Precis Writing [IAS (Admin.) IAS Mains Compulsory-English]: Questions 6 - 6 of 8

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Question 6

Precis Writing

Appeared in Year: 2012

Describe in Detail


Make a precis of the following passage in about 200 words. It is not necessary to suggest a title. Failure to write within the word limit may result in a deduction of marks.

Taking into account the compelling and inescapable reality of an increasingly resource- constrained world, India needs to link the aspirations of the people and its prospects for accelerated growth to what I would call a “resource- frugal” instead of a “resource-intensive” strategy of development. J believe that such a strategy would enable India to sustain a high rate of growth over a more extended period of time, delivering affluence without waste, and current welfare without sacrificing the welfare of future generations. I will touch upon just a few illustrative examples.

The notion of frugality is current in some sectors of our economy and has been successful enough to attract international attention. “Frugal manufacture” is already acclaimed as Indian industry’s contribution to innovative production processes. This involves the stripping down of complex machinery or devices, to their most essential applications without frills. An example is the cost-effective, easy to use, hand-held ECO machine, which is a major contribution to public health. The other is the use of the mobile telephone to deliver information, services as well as funds on a low-cost and widely spread platform. Even in agriculture, there have been significant successes in promoting production processes which are dramatically economical in the use of water dispense with the use of costly chemical fertilizers and pesticides or G. M. seeds and still deliver high agricultural output, ensuring food security. This is frugal agriculture. What should be appreciated is that these innovations, by making products affordable, lead to significant market expansion. This in turn brings economies of scale, further lowering of costs and generating even greater demand in a virtuous, self-reinforcing circle.

The hallmark of any modern society is its ability to deliver rapid affordable and efficient means of mobility to its people. Enabling peuple to exercise their right to mobility is a critical state responsibility. However, mobility is linked to the use of energy and the use of scarce land, both of which are in short supply in our country. It follows, therefore, that we must have a transport strategy that ensures the most economical use of these resources. The continued expansion of private vehicular transportation is not sustainable. 1f the density of private car ownership in India were to approach U. S. or European levels, we would be using liquid fuels far in excess of the total consumption of all such fuels globally today. Just as the space required for parking a billion cars and constructing highways for them to run on, would occupy land on a scale that would leave little space for any other activity. Therefore, shifting resources from private transportation to public transportation and investing in the latter to make them convenient, comfortable and cost-effective is another essential component of a “resource-frugal” strategy. Greater mobility ensures a more productive population and a more efficient distribution of goods and services. This is what can ensure a sustained and high rate of growth.

If frugal process is what India is good at, it can add value to each of the sectors of its economy by leveraging its proven strengths in information and communications technology. The systems which make modern economies run, whether these are the power supply networks, the transportation system, the distribution of goods and services, the water supply system, to name only a few, are being transformed through the use of modern data analytics. The placement of sensors at critical points in any economic process, generates massive and Continuous mass of real time data, which high powered computers, using sophisticated software can analyse in considerable detail and propose what are called “smart” solutions. This reduces waste to the minimum, eliminates redundancies in processes, and improves efficiencies all around. This, too, is an example of “resource frugality”. It is India which can provide the biggest market for such value- added services, which can act as a multiplier across the board in a range of sectors in the Indian economy. What is important to appreciate here is that such services are really the hallmark of a flat world because they can add value in developing societies as they can in advanced ones.

The purpose of providing these examples is to add some substance to the overall optimism I retain about our future as a plural, democratic and innovative society, despite the seeming gloom around us.

What is more, each of these innovations enables inclusive growth, because they empower the poor; they profit from leveraging the power of numbers. What we need is to upscale these successes from the margin to the mainstream, from the local to the national level.


In an increasingly resource-constrained world, India should link the people’s aspirations and its prospects to a resource frugal strategy of development. According to the author, it would enable India to sustain the higher growth rate in the long run. The notion of frugality has been successful enough to drive international attention in the introdu

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