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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.

General Studies – 1;


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

1) What were the outcomes of the 1962 India-China War? Do you think it was a catastrophic defeat for India? Critically examine. (250 Words)

The Hindu



 1962 war


  • On 8 September 1962, Chinese forces attacked the Thagla ridge and dislodged Indian troops, but this was taken as a minor incident. Nehru went off to London for a conference and after returning home once again left for Colombo on 12 October. 
  • A week later, the Chinese army launched a massive attack and overran Indian posts in the eastern sector in NEFA or what is now Arunachal Pradesh. The Indian army commander in NEFA fled without any effort at resistance leaving the door wide open for China to walk in. 
  • In the western sector, on 20 October, thirteen forward posts were captured by the Chinese in the Galwan valley, and the Chushul airstrip threatened. 
  • The war formally came to an end with China’s unilateral ceasefire on November 21, but the crisis did not. Gains in the Aksai Chin aside, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) now occupied significant portions of NEFA.


What Nehru thought?


  • Nehru’s understanding of Chinese history, of the history of revolutions, especially the Russian revolution, had convinced him that China should not be isolated and pushed into a corner, but should be brought into the community of nations and its revolution humanized.
  • He understood that the Chinese occupation of Tibet meant a common border with attendant conflicts. But he also saw that China could not think of expansionism as yet, as it had big problems to solve.
  • Nehru was shocked at the scale of the attack, as he had thought that there may be occassional border skirmishes here and there, but not an invasion of this nature. He erred in not anticipating the precise nature of the attack, rather than in the foreign policy he pursued.


India’s victory in consolidating populations under the grand national project “India”


  • Civilian administrators had made huge efforts since 1950 to consolidate India’s sovereignty over the region; but given the difficult terrain, wet climate, and financial and human shortages, doing so required local inhabitants’ cooperation. 
  • Gaining the loyalty of the Mishmis, Monpas or Adis was an aim in itself, if they were to become Indian citizens
  • In this porous Himalayan borderland criss-crossed by social, cultural or family ties and regular movement, people had ample opportunity to observe and compare what India and China (in Tibet) respectively offered. 
  • The result was a fierce competition for Himalayan hearts and minds, well before military and diplomatic tensions appeared between the two countries.
  • It is said that 1962 War was China’s chance to prove to Himalayan people that it was the better state — whereas a weak India could neither protect nor deliver.




  • China had won the war on both fronts, military and political; yet this had not been enough to win people over, especially since many people had heard of repression in Tibet from refugees passing through.  China’s demonstration of superiority seems to have been counter-productive. 
  • The Indian state might be weaker and less efficient, but from the inhabitants’ standpoint it was less of a risk, and offered more chance for negotiation.


General Studies – 2


Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

3) Discuss the potential and prospects for Delhi’s bilateral maritime security cooperation with Paris in the Indian Ocean. (250 Words)

The Indian Express


With the establishment of strategic partnership in 1998 with France, there has been a significant progress in all areas of bilateral cooperation growing cooperation in strategic areas such as defence, counter-terrorism, nuclear energy and space. France was the first country with which India entered into an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation


Potential for Maritime security cooperation


  1. France existing presence in Indian Ocean
  • Paris has military bases in the Indian Ocean. 
  • It has the lead role in the Indian Ocean Rim Organisation that brings together the island states of Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros and the French territory of Reunion.

     2.Naval exercises with India

  • The annual Varuna naval exercises between India and France should therefore not solely be viewed through the prism of military diplomacy, but also as a deliberate French effort in regional capacity building.

     3.Maritime defence technology exports to India

  • French sales of Scorpene class submarines, and naval surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems will strengthen India’s naval capacity.

    4.Colonial heritage

  • In terms of cultural influence, there is a certain overlap with regard to French and Indian soft power in the Southwestern Indian Ocean. 
  • For example, Madagascar, with its strategic location astride the Mozambique Channel, is a former French colony, where French is still widely spoken, but where for a long time ethnic Indians of Gujarati origin controlled a large chunk of the local economy


Way forward

  • At a grand strategic level, France and India’s interests in the Indian Ocean are closely aligned. Both countries have historically played an active custodial and humanitarian role throughout the region. They share concerns over the risks of sea-borne nuclear proliferation, and with regard to malevolent non-state actors.
  • The two republics uphold similar core values when it comes to freedom of navigation, and closely monitor the threats posed by certain revisionist actors to the security of sea lines of communication.
  • Finally, Paris and New Delhi should seek to enhance their cooperation in the field of maritime domain awareness and intelligence gathering. Over the past few years, a dual-use infrastructure competition has been emerging across the Indo-Pacific region
  • In the years ahead, there are opportunities for France and India to enhance their cooperation in space-based maritime surveillance, unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) technology, amphibious special forces training, and in precision targeting in clustered littoral environments.


Topic: RPA act

4) The 255th Law Commission Report on Electoral Reforms observed that opacity in political funding results in “lobbying and capture” of the government by big donors. Do you think electoral bonds would help address flow of black money into political parties? What are the other alternatives available? Critically comment. (250 Words)

The Hindu




According to the NGO, Association of Democratic Reforms, 69% of the income of political parties is from unknown sources. But even the 31% from known sources pertains only to the income that the parties declare to the Income Tax (IT) department.


The 255th Law Commission Report on Electoral Reforms observed that opacity in political funding results in “lobbying and capture” of the government by big donors. The lower the transparency in political funding, the easier it is for the super-rich to buy the kind of government they want.


In this context, electoral bonds are thus envisaged as the solution.


Electoral bonds

  • The donor can purchase a bond, using only cheques or digital payments, from a notified bank. This bond is like a bearer cheque (which does not carry the name of the donor and so facilitates anonymity) that will then be transferred into the bank account of the chosen political party for a fixed period of time. 
  • The party can then use this money in their account, which must have been notified to the Election Commission.


Issues with electoral bonds



  • The Income Tax Act that earlier required that all parties disclose their sources of funds above the limit of individual donations of Rs.2000, has been amended, because in the new system the parties would not know who has donated to them. 
  • The Companies Act put a limit of 7.5 per cent of profits on political donations, and required companies to disclose the parties to which they were donating. These conditions have both been removed—companies can now donate any amount, without revealing the beneficiary.
  • The supposed reason for all this secrecy is “to protect donors from harassment”. 
  • But, in fact, the donors and their beneficiaries will be known to the banks, and therefore to the Finance Ministry that controls the banks, and therefore to the party in power in the Central government. 
  • What, in effect, has happened is that the power to harass has been centralised in the hands of the party controlling the Centre—and both its information about political donations and its ability to put pressure on and harass those who donate to opposition parties have become that much greater and they will also be completely unknown to other parties and to the general public.


     Money laundering

  • What is more, this system also enables much more effective money laundering since anyone can buy a bond, the sources of income that enable the purchase are not to be questioned, and once the money enters the system, it is effectively part of the white economy. 
  • Bearer bonds are basically the same as cash in a monetary system, so this must be one of the simplest, safest and politically influential ways for those holding illicit wealth to transfer some of it into legally valid channels, even as they earn brownie points with the ruling dispensation.
  • This effectively allows corporates to buy the governments of their choice well into the future, and that too without any public knowledge of the extent of their involvement. 


Foreign funding

  • The government set the ball rolling with the Finance Act 2016, which amended the FCRA to allow political parties to accept donations from foreign companies
  • A foreign company can anonymously donate unlimited sums to an Indian political party without the EC or the IT department ever getting to know.


Way forward

  • Former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi has suggested setting up a National Electoral Fund to which all donors can contribute
  • The funds would then be allocated to all registered political parties in proportion to the votes obtained. This would address donors’ concern for secrecy. 
  • Once public funding of political parties is ensured, private donations would be banned and an annual audit of all donations and party expenditure by the Comptroller and Auditor General would be made mandatory.


General Studies – 3


Topic:  Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate 

5) It is widely agreed that the Indian Air Force is well short of the fighter planes required to mount an effective offensive if war is imminent. Discuss the roots of the crisis and options IAF has to address its shortages. (250 Words)

The Indian Express

Post-Independence, Indian Air Force(IAF) had played prominent role in war spanning from First Kashmir war to Kargil War to Atlantique Incident.

But according to different defence analysts, today IAF is short of the fighter planes required to mount an effective offensive.


Number of Squadron have declined

  • The number had declined from once 42 in 2002 to 33 in 2016


Tejas not successfully replaced other single engine Aircraft viz MiG21

  • Till date India have inducted only 5 Tejas(operational)


No Fifth generation Aircraft: 

  • China and US with possess Fifth generation aircraft and India still struggling with Fourth generation Aircraft
  • This is undeniable that IAF is struggling with Combat jet which is essentially required t to counter our hostile neighbour.


The root of the crisis for such short in Combat jet are:


  1. Missing the target
  • The requisite number is yet to be commissioned.
  • LCA is not par with double engine jet vis-a-vis range,flytime etc

     2.Reluctant to proceed for fifth generation

  • India finds its uneconomical

     3.Defense expenditure

  • Hovering around 52 billion USD(China-150 billion and USA-620 billion USD)

     4.Lack of proper coordination between administrative department. and IAF 

     5.Lack Indigenous capability to build combat jet

  • Even more than 50% components of Tejas are imported


In this backdrop,the option available IAF has to address these issues:

  • Aircraft to be built or assembled as part of the “Make in India” initiative through strategic partnerships with the Indian private sector. For eg Lockheed Martin has forged a partnership with Tata
  • Generous allocation for double engine Aircraft.
  • HAL need to speedup for Time-bound commission of Tejas
  • Proper coordination between Administrative department and IAF: steps like establishment of INDU,CDS etc
  • Defense Acquistion Council need to rethink on its decision on acquisition of single jet aircraft
  • Though partnership with Russia on Fifth generation Aircraft is uneconomical but is essential to counter China’s J20


Thus,preponderance of China in SCS,Indian Ocean etc, Pakistan possessing F-16 makes it indispensable for India to fill the gap in IAF which is required to mount an effective offensive if war is imminent.

Topic: Agriculture issues

6) Addressing structural issues in agricultural policy and allowing states greater autonomy would help Indian agriculture revive itself. Analyse. (250 Words)

The Indian Express


Farmers in various parts of the country including Madhya Pardesh, Maharashtra have been agitating, seeking higher support prices for their produce as well as waiver of loans among other demands.

The “one-size-fits-all” policy created for the farm sector is self-destructive in design and programmes meant to double farmer incomes are collapsing. 


Greater autonomy for states


  1. Crop insurance scheme
  • The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY) is a classic case where the Central government shares part of the premium subject to conditions. 
  • To receive the Central government’s share, the state has to walk the dotted line, whether the region is rain-fed or irrigated; whether the cropping density is less than 100 per cent or upwards of 200 per cent. 
  • Simply allowing each state to design its own crop insurance scheme and yet receiving the Central government share of the premium would yield the desired results.

     2.Electronic Marketing

  • An incentive of Rs 75 lakh per mandi is given by the Centre to the states for linking each market with E-NAM, the electronic platform for trading commodities. 
  • Much of the recorded turnover is, in fact, a sham. States like Haryana log in all FCI purchases as E-NAM transactions. 
  • Rather than force E-NAM on states, incentivising each state to have the electronic platform which meets the basic criteria of interoperability with other states is the correct path.

    3.Trade negotiations

  • Recently, worried by the way the Regional Economic Comprehensive partnership (RCEP) for trade within Asia was shaping up, Central government shouldn’t negotiate international trade treaties on agriculture commodities without the consent of state governments. 
  • As per the Constitution of India, trade negotiations are under the purview of the Centre, even though agriculture is in the domain of the states.

    4.Fund transfer to states

  • The funds devolved to the states in a federal structure has to be looked at afresh by the 15th Finance Commission but states are either innocent of the emergent contradictions or too financially dependent and meek to challenge these notions
  • Each state needs to be nudged and funded to create a data bank and adopt a blockchain process for government decision-making. Big data analytics will usher in improved governance and transparency.
  • Additionally, to prepare Indian farmers for global assimilation, funding for programmes such as the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna and the sub-mission on agriculture mechanisation should be doubled and the funding ratio should be changed from 60:40 to 80:20, where the Central government’s contribution rises to 80 per cent.


Indian agriculture is unique in itself so quick fixes to revive it will not suffice hence structural reforms in agriculture by involving state governments into it will help to revive agriculture in better manner. 

Topic: Resource mobilisation; Planning

7) Examine the mandate of GST’s National Anti-profiteering Authority and the concerns expressed against its mandate and powers. (150 Words)

The Hindu




GST’s National Anti-profiteering Authority is set up to ensure that the profit arising out of change in tax structure due to GST is completely passed onto consumer and is not pocketed by the seller.

The experiences of some countries that have adopted GST such as Singapore, Malaysia and Australia suggests that they had witnessed a spurt in inflation after GST implementation.

As input tax credit brings down prices, it was required to be set up.



  • It ensures that the benefits that accrue to entities due to reduction in costs is passed on to the consumers.
  • Entities that hike rates inordinately, citing GST as the reason, will be checked by this body.
  • The authority can impose penalty on the profiteer or cancel its registration.
  • The Authority is also empowered to make a company lower its prices and refund money to consumers or deposit it in the Consumer Welfare Fund. Where the consumers are difficult to trace individually, the amount construed by the authority to be the extent of undue benefit will be deposited in a consumer welfare fund.
  • The new authority can summon representatives of any company against which a complaint has been filed, and also initiate investigations through other government wings such as the Directorate of Data Analytics or the Directorate General of GST.
  • A formula was laid down wherein the net profit margin in the period preceding GST was compared to the post GST margins to see if inordinate gains had gone to the bottom-line. Gains were determined after taking in to account the supplier’s cost, costs incurred for furthering business, market conditions and other relevant issues.
  • Once the registered entity, which has profiteered illegally, is identified, it can be asked to one, reduce prices if it has hiked prices too much and , two, if price reduction due to GST has not been passed on to consumers, to return to the consumers the sum equivalent to the price reduction along with 18 per cent interest from the date the higher sum was collected.




  1. Distorts market mechanism
  • Protecting consumer interest is important, but the prospect of the government monitoring prices and asking businesses to justify pricing decisions instead of letting market forces play out is unnerving. 

     2.Appealing against not structured

  • Its orders can be appealed against in the High Court only.


Way forward

  • The NAA could take a cue from, if not partner, the Competition Commission of India in this, and focus on firms raising prices indiscriminately in markets where they enjoy a dominant position, or forming pricing cartels. 
  • The government must ensure that the authority’s powers are used transparently and only where there is genuine consumer/public interest at stake.


General Studies – 4

Topic:  Ethics in human actions

8) Examine the relevance of the following in the context of civil service: (150 Words, 10)

(a) Transparency

(b) Accountability

(c) Fairness and justice

(d) Courage of conviction

(e) Spirit of service


A civil servant is an important link between the government and the common people. Hence certain qualities have strong significance for a civil servant.



  • All decisions are taken in a fair manner following all the rules.
  • Administration should not only be fair but must also appear to be fair.
  • Rules and regulations should be simple and easily understood by all.



  • Decisions are not made in a random fashion but must have some reason behind them.
  • A civil servant must be able to justify all the decisions he takes.
  • This will put adequate limits and controls on discretionary powers.
  • Ethical conduct and prevents corruption.


Fairness and Justice 

  • Decisions should be made on the merit.
  • People get their fair due.
  • No discrimination of any sort should happen.

Courage of Conviction 

  • There are decisions which have to be taken to ensure effectiveness and efficiency for the public welfare, but with dilemma of different orders or interests. In that particular situation, the courgage should be shown by the civil servant to face the uncertainity of future.
  • Civil Servants therefore should not be deterred by the fear of failure. Since so many are counting on you, so can’t afford fear to influence you.


Spirit of Service

  • A civil servant works not for monetary benefits, promotion or easy postings but for the chance to work for the public welfare is a prize in itself.
  • It will help him keep motivated and focused towards his ultimate goal.
  • Without this value, a civil servant will be a machine working in the system. He Should have feeling towards the downtrodden and poor citizens. Spirit of service will awake a power in him to transform the lives of million people living in poverty.

All these qualities are fundamental to a civil servant. They will ensure that a civil servants delivers good-governance to the people.