Displaying 6 of 6 records

Title: Count on democracy

Issue: Inclusive and secular national agenda

Syllabus: General Studies-II - Indian Polity and Constitution - Elections, Representation of Peoples Act

Context: Elections are said to be a celebration of democracy. Indian people participated in such a festival which was spread over many weeks.

Highlights

  1. There was an increase in the voter turnout this year compared to the previous Lok Sabha election.
  2. Election Commission which is entrusted with ensuring free and fair elections in India has come under criticisms during the present general elections to Lok Sabha.
  3. Some of the criticisms which have been made against the election commission in these elections are: The schedule that was drawn out by election commission has been questioned by some. The schedule has been accused of creating uneven field by favoring one political party; Supreme Court of India wrap on ECI’s handling model code of conduct violations have also caused a dent to the reputation of the ECI; Analysts have questioned the lack of transparency in dealing with model code of conduct violations by some political leaders; ECI has relatively failed to address some of the concerns raised against the Voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT)
  4. The above mentioned criticisms has dented the integrity and reputation of the ECI
  5. What should be done by ECI? ECI should revisit the procedure in ensuring smooth free and fair elections in the future by addressing the concerns mentioned above. Some of the actions that can be taken in this regard include: improving transparency in decision making process, revisiting the idea of long schedule for general elections in future.
  6. Other issues that have been observed in this elections are:
  • Political discourse suffered damage due to personalized attacks on each other.
  • Questions were raised against candidature of some in the country
  • Elections were fought on narrow issues rather than any substantive issues like jobs, economic growth etc
  • It gave rise to social tensions in the country when leaders fought elections on issues associated with religion

Takeaway point: The divisiveness that has been created in the society during these elections should be addressed by the incoming government through an inclusive and secular national agenda

Keywords: 'Elections' 'Divisive agenda' 'Election Commission of India' 'Inclusive and Secular society'
 

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 In the light of recent controversy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India? (10) 2018
2 To enhance the quality of democracy in India the Election Commission of India has proposed electoral reforms in 2016. What are the suggested reforms and how far are they significant to make democracy successful? (250 words) 2017
3 Examine the impact of Regional Political Parties in Indian politics. (150 words) 15 marks. 2008
4 what are the Main determination of voting behavior in India? (250 words) 2007
5 Identify the major electoral reforms which are necessary in the Indian Political System. (150 words) 2000
6 Is it correct to describe the party system in India as One party Dominant system ?give reasons for your answer. 1985
7 Why was it considered necessary to pass the anti-defection bill ? In what ways is it likely to improve the political health of the country? 1984
8 Despite all talk of an effective opposition why has it not been possible to develop an effective opposition in India? Enumerate the principle impediments to the achievements if the much desired political objective 1983
9 The Phenomenon of Political defection in India assumed large proportions in recent years. Bring out the factor responsible for the growth of this phenomenon. Is it right to say than ban on defection will amount to suppression of thought and action? 45 1981

Currently there are no previous questions available.


Title: Ten years on

Issue: Post-civil war situation in Sri Lanka

Syllabus: General Studies-II - International Relations - India and its neighborhood

Context: It has been a decade since civil war in Sri Lanka ended. However, the post-war changes made after the civil war has left much to be desired.

Highlights

1)      About Civil War in Sri Lanka: On May 18, 2009, government forces brought their military offensive against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to an end when they killed its leader, thereby ending a civil war which had inflicted damage on the country for nearly three decades

2)      Post-war scenario: No tangible progress has been made against healing the wounds due to the bloody war on Sri Lankan soil

3)      Reasons for the above observation:

  • No tangible progress towards ethnic reconciliation
  • accountability for war-time excesses has not been brought so far
  • no meaningful constitutional reform
  • many civilian lands are still held by the military
  • the case of disappearance of many youth has not been addressed in any significant manner
  • Political parties too have fought just to gain power rather than in bringing any meaningful changes

4)      Easter Sunday bomb attacks:  The recent bomb attacks have further contributed in an already fragile harmony between the communities in the region. Already, there has been many attacks on Muslims in the region

5)      The bomb attacks have raised the ‘inter-ethnic suspicion’ in the region. This could plunge the country into another crisis if not addressed urgently.

Takeaway point: Proper reconciliation process together with building trust among different communities should be taken up urgently. Sri Lanka should also develop a new sense of shared nationhood among its people.

Keywords: 'Civil war' 'Easter Sunday bomb attacks' 'Inter-ethnic suspicion'
 

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 ‘China is using its economic relations and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Asia’, In the light of this statement, discuss its impact on India as her neighbor. (150 words) 2017
2 “Increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in India and growing interference in the internal affairs of several member-states by Pakistan are not conducive for the future of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).” Explain with suitable examples 2016
3 Project `Mausam’ is considered a unique foreign policy initiative of the Indian Government to improve relationship with its neighbors. Does the project have a strategic dimension? Discuss. (200 words) 15 marks 2015
4 Terrorist activities and mutual distrust have clouded India-Pakistan relations. To what extent the use of soft power like sports and cultural exchanges could help generate goodwill between the two countries? Discuss with suitable examples. (200 words) 15 marks. 2015
5 With respect to the South China sea, maritime territorial disputes and rising tension affirm the need for safeguarding maritime security to ensure freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region. In this context, discuss the bilateral issues between India and China. (200 words) 10 marks 2014
6 The proposed withdrawal of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan in 2014 is fraught with major security implications for the countries of the region. Examine in light of the fact that India is faced with a plethora of challenges and needs to safeguard its own strategic interests. (200 words) 10 marks 2013
7 What do you understand by ‘The String of Pearls’? How does it impact India? Briefly outline the steps taken by India to counter this. (200 words) 10 marks 2013
8 Discuss the political developments in Maldives in the last two years. Should they be of any cause of concern to India? (200 words) 10 marks 2013
9 In respect of India-Sri Lanka relations, discuss how domestic factors influence foreign policy. (200 words) 10 marks 2013
10 Do you think that China’s emergence as one of the largest trading partners of India had adversely affected the settlement of the outstanding border problem? 20 2012
11 Discuss the contentious issues that have caused the prolonged constitutional logjam in Nepal. 20 2012
12 Why have the resource rich African and South Asian countries remained poor for decades? Explain. 20 2012
13 Discuss the likely negative impact of the protectionist measures proposed by the US on India’s software industry. 20 2012
14 How have the US sanctions against Iran affected India’s bilateral relations with Iran? 20 2012
15 ‘The situation today is far different to that prevalent fifty years back when the Indus Water treaty was seined.’ Highlight the complexity of the current challenges on both sides of the border in this regard. Do you think that a review of the Treaty is in India’s best interests? (250 words) 15 marks. 20 2012
16 List the Central Asian Republics and identify those of particular strategic and economic importance to India. Examine the opportunities and bottlenecks in enhancing relations with these countries. (250 words) 15 marks. 20 2011
17 Critically examine the security and strategic implications of the so-called 'string of pearls' theory for India. (250 words) 15 marks. 20 2011
18 As regards the increasing rates of melting of Arctic Sea ice, the interests of the Arctic Council Nations may not coincide with those of the wider world. Explain. (150 words) 10 marks. 20 2011
19 Bring out the FDI and employment implications of China being a manufacturing hub and India a services hub. (150 words) 15 marks. 20 2010
20 Terrorism: Source in Pakistan and Afghanistan (150 words) 2006
21 Examine the developments in Afghanistan in the post-Taliban period. (150 words) 2005
22 What is meant by Gujral Doctrine? Write its specific principles 150 words 1997
23 Mention the advantages which India enjoys being at the head of the Indian Ocean. (150 words) 1996
24 What geopolitical and economic advantages are enjoyed by India due to its location in the southern part of the Continent of Asia? (150 words) 1989
25 What are the differences in the approaches of India and Nepal to the transit-trade question? How is this question complicated by other issues (About 250 words)? 1989
26 Has the IPKF been able to achieve the goal set before it by the terms of the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement? What are the options available to India (About 150 words)? (20) 1987
27 Why did USSR send troops to Afganistan? What are the broad issues involved? What has been India's response to the Afgan situation (Not more than 150 words)? 25 1980

Title: Taking stock of Islamic State 2.0

Issue: Islamic state in South-east Asia

Syllabus: General Studies-III - Internal Security - Terrorism, external state, non-state actors

Context: Some countries in the world, particularly India, Sri Lanka considered themselves insulated from Islamic state ideology. However, this has been proven wrong in recent times.

Highlights

1)      About Islamic state: It started as an al Qaeda splinter group. The organization aims to create an Islamic state called a caliphate across Iraq, Syria and other regions. It uses modern tools like social media to promote reactionary politics and religious fundamentalism.

2)      Many people have been radicalized towards the ideology of the terrorist organization. Attacks have been carried out by its fighters across the world. In South-east Asia, attacks have been carried out in Indonesia, Philippines and recently in Sri Lanka.

3)      Easter Sunday bombing have exposed the presence of IS in South-East Asia. Further investigation by some agencies after the attack has revealed that there is IS presence in India too.

4)      Reasons for rise of IS in these regions:

  • Internet has played a major role in propagating IS ideology throughout the world.
  • Reliance on online propaganda and social media has vastly increased
  • IS has also managed to build a network which relies on high secrecy in these areas
  • It has evolved new tactics to create terror in the society. Example: Lone wolf attacks.
  • Its propaganda has managed to successfully increase radicalization in the society
  • Funding for these organizations have not been stopped

5)      What has been observed about IS supporter?

  • High radicalized individuals who can recruit others to the cause of IS
  • Supporters who get influenced by the above propaganda of the above individuals

6)      What should India do?

  • National Investigation Agency (NIA) should investigate any links between Easter Sunday attack perpetrators to those radicalized in India.
  • Mechanisms needs to be evolved to stop the growth of rising propaganda of radicalism
  • Returnees from Syria who had joined IS should be properly reconciled to the society. Care should be taken that they are not swayed towards IS ideology
  • Improve intelligence gathering and sharing of the same with other intelligence agencies in the country

Takeaway point: Though the Islamic state is losing its stronghold in Iraq and Syria, it has not dented the force of the organization to cause terror in the society. Other countries, including India should evolve steps to deal with this new security dimension in an appropriate manner

Keywords: 'Islamic state' 'India' 'Sri Lanka' 'South-East Asia'
 

Currently there are no previous questions available.


Title: Not in the Mahatma’s name

Issue: Rise of Hindutva ideology

Syllabus: General Studies-II - Indian Polity and Constitution - Elections, Representation of Peoples Act

Context: The rising majoritarian politics in India has been targeted by some to tarnish the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi

Highlights

1)      About the issue: A candidate from BJP who is contesting elections from Bhopal had described ‘Nathuram Godse’ (individual who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi) as a patriot. This caused widespread outrage in the society. Even the party of the candidate had censured the candidate in this matter.

2)      Such a behavior is a manifestation of growing Hindutva ideology in India which is not good for social and secular fabric of the country.

3)      Another manifestation of this ideology in India is that some of the comments given by political leaders to the effect of the improbability of Hindus capable of committing terror. (Example: Rajnath Singh comment on Samjautha case acquittal)

4)      There has also been a rising tendency in India to force Muslims to prove their patriotism towards their country

5)      Gandhi’s viewpoint on such matters: He time and again objected the efforts by some who wanted to create an inhospitable environment for Muslims in India.

Takeaway point: Comments made by the candidate on Gandhi ji’s assassination though unfortunate, it is only the symptom of growing Hindutva in India. Efforts should be made to restrict such growing narrow ideologies in our country

Keywords: 'Hindutva' 'MK Gandhi' 'Nathuram Godse' 'Secularism'
 

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 In the light of recent controversy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India? (10) 2018
2 To enhance the quality of democracy in India the Election Commission of India has proposed electoral reforms in 2016. What are the suggested reforms and how far are they significant to make democracy successful? (250 words) 2017
3 Examine the impact of Regional Political Parties in Indian politics. (150 words) 15 marks. 2008
4 what are the Main determination of voting behavior in India? (250 words) 2007
5 Identify the major electoral reforms which are necessary in the Indian Political System. (150 words) 2000
6 Is it correct to describe the party system in India as One party Dominant system ?give reasons for your answer. 1985
7 Why was it considered necessary to pass the anti-defection bill ? In what ways is it likely to improve the political health of the country? 1984
8 Despite all talk of an effective opposition why has it not been possible to develop an effective opposition in India? Enumerate the principle impediments to the achievements if the much desired political objective 1983
9 The Phenomenon of Political defection in India assumed large proportions in recent years. Bring out the factor responsible for the growth of this phenomenon. Is it right to say than ban on defection will amount to suppression of thought and action? 45 1981

Currently there are no previous questions available.


Title: The task of restoring democracy

Issue: Role of civil society

Syllabus: General Studies-II - Governance - Role of Civil Services in a Democracy

Context: There has been a rise in ultra-right wing parties across the world. This rise has taken a negative turn in recent times.

Highlights

1)      Recently, various ultra-right wing parties had assembled in Italy. In this gathering there was also an attempt to resurrect the legacy of Benito Mussolini.

2)      Such a scenario gives rise to fascist tendencies in the society.

3)      These tendencies are spreading in Europe and even in India. In Europe, the ultra right-wing parties have also come to power. Example: Italy.

4)      These ultra-right wing tendencies have increased in India too. Example: Candidature of some leaders in the ongoing elections, comments made by some leader during the election (on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination), rising Hindutva ideology.

5)      Challenges for upcoming new regime: There are many challenges such as: creation of jobs, reviving economic growth, fighting agrarian distress

6)      However, the most important challenge would be to restore the legitimacy of some democratic institutions in the country and also to curb the rising majoritarian tendencies in Indian society

7)      Role of civil society: Civil society should play an active part in ensuring in fighting these tendencies in the society. Civil society should also provide assistance of the government in restoring institutions. Keeping vigil on complicit office-holders can also be carried out by the civil society.

Takeaway point: Mechanisms should be put in place to increase civil society participation in the society. Roadblock to civil society participation should be removed.

Keywords: 'Civil society' 'Ultra-right wing' 'democratic institutions'
 

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 Initially Civil Services in India were designed to achieve the goals of neutrality and effectiveness, which seems to be lacking in the present context. Do you agree with the view that drastic reforms are required in Civil Services. Comment (250 words) 2017
2 “Traditional bureaucratic structure and culture have hampered the process of socio-economic development in India.” Comment. 2016
3 Has the Cadre based Civil Services organzation been the cause of slow change in India? Critically examine. (200 words) 10 marks 2014
4 What are the preconditions for the growth of Civil Society? Is Indian democracy conducive to it? (125 words) 2003
5 Describe the Constitutional position of the Civil Services in India. How is their neutrality and independence sought to be achieved? 1990
6 The supreme court has held that a Government servant could not be dismissed or removed from service without an enquiry under article 311 (2) (B) of the Constitution in ‘public interest’ and for ‘public good’ what is your view on this issue ? 1985
7 What are the respective view of the political leadership and the permanent civil services in the governance of India? What steps, if any, in your view have to be taken to secure better appreciation of the functions of the civil services and to senate their proper and efficient functioning (About 500 words)? 1980

Currently there are no previous questions available.


Title: Platforms of our own

Issue: Social media and Democracy

Syllabus: General Studies-III - Internal Security - Challenges through communication networks: Role of Media

Context: Worldwide there has been a growing unease among the power of social media to manipulate the democratic values and institutions in the society

Highlights

1)      Social media has developed on a massive scale in recent few years. It has created more connected world. Many a million users log onto various social media platforms on a daily basis

2)      There has been a rising tendency where some parties across the world have used the social media platform to manipulate minds of users. Example: Cambridge Analytica scandal, where a private firms used data collected from social media users without their consent and used that to influence their voting preferences

3)      Since the scandal broke, various measures have been taken by the social media giants to curb illegal sourcing of data, fake news. Example: Facebook bringing in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AIML), fact check project of Google.

4)      However, there are some issues associated with the actions taken by these platforms:

  • Some have accused alleged bias against right-wing voices on the platform.
  • AIML tools have only succeeded in minimizing the spread of fake news but not succeeded in completing removal of the problem
  • There is no access to internal algorithms and functioning of these platforms available to Indian authorities which inhibits transparency in the whole process

5)      What should India do? India should create its own mass collaborative technology and independent institutions with technical expertise that can monitor and counter actions of the government

Takeaway point: Social media should evolve more transparent ways to ensure that democracy is not manipulated to subvert democratic values in the society.

Keywords: 'Social media' 'Democracy' 'Facebook' Challenges'
 

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 What are social networking sites and what security implications do these sites present? (200 words) 10 marks 10 2013