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General Studies – 1


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

1) Discuss the contributions of Vithalbhai Patel to India’s struggle for independence and to the evolution of India’s polity.  (150 Words)

The Wire


Vithalbhai Patel, the elder brother of Vallabhbhai Patel was the first Indian speaker (president) elected to the Central Legislative Assembly in 1925.


Contribution to the Indian freedom struggle


  1. Laid down foundation for independent legislature
  • He laid down the basic rules for the independence of the legislature and its secretariat in India. 
  • He fought a long battle with the colonial government for an independent secretariat for the Central Legislative Assembly because he was conscious of the fact that the legislature can perform its basic functions only with the help of a secretariat which is free from the control of the government.
  • In 1928, he created a separate office for the Assembly, independent of the administration of the Government of India. He established the convention of neutrality of the President in debates, except to use a casting vote in favour of the status quo.
  • He won the battle and an independent secretariat was established on January 10, 1929. 
  • Vithalbhai was a fearless, independent and impartial speaker who gave many rulings against the colonial government. 
  • As the President of the Assembly, Patel laid down the practices and procedures for the business of the Assembly. 

     2.Struggle through the “constitutional” methods

  • Although never truly accepting the philosophy and leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Patel joined the Congress and the struggle for freedom. 
  • He had no regional base of support, yet he was an influential leader who expanded the struggle through fiery speeches and articles published. 
  • He was however an active player in Kisan Kheda stayagraha , Non cooperation and Khilafat movement

    3.Co founded Swaraj Party

  • When Mahatma Gandhi aborted the struggle in 1922 following the Chauri Chaura incident, Patel left the Congress to form the Swaraj Party with Chittaranjan Das and Motilal Nehru, which would seek to foil the Raj by sabotaging the government after gaining entry in the councils. 
  • He rejoined the Congress upon the declaration of Purna Swaraj (Complete Independence) in 1929, and was subsequently imprisoned, but with his health deteriorating, he was released from prison in 1931 and went to Europe for medical treatment.

    4.Articulate voice alternate to Gandhi

  • Patel and others were important voices who rebelled against the leadership of Gandhi when the nation anguished over the abortion of the Non-Cooperation Movement
  • Patel gave up the Congress after the end of the Salt Satyagraha, became a fierce critic of Gandhi and a strong ally of Subhas Chandra Bose. 
  • Bose and Patel traveled across Europe, gathering funds and political support – among others.

   5.Role in passing important legislations

  • It was also to the credit of Vithalbhai’s efforts that the Compulsory Education Bill, the Ayurvedic and Yunani Medicine Bills, Town Planning Bill were passed by the Bombay Legislative Council.


General Studies – 2


Topic:  Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these. 

2) The attempt by the executive to subvert the independent function of the legislature and its secretariat has serious implications for Indian polity. Discuss critically these implications and comment if there should be an alternative manner to convene parliament. (250 Words)

The Wire

The Wire


Parliament – daily assessment of the government

  • Defending the parliamentary system versus the presidential system, B.R. Ambedkar argued that all such systems attempted a balance between stability and responsibility. Both systems provide a periodic assessment by the electorate through elections. 
  • However, the parliamentary system provides a higher level of responsibility on the government through daily assessment by members in the form of questions, resolutions, no-confidence motions, adjournment motions and debates on addresses. He felt that daily assessment was more effective in holding governments to account, and more appropriate for India.


Subverting of legislature by executive

  • This can be achieved by inducting officers of the executive in the legislature secretariat
  • Being trained to serve the executive, the concept of independence of the legislature secretariat is alien to them. They will gain control of the core functions of the secretariat – like admitting parliament questions, preparing the reports of committees, and a host of other functions which have a bearing on the legislature’s scrutiny of the government. 
  • This insidious process of subversion of Indian legislatures has been going on for some time. 
  • This is in clear violation of the constitution which contains various provisions to insulate the legislature secretariats from executive control.


Regular sittings

  • This argument presupposes frequent sittings of Parliament. 
  • In the initial years of our Republic, Lok Sabha sat for about 125-140 days a year. The size of the country and poor connectivity meant that MPs could not make a quick dash to their constituencies and there were planned intersession gaps to enable them to split their time between Delhi and their constituencies. 
  • Though it is far easier to travel today, Parliament has met for just 65-75 days per year in the last couple of decades. 
  • A direct consequence has been less scrutiny of the government’s actions, and even that of bills and budgets
  • A clear requirement for a more effective Parliament would be more sitting dates and a clear plan of those dates.


Constitutional provision

  • The Constitution specifies that Parliament will be summoned by the President; the President shall act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers; and there cannot be more than six months between two sittings of Parliament. Similar provisions exist for State legislatures. 


Way forward


  1. Dilute the power of government to summon the session
  • One has to address the structural issue of the government deciding when to summon the legislature, and its ability to adjust the dates in response to emerging circumstances. 
  • That is, dilute the power of the government to be the sole decider of session dates.
  • A different approach would be to allow a significant minority of members to call for a session. Pakistan’s Constitution requires a session of Parliament within 14 days if one-fourth of its membership demands one.

    2.Predecided dates annually

  • A simple solution is to have a calendar of sittings announced at the beginning of each year. This would help members and others plan better for the whole year. 
  • It will also help members in scheduling other engagements in the presence of any certainty of the parliamentary schedule. 

     3.Year-long sessions

  • A variant, such as that followed by the British Parliament, is to have year-long sessions. 
  • This would require some minor changes in rules such as permitting no-confidence motions to be taken up multiple times in a session if a significant minority asks for it.



  • The legitimacy of the government in a democracy is derived from constant scrutiny by elected representatives. 
  • It is time to tweak the rules to strengthen the system and ensure that key institutions such as Parliament and State legislatures are able to perform their roles more effectively.

Topic Indian Constitution- significant provisions and basic structure. 

3) “The possibility of indoctrination cannot be a reason for undermining personal autonomy.” Comment. (150 Words)

The Hindu

General Studies – 3


Topic:   Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges,

4) India’s homeland security will be better served by basic fixes in India’s law enforcement system rather than by the deployment of sophisticated technology and weaponry. Comment. (250 Words)

The Wire



  • India has been striving to attain advanced weaponry and modernize the forces through bilateral ties and through state-funding of research. Initiatives like Crime and Criminal Tracking Network have been advanced.
  • This is American brand of dollar-driven, technology-obsessed, biometric profiling-based Homeland Security architecture won’t work in Indian context. 


Issues with technological and weaponry view of India’s internal security


Higher budget

  • India can’t afford that sort of budgetary expenditure. 
  • But even if we could, the hard reality is that this vast multi-religious, multi-ethnic nation of ours cannot be secured and protected or policed in the way the US has been.


Domestic diversity and ethnic conflicts

  • Unlike America, India is not that kind of nation, not that kind of homeland, not that kind of neighbourhood. 
  • Our history, geography and political economy make us different from the US and unresponsive to the American way of doing things. 
  • We have around 170 million Muslims who are being targeted as a community and if even a tiny fraction of them were to totally lose trust in the state machinery and start doubting their worth as citizens of this country and radicalise, they would end up as a threat not just to India, but to the whole world.


Hostile neighbourhood

  • India has a hostile nuclear weapons state as a neighbour that is perennially consumed by its own internal political permutations and combinations and slowly spinning out of control. 


What needs to be fixed in law enforcement system?


Low conviction rate of anti-terror laws

  • Anti-terrorism laws in India have a conviction rate of less than 2%
  • More often than not, the law enforcement agencies are using them a means of putting inconvenient people away without bail for a long time and eventually letting them go. 
  • When the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) was in operation between 1985 and 1995, the maximum arrests under the law were effected in Gujarat, a state where there was not even a single case of terrorism during that period.
  • Thus investigative system needs to be strengthened.


Accountability of Police

  • India’s tryst with counter-terror strategy is not merely about technology. 
  • It is about accountability of the police as the most visible arm of the Indian state and their competence as the first responder as well. 
  • Raising more and more armed battalions and sanctioning more funds won’t solve the problems on the ground.


Police reforms

  • State governments are in no hurry to implement the famous Prakash Singh judgment, that is the Supreme Court 2006 directives on police reforms. 
  • As long as chief ministers and their cabinet ministers can use the carrot of lucrative postings and post-retirement sinecures and the stick of one-line transfer orders, they are under no obligation to take the police leadership seriously. 
  • Low Police to Population ratio, lack of professionalism, legacy of colonial police with least sensitivity for the society are other critical issues with the Police.


State of Judiciary 

  • Judiciary is also grappled with issues such as huge backlog of cases, low judges to population ratio, poor quality of judges and frequent adjournments, which needs to be tackled.


Role for society

  • The role for society should be explored. For example in a country like India with informal relationships, community policing can play an important role.

Topic: Awareness in IT, computers

5) What do you understand by net neutrality? Discuss the nature and significance of net neutrality recommendations made by TRAI. (250 Words)


The Hindu


  • Net Neutrality refers to the unbiased treatment of all internet websites, portals and services by an internet service provide (ISP) in matters of allocating bandwidth and traffic. Net neutrality is at the core of an open Internet that does not allow for content discrimination by ISPs. 
  • Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. 
  • For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.
  • The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003, as an extension of the longstanding concept of a common carrier, which was used to describe the role of telephone systems.
  • As India aspires to become a $1 trillion digital economy, net neutrality in which services on the internet must be equally accessible to all, and accessible at the same speed and cost becomes critical.


Arguments in favour


  1. Built into structure of internet itself
  • Net neutrality inviolability has been built into the structure of the Internet itself — in its layers and protocols that allow for seamless access to any networked device in the world irrespective of the nature of the physical infrastructure that has built the network.

     2.Beneficial to startups 

  • It prevents discrimination against small entrepreneurs, fosters the spirit of competition and merit, nurtures the democratic nature of internet, provides fertile ground for innovation, and research and development, and protects the privacy.
  • Any infringement would end up discriminating against innovative internet platforms and application service providers who do not have the financial wherewithal to enter into such alliances.
  • The storied success of 5,200-odd tech start-ups has captured prominent mindshare. With them rest innovative ideas (read mobile/internet apps) that can change our lives. Any form of constriction will hurt this ecosystem irredeemably. Net neutrality is critical precisely because its absence means that a new start-up would be at a disadvantage vis a vis an established player.

     3.Control over lives if principle is not adhered to

  • Compromise in net neutrality will lead to control of internet by a few corporation. Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Cryptocurrencies functions over internet only. Control of these technologies can gain them a disproportionate and all-encompassing power over society.
  • Almost all human activities are part of the internet. Personal relations, marriage, media, social media, communication, politics, entertainment, sports, stock market, health, education and so on, all make use of internet in one way or another way.


Arguments against net neutrality


  1. Investment in internet infra disincentivised
  • Broadband content should be regulated as a service delivery much like phone services are.  
  • Net neutrality dis-incentivised ISPs from improving or increasing investment in Internet infrastructure. 

     2.Declining profits of telecos

  • However, we must not lose sight of the fact that telcos too need sustenance. Applications which use the voice over internet protocol (VoIP), have managed to cannibalize a part of the traditional voice-based traffic, putting inordinate pressure on telcos’ bottom lines. 
  • While voice revenues have shown a decline, data revenues have shown significant growth and acceleration as well, thus a digital economy can become a reality only if telcos make adequate investments to augment their existing networks to cater to the explosion of data traffic.



  • The way internet has been weaved through our social, political and economic fabric it becomes imperative to have net neutrality. 
  • Any strategy that aims to enhance operational viability or flexibility of telecom service providers (TSPs) at the cost of crippling the start-up and entrepreneurial ecosystem would have been short-sighted.
  • The recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) will promote every citizen’s equitable access to the internet, as well as ensure a level playing field for services providers to innovate and customize in India.


Topic:  Investment models

6) Do you think PPP model would help improve healthcare delivery in India? Critically analyse. (250 Words)





  • PPP is an arrangement between a government owned entity on one side and a private sector entity on the other. There are various models like BOOT, Contracting, Joint Ventures, Mobile Health Units Telemedicine, Franchising, Social Marketing etc in health sector.
  • McKinsey, World Bank and the World Economic Forum argued that the PPP model is indeed the way ahead to improve healthcare delivery in India. But, it is also important to get the design right to make the delivery cost-efficient, timely, affordable and profitable for all stakeholders.


PPP model can help in the following ways 


  1. Better utilisation of resources, physical and human
  • PPP model can better procure expertise in terms of staff,doctors,medical procedures etc
  • Besides human resource, they can also have best infrastructure in terms of buildings,equipments, technologies etc

     2.Increaseing access

  • There will be tremendous increase in the perimeter of medical industry which is wanting due to resource constraints in the public sector. 
  • It is premised on the fact hat healthcare is a never dooming economic industry as recognised globally and more so in a country like India with huge population.
  • Thus the private sector will always be eager to expand its frontiers in the healthcare.


  • The efficiency will be improved in providing services against the lethargic bureaucratic set up in public hospitals.


Challenges with PPP model

  • The PPP framework has many in-built infirmities


  1. Revenue and risk sharing 
  • There are asymmetries in how the government and the private sector partner share revenue and risks.

     2.Profit dilemma in social sector

  • There is another fundamental problem with PPPs in the social infrastructure space: the private sector partner needs to maximize profit, which is not always compatible with the stated objective of providing universal access to quality services.

    3.Low cost bids by the government

  • Bids are usually evaluated based on the lowest cost to government. 
  • The lowest cost bid mode is a slippery slope and prone to abuse and sub-optimal outcomes.


  • The Indian healthcare industry is a prime example of how lack of sectoral regulation has resulted in government ceding space to the private sector, even in urban primary healthcare centres in some cases. 
  • This has multiple consequences, especially with regard to levy of user charges which remains unregulated. 
  • The regulatory role of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare includes regulation of clinical establishments, professional and technical education, food safety, medical technologies, medical products, clinical trials, research and implementation of other health related laws
  • National Health Policy 2017, while advocating a larger role for the private sector, has advocated reforms in the regulatory role for the ministry. 



  • There is a need for urgent and concrete steps towards reforms in regulation of PPPs in healthcare sector. This will entail moving towards a more effective, rational, transparent and consistent regime.” 
  • Even the Vijay Kelkar committee, set up to revitalize the PPP model in infrastructure, endorsed the setting up of independent regulators.

Topic: Conservation

7) What is trophy hunting? What is its impact on conservation? Examine what efforts are needed to prevent trophy hunting.  (250 Words)

The Hindu


Trophy hunting is the selective hunting of animals for human recreation where animal or part of the animal(horns, skin, etc) kept as the trophy.


Impacts on Conservation

  • Generic hunting bans do not automatically lead to increases in wildlife. 
  • For example, in countries such as Kenya and India, where hunting bans came into force in the 1970s, wildlife populations do not seem to fare better than in countries where hunting is ongoing. 
  • On the contrary, in both South Africa and Namibia where wildlife has been commoditised (trophy hunting, wildlife tourism, commercial meat production as well as local consumption) and managed for the benefit of local communities, populations seem to be doing better.





  • A well-managed trophy hunting can be sustainable and generate economic incentives for conservation of target species and their habitats out of protected areas. For example, Tanzania has 40% of lions mostly due to trophy hunting.
  • It will also benefit local communities economically thereby helping in animals conservation.



  • If well-managed may have a positive effect on animals populations and also a recovery of the individual species.
  • For example, countries like South Africa and Namibia witnessed rise in wildlife population by allowing animals hunting,unlike India and Kenya where ban on hunting has been imposed since 1970s.



  • The most fundamental benefit of trophy hunting to lion conservation is that it provides a financial incentive to maintain lion habitat that might otherwise be converted to non-wildlife land uses.




Illegal Wildlife trade

  • Since hunters are allowed to keep the parts of animals as their trophies, it might result in illegal trade of ivory,skin, horns, etc.


Evolution hindered

  • Wildlife with less favorable traits would be allowed to pass on their genes if wildlife with quality traits are allowed to kill.


Way Forward:

  • Certification of hunters based on some criteria like commitments to conservation, complying with agreed ethical standards and helping locals.
  • Ensuring that the voices of locals are given due regard before reaching out to any conclusion regarding banning or allowing trophy hunting.


General Studies – 4

Topic:  Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; 



Education plays an important role in one’s life.

It helps us to be rational, tolerant,social, to uphold attributes of empathy,love, compassion, women empowerment equality for all, solidarity benevolence,secularism,brotherhood etc.

In this respect, education should be holistic as envisaged by Gandhiji in Wardha scheme in which vocational training is emphasized along with value based education. In fact  in the post independence India, the state took upon education as an important tool for the nation-building.

However absence of education leads to corruption, intolerance,hate,absence of emotional intelligence, integrity, social evils like superstition, patriarchal mindset, slavery, prostitution, stealing etc. 




Therefore family, parents, schools, colleges,universities etc should be pro active in inculcating the moral values which help an individual to perform his/ her duties in an ethical ways which not only help him/her to succeed but also propel the nation to achieve the goal of happiness of all.