UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing (05-09-2022)


  1. Highlighting the issues associated with power discoms in India, discuss whether privatizing discoms can help in this regard. (150 words)
  2. Hybrid Warfare is a multi-pronged warfare methodology, thus to negate it, the response should also be holistic in nature. Discuss. (250 words)

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Model Solutions

1. Highlighting the issues associated with power discoms in India, discuss whether privatizing discoms can help in this regard. (150 words)

Model Structure

  • India became the third largest electricity generator in the world. However, the discoms i.e. power distribution companies, continue to be faced with following issues:

Main Body

  • Operational inefficiencies due to huge technical and commercial losses (AT&C) at 21.4% which are primarily caused by power theft, poor payment collection procedures, and inadequate tariff hikes.
  • Increasing open access transactions: Big commercial customers who pay higher tariffs are engaging in private power purchase through open access i.e. directly buying from the suppliers bypassing discoms.
  • Lack of political will and transparency in dealing with phasing out of energy subsidies for the consumers.
  • Decline in demand during lockdown: Revenue of discoms have fallen due to halt in commercial activities while domestic users pay lower tariffs.
  • Increased Power Purchase Cost: After the one-time measures under UDAY, the power purchase costs have now increased by 5 per cent in the first nine months of 2018-19. Further the input costs of coal and freight have gone up.
  • Indebtedness: According to the PRAAPTI portal, power producers' total outstanding dues owed by discoms rose over 47% year-on-year to Rs. 1.33 lakh crore in June 2020.
  • Financial incompetence: DISCOMs have delayed payments owed to solar and wind energy developers making investments into the sector extremely challenging.
    Privatization of discoms is being seen as a measure to revitalize discoms due to following reasons-
  • Past experiences: There are sufficient case studies when private players have been proved to run cash strapped discoms successfully via more efficiency, increased revenue and improved consumer services. For e.g. the AT&C losses in Delhi after the privatization in 2002 has been brought down from a high of 53% to around 8%.
  • Operational autonomy: Due to improved network efficiency and lack of political interference.
  • Operational efficiencies: Privatization will eliminate issues such as payment delays, power cuts, and lack of market-based electricity pricing and stimulate economic activity.
  • Generating private sector appetite: Amongst Indian and international investors, various PPP models will be tested and it will also provide confidence to larger states and utilities to undertake privatisation based on improvements achieved.


  • However, privatization of discoms needs to be accompanied by other measures such as providing autonomy to regulatory bodies; cooperative federalism between centre and state; reinventing the revenue model of discoms which should be conducive to the growth of rooftop solar and open access power.

  1. Hybrid Warfare is a multi-pronged warfare methodology, thus to negate it, the response should also be holistic in nature. Discuss. (250 words)

Model Structure

  • Hybrid warfare refers to the use of unconventional methods as part of a multi-domain warfighting approach. In Hybrid warfare, apart from conventional military tactics, non-military tools are used to achieve dominance or damage, subvert or influence.
    • These tools may include information pollution, perception management and propaganda. These methods aim to disrupt and disable an opponent’s actions without engaging in open hostilities.

Main Body

  • Characteristics of Hybrid Warfare
    • Multi Domained: This warfare is a combination of activities, including disinformation, economic manipulation, use of proxies and insurgencies, diplomatic pressure and military actions.
    • Maximum Damage With Minimum Effort: It tends to target areas which are highly vulnerable and where maximum damage can be caused with minimum effort.
    • Deploying Non-State Actors: It usually involves non-state actors indulging in subversive roles supported by states in order to exonerate themselves of any involvement if their activities are detected.
  • Threats Emanating From Hybrid Warfare:
    • Cyber Attacks: This may include attacks on critical infrastructure like power grids, water supplies, business systems, and defence systems.
      • These may be used to disrupt economic activities, undermine institutions, and discredit political leadership and the intelligentsia.
    • Evolving Nature of Terrorism: The idea of Hybrid Warfare encourages new forms of terrorist attacks such as ‘lone-wolf’ attacks and creation of ‘sleeper cells’. These attacks are extremely difficult to detect.
    • Adversaries could also act on the lines of radicalization of the population, which leads to issues like Communalism, Naxalism and Separatism in the long run.
    • Undermining Democracy: The foreign government may manipulate the data, spread propaganda and misinformation and influence democratic systems like elections through use of social media, websites, advertisements etc.
    • Use of techniques from campaigning through the media and social networks to securing financial resources for a political group may indirectly influence the outcome of an election in a direction that favors the adversary's political interests.
    • Disinformation and Fake News: An adversary can create a parallel reality and use falsehoods to fuel social fragmentation. It could disorient the public and make it difficult for a government to seek public approval for a given policy or operation.
  • Holistic Responses to Combat Hybrid Warfare
    • Adopting multinational frameworks: National governments should coordinate a coherent approach amongst themselves to understand, detect and respond to hybrid warfare to their collective interests. Multinational frameworks should be developed to facilitate cooperation and collaboration across borders.
    • Institutional measures: To keep vulnerabilities in check and estimate possible hybrid threats, conducting self-assessments of critical functions and vulnerabilities across all sectors and ensuring regular maintenance. For example, regularly upgrading critical Fintech systems in the country.
    • Training of armed forces: In hybrid warfare, armed forces have a dual role in protecting civilian population and disabling the enemy. Thus it needs to upgrade itself by adopting the following:
      • Training in special battle techniques, as well as conditioning to overcome urban combat stress.
      • Training in use of technological tools such as smart robots, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
      • Deploying Intelligence tools like Real Time Situational Awareness (RTSA) for precise operations.
  • Strengthening the democratic institutions: This helps the government negate various forms of hybrid warfare such as disinformation and radicalization.
    • Inclusion of Civil Society Institutions such as think tanks multiply the government’s capabilities to counter such threats.
  • Investing in Journalism to raise media literacy: It has been often reported that uses of the term “hybrid threats” by the media are often inaccurate.
    • As a result, investing in journalism will indirectly help citizens in understanding the threat in a better way.


  • Thus, the governments across the world should establish a process to develop a national approach of self-assessment and threat analysis. Institutionalizing a process regarding threat and vulnerability information will enhance hybrid warfare early warning efforts, assist resiliency efforts, and may even have a deterrent effect.

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