UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing (22-12-2022) - GS 2


Q1. ASEAN is not only important for the development of the North-East but also it remains India’s gateway to East Asia and beyond. Discuss. (250 words)  15 marks

Q2. The Covid pandemic has unleashed a shadow pandemic for women. Account for the reasons. Why have women disproportionately borne the brunt of pandemic? (250 words) 15 marks

Want to get your daily answers evaluated?

Model Solutions

Q1. ASEAN is not only important for the development of the North-East but also it remains India’s gateway to East Asia and beyond. Discuss. (250 words) 15 marks

Model Structure

  • ASEAN is an inter-governmental platform of Southeast Asian countries that promotes economic, political, and security cooperation among its ten members - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.or
  • India’s relationship with ASEAN has been emphasizing upon the 3Cs of –Culture, Connectivity and Commerce. Two major elements which make ASEAN important for India are: development of the North East and acting as a gateway to East Asia and beyond.

Main Body:

  • ASEAN is important for development of North-East:
    • Improved connectivity: Connectivity through road, rail, sea and air is expected to improve with boosted trade and investment relations.
      • India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and Kaladan Multi-Modal Projects.
    • Trade and investment: Improved connectivity could help push the trade beyond the coveted $100 billion target.
      • This would cut down on the cost of movement of goods and services.
    • Local economic development: This would lead to the development of industrial corridors, setting up of Haats, local industries etc.
    • Self-reliance: Cheap transit along with economic development could play a key role in making North-East India self-reliant.
      • Even exporter in itself rather than depending upon cheap Chinese goods.
    • Collaboration with Myanmar in dealing with the extremist insurgency in the states of Manipur and Nagaland.
  • The ASEAN act as the gateway for India to the East Asian nations and beyond
    • ASEAN forum is acting as a platform to develop bilateral relations with countries in the forum such as Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia etc.
    • Japanese link: Japan, has been actively involved in India’s Act East Asia policy.
      • Engagement with ASEAN through “Japan India Act East Forum", thus, creating better links with East Asia.
    • South Korean renewed focus: India’s tandem with ASEAN is in consonance with South Korea’s “New Southern policy”.
    • Counter to Chinese expansionism: through India’s open support for free navigation supporting the stakeholders like Vietnam and Philippines.
      • Thus, pushing for India’s strategic presence in the East Asian region as well.
    • Trade relations: As India has opted out of the Chinese dominant RCEP, smooth economic relations with ASEAN through-
      • FTAs or Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) could boost India’s economic presence in the both South East and East Asian region.
    • Security relations: Joint naval exercises with the members of ASEAN (like Garuda Shakti, Force 18).
      • Boost security relations while promoting India’s strategic presence in the Indo-Pacific and East Asian region.


  • In order to further reap the potential benefits, the need is to implement a renewed and comprehensive strategy comprising ambitious targets for economic, strategic, security, connectivity, and sociocultural linkages.

Q2. The Covid pandemic has unleashed a shadow pandemic for women. Account for the reasons. Why have women disproportionately borne the brunt of pandemic? (250 words) 15 marks

Model Structure

  • Shadow pandemic refers to increased gender-based violence as an indirect impact of lockdown (UN Women).
  • Women have been disproportionately affected by the emergence and spread of COVID-19 due to the loss of livelihoods, increasing economic and psychological stress.

Main Body:

  • The overall impact of situation on women has resulted into shadow pandemic:
    • Economic fallouts: Compounded economic impacts are felt by women. There is a trend of disappearance of jobs among women.
      • For example- as per a McKinsey report in India, female job loss rates owing to COVID-19 are about 1.8 times higher than male jobs rates.
    • Rising inequality: As per the study of the United Nations, unpaid care work has increased with children out of school and heightened care needs of older persons. (Oxfam report).
    • Lack of health services: The health of women generally is adversely impacted by the reallocation of resources and priorities, including sexual and reproductive health services.
    • Gender-based violence: The National Commission for Women has recorded a more than twofold rise in gender-based violence.
    • Risking their life: At the height of the pandemic, it was an army of frontline women health workers-one million ASHAs (accredited social health activists).
      • 1.2 million Anganwadi took on responsibilities at considerable risk to themselves.
  • Women has disproportionately borne the brunt of pandemic due to the following reasons:
    • Many women are being forced to ‘lock down’ at home with their abusers. This has increased the vulnerability of women to sexual exploitation.
    • Lack of close contact with friends, lack of privacy and patriarchal mindset make women the victim of men’s frustration, resulting in anxiety, panic and depression.
    • Helplessness, for example, women are not able to report crime at women cells in police stations in Delhi.
    • Lack of support services: Lack of access to women NGO’s counselors during domestic violence has posed challenges to women.
      • As women were unable to move beyond telephonic or web counseling this increased risks to women.
    • Loss of employment and financial independence made them more vulnerable to exploitation, because now they are more dependent on others.
    • Double discrimination for marginalized women as they face restrictive social norms and gender stereotypes.
  • UN-WOMEN has recommended following to reduce the impact of the pandemic on women:
    • Ensuring women’s equal representation in all COVID-19 response planning and decision making.
    • Driving transformative change for equality by addressing the care economy paid or unpaid.
    • Targeting women and girls in all efforts to address the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19.
    • A robust system to safeguard women and girls from gender violence.
      • China’s online campaign #AntiDomesticViolenceDuringEpidemic can be adopted as good practice to end domestic violence.


  • Women can be the hardest hit by this pandemic but they will also be the backbone of recovery. The need of the hour is to devise an inclusive strategy to fight the pandemic and implement proposed recommendations holistically.
Previous Post

Next Post