Print Friendly, PDF & Email



NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.

General Studies – 1


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

1) How did Mahatma Gandhiji’s death affect the course of young India? Critically analyse. (250 Words)

The Wire


  • Mahatma Gandhi’s reputation is one of the most sensible, humane and farsighted leaders in history.
  • His ideas of non violence, tolerance for all religions etc are still largely applicable in India and the world.



  • His death led to the end of communal riots and communities accepted living together
  • Reservation for socio economic backward communities was given .
  • Focus on education increased
  • Cottage industries and MSME were established and agriculture was an important component in the first five year plan.
  • India followed policy of non alignment ,Panchsheel were based on Gandhian ideals itself.
  • Indian constitution was inspired by his teachings as many directive principles have Gandhian socialist ideals.
  • The shock of Gandhi assassination strengthened role of secularists in the government


  • Over a period of time the divisive forces which were there before and during independence came strong like the Khalistan movement, demands for secession, Communal riots, regionalistic tendencies started with demand for separate states etc
  • Also Congress lost its base as a social entity and stayed predominantly as a political entity
  • The values of truth enshrined by Gandhi reduced and corrupt behaviour largely took over the Indian society along with intolerance
  • Failure to focus on agriculture led to rise in unemployment of the youth.
  • Decentralisation and devolution of powers which was emphasized by Gandhi became a reality much later.
  • His idea of non violence deteriorated over the period of time and India finally became a state with nuclear weapons.


  • Gandhi proved that one man has the power to take on an empire, using both ethics and intelligence.
  • Other peaceful resisters such as Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960s civil rights movement and Tibet’s Dalai Lama have emulated his methods in years since, shaking up the dynamic of world politics in the process.

General Studies – 2

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

2) Examine the merits and demerits of conducting simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and Assembly. (250 Words)

The Indian Express



  • The current government time and again supported the idea of holding simultaneous elections to panchayats, urban local bodies, states and Parliament..


  • Parties and workers spending too much time and money in electioneering, can make use of the time for social work and to take people-oriented programmes to the grassroots.
  • To overcome the “policy paralysis and governance deficit” associated with imposition of the Model Code of Conduct at election time which leads to putting on hold all developmental activities on that area and also affects the bureaucracy’s functioning.
  • Expenditure can be reduced by conducting simultaneous elections.
  • Law Commission in its 170threport {Reform of Electoral Laws (1999)} suggested holding simultaneous elections at all levels for stability in governance.
  • Will limit the disruption to normal public life associated with elections, such as increased traffic and noise pollution
  • It is felt that crucial manpower is often deployed on election duties for a prolonged period of time. If simultaneous elections are held, then this manpower would be made available for other important tasks.
  • For instance for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which was held along with 4 state assemblies saw the deployment of 1077 in situ companies and 1349 mobile companies of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
  • During frequent elections there is increase in “vices” such as communalism, casteism, corruption and crony capitalism.

The idea is good in principle but there are several practical difficulties as follows:

  • Not all voters are highly educated to know who to vote for. They may get confused and may not know whether they are voting for candidates contesting assembly or parliament elections.
    • There is a 77% chance that the Indian voter will vote for the same party for both the state and centre, when elections are held simultaneously.

  • Frequent elections bring the politicians back to the voters, create jobs and prevent the mixing of local and national issues in the minds of the voters.
  • The issue of logistics and requirement of security personnel, election and administrative officials needs to be considered. There is a dearth of enough security and administrative officials to conduct simultaneous free and fair elections throughout the country in one go.
  • Recently, the elections in West Bengal were held in 6 phases mainly due to the security concerns. If this is situation, holding simultaneous elections for all the states may need to be held in many phases stretching over many months.
  • Questions like these arise whether
    • India need to introduce fixed terms for the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies,
    • How would simultaneity be preserved if there was a vote of no confidence, or application of President’s Rule in a state, necessitating fresh elections at one level but not another.
  • Local and national issues will get mixed up distorting priorities.

Other observations:-

  • Evidence from Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Germany, the US and Europe supports the idea that elections that are held simultaneously produce greater alignment between national and regional election outcomes.
  • There is also evidence that simultaneous elections contribute over time to the nationalisation of party systems

Way forward:-

  • Standing committee recommended a cycle of elections, according to which elections to some legislative assemblies whose term end within six months to one year before or after the election date could be held during the midterm of Lok Sabha .For the rest of the states, elections could be held along with the general elections to Lok Sabha.
  • Cost can be brought under control by ensuring that the legal cap on expenditure of candidates is followed by all parties 


Before implementing it there is a need to weigh the pros and cons of concurrent elections in a rational way.

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

3) What are the reasons for high dropout rates of girls in Indian schools? Discuss the solutions to reduce high dropouts among girls. (250 Words)



Background :-

  • Despite India almost reaching universal enrolment in primary education ,universal girl education is still a distant dream.

 Reasons for high dropout rates of girls in Indian schools:-

  • Higher expectations of domesticity from girls like helping with household chores and sibling care, early marriage, sharing domestic responsibilities with parents and so on
  • Safety concerns boys teasing and taunting girls travelling to and from school
  • Infrastructural barriers such as lack of toilets for girls in schools
  • Low aspirations related to girls’ education also lead to them dropping out.
  • Flagship programmes such as the one-stop centres scheme focus on community participation and require the victims to reach out to various agencies. Such programmes are likely to fail if the victims and their families are reluctant to report cases of violence
  • Additional problems arise when the girl reaches secondary education.
    • According to the recent ASER 2017 findings while on average the difference between enrolment levels of boys and girls at age 14 are declining, by 18, when the state doesn’t enforce compulsory education through the RTE Act, 32% girls are not enrolled compared to 28% boys.
    • Bridging mechanisms for out-of-school children exist at the elementary stage, but are absent for secondary education. Hence girls find it difficult to re-enter education once they have dropped out. 
    • Distance is a big contributing factor to girls dropping out especially for secondary education as secondary schools are less in rural areas.
    • Paying fee:-
      • At the elementary level, only 5% listed in the official statistics are private unaided schools while 40% schools offering secondary or higher secondary grades are private, unaided institutions which charge hefty fees. This stacks the odds against girls education and leads to dropouts.


  • The recent recommendation by the Central Advisory Board of Education sub-committee to extend Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalayas till class XII and the plans by MHRD to develop action plans for girls’ education are welcome.
  • The RTE Act need to be amended to extend it to include secondary education.
  • It is critical to have a mechanism to identify girls at risk of dropping out and implement mechanisms to bring those that have dropped out back into school. 
  • For dropouts, the provision for “special training”, and accelerated learning opportunities for out of school children should be introduced at the secondary level, but the implementation of this provision at the elementary level should also be strengthened. 
  • Aser suggests that the predominant reason for girls dropping out is family constraints (32.5% at secondary level). Mechanisms for dialogue with parents and community are critical to change social norms towards girls’ education. 
  • To reduce distance issue, initiatives like distribution of bicycles to girls and the hiring of escorts (Tola Sevaks in Bihar) make schooling safer and enhances retention of girls.
  • School infrastructure needs to improve through availability of usable toilets.
    • Kerala is the first state to provide free sanitary napkins in schools and other states should follow suit given the robust evidence of adolescent girls’ absence during their periods.
  • It is particularly important to ensure that all teachers are trained and sensitized to gender concerns.
  • Stronger efforts are needed to enhance the agency of girls themselves to strengthen their self-esteem, challenge gender bias and provide leadership.
  • The recent leadership curriculum in Uttar Pradesh is a positive example in building girls confidence, negotiation skills, organizational abilities and enabling girls to take decisions for themselves.


  • The government’s slogan of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao cannot be achieved without a fundamental right to secondary education backed by measures that make free quality public education institutions available and accessible for all, especially girls.
  • While it is important to work with and empower girls, it is also critical to engage with boys to create a better, more gender equal tomorrow.


General Studies – 3

Topic:    Economics of animal rearing

4) It is found that India’s poultry farms are spawning global superbugs. Discuss the causes and consequences. (250 Words)

The Hindu



  • India has been called the epicentre of the global drug resistance crisis. A combination of factors have come together to hasten the spread of superbugs.

Causes :-

  • Unregulated sale of the drugs for human or animal use accessed without prescription or diagnosis has led to unchecked consumption and misuse.
    • Of tested birds destined for meat consumption, 87% had the super germs based on a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
  • Farms supplying India’s biggest poultry-meat companies routinely use medicines classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “critically important” as a way of staving off disease or to make them gain weight faster, so that more can be grown each year for greater profit.
    • One drug typically given this way is Colistin which is used to treat patients critically ill with infections that have become resistant to nearly all other drugs.
  • In India, the poultry industry is booming. The amount of chicken produced doubled between 2003 and 2013. Chicken is popular because it can be eaten by people of all religions and affordable. Experts predict the rising demand for protein will cause a surge in antibiotic use in livestock. India’s consumption of antibiotics in chickens is predicted to rise fivefold by 2030 compared to 2010.
  • Lax regulation:-
    • In 2014 the Agriculture Ministry sent an advisory letter to all State governments asking them to review the use of antibiotic growth promoters. However, the directive was non-binding, and none have introduced legislation to date.
    • Even the guidelines of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)on poultry waste management do not adequately address ABR.
  • In India, at least five animal pharmaceutical companies are openly advertising products containing Colistin as growth promoters.
  • In Europe, Colistin is available to farmers only if prescribed by a vet for the treatment of sick animals. In India there is no such thing.
  • India, level of awareness regarding antibiotic resistance is very low.
  • Other causes (General):-
    • India has a large population, some of whom defecate in the open, and waste is often poured untreated into rivers and lakes, creating the perfect conditions for bugs to share resistance.
    • Poor sanitation means people often catch infections that require treatment with antibiotics.
    • Overuse of the drugs in hospitals has created antibiotic resistant hotspots, and poor infection control means these bugs spread within the hospital and into the community.
    • Some of the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing antibiotics have also failed to dispose of antibiotic-ridden waste properly, fuelling the spread of resistant bugs in the environment.

Consequences :-

  • Huge ramifications for the nation’s food supply.
  • The continued use of antibiotics in farming increases the chance of bacteria developing resistance to them, leaving them useless when treating patients.
  • Drug-resistant diseases have the potential to cause a level of economic damage similar to and probably worse than—that caused by the 2008 financial crisis, the World Bank said
    • It could add as much as $1 trillion a year to health-care costs by 2050 across the globe.
  • Farmhands who handle the birds often wear open-toe shoes, providing a conduit of entry for resistant bacteria and resistance genes into the community and hospitals, where further person-to-person transmission is possible.
  • Antibiotic resistance is an ecological problem that spans humans, food-animals and the environment.
  • The study not only establishes that poultry farms are reservoirs of ABR, it also shows that ABR is moving out of the farms to neighbouring areas 
  • Resistant bacteria from poultry farms can directly infect farmers and meat handlers or indirectly put humans at risk through agricultural produce and water bodies.
  • There is also growing evidence that increased antibiotic use in poultry creates reservoirs of resistance genes that can be transferred to other pathogens through a phenomenon called horizontal gene transfer. This means resistance in one bacterium can be passed on to other kinds of bacteria, even for multiple antibiotics. 
  • The tropical climate and poor sanitary conditions in India will result in high incidence of infections, which in turn, increases the chances of antibiotic use and ABR.

Way forward:-

  • India needs concrete measures to be able to contain ABR due to antibiotic misuse in rearing food animals.
    • The first critical step should be that the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries regulate to limit the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in poultry.
      • The department should also adopt alternatives to antibiotics and implement bio-security measures.
      • It should also ban the use of poultry litter as feed for aquaculture.
    • The sector requires ABR-centric environmental regulations, which can happen through a greater role by MoEF&CC and CPCB.
    • CPCB, along with state pollution control boards, should prohibit the use of untreated poultry litter as manure and ensure the adoption of waste to energy measures such as biogas generation
    • The government should invest in research to better understand the impact of manure treatment on ABR and resistance transfer mechanisms. 
    • In its National Action Plan on AMR published in 2017, the Centre banned using antibiotics as growth promoters. The plan is not currently linked to any regulatory action. This needs to be implemented immediately.
  • The WHO released guidelines in November 2017 recommending reduced use of critically important antibiotics in food-producing animals and banning their use as growth promoters. It also recommended banning the mass medicating of livestock with antibiotics to prevent disease.
  • Consumer pressure, rather than regulation will drive change.
  • Nationwide programme to promote community biogas generation plants for small poultry farmers in clusters is needed.

Topic: Basics of cyber security

5) Write a critical note on the nature and threats posed by cyberweapons, particularly those powered by Artificial Intelligence. (250 Words)

The Wire



  • Nations are developing and building weapons based on advanced technology. During the Cold War, the weapon of choice was nuclear missiles; today it’s software.
  • Cyberweapon is defined as an appliance, device or any set of computer instructions designed to offend the person through cyberspace.


  • The transitory nature of cyberweapons benefits great powers, changes the incentive structure for offensive cyber cooperation and induces a different funding structure for (military) cyber programs compared with conventional weapon programs
  • Different from what leads to a conventional attack, a cyber attack can be conducted in a silent way in times of peace and this leads to having to consider the extremely insidious threat that requires a high level of alertness.
  • The primary factors of success are the efficiency and the reduced costs of these type of technologies. The case of the Stuxnet virus, the real first example of a cyber weapon, has demonstrated the impact that similar tools could have on critical infrastructures.


  • From a military perspective, it is easier to discover the building of a conventional weapon (e.g. missiles, drones, combat aircraft). The development of a cyber weapon is hard to identify.
  • The use of cyber weapons is complementary to conventional military strikes. It could be is possible to:
    • Support offensive operations destroying enemy defence infrastructures.
    • Probe the technological capabilities of the enemy by evaluating the ability of an agent to infect enemy system.
  • The advantages make cyber warfare very attractive for those small states that, despite having reduced funds for military expenses, and are able to compete with the most important countries in the new domain.
  • A fast, automated response capability could help ensure potential adversaries know a nation is ready and willing to launch, the key to mutual assured destruction‘s effectiveness as a deterrent.


  • In case of an attack, the AI could act more quickly and without the potential hesitation or dissent of a human operator.
  • AI can also be used to control non-nuclear weapons including unmanned vehicles like drones and cyberweapons. 
  • AI systems can change targets and techniques faster than humans can comprehend, much less analyse.
  • Not only states but AI attacks can be made by independent nationalist groups, militias, criminal organisations, terrorists etc making countries even more vulnerable.
  • Artificial intelligence would not give value to human lives
  • Electronic national defence systems:-
    • Through Artificial intelligence hacking a defence system of a country is possible to control its conventional weapons, for example there is the possibility to launch a missile against the state itself or other nations.
  • Fully-automated transportation control systems and civil and military air traffic controls  will be increasingly vulnerable for cyber weapons asall those systems do not require conductors or drivers, or give a sensible aid to the conduction and control of transportation.
  • Banking systems and financial platforms :-
    • Despite being unable to cause the direct loss of human lives, a cyber weapon attack could cause the financial collapse of a nation.
  • Hacking:-
    • Artificial intelligence, and machine learning, in particular, are perfect tools to be using on hackers end.
    • Artificial intelligence can be used to mine large amounts of public domain and social network data to extract personally identifiable information which can be used for hacking accounts.
    • It can also be used to automatically monitor e-mails and text messages, and to create personalized phishing mails for social engineering attacks
  • AI can be used for mutating malware and ransomware more easily, and to search more intelligently and dig out and exploit vulnerabilities in a system.
  • Other technologies help:-
    • Also the availability of large amounts of social network and public data sets (Big Data) helps. Advanced machine learning and Deep Learning techniques and tools are easily available now on open source platforms.
    • This combined with the relatively cheap computational infrastructure effectively enables cyber attacks with higher sophistication.


  • The future will be characterized by an intensification of state-sponsored cyber operations. Cyberspace will change deeply, and with it the concept of cyber security. Governments, business and private business must be prepared for the challenge, not underestimating the risks.

Topic: Agriculture

6) Apart from the agriculture sector, there needs to be increased focus on agriculture-allied sectors if we want to improve overall rural income. Discuss the potential of agriculture-allied sectors which government can tap into to address rural distress in India. (250 Words)



Background :-

  • Agriculture is overburdened with disguised employment , lack of productivity etc leading to farmer’s suicides. To avoid this the potential of agriculture allied sectors need to be carefully studied.

Agricultural allied sectors potential :-

  • Livestock sector:-
    • The livestock sector contributes around 4% to India’s gross domestic product (GDP)
    • India has a mixed crop livestock farming system, with livestock becoming an important secondary source of income.
    • Small and marginal farmers have high dependence on the livestock sector.
    • Hence, measures to boost livestock sector growth and productivity will have a significant impact in alleviating rural distress.
    • Even today women are employed in this sector on a significant scale.
  • Diary sector:-
    • Nearly 80 per cent of India’s milk production is contributed by small and marginal farmers.
    • Milk procurement is an important source of secondary income for over 80-90 million milk producers, signifying its role to alleviate rural income and employment.
    • Processing the milk through the organised channel will facilitate standardisation of product quality and strengthening the direct supply channel will eliminate the intermediaries, both of which will ensure better compensation to small and medium milk producers.
    • Concerns:-
      • In India, there is high dependence on family labour and limitations to deploying mechanised mulching systems, given the small herd size holding. Dairy farming and newer concepts on herd aggregation, both of which support collective animal management and mechanisation, are at a very nascent stage in India.
    • Way forward:-
      • Increasing focus from the private sector on establishing last-mile linkages will complement the dairy development initiatives of the co-operatives and thereby lead to a larger share of the organised sector in milk processing.
      • Penetration of technology and banking systems will ensure that dairy farmers get compensation on the same day, unlike the delays in physical settlement systems.
      • Since dependence on small and marginal farmers will continue, ideas for herd aggregation, scientific cattle management, deployment of mechanisation and improving the quality of cattle breed all require momentum.
    • Penetration of cattle insurance needs a heavy push by educating dairy farmers on the schemes and driving the use of technology, given that the insured cattle are in remote locations.
  • Fisheries:-
    • This is another sector which can provide alternate employment to the farmers.
  • Sericulture :-
    • Sericulture has helped many farmers to become debt-free. Especially in dry areas of Karnataka and Andhra this has benefitted more.
    • Sericulture not only empowers the rural women but also provides excellent self employment opportunities to the educated youth including women from the rural community.
  • Horticulture:-
    • Fruit and vegetables provide more income than food grains.
    • Concern:-
      • fluctuations in this segment can be wild, rendering farmers vulnerable to crashing prices, like, say, tomatoes selling at ₹2 a kg as it recently happened in Maharashtra.
    • Way forward:-
      • Additional measures should include a price stabilisation fund for vegetables and fruits which should be used to scale up prices (to cushion farmers) as much as to scale down prices to ease food inflation.
      • This points to the urgent need for beefing up rural infrastructure — warehouses, metalled roads connecting up to the last village, cold storages, pack houses, chains and silos, and so on. Of course, micro-irrigation is crucial too
    • Food processing sector will give impetus to the necessary infrastructure in the rural areas and ensure the quality of food products to benefit.
      • SAMPADA scheme needs to implemented effectively 


Topic:  Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate 

7) Critically analyse how has India’s  acute dependence on imported arms and ammunition eroded combat readiness of its armed forces and its stature as net security provider in the region. (250 Words)

The Indian Express

Background :-

  • India is facing a precarious situation of being a nuclear-weapons state with the world’s fourth-largest armed forces, but having to support their operational needs through massive arms imports.


How India’s acute dependence on imported arms and ammunition eroded combat readiness of armed forces and cannot be a net security provider:

  • India’s acute dependence on imported arms and ammunition will constitute a grave handicap and vulnerability in a conflict. Other foreign suppliers may prove equally unreliable in wartime.
  • The Chinese army constitutes the world’s largest military organisation, with formidable capabilities in the conventional, nuclear, cyber, maritime and space domains. With China supplying arms to Pakistan India is at a critical situation and may cost India vis-a-vis future machinations of the China-Pak axis.
  • There is greater threat of cyber attacks in the current world and India is already one of the vulnerable countries to be attacked.
  • The quality of imports has also been under question due to delays in deals like Dassault Rafale fighter jet, Scorpene data leak etc.
  • India’s continuing dependence on foreign arms, coupled with a dysfunctional acquisition process has eroded the combat readiness of Indian armed forces. Foreign arms purchases have also engendered a morally-corrosive system of corruption at many levels.
  • Studies show that soldiers still do not have modern arms and ammunition
  • India has tried to encourage private companies to make arms in India, both in partnerships to the government and independently, but few of these efforts have succeeded.
  • Because of poor infrastructure, stultifying labour rules and difficulties acquiring real estate, making anything in India is hard. The country’s manufacturing sector is declining .
  • Inspite of a vast military-industrial complex, with a large pool of DRDO scientists and a network of sophisticated laboratories, backed by advanced production facilities of the defence PSUs.
  • Due to ineffective arms and ammunition the armed focus cannot be net security provider in the region. When is already spending on the imports how can it provide security in the region.

Measures being taken :-

  • Indian industry can suggest projects related to sub-systems for innovation and import substitution under the revised Make-II procedure in the Defence Procurement Procedure. This will greatly help small industries involve themselves in manufacturing defence equipment.
  • The defence arm of the Tata Group has signed an agreementwith American firm  Lockheed Martin to produce and export new generation F-16 fighter jets.
  • Reliance Defence Ammunition, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure, and Yugoimport, a Serbian state-owned company, have inked a strategic partnership to manufacture ammunition in India
  • The potential for greater indigenisation and the large Indian market size, the economies of scale proffered by the partnership opened up new options for exports.
  • The Joint venture between Reliance Defence and Thales is being set up to develop Indian capabilities to integrate and maintain radars and manufacture high-performance airborne electronics

Way forward:-

  • Shekatkar committee had made recommendations on enhancing the combat potential of India’s three armed forces, rationalising the defence budget, and improving the teeth-to-tail ratio.
  • A number of committees on acquisition reforms, primarily the Kelkar committee in the past ,have talked about establishment of an enhanced procurement organization modelled on Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) of France.
  • The Dhirendra Singh Committee is of the opinion that for the Indian industry to contribute meaningfully to ‘Make in India’, the procurement system needs to move towards indigenous design, development and production or ‘Make’ projects
    • The Committee is also of the firm opinion that for the local industry to grow, the current approach of the procurement system towards single vendor situations needs a relook.
    • To provide liberalised funding to MSME though the MoD’s proposed Technology Development Fund (TDF).


General Studies – 4

Topic:  Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration:



Social media is the boom of the current generation. It has brought governments, civil servants, people into its manifold.

Using social media by civil servants has some advantages:

  • It makes them reach the people fast
  • They become more accountable and transparent
  • It provides immediate attention to the issue.
  • Social media can be used by them to create awareness about social welfare programmes as the audience are huge.

However civil servants are needed to be politically neutral and impartiality is the corner stone of the service. So Some concerns arise when sensitive issues like communalism , casteist incidents are highlighted in social media because:

  • It shows their bias and people would perceive it as the civil servant is favouring one community over the other leading to loss of trust in the administration
  • Even the proposed changes to the rulebook to explicitly treat criticism of government policies on social media as a violation of conduct rules.
  • It is not the official way to resolve grievances and should be treated as the last resort.
  • Their comments might lead to further decisions in the society and violence can crop up.


Being a civil servant should have some characteristics like emotional intelligent leadership, able to effectively resolve ethical dilemmas and act responsibly ,following the code of conduct and not create further disturbances in the society.