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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:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues 

1) Discuss the nature and significance of the events that led to liberation of Goa i 1961. (200 Words)



Introduction :-  The Goa liberation movement was a movement which sought to end Portuguese colonial rule in Goa, India. The movement built on the small scale revolts and uprisings of the 19th century, and grew powerful during the period 1940-1961. The movement was conducted both inside and outside Goa, and was characterised by a range of tactics including nonviolent demonstrations, revolutionary methods and diplomatic efforts. However, Portuguese control of its Indian colonies ended only when India invaded Goa in 1961 and incorporated the territories into the Indian Union.

Nature and significance of events leading to liberation of Goa :-

  • Ending the colonial rule :- While India attained independence from the British Raj on 15 August, 1947, Goa was still languishing under four and a half century of Portuguese rule. The Portuguese were among the very first to colonise parts of India, and were the last to leave. Hence it was very much important to liberate Goa from colonial rule.
  • Diver nature of fight and efforts from all sections :- Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule on December 19, 1961. Armed guerrillas, satyagrahis, journalists and even legendary film artists fought for Goa’s independence.Leaders like Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, Dr Juliao Menezes, young leader Prabhakar Vitthal Sinari (just 13 year old in movement), revolutionaries like Nana Kaajrekar, a wrestler from Pune, Sudhir Phadke, a music director and nationalist from Bombay and many others joined it.
  • Diplomatic efforts :- In December 1947, independent India and Portugalestablished diplomatic ties. In January 1948, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru met the Portuguese consul and raised the issue of Goa’s integration into the Indian Union. In January 1953, the Indian delegation in Portugal, sought to negotiate with Portugal on the issue of its territories in India. The Indian government offered a direct transfer; however, the Portuguese refused and diplomatic relations between the two countries deteriorated. Despite Nehru clearly stating India’s policy in relation to colonial outposts, Portugal and France refused to cede their colonies. Subsequently, India launched a campaign through the UN in an attempt to persuade the Portuguese to leave India peacefully.
  • Initial hesitation by nascent Indian government :- The involvement of the young Indian government in this was very low initially. Since Portugal was a part of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and Indian government was not ready to get into a conflict with a NATO nation.  
  • Subsequent aggressive actions and Operation Vijay :- In November 1961, the Portuguese provoked India by firing at Indian steamers and fishing boats, killing one fisherman and they also tried to pull out villagers and take them hostage. Krishna Menon, the then Defence Minister prevailed upon Jawaharlal Nehru that it was time to use force. 30,000 Indian troops with full air and naval support were sent to fight, and in less than 48 hours, Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule.

Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

2) Railways, being the largest employer in the world, must also be the most accountable. Comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


Introduction :- Indian Railways (reporting mark IR) is a state-owned national transportation system, and is responsible for rail transport in India. It is owned and operated by the Government of India through the Ministry of Railways. It is the fourth largest railway network in the world comprising 119,630 kilometers. IR is the world’s eighth biggest employer and largest employer in railways had 1.33143 million employees at the end of 2015-16.The rail budget 2016 further enhanced the employment prospects to generate employment of 14 crore man-days in 2018-2019 
However the accountability is diminishing in railways now a days:-

  • Its present railway network is overburdened and inadequate to meet the new challenges of a fast developing economy.
  • Some regions are beyond the reach of railways due to unfavourable geographical conditions. These areas need to be opened to railways for removing regional inequalities in economic growth.
  • Railways are facing stiff competition from road transport and thus its share in passenger and goods traffic is declining.
  • Railways are overburdened with surplus staff on its regular pay roles. This burden hinders the further development of railways.
  • The railways have to develop uneconomic projects due to political pressures and interferences.
  • Railways have huge outstanding payments to diesel and electric power supply companies.
  • The State Electricity Boards and NTPC increase the tariffs arbitrarily and thus adds to the burden of railways.
  • Railways are the largest consumer of diesel. Any increase in the rates of diesel, adversely affect the financial resources.
  • Most of the equipment used by the railways are now obsolete and need immediate replacements.

Way Forward :-

  • Create distance between the owner and the manager, as in all professional enterprises. The owner, in this case the ministry, should only lay down policy for the rail sector and give operating autonomy to those who run trains.
  • Unbundle Indian Railways into two organizations — one responsible for the track and infrastructure and another to operate trains in competition with others. Each will have its own board with independent and executive directors.
  • Establish an umpire or regulator to ensure fair and open access to the track, set access charges, establish tariffs, and ensure safety.
  • Open up both freight and passenger trains to competition with Indian Railways. An independent regulator and track organization are essential to attract private competition.
  • To be competitive, Indian Railways must focus only on core activity of running trains and divest all peripheral activities running schools, hospitals, police forces, printing presses, bottling water which fritter away resources and distract employees.
  • Grant autonomy to production and construction units so that they can independently raise capital from the market and compete for business from railway companies in India and abroad.
  • Give general and divisional managers greater autonomy and accountability in all functions, including tendering, procurement, and finance.
  • Move to modern, commercial accounting for better decision-making and raising funds from investors. Today, it is impossible to assess real profitability or real return on investment.
  • Let suburban and local passenger services which lose money be run as joint ventures with state governments, who must bear the cost of subsidy in the spirit of cooperative federalism.
  • Leverage land banks, airspace above stations, and other assets to raise capital with the help of investment banks to become a healthy, commercial enterprise.

Topic:    Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

3) UNESCO encourages international peace and universal respect for human rights by promoting collaboration between nations. Critically comment on the exit of Israel and the US from UNESCO and politicisation of this cultural body. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction:- The United States’ decision to withdraw from the UNESCO is “a loss for multilateralism”

                                                                                                                    – Irina Bokova.                                                     

                                                                                                                      UN heritage agency’s Director General

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of Nations‘ International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

Importance and role of UNESCO :-

  • It promotes intellectual co-operation and mutual understanding of peoples through all means of mass communication;
  • Gives fresh impulse to popular education and to the spread of culture;
  • Maintains, increases and diffuses knowledge;
  • Encourages scientific research and training;
  • Apply sciences to ensure human development and the rational management of natural resources.

Politicisation of UNESCO :-

On 12 October 2017, the United States notified UNESCO that it will again withdraw from the organization on 31 December 2018 and will seek to establish a permanent observer mission beginning in 2019. The Department of State cited mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO.

  • The United States indicated to the Director General its desire to remain engaged with UNESCO as a non-member observer state in order to contribute U.S. views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organisation, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms, and promoting scientific collaboration and education.
  • S. laws bar funding to any U.N. agency that recognises the Palestinian state. 
  • Israel and UNESCO have a contentions relationship, and Israel recalled its Ambassador to UNESCO last year, accusing it of ignoring Jewish views of the heritage of the region. 

The Politicisation of a body like UNESCO signals dangerous trend. UNESCO has been involved in humanitarian, educational, cultural work and is working on many projects like preserving world heritage sites, Man and biosphere reserve program, student and cultural exchange between countries which not only benefits the nations but also promote the bonds of unity, respects towards each other.

Withdrawal of world superpower like United States over it’s politics will not only be a setback to noble works of UNESCO but also may promote further politicization of UNESCO by other countries as it will act as a precedence.

It is time for countries of world to recognize and separate political stance from global decisions and need of the hour is to work co-operatively with each other to curb menace of extremism, terrorism, global hunger, malnutrition, disaster risk reduction etc.


Topic: Storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; 

4) Pesticides aid in sustaining agricultural production as well as disease control. Examine the need to regulate pesticides with ways to do so. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Introduction :- Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests (including weeds). The term pesticide includes all of the following: herbicideinsecticides (which may include insect growth regulators, termiticides, etc.) nematicidemolluscicidepiscicideaviciderodenticidebactericideinsect repellentanimal repellentantimicrobialfungicidedisinfectant (antimicrobial), and sanitizer. The most common of these are herbicides which account for approximately 80% of all pesticide use. Most pesticides are intended to serve as plant protection products (also known as crop protection products), which in general, protect plants from weeds, fungi, or insects.

Benefits of pesticides :-

Controlling pests and plant disease vectors

Controlling human/livestock disease vectors and nuisance organisms

  • Human lives saved and suffering reduced
  • Animal lives saved and suffering reduced
  • Diseases contained geographically

Controlling organisms that harm other human activities and structures

  • Drivers view unobstructed
  • Tree/brush/leaf hazards prevented
  • Wooden structures protected

However their overuse and uncontrolled use has created many problems :-

  • They are mobile in the environment and often move through water, air and soil. The problem with pesticide mobility is that when they travel, the pesticides come in contact with other organisms and can cause harm.
  • Pesticides have also been shown to disrupt the balance of an ecosystem. In many situations, when a pesticide is used, it also kills non-pest organisms. 
  • Another major problem associated with pesticide use is bioaccumulation and biological magnification. Many synthetic pesticides are not able to be broken down. Once they enter the body of an organism, they are permanently stored in the body tissue.


Way Forward :-

Some measures and precautions, regulations are needed in order to control use of pesticides in order to curb their impacts and disastrous incidences like Yawatmal tragedy in Maharashtra.

  • Need to provide education or awareness about the precautions to be taken while spraying toxic pesticides.
  • The corporates can use their CSR spending in educating the farmers about the right usage of pesticides.
  • Union Agriculture Ministry must launch an awareness campaign about the harmful effects of pesticides across the country.
  • Knowledge about the science of the soil will help the sons of the soil.
  • Regulating the sale of pesticides to ensure that they are cleared after safety checks
  • Provide and train farmers to adopt protective gears such as masks and gloves while spraying pesticides.
  • Government must scrutinise recommendations of pesticide firms that prescribe formulae to farmers to enhance quality and quantity of crops.
  • Creating a policy framework involving all the stakeholders for providing guidelines for the proper use of pesticides.
  • Rather than selling pesticides, the selling agency must provide the pest control services on the field which is followed in many developed countries.
  • There is a need to improve upon application of pesticides. Use of pesticides per hectare of net sown area in Japan is 10 times of what it is in India. But the pesticide residue on food is not beyond the permissible limits.
  • The government must constitute pesticides development and regulation authority for regulation of the pesticide sector as recommended by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture
  • Developing resistant varieties, use of bio pesticides and integrated pest management

Topic: Disaster and disaster management

5) Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction are correlated and should be simultaneously addressed. Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction:- In recent times, Category 5 hurricanes in the Caribbean and in the American mainland; record floods across Bangladesh, India and Nepal; and drought emergencies in 20 countries in Africa have damaged these regions, killed hundreds, and ruined the lives of millions. These events show the co-relation of climate change and disaster risk.

Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time (i.e., decades to millions of years). Climate change may refer to a change in average weather conditions, or in the time variation of weather within the context of longer-term average conditions. Climate change is caused by factors such as biotic processes, variations in solar radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics, and volcanic eruptions. Certain human activities have been identified as primary causes of ongoing climate change, often referred to as global warming.

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is a systematic approach to identifying, assessing and reducing the risks of disaster. It aims to reduce socio-economic vulnerabilities to disaster as well as dealing with the environmental and other hazards that trigger them.

Both are co-related hence should be simultaneously addressed :-

  • While 4.2 million people dying prematurely each year from ambient pollution, the effect of heat-trapping greenhouse gases on extreme weather events is coming into sharper focus.
  • During the last two years, over 40 million people, mainly in countries which contribute least to global warming, have been forced from their homes by disasters.
  • There is clear consensus: rising temperatures are increasing the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere, leading to more intense rainfall and flooding in some places, and drought in others.
  • While carbon emissions are expected to drop as countries meet their targets, the impacts of climate change may be felt for some time, leaving the world with little choice but to invest, simultaneously, in efforts to adapt to climate change and reduce disaster risk.  This will require international cooperation. 

Way forward :-

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

6) A Nobel Prize may be awarded to one but overshadows the efforts of many working behind the scenes endlessly. Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes created by the Swedish industrialist, inventor, and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in ChemistryPhysicsPhysiology or Medicine, and Literature. Since March 1901, it has been awarded annually (with some exceptions) to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses“.

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017 was awarded to Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish, Kips S. Thorne for- decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 was awarded to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, Richard Henderson for- developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution.

  • The Noble Prizes are the highest recognition in world however in the course of its evolution the Nobel Prize has turned out to be much more than feting prize racehorses and it was a single phrase in Alfred Nobel’s will that it was to be a reward for those who “during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind” — that appears to have elevated it.
  • For this reforms like awarding a prize to women, to multiple people or institutions etc. were done. The one barrier that hasn’t been broken is accepting that science — that’s of the “greatest benefit to mankind” — is now a collective enterprise. A Nobel Prize may be awarded to one but overshadows the efforts of many working behind the scenes endlessly.
  • It’s often said that a key impediment to allowing groups win the prize is that the rules explicitly bar the prize from being split more than three ways.
  • It’s time to acknowledge that scientific achievements draw from more than individual genius.
  • While there may be prizes that give away more money than the Nobel, none can equal it in prestige. That’s because of its long history and ability to ensure that excellence in human intellectual endeavour is duly honoured. Going ahead, the future of Big Science projects increasingly lies in global participation, and the latter is unlikely to be sufficiently incentivised until it gets a fair share of the recognition.

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment  (Can be included in Paper-2 too)

7) The complementary phenomena of executive abdication and judicial activism have created an ugly spectacle of environmental mismanagement in India. Critically comment. (200 Words)


Introduction :- In recent years, there has been a sustained focus on the role played by the higher judiciary of India in devising and monitoring the implementation measures for pollution control, conservation of forests and wildlife protection. Many of these judicial interventions have been triggered by the persistent incoherence in policy due to executive abdication.

  • In modern India, failure of the state agencies in effective enforcing the environmental law non- compliance of the polluters, degrading norms has resulted in degrading of the environment, responsibility of environmental protection upon the Judiciary.
  • In some instances the judiciary has to not only exercise its role as an interpreter of the law, Judicial Activism in Environmental protection especially by means of various Public Interest Litigation has been initiated in various courts has gained importance.
  • In accordance with the growing national awareness and with the global perspectives of environment and development, Right to healthy environment is established in constitutional interpretations of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
  • The provisions inserted in the Constitution by the 42ndAmendment which is relating to the protection of environment. It is the part dealing in Directive Principles of State Policy as Article 48A and Article 51A (g) imposes duty on citizens to protect the environment and improve it.

However all this has created an ugly face of environmental mismanagement in India which can be seen from following cases

  • The Supreme Court recently banned the firecrackers in Delhi. The decision requires weighing trade-offs, which would depend on numerous inputs from scientific organizations, regulatory institutions, public policy experts and civil society. Since a court of law does not have in-house expertise in these domains, it should leave such matters to the executive. As bans are rarely effective the firecrackers were bursted and environmental pollution was not in control. The manner in which the Supreme Court has dealt with this particular case also raises a number of concerns. 
  • Supreme Court had increased the entry tax on trucks entering Delhi without factoring in the demand elasticity of goods (carried in those trucks) transported to Delhi, an overwhelmingly consumption-heavy state. 
  • Supreme Court had ordered the conversion of the public transport fleet in Delhi from diesel to CNG. Even as the order was passed without the requisite infrastructure being ready, it was lauded widely and did indeed improve the quality of air over the next few years. But questions still remained. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a leading political scientist, for example, has asked whether the court achieved the lowering of air pollution in a cost-effective manner.


  • It is high time the executive returned to take charge at the wheel. The elected government is in the best position to elicit scientific and economic inputs and take a call, even if it involves expending political capital.
  • The governments at the Centre and the states should involve different agencies like the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation and the pollution control boards and invest in setting regulatory standards for the medium to long term. 
  • In the past few years, there are several judgments have not been implemented for lack of political or administrative will or because of other lacunae. Nevertheless Judiciary is actively playing its role in spite of repetitive failure of other organs.
  • In public perception, the judiciary is the last hope and it is necessary that the executive enforces its orders. In addition, the role of concerned citizens, NGOs and the media visual enactment of various provisions of the law, especially related to development and environmental issues, have become phenomenal.

Topic:  Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

8) Equality is the essence of an Ethical society. Highlight Dr. Ambedkar’s contributions of moral philosophy stating your view. (150 Words)

The Hindu


Introduction :- Dr. Ambedakar’s contribution of moral philosophy can be gauged through his thoughts and writings regarding politics, society, ethics etc. He emphasized equality more than anything as the pre requisite to ethical society.

Equality is the foundation on which a society must raise it’s generations. It is required not only to create opportunities and possibilities for all but also to inculcate ethics in society in terms of respect for individual as a human and not on basis of narrow concepts of caste, creed etc.

His contribution :-

Dr. Ambedkar sought prioritization of the social upliftment of the least advantaged, including Dalits, minorities, women and workers. He believed that the caste system, communalism, patriarchy and industrial exploitation of workers created inequality and stood in the way of a just society. Due to the rigidity and persistence of these sources of inequality, Ambedkar prescribed active role of the state in the emancipation of the unequal. The cornerstone of Ambedkarite justice is liberty, equality and fraternity.

  • Ambedkar vehemently opposed the caste system and his Annihilation of Casteis his most renowned work on the subject. The caste system clearly violates the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. It takes away an individual’s right to choose an occupation for himself hence amounts to inequality. Ambedkar suggested reservation as a measure for social emancipation.
  • Ambedkar was not against religion. He defends religion by quoting Edmund Burke, who said that true religion is the foundation of society. However, Ambedkar did not consider Hinduism as a religion because it was based on the caste system, which violated the triad of justice – liberty, equality and fraternity.
  • While attacking the caste system, Ambedkar never forgot to mention the denial of rights to women within the Hindu social system. He condemned sati, child marriage and argued for widow remarriage in accordance with his vision of restructuring the Hindu family system. His thoughts and fight for gender equality are much noteworthy.
  • Ambedkar saw the caste system not only as a division of labour but also a division of labourers. The caste system restricts a person’s choice of profession and denigrates the work performed by lower strata. Ambedkar viewed caste system as the chief factor of imbalance with respect to justice in Indian society. Any kind of inequality created in society can create this imbalance in justice.

Dr. Ambedkar’s thoughts are the beckon light of generations even today. They must be thoroughly studied and applied to society in order to make it more egalitarian and just.