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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

1) Was Sir Syed Ahmad Khan indeed the father of the two-nation theory or was he merely advocating modern ideas of multiculturalism and differentiated citizenship? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Indian Express



  • Sir syed Ahmed khan was a teacher, politician,social reformer etc and founder of Aligarh muslim university.
  • Sir syed Ahmed khan has often been criticised as the father of Two nation theory which led to the formation of two seperate nations i.e. India and Pakistan. 
  • It is erroneously believed by some historians that the Hindu-Muslim divide in India was the by-product of the two-nation theory which supposedly had its origin in Sir Syed’s ideology. 


Nationalism a new concept

  • “Nationalism” as a consciously-held idea was a 20th century phenomenon even in Europe, from where it was imported to India
  • Eminent historian Anil Seal has rightly pointed out that during Sir Syed’s times, “there were no two nations, there was not even one nation, there was no nation at all.”
  • Till 1898, when Sir Syed breathed his last, there was nothing like an Indian “nation”, nor did the founding fathers of the Indian National Congress make such a claim. 
  • Sir Octavian Hume, the founder of the Congress, talked of “a congeries of communities”, not a nation. 
  • Badruddin Tyabji, the (third) President of the Congress (Madras, 1887), affirmed “the existence of numerous communities or nations which had peculiar problems of their own to solve”; Surendranath Banerjee had titled his autobiography as A Nation in the Making.


Syed’s faith in secularism

  • Sir Syed’s concept of nation was inextricably woven with secular ideals
  • He rightly said in a lecture at Patna in 1883: “My friends! This India of ours is populated by two famous communities, the Hindus and the Muslims. These two communities stand in the same relation to India in which the head and the heart stand in relation to the human body.” In 1884, in Gurdaspur, he remarked: “O Hindus and Muslims! Do you belong to a country other than India? Do not you live on this soil and are not buried under it or cremated on its ghats? If you live and die on this land, then, bear in mind, that… all the Hindus, Muslims and Christians who live in this country are one nation.”


Belief in multiculturalism

  • Sir Syed believed in a multiculturalism under which all cultural communities must be entitled to equal status under state. 
  • The view that people must be incorporated not merely as citizens but also members of distinct communities possessing multiple identities is one of the most cherished norms of liberal democratic traditions. This means rejection of “melting pot” and acceptance of “salad bowl” theory where integration rather than assimilation is the preferred choice
  • Thus, under Article 29 of the Indian Constitution, distinct cultural communities are entitled to preservation of their distinct language, script and culture.


Establishment of Aligarh Muslim University

  • Explaining the rationale of establishing MAO College, Sir Syed said, “I shall feel sorry if anybody thinks that this college has been established so as to show discrimination between Hindus and Muslims. The main reason behind the establishment of this institution…was the wretched dependence of the Muslims…. Their religious fanaticism did not let them avail the educational facilities provided by the government schools and colleges. It was, therefore, deemed necessary to make some special arrangement for their education.” 


Sir syed Ahmed khan has been a personality of debate however his efforts should not be ignored in the light of controversies. He was a reformist in pure sense.



General Studies – 2


Topic:  Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies 

2) The CBI plays a pivotal role in the criminal justice delivery but is often marred with a myriad of responsibilities. Comment while suggesting reforms to the CBI. (200 Words)

The Hindu



Central Bureau Of Investigation CBI is the domestic internal security agency of India, jointly serves as a criminal investigation and prosecution body. It has played a pivotal role in criminal justice delivery as highlighted in tough cases like Satyam scam investigation, Bhanvari Devi Murder etc. 

CBI was established on the recommendation of Santhanam committee to prevent corruption. It is the main investigating agency of central government.

However myraid of responsibilities over categories like corruption and fraud, economic crimes, special crimes including terrorist attacks have overburdened it and reduced it efficiency.




CBI is a multidisciplinary investigation agency which undertakes the following


  1. Investigating cases of corruption , bribery and misconduct of central government.
  2. Investigating serious crime having national and international ramification.
  3. Investigating cases relating to infringement of fiscal and economic laws.
  4. Coordinating activities of anti corruption agencies.
  5. Taking up request of state government in a case of public importance


Criticism of CBI


  1. Corruption and Politically biased
  • It has been highlighted in Supreme Court criticizism for being a “caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice“.

     2.Delayed Case Solving

  • As witnessed in Aarushi Murder Case which took almost a decade to solve with still no solid conclusion.


Reforms needed for CBI


The goal of reforms should be to make CBI more autonomous in nature and robust and efficient in working. 


  1. Autonomy of CBI director
  • He/She should be allowed to have a team of reliable deputies to ensure investigation is insulated from political interference.


  1. Promulgation of CBI Act
  • L.P singh committee has recommended the enactment of comprehensive central legislation for self sufficient statutory charter of duties and functions.
  • Parliamentary standing committee (2007) recommended that a separate act should be promulgated in tune with requirement with time to ensure credibility and impartiality.


  1. Devolution of responsibility 
  • Special crime like terrorist attack, bomb blast can be exclusively handled by NIA who is better 


  1. Increasing Manpower and attract youth


  1. Financial and administrative autonomy

Topic:    Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders 

3) Examine the role of think tanks and specialised research labs on policy formulation. Do you think relying on external sources is a viable idea for effective policy formulation? Comment. (200 Words)




  • Public Policy Research, Analysis and Engagement Organizations also known as Think Tanks play a vital role in the political and policy arenas at the local and national level. 
  • While the primary function of these civil society organisations is to help government understand and make informed choice on various domestic and internationally important matters, they also have some other roles in policy formation, as follows


  1. Playing a mediating function between the government and the public that helps builds trust and confidence in public officials


  1. Serving as an informed and independent voice in policy debates


  1. Identifying, articulating, and evaluating current policy issues, proposals and programs


  1. Providing a constructive forum for the exchange of ideas and information between key stakeholders in the policy formulation process


  1. Providing a supply of personnel for the legislative and executive branches of government


  1. Challenging the conventional wisdom, standard operating procedures and business as usual of bureaucrats and elected officials


  1. Providing out of box idea for complex problems


Reliability of Think Tank

  • Question of reliability for its operation in policy formulation should not be look with the lens of their working domain i.e. it is working under the government or as a independent firm. 
  • Reliability should be tested on the basis of scientific tools and methodology that is being followed by such organisation. 
  • Other parameters like Transparency, work ethics and past performance can be taken into consideration before implementing suggestion in policy formulation.




With the ever increasing thrust for knowledge, information, and globalised flow of information, the role of think tanks in bridging gaps between policy and academia, citizens and governments, legislative and executive, become very important.


General Studies – 3


Topic: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it

5) Universal Basic Income, is a magic wand for welfare but may require several customisations for the Indian context. Comment. (200 Words)




  • Universal Basic income is a concept in which a certain amount of money government will provide annually to every citizen of the country. This concept is being adopted from European countries like Norway.
  • Universal Basic Income is seen by many as an alternative to the existing system of subsidies, which is often associated with systemic inefficiencies. 
  • Planning Commission had worked on it in the early 1960s.


Arguments in favour

  • 2016-17 Economic Survey argued that Universal Basic Income is “…more feasible in a country like India, where it can be pegged at relatively low levels of income but still yield immense welfare gains”. 
  • IMF, in its analysis, used fiscal space equivalent to the cost of the public distribution system and energy subsidies in 2011-12 and showed that this can finance an annual Universal Basic Income of Rs 2,600 per person, which is equivalent to about 20% of that year’s median per capita consumption, with the estimated cost at about 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP).  


  1. Social equality can be maintained with the help of financial aid
  2. Market demand will get a boost. 


Argument against

  • There are strong economic and political reasons why India cannot opt for Universal Basic Income, at least in the present circumstances.


  1. Poor fiscal capacity
  • India doesn’t have the fiscal capacity to implement Universal Basic Income. 
  • Economic Survey calculations showed that a 75% universality rate with an annual Universal Basic Income of Rs 7,620 per year at 2016-17 prices will cost about 5% of the GDP. 
  • Economist Pranab Bardhan showed that an inflation- indexed Universal Basic Income of Rs 10,000 at 2014-15 prices—about three-quarters of that year’s poverty line—will cost about 10% of the GDP.
  • It is often assumed that resources can be raised by rationalizing subsidies and capturing a part of the revenue forgone on account of various tax exemptions, including in the personal income tax. These may not happen. The revenue forgone in most cases is optical and the result of poor design. 
  • It is always advisable for the government to work on reducing non-merit subsidies, but the gains should be used to increase capital spending, which will help boost growth in the medium-to-long term.

     2.Distort labour market

  • Universal Basic Income can create distortions in the labour market. 
  • A steady, permanent and guaranteed income without any work is likely to affect labour mobility and participation. 
  • It is also likely to increase wages without a commensurate increase in productivity which will affect India’s competitiveness. This could also have longer-term implications in terms of higher inflation and lower growth. 
  • The distortions in the labour market will, of course, depend on the amount of Universal Basic Income.




What India needs is not Universal Basic Income. It needs rationalization of subsidies, better targeting and operational efficiency. It needs to move to cash transfers at an accelerated pace with the use of Jan-Dhan, Aadhaar and mobile. This will help reduce costs and spare resources for capital spending to augment growth. 

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

6) Social Network suffers from an authenticity problem only to be solved by internal and external regulations. Comment. (200 Words)




Why regulation of social media for fake news important?

  • Social media has become the largest source of news. 
  • It sells ads against content, it hires moderators, it censors certain types of content, it commissions content providers to create original products and so on—that place it squarely in the media category. Facebook or Twitter doesn’t need to hire (or pay) journalists to produce journalism.
  • However they claim that they were not a media companies, but tech companies which hire engineers and not  reporters.
  • Today, if the potentially libellous information was published on a platform like Facebook or Twitter, the platform won’t be liable for any damages. In media, however, both the outlet and the journalist can be held responsible. That’s where the regulation of social media needs to change.


Internal regulations

  • Making Facebook directly responsible for everything it publishes would probably be going too far, but not for the reasons Facebook itself puts forward. 
  • It keeps saying it’s unable to police the vast sea of content its billion users produce. 
  • That’s a flawed argument; attracting hundreds of millions of unpaid writers and refusing to edit them because there are too many wouldn’t have saved any other news outlet from liability. 
  • Social media must update its algorithms which can catch hate content effectively.


External regulations

  • Practically speaking, however, the goal of any new regulation wouldn’t be to bury Facebook and its rivals in lawsuits: There should be a way for them to make a transition to surviving as legitimate media businesses.
  • It might be a better idea to make Facebook, Twitter and others liable only in cases where the original producer of the offending content cannot be traced
  • There are multiple ways to make sure all the users are real people who are responsible for what they publish for everyone to see.
  • An incentive to identify users properly would also solve the advertising transparency problem, which, however, is less important than the traceability of public posts to specific authors. If Facebook, contrary to its own rules, wants to provide anonymity in the name of some lofty ideal like giving a voice to dissidents, it should be prepared to pay for it when necessary — a laudable undertaking that media liability insurance could cover.


General Studies – 4

Topic:   Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity

7) Power and accountability are correlated, proportional, and commensurate. Comment. (150 Words)





History is replete with everal examples, which showed how destructive was the phenomenon of power without accountability. 

The feudal structure of society with no political recourse for the disadvantaged led to stark inequalities. Similarly rulers like Hitler with no accountability mechanism inflicted serious wounds on the fabric of peace.



  • Rulering and elite class have claimed their legitimacy variously on the basis of divine power. But with the emergence of democracy, the voice of masses has assumed critical significance which account the rulers for their rule.
  • Power and accountability thus are related and form a chain. 



  • In a hierarchical system of adminstration, power is distributed according to the capabilities of the person for the welfare of the nation. 
  • This distribution of power is proportioned with more accountability, the premise being that a he/she is a public servant and thus the differential power assigned to him/her has to be neutralised with accountability.




As Chanakya advises that the welfare of the rulers lies in the welfare of his subjects, his happiness in their happiness. Conversely he also stated that it is right for the people to revolt against and remove a tyrant and an oppressor. 

To ask for accountability from those in power is not just a right, it is a DUTY.