UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing (19-10-2022)

UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing

Questions

  1. The six days war not only changed the power equations in the Middle east but also added fuel to the cold war. Elaborate.  (150 words) 10 marks
  2. COVID-19 had a devastating impact on all sections of society, especially children. In the light of this statement, highlight the critical impact of covid 19 pandemic on children with special emphasis on their education, physical and mental wellbeing.   (150 words)  10 marks

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Model Solutions

Q1. The six days war not only changed the power equations in the Middle east but also added fuel to the cold war. Elaborate. (150 words) 10 marks

Model Structure
Introduction:

  • The Six-Day war was a war fought in 1967 over six days between Israel and the combined forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
  • The war marked the continued hostilities between Israel and Arab states, and was marked by rapid preemptive attacks by Israel and against neighboring Arab states.

Main Body:

  • The impact of six-day war on the power equation in the middle-east:
    • Humiliating defeat for Arab Armies: The Arab countries’ losses in the conflict were disastrous.
      • They suffered crippling losses of weaponry and equipment.
      • Egypt, Jordan, Syria suffered combined casualties of more than 18,000, compared with only 700 for Israel.
    • Israel as Regional Military power: Defeating the combined Arab Armies and gaining four times territorial expansion.
      • The military equipment from the USA also helped to modernize its army, with a clear edge over combined Arab strength in the region.
    • USA filled British vacuum: It marked the start of USA’s hegemonic rise over regional politics in place of Britain, including through support for Israel.
    • Change in Arab approach: Arab states realized they could not resist Israel on their own, without external help.
      • This was in contrast to the rising nationalist sentiments over the past year that balked at external interventions in the region.
  • Impact of Six-day war on the Cold war
    • Stark cold-war separation:
      • With Israel being firmly in USA’s bloc, and anti-Jewish sentiments across communist countries.
    • Cold war balance: As USSR supported Syria and Arabs in hope for military bases.
      • The Arab loss tilted the balance of the Cold war in USA’s favor.
    • Soviet Prestige Dented: Israel destroyed multiple Arab armies that had been supplied with Soviet military hardware and expertise.
    • Increased militarization: USSR increased supply of modern weapons to Arab states after the war and the USA supplied Israel with advanced equipment.

Conclusion

  • Thus, the six-day war fundamentally altered the map of the MiddleEast and added fresh fire to cold war rivalry between USA & USSR blocs.

Q2. COVID-19 had a devastating impact on all sections of society, especially children. In the light of this statement, highlight the critical impact of covid 19 pandemic on children with special emphasis on their education, physical and mental wellbeing. (150 words) 10 marks

Model Structure
Introduction:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic presented the greatest challenge to the world since WW-2.
  • Though it has impacted every human life, children are among its biggest victims. Among the effects of pandemic on children, education and physical & mental well-being are more acutely affected aspects.

Main Body:

  • Impact of Covid-19 on Children’s Education:
    • Learning loss:
      • The World Bank’s simulations at the end of 2020 showed that the Learning Poverty indicator is set to increase from 53% to 63%.
      • According to an Azim Premji Foundation report, 92% of children have lost at least one specific language ability from the previous year across all classes and 82% lost their mathematical ability.
    • School dropouts: Due to impact on household income, many students have dropped out from school.
      • As per a SCHOOL survey, around 26% of the households had switched from private to government schools for lack of funds.
      • Mid-day meals had been discontinued in all schools.
    • Impact on marginalized: Marginalized communities were the worst affected.
      • E.g., only 4% of rural SC/ST children were studying online regularly compared with 15% among other rural children as per SCHOOL survey.
    • Women empowerment: It has also impacted women empowerment.
      • Girls have less access to digital technology than boys.
      • This has reduced their access to and participation in online learning.
  • Impact of Covid-19 on Children’s Physical and Mental Well-being:
    • Malnutrition:
      • There is reduced access to essential maternal, newborn and child health interventions.
      • Threat of malnutrition increased due to a halt in critical government schemes such as mid-day meals.
      • As per UN Report on ‘Impact of Covid-19 on Children’, rising malnutrition is expected as 368.5 million children rely on school meals for daily nutrition.
    • Child abuse: There has been an increase in early marriages, child labor, sexual exploitation, teenage pregnancies, endangering children’s physical and mental wellbeing (UNICEF report, 2020).
    • Overall development:
      • Due to closure of schools, children missed out on social contact which is essential for their overall development.
      • Friendship is a strong stabilizing force for children, but the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted children’s social circle.
    • Negative emotions:
      • Fear of infection, diseases and deaths in families, and resultant depression.
      • Negative emotions such as grief, fear, uncertainty, social isolation and have directly threatened children’s physical as well as mental well-being.
      • A 40% rise in the use of antidepressants among children has been reported in the UK.
    • Parental fatigue:
      • It has become difficult for parents to calm their children's anxieties because of the uncertainty and stress in their own lives.
      • Increased screen time and early access to digital world exposes them to threats of digital bullying and sexual predators.

Conclusion:

  • Pandemic has exposed children to various risks. These risks can be mitigated through societal solidarity and ownership along with government intervention.
  • There is a need to design programs to sustain child-centered services and to mitigate the negative impacts of the virus, and of containment and mitigation measures on children.

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