Mains General Studies Answer Writing IAS UPSC – TLP 2019 – 18th Jan, 2019 – Day 55

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Hello Friends,

Welcome to Mains Answer Writing for IAS UPSCTLP- 2019, Day 55. Questions are based on 

General Studies Paper 4, Ethics

Note: Click on the links and then answer respective questions!


Q1. You are the head of the Ethics Committee on Genetic Engineering. Your job is to examine the ethical dimensions in the field of genetic engineering. One day you receive an application for ethical clearance from a big pharma company which is planning to launch the technology of embryonic gene editing. This technology shall help expecting parents to have children with desired traits and qualities. Moreover, it shall also reduce the risk of chronic diseases in the lifecycle of the newly born.

You get a felling that allowing this technology will create a controversy. A section in the society feels that it would be immoral to interfere with God’s creation. Moreover, such decision would also leave the poor and marginalised sections deprived of the fruits of the new technology as it is highly expensive. On the other hand, the scientific community backing this technology believes that such a ground breaking success should not be wasted on moral or ethical grounds. It has always been in the nature of human beings to innovate and invent, thereby, improving the quality of life. Gene editing would be immensely beneficial for humanity as it would open endless possibilities for improving human life and alleviate their sufferings.

What decision would you take in this regard? Substantiate your view point with suitable reasoning. (250 Words) (20)


Q2. You have been posted as an election observer in a remote district of a naxal effected state in central India. The political atmosphere in the district is highly toxic as the naxalites have threatened to disrupt the elections and kill the voters if they come out to caste their voters. The government has issued special instructions to the field officers that polling has to be conducted at any cost. Your district is highly sensitive and therefore you request your superiors for added security. However, despite multiple requests and reminders, you have been denied adequate police reinforcement. Rather your superiors have instructed you to conduct the election with the available manpower. The situation has become quite frustrating and frightening to you and your colleagues. There is fear for life everywhere.

One day, you receive the news of a media crew getting attacked by the naxalites in your district. Three media persons and two paramilitary officers have died in the attack. This makes the situation even worse for you. You colleagues and subordinates have started to pack their bags and return to their homes. They don’t want to risk their lives for the job.

In the midst of this chaos, one of the senior officers of the paramilitary force deputed in the district offers you a suggestion. He suggests that he can fake an attack on the base camp housing the election officers and show it as an emergency. This would force the government to send reinforcements to your district. It would increase the morale of the officers and they would be ready to perform their duties. The suggestion involves a small lie but it has got the potential to address the chaos.

What decision would you take in this situation? Also provide the reasoning for taking this decision. (250 Words) (20)


Q3. The citizen welfare society of which you are the secretary, has organised a party. The chief guest of the party is the local leader who hails from a dominant community. You know that the leader has got extreme communal views on certain controversial issues and his presence in the party might vitiate the atmosphere. You request the invitation committee to cancel the invitation as it might disturb the communal harmony in the society. However, other members of the committee tell you that the leader has promised substantial funding for the society in lieu of support for his candidature in the elections. Cancelling his invitation will not only cut the funding but will also be counterproductive as he might become the future MP of the region. You know that the financial status of the society is precarious and it requires immediate support. However, inviting the leader would compromise the very foundational philosophy of your society that is based on brotherhood and fraternity. You have to choose between survival and principles.  

Now, answer the following questions:

  1. What values are at stake in this situation? Examine.
  2. How would you tackle the situation? Analyse. (250 words) (20)

Q4. As brand ambassadors of leading consumer products, it is the responsibility of celebrities to endorse the items manufactured by the big companies. In lieu of their endorsement, the celebrities are paid heavily by these companies. However it is no secret that the celebrities endorsing the products don’t necessarily use the product themselves.

Now, answer the following questions:

  1. Do you think such endorsements violate professional ethics? Substantiate your response.
  2. If something wrong happens with respect to these products e.g. complaints of adulteration, adverse health effects, poor or substandard quality etc, should in that case the celebrities be made accountable? Critically examine. (250 words) (20)

Q5. A poor widowed mother is pained at heart to see her small baby cry daily for a bottle of milk. She can’t afford the basic necessities of life and is frustrated to see her baby suffer from hunger. Even at the heights of personal pain and suffering, she doesn’t want to beg on the streets. She has tried everything in her capacity to find some work to sustain her family. However, there doesn’t seem a way out of her predicament. With each passing day, her hopes are getting dimmer by the ruthlessness of life and she is on the verge of being broken, from within.

However, as luck would have it, one fine day a neighbour approaches her and offers her money for a small favour. He wants her to deliver a parcel to a nearby locality. In return, she would be getting ten thousand rupees. She agrees to take up the job as she can’t wait to finally see her small baby have some milk and food. She takes the parcel and leaves for the location mentioned by her neighbour. While crossing a foot over bridge, the idea of looking into the parcel strikes her mind. She wants to ensure that she isn’t carrying anything illegal. However, to her utter surprise, she finds a kilo of heroin inside the parcel. She is shell shocked to see this. She stops walking immediately. Her thoughts start a battle in the mind. The image of her crying baby appears every second she thinks about abandoning the parcel. She tries to convince herself that if not her, then someone else would deliver the parcel. The heart of a mother seems to have overpowered her senses.

What should the mother do in this situation? Also comment upon the ethical dilemmas that she must overcome to make a decision. (250 words) (20)

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