You can drink Yamuna water and also swim in the river by 2017: JICA representative

Sinya Ejima, chief representative of JICA informed that current commitment of JICA’s assistance in urban sector including water and transport is of the order of Rs.2, 40, 000 crore.

With focus on cleaning of the Yamuna and its

bed, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is associated with 16 sewerage and water supply projects in India, on Wednesday expressed hope that the Yamuna would be clean by year 2017 and its water fit for consumption and swimming too.

“With several sewerage projects under implementation and other efforts in progress, and if everything goes well, I expect to swim in the river Yamuna and drink Yamuna water by 2017” said Sinya Ejima, chief representative of JICA in India.
He said so while making a presentation on ‘JICA’s Operations in Urban Sector In India’ at the meeting of India-Japan Joint Working Group on Urban Development here on Wednesday. JICA is currently associated with various projects relating to sewerage and water supply with a total loan commitment of Rs.28,660 crore in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Odisha, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Goa. Mr Ejima informed that current commitment of JICA’s assistance in urban sector including water and transport is of the order of Rs.2, 40, 000 crore.
JICA said challenges to be addressed in the water sector are improvement in Operation & Maintenance (O&M) for efficient management of assets created, improvement in service delivery, improving financial position of urban local bodies, entrusting O&M to private sector through PPP model and promotion of re-use and recycling technologies to address water scarcity. The challenges in urban sector are, it said, introduction of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), optimal mechanism for introduction of Metro rail systems, introduction of regional transit systems, monorails and Light Rail Transport and technical assistance for preparing comprehensive mobility plans.



CIVIL SERVICES MAINS 2014 900+ Q&A [200-100 WORDS]

CIVIL SERVICES MAINS 2014  900+ Q&A [200-100 WORDS]

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Behind India’s Pakistan quandary

Faced with Pakistan’s firing across the LoC, India has no option but to respond. However, in general, more subtle strategies to contain and counter threats from Pakistan would be in the country’s interest

Pakistan’s annual ritual of raising the Kashmir issue and the outdated U.N. resolutions at the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) has been followed by similar statements in Pakistan, including by the Chief of Army Staff, Raheel Sharif. Young Bilawal Bhutto has vowed to wrest every inch of Kashmir from India! The National Assembly has called for a diplomatic offensive. Pakistan’s desire to internationalise the Kashmir issue has been mentioned as one of the plausible reasons for the recent ceasefire violations by it.

Left to Pakistan, the Kashmir issue would never go off the international radar screen. However, Pakistan’s efforts to internationalise it cannot succeed in the face of a mature Indian response. For starters, the international scenario has completely changed from the days when Pakistan’s theatrics on Kashmir attracted international attention. India has come a long way since then. Above all, Pakistan is not the same, both in its capacity to mobilise international opinion and the priorities of its people.
Manifestos and Kashmir issue

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League (N)’s manifesto for the May 2013 election in Pakistan contained the following paragraph on Kashmir: “Special efforts will be made to resolve the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, in accordance with the provisions of the relevant UN resolutions and the 1999 Lahore Accord and in consonance with the aspirations of the people of the territory for their inherent right of self-determination.” Significantly, this paragraph found a place in a three-page chapter on foreign policy and national security, beginning at page 80 of the 103-page document, with the first 79 pages devoted to bread-and-butter issues such as economic revival, energy security, agriculture and food security, a new framework for social change, democratic governance, science and technology, the employment challenge, speedy justice, etc.
“India’s growing power ought to be felt by its adversaries and not flaunted.”
The chapter began by acknowledging that Pakistan was at war within and isolated abroad, its independence and sovereignty stood compromised, its economic weaknesses were forcing it to go around with a begging bowl in hand; while foreign states undertook unilateral strikes on its territory, non-state actors used it as a sanctuary to pursue their own agendas, oblivious to Pakistan’s interests and the country’s social, economic and political schisms were creating grave misgivings even in the minds of its friends. It noted that Pakistan is located at an important junction of South Asia, West Asia and Central Asia. Therefore, it could be a bridge between the energy-rich Central Asia and Iran on the one side and energy-deficit countries like China and India on the other and could also become a flourishing transit economy as the shortest land route from western China to the Arabian Sea, while linking India with Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics. The paragraph on Kashmir figured at s.no.viii among the policy objectives listed in this chapter. It was preceded and succeeded by others such as establishing cordial and cooperative ties with Pakistan’s neighbours, making foreign policy formulation the sole preserve of elected representatives, making sure that all civil and military institutions, “including those dealing with security and/or intelligence matters” act as per the directives of the federal government, and according special importance to promotion of external trade, etc.
The manifesto of the other major party, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had similar prioritisation with the first 60 out of 74 pages devoted to empowerment for all, inclusive and equitable growth, infrastructure and a new social contract, etc. However, the following reference figured on page 73: “We support the rights of the Kashmiri people and during our current government we initiated and continued to pursue a dialogue process agenda with India, including on Kashmir. We will not allow lack of progress on one agenda to impede progress on the others. Without prejudice to the UN Security Council Resolutions, we support open and safe borders at the Line of Control [LoC] to socially unite the Kashmiri people. We note that India and China have a border dispute and yet enjoy tension free relations.”
Ties with India

This did not imply that Pakistan’s major parties were about to jettison the Kashmir issue. Far from it. However, since political parties trim the sails of their manifestos to the winds of public opinion, the two manifestos were a good indicator of the priorities of the Pakistani people and the issues agitating their mind. To be sure, a civil or military leader in Pakistan can still whip up short-term hysteria on Kashmir, especially in periods of tension with India. But in a reflection of the public mood, India was not an issue of even marginal consequence in determining the choices of voters in the May 2013 election. The manifestos were unusual in their candour and content and a departure from the influential security state narrative, which ranks confronting “enemy India” over the welfare and progress of the Pakistani people. However, what has transpired after the 2013 election is extraordinarily usual for Pakistan and India-Pakistan relations.
Soon after the election, the Pakistani media reported that the then Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Kayani, had advised the Prime Minister-elect, Nawaz Sharif, to go slow on relations with India. Subsequently, the killing of five Indian soldiers in a Pakistani ambush at the LoC in the Poonch sector in August 2013 put paid to the efforts of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to revive the peace process with the Nawaz Sharif government. During the visit of Mr. Sharif’s brother, Shahbaz Sharif to India in December 2013, it was decided to take the trade agenda forward, with India agreeing to give significantly improved market access to Pakistani products in return for Pakistan moving to a non-discriminatory market access regime (euphemism for Most Favoured Nation). However, Pakistan baulked at the eleventh hour, reportedly because of opposition by the army and the reluctance of the Nawaz government to clinch such an important deal with the outgoing Indian government on the eve of elections. Whatever the reason, Pakistan has failed to seal the trade deal, widely acknowledged by its top economists and businessmen to be in its interest, in spite of the positive attitude of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government on the issue. The promise generated by Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s visit to India for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in in May 2014 was cut short by the meeting of the Pakistan envoy with the Hurriyat leaders.
From recent events, it appears that the security state paradigm, which is revisionist not only regarding accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India, but also India’s leading role in South Asia and beyond, is on the ascendant again in Pakistan. Pakistan’s adversarial posture towards India has entailed heavy costs for us and significantly heavier costs for the smaller Pakistani economy. The gap between the two economies is growing. Therefore, sustenance of this posture by Pakistan would imply increasing detriment to its economy and the well-being of its people who, more than Kashmir, crave better governance and economic opportunities. The imperatives underlying the candour and constructive ideas in the manifestos mentioned remain unchanged. Therefore, it would be wrong to assume that the thinking underpinning those ideas has vanished or should count for nothing in our policy formulation.
Countering threats

Pakistani provocations, not entirely missing in periods of dialogue, tend to increase in its absence. Some are attempts to infuse life into its flagging “Kashmir cause” and drag us into verbal duels in the international arena, but have no impact on the ground situation. These, therefore, deserve cursory dismissal. References to Kashmir at the U.N. and the Pakistan-inspired hackneyed resolutions by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) are some examples. We did well in responding to the Pakistani reference to Jammu and Kashmir at the UNGA at the level of a First Secretary, while offering, in Mr. Modi’s speech, dialogue without the shadow of terror.
There are, on the other hand, provocations which impact the ground situation adversely for us. These include Pakistan’s continued harbouring of anti-India terror groups, infiltration of terrorists across the LoC and attempts to destabilise the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of India. Such efforts need to be thwarted resolutely. Faced with Pakistan’s firing across the LoC, we have no option but to respond. However, in general, more subtle strategies to contain and counter threats from Pakistan would be in our interest.
Finally, the jingoistic and threatening rhetoric in a section of our media in response to each provocation from Pakistan does us no good. Our growing power ought to be felt by our adversaries and not flaunted. Threatening language tends to drive a significant number in Pakistan, who think constructively of relations with India, into the arms of the security state proponents.



Why Western Ghats in Karnataka receive more monsoon rainfall

Due to the greater width, there is more time for drops to coalesce and precipitate

In a recent study of rainfall trends using remotely sensed satellite data and actual field data from the Indian Meteorological Department of the Western Ghats region over the past 14 years, it was found that during the monsoon months of June, July, August, September, the average rainfall was more over Karnataka than Maharashtra and

Kerala.

The Western Ghats run parallel to the Arabian Sea coast for approximately 1,600 km from the Maharashtra-Gujarat border to the southern tip of Kerala.
There are several reasons for this. First, the mountain topography in Karnataka is broader than the narrow topography of the Ghats in Maharashtra. Due to the greater width of the mountains, the rain bearing winds have to necessarily travel a longer distance and have more time for the drops to coalesce and precipitate as rainfall, resulting in higher rainfall. In contrast, the narrow width of the Ghats in Maharashtra allows the rain-bearing wind to cross over to the leeward side rapidly before precipitation can occur. As for Kerala, the Ghats there are in the form of isolated mountains, where the rain-bearing winds can easily cross over to the leeward side through the gaps in between without precipitation occurring.
Second, the slope of the mountain has a direct bearing on the possibility of precipitation. This is borne out by the Ghats of Karnataka where the mountains are gently sloping, compared to the steep slopes of the Ghats in Maharashtra and Kerala.
The air parcel will retain its energy and speed for a longer time when the slope is gradual. This will provide sufficient vertical motion to cloud droplets to grow by collision–coalescence process and hence form precipitation.
Third, the gentle slope provides a greater area for sunlight absorption and heating leading to greater convection when compared with an abrupt slope i.e. less Ghat area such as that of the Maharashtra and Kerala Ghats.
Fourth, the continuous mountain range presents a greater barrier to rain-bearing winds than a range comprising isolated mountains with gaps in between where the winds can easily pass to the leeward side. Unlike in the case of Kerala, the Ghats in Maharashtra and Karnataka are continuous.
The study carried out by Sayli A. Tawde and Charu Singh was published recently in the International Journal of Climatology. Ms. Tawde is pursuing her PhD in the Centre for Atmospheric & Ocean Sciences, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, and Ms. Singh is a scientist at the Marine and Atmospheric Sciences Department, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, ISRO, Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
Interestingly, the study found that often areas of heavy rainfall were far away from the summits of the mountains, as much as 50 km away.
“The reason for this is that there is more chance of rainfall occurring at the foot of the mountain as there is greater depth for the moisture in the clouds to coalesce into big drops which finally reach the ground,” notes Ms Tawde in an email to this correspondent.



India’s gender gap widens

India ranked at 114 among 142 countries in World Economic Forum’s gender gap index

imageIndia has performed well on the parameter of political empowerment of women (Photo: Sayantan Bera)
The latest Global Gender Gap report released on Tuesday by the World Economic Forum (WEF)  a Geneva-based non-profit, has placed India at 114th rank, 13 points below last year’s ranking and the lowest among BRICS countries. It is also one of the few countries where female labour force participation is shrinking.
Among the BRICS countries, the highest-placed nation is South Africa (18), supported by strong scores on political participation, followed by Brazil  at 71,  Russia (75), China (87) and India (114).
The report, the ninth in the series, captures gender-based disparities of 142 countries on economic, social, political, education and health-based criteria.  
The rankings are designed to create greater awareness among a global audience of the challenges posed by gender gaps and the opportunities created by reducing them, says WEF. Based on the nine years of data available for the 111 countries that have been part of the report since its inception, the world has seen only a small improvement in equality for women in the workplace.

Asia and the Pacific

China’s (87) overall score improved compared to 2006 due to improvements on all four sub-indexes, especially the Political Empowerment sub-index. This year, China is one of nine countries that ranked below average on the Health and Survival sub-index.
Japan’s (104) overall score improved compared to 2006 due to improvements on the Economic Participation and Opportunity sub-index. However, it fell in the rankings on the other three sub-indexes, especially the Political Empowerment sub-index.
India (114) experienced a drop (in absolute and relative value) on the Health and Survival sub-index compared to 2006, mainly due to a decrease in the female-to-male sex ratio at birth. In 2014, India also performed below average on the Economic Participation and Opportunity and Educational Attainment sub-indexes.

Europe and Central Asia

Iceland (1) ranked fourth overall in 2006. It climbed to the top of the rankings within four years, remaining in that position for six consecutive years. This year, Iceland ranked first overall on the Political Empowerment sub-index.

Germany (12) performed well on the Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, and Political Empowerment sub-indexes. Under the latter sub-index, Germany is the fifth country with the highest improvement of “years with female head of state” (female-over-male ratio) over the past nine years.

France (16) entered the top 20 for the first time. It also came in third overall with the highest percentage change relative to its score in 2006. France is the country with the highest improvement on the “legislators, senior officials and managers” indicator over the past nine years. The country ranked low on the “wage equality for similar work” indicator.

Gender Gap by Pillar

In 2006, 56% of the economic participation gap had been closed; in 2014, 60% of this gap has been closed. In 2006, almost 92% of the educational attainment gap had been closed; in 2014, 94% of this gap has been closed. On health and survival, however, there has been a small deterioration between 2006 and 2014, from 97% to 96%. In 2006, 14% of the global political empowerment gap had been closed; in 2014, 21% of this gap has been closed.

Source: World Economic Forum
The report has placed India higher (rank 15) than the US (54) and the UK (33) on the parameter of political empowerment. WEF says this is because India has many women leaders in politics.
Iceland has topped the list of nations with least gender disparity for the sixth year running while Yemen remained last. One of the reasons for Iceland’s success is its relatively small population while Yemen struggles due to high mortality rates and high rates of girls aged six to 14 not in school, says the report.
Just six nations—Sri Lanka, Mali, Croatia, Macedonia, Jordan and Tunisia—have seen their gender gap grow overall since 2005, says WEF.
Last year’s leading four nations – Iceland (1), Finland (2), Norway (3) and Sweden (4) – are joined by Denmark, which has climbed from eighth place to fifth. Nordic nations dominate the Global Gender Gap Index in 2014; Nicaragua, Rwanda and the Philippines have also made it to the top 10.
“Much of the progress on gender equality over the last 10 years has come from more women entering politics and the workforce. While more women and more men have joined the workforce over the last decade, more women than men entered the labour force in 49 countries. And in the case of politics, globally, there are now 26 per cent more female parliamentarians and 50 per cent more female ministers than nine years ago,” says Saadia Zahidi, head of the Gender Parity Programme at WEF and lead author of the report.
“These are far-reaching changes – for economies and national cultures, however it is clear that much work still remains to be done, and that the pace of change must in some areas be accelerated,” Zahidi adds.
Countries from Europe and Central Asia occupy 12 of the top 20 positions in the index, one less than last year. Of the region’s major economies, Germany has climbed two places to 12th position, France has leapt from 45th to 16th, while the UK has fallen eight places to 26th. France’s gain is mostly due to increases in the number of women in politics, including 49 per cent women ministers – one of the highest ratios in the world, and narrowing wage gaps. The UK’s lower position can be mainly attributed to changes in income estimates, according to the report
While, in Asia and the Pacific, the Philippines remains the region’s highest-ranked country, followed by New Zealand (13) and Australia (24).
Mind the gap
The WEF report says that gender gap is the narrowest in terms of health and survival with the gap standing at 96 per cent globally
The educational attainment gap is the next narrowest, standing at 94 per cent globally
The gap for political empowerment remains wider still, standing at 21 per cent, although this area has seen the most improvement since 2006
The gender gap for economic participation and opportunity now stands at 60 per cent worldwide, having closed by 4 per cent from 56 per cent in 2006



Tips for writing a mind blowing and marks fetching Essay

by the 2 highest scorer of CSE 2013, Hemant Rohilla (160/250) and Roman Saini (145/250)

Essay writing forms an important part of many examinations conducted by UPSC. Civil Services Examination is no different. It is meant to be a subjective assessment of one’s personality, one’s reasoning and one’s line of thinking.
I believe Essay writing is both an art as well as a science. Before further discussing Essay Writing, let me first raise the most basic question.

What is expected out of an essay?

Essay is not just a disgorgement of information and facts nor is it a medium to express our attitudes and prejudices through half-baked opinions.
One purpose of an essay could be to test and assess the writing skills of the candidates. Yet equally and even more important purposes that an essay serves are to give an insight into:
  • one’s thinking
  • one’s ability to respond critically and personally to a problem or issue
  • one’s acumen to select and use information to support an argument and
  • to present this argument in a structured and impressive way.
Essay, to put it succinctly, is considered to be a reflection of one’s personality.
What UPSC expects is neither a factual or informative essay nor a highly opinionated one. What is needed is a balanced presentation of ideas related to the given topic substantiated by sound facts and reasoning.
At the same time, it should also be kept in mind that innovativeness, creativity and novelty (in presenting and structuring essay) within the limits of reasonableness is always rewarded.
This year the topic I chose to write the essay on was “Is the Colonial mentality hindering India’s Success?”.
I started off with a fictitious story of atrocities done on 2 tribals by the strongmen of their area in connivance with the Police authorities about 2 decades back and how they are still trying to pick up their lives long after those atrocities were committed.
Even the whole Criminal Justice System seemed to have failed in dispensing justice to them and the Civil Administration had failed miserably in restoring their lives and livelihoods.
Though fictitious but the story I cited was in resonance with the many incidents of caste/class dominance and evil nexus between various powerful lobbies.
After citing this small story, I moved on to explain the biases, prejudices and power structures that are still part of the Administrative structure of our country more so at the lower and middle levels where the poor and the powerless are more often than not at the receiving end of it all.
Then I moved further to a more broader level where I elucidated the dominance of Colonial Mentality in the psyche of a common citizen by citing examples across polity, administration, economics (as Mr. Raghuram Rajan also stated in his address as WEF) and across different levels of the society.
Following are some of the points that I would like to mention as my learnings/take-aways from the essay that I wrote
  1. I did answer the question unequivocally through my essay – Yes, Colonial Mentality is hindering India’s success.
  2. I paid due attention to illustrating what I understood by each and every word of the topic i.e. I did explain Colonial Mentality and how did I evaluate Success in the essay.
  3. I took a practical position by admitting the negatives associated by Colonial Mentality and its presence in modern India. But at the same, whenever I took I critical stand it was solely based on sound evidence and arguments not just opinions or emotional arguments.
  4. Even though I was critical at places, I maintained a positive attitude and tone throughout. I was optimistic and hopeful of the future and suggested ways of getting over the impediments which are hindering our progress and success.
  5. I did not use the story just in the introduction but rather weaved it throughout the entire essay. I connected back to my story in between my arguments and again connected back at the fag end in the conclusion. I gave the direction to the story and finally pointed to the ray of light that still existed at the end of the dark tunnel.
  6. I focused on a limited number of points only – about  5 or 6 in the entire essay.
  7. I took around 50-60 mins to detail out the structure, framework and broad flow of the essay. Also I left around 10 mins towards the end to revise the essay. So I could write only about 1100-1200 words. It reaffirms that quality matters not the quantity.
  8. After the examination, most people anticipated that I must have written on the topic “Science and technology is the panacea for the growth and security of the nation” given my background as a working Research Engineer and an MBA post-grad. However I took an unconventional topic since it appealed to me and I was confident that I would be able to manage it. And the gamble paid off. However I would like to state here that this is not a golden rule to choose a topic different from your area of expertise. But if you are ready to take the risk, this strategy may yield good dividends.
  9. And finally there is not a single proven and uniform formula for everybody to use. Yes, there could be some set of DOs and DON’Ts and certain advices but finally one has to work out one’s own formula based on understanding of one’s strengths and weaknesses.
In the following writeup, I have tried to mention the strategies, techniques and principles that I found useful when I prepared for and wrote essay in the 2013 Civil Services Examination. Application of these principles helped me score 160 marks in the essay paper.

Preparation for the Essay paper

Now comes the point of how to prepare oneself for essay. Frankly speaking, I did not devote much of my time towards essay preparation since I knew that my GS knowledge, my reading habits and a decent command over English would let me stand in a good stead in the Essay paper.
However I did spent time to structure and draw outlines of certain essays which appeared in the last 3 years’ papers. We all suffer from information overload and in an outright attempt to sway the examiner with our knowledge and intellectual prowess, we tend to disgorge everything we know even if it is only remotely linked to the asked theme. In this process we not just deviate from the core theme of the essay and write a number of irrelevant things and waste our precious time during the examination but also end up pestering the examiner.
Thus I realized that more than the content it is the structure, organization and closeness of the content to the asked theme that is important.
However when I look back at my essay preparation strategy I do feel the following readings helped.
  • Regular reading of newspapers – The Hindu, Hindustan Times and Mint
  • Selective reading of EPW articles
  • Selective reading of frontline articles
Then material from various coaching institutes is available which can just be glanced over while looking for something unconventional, interesting and unique. End to end reading of such material would only prove to be a waste of time. So be selective and glean through the material for other than usual information.
Before delving further into the specifics, it is equally important to keep certain qualities of a good essay in mind. A knowledge of these points helped me a lot when I was structuring and organizing my essay and was looking for relevant information closer to the theme that would make the essay a good one.
These 11 qualities act as a filter to filter out grain from the chaff.

11 qualities of a Good Essay

 

1. Relevance
At every point in the essay, relevance to the given topic needs to be maintained. All key points and their supporting arguments should lend corroborative support to the main argument without deviating in relevance from the core issue at hand.
2. Completeness
An essay should be muti-faceted and should present a holistic and multi-dimensional view of the given topic. The reader of the essay should feel the completeness of the arguments that have been made in the essay.
3. Cohesive
The arguments or main points of the essay should not be haphazard or randomly arranged. They should all stick together to the central theme and give a coherence, direction and purpose to the essay.
4. Sustained
The essay should be well paragraphed i.e. logically arranged in paragraphs. Sub-headings are generally not prescribed in an essay but there should be a sustained focus on the central theme through well drafted paragraphs.
5. Well-organized
Ideally, an essay should have the following three parts:
  • Introduction : provides an insight into what follows.
  • Body : organize points/ideas, arrange sub-arguments.
  • Conclusion : should have a sense of closure and leave something in the mind of reader to think about.
6. Concise
What the examiner desires is a well thought out stream of arguments systematically arranged and rationally substantiated. The arguments should be brief and concise and write only relevant things in the essay.
7. Sign posted
Unless there are suggestive and appropriate sign-posts at the relevant places, there is a danger of getting lost. Thus try to use connectors to connect a paragraph with its preceding and succeeding paragraphs.
8. Specific
Be specific to the extent possible while extending arguments in an essay. Vagueness, arbitrariness and ambiguity are disliked by the reader. While quoting specific data or general statement, understand the relevance and appropriateness of the context. Take the pain to explain
and connect the quote or statement to the main argument. Always put the quotes in inverted commas. Mis-quoting can be disastrous.
While quoting quotes in regional languages, write its English essence after it, like done by Finance Minister Chidambram in his budget speeches while quoting Thiruvalluvar.
9. Analytical/Critical thinking
Independent opinions based on sound facts and analysis and critical unbiased analyses are always appreciated by the examiner.
10. Explanatory
The arguments, though concise and relevant, should serve to explain their core point to the reader.
11. Fluently paced
Finally, the reader should not feel bored and disillusioned while reading the essay. The arguments should be so arranged and spaced out that the reader should get the thrill out of reading the essay as if he is reading some detective novel. The essay should strive to maintain an urge in him to finish reading the whole piece with heightened interest and in one go.
I would now stress on two important sections of the essay which are I consider as the most important : The Introduction and the Conclusion.
A well written and insightful introduction would lead the reader into reading the essay with much interest and heightened curiosity whereas an apt conclusion would leave a savory taste in his mouth which would lead to good scores in the Essay paper.

Introduction

Some of the important characteristics that make an introduction appealing are
  • Its relevance to the given topic.
  • It should be interesting and captivating.
  • It should suggestive of the direction of the central theme of the essay.
  • If possible, it should give a hint regarding the conclusion.
There could be different ways to write an introduction. I explored the web, read a few articles, read a few essays and finally zeroed on the following suitable ways of starting an essay.
– Starting with a General Statement
A General Statement followed by specific statements is very common way of starting essay. I would say more than 70-75% candidates start their essay in this manner.
– Start with a Quote
However the Quote should be relevant and should be used in a proper context. Around 20-25% candidates use this method to write the introduction of an essay.
– Starting with an anecdote
Anecdote is short story – it may be fictitious as well. But it should be relevant, moving and interesting. This is a novel way of starting essay. I used a fictitious but real life resembling story to start my essay this year.
– Conversational Introduction
Another way to start an essay could be through  a conversation, a predicament or by raising a question. Thereafter this conversation could be carried further by explaining it or extending it further in between the arguments.
– Writing the conclusion itself in the introduction is another unique way
For example if one is to write on ‘Globalization & Indian culture’, then introduction could start by  saying – ‘Globalization has corrupted my culture.’ And in this context arguments could be extended further in the essay.
– Asking Rhetorical Questions
‘Are we Indians really hypocrites?’. This could be an interesting but difficult way to start an essay.
Conclusion of the Essay is one another extremely important area which should be given appropriate attention. Afterall it is only towards the end that the examiner would be giving marks to the essay.
A conclusion should not just give ‘a closure’ to the essay but should also impart a ‘sense of closure’ to the essay. That is one should close the discussion without closing it off totally.
sense of closure could be ensured by supporting conclusion with a quote which amplifies the argument or by giving wider implications for the argument.
Arguments should not be repeated in conclusion and the tone should not be apologetic. Rather one should demonstrate decisiveness in conclusion, be assertive and positive.
Following are some of the important points that are generally rewarded in a conclusion. Conclusion should
  1. show that you have answered the main theme
  2. show wider implications of your subject
  3. leave something in the mind of reader to think about
  4. NOT be a mere repetition of the introduction
  5. NOT be a two line statement as if there is nothing else to write
  6. NOT introduce a fresh argument
Following are the various strategies that could be used for writing a conclusion
  1. Echoing the introduction eg. If started with a story connect back to it
  2. Directing the reader (into a direction)
  3. Looking into the future (beneficial for all of us in the future)
  4. Posing questions
When I was preparing for the essay, I was told about the following 6 Ps that are crucial for a good essay. And in addition to the above specified 11 characteristics of a good essay the following 6 Ps equally serve as lampposts for writing a good essay.
1. Presentation
Neatness & Clarity straightaway appeal to the reader and can help you maximize score with the same quality of content. Margins, legibility, handwriting, indenting are all essential elements of presentation.
2. Proper selection of subject
It is generally suggested that one should select a topic that is different from one’s area of expertise/background. But this may not be the golden rule always.
The golden rule is that one should understand the context in which the theme of the essay has been set. In essay essay topic, there is a broad theme that is essentially present and needs to be understood and addressed.
3. Planning
Planning is an important part of essay writing. Planning involves structuring, arranging, writing
and revising. It is generally suggested that the last 4 pages of the answer sheet may be used for drafting and structuring the essay.
4. Proportion
Dividing one’s time between the Introduction, Main Paragraphs and Conclusion is equally important. Generally prescribed times are : 1/6th of the time to structure, 3/4th to write and 1/12thfor revising the essay.
5. Perspicuity
Clarity of expression and uninterrupted and logical flow of thoughts in paragraphs are another requirements of a good essay.
6. Persuasiveness
The tone of the essay should be assertive and generally positive. Though one can be objectively critical at times but positivity and optimism should ooze out from the essay.
Finally I would like to sum it up.
Introduction to the essay should be insightful. It should directly relate to the given topic. Content should be rich, coherent and should all point towards the desired theme. Conclusion should again be insightful. All the points in the essay should contribute towards one single theme. Paragraphs should be in continuity.
While detailing out the points in the content, expand the topic and identify the underlying issue. Reach to a more broader level without compromising on the overall focus of the essay.
Essay length could be about 1200 -1500 words. Each paragraph may contain 8-9 sentences. Introduction/conclusion could take 1-2 paragraphs each. Take the first 15 minutes to understand the topic and the last 15 minutes for revising.
Source – unacademy 



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