine of growth" in many developing countries including India?(UPSC 2012)
24. "Domestic resource mobilization, though central to the process of Indian economic growth, is characterized by several constraints? Explain.(UPSC 2012)
25. Why have the resource rich African and South Asian countries remained poor for decades? Explain.(UPSC 2012)
26. Discuss the likely negative impact of the protectionist measures proposed by the US on India's software industry.(UPSC 2012)
27. Discuss the globalization of R&D and its impact on India's development. Provide an illustration from at least one sector such as Information Technology or Health.(UPSC 2012)
28. Functions of the World Customs Organization. (WCO) (UPSC 2011)
29. Salient recommendations of the RBI-appointed Damodaran committee on customer service in Banks.(UPSC 2011)
30. Why the Central Statistics Office has notified a new series of Consumer Price Index from this year?(UPSC 2011)
31. In the context of the 'Euro-zone' debt crisis, examine the proposed 'six-pack' solution. Do you think that this has a better chance of success than the earlier Stability and Growth Pact?(UPSC 2011)

 

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UPSC MAINS TOPIC WISE PAPER :  Geography

 

UPSC MAINS TOPIC WISE PAPER :  Geography  

Physical Geography :

1. Explain the factors responsible for the origin of ocean currents. How do they influence regional climates, fishing and navigation? (UPSC 2015)
2. How far do you agree that the behavior of the Indian monsoon has been changing due to humanizing landscapes? Discuss.(UPSC 2015)
3. Most of the unusual climatic happenings are explained as an outcome of the EI-Nino effect. Do you agree? (UPSC 2014)
4. Why are the world's fold mountain systems located along the margins of continents? Bring out the association between the global distribution of fold mountains and the earthquakes and volcanoes.(UPSC 2014)
5. Explain the formation of thousands of islands in Indonesian and Philippines archipelagos. (UPSC 2014)
 6. Tropical cyclones are largely confined to South China Sea, Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mexico. Why?(UPSC 2014)
7. Critically evaluate the various resources of the oceans which can be harnessed to meet the resource crisis in the world.(UPSC 2014)
8. What do you understand by the theory of 'continental drift'? Discuss the prominent evidences in its support.(UPSC 2013)
9. The recent cyclone on east coast of India was called 'Phailin'. How are the tropical cyclones named across the world? Elaborate.(UPSC 2013)
10. Bring out the causes for the formation of heat islands in the urban habitat of the world.(UPSC 2013)
11. What do you understand by the phenomenon of 'temperature inversion' in meteorology? How does it affect weather and the habitants of the place?(UPSC 2013)
12. Major hot deserts in northern hemisphere are located between 20-30 deg N latitudes and on the western side of the continents. Why?(UPSC 2013)
13. Bring out the causes for more frequent occurrence of landslides in the Himalayas than in the Western Ghats.(UPSC 2013)
14. There is no formation of deltas by rivers of the Western Ghats. Why? Indian Geography(UPSC 2013)

Indian Geography :

1. Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are the three mega cities of the country but the air pollution is much more serious problem in Delhi as compared to the other two. Why is this so?(UPSC 2015)
2. India is well endowed with fresh water resources. Critically examine why it still suffers from water scarcity. (UPSC 2015)
3. The states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are reaching the limits of their ecological carrying capacity due to tourism. Critically evaluate.(UPSC 2015)
4. Smart cities in India cannot sustain without smart villages. Discuss this statement in the backdrop of rural urban integration.(UPSC 2015)
5. Bring out the relationship between the shrinking Himalayan glaciers and the symptoms of climate change in the Indian sub-continent. (UPSC 2014)

Resource Geography :

1. What are the economic significances of discovery of oil in Arctic Sea and its possible environmental consequences?'(UPSC 2015)
2. Whereas the British planters had developed tea gardens all along the Shivaliks and Lesser Himalayas from Assam to Himachal Pradesh, in effect they did not succeed beyond the Darjeeling area. Explain.(UPSC 2014)
3. Why did the Green Revolution in India virtually by-pass the eastern region despite fertile soil and good availability of water? (UPSC 2014)
4. Account for the change in the spatial pattern of the Iron and Steel industry in the world.(UPSC 2014)
5. How does India see its place in the economic space of rising natural resource rich Africa? (UPSC 2014)
6.(a) Do you agree that there is a growing trend of opening new sugar mills in southern States of India? Discuss with justification.(UPSC 2013)
(b) Analyze the factors for the highly decentralized cotton textile industry in India.(UPSC 2013)
7. With growing scarcity of fossil fuels, the atomic energy is gaining more and more significance in India. Discuss the availability of raw material required for "the generation of atomic energy in India and in the world.(UPSC 2013)
8. It is said that India has substantial reserves of shale oil and gas, which can feed the needs of the country for quarter century. However, tapping of the resource does not appear to be high on the agenda. Discuss critically the availability and issues involved.(UPSC 2013)

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 2 July 2020 (Delhi diktat (Indian Express))



Delhi diktat (Indian Express)



Mains Paper 2:Health 
Prelims level: WHO
Mains level: Healthcare infrastructure and related issues

THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 23 June 2020 (A case to exempt GST in Central Police Canteens (The Hindu))



Transparency during a crisis (The Hindu)



Mains Paper 2:Governance 
Prelims level: Right to Information Act
Mains level: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

Context:

  • Right to Information (RTI) applications seeking information pertaining to the PM CARES Fund have been stonewalled.
  • No information exists on the official website of the Fund regarding the amount collected, names of donors, expenditure incurred, or details of beneficiaries. 
  • The trust deed of the fund chaired by the Prime Minister is not available for public scrutiny. 
  • Reports suggest that donations of over $1 billion have been made, including contributions from foreign sources. 

Access to information is crucial:

  • This violation of peoples’ RTI is particularly concerning given the unprecedented crisis gripping the nation. 
  • Relief and welfare programmes funded through public money are the sole lifeline of millions who suddenly lost income-earning opportunities during the lockdown. 
  • If the poor and marginalised affected by the public health emergency must have access to relevant information.
  • A narrative seems to have emerged that public scrutiny of government actions is undesirable during the crisis and citizens must unquestioningly trust the state. 
  • This undermines the basic democratic tenet that citizens’ participation and oversight is necessary to ensure they are able to access their rights. 
  • Without information, peoples’ ability to perform that role is...........................

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Seeking information:

  • The RTI Act, 2005, has empowered citizens to access information from public authorities and hold them accountable. 
  • During the COVID-19 crisis, proper implementation of the law has assumed greater significance than ever before. 
  • It is crucial that information related to implementation of relief measures announced by governments be widely disseminated. 
  • For instance, to ensure food security for the needy, Central and State governments have put in place schemes to provide subsidised rations. 
  • For effective delivery of foodgrains and other essential commodities, information must be made available in the public domain. 
  • Ground reports have revealed that in the absence of information, it is impossible for intended beneficiaries to get their due.  

Openness required:

  • Greater openness would prevent controversies of the kind exemplified by faulty testing kits and fake ventilators. 
  • Numerous instances have been reported of COVID-19-positive patients requiring treatment in intensive care units being shunted from one hospital to another. 
  • This could be prevented if hospitals and health centres publicly provide real-time information about availability of beds and other facilities. 
  • To ensure easy accessibility to those who need it the most, relevant information must be made available in local languages and widely disseminated. 
  • In fact, this is a statutory obligation of public authorities under Section 4 of the RTI Act. 

Role of transparency watchdogs:

  • In the current scenario the role of information commissions is crucial. 
  • While in the midst of a pandemic it is reasonable to expect delays in processing information requests.
  • Public authorities must not be allowed to interpret the crisis as a justification for not complying with the RTI Act. 
  • Unfortunately, an assessment revealed that 21 out of 29 commissions in the country did not hold a single hearing during the first three stages of the lockdown. 
  • While the Central Information Commission and some State commissions used audio and video conferencing to hear and dispose cases, most commissions did not make provision for hearing even urgent matters.
  • It is behind the cloak of secrecy that the rights of individuals are most frequently abrogated, corruption thrives and public trust in institutions is eroded. 

Way forward:

  • Incentives for secrecy are great, and the scope for discretionary actions wide. It is critical to create a culture of openness. 
  • Also, to empower people to participate meaningfully in the decisions that have profound effects on their lives and livelihoods. 
  • People must be able to obtain information about how and where their money is being spent in the efforts...................

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 23 June 2020 (A case to exempt GST in Central Police Canteens (The Hindu))



A case to exempt GST in Central Police Canteens (The Hindu)



Mains Paper 2:Governance 
Prelims level: Central Armed Police Force
Mains level: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Context:

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced in early May that only indigenous products will be sold in all Central Police Canteens run by the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF). 
  • This is a welcome step in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directive to promote indigenously manufactured products, or swadeshi products, in India. 
  • As almost all products sold in CAPF canteens are indigenous, detailed instructions.......................

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Canteen sales:

  • There are over 119 master canteens functioning as depots and 1,700 canteens running across the country catering to over 50 lakh family members of 10 lakh serving personnel. 
  • the Central Police Canteen boasts of sales of over ₹2,800 crore worth of products annually. 
  • Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali has already made inroads into these canteens with various products and is expected to expand. 
  • The Khadi and Village Industries Commission is also channelising the sale of its products like textiles and uniform things through these canteens.
  • Non-exemption of GST on all products sold through canteens has been a sore point among the CAPF personnel. 
  • The rates at which the products are sold at present in the canteens are marginally less than the market rates. 
  • Exemption of GST will reduce the costs further making the products more easily affordable and lucrative. 
  • The government has to pay serious attention to this aspect. 

Paying VAT:

  • Before the GST came into effect, certain States had exempted the levy of VAT while many others, including Delhi, were reluctant to extend this benefit. 
  • While VAT was exempted for all Canteen Stores Department items, the Central Police Canteens in most States had to continue paying VAT.
  • The authorities cannot ignore the fact that the CAPF is working in difficult conditions across the country at grave risk to their lives.  

Conclusion:

  • While sale of indigenous products in CAPF canteens is a step in the right direction, the issue of ..........................

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THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 23 June 2020 (New-age mobility (Indian Express))



New-age mobility (Indian Express)



Mains Paper 3:Economy 
Prelims level: Electric vehicles
Mains level: Improving transport system with sustainable development 

Context:

  • Electric mobility is a definitive way to retain this pristine air without compromising functionality. 
  • Continuing with the ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles with the same alacrity as in the past may never enable us to see AQI of about 50 in Delhi and Mumbai. 
  • A shift to electric mobility is imminent and long overdue in India just as the trends show for Europe, the UK, China and other countries.

Initiatives towards promoting electric vehicles:

  • There were indications of this shift at the recently concluded Delhi Auto Expo 2020. 
  • Electric vehicles were the most photographed or Instagrammed stars of the show. A range of electric buses, commercial vehicles, cars, e-scooters and e-bikes were on display.
  • Electric buses are making an appearance in large cities, stimulated by the incentives available to municipal bodies. 
  • People find the idea of an electric bus sans noise and pollution.......................

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What is preventing electric cars from becoming the preferred option? 

  • The most cited reason is the lack of charging infrastructure. 
  • Our obligation to the Paris Agreement may fall short unless we make the transition to electric—big and swift.
  • We do have public chargers in most large cities in India.That’s because worldwide everyone charges their electric cars at home. 
  • Recharging an electric vehicle is unlike refuelling an ICE car. It’s a fundamental behavioural change that needs to sink in.
  • The electric cars we buy come bundled with a home charging kit. It’s like your own private petrol pump. 
  • The charger is installed next to the location where you park your car, whether your apartment is in a high-rise or an independent house. When we come back from work, plug the charger into our car and relax. 
  • Our car will be charged in a few hours. New-generation electric cars in India have a real-world driving range of 275-375 km. And if your commute is largely within your city, you are completely sorted for the week.
  • A smart home charger can be controlled through a mobile app. This means you can switch the charger on and off from your living room and don’t need to physically reach out to the charging spot or the car.
  • The app also gives you the current state of charge, cost, range, ability to charge with discounted off-peak rates (if offered by your discom), total monthly consumption, etc.
  • Public chargers are typically required for emergency top-ups or intercity journeys. 
  • Similarly, if we run low on charge within the city, we may find a public charger at a mall, a municipal public parking lot, a supermarket or even our workplace.
  • Operators like Tata Power, Fortum, etc, are putting up rapid chargers along highways, at malls, residential complexes, public parking lots, commercial complexes, etc. 
  • However, setting up ubiquitous charging infrastructure needs collaboration between the automakers, utilities, end-users or the community and government agencies—supported by a policy framework.

What can we do to make a difference now? 

Take an electric cab or bus:

  • Electric buses are being deployed on many routes these days by almost all city transport bodies. Similarly, there are a lot of options for e-cabs in all the big cities—Evera Cabs, BluSmart, Glyd, Lithium, Ryds, Meru and others. We will be comfortable, cocooned in silence and, more importantly, emission-free and guilt-free.

Encourage charging infrastructure:

  • Ask your municipality, organisation or RWA to put an EV charger in your premises. Have conversations with people who matter, the corporators, municipal officials, the society/RWA committee, etc. 
  • A potential buyer will be comforted to see a charger in the vicinity and this can swing her buying decision.

Drive an EV:

  • We have some gorgeous EVs in India, and more are waiting in the wings. Promise to buy an electric car as your next purchase. There are a lot of incentives like deeply discounted or free registration, free toll, free parking or similar such. 
  • Furthermore, an electric car is so much fun to drive—thrilling linear torque, no gears, noiseless operation, etc. Top that with low cost of running, low maintenance, low cost of ownership, and you have a winner on your hands.

Conclusion:

  • When we do buy an electric car. We have made a responsible choice. 
  • We are driving with the ultimate badge of honour—a green number plate...............

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