1. Mock Questions for UPSC Mains GSM1: Post Independent India
  2. Ans1: Globalization & Female Labour Participation?
  3. Ans2: India lost golden opportunity of improving FLPR?
  4. Ans3: Sri Lankan Intervention was a mistake?

Mock Questions for UPSC Mains GSM1: Post Independent India

Answer following questions in 200 words each:

  1. Explain the significance of globalization in improving the female labour participation rate (FLPR) and the significance of FLPR in gender empowerment.
  2. Today, as the first world is showing the signs of ‘anti-globalization’ and ‘protectionism’, do you think India has lost golden opportunity of improving female labour participation rate? Examine Critically
  3. Did India loose more than it gain by intervening in the Sri Lankan Civil war through IPKF in the late 1980s? Examine Critically.

Ans1: Globalization & Female Labour Participation?

Combined introduction will require more time and brain in the exam. Better to treat them as two short notes.

Globalization and FLPR

Since the early 90s, the share of women in the labour force has been growing across the developing countries because:

  1. Aging population of the developed nations: MNCs forced to shift production to low-wage economies, particularly in textile, leather goods, automobiles, electronics and consumer durables.
  2. Rapid advances in telecommuting made it possible to relocate data entry, clerical, answering service jobs from developed to developed countries.
  3. East Asian economies adopted “Washington Consensus” i.e. opening up FDI in various sectors, removing barriers to international trade, relaxing the license and labour laws.

Thus, globalization in the production of goods and services improved female labour participation rate (FLPR) in the developing countries.

FLPR & Gender Empowerment

Improvement in FLPR leads to following positive outcomes:

  1. Women find commercially gainful work away from informal family enterprises and farm fields. Such employed and earning women have greater control over the family decisions, including fertility decisions. Drawing experience from the developed countries, we can say that higher FLPR leads to lower Total fertility rate (TFR), and thereby helps in population control.
  2. It changes the attitude of society towards daughters. They are no longer seen as ‘burden‘ but happily accepted and cherished for their contribution to the family-income.
  3. As parents invest more time and money in daughters’ education, the age of marriage and age of first pregnancy goes up. This helps reducing IMR and MMR.

Conclusion : Finding yes they’re interlinked

Women’s ability to fully enjoy human rights and even to demand such rights, is integrally linked to their economic empowerment. In this regard, indeed, globalization and associated increase in female labour force participation has a salutary impact on women empowerment.

Ans2: India lost golden opportunity of improving FLPR?

Don’t jump the gun that “yes yes we lost. हाय हाय हम बर्बाद हो गये” You’ve to “Critically examine”at the circumstances before passing judgement.

Introduction: (Origin) While India initiated LPG reforms in the aftermath of BoP crisis in 1991 the growth in FLPR in India had been less than that of other Asian giants. Because:

  1. In the 90s, the literacy rate of Indian women was less than 40%. The LPG reforms spurred the setting up of new factories for automobiles, electronics and consumer goods but the lack of skill and education was a bottleneck for improving FLPR.
  2. Without the necessary changes in the foreign investment norms, archaic labour laws and social security acts, it’s difficult to generate growth in the employment in the organized sector, particularly for women. It was easier for the other Asian giants to adopt such reforms, collectively known as“Washington consensus“. Because China and Indonesia had rule by one party / one individual. While Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan had de jure democracy but de facto Authoritarianism.
  3. On the other hand, India has democratically elected executives and separation of law making powers at both union and state levels. Hence even to implement “consensus” for implementing Washington “consensus” could take a lot of time. Only by 2016, we are seeing Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh state governments have taken suo-moto initiative to reform their factory and labour laws. Even still, difficult to foresee Kerala and W.Bengal relaxing factory/labour laws anytime sooner, because of their domestic political atmosphere.
  4. To boost exports and to attract foreign companies and foreign investment, those Asian economies had permitted full capital account convertibility and had kept their domestic currency undervalued. While indirectly this would have helped in FLPR improvement, but it ultimately resulted into currency crisis of 1996-97. We had avoided such short cuts, thus our economy was protected.
  5. Energy, infrastructure and Vikas (development) have gained prominence in the electoral debates only in the recent years. So, even if we had allowed full CAC and undervaluation of rupee, and even if all developed nations allow duty-free imports from India, still these underlying bottlenecks in energy and infrastructure hamper the growth of MSME industry, and therefore the expansion of FLPR.

Golden Opportunity is not yet lost

  1. While today, the sword of protectionism in the first world threatens the exports-growth for both India and China, but India’s export is not solely dependent on the policies of USA, UK and EU. Infact, 50% of of our exports go to Asian markets. West Asia, North Africa and South America too are our prominent trade partners.
  2. Growing number of urban middle class families within India provide a good market for Indian industries.
  3. Economic Survey 2016-17 pointed out China’s mfg. sector stands to lose more from protectionism than India. and India’s leather and apparel industries have maximum potential to generate new jobs for women, they suffer from three constrains (1) archaic labour laws (2) logistical challenges in our port infrastructure hamper the export the finished goods (3) Tax-tariff policies are not conductive for exports of these products.
  4. Government is working to address above three problems by (1) Merger of existing laws into four simplified codes (2) Sagarmala project (3) GST & FTA negotiations with other nations.

Conclusion: Finding- We’ve not lost, YET

Question was “examine critically”, so answer should be: “yes or no” did we lose golden opportunity or not? In real exam, not possible to think these many unique points in the body, so I’ll drag the conclusion bit longer by linking with SDG.

  • Women’s ability to fully enjoy human rights and even to demand such rights, is integrally linked to their economic empowerment.
  • Therefore, sustainable development goal #8 requires all nations to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women (and men) by 2030.
  • With greater focus on skill and training, GST induced rationalization tax rates, and conclusion of the FTA with major developed and developing economies, we still have the available window of opportunity to reap the demographic dividend of the female workforce before this (SDG) deadline.


Ans3: Sri Lankan Intervention was a mistake?

We lost ~1200 soldiers and one former PM. but how do we stretch these two points into 200 words answer? Let’s try:

Introduction (Origin of LTTE Civil war):

  • 1981: riots started in the Jaffna province of Sri Lanka, which has a Tamil majority. Situation soon escalated into armed rebellion and civil war in SriLanka and influx of refugees in Southern India.
  • 1987: India and Sri Lanka signed an agreement under which:
  1. India will broker peace between the Tamils and the Sri Lankan Government.
  2. Tamil dominated regions of North and North East Sri Lanka will be given autonomy.
  3. India will send in Peace Keeping forces (IPKF) to implement 1+2.

Why Indian Intervention failed?

  • Allegations of India’s double dealing with LTTE and Sri Lankan government i.e. one on hand India was providing training to Tamil militant groups for domestic political considerations, and on the other hand sending IPKF to neutralize them to ensure regional strategic stability.
  • Such impression / media reports / allegations had made Sri Lankan government, military and bureaucracy apprehensive of India’s real intension. Therefore, IPKF didnot received their full support and cooperation during peace talks or intelligence sharing about militant movements.
  • On the other hand, LTTE refused to disarm its militants and sit at the peace table. They begun using women and child soldiers and ambushing IPKF troops using guerrilla warfare tactics.
  • 1990: IPKF withdrew, 1991: LTTE assassinated former PM Rajiv Gandhi.

Avoid adjectives like “assassinated one of the great prime misters of India”- you don’t know the political affiliation of the UPSC evaluators! Always a possibility that all of them have been replaced just like JNU council members.

Loss: Srilanka keeps friendship with China open

  • Srilankan politicians, generals, diplomats and bureaucrats continue to harbor apprehension and memories of India’s double dealings.
  • Hence, they prefer to keep their options ‘open’ by keeping parallel friendship with China. They allowing the Chinese to build Hambantota port
  • Even though Indian navy is fully capable and willing to help all neighboring countries in disaster relief, SriLanka also involves Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) to provide flood disaster relief. This “Plan” organization is uses humanitarian aid as a tool to spread Chinese influence in Asia-Pacific and maintain pressure over the contested/disputed territories in South China sea.

Loss: Failure made us extremely cautious

  • Foreign policy experts often term Sri Lankan intervention as India’s “Vietnam” i.e. we lost face similar to USA after its intervention in Vietnam. Such failure also prevents our foreign policy makers to tread with extreme caution to a point where “non-alignment” is turning into “non-action”, according to some experts on foreign relations.
  • Such non-action sometimes endangers our strategic interests in Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh & Afghanistan. [Example, consider sending Indian army to stop Buddhist extremists from murdering Rohingya and thereby stopping refugee crisis in India. But we’ll not think of this option because we’ve burned our hands in SriLanka.]

Loss: Pak-China use it as excuse:

  • Pak uses it in international platforms to highlight India’s double standards: “India doesn’t want third power to intervene in Kashmir, but gladly did so itself in SriLanka, and therefore we (Pakistan) are also justified in arming Kashmiri militants as India armed LTTE militants.””
  • Chinese strategists from that era still live under impression that: “if we (Chinese) become soft, India might to try similar intervention to help Tibetans.” The incrementalism in China’s foreign policy, therefore, prevents coordial border relations.
  • After India withdrew from mediating the LTTE issue, Norway took the place. Involvement of such foreign entity in the affairs of SAARC region sets a bad precedents that could have negative consequences in the future. (e.g. Since SriLankan army indulged in large scale atrocities against the Tamils, these international humanitarians think Indian army would be same- therefore, even if Pakistan finds a single incident of rape or fake encounter, these white will believe it and ‘condemn’ India as if this is our 24/7 activity. and accumulation of such negative remarks affect our chances at UNSC, NSG and other elite clubs.)

Gain: Humanitarian effort, learned from failure

  • IPFK, particularly its parachute regiment lost many soldiers in the Operation Pawan and subsequent ambushes by the LTTE militants. But, this loss and failure prompted our defense forces, particularly the para-commandos to upgrade their training, equipment and battle strategies for the future operations.
  • In 2016-17, we carried out successful surgical strikes against terrorist camps inside PoK and Naga insurgents along India-Myanmar border using para commandos.
  • Policy makers too saw the futility in involving in the internal disputes of neighbors. Hence we’ve not repeated IPKF like operations in the subsequent decades. If at all we send troops abroad, they’re under the flag of UN peacekeeping forces. Therefore, India’s reputation as a peaceful non-hegemonic power stands intact. (unlike USA, who kept intervening in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria etc. It gained oil and mineral resources but has lost lot of soldiers and goodwill. Russia too lost goodwill in EU after annexing Crimea.)
  • Hence, despite not signing NPT or CTBT, we could conclude Indo-US civil nuclear deal (2005), obtaine waiver from NSG to import fissile material (2008) and join Missile Technology Control Regime (2016) .

Conclusion: Finding- Yes we gained less, lost more

Question asked you to Critically examine, so in the conclusion you should share finding: yes / no | good decision / bad decision.

While IPKF managed to contain the bloodshed and racial atrocities during Srilankan civil war to an extend, but given the significant loss of troops and goodwill, it’s difficult to count it among the best strategic decisions of the post-Independent India, unlike the liberation of Bangladesh (1971) or the prevention of Maldives Coup (1988).

Observe the careful choice of words. “difficult to count…” I’ve not written that “it CANNOT be counted” or “IT WAS a BAD decision.” परीक्षाखंडमें ज्यादा उत्तेजित होकर वाणी-विलास नही करना चाहिए.