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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) How did the three-language policy evolve and came to be accepted? In the light of recent accusation about imposition of Hindi, do you think English is key to deciding India’ future language policy? Comment. (250 Words)

The Hindu


Three language formula:

  • The ‘Three Language Formula’ was devised in the chief ministers conferences held during 1961.
  • The National Commission on Education known as the Kothari commission examined and recommended a graduated formula which was recommended by the National Policy on Education,1968. 
  • At the secondary stage, the State Governments should adopt, and vigorously implement, the three-language formula which includes the study of a modern Indian language, preferably one of the southern languages, apart from Hindi and English in the Hindi-speaking States, and of Hindi along with the regional language and English in the non-Hindi speaking States
  • The First Languagethat students should study- Mother tongue or the regional language
  • The Second Language– In Hindi-speaking states, this would be English or some other language belonging to Modern India. In Non-Hindi states, this will be English or Hindi
  • The Third Language– In Hindi-speaking states, this would be English or some other language belonging to Modern India, but the one that is not chosen as the second language. In Non-Hindi states, this will be English or some other language belonging to Modern India, but the one that is not chosen as the second language

Imposition of Hindi:-

  • Committee of parliament on official language is accused of operating not only to promote Hindi everywhere but also banish English from the land. It appears to believe that Hindi cannot thrive as long as English survives.
  • Also the recent proposal by Indian government to make Hindi as the official language of India in UN earned criticism .

English is the key:

  • It is the common language through which non Hindi speaking and Hindi speaking people converse so removing this link would lead to imposition of Hindi over the other states .
  • English is a global language and Indians have been very efficient in using it be it call centers, IT sector .Pushing English away would only complicate the employment status of these people in India.
  • As the world is integrated the role of English has increased manifold.
  • Some of the languages spoken in India are much older than Hindi and are seen as symbol of its rich culture and heritage. Hence imposition of Hindi on such people would be met with resistance. 
  • English can act as a link language without endangering the sentiments of any state.

However English should be constrained because:-

  • Parents prefer English medium schools over vernacular language schools.
  • In the modern Indian society speaking English is equated with higher status which means people who speak English are superior than one speaking mother tongue
  • Quality of English education in rural areas is not very good and so it becomes difficult for the children there to compete with urban area students.



  • It is time for India to relook its language policy under Part XVII which became obsolete more than 50 years ago.
  • The nation must adopt mother tongue plus English, with Hindi accorded a pride of place for ceremonial occasions at national and international levels.

General Studies – 2


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

2) China is gradually moving to a position where it will play an increasingly dominant role in the world’s international affairs, disrupting established institutions and trade routes and building its own alternatives. How should India respond to this development? Discuss. (250 Words)

The Wire


  • China is pushing its presence in the Indian Ocean and its spread of ports in the region Chinese naval base on the Horn of Africa and a port in Sri Lanka are examples.
  • Similarly China rejected the judgment of international tribunal with respect to its role in South China Sea.
  • China’s OBOR and CPEC corridor is causing a great concern for India as it affects India’s sovereignty
  • China is stepping into the aid and power vacuum left by the US.
  • The formation of banks AIIB and NDB with the leadership of China at helm shows that international institutions like World Bank and IMF have been bypassed.
  • In the light of the above reasons there is the need for India to prepare a strategy to face Chinese challenge.

How should India respond?

  • International:-
    • China should be engaged and encouraged to participate in existing institutions, laws and treaties. At the same time, countries concerned about China’s expansionism should try to “contain” its reach with fresh alliances and alignments
    • Quad should not be put forward as an adversary or a rival to Chin but as a cooperative connectivity plan.
    • India needs to work on delivering projects outside the subcontinent like TAPI, Kaladan project etc
    • Regional groupings like BIMSTEC,SAARC needs strengthening to assert India as a regional power.
  • National:-
    • Indian human capital needs to be skilled and demographic dividend needs to be utilized so that domestic economy improves
    • Sectors like textiles where India has a comparative advantage to China need to be promoted.
    • India needs to focus on sectors like education, health ,reducing malnutrition and improving the social indicators which would automatically lead to inclusive growth.
    • Indigenization of defence technology is essential for showing the strength of the nation which China did effectively. India needs to learn that.

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

3) What should be India’s priorities when dealing with the ASEAN? Also comment on current state of India’s relationship with ASEAN countries. (250 Words)

The Indian Express

The Wire



  • India-ASEAN relations have traversed a long, dynamic path interspersed with multiple achievements to reach the year 2017, when the two are celebrating 25 years of their partnership.
  • India and ASEAN uphold each other’s centrality in shaping the evolving regional architecture. 

Status of relationship with ASEAN:-


  • Political cooperation:
    • ASEAN-India Centre (AIC) has boosted the India-ASEAN strategic partnership by focusing on policy research, policy recommendations, and interactions among think-tanks and other organisations in the two regions. 
    • They are active participants in the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF).
  • Economic:
    • ASEAN is currently India’s fourth largest trading partner, accounting for 10.2% of India’s total trade. India is ASEAN’s seventh largest trading partner.
    • India’s service-oriented economy perfectly complements the manufacturing-based economies of ASEAN countries.
    • The ASEAN-India Free Trade Area (AIFTA) reflects India’s adherence to the vision of having a reliable institutional architecture for economic ties with ASEAN.
    • Greater connectivity between India and Southeast Asia will engender developmental gains for India’s north eastern region.
      • The Kaladan Multi Modal Transport project, India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and the Rih Tedim Project in Myanmar will in due course contribute to the enhancement of connectivity between India and Southeast Asia, via India’s Northeast. 
      • Mekong Ganga cooperation initiative.
    • The ASEAN has provided the platform for promoting regional economic integration, limiting great-power competition and avoiding regional conflict.
  • Cultural:-
    • The large Indian Diaspora in many of the Southeast Asian countries, especially Malaysia and Singapore, help strengthen diplomatic, economic and security relations between India and ASEAN as they have contributed to a deepening of bonds.
  • Others:-
    • Both are cooperating on multiple issues like disaster management, climate change, Rohingya crisis, piracy and maritime security There is, however, considerable scope for further growth.


  • Although India’s declaratory commitment to security cooperation with the ASEAN has grown under the Look East and Act East policies, and its military capabilities have become considerable, the Indian defence establishment has been disappointing in its delivery.
  • After signing India-ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement India’s goods trade deficit with ASEAN widened from $4.98 billion in 2010-11 to $14.75 billion in 2015-16, and then narrowed to $9.56 billion in 2016-17
    • The huge goods trade deficit has led to questions on whether the pact is only helping ASEAN nations and not benefiting India
  • The free mobility of labour within the Asian economic community region might hamper India’s prospects in terms of mobility of skilled workers, which has just been implemented with the India-ASEAN Services agreement.  It could also choke out some of the investment that India might have obtained from the region due to easier flow of capital within the region

India’s priorities should be ?

  • A historic power shift in Asia marked by China’s dramatic rise and widespread questions about the future of the US’s role in the region has generated considerable geopolitical turbulence. So India associating with ASEAN is necessary for the balance of power in Asia.
  • India must now rise to the occasion and extend unflinching solidarity with the ASEAN that has been so instrumental in promoting peace and prosperity in South East Asia over the last five decades.
  • Although India’s security engagement with the region has expanded significantly in recent years, it remains tentative and way below potential. Addressing that must be one of the top priorities
  • A new and specific framework for deepening the defence partnership with the ASEAN is needed.
  • Both regions are also increasingly facing non-traditional security challenges like piracy and terrorism, for which greater coordination is needed.
  • Terrorism:
    • It is time that India and ASEAN jointly address this challenge by intensifying cooperation in this crucial area.
  • The RCEP agreement would complement India’s existing free trade agreementswith the Association of South East Asian Nations and some of its member countries, as it would deals with Japan and South Korea.
  • Industries like automobiles, gems and jewellery have seen some integration between India and ASEAN nations. The recently implemented investment agreement along with the ‘Make in India’ initiative should help such integration, targeting sectors like electronics and pharmaceuticals.
  • India’s trade advantage as an exporter of professional services and IT-related services should see greater exports with the implementation of the services agreement. 
  • India intends to extend the trilateral highway to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, and the proposed route from India to Vietnam will be known as the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC). 
  • India needs to do a more convincing job as a beneficial strategic partner of ASEAN by boosting its domestic economic reforms agenda, enhancing connectivity within the region, and increasing its presence in regional institutions.
  • India’s integration in the automobile sector is already under way especially with countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. India’s advantage in generic pharmaceuticals should be leveraged by ASEAN countries through investments that would facilitate Indian pharmaceuticals to become innovation-oriented.



  • The India-ASEAN relations have traversed a long path since the inception of the partnership a quarter of a century ago. Deeper engagement and further cooperation should be prioritised by both sides if the full potential of this engagement is to be realised.

Topic:  Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States; Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity. 

4) The strength of the Parliamentary Government is exactly measured by the unity of political parties upon its fundamental objects. Comment in the context of India’s democracy. (250 Words)

The Hindu


  • The political parties are engines for political participation by ordinary citizens. Parties have well-established infrastructure through which supporters can engage in civic life.
  • The fundamental objects of political parties is acting in public interest by being transparent, accountable, ensuring welfare and upholding the Indian democracy.

In the recent years the parliamentary government of India has been weakened :

  • For 25 years till 2014, Indian system has also produced coalition governments which have been obliged to focus more on politics than on policy or performance. It has forced governments to concentrate less on governing than on staying in office, and obliged them to cater to the lowest common denominator of their coalitions, since withdrawal of support can bring governments down
  • The productivity of parliamentary discussions has deteriorated.
    • Parliamentary debates, which once focussed on national and critical issues, are now more about local problems, viewed from a parochial angle. 
  • The conduct of MP’s has been as if they are enemies and their behaviour disrespects the sanctity of the parliament.
  • Lack of congruence of fundamental objectives different parties compete to prevent things working.
  • The political parties and institutions are behind the vicious circle of vote bank politics, encouraging divisive forces threatening public interest
  • The failure to keep creed out of politics and lack of transparency in election funding led to increase in criminalisation of politics.

Way forward :-

  • Limiting expenditure of political parties and deciding the ceiling on the expenditure and making the election funding transparent is necessary to reduce money power in politics
  • Whip needs to be strengthened so that leaders who violate the parliamentary conduct need to be seriously punished.
  • Experts suggest that to make bills passed soon, the government should not skip the discussions about the bill in both Rajya Sabha and Lok sabha. Allowing proper debates increases the confidence of parties on the government.

General Studies – 3

Topic:   Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. 

5) Analyse the self-employment scenario in India and its significance to India’s economic growth and development. (250 Words)



Self employment in India:-

  • Nearly half of the labour force is self-employed in India
  • India is ahead of the US; about 75% of India’s labour force is self employed
  • In India a self-employed person is anybody who is working for oneself instead of working for a wage or salary in an organization run by others, which is the case of wage employment.
  • Reasons are:-
    • Lack of suitable jobs and the lack of suitable avenues for investment, people opt for self-employment and use their funds in owner-managed enterprises. Owner-managed enterprises can include units run by hawkers, shopkeepers, merchants in wholesale trade, and distributors etc.
    • Especially in lower income families they take whatever job they get making them self employed.
    • Self employment is large in India also because government policies encourage owner-managed enterprises. This is clear from the policies related to small and medium enterprises; street vendors etc
    • India does not have appropriate training and education, a credible certification process, and a flexible and discerning way of recruitment. Many skilled and talented people are not well recognized. So, they migrate or they need to set up on their own here even if they are not entrepreneurs.
    • In rural areas, women periodically enter and exit from agricultural work. Quite often, women’s participation in agricultural activities as self-employed workers is to supplement the falling incomes of their families during times of agrarian distress.
      • For instance during 1999-2000 to 2004-05 the growth of agricultural incomes in the country was stagnant, yet the number of self-employed female workers engaged in agriculture and related activities increased by 17 million, possibly indicating ‘distress employment’.. 


  • Selfemploymentprograms emerged as an important bridge from unemployment to sustainable economic activity
  • Advantage of small business
    • The self-employment involving activities on a small-scale is a good alternative to large scale business which has brought various evils like environmental pollution, development of slums, exploitation of workers, and so on.
  • Preference over wage employment
    • In self-employment there is no limit of earnings as is the case with wage employment. In self-employment one can use one’s talent for own benefit. The decisions can be taken quickly and conveniently.
  • Developing the spirit of entrepreneurship
    • Self-employment involves either no risk or very little risk. But, as soon as the self-employed person starts becoming innovative and takes steps to expand his business it becomes a launching pad for entrepreneurship.
  • Promotion of individualised services
    • Self-employment may also take the form of providing individualised services like tailoring, repair work, dispensing of medicines etc. Such services are helpful in providing better consumer satisfaction.
  • Reducing the problem of unemployment
    • Self-employment provides opportunities of gainful occupation to those who otherwise remain unemployed. Thus it reduces the problem of unemployment
  • A boon to under-privileged in respect of higher education
    • Such persons can start their career as self employed in occupations that do not require higher education. It may be noted that self-employment has been given high priority in government policies and programmes. A number of schemes have been initiated all over the country to encourage entrepreneurship and self-employment
  • An entrepreneur is not just creating self employment but also building a structure for small to large scale employment. As these enterprises grow, the employment opportunities increase. In India, many start-ups that started out as home based ventures are today employers to hundreds of individuals
  • Women who are self employed are financially secure leading to growing role of women in India’s labour force and shift towards gender equality.
  • Government schemes:
    • It gives fillip to Indian initiatives like Make in India and helps in boosting internal economy of India
    • Measures like stand up and start Up India are providing opportunities for the unemployed to contribute to the economy and also uplift the socio economic backward communities.


  • Self employed are mostly part of informal economy with no necessary protection.
  • It is relatively easier to evade taxes for the self-employed than in the case of true entrepreneurs who operate with the help of independent-minded professionals, possibly on a large scale, which makes tax evasion difficult.

What needs to be done:-

  • India needs to reduce bad self-employment by massively creating formal, non-farm, wage employment and good self-employment. There need to be reforms of building infrastructure, reducing regulatory control, and raising human capital.
  • Reforms in labour laws ,education needs to be undertaken immediately for encouraging good self employment.

Topic:  Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth. 

6) Following judicial intervention in 2G and captive coal block allocations, it was decided that all natural resources should be auctioned to ensure transparency and fairness in allocation. Do you think introduction of reverse bidding in the allocation of coal blocks and linkage has benefited consumers? Critically examine. (150 Words)

The Wire


  • Reverse bidding is the process where bidders had to compete on the discount they would give electricity boards on their cost of mining.
  • In other words, if two companies cost of mining is Rs 500 per ton and one offers to charge the electricity board Rs 350 while the other wants to charge Rs 400, the first one will win.


  • The bidder who promises to charge least from the consumer wins the block and it was with the stated aim of ensuring that consumers get the benefit of low coal prices.
  • Shakti (Scheme for Harnessing and Allocating Koyala Transparently in India) would be a transformational policy for auction and allotment of coal linkages, and will lead to affordable power, access to coal and accountability in the allocation of co
  • These auctions are an improvement over the discretionary allotments of the past, and the government has shown swiftness in moving ahead with them.


  • Reverse auction may not have lived up to those promises. While private power producers have benefited immensely from allocation of coal through reverse auction held under the Shakti scheme recently, electricity consumers have been fobbed off with token tariff concessions.
  • Some private developers were benefitted (private competition was less).Coal India (CIL) has allocated long-term linkage of over 27 million tonnes of coal to ten private power plants but bidders have made token concessions by offering to reduce current electricity tariff by 1-4 paise.
  • According to industry watchers, benefit only a section of power consumers because most of the captive mines are controlled by state utilities.
  • Competitive auctions are meant to provide a market-based mechanism to discover the value of a resource. But poor design could impede price discovery

Way forward:-

  • Price Index needed:-
    • As in the case of mineral auctions under the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, where premium is a percentage of the prices notified by the Indian Bureau of Mines, there should be a price index for coal for such linkage.
  • Clear guidelines are needed regarding preparation of coal blocks before bidding.
  • Fully explored ones with clear demarcation of boundaries and all approvals in place will go a long way in attracting bidder interest.
  • A nodal agency at the State level, with representation from all stakeholders, could be set up to facilitate land acquisition.It must complete identification of land for compensatory afforestation, enumeration of trees and cost-benefit analysis before auctions begin.
  • Easing the issue of supply of coal will not address the various problems that are associated with Indian power sector. Hence government should solve other problems associated with power sector like reckless populism, rampant theft of electricity, non-billing etc. 


General Studies – 4

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



  • Recently the Indian government announced that a person with ECR status will be given orange passport .This action raises many ethical issues .

Ethical issues:

  • Discrimination
    • Indian constitution treats all Indian citizens equally irrespective of caste, creed, sex etc so dividing people on the basis of education is discrimination and violates the principle of equity and equality in the constitution.
  • This action separates and stigmatise a set of citizens for their poverty. Data from the Protectorate General of Emigrants shows that a majority are likely to belong to a minority or marginalised community from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. This is discrimination based on region as well.
  • India’s migrant workers will be treated like second class citizens
  • Earlier instances of segregation on like Big Red J in Germany and Dompas during Apartheid only created division and insecurity among the people.
  • People carrying orange passport are forced to be ashamed about their educational backwardness impacting their human dignity
  • The moment an orange colour passport holder lands in a foreign country, he/she will be treated with disdain and it will have a telling impact on such people’s character and individuality. 

However the government supports this move as :

  • It protects people who are vulnerable from exploitation.
  • Easy identification and necessary staff can assist them as they lack necessary skills.


Way forward:-

  • Before the government tries to implement this there is a need to look into all viable options like use of  technological advancements and better scientific temper  like bar codes to identify these people and then come to a rational decision