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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 ; Indian culture

1) It seems that the three – fraternity, liberty and equality – can coexist only if one follows the way of the Buddha. Comment on the Dr Ambedkar’s statement. (150 Words)

The Wire




  • Ambhedkar pointed out that exploitation had many dimensions ,economic, social, religious and political. In the Indian context social or political exploitation is no less than economic
  • As a relentless champion of democracy and human rights he was against dictator ship and said that society should aim at laying a new foundation on the basis of equality ,liberty and fraternity. He believed in democratic and constitutional provisions for social transformation.
  • According to him, the foundation of Hindu religion is based on Chaturvarna – the concept of inequality, injustice, discrimination and exploitation. But the religion he gave the depressed Classes is Buddhism, which is based on universal brotherhood, justice, equality and fraternity and to serve the humanity.
  • According to Ambhedkar ,in Buddha’s philosophy, Liberty and Equality had a place only as a safeguard against the breaches of liberty and equality; but he did not believe that the law can be a guarantee for breaches of liberty or equality. He gave the highest place to fraternity as the only real safeguard against the denial of liberty or equality or fraternity which was another name for brotherhood or humanity, which was again another name for religion.
  • Buddhism teaches Pragna (understanding as against superstitation and supernaturalism), Karuna (compassion), and Samata (equality).This is what man wants for a good and happy life.
  • Buddhism alone can solve the problem of social and natural suffering. He wanted a religion that was clearly worldly in the sense of providing a morality that could have the potential of reconstructing the world on the basis of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
  • The centre of Buddha’s Dhamma is man; its base is morality, and its aim is the wellbeing of mankind. The way of the Buddha is good for the downtrodden, good for the country, and good for mankind.
  • To follow this path means freedom from slavery, freedom from caste rigidity and freedom from graded inequality as it allows all to intermingle freely in all walks of life.
  • According to Ambhedkar, society has been aiming to lay a new foundation and was summarised by the French revolution in three words, fraternity ,liberty and equality. But it failed to produce equality. Equality will be of no value without fraternity or liberty.
  • Ambedkar points out that Buddhism also emphasizes on other aspects, namely, social freedom, intellectual freedom, economic freedom and political freedom.
  • To sum up, Buddhism is ideally suited for the purpose of egalitarian justice as it is based on the concept of liberty, equality and fraternity. It can elevate the downtrodden, oppressed and suppressed sections to the highest level and give them social equality along with spiritual solace what they want.

General Studies – 2


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

2) The Delhi Declaration, announced during the recent ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit, is significant for addressing India’s various security concerns. Do you think such declarations will have tangible outcomes? Critically analyse. (250 Words)

The Hindu

The Indian Express


  • ASEAN–India commemorative summit recently presented Delhi declaration which would largely cater to the needs of Indian security to marks 25 years of diplomatic partnership.

Important points of Delhi Declaration (Extra)

  • Terrorism:
    • Deepen cooperation in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, violent extremism and radicalisation through information sharing, law enforcement cooperation and capacity building under existing ASEAN-led mechanism.
  • Cyber-security:
    • Strengthen cooperation on cyber-security capacity building and policy coordination, including through supporting the implementation of ASEAN Cyber security Cooperation Strategy.
  • Transnational crimes:
    • It called for strengthening cooperation to combat other transnational crimes, including people smuggling, trafficking in persons, illicit drug trafficking, cyber crime, and piracy and armed robbery against ships.
  • Political and Security Cooperation:
    • Reaffirm importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability ,maritime safety and security, freedom of navigation and over flight in the region.
    • It calls for other lawful uses of seas and to promote peaceful resolution of disputes, in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea((UNCLOS)
  • Maritime cooperation:
    • It emphasised need to promote maritime transport cooperation and encourage potential private sector participation in development of seaports, maritime logistics network and maritime services in order to create greater efficient linkages and continue discussions on these priority areas.

Significant for addressing India’s security concerns because:-

  • India and 10 ASEAN countries for first time mentioned cross-border movement of terrorists and made commitment to counter the challenge through close cooperation as part of the declaration.
  • This declaration sought a comprehensive approach to combat terrorism through close cooperation by disrupting and countering terrorists, terrorist groups and networks, including by countering cross border movement of terrorists and foreign terrorist fighters and misuse of Internet including social media by terror entities.
  • For India, this emboldens Delhi’s efforts to list JEM chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, and pressure Pakistan to take action against Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa founder Hafiz Saeed.
  • This assumes significance as India has always accused Pakistan of cross-border terrorism and many ASEAN countries have been victims of terrorist attacks in Indonesia and Thailand among others.
  • Countries would deepen cooperation in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, violent extremism and radicalisation through information sharing, law enforcement cooperation and capacity building under the existing ASEAN-led mechanisms.
  • They would strengthen cooperation to combat other transnational crimes, including people smuggling, trafficking in persons, illicit drug trafficking, cybercrime, and piracy and armed robbery against ships.
  • More cooperation for Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the United Nations is gained.
  • It also agreed to uphold freedom in the maritime domain.

Yes, it will provide tangible outcomes:-

  • It would also ensure tackling of border management and insurgency from cross border of Myanmar ensuring safety of North eastern states.
  • In the Philippine context, it goes both ways. If development leads to peace, peace leads to development. The World Bank said in a report in October that the development of strife-torn Mindanao is key to the country’s long-term economic goal
  • Maritime cooperation can lead to freedom of navigation, anti piracy initiatives as well.
  • India can deal with the golden triangle organised crime issue, effectively curb drug trafickking in the region.
  • It will put pressure at international level to take measures and tackle terrorism effectively.

No, it will not provide tangible outcomes:-

  • ASEAN policy-making is slow in its production of legislation as well as its ratification process and implementation of measures.
  • Some of the ASEAN members are part of China’s one road one belt initiative so its not sure to what extent they would put pressure on Pakistan and even China.
  • When the ASEAN convention on counter terrorism was signed in 2007, long after the idea for a regional counter-terrorism treaty emerged, Southeast Asia was one of the last regions of the world to adopt such legislation.
  • ASEAN has failed to impose itself as the dominant forum for regional counter-terrorism policymaking as regional states tend to prefer using bilateral arrangements.
  • India’s terrorism concerns largely emanate from western borders so this declaration does not deal with that.
  • Necessary infrastructure to uphold security is lagging in north east so only information sharing might not help.
  • Even with this declaration India might not be able to put pressure on Pakistan as UN designated terrorist Hafeez saeed is still roaming free.
  • Chinese dominance in Indo pacific region :
    • Countries are still divided on ideological lines with respect to maritime cooperation.
  • Southeast Asia’s counter- terrorism landscape is highly complex and asymmetrical in terms of member states’ respective counter-terrorist capabilities, efficiency and involvement in transnational cooperation.
    • These gaps can be exploited by terrorists, notably for the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons, made evident by the presence of Uyghurs and other non- Southeast Asian militants in Mindanao.

Way forward/suggestions:-

  • In light of the extensive use of modern communication technologies by terrorists, individuals vulnerable to extremist discourse tend to radicalise or self-radicalise online. Any strategy aimed at disrupting radicalisation, recruitment and recidivism by former offenders must therefore include an online aspect. But states have so far experienced difficulty in dealing with online propaganda.
  • The “build community” approach to counterinsurgency is something widely shared by experts and world leaders
  • There is a need for developing more infrastructure with integrated border management at the borders especially of Indian Myanmar
  • Technological capabilities can be increased along the border to reduce loss of human life
  • More exercises and work shops can be initiated by countries for greater cooperation in upholding Delhi declaration.


Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States 

3) In the light of the recent events, critically comment on significance of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the S. Rangarajan v. P. Jagjivan Ram (1989) case. (150 Words)

The Hindu



Background :-

  • The recent attack on a bus carrying schoolchildren in the midst of Padmaavat protests and the failure of some state governments across north India to control law and order leads to an important judgement by Supreme court.

Supreme court verdict :-

  • Rangarajan v. P. Jagjivan Ram (1989):-
  • The Tamil Nadu government had stopped the film’s release, fearing very serious law and order problems across the state. The supreme court held that the government cannot cite the possibility of violence to prohibit a film’s screening.The State cannot plead its inability to handle the hostile audience problem. It is its obligatory duty to prevent it and protect the freedom of expression.


  • If the film is unobjectionable and cannot constitutionally be restricted under Article 19 (2), freedom of expression cannot be suppressed on account of threat of demonstration and processions or threats of violence. That would tantamount to negation of the rule of law and a surrender to blackmail and intimidation.
  • It is the duty of the State to protect the freedom of expression since it is a liberty guaranteed against the State. The state cannot be permitted to abdicate its constitutional responsibility to protect and promote the creative arts.
  • Everyone has a fundamental right to form his own opinion on any issue of general concern. He can form and inform by any legitimate means. Movie is the legitimate and the most important medium in which issues of general concern can be treated.
  • The court also held that on the issue of balancing the two interests, the commitment of freedom of expression demands that it cannot be suppressed unless the situations created by allowing the freedom are pressing and the community interest is endangered
  • The ban on films which criticise the nation clearly reveals our immaturity in accepting criticism
  • Bans on films which raise modern issues of the condition of women in India such as Water, or on issues of sexual identity or fluidity such as Gulabi Aaina or Fire should not be banned especially when the question of the rights of the LGBT community is being debated as a constitutional issue, and as part of human rights.
  • Such prohibitions adversely affect democracy and the rule of law.
  • Unreasonable restrictions at the behest of fringe groups deprive the majority of the people of their right to see, and to enjoy good literature and good art. Thus, it becomes the tyranny of the minority over the rights of the majority.
  • In the age of information technology, such bans are farcical. For the proscribed films are readily available on the Internet. They can be downloaded and enjoyed. Bans on films thus motivate people to break the law and to dilute the rule of law.
  • One of the reasons for democracy to survive in India is the ability of Indians to accept diverse thoughts and philosophies, cultures and lifestyles within their fold. This should not be compromised .
  • Extra-constitutional bans restrict the free flow of thoughts, of imagination, of creativity. Such bans are thus against the constitutional philosophy, against the rule of law, against democracy, and against national interest


  • Despite the power of regulating the content of films being vested in the Censor, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has often failed in the task entrusted to it.So with already huge backlog of cases ,Supreme has to step in as the saviour of freedom, safeguarding different forms of expression against the censorial instincts of the state.
  • State governments failure to uphold freedom of expression.


  • The winds of imagination and thoughts, of colours and creativity should be permitted to blow throughout the nation lest the country be imprisoned in an iron curtain. 

Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources

4) Examine the features and significance of the NCTE (Amendment) Bill, 2017. (150 Words)

The Hindu


  • The Bill amends the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993. 
  • The Act establishes the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE). 
  • The NCTE plans and co-ordinates the development of the teacher education system throughout the country.  It also ensures the maintenance of norms and standards in the teacher education system.

Features of the bill:-

  • Retrospective recognition of certain teacher education institutions: 
    • The Bill seeks to grant retrospective recognition to institutions
      • (i) notified by the central government
      • (ii) funded by the central government or state/union territory government
      • (iii) which do not have recognition under the Act
      • (iv) which must have offered teacher education courses on or after the establishment of the NCTE until the academic year 2017-2018.
    • Retrospective permission to start new courses:
      • The Bill also seeks to grant retrospective permission to start a new course or training in teacher education to institutions:
        • (i) notified by the central government
        • (ii) funded by the central government or state/union territory government
        • (iii) which have satisfied certain conditions required for the conduct of a new course or training in teacher education
        • (iv) which must have offered teacher education courses on or after the establishment of the NCTE until the academic year 2017-2018.


  • To make those studying in institutions imparting teacher training courses and not gotten enough recognition from NCTE, or those who have graduated from such institutions, eligible for teachers’ jobs and relieve them of unemployment burden
  • This would improve the teacher pupil ratio which is lagging in India
  • Quality of teachers will increase which will lead to quality of education as well.
  • These teachers equipped with innovative methods of teaching would be able to tackle the loopholes of the education sector in India.


Topic:  Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; 

5) Well-designed digital systems and government websites are crucial for e-governance to succeed. In the regard, critically evaluate design and readiness of government websites in furthering the objectives of e-governance. (250 Words)



  • E-governance and design of government websites affects how, and how much, people use it, and how much they trust it. 
  • If a government cannot implement reasonably high-quality digital governance systems especially the websites through which government actions are visible to the public, affects both basic governance quality and citizens and businesses trust in the government’s ability to govern effectively.

Measures taken:-

  • There are many measures taken by the both centre and state governments regarding e-governance to make delivery of services to the public more efficient
  • Digital India programme aims to digitize governance on a massive scale.
    • Three of its pillars explicitly focus on citizen-government interaction:
      • Integration of services and platforms making it easier for people to carry out tasks like accessing school certificates or making changes in Aadhaar information
      • Electronic delivery of services, whether it’s for farmers or healthcare
      • Giving people digital access to government information.



  • When these systems don’t work smoothly or websites don’t make it easy to access information, it is the equivalent of denying the promised services or transparency. This doesn’t just cost citizens. It costs governments as well. 
  • Most of the websites are not GIGW(Guidelines for Indian Government websites, 2009 by NIC) compliant. In 2016, the Standardization Testing and Quality Certification Directorate (STQCD) audited 957 government websites and found that only 31 were fully compliant.
  • In private companies user complaints are taken as valuable feedback for improvement. Government departments have no such compulsion so there is no scope for improvement
  • There is lack of accountability. GIGW compliance is based on departmental self-assessment
  • In USA, the popularity hit to former US president Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform when its registration websites crashed on roll-out.
  • Poor internet access and speeds, lack of literacy, a large number of languages, low awareness are also issues which hamper the effective service delivery of e-services in India.


  • Websites should be more Compliable to standardisation.
  • External audits by NIC and increase of physical infrastructure to increase reach of internet services is necessary.
  • There is a need for bridging the digital gap in rural areas .

Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources

6) With the secular decline of the rural economy, the belief has gained ground that education will be the road out of a scrimped and precarious livelihood on the farm. Considering the quality of education that rural children get either from public or private schools, do you think education will enable them to find alternative livelihoods? Critically comment. (250 Words)



  • There are many first generation literates especially in the rural economy of India who are encouraged to get educated to avoid the hardships of farming .
  • According to ASER data , only a little over 25% of all rural 18-year-olds were attending schools in 2001 .By 2016, the share of 18-year-olds in schools and colleges had gone up to 70%. So There is a rapidly rising trend of education in rural India.

 Yes, education will enable them to get jobs /livelihoods:-

  • Earlier girls role was confined to households but based on the latest ASER report it is visible that girls have closed the gap with boys in rural areas: at age 14, 94% of girls and 95% of boys are enrolled in school; by age 18, 68% of girls and 72% of boys are still in school, a wholesale improvement on the proportions of a generation earlier.
  • Education for these people is very significant in reducing the ascriptive tendencies which dominate the rural areas be it caste discrimination, communal clashes, to achieve social mobility
  • Education will provide them opportunities for rural development as well and improve the standard of living.
  • There have been instances of many scientists and leaders from Indian rural areas like Kalam who became one of the most respected scientists in India.
  • Education for rural people with a focus on children is crucial to achieving both an inclusive and equitable education for all and the sustainable development goals of eradicating extreme poverty, hunger, and promoting gender equity


  • According to the latest ASER report, the quality of education in rural schools is dismal. Among 14-18-year-olds only 43% could solve a class IV mathematics problem. So  problem of low learning outcomes was not resolved by remaining in school.
  • This younger generation will be graduating from high schools and colleges but India is already facing unemployment crisis and jobless growth making only the ones with best quality to be employed .So these children might lose the race.
  • Rural private schools perform no better than rural public schools in terms of learning outcomes.
  • These inequities in education directly threaten rural development, and consequently, inclusive equitable development of the country.
  • Digital literacy is also very less in rural areas to take advantage of online classrooms.

Way ahead:-

  • Teacher quality need to be improved and passage of NCTC bill will bring that.
    • There are few rewards for being a good teacher and few punishments for being a careless one. That is because of faulty designs which need to repaired or replaced with more effective and accountable governance systems.
  • Mobile science laboratories and model learning centres: will go a long way in shaping careers and the future of rural children whose chances of accessing a standard laboratory or even perform an experiment are often time a far dream.
  • Options like distance learning, non-formal educational programmes, school feeding programmes, strengthening early childhood care and education, establishing feeder schools and clusters, promoting multi-grade classrooms, reforming teacher recruitment and deployment policies and promoting vocational education for rural development and sustainable livelihoods are necessary.
  • Enactment of policies purposefully targeting improvement of education and training of rural populations, strengthening existing policies, rigorous monitoring and coordination of the effectiveness of policy implementation, and continuous improvement of capacities, human, institutional and infrastructural, as well as more investment in the education sector, are all necessary.
  • Integration of education and training strategies within all aspects of sustainable rural development projects, through multi-sector and interdisciplinary plans of action: This means creating new partnerships between people working in agriculture and rural development with those working in education. This initiative should involve an inter-agency approach to facilitate targets and coordinated actions for education in rural areas.
  • Raising the quality of education in rural schools is essential, and a nationwide dialogue is necessary for charting the way ahead.

General Studies – 3


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

7) Lately India is witnessing dismal growth in the manufacturing sector. What measures should be taken to revive manufacturing sector? Examine. (250 Words)



  • The projected growth at 6.5% in 2017-18 is mainly due to high growth in services in the next two quarters and manufacturing growth may remain subdued.

 Reasons for dismal performance of manufacturing sector are:

  • Banks are reluctant to offer credit for industrial activity
  • Excess rigidity in the formal manufacturing labour market and rigid labour regulations has created disincentives for employers to create jobs
  • Industrial Disputes Act has lowered employment in organized manufacturing by about 25% (World Bank Study)
  • Stringent employment protection legislation has pushed employers towards more capital intensive modes of production, than warranted by existing costs of labour relative to capital.
    Therefore, the nature of the trade regime in India is still biased towards capital-intensive manufacturing.
  • The labour intensity of MSME is four times higher than that of large firms but they have poor access to credit and they are plagued by many serious problems which has limited there growth potential.

Measures needed:-

  • Skill development :-
    • Building skills among the large population of minimally educated workforce
  • Enacting laws that focus on improving workforce relations together with greater flexibility,
  • Improving infrastructure including development of world class clusters
  • Reducing uncertainties and providing stability and predictability in regulatory, legal, environmental, taxation areas
  • Providing access to capital at competitive prices
  • Importance to electronic sector :-
    • An already conceived programme on silicon manufacturing for fabrication must be revived. This will ensure competitive domestic production of chips, leading to a reduction in imports of electronic items .
    • Focus on Electric vehicles is necessary .
  • Items for which merchandise export incentive scheme (MEIS) was not granted so far may be revisited
  • Attention may be focused on assistance to states for export-related infrastructure through assistance to states for development of export infrastructure and allied activities (ASIDE) type schemes
  • Financial and technical assistance to export industries to improve their standards is needed.
  • The inverted duty structure must be attended to and negotiations of items getting hit under current free trade agreements (FTAs) should be focused upon.
  • Banking system:-
    • The autonomy of bank management and enhancement of banks professional capabilities is needed.
  • Increased use of technology to reduce costs, improved whistle blower system is also necessary.


General Studies – 4

Topic:  Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions
a) Do you think old aged people who wish to die should be allowed to undergo euthanasia? Justify.
b) Discuss the ethical issues involved in administering euthanasia. (250 Words)



Euthanasia is one of the issues that has been the subject of intense debate over time. It has been a pertinent issue in human rights discourse as it also affects ethical and legal issues pertaining to patients and health care providers .

  1. a)  Those in favour of euthanasia argue that a civilised society should allow people to die in dignity and without pain, and should allow others to help them do so if they cannot manage it on their own.

They say that our bodies are our own, and we should be allowed to do what we want with them. So it’s wrong to make anyone live longer than they want. In fact making people go on living when they don’t want to violates their personal freedom and human rights .It’s immoral, they say to force people to continue living in suffering and pain.

People  are against euthanasia because they consider it a murder. Those who rejected euthanasia fear it may become a means of health care cost containment, and become non voluntary and against the rights and value of human life.


 Those people defend their opinions through emphasizing the respect of human dignity through searching for solutions for cost containment, not through killing patients because of their suffering, and should identify the reasons that make a patient’s request for euthanasia and find solutions to enhance their quality of life


If euthanasia is permitted without the necessity to abide by government regulations and laws, people will use it as a means to get out of even simpler troubles.Other opponents fear that if euthanasia was made legal, the laws regulating it would be abused, and people would be killed who didn’t really want to die.


Even countries where active euthanasia is legal, the requisite is that the patient must have a terminally ill disease. So the old couple should not be allowed but at the same time the reasons need to be probed behind their apathy for life and be solved.


B)Euthanasia raises a number of agonising moral dilemmas:-

  • Is it ever right to end the life of a terminally ill patient who is undergoing severe pain and suffering?
  • Under what circumstances can euthanasia be justifiable, if at all?
  • Is there a moral difference between killing someone and letting them die?
  • Can state engage in actively killing someone which is the case in active euthanasia?