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NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


Topic:  Salient features of Indian society; Secularism

1) What do you understand by Islamic modernity? Discuss its nature and necessity. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Victor Hugo once said, nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.   Islam religion is at crossroads of the intellectual revolution in contemporary era of information and communication technology. Islamic modernity is the process of inculcation of modern democratic values in the Islamic religion. Modernity is a complex and multidimensional phenomenon rather than a unified and coherent one. It has historically had different schools of thought moving in many directions.

Necessity of Islamic modernity:

  • The social status of Islam woman is far low as compared to the woman from other religious groups. The concept of equality is must to uplift Islam woman. The recent debate on Triple talaq highlights the same.
  • In many Islamic countries democracy is still not acceptable. Many regional groups are fighting for power. This warfare is leading to instability in other parts of the world as well.
  • Genocide is very prominent way of mass community cleansing in many parts of African Islamic countries. The concept of civil rights thus needs to be propagated in those countries.
  • Human rights concept must be effectively imbibed and promoted in many sections of Islamic religion as indivisual right s do not get enough recognition as compared to community rights.
  • The attitude towards health and hygiene needs to be more scientific and advanced. Though these things differ with economic status of indivisual families.
  • Freedom is inalienable component of modernity. This concept needs an immediate implementation at indivisual and community level.
  • One of the challenges is the status quo maintained by the conservative Muslims scholars (ulama), who saw the established law as the ideal order that had to be followed and upheld the doctrine of taqlid (imitation / blind following). Islamic modernists saw the resistance to change on the part of the conservative ulama as a major cause for the problems the Muslim community was facing as well as its inability to counter western hegemony.

Nature of Islamic modernity:

  • Ismaic modernity is not very new concept and efforts are going on from long time to inculcate modern western thoughts in Islamic religion by various factions and indivisual efforts.
  • There is rising pressure on many Islamic countries to modernise their traditional pattern of living and orthodox practices. International NGOs such as Amnesty International are leading players in this process.
  • Information and communication technology though internet and social media is also responsible for the increasing modernism in Islam. Secularisation is also part of this process.
  • There is increasing resistant to Islamic modernity through radical approaches and propaganda by terror organisations. This has become the vehicle of international terrorism.
  • The process of acquisition of knowledge is also nature of rising Islamic modernity.

Islamic modernity is ongoing complex process that needs to be understood through spacio temporal dimensions of various regional Islamic communities. Islamic modernism is a movement that has been described as “the first Muslim ideological response” attempting to reconcile Islamic faith with modern Western values such as nationalism, democracy, civil rights, rationality, equality, and progress.


Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. 

2) Universities must teach quality education and respond to apt aspirations of emerging India’s ever changing society. Comment. (200 Words)

The Wire

Universities have to play dynamic role in contemporary environment of higher education which is facing new challenges every day. The quality of education along with its reach to most marginalised sections of the society in affordable manner is key area of concern.

Universities have historically played a major role as ideological apparatuses, expressing the ideological struggles present in all societies. The process of ideological expression is getting intense every day that got expressed in political wings of colleges. Universities have to be the guiding institutions in shaping the ideological directions of young minds.

Throughout most of their histories, universities have entered into intimate relationships with other social institutions, sometimes supportive, sometimes critical. In the modern world, calls for universities to adapt and to respond to the changing character and needs of other social and economic institutions are frequently heard.

Universities have frequently been regarded as key institutions in processes of social change and development. The most explicit role they have been allocated is the production of highly skilled labour and research output to meet perceived economic needs.

Indian universities have to adopt themselves with international competition as they needs to upgrade themselves to the international standards as education is also the part of globalization process.

India has been under the process of social mobilisation from decades now. As people are more close to expressive platforms through internet, the equality and freedom has become the concerns for intellectual discourse in country. University has to be in symphony with this trend.

Both universities and globalization are sustained by rationalist knowledge, and by encouraging the view that knowledge is more widely gained by seeing the world as a whole. Consequently, both the academy and the global are ‘supra-territorial’ entities and encourage the rationalities associated with the spread of capitalist production, modern technologies, bureaucratic organization, and the law.

Increasingly the process of social transformation in the contemporary world includes democratization. In India the rise of majoritarism and vigilantism creating challenge for democratic setup. Universities have to be institutes of social change that supports democratic and secular society based on rationalism and scientific temper. 


Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.; Governance

3) Examine the effect of the Right to Privacy on the Right to Information with special reference to promotion of larger public interest. (200 Words)



The recent verdict of the Supreme Court declaring right to privacy as a fundamental right (also declared in the ‘justice puttaswami case 2012) has ushered new concept of privacy in India. While privacy of citizens is of utmost importance, it has been observed that information which is supposed to share to public under RTI act is also guarded under the pretext of privacy.

  • RTI act has been brought into existence to usher new era of transparency and good governance. However exceptions provided under the RTI act to protect the sensitive and important information have been exploited by public officials to protect their vested interests.

Exceptions provided under RTI act-

Any information which does not relate to personal life, or has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would not cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of individual can be given.

Also, if the central public information officer (CPIO) is satisfied that “larger public interest” justifies, s/he could release the information.

Besides this, Section 8(2) offers two more relaxations, if “public interest” in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interest, or if information asked was about an event happened 20 years back, the “privacy” exception does not obstruct.

  • Thus is has been found that the public information officers (PIOs) continue to deny access to information held by them. The misuse of Section 8(1) (j) of the RTI Act, 2005 which codified privacy exception, by PIOs is rampant and most times reduced this act into a mockery.

For examples: the sub-registrar refuses to share the general power of attorney and sale deed copies on the pretext that they are personal information or belonging to a third party. This unwarranted protection may result in fraudulent and multiple sale of same immovable property, leading to unending litigation.

  • An ambiguous status of land records is the main source of crime and destruction of families. All this can be redressed by strengthening the RTI regime. But widespread small corruption in lakhs of government offices from village to state headquarters does not allow PIOs to share information sought. The excuse they profusely abuse is the clause of privacy—Section 8(1)(j).
  • Some of the post offices have been allegedly indulging in frauds where the citizen’s money in savings or Kisan Vikas Patra, etc, is swindled by a few office personnel hand in glove with some private fraudsters. Then under the pretext of privacy, they refuse to disclose the information to facilitate frauds and cover them up.
  • Genuine legal heirs are denied information of accounts about their deceased forefathers. Pension amount and provident fund (PF) account details are also denied to the concerned persons or union representatives to protect so called privacy.
  • Disclosure of the details of the educational qualifications of the public servants/politicians is guarded under the name of privacy.
  • Above all, surprisingly around 60% of the RTI requests for details of disciplinary action against public servants for bribery or misappropriation or irregularities are denied on this ground of privacy.

A partial codification of privacy as a limitation to RTI is available under the RTI Act, 2005. The state has to put machinery and authority in place to secure the right to privacy. The law has to give a specific definition and clear limitations, and that has to pass the test of constitutionality. The state can neither invade the privacy of individual citizens nor invoke privacy to deny access to public information.




Topic: Indian economy; Agriculture; S&T

4) Impeccable meteorology leads to impeccable agriculture. Analyse. (200 Words)

The Wire


The success of rain-fed agriculture in India is primarily dependent on the accuracy of whether forecasting of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). Whenever there has been inaccurate forecasting of whether, agriculture has been badly hit. Thus more accurate the forecasting, more is the success in agriculture.

Why impeccable meteorology is required for impeccable agriculture?

  • Accurate forecasting of whether is needed for farmers to decide the approximate time of sowing seeds. Farmers can postpone or advance the time of sowing in case there are changes in the rain occurrence.
  • Accurate forecasts can also help farmers’ midway of crop season to save crops from natural calamities like excessive rains, hailstorms, heat wave, cold wave etc.
  • Accurate forecasts can reduce the post-harvest losses by giving early warnings of any vagaries of nature to farmers so that they can store them produce safely.
  • Accurate forecasts can also help government to formulate any policies regarding agriculture in cases of droughts, floods, untimely rains etc.
  • Farmers’ can be sure of their production and plan for the future accordingly when prediction of whether is accurate.
  • Commercial benefits of accurate forecasts are immense which helps both farmers and consumers. As returns in agriculture would increase, it would also attract investments and would be an attractive profession.

What plagues IMD while whether forecasting-

  • IMD uses numerical models to supplement statistical models for long-range forecasting. Despite being the state-of-the art models, numerical model’s forecast capacity is still weak. Longer the period of forecast, the more uncertainty there is.
  • At present, the IMD provides district-wise weather data but this is also inchoate. For example, when it says there will be scattered rainfall over a particular district, it means that 26-50% that district (by area) will receive rainfall. That helps only to a certain extent. What it doesn’t tell us is the shape of that ‘26-50%’ region.
  • Presently intra-district variation of rainfall has increased. IMD’s resources like automatic whether station, surface observatories, whether balloons, radars etc falls short in numbers when it comes to provide block/tehsil wise data of whether.
  • Some of the automatic weather stations are of substandard quality. Substandard equipment gives substandard data. Also upkeep of instruments is a major problem. They need to be calibrated and cleaned regularly, which doesn’t happen often in India.
  • Most of the models and equipments purchased from the western countries are modeled on the western whether conditions. Thus models need to be fine-tuned by incorporating more Indian and tropical conditions.
  • The numbers of competent software professionals and scientists working with the IMD have not increased with the time making availability of such professionals difficult for IMD.

Way forward-

The IMD needs to divide India into different zones and issue long-range forecasts for each zone. Such zones could be inter-states or within states but should have distinct rainfall conditions.

Due increased intra-district variations in the rain, government needs to strengthen the capacity of IMD so that it forecasts at the block/tehsil level.

Government needs to create dedicated human resource that can carry out scientific research on whether and climate, devising new models etc concerning Indian conditions. This would also reduce India’s dependence on the western countries.

Supplementary information-

The weather department issues five kinds of forecasts. Now-cast is for less than 24 hours. The short-range forecast is for up to three days. The medium-range is from three to 10 days. The extended-range is for 10-30 days. The long-range is on a seasonal scale (e.g. monsoons). These forecasts are used for various enterprises, such as agriculture, transport and water management.

The forecasts are generated with the help of weather models. Over the years, the meteorological department has moved from crude to a mix of crude and advanced models to predict the weather.


Topic: Environment pollution; Energy

5) Free essential services like LPG to the BPL families through schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Scheme can transform accessibility and affordability of cleaner fuel consumption. Comment. (200 Words)

Down to Earth


As per Census 2011, nearly 121 million house-holds are still in the chulha trap. This takes a huge toll on the health of women and children. Indoor air pollution is now the second biggest killer in India after high blood pressure. Two persons die prematurely every minute in India due to indoor pollution, according to the 2010 Global Burden of Disease. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Scheme was launched with an objective to provide free LPG connections to the BPL families in rural areas so that use of clean fuel increases and adverse effects of Chulhas on women and on her family decreases.

Providing clean fuel to every household is stuffed with two challenges- Accessibility and Affordability.


  • Ujjwala Scheme has improved the accessibility of the LPG cylinders across the nation. Within last three years, 60 million households have been provided with LPG connections. In the past three years more than 5,000 LPG distributors have been added in the country, according to the petroleum ministry.
  • However accessibility still remains a challenge. Gas agencies have to provide door-to-door facility, but most of the villages in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh do not get distributors delivers cylinders at their house. Many women carry the empty cylinder in three-wheelers over a distance of three to 15 km.
  • This has created another challenge. Since the distributors are not willing to go to remote areas this leaves scope for middlemen who either overcharge or divert the gas to restaurants, hotels or marriage functions. 
  • Thus government can work on different strategies. While the government is strengthening the supply chain, energy experts have also suggested diversifying fuel options and making cylinders in different portable sizes available. This would allow flexibility to the people in the use of clean energy sources and make clean energy more accessible. Government should also increase the number of distributors in rural areas so that door-to-door service delivery increases. In a remote areas, two to three days in a month should be kept for exchange of the empty cylinders where distributor can come to villages and make it easy for beneficiaries to refill the cylinder.


  • Government has brought down the connection prices to Rs 3200 due to bulk purchase. Out of this Rs1600 is paid by government and rest of the amount can be given from petroleum companies as loan to beneficiary. Government does not contribute in refilling of the gas cylinder.
  • According to petroleum ministry, nearly 85% of the beneficiaries have come back for refilling within the first year of the scheme. However the LPG distributors sights low refilling rate.
  • Refilling a cylinder costs between Rs 450 to Rs 800, depending on where one is living. LPG subsidy is transferred to the buyer’s bank account. But those who have taken a loan would not get the subsidy because the subsidy on refilling is treated as the EMI. Recovering the loan of Rs 1,600 typically takes seven to eight refillings. This sometimes discourages beneficiaries to continue with the use of LPG.
  • Also BPL family finds cheap availability of firewood attractive than relatively costly LPG.
  • Thus to improve affordability- government can allot different amounts of subsidy to different people; grading the subsidy according to the economic strata, making people more aware of the benefits of LPG.
  • Village level ASHA workers can be roped in to create awareness about the ill effects of traditional chulhas. This will create a bottom-up demand for cleaner fuels.

Ujjwala scheme could prove as turning point for the village life and reduce the deaths and ill effects of the indoor pollution on women and children. With more innovative approaches it could also improve the problems of accessibility and affordability.


Topic: S&T;  Infrastructure – Transport

6) India should plan for e-mobility, not e-vehicles. Comment. (200 Words)

Down to Earth


Indian government is making strong push in favor of the electric vehicles or the e-vehicles. Government is also encouraging or sometimes even forcing auto industry to shift towards the e-vehicles. While e-vehicles have their benefits over normal vehicles, the topic of e-mobility seems to be missing from the agenda of the government.

e-vehicles reduces the localized pollution and are important in the cities like Delhi, Pune, Lucknow etc. Such vehicles would also reduce the dependence on the petroleum, import of which has adverse effect on Indian economy. E-vehicles are also instrumental in reducing the emission of green-house gases and many health hazards.

However the issue has other dimension also. In India only 10% of the households use personal cars. The percentage is even less in the rural areas. Further electricity required for charging of e-vehicles comes largely from power plants that operate on fossil fuels. Thus making little impact on the emission of CO2 and other polluting gases. Also policy initiatives like Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicle (FAME) program had little impact on popularizing e-vehicles.

In such scenario focusing on e-mobility could have greater impact on reducing pollution and improving environmental prospects. Providing electric mobility to Public transport can turn the things around. For instance, there is the option of light rail in cities—the old tram we have discarded. It works on electricity. Then there is the option of fleets of buses running on dedicated e-wired highways so that they can be charged on the move or at dedicated points.

Metro trains services like Delhi Metro have been successful in reducing the pollution and even earning carbon credits. Per capita cost of electricity in case public transport is significantly less than those of private e-vehicles.

Focusing on e-mobility does not mean discarding the focus on e-vehicles. In fact, in a broader sense e-vehicles form the part of e-mobility. Just focusing on e-vehicles, the single segment of e-mobility could defeat the very purpose of bringing pollution free transport. E-vehicles and e-mobility can go hand in hand. While former more focuses on individual needs, latter is more concerned with mass transport. Thus e-mobility too should receive equal or even more attention and prospects of research and development.  


Topic:  Attitude

7) Behaviour and attitudinal changes are necessary for the success of government initiatives. Illustrate. (150 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- Government owing to its welfare nature initiate many campaigns, schemes, laws for people like Polio drive, vaccination drive, Swacch Bharat also legislations like Right to Education etc. The success for these depends on following things :-

Its provisions, aims, visions and their implementation, The coverage and reach of beneficiaries , Awareness about it and incentives for their adoption and role played by all enforcing authorities, civil society and people.

However one of the most important part for their success is the behavioural and attitudinal changes. Its because it plays crucial role in shaping the habbits of people and their pattern of dealing with the things. The ambitious campaign of Swaccha Bharat has been lagging in its full success due to this. Bangladesh took 15 years to become open defecation free (ODF), while Thailand took 40 years to do so. Changing centuries-old habits of open defecation is a complex and long-term undertaking.



The attitudinal and behavioural changes are also important on part of implementing agencies, the civil servants as well. Their service orientation, dedication and integrity makes huge difference in success of government agencies. Their adoption of e governance, inculcating transparency, accountability is also equally important. 

Topic: Attitude; Human values

8) Bias is natural to human behaviour. What do you understand by impartiality? How can we ensure impartiality in professional and personal life? (150 Words)


Introduction :- Bias is an inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair. Our views are shaped by both internal and external factors like own values, understanding, choices and culture, society etc. Hence being biased is considered natural as in one form or other we generate opinions, express our inclinations. Ex in patriarchal society people are biased for women’s capabilities.

However being impartial is the natural state not being biased. Impartiality is the state of being balanced towards an issue. It’s an ability to judge the things rationally and generate opinions scientifically without basing them on some pre cultivated notions. 

Impartial attitude and behavior is changed to biased attitude owing to many factors hence to ensure impartiality one must ensure following things :-

  • Adhering to ones own rational, balanced approach and scrutinising the set opinions before adopting and inculcating them in ourselves.
  • Following the official rules, regulations, code of ethics, code of conduct in professional life so that the rule of law is maintained.
  • Maintaining integrity, non partisan behaviour, honesty, public spirit, welfare attitude also help in making a person impartial.
  • Learning from others, following ideal personalities example for impartial behaviour and keep on improving ourselves for being balanced is the way out.