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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:  Indian geography; Urbanisation

1) Discuss the inter-relationship between monsoon rains and pollution in Indian metros. (150 Words)

The Hindu

The Hindu

Introduction :- Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea.

The impact of GHGs on Indian Monsoon was being debated however aerosols from vehicular exhaust, half-burnt crop residue, dust and chemical effluents may be weakening the life-giving rainy season even more than GHGs.

  • Clouds and rain occur when moist, warm air rises from ground level and water condenses or freezes on aerosol particles in the air. 
  • Aerosols can have two effects on this process – on the one hand they act like a sunscreen reducing the amount of sun energy reaching the ground, which reduces the amount of water evaporating to form rainclouds, but on the other hand, clouds cannot form without aerosol particles. 
  • City pollution may also impact cloud formation and rainfall. Water vapor doesn’t ordinarily spontaneously condense into drops to form clouds It needs dirt to form around. All rain needs aerosols to form. However the pollution which releases large number of aerosol quantity produce fewer clouds and less rain.
  • In the natural world, cloud-forming aerosols are things like sea salt, dust, and pollen, all of which are large particles. But pollution aerosols are usually smaller and more numerous than natural aerosols. With lots of particles to collect on, water coalesces into many tiny droplets instead of larger rain-sized drops.
  • The scientists found that if there is a surplus of aerosols, the droplets never reach the critical mass needed to fall to earth as rain, as there is not enough water to share between all the aerosol particles. 
  • With rising pollution, the amount of rain at first rises, then maxes out, and finally falls off sharply at very high aerosol concentrations

These results have great significance for countries like Israel where rainfall is scarce and can be easily affected by over-production of aerosols. However for countries like India which are dependent on Monsoon it is causing much problems and irregularities in monsoon.

Topic:  Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

2) Placing convicted disabled people in solitary confinement with no support violates their right to life, bodily integrity and autonomy under Article 21. In the light of recent observations made by the Supreme Court on the right to privacy issue, critically comment on the issues involved in putting convicted disabled people in jails. (150 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- In the Supreme Court’s right to privacy judgment ( Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India ), Justice D.Y. Chandrachud held: “Life and personal liberty are inalienable to human existence.”

Context :- In 2014, Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  and held in Nagpur Central Jail till the Supreme Court granted him bail in 2016. He was convicted by the Gadchiroli sessions court to life imprisonment for alleged offences under the same Act, and returned to custody in the Anda cell of Nagpur Central Jail. 

 Apex court in the Prem Shankar Shukla case pronounced: “The guarantee of human dignity, which forms part of our constitutional culture, and the positive provisions of Articles 14, 19 and 21 spring into action when we realise that to manacle man is more than to mortify him; it is to dehumanise him and, therefore, to violate his very personhood, too often using the mask of ‘dangerousness’ and security…” and that the right to life cannot be restricted to mere “animal existence”.

It is needed to place a person in solitary confinement even though he/she is disabled in order to secure others from threats, on reasons of medical problems etc. However in many cases it becomes too costly for the convicted disabled person.

Convicted disabled person in solitary confinement and right to privacy :-

  • The prison conditions in India are very poor and for persons with disability it becomes even more problematic to live in such conditions.
  • The convicted prisoners can be deprived of personal liberty but that does not include a derogation of their right to dignity. 
  • As supreme court said privacy is an integral part of the right to human dignity is comprehended within the protection of life as well. So it’s very important for courts to understand what constitute human dignity and protection for life with people from different social order like disabled.
  • Court observed bail norms for disabled person on different ground from that of medical ground. In conditions of custody, such persons must be protected from any hindrance to the exercise of bodily integrity and autonomy with dignity — this lies at the core of his right to privacy. 
  • Unavailability of such a guarantee within custodial facilities entitles the prisoner with disabilities to bail.

In the words of Mr. Saibaba No one understands 90% disabled person is behind bars struggling with one hand in condition and suffering with multiple ailments. Their family members conditions and their treatments like an animal is inhumane way of handling disabled convicted people.

Our criminal system is restorative and not retributive. Hence suitable steps and measures need to be taken in order to make jails disabled friendly. Solitary confinement option can be made more adaptable with presence of doctors, psychiatrists on board. 

Topic: Poverty and hunger

3) A robust and responsive food system is need of the hour to combat undernutrition, non-communicable diseases and hunger around the world. Analyse. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- About 795 million people are undernourished globally. About 780 million people, or the vast majority of the hungry, live in the developing regions. overall UN figures show that the proportion of undernourished people worldwide has reduced from 15 per cent in 2000-2002 to 11 per cent in 2014-2016. Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted. Food losses and waste amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries.

  • – FAO statistics

All these figures indicates need for a robust and responsive food system :-

  • The WHO states that there are three pillars that determine food security: food availability, food access, and food use. The FAO adds a fourth pillar: the stability of the first three dimensions of food security over time.
  • Ø Food availability:- Because food consumers outnumber producers in every country, food must be distributed to different regions or nations. Food distribution involves the storage, processing, transport, packaging, and marketing of food. Food-chain infrastructure and storage technologies on farms can also affect the amount of food wasted in the distribution process.
  • Ø Food accessibility :- Food access refers to the affordability and allocation of food, as well as the preferences of individuals and households. The UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights noted that the causes of hungerand malnutrition are often not a scarcity of food but an inability to access available food, usually due to poverty.
  • Ø Utilization :- The next pillar of food security is food utilization, which refers to the metabolism of food by individuals. Once food is obtained by a household, a variety of factors affect the quantity and quality of food that reaches members of the household. In order to achieve food security, the food ingested must be safe and must be enough to meet the physiological requirements of each individual.
  • Ø Stability :- Food stability refers to the ability to obtain food over time. Food insecurity can be transitory, seasonal, or chronic. In transitory food insecurity, food may be unavailable during certain periods of time. At the food production level, natural disasters and drought result in crop failure and decreased food availability. Civil conflicts can also decrease access to food.
  • Decreasing food wastage and responsible food utilization :-  In developing countries food waste and losses occur mainly at early stages of the food value chain and can be traced back to financial, managerial and technical constraints in harvesting techniques as well as storage and cooling facilities. Strengthening the supply chain through the direct support of farmers and investments in infrastructure, transportation, as well as in an expansion of the food and packaging industry could help to reduce the amount of food loss and waste.
  • In medium- and high-income countries food is wasted and lost mainly at later stages in the supply chain. Differing from the situation in developing countries, the behaviour of consumers plays a huge part in industrialized countries. The study identified a lack of coordination between actors in the supply chain as a contributing factor. Farmer-buyer agreements can be helpful to increase the level of coordination. Additionally, raising awareness among industries, retailers and consumers as well as finding beneficial use for food that is presently thrown away are useful measures to decrease the amount of losses and waste.

Topic: Indian economic growth; Inclusive development

4) Formalisation without preparation leads to exclusion. Critically comment. (150 Words)

The Indian Express

The Hindu

Introduction :- According to NSSO data, there have been more jobs created in the informal sector than the formal and more than 90% of the population  is employed in informal jobs. 

Formalization without preparation will have disastrous impacts :-

  • Formalization of the economy is often sought as the informal economy can enable illicit activities and create a safe space for tax evaders.
  • But it also supports the livelihoods of millions of workers who have no opportunities in the formal economy. These are the roadside vendors, marginal farmers, construction workers, cobblers, artisans, fishermen, landless labourers.
  • In many countries, employment in the informal sector is growing faster than in the formal sector.
  • In India, according to the 2015-16 Economic Survey out of the 10.5 million new manufacturing jobs created between 1989 and 2010, only 3.7 million — about 35% — were in the formal sector. This indicates that the informal sector is not some aberration that we can simply wish away. It is an integral part of India’s economic framework and we need to pay far more attention to it.

Following steps must be taken by government in order to increase the scope of formal sector without exclusion:-

  • Financial Inclusion- Access to formal credit, banking facilities and impart financial knowledge. The recent push for promoting digital cashless economy, Scehems such as Jan Dhan Yoajana, Bank Mitras, Lead Bank Scheme, Priority Sector Lending are good steps by the government towards promoting formal economy
  • Improve quality of human capital- Boosting education and skill levels will provide necessary foundation for the formalization of economy. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Mid Day Meal Schemes, SWAYAM, Skill Inida Mission are some good initiatives by the government.
  • Providing robust infrastructure: Improving connectivity through better roads and railways, improving access to cheap electricity would act as an incentive for setting up of formal companies.
  • Labour laws :- In India there are multiple labour laws and many outdated laws. Easy to understand and coherent set of law is necessary to enable formal sector to comply with it. Focus on increasing Ease of Doing business is also important.

Topic:  Indian economic growth and planning

5) One of the purported objectives of demonetisation was digitisation of India. Discuss critically the role of fin-tech multinationals in pushing India towards digitisation and the impact of demonetisation on making India a cashless economy. (250 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- The stripping of legal tenders of notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 one year back paved the way for demonetization in India. Demonetization had digitalization as one of it’s objective.

Role of fin-tech multinationals in pushing India towards digitization :-

  • Global financial forces are constantly looking for new avenues of profit. There is a push to eliminate the use of physical currency, popularly called the global “War on Cash”.
  • The idea of forced digitalisation of the Indian economy by massive demonetisation was probably a part of this push.
  • The network of international financial technology (fintech) corporations, payment sector organisation like the credit/debit card and mobile payment companies earn their revenue from the charges levied on digital transactions.
  • The US organisation of Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA) in 2012 was established. Members of the BTCA include Citi Foundation, Master Card, VISA Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network and USAID. Its stated objective is to accelerate the transition from cash to digital payments globally. India’s entry into BTCA kicked off many MoUs.

However the increased role of foreign apps, credit agencies in India is not desirable. They even drain India financially by charging taxes and charges on their transactions.

Steps needed :-

  • The government must establish a fully empowered, statutory Digital Payments Regulatory Authority under the RBI, which will ensure minimum commissions to card companies. 
  • Government must ensure a high-speed, robust and safe communications network.
  • It must promote Indian credit card companies so the commissions do not go out.

Impact of demonetization on digitalization :-

According to a 2014 study by Tufts University, The Cost Of Cash In India, cash operations cost the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and commercial banks about Rs21,000 crore annually.

The latest NPCI data shows that the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) transactions made a giant leapfrog from just 1,03,060 transactions in October, 2016 to 91,67,277 transactions in May 2017, recording a stupendous 89 times growth. Value-wise, UPI recorded a growth of Rs 0.49 billion to Rs 27.65 billion, more than 56 times growth during the same period.

However a large part of the population is still outside the banking net and not in a position to reduce its dependence on cash. According to a 2015 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, India’s unbanked population was at 233 million.  

Even today Nearly 95% of transactions take place in cash. Large size of informal / unorganised sector entities and workers prefer cash based transactions.


Topic:  Energy

6) Recently, the Union ministry of power advised the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) to set up a committee to look into issues related to open access and brought out a consultation paper based on the committee’s findings. What do you understand by open access? Examine the merits and demerits of this policy. (250 Words)


Introduction :- Open Access means the non-discriminatory provision for the use of transmission lines or distribution system or associated facilities with such lines or system by any licensee or consumer or a person engaged in generation in accordance with the regulations specified by the Appropriate Commission.

Salient features of OA


  • Commercial mechanism for transmission pricing for long , medium and short term open access including UI and transactions through exchange.
  • Approval of open access for the desired quantum and period of supply.
  • Non-discriminatory  open access.
  • Freedom for scheduling of power.
  • Freedom to revise the open access or cancellation thereof.
  • Policies could be different for ‘Advance Scheduling’, ‘Day-ahead Scheduling’ or ‘Booking of Open access’, as the case may be.
  • Freedom to market that could boost the growth.
  • Appropriate settlement mechanism.


Categorization of open access customers


  • Long-term access customer  :- A long-term open access customer is one who avails open access for a period of 12 years to 25 years.
  • Medium-term open access customer :- A medium-term open access customer is one who avails open access for a period of 3 months to 3 years.
  • Short-term open access customer :- A short-term open access customer is one who avails open access for a period upto one month at one time. 


Open Access: Key Success Factors and advantages


  • It fosters competition and set the authorities free to access the electricity rather than asking for Discoms.
  • Control area demarcation & boundary metering is done to bring about transparency and efficiency.
  • Robust transmission system is in place.
  • Assessment of Transfer Capability is done.
  • Balancing mechanism is established.
  • Methodology for transmission charge sharing
  • Treatment of transmission losses can be improved.
  • Streamlined scheduling and settlement mechanism
  • Dispute redressal mechanism can be used to addressed the flaws and faults.


Negatives of open access :-

  • Instead of being an avenue to allow large consumers choice of supplier on a sustained basis, open access has become a way to allow such consumers to move back and forth between the discom and the market as and when they want. 
  • It also does not allow competitive suppliers to develop a stable customer base, defeating the purpose of open access.
  • The term “open access” itself is a misnomer for consumer choice, muddling the discussion. Open access to the T&D network is required by generators and suppliers, but not by consumers.
  • While open access is a prerequisite for choice, consumer choice is about more than open access. Choice also requires well-defined rules that govern the relationship between the discom and the consumer exercising choice, defining the rights and responsibilities of each. Not enough attention has been paid to these rules in state regulations.


Topic:  Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; 

7) You are an honest and responsible civil servant. You often observe the following:

(a) There is a general perception that adhering to ethical conduct one may face difficulties to oneself and cause problems for the family, whereas unfair practices may help to reach the career goals.

(b) When the number of people adopting unfair means is large, a small minority having a penchant towards ethical means makes no difference.

(c) Sticking to ethical means is detrimental to the larger developmental goals

(d) While one may not involve oneself in large unethical practices, but giving and accepting small gifts makes the system more efficient.

Examine the above statements with their merits and demerits. (250 Words)

Introduction :-  Civil servants often face ethical dilemmas in working. They might get influenced by corrupt people and practices around them. The is a chance that they might get diverted from their responsibilities and jobs. Hence it is required to evaluate merits and demerits of such dilemmas and then take a rational decisions.

(a)MeritSuch unfair practices and shortcuts will reduce the efforts needed and will ease the life.
 DemeritIt is not the sustainable way of achieving goals, ambitions and may backfire in future with immense repercussion. 
(b)MeritThis path is well prevalent hence adhering to it might not lead to conviction. Individuals need to get adapted to the institutional practices and customs followed by majority.
 DemeritThis will negate possibility of reforming and resisting the prevalent bad practices.
(c)MeritNot sticking to ethical means will make process of development faster
 DemeritEthical means ensures development in longer terms
(d)MeritStrict ethical following is not good for today’s world. One need to be practical rather than ideal. This will improve efficiency.
 DemeritSuch practices at small scale in present will set the tone for larger malpractices in future.


Justifications :-

(a)Civil services is not about achieving career goals it’s about serving others. It involves sacrifices at personal and family level. Integrity is the utmost value of a civil servant and it must not be compromised. One should enter into services considering all these factors. Giving excuses later for hardships is no way out.

(b) Courage of conviction that is fortitude is one of the most important value. Individual must show this in order to put Organisational integrity above oneself. Changes are brought by individuals only. The fight of Mahatma Gandhi was considered impossible in start but he proved that a small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.

(c) Ethics and development are relative and two separate things. If we take example of Bhutan which adheres itself to environmental ethics may be considered developed not industrially but if we apply the happiness, environmental criteria then it’s one of the most developed country in world and adhering to ethics has definitely helped Bhutan.

(d) Theft is theft even it may be of 10 rupees. Corruption is a slippery slope. When one sets on it slipping entirely will not take much time. Small start often leads to big games hence all such attitudes must be shunned.