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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:   Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.  

1) Write a note on various Buddhist mudras, their significance and their depiction in various art forms. (250 Words)

The Wire


Buddhism mudras depict various incidents and messages of Buddhist philosophy. These are used in Buddha images and in practice to evoke particular ideas or buddhas in the mind during Buddhist meditation or ritual.

The gestures performed by the hands of a Buddha image (mudras) have specific meanings that refer to some event in the life of the Buddha or denote a special characteristic.


Some important mudras are 



  • This mudra depicts Buddha at his first sermon in Sarnath after he attained enlightenment. 
  • It is done with the help of both the hands which are held against the chest, the left facing inward, covering the right facing outward.



  • It is simple Yogasan posture placing both hands on lap
  • This is the characteristic gesture of Buddha Shakyamuni, Dhyani Buddha Amitabh and the Medicine Buddhas.



  • Buddha’s awakening as he claims the earth as the witness of his enlightenment
  • It is done with the help of the right hand, which is held from above the right knee, reaching toward the ground with the palm inward while touching the lotus throne.



  • It represents charity, welcome, offering 
  • It is done with left hand placed above lap in air.



  • It is for warding of evil, sickness etc. 
  • Index and little fingers are raised while folding other fingers.



  • It represents thunderbolt consisting of five element of air, water, earth, fire and metal 
  • It is done by holding left hand fire finger in right hand fist.



  • It signifies discussion and teaching by joining thumb to index finger while other fingers straight.



  • It represents fearlessness or blessing by Indian way of giving Ashirvad with right hand and left hand hanging down
  • It is charaterstic of Buddha Shakyamuni and Dhyani Buddha Amoghasiddhi.



  • It represents supreme enlightenment by placing both hands near chest and index finger raised upward and joined while other fingers intertwined.



  • It represents greeting, prayer or adoration.
  • It is same as simple Namaskar posture we do it everyday.


General Studies – 2



Topic:  Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections;  Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

2) The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that eight years from now, around 121 million boys and girls would still be engaged in various occupations. Why have countries failed to eradicate child labour? What efforts are required to end child labour? Examine. (250 Words)

The Hindu



  • Child labour means work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential,dignity that is harmful to their physical and mental development. Child labour is one of the worst scourges inflicting our society. This phenomenon is present in almost every country of the world. 
  • National governments all over the world has taken stock of the issue but according to ILO the governments are all set to lose the 2025 target to end child labour. 
  • International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that eight years from now, around 121 million boys and girls would still be engaged in various occupations. The present figure is around 152 million children aged 5-17.


Why countries have failed to eradicate child labour?


Absence of robust national legislation 

  • There is lack of harmony between global commitments and domestic priorities. 
  • There is incoherency between laws that prescribe a minimum age for employment and those for completion of compulsory school education.
  • Thus the expansion of quality universal basic education has to extend beyond the fulfilment of statutory provisions.


Ineffective labour inspections

  • Complementing the legal inconsistencies is the lack of effective labour inspections in the informal economy. 


Caste occupations

  • Around 71% of working children are concentrated in the agriculture sector, with 69% of them undertaking unpaid work in family units.


Poor social safety net

  • In case ofunforeseen eve ntuality, parents find it unaffordable to send their children to school and instead opt for some labour from them so that they can earn.
  • It is compounded by the fact that the employability of educated youth is  not very encouraging and thus act as a deterrent.


Gender dimension

  • Child labour has a strong gender dimension in case of girls whose future are seen through the gendered prism which is incoherent with attaining education. Thus most girls within homes only do all kinds of household work.
  • In some cases, they are also made to work as domestic helpers for which there is no dedicated law in India.


Efforts needed

  • Each and every country should formulate strong legislation on the lines of the guidelines provided by ILO.
  • It must have be seen that laws are strictly followed and provide for strong punitive action in case of any negligence.
  • Governments should work on the overall sustainable development of the society especially the poor people. Investing in basic infrastructure such as health, education, and livelihood would go a long way.
  • Governments should expand the formal economy so that proper monitoring can be done.
  • Above all, it is inconceivable that these policies could be entrenched in the absence of strong collective bargaining mechanisms and effective social protection policies from the cradle to the end of their lives.



  • International campaigns such as 100 million for 100 million campaign, SDG to end child labour are on.
  • Indian government has also taken steps in this regard such as NREGA, NRHM, SSA, Digital India initiative as well as provided for a Child labour Act, 1986
  • Various other NGO’s like Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Talaash, CRY, CARE etc. are working hard in this direction. 

Topic: Functioning of judiciary

4) It is argued that the Indian judiciary has become all powerful, mostly by taking on enormous authority in policy areas, that are technically beyond its ambit. Why is this trend evolving in the first place? What are its implications? Comment. (250 Words)



Importance of judiciary

  • In democratic countries, judiciary ensures rule of law against tyranny of the majority ( executive and legisture).
  • Hence judiciary has been given the power of judicial review.
  • In the Indian Constitution, judiciary has been envisaged as extremely powerful. Article 13 and 36 are extremely eleborative in assigning functions to judiciary in this regard.
  • Pandit Nehru argued that judiciary in India is not a passive participant in social revolution.


Judicial activism

  • Over the years, Indian judiciary has asserted itself in response to attack on its independence by the executive especially during 1970s era. This ‘judicial activism’ gradually took the form of ‘judicial overreach’ delving in domains outside its competence.
  • Judicial activism denotes a high energy state where judiciary jumbs into the orbit of other organs on account of catalyst ( primarily social revolution).
  • The judiciary thus tends to frame laws ( legislative function) and implement them ( executive function) in the garb of Article 141. In 2002, the Supreme Court of India observed that collected funds for afforestation were underutilized by the states and it ordered for centrally pooling of funds under Compensatory Afforestation Fund (Going into policy sphere). The court had set up the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority.


Why is this trend evolving?


The following elements act as catalysts for the judicial activism

  • Written constitution which assigns independence to the judiciary
  • Recognition of human rights is getting increasing importance today.
  • Ambigous federal relations also opens the scope for judiciary. For example, inter-state water disputes which went to Supreme Court despite express provision against court intervention
  • Globalisation has also caused disruptions in the nature of social and economic relations and thus sometimes court has to intervene to streamline such relations.


The reasons for such a scenario can be probed as follows

  • To counter executive’s perceived attack on its independence and to assert it. 
  • To fill the perceived gap created by failure of executive. For eg., SC attempt to mandate singing of national anthem in cinema halls was solely in response to executive’s failure to instill patriotism among people.
  • To uphold politico-socio-economic justice. many a times, government fails to uphold its duty & the court has to intervene to uphold its duty as a guarantor of citizen’s FR. for ex – There are innumerable cases of ‘custodial deaths’ in Indian jails and delay in grant of compensation, apex court intervened to uphold the FR of the inmates.



  • Destruction of the fine ‘constitutional balance’ between the three organs, as suggested by Principle of seperation of power by Montesque
  • While judicial activism strengthens the people’s confidence, the very act of ‘overreach’ destroys it as it appears an act of ‘tyranny of un-elected’ in a democracy where elected representatives rule.
  • Decimation of ‘trust’ between different organs which is highly detrimental for public welfare.


Recognising the repercussions of the ‘perceived overreach’, the apex court has issued guidelines to ensure that ‘an act of judicial activism’ should not become ‘overreach‘.


General Studies – 3


Topic:   Issues relating to intellectual property rights.

6) The promise of a forward-looking bio-pharmaceutical industry in India will only be fulfilled if India works to build an ecosystem that promotes medical innovation. Examine why a balance between patents and drug prices is crucial to build innovative forward-looking bio-pharmaceutical industry in India. (250 Words)




  • Indian pharmaceutical sector evolved in different phases from pre independence era to post Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Presently, Indian pharmaceutical sector is dominated by the generics drugs and more drugs are sold in anti-infective category.
  • The Indian pharmaceutical industry is having opportunities in the domestic market with growing demand for quality health care. More opportunities are seen in the area of Contract Research and Manufacturing Services (CRAMS) and Biogenic market,but still India’s pharma sector followed by various loop holes.
  • Low price has come at the cost of time, with excessive delay in the availability of essential medicines in India and weak incentives for our own industry to innovate. 


Why there is a need for balance on drug price and patent protection


  1. Poor research in burgeoning non-communicable diseases like Cancer
  • India has over three million cancer patients, but still there are only seven new cancer drugs were introduced in India in the last few years, despite the fact that over 50 breakthrough therapies were made available in other countries. 

     2.No research on antibiotic resistance

  • World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the world is running out of antibiotics in the face of multi-drug-resistant infections, and that the speed of increasing resistance will outpace the slow drug development process
  • Major drug companies are closing their labs dedicated to antibiotics research, perhaps to pursue research on drugs for diseases, including diabetes, hypertension and cancer. Problem of cross-molecular resistance may necessitate stronger intellectual property protection with broader and longer patents.

      3.Humongous population with diverse health needs

     4.Climate Change 

  • Dengue and Chickenguenya due to early on-set of monsoon last year which is a result of climate change factors.


However it should be recognised that India is still a developing country with less incomes and therefore some sort of cost control is essential to prevent high out-of pocket expenditure. Even the Supreme Court in M/s Bayer’s case for Nexavar drug highlighted such a need.


Issues with Patent regime


  1. Intellectual property protection
  • The patent application process for the pharmaceutical products in India is interpreted as targeted to create burdensome for foreign applicants.
  • According to TRIPS, India to provide protection of data which not yet done. India relies on test data submitted in another country.
  • The government committee grants Compulsory License under special provisions of Sections 92 and 66 of Indian Patent Acts, which makes patent holder more difficult to defend their patents.



Delay in marketing approval

  • 50% of innovative drugs that are sold in India encountered delays in marketing approval of more than five years after their global launch.


Rapid appearance of generic drugs

  • Even once approved for marketing, over 50% that became newly available in India was produced and sold as generic versions by multiple follow-on Indian manufacturers within one year of their introduction


  1. Price regulation
  • Drug price regulation, such as the one instituted by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPAA) recently, is ineffective as the design of the price-control mechanism is detached from all the other components identified by WHO and implementation is poor, as more than 50% of the end price of medicine is contributed by components
  • Countries should focus more on containing the distribution costs, which form an integral part in the medicine value chain


Chinese example

  • China slashed prices of patented drugs by 70% as a precondition for eligibility for government insurance schemes, but without tampering with grant of patents. 
  • This made the drugs eligible for state co-payment, making them affordable to patients while protecting the revenue stream of pharmaceutical companies.



  • An incomplete understanding of intellectual property rights (IPRs) often obfuscate the real issues facing India’s drug industry. 
  • Patents are critical in innovative sectors, because they provide incentives for companies to invest in the creation of new solutions. Currently, only 5% of medicines used in India are said to be patent-protected
  • There must be robust link medical innovation and affordable treatment is a supportive role of the state. 
  • Along with reducing uncertainty in IPR, India can also deploy policy tools to strengthen its fragile health sector.  India needs to follow-up on the commitments it laid down in the National IPR Policy to bring about a congenial environment for innovation to take place. 

Topic: Employment

7) Comment on women’s current employment scenario in India and discuss why it’s crucial to create more formal jobs to empower women.  (250 Words)




  • India has been seen decent economic growth over the last few years, but participation of women in the economy has decreased. 


Women abysmal participation in the economy

  • According to the World Economic Forum’s “Global Gender Gap Report 2017”, India’s ranking has fallen by 21 places,  far below the global average but also behind our neighbours China and Bangladesh. 
  • One of the areas where we have fared poorly is in wages and participation of women in the economy where our rank is an abysmal 139. 
  • As per the World Bank report, India has one of the lowest workforce female participation rates, ranking 120th among 131.
  • At 17%, India has a lower share of women’s contribution to GDP than the global average of 37%
  • Participation levels have been dropping in the last few years, according to National Sample Survey which found that while in 1999-2000, 25.9% of all women worked; by 2011-12 this proportion had dropped to 21.9%.


Nature of women employment 

  • However, the participation of women in informal employment and non-standard forms of employment (for eg. part-time jobs or jobs in the informal sector) is higher than men. 
  • Jobs for Indian women, especially rural women, remain primarily in the agriculture sector. 
  • The share of women in services and industry is less than 20%.


Women disadvantaged in informal sector

  • In India, nearly 100% of net job creation in the last two decades has happened in the informal sector in small and low-productivity enterprises. 
  • While pretty much every employee in the informal sector will have fewer skilling opportunities and lack of job security, the average Indian woman worker is at a dual disadvantage
  • Not only is she less likely to find stable job opportunities within the informal sectors but she will also have to deal with poor quality and even unsafe working conditions, low wages and denial of statutory benefits like social security and benefits like maternity leave or related facilities.



  • Raising the labour force participation in formal sector requires a total revamp of the regulatory ecosystem.
  • Large-scale job creation in the formal sector will need sustained reforms in labour laws and skilling ecosystems.
  • India can potentially boost its GDP by $700 billion in 2025, translating to 1.4% per year of incremental GDP growth, by raising female labour-force participation rate by just 10 percentage points, from 31% to 41%. However, this requires us to bring in 68 million more women into the workforce.
  • Huge investments will be needed in upskilling and educating women and the girl child, financial inclusion of women, encouraging women entrepreneurs, strengthening legal provisions for safety and security of women.