UPSC Mains – GS Paper 3 – 2015


UPSC Mains 4th paper (GS 3) was conducted today. Below are the Questions which were asked by UPSC in the General Studies Paper 3

UPSC Instructions : All questions carry equal marks. Answer the questions in not more than 200 words. Each Question is 12.5 Marks

  1. The nature of economic growth in India in recent times is often described as jobless growth. Do you agree with this view? Give arguments in favour of your answer.
  2. Livestock rearing has a big potential for providing non-farm employment and income in rural areas. Discuss suggesting suitable measures to promote this sector in India.
  3. In view of the declining average size of land holdings in India which has made agriculture non -viable for a majority of farmers. Should contract farming and land leasing to be promoted in agriculture? Critically evaluate the pros and cons.
  4. How can the ‘Digital India’ program help farmers to improve farm productivity and income? What steps has the government taken in this regard?
  5. In what way could replacement of price subsidy with Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) change the scenario of subsidies in India? Discuss
  6. What are the impediments in marketing and supply chain management in developing the food processing industry in India? Can e-commerce help in overcoming these bottlenecks?
  7. Craze for gold in Indians has 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 the Gold Monatization Scheme.
  8. “Success of ‘Make in India’ programme depends on the success of ‘Skill India’ programme and radical labour reforms”. Discuss with logical arguments.
  9. 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 related industry?
  10. There is a clear acknowledgement that Special Economic Zones (SEZ) are a tool of industrial development, manufacturing and exports. Recognizing this potential the whole instrumentality of SEZs require augmentation. Discuss the issue plaguing the success of SEZs with respect to taxation, governing laws and administration.
  11. What do you understand by ‘Standard Positioning Systems’ and ‘Precision Positioning Systems’ in the GPS era? Discuss the advantages India perceives from it’s ambitious IRNSS programme employing just seven satellites.
  12. What are the areas of prohibitive labour that can be sustainably managed by robots? Discuss the initiatives that can propel research in premier research institutes for substantive and gainful innovation.
  13. Discuss the advantages and security implications of cloud hosting of servers vis-a-vis in-house machine-based hosting for government businesses.
  14. India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) which has a database containing formatted information on more than 2 millions medicinal formulations is providing a powerful weapon in the country’s fight against erroneous patents. Discuss the pros and cons of making this database publicly available under open-source licensing 
  15. Discuss the ‘Namama Gange’ and ‘National Mission for clean Ganga’ (NMCG) programmes and causes of mixed results from the previous schemes. What quantum leaps can help preserve the river Ganga better than incremental inputs?
  16. The frequency of earthquakes appears to have increased in the Indian subcontinent. However India’s preparedness for mitigating their impact has significant gaps. Discuss various aspects.
  17. Human Rights activists constantly highlight the view that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 (AFSPA) is a draconian act leading to cases of Human Rights abuses by the security forces. What section of AFSPA are apposed by the activist. Critically evaluate the requirements with reference to the view held by the Apex court.
  18. Religious indoctrination via digital media has resulted in Indian youth joining the ISIS. What is ISIS and its mission? How can ISIS be dangerous for the internal security of our country?
  19. The persistence drives for the government for deployment of large industries in backward areas have resulted in isolating the tribal population and the farmer who face multiple displacements. With Malkangiri and Naxalbari foci, discuss the corrective strategies needed to win the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) doctrine affected citizens back to the mainstream of social and economic growth.
  20. Considering the threats cyberspace poses for the country, India needs a “Digital Armed Force” to prevent crimes. Critically evaluate the National Cyber Security Policy, 2013 outlining the challenges perceived and its effective implementation.

The above are the questions which were asked in the UPSC Mains examination today. We suggest that in your preparation for the UPSC Mains you all make your answers and post them in the comments section below. We will be posting the model answers for the UPSC Mains question in the coming days.

To download the Exam paper : Click Here (pdf) – Direct Link

Pollution – What are the solutions?

Pollution in Metros

A new study on air pollution in Delhi by a team of researchers led by the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom has found that Delhi suffers from a “toxic blend of geography, growth, poor energy sources and unfavorable weather that boosts its dangerously high levels of air pollution.

w_pg1-kEVG--621x414@LiveMintRecently Delhi Govt. has announced a new program to curb vehicular pollution in Delhi i.e. vehicles with Odd and Even number plates will commute on alternate days in the city from January 1st. This decision has been taken in the backdrop of HC referring to Delhi as a “ gas chamber”.

In the past, 15 odd cities with the rising pollution have tried the formula. While some cities have shown general reduction in pollution; the policy has also failed in many other cities. We know that Delhi pollution levels are off the roof and some drastic measures needs to be taken. Hence the discussion that How realistic is this rule and how it will be implemented?

The first and the foremost question is that if the cars are taken away; how would those people commute. The issue being that Public transportation system in Delhi is not that strong. Also, Buses and metro are already overcrowded to accommodate these people. `

The new proposal does not answer such questions. This decision seems to be taken in hurry. Probably more thought needs to be given on the requirement analysis, implementation, and the consequences of this decision. This program should be implemented on pilot basis first . The idea should be applicable on Sundays ( as no essential trips on Sunday). If successful then it should be applicable on Saturday as well . The result should be recorded and then a framework shall be designed to get it implemented on large scale.

There is another paradigm which is usually ignored i.e. Car pollution levels. Hence cars should regularly get their pollution level monitored. Another reason which adds to the pollution level is the slow speed of cars because the roads in Delhi are encroached with so many vehicles. Also public spaces are being used for parking cars ,which leads to congestion on roads and increases the time period a car is on road; thereby increasing vehicular pollution.

According to Delhi Government “ they are forced to take up this step because it is a public emergency”.Till now only the courts have taken major decisions regarding pollution eg various judgments like M C Mehta where leather tanneries were banned .Also in 1993 Supreme Court said that all the public transport in Delhi should be transferred to CNG. These were all done by Supreme Court and not by the Govt as these are referred to as unpopular decision as no Govt wants to take such decisions and reduce their vote banks. According to Delhi Govt they are the first ones to take such bold decision .Delhi Govt also claims that all they need is cooperation from residents in Delhi and still If this scheme fails they will take full responsibility

Experts also suggest that before taking up such a decision the Police force should have been taken in confidence as without police this is highly unlikely to be implemented. The underlying issue being that proper guidelines have not been developed yet. May be some other traffic reduction schemes & devices could have been used first. (e.g. in Singapore no new vehicle comes on road without condemning the previous one.) License plates and registration is auctioned. The start up proposal for Delhi could consist of such small changes and then probably with a designed framework they could have moved on to the odd even formula.

AAP (Aam Admi Party) Govt justifies by saying that talks are still going on with the Central Govt regarding the proposal. Delhi Police being under the Home ministry shall be directed by the ministry to fall in line and not the Delhi Govt. Also since NGT says vehicle is the major source of pollution ; hence the even odd formula especially for vehicles.

Another big question is the safety measures if the public transportation system becomes more crowded . for eg. Women being groped in peak traffic hours. There are no specific guidelines to control all this. Also, only 12 % of Delhi citizens have access to metro. So what are the alternate public transport systems in place?

If we talk of extreme measures why is there ban only on diesel operated cars? Why we do not explore the possibilities of trucks operated on gas (CNG). Another drastic measure could be that diesel selling petrol stations could be banned.

The solution to this issue is that first of all the background study needs to be in place. The major pollutants needs to be identified and then a framework should be devised to curb it. The report regarding this is available in public domain. Hence, Public opinion should be sought as well. Rather than politicizing the issue the Govt. should work towards cleaner and greener Delhi.

Even the best technology will not succeed in reducing emissions and improving air quality if it is not considered in a broader framework of development. Hence, there should be all-round solutions instead of just focusing on vehicular pollution.

To know more on this listen to the debate on Pollution in Metros :

To read more on this topic : Click Here

Disaster Management and Good Governance

DRR-working-together-930x510Disaster Management or disaster risk reduction (DDR)

Disaster Management comes under the umbrella  of governance. The underlying principle in all relevant development sectors is the existence of public awareness, political will and sufficient capacity.

First of all we have to understand What is Governance?

As defined by UNDP; Governance, is the exercise of political, economic and administrative authority in the management of a country’s affairs at all levels. It comprises mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences. Governance encompasses, but also transcends, government. It encompasses all relevant groups, including the private sector and civil society organizations.

As it is rightly said :-

“There is now international acknowledgement that efforts to reduce disaster risks must be systematically integrated into policies, plans and programmes for sustainable development and poverty reduction… Sustainable development, poverty reduction, good governance and disaster risk reduction are mutually supportive objectives and in order to meet the challenges ahead, accelerated efforts must be made.”

– Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015.

We have to understand that disasters are not the result of natural hazards, rather it is how the population of a place that has a direct bearing on levels of disaster is affected?

How the society copes with the hazard depends on the how supportive the government is (A direct example of this can be seen in the Chennai Natural Hazard which transformed into a disaster). The Governance influences the way in which national and other parties (e.g. government, media, the private sector, and civil society organizations) are willing and able to coordinate their actions to manage and reduce disaster-related risk.

The key to efficient disaster management is the initial public awareness to recognize and address risk, supplemented with the political will to set policy and allocate appropriate resources. Equally critical is the need for sufficient managerial and coordination capacity to manage and integrate the efforts of relevant sectors and account for vulnerable and poor communities. Such capacity is dependent on the human, social, physical, economic and environmental capital of a society.

The principles of good governance include broad participation, transparency, accountability, efficiency and responsiveness. All are as important for Disaster Risk Management as they are for development at large. Systematic integration of Disaster Risk Reduction into the development spheres should be the concern of the government and an integral part of good governance. Hence building resilient population in disaster-prone areas requires that:

  1. Proper research and development is done in identifying the underlying risk factors in all relevant sectors; and
  2. Disaster risk reduction standards and measures are an integral part of the planning and delivery of core development services , including education, environment, and health.

To download the pdf of the above in point format : Click Here
To download the full 4 Page report on this topics by UNDP : Click Here

Syllabus for GS Paper 3 (UPSC)

Syllabus for GS Paper 3

This is a 250 Marks Paper in the mains examination of UPSC. The Topics/Subjects covered under GS-3 paper are :-
Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

  1. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
  2. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  3. Government Budgeting.
  4. Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
  5. Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
  6. Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
  7. Land reforms in India.
  8. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
  9. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.
  10. Investment models.
  11. Science and Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology, indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  12. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  13. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
    Disaster and disaster management.
  14. Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
  15. Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  16. Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
  17. Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
  18. Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.