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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) Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khana, along with Amir Khusrau, symbolises our syncretic culture. Comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express




Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khana and Amir Khusrao represented the syncretic culture of India where native traditions intersected with Islamic culture. This is also termed as the “Ganga-Jamuni Tehjeeb“. 

Both are poets, scholars and lovers of literature and thus broke cultural barriers and appealed to wider audience easily & efficiently.


Amir Khusrao

  • Born in 1253 in Delhi during the Delhi Sultanate period, he came to be known as the “Parrot of India”.
  • He was a Sufi mystic, poet, scholar and writer. 
  • He is supposedly the founder of “Kawwali“, a Sufi devotional music form which is still popular in the subcontinent.
  • He transcended the language barriers using Hindavi & Persian words in his poems and Ghajals.
  • He is also credited with to compile a dictionary containing Persian words & their explanation in Hindavi ( a mixed form of Braj, Avadhi & Khari Boli).


Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khana

  • He was a statesman, courtier, soldier, poet, linguist, humanitarian, patron. 
  • He was one of the nauratans of the court of emperor Akbar. He served three Mughal rulers and was regarded second in hierarchy to Akbar himself.
  • His atelier (literary kaarkhana) produced Persian translations of the Ramayana and Mahabharata along with Ragmala paintings
  • As a patron of art, artists, poets, craftsmen were welcomed wherever he went — Sindh, Gujarat or the Deccan. 
  • His translation of Baburnama from Chaghtay Turki to Farsi was a singular scholarly feat.
  • He chose to be a poet in vernacular Hindi rather than courtly Persian Rahim.
  • It was the pluralistic canvas of Akbar’s durbar which enabled Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khanan to be just Rahim and not only write in Hindi but commission Hindi and Sanskrit in a Persian court. 
  • The painting of Krishna holding mount Govardhan reproduced in the book was commissioned by Akbar. The one of Hanuman holding Mount Drongiri which contained the Sanjeevni plant was commissioned by Rahim.
  • The tomb of Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khana is in Nizamuddin, Delhi.


In the synthesis both achieved, they are worthy of becoming a national icon, gives a roadmap for India’s future.


General Studies – 2


Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.  

2) The strategic balance of the South Asian region has tilted dramatically in India’s favour over the last two years. Discuss the causes of this shift and strategic implications of this shift on Pakistan. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

The Hindu


US role in South Asia

  • There is the beginning of the operationalization of the South Asia strategy that the Trump administration unveiled in August last year. 
  • Along with an expansion in US military footprint, the new strategy had a strong focus on Pakistan to make sure it abides by its commitments. 
  • The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict,Trump observed 


Changed policy on Pakistan

  • Pakistan has leveraged its centrality in US Afghanistan policy for decades now, securing billions of dollars in US civilian and military aid. That is now changing.
  • The Obama administration did manage to reduce US aid to Pakistan but it could do little to staunch the threat of terrorism in South Asia targeted at India and Afghanistan.
  • New Delhi, for its part, continued to work diplomatically toward marginalizing Pakistan globally and regionally. It had some successes but China’s protection has allowed Pakistan to avoid being sanctioned at the global level. And China once again decided to come to Pakistan’s rescue after Washington’s move. The Chinese foreign ministry responded by praising Pakistan’s counterterrorism actions


Way forward for India

  • India should also remain alert to the possibility that Washington has its own prism through which it is viewing Pakistan. 
  • And that is the United States’ continuing military footprint in Afghanistan.


Way forward for US

  • Pakistan can always retaliate in several ways: by blocking the NATO supply routes to Afghanistan, by limiting counterterror intelligence cooperation, by restricting American drone strikes, and by allowing its proxies in Afghanistan to further aggravate the situation. 
  • Washington will also have to recognize that its policy in Afghanistan cannot work if it continues with its anti-Iran and anti-Russia posturing.

Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

3) Compare and contrast China’s Social Credit System (SCS)  with India’s Aadhaar system. Comment on implications of both these systems on their respective citizens. (200 Words)

The Indian Express



  • Chinese government is developing a Social Credit System which will be in place for 1.3 billion people by 2020.According to China, it will forge a public opinion environment where keeping trust is glorious. It will strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity.
  • Aadhaar as a uniques identity 12 digit number was envisaged as the welfare state expands, a unique verifiable identity is necessary for the poorest to receive their fair share. 


Comparison between Chinese Social Credit System and Indian Aadhaar



  • Aadhaar purportedly seeks to minimise the pilferages, ghost beneficiaries and efficient supply of subsidies and services.
  • On the other hand, China’s goal is to use this memory for ensure the stability of regime and controlling people’s choices. Everything from what one reads, how one spends his time and money, to what one post on social media will affect his/her SCS score, which in turn will allow them benefits like cheaper loans, housing and easier access to travel documents. Negative posts on social media about the government or party may well reduce the score, as will interacting with people who are “untrustworthy”.


Role of private sector

  • Aadhaar is a completely state project under the independent institution UIDAI, which regulates the proper use of Aadhar afterwards for public and private services.
  • In China, the pilot programme for the SCS is being run by eight private companies, including ones affiliated to Alibaba (basically, Amazon, Paytm and Google rolled into one) and Tencet (that owns WeChat, the country’s messaging service).
  • However in both cases, the use of Aadhar by large private corporations in both countries through Big Data help them against small sectors.


Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes

4) Community involvement is missing and so is the interest towards maintaining sustainability of drinking water projects. What else hinders progress of rural drinking water scheme? Suggest measures to fix loopholes. (200 Words)

Down to Earth


India’s drinking water problem

  • By 2017, 50 per cent of all rural households (89.6 million out of 179 million) should have got piped water supply and 35 per cent of rural households should have been connected to household taps. 
  • But only 30 million households (16.77 per cent) have piped water supply connections


Government efforts

  • A series of programmes for providing drinking water to rural areas has been launched since 1969.
  • National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) was launched in 2009, replacing Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) of 1972-73, where the key principles of potability, reliability, sustainability, convenience, equity and priority to consumers’ preference were adopted. 
  • Under NRDWP, a criterion for allocation of funds to the states was introduced, which had given utmost priority to rural population and incentivised the community management of water schemes by allocating 10 per cent weightage to such initiatives


Community participation


  1. Emphasised by 12th Five Year Plan
  • The report of a working group of the 12th Five Year Plan 2012-2017 (on rural water sector) recommends drafting of a water security plan by Village Water and Sanitation Committee, VWSC for villages facing water scarcity and poor water quality. 

     2.National Rural Drinking Water Programme provisions

  • NRDWP launched in 2009 and revised in 2016, ensured ‘water safety plan’ that mandates both identification of water quality problem and also safety solution through Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC) constituted by the villagers. 


Mandate of Village Water and Sanitation Committee

  • NRDWP has made provisions for monitoring quality at both treatment plant and consumption level. Focus is more on treating water at household level to bring down burden of water-borne diseases substantially like flourosis is a common disease here due to high fluoride content of the groundwater
  • VWSC’s key work is to create action plan for ensuring drinking water security at the village, looking at available government programmes for funding and then creating a shelf of work, to meet drinking water needs, besides the overall maintenance and operation.



  • VWSC is a community organisation elected by the Gram Sabha and is a standing committee of the panchayat. 
  • At least one-third of the members of the VWSC will be women.




  1. Only 3% villages has VWSC
  • There are over 600,000 villages in India, only 18,429 have a VWSC, a rate of just three per cent, except Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat which show some initiative in this regard.

     2.Women participation low

  • Women are closely associated with water but they are not given enough voice in any meeting on water-related scarcity in the panchayat.


Other problems with water drinking programme


  1. Overdependence on groundwater
  • Presently about 85 per cent of current rural water supply schemes are based on groundwater sources, and as recharge of groundwater is primarily through adequate rainfall, the slippages of habitations to partially covered status would continue and cannot be eliminated altogether.
  • The source security of drinking water can be achieved on a 100 per cent basis only when our entire rural drinking water supply is based on water grids with water intake from perennial surface water sources is ensured throughout the year
  • There should be implementation of water harvesting structures for the sustainability of groundwater and surface water to avoid slippage. 

    2.Reduced budget

  • It is seen that the expenditure on such structures under NRDWP has reduced across years. 
  • The expenditure in 2009-10 (when NRDWP was launched) was almost five times than what had been done in 2016-17.
  • Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation data shows that the central release to the states were pretty low.
  • There is also lack of interest by the states in the rural water sector, visible in 2016 when NITI Aayog released Rs 800 crore to the states. Very few states had reported their progress on this. 
  • The money was released for the last-mile connectivity and development of the areas affected by arsenic and fluoride.

    3.All water borne diseases not covered

  • In rural water sector, water quality has not been adequately addressed in NRDWP
  • Whatever little focus is there, it is on fluoride and arsenic. 
  • Iron contamination, as found in Chhattisgarh, is not considered a water quality issue



  • It is really a time to think whether the country will reach the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of “Har Ghar Jal” by 2030 without involving the communities.


General Studies – 3


Topic: Indian economy – growth and development; 

5) The NPA crisis is product of not only the failure of banking governance, but also due to failure of institutions such as judiciary and CAG. Comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express



  • NPA crisis responsible for a sub-optimal performance of the Indian economy, even when development deficit presents enough opportunity to invest and boost the economy, is not just an outcome of one or two structural problems. 
  • Poor bank governance and fallouts of 2008 global slowdown indeed played their part, but multiple hassles of political and systematic nature are also to be equally blamed. 


  1. Judicial activism and overreach
  • Judiciary constantly interfered in the affairs of a democratically-elected govt and its conduct.
  • Judiciary cancelled all telecom licences and coal block allocations by ignoring the technical aspects and the business-acumen behind did cost the economy heavily.
  • Many investors, foreign and domestic, found their investments set to naught without establishing culpability. 

     2.CAG’s theories 

  • The theory of presumptive losses, or the theory of malafide intention propounded by CAG are too subjective and prevent govt officials as well as elected members from taking bold decisions.
  • CAG tried to intervene in the policy question grossly and held that natural resources, if allocated without competitive bidding, will amount to revenue loss.


Effects due to cancellation of telecom spectrum

  • Telecom operators starved of spectrum had to bid to survive. Capital required for investments in infrastructure went into discharging debt. Banks were not willing to lend to operators already heavily indebted and return on investment was inadequate to service mounting debt.
  • Today, the sector is under a debt of around Rs 5 lakh crore
  • Telenor, Etisalat and Sistema bled and have exited. Vodafone and Idea intend to merge and Tata Telecom has been, in a sense, gifted to Airtel. Reliance is in deep trouble, the Aircel-Reliance deal having fallen through. Reliance has no choice except to exit. So we will be left with three players: Jio, Airtel and Vodafone/Idea. Vodafone might not wish to increase its exposure any more, given the nature of our regulatory juggernaut. 
  • Allocation of spectrum encouraged competition leaving surpluses for investments in infrastructure. Auctions soured that story.


Effects due to cancellation of coal blocks

  • Power, steel, cement and ferroalloys need coal. Coal India does not produce enough to meet domestic demand. 
  • States seek investments in these sectors but without firm and adequate supply of coal, stakeholders are hesitant to invest. All the allocations were cancelled by the Supreme Court which found fault with both extant procedures for allocations made on the recommendations of the screening committee set up by the Union, and in law, in the absence of amendments to the Coal Nationalisation Act. 
  • At the auction which followed, the results were disastrous. Many failed and some of those who succeeded were targeted; their bids were cancelled for obviously political reasons. Over a hundred coal blocks have yet to be put up for auction. The investment climate being, to say the least, tepid, there are hardly any takers. Qua some auctions, the bid parameters were sought to be changed midstream. 
  • Most of the auctions were mired in litigation for different reasons. Output suffered. Import, the only alternative source of coal, was at the time an expensive option, impacting competition. 
  • In an emerging economy, if there is no demand for power, the economy suffers from a development paralysis. Auction of coal blocks and its consequences contributed to the NPAs.




Government in a democracy should also be seen as a professional body besides a moral body. Attaching moral responsibilities to government everywhere reduces its efficiency multi-folds as economic decisions often need more professional approach than moral alone. To gauge policies with the lens of moral duties alone is naive and extra-cautious. Hence, we have a crisis before us today where we need development and have resources , yet we are not able to meet it.

Topic: Economics of animal rearing 

6) Changing infrastructure, services and the changing economics contributed to the milk revolution more than the genetic import. Discuss. (200 Words)

Down to Earth



  • During the past three years, India has outpaced the global milk production with an annual growth rate of 5.53% compared with the 2.09% achieved globally.
  • India has been the largest producer of milk in the world for the past 15 years.
  • Milk production, which was around 17-22 million tonnes in the 1960s, has increased to 163.7 million tonnes in 2016-17. Particularly, it has increased by 19% during 2016-17 in comparison to the year 2013-14. 
  • Similarly, per capita availability of milk has increased from 307 grams in 2013-14 to 351 grams in the year 2016-17. The income of dairy farmers increased by 23.77% in 2014-17 compared to 2011-14.


Changing economics


  1. Decreasing landholding size
  • With the average landholding size reducing consistently over the years and water scarcity problems growing, the small and marginal farmers increasingly prefer dairy farming. 
  • This is because milk production is not land and water dependent when done on a small scale, since farmers can buy both green and dry fodder from within the village or from outside.

     2.Increasing demand for milk due to increased per capita incomes

  • The price of milk has been rising in India during the past one decade owing to rapidly growing demand for milk and other dairy products as a result of rising per capita income. 
  • In fact, the wholesale price index (WPI) of milk has been increasing at an average rate of 10.5% since April 2006.
  • There has been increasing demand for fresh milk from small towns and cities that are in close vicinity of rural areas


Changing infrastructure


  1. Storage and marketing infrastructure
  • Procurement and marketing infrastructure for milk has remarkably improved over the years throughout the country, with dairy cooperatives and private dairies, along with remarkable improvement in dairy technology. 



Productivity of animals a lesser factor

  • Over 95 per cent of India’s milk production comes from two species namely cattle and buffalo. 
  • The Indian indigenous varieties of cows (desi cows) are known to have less milking potential than exotic cows like Jersey or Holstein Friesian


  1. Focus on cross breeding than genetic import
  • However, the exotic breeds are unable to cope with the Indian climate, diseases and other conditions. 
  • Recognising this, the government promoted a systematic cross breeding programme. The crossbreeds are known to have milk yields substantially higher than the desi cows and are also much more resilient than the exotic pure breeds. 
  • Although Artificial Insemination (AI) was first performed in India in 1939, it was intensified in the third phase of Operation Flood starting in 1985.


Operation Flood

  • Operation Flood was started by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in the 1970s. 
  • The objective of this programme was to create a nation-wide milk grid. 
  • The bedrock of Operation Flood has been village milk producers’ cooperatives, which procure milk and provide inputs and services, making modern management and technology available to members. Unique to cows was the AI programme with exotic semen. 
  • As a strategy to increase milk yield crossbreeding with exotic cows like Jersey, Holstein Friesian was aggressively promoted. The breed improvement drive was so aggressive that in states like Kerala, mandatory castration of desi bulls was an enforced law. 
  • Although the proportion of crossbred cows is only 21 per cent their total share in cow’s milk is 59.15 per cent.

Topic: Conservation

7) Laws such as the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act and the purpose of national parks seems to be in contradiction when it comes to conservation of ecosystem and protection of livelihood of forest people. Comment. (200 Words)





Laws such as scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers ( recognition of rights) and the wildlife protection act ( for national parks establishment) are found to be contradictory to each other. 

On one hand where the former is recognising the legitimate rights of scheduled tribes who are living there since generations and attempts to empower them with devolution of powers from forest department to Gram sabha. 

On the other hand wildlife protection act which seeks for the establishment of the national parks and other reservations to conserve ecosystem prevent tribals from accessing the rights ascertained by the former.

There are several contradictions in the implementation of the acts


  1. Forest rights
  • The former act recognises the rights of tribal communities and assures them that by allowing them NISTRA, habitation and self cultivable land. 
  • The latter focuses primarily on the health of the ecosystem and biodiversity.

     2.Freedom to navigate and trade 

  • The former allows forest dwellers to transport minor produce with appropriate transport. 
  • Wildlife protection act restricts the movement and use and disposal of resources in the defined sensitive area

     3.Decentralisation vs centralisation 

  • The former relies heavily on gram sabha committee and give them right to even modify management plans of forest after consultation . 
  • The latter depends more on state administration to bring any change in plans.




Forest Rights Act 2006 was not applicable to national parks and sanctuaries as they were considered sensitive, thereby restricting rights of forest dwellers. But the government amended rules of FRA in 2012, allowing tribals to claim certain forest rights in National Parks andWildlife sanctuaries subject to verification by forest rights committee in consultation with forest rights department. 


Though the content of both acts seems to be contradicting but the contextual study of the acts presents a much clearer picture and their relative importance to each other .for eg :- every forest dweller area is not chosen fit for a national park or sanctuary . It can be said that both acts are accomodative in nature and promotes human rights along with sustainable environment .



General Studies – 4


Topic:   Dimensions of ethics




These words were asserted by Albert Einstein, who is the harbinger of Theory of Relativity in Physics. According to this theory, rules governing the nature of physics change based on references of time and place. 


Relativity in ethics on the basis of moral science can be examined as follows –


  1. Universality of ethics
  • The ethics are the cornerstone in a person’s or community’s life for the right behaviour and thus their compromise is sin.
  • The humane dimension of ethics emphasises on this notion specifically, against even Physics which is relative only in dimensions not perceivable normally.

     2.Uniform behavior 

  • Our behaviour with each person should be guided by the same ethical principles. We cannot let our prejudices or biases dictate our behaviour.
  • No matter what the status of a person, the behaviour should not change with him/her.

     3.Ethical principles uncompromisable

  • There are some basic fundamental qualities which must be protected in every time and place. They are so sacred that no compromise can be made on them, no matter the circumtrances. 
  • For example, decency of human life, justice, etc. cannot be compromised.


However, relativity in ethics cannot be absolutely negated.


  1. Ethical perspectives culture based 
  • What may seem ethical to one may not be ethical to someone else. 
  • For eg there are many cannibal tribes in the world. For them eating humans involve no ethical issues but for others it is ethically wrong. 

     2.Principle changed over time

  • What is ethical is decided by humans themselves and it has changed over time.
  • For example slacery was defended by Aristotle in 3rd century BC, but it is universally condemned now.