Displaying 3 of 3 records

Title: Secrets and agents

Issue: Balancing freedom of expression and national security of a country

Syllabus: General Studies-II - Governance - Important Aspects of Governance-Transparency, Accountability


Julian Assange of Wikileaks was arrested on charges related to theft of classified (official) information from government computers.


Julian Assange is wanted in US for conspiring with army intelligence officer to broke into secret government computer network and theft of classified data.

Ecuador provided asylum in its London embassy for seven years, but withdrew it citing “repeated violations of international conventions”.

Voices of liberal America are asking for his interrogation, not for the conspiracy but for his links with Russian actors that helped Donald Trump in 2016 elections.

Also, the indictment against Assange is based on alleged conversation with army officer for a computer break, that ultimately failed.

Freedom of speech

If Assange is a ‘journalist’ of Wikileaks, is his freedom of expression being constrained by the US authorities for stealing government documents?

With increased nationalism in politics in many countries the arrests of whistleblowers and anti-secrecy advocates will negatively impact freedom of speech.

Freedom of expression and threat to national security should be balanced while invoking conspiracy or espionage charges.

Take home points

Any attempt to suppress the freedom of speech may weaken the democracy itself.

Keywords: Wikileaks RTI Official Secrets Act

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 In the integrity index of Transparency International, India stands very low. Discuss briefly the legal, political, economic, social and cultural factors that have caused the decline of public morality in India. 2016
2 In the light of the Satyam Scandal (2009), discuss the changes brought in corporate governance to ensure transparency, accountability. (200 words) 15 marks 2015
3 Suggest measures for the eradication of wide spread corruption in Public Life in India. (250 words) 2003

Currently there are no previous questions available.

Title: Highway hurdle

Issue: Issues in land acquisition for infrastructure projects

Syllabus: General Studies-III - Environment - EIA and related issues


The Madras High Court quashed land acquisition for the proposed Chennai-Salem greenfield highway.


The verdict highlights the arbitrary decision making process behind the project and how protests were stifled by using gag orders and police force.

The project is set to pass through wetlands, fertile farmlands, reserve forests and water bodies thus posing great damage to the environment.

HC said that NHAI cannot acquire land without preparing an environment impact assessment report.

Against the project

The project was not cleared under the center’ Bharatmala Pariyojana.

NHAI has no answer as why Chennai-Madurai, an approved project was dropped and the Chennai-Salem project was included in its place.

Also, the project was not approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs or Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee.

Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an important management tool for ensuring optimal use of natural resources for sustainable development.

EIA provides data on the possible harm to the environment before resources are committed to a project.

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013(Land Acquisition Act, 2013) defines 'consent' clause as "land can only be acquired with approval of the 70% of the land owners for PPP projects and 80% for the private entities.

Take home points

EIA and consent of landowners are important for new infrastructure projects for a sustainable development.

Keywords: Highways Chennai-Salem Land Acquisition EIA Environmental Impact Assessment

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 Not many years ago, river linking was a concept but it is becoming reality in the country. Discuss the advantages of river linking and its possible impact on the environment. 10 2017
2 Environmental Impact Assessment studies are increasingly undertaken before a project is cleared by the Government. Discuss the environmental impacts of coal-fired thermal plants located at coal pitheads. (200 words) 13 2014
3 How is deforestation of Himalayas disturbing the ecological balance of north India? (150 words) 1999
4 What is social forestry? Describe how social forestry can help in the uplift of the rural poor. (150 words) 1993
5 What do you understand by Ecological Balance? Why is this balance necessary? What is being done in India today to maintain this balance? 1987

Currently there are no previous questions available.

Title: Necessary steps to ending poverty

Issue: Poverty eradication in India

Syllabus: General Studies-I - Society - Indian Society - Issues related to poverty

Its 50 years since the eradication of poverty in India has entered into political arena through the slogan “Garibi Hatao”.

The reduction in poverty in India accelerated in the early 1980’s.

Income generation played a role in lowering poverty in India because of 1960’s Green Revolution and the surge of economic growth through 1980’s.

Why poverty eradication failed?

Approach of last 50 years of public policy (schemes) towards poverty alleviation is no more than a palliative.

The schemes failed to go to the root cause of poverty in India - to increase the capacity and capability of the poor.

There is no sufficient income earning through work or entrepreneurship.

Income support schemes by political parties

PM-Kisan, provides Rs 6000 a year through cash transfers to farmers.

Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) of Congress, envisages an annual transfer of Rs 72,000 to the poorest 20% households.

Problems with Income support schemes

Income support schemes are inequitable and serve only one section of the population.

Excludes equally placed populations (like urban pavement dwellers who are equal to agricultural poor)

Overshoots fiscal deficit targets, involves borrowing for consuming and are fiscally imprudent practices.

There will be beneficiary identification issues.

Poverty eradication vs Poverty Alleviation

NYAY, would required 13% of the budget outlay for 2019-20, which is more than twice the combined expenditure on health and education.

Income support of this magnitude will create severe deficit of social and physical infrastructure which are central to the individual capability.

Poverty is capability deprivation and presence of social infrastructure will determine whether the poor will remain so or exit poverty permanently.

What is needed?

Income support alone cannot eliminate poverty, as poverty is multidimensional - includes supply of water, sanitation, housing, health and education.

Take home points

Ending effective poverty lies in creating public services and not in income support schemes.

Keywords: Poverty Eradication Income Support Scheme Social Infrastructure

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 ‘Despite implementation of various programmes for eradication of poverty by the government in India, poverty is still existing’. Explain by giving reasons. (10) 10 2018
2 “An essential condition to eradicate poverty is to liberate the poor from deprivation.” Substantiate this statement with suitable examples. 13 2016
3 Critically examine whether growing population is the cause of poverty OR poverty is the mains cause of population increase in India. (200 words) 15 marks 13 2015
4 The conditions of the urban poor are more deplorable than that of their rural counterparts. Give your views. (250 words) 15 marks. 2008
5 Examine whether rural women in India have been empowered by their active participation in Panchayat Raj System. (150 words) 10 marks 10 2008
6 Explain the social constraints in bringing about gender equality in Indian society. (125 words) 2006

Currently there are no previous questions available.