Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – January 6

1.Discuss the role of women in the freedom struggle especially during the Gandhian phase. (GS 1)
स्वतन्त्रता संग्राम में, विशेष तौर पर गांधीवादी चरण के दौरान महिलाओं कि भूमिका का विवेचन कीजिए|

Suggested Answer:

Freedom movement of any country becomes successful only when all the sections of the society support it whole-heartedly. The contribution of women in Indian freedom struggle was also paramount. And what is more significant is the fact that women participation gradually evolved with the requirements of the freedom movement. From the initial phase, when freedom movement was focused on socio-religious awakening of the masses, women contributed in their capacity as the messenger of change and when a wider participation was required, women stepped out of their homes and challenged the British authority.

It was under the exemplary leadership of Mahatma Gandhi that the participation of women turned a new leaf. In order to mobilize women he used issues that concerned them. He talked about picketing of Liquor shops to curb the evil of drinking. He asked women to boycott the foreign goods and clothes and promoted Khadi. During Non Cooperation and Civil Disobedience movement, women came out in large number to challenge the British in a peaceful manner. Mahatma Gandhi used “Salt” to mobilize women. He motivated women leaders like Kasturba Gandhi, Kamla Nehru, Sarojini Naidu to work with women at the grassroots and to encourage them to step out of their homes This massive participation by women, under his guidance was crucial for the success of these two events. . He served as an inspiration for Rani gaidinliu, when she spearheaded the movement in Nagaland. Even during Quit India Movement, when the entire leadership of the movement went underground, his disciples like Usha Mehta, went through great difficulties in order to sustain the movement.

Important dimensions of women participation can be enumerated as follows:-

  • Social-
    India was blessed by various social reformers like Tarabai Shinde who challenged the societal norms and worked towards eradication of evils like sati, child marriage, purdah sytem. These reformers fought tooth and nail for girl child education and widow remarriage.
  • Literary-
    Great thinkers like Annie Besant, Sarojini Naidu, Sucheta Kriplani etc, through their writing inspired the public. They brought freedom struggle closer to people by explaining what they were fighting for.
  • Active participation in freedom struggle-
    Kasturba Gandhi imprisoned for participating in Quit India Movement and consequently died in Poona Jail. Vijaya laxmi Pandit actively participated in all civil disobedience movement (1932,1941) and got arrested. Similarly, Indira Gandhi organized ‘Monkey army’ of youths. The courage shown by Preetilata waddedar and kalpana dutta alongside Surya Sen was exemplary. An all women brigade was also part of the Indian National Army under Captain Lakshmi Sehgal.
  • Political-
    Indian women like Kamla Devi Chattopadhyay, Durga bai Deshmukh, Aruna Asaf Ali were regularly part of the legislature in various capacities and worked tirelessly towards exposing the true nature of British Rule. These women motivated more and more women to join politics.
  • Raising voice of freedom at International level –
    Bhikaji Kama organized free India Society in UK and called as Mother India’s first cultural representative of USA. Vijay laxmi Pandit raised Indian voice at San Francisco UN meeting. Sarojni Naidu participated in round table conference along with Gandhi and Nehru

Indian women made significant contribution to Indian freedom struggle. While earlier this participation was limited to educated women mostly, Mahatma Gandhi was able to involve the common women into the struggle. He truly made the mass participation of women possible.


2.Discuss the concept of air mass and explain its role in macro-climatic changes. (GS 1)
वायु संहति कि संकल्पना की विवेचना कीजिए तथा विस्तृत क्षेत्रीय जलवायवी परिवर्तनों में उसकी भूमिका को स्पष्ट कीजिए |

Suggested Answer:

An air mass is a large body of air in which vertical gradient of physical properties such as temperature, moisture, lapse rate are fairly uniform over a large.
As the Air masses derive their property from the area where they are formed, they are thus classified on the basis of

  • Latitude
    • Polar air mass
    • Tropical air mass
  • Surface type
    • Maritime air mass
    • Continental air mass

The above types of air masses interact with each-other and form variations like Continental-polar, Marine-tropical, Continental-Tropical and Marine-Polar. Apart from these certain other types of air masses like Equatorial and Mediterranean also exist.

Macro-climatic conditions are a subset of climatic conditions that are limited to large geographical areas, but exist for a smaller, definite period of time. As far as the impact of air masses on macro-climatic conditions is concerned, in general, the movement of these air masses causes variation in local weather parameters like rainfall, temperature, humidity etc. When the two different kinds of air masses interact, it might lead to sudden rainfalls or creation of cyclonic conditions. Air masses play a variety of roles in macro-climatic changes-

  • In maritime arctic and polar regions, the moist air is cool and the maritime tropical air mass produces the warm, humid conditions along the tropics, like Florida and the Caribbean.
  • Continental tropical air masses produce hot, dry conditions in the Southwest U.S. and Mexico.
  • Dry continental air mass from Mexico moves to Great Plains causes aridity which may lead to drought in the region.
  • Cold and heavy air mass in northern India during winter makes weather foggy.
  • The eastern coast of India experiences cyclonic events towards September-October is due to moist marine air mass hitting the coast under the influence of Easterlies.
  • South-west monsoon of India: The maritime tropical air mass in summer converges with continental polar air mass from China produces summer monsoon in India.
  • The cold continental air mass of Central Asia, the cold Siberian winds, is responsible for extremely cold weather conditions in the region.
  • The erratic climatic conditions of British isles is a result of interaction of different air masses.
  • Lake-snow effect: Continental polar cold mass of Canada touches the shores of Great lakes thus becoming moist and unstable and produces snowfall in the region.
  • When warm air masses move over cold air mass then warm air rises and if there is enough moisture present it may cause a thunderstorm.
  • Similarly when cold air mass moves over warm air mass then bottom cold air mass gets warm and if enough humidity is present there it can cause rain.

Thus air masses have a huge role in macro-climatic changes which produces various phenomenons from Thunderstorms to Droughts all over the world. Study of air masses can play a crucial role in predicting the weather patterns and analysing the impact of climate change n the long run.


3.“Traditional bureaucratic structure and culture have hampered the process of socio-economic development in India.” Comment. (GS 2)
“पारंपरिक अधिकारीतंत्रीय संरचना और संस्कृति ने भारत में सामाजिक-आर्थिक विकास की प्रक्रिया में बाधा डाली है | ” टिप्पणी कीजिए|

Suggested Answer:

Bureaucracy is famously called the steel-frame of this country. It is not a mere coincidence that the constitution makers of this country retained most of the features of the ICS (Imperial Civil Services), the British bureaucracy when they envisioned the bureaucratic structure of free India. There was a reason behind it. As the country was going through a tumultuous phase, it was hoped that the pre-existing structure would help in better management of affairs. The system did work seemingly fine for some time, but soon the cracks began to appear. The problems with the bureaucracy can be categorised under two heads-

  • Bureaucratic Culture
    Bureaucracy could never really shake off that British era elitism. Citizens were never seen as a stakeholder in the decision making process and a patronizing behaviour was adopted towards them. It was assumed that the decisions regarding the life of a common man could be taken, without any input from him. Bureaucracy, which was meant to serve the public, became distant, unapproachable and unresponsive. This callous attitude, time and again, has led to creation of policies that look good on paper, but fail miserably when implemented.
  • Bureaucratic Structure
    The problems associated with the above aspect have been time and again pointed out by Judiciary and constitutional experts. Some of the most challenging issues here are:-

    • Political interference-
      Political sphere consistently interferes in the routine working of bureaucrats
    • Frequent transfers-
      Honesty and diligence is mostly rewarded with frequent transfers
    • Staff and Resources crunch-
      shortage of officers in all tiers of bureaucracy has reached critical levels.
    • Delay in cadre restructuring and administrative reforms-
      There is a need to sync the working of civil servants with present scenarios and requirements in face of new challenges and disruptions.
    • Legal roadblocks-
      Certain provisions Prevention of Corruption Act prevent free and fair decision making by bureaucracy by holding them accountable for any decision based on unrealistic criterion. This has led to policy paralysis
    • Compensation packages in the bureaucratic services are not competitive with the corporate sector.

Way forward-

  • Recommendations of the 2nd ARC should be implemented in letter and in spirit.
  • Compensation packages should be made competitive with the market.
  • Constant value addition and upgradation of knowledge should be encouraged with conducting trainings at regular interval, to keep the bureaucrats in sync with changing time.
  • The idea of lateral hiring from other walks of life like corporate sector, academia etc should be explored with open minds.
  • Laws that tend to lead to policy paralysis must be amended.
  • Official Secrets Act must be repealed or suitably amended.

Principal Agent Theory clearly mandates that as agent of public, the bureaucracy should always give paramount importance to the well being of public. In order to do its job to utmost perfection, bureaucracy will have to upgrade itself and come in sync with today’s time. It will have to realise that the problem of 21st century will not be solved by using 200 year old structure and mindset.



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