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General Studies – 1 

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

1) Post – independence, how different would have been India’s course towards modernity and democracy without Jawahar Lal Nehru? Critically analyse. (250 Words)

The Wire




  • The contribution by the Indian freedom fighters has been tremendous and It is very difficult to separate one or the other of the towering individuals who fought for India’s freedom especially of Nehru’s.

India would have been different in the following way :-


  • The Kashmir issue might not have been sent to the UN
  • India could have been militarily more stronger and border dispute with China would have been handled more assertively.
  • Handling of the military itself:-
    • Nehru’s pacifist leanings and idealism made him not a very effective leader of the military. He did pay the kind of attention that was needed for the military.


However Nehru’s role cannot be ignored due to many reasons :-


  • Democracy:-
    • He Prevented balkanisation of India thus helped in maintaining balanced federal structure
    • His political outlook and philosophy, primarily his supreme faith in democracy, was reflected in the constitution itself which did not have to mention the word “secularism” to make its point because by making the individual citizen the focus of the constitution it bypassed the tangled issue of caste, community and religion.
    • Militant communism was the major opposition in the country, at least till the mid-1950s. By adopting a socialistic line(mixed economy), he helped encourage the split in the communist movement and outflanked their appeal.
  • Modernity:-
    • Nehru played a key role in passing four Hindu code bills which carried out the most progressive and far-reaching reform of the community
    • Nehru’s personal imprint is also visible in India’s nuclear and space programmes. 
    • He emphasized on planning leading to establishment of Planning commission
    • Emphasised on institutes for learning like IIT’s
    • Non alignment movement was a ne ideology in international relations and put India at the centre.


  • Despite some concerns the role played by Nehru as the first prime minister is unprecendented. His vision for India are still relevant even in 21st


 General Studies – 2 

Topic:   Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

2) What is the structure and mandate of UNSC Sanctions Committees? Why is India seeking transparency in these committees? Examine. (250 Words)

The Wire



Sanctions Committees

  • The use of mandatory sanctions is intended to apply pressure on a State or entity to comply with the objectives set by the UN Security Council without resorting to the use of force. Sanctions thus offer the Security Council an important instrument to enforce its decisions.
  • The universal character of the United Nations makes it an especially appropriate body to establish and monitor such measures
  • The Council has resorted to mandatory sanctions as an enforcement tool when peace has been threatened and diplomatic efforts have failed.
  • The range of sanctions has included comprehensive economic and trade sanctions and/or more targeted measures such as arms embargoes, travel bans, financial or diplomatic restrictions.
  • The Security Council has 14 sanctions committees, each with an assigned target or set of targets. The principles of anonymity and unanimity guide the actions of these bodies.
  • Structure:-
    • It consists of 15 members of the UNSC.
    • The head of these committees is appointed by the UNSC chairperson

Reasons why India is seeking transparency of these committees:-

  • UN Security Council’s veto-wielding members are obstructing some resolution like the designation of Pakistan-based Masood Azhar as a global terrorist without giving any explanation
  • Most of the time, countries are not aware which countries have exercised their veto.
  • Unlike in the Security Council, where vetoes are cast in public meetings and explanations made publicly ,decisions of these sanctions committees can be placed on hold or blocked by any of the 15 Member States of these Committees.
  • The challenges related to the working methods of the sanctions committees were not merely related to transparency and accountability and in that context a case existed for the Council to address the anomalies in the committees working methods
  • The anomalies not only affected the efficiency and credibility of the work of the Council, but also impacted the larger membership that was required to implement its decisions

Way forward:-

  • UN reforms need to take place to allow developing countries to play more role in UN.
  • When it comes to national security issues like terrorism the countries need to coordinate and work together and keep the bilateral tensions aside .

Topic:   India and its neighborhood- relations. 

3) Was ‘Operation Cactus’ that India carried out in 1988, in tune with India’s then foreign policy? Should India carry out similar operation today? Comment. (250 Words)

The Hindu


  • ‘Operation Cactus’, the code name for India’s military intervention in the Maldives in 1988, following an attempted coup d’état against the government of President Abdul Gayoom and his request for help, was spontaneous and swift. 
  • This is highlighted in the light of the recent political crisis taken place in Maldives where the president has defied Supreme court order to release political prisoners.

Yes, operation cactus was very necessary:-

  • India’s foreign policy is about non interference in sovereign countries internal affairs but in 1988 the Maldivian president requested India’s help through military intervention and as a responsible neighbor India as swift in its action and within the bounds of legality per the ICJ Nicaragua
  • Also it was to protect Maldives from a band of armed militants of the People’s Liberation Organisation (PLOTE) who had come from Sri Lanka and seized control over vital installations in Maldives. So India upheld rule of law.
  • Because it was a group of militants, the Indian government won the international community’s praise for its quick and effective action
  • The entire population of Maldives was shocked by the militants action and was squarely behind the Gayoom government and India.
  • India’s intervention in the Maldives was a model for the benign security role that India could play in the Indian Ocean
  • ‘Operation Cactus enhanced India’s prestige enormously and showed its efficiency and capability to mount a successful operation at short notice.


  • The intervention nevertheless caused some disquiet among India’s neighbours in South Asia 

India should intervene now :-

  • Earlier instances:-
    • India has often intervened in the internal affairs of other countries for instance the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971, the intervention in the Sri Lankan civil war in the late 1980s etc.
  • Doing something would involve political mediation between the government and Opposition, the use of diplomacy and ultimately restore order in Maldives. Such an intervention is likely to get considerable international support
  • The current President of Maldives role:-
    • Ever since he took power in 2013, India-Maldives relations have deteriorated.
    • He went close to China and handed out big infrastructure projects to Chinese companies and also let Chinese naval ships to dock in Male.
    • His relations with Saudi Arabia and the growing trend of radicalization in Maldives have also been areas of concern in India which compel it to intervene.
  • India cannot be a global power if it does not intervene in major crises. The current crisis in the Maldives is an opportunity for India and any global role is always dependent on a country’s performance in the neighborhood first.
  • India’s first priority is to ensure the safety of Indian tourists and workers in Maldives. An Indian intervention can ensure that.

No intervention now:-

  • As the situation does not meet the requirements articulated by the ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine, unilateral military intervention would fall foul of Article 2 of the UN charter.
  • A military intervention today could leave Indian troops in the Maldivian crisis for a long time.
  • It could also prove counterproductive to India’s long-term interests for instance It would push Maldives even closer to the Chinese
  • India’s foreign policy follows no intervention in the internal affairs of other sovereign countries.
  • It would boost perception of India as a big brother and a bully in the region.
  • An Indian military intervention is unlikely to benefit democratic forces in the Maldives in the long run .Even if a democratic government is formed due to Indian intervention such a government would lack legitimacy in Maldivian people.
  • Intervention by India could consolidate public opinion behind the present Maldivian president and ramp up nationalist fervour, giving his actions greater acceptability. 
  • India should also think deeply about the instruments it can use to ensure a favourable outcome in Maldives. The use of a instrument like the economic blockade in Nepal in 2015-16  will not help.

What should be done?

  • India may also take the dispute to and lobby the UN Security Council to bring international attention to the issue.
  • If things go very awry imposition of sanctions can also be done.
  • India needs to be patient and monitor the situation especially till the planned elections in Maldives in the next few months.

 General Studies – 3 

Topic:   Issues relating to intellectual property rights. 

4) What do you understand by patent exclusivity and secondary patents? Examine the innovations in Indian patent law that have made medicines affordable and the ways through which big pharma companies try to subvert these laws. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Patent exclusivity:-

  • Patents offer their owners market exclusivity for a limited period of time. For medicines, this exclusivity should last as long as the primary patent which relates to the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) of the medicine is in effect, typically 20 years.
  • The end of patent exclusivity is referred to as a patent cliff, because drug prices fall steeply afterwards by as much as 80%  owing to generic competition.

Secondary patents:-

  • Secondary patents work like this: Companies file for additional, defensive patents to thicken the protection around their original base patents.
  • The secondary patents prop up before the expiry of a primary patent thereby stretching the exclusivity beyond 20 years, a practice that is called “evergreening”. This strategy is most lucrative when employed in the context of so-called blockbuster medicines, which reap annual revenues exceeding $1 billion.

Innovation in Indian patent law which made medicines affordable:-

  • Secondary patents for several blockbuster medicines have been rejected by the IPO dramatically expanding access to medicines for important health problems such as cancer, AIDS, asthma and cardiovascular diseases.
  • The U.S. recognises and encourages secondary patents. India does not. So cheaper versions of medicines are released in the market.
    • The rejection of a secondary patent for Novartis Glivec, a crucial leukaemia cure, was upheld by the Supreme Court of India in 2013, while the same was granted in the U.S. 
  • In the last decade, it was found that the IPO rejected about 95% of all pharmaceutical patent applications on its own. Only 5% were through the intervention of a third party, such as a pre-grant opponent. 
  • To be deemed patentable, applications for secondary patents have to clear significant hurdles:-
    • Secondary patents were rejected largely due to the stringent thresholds imposed by Sections 2(1)(ja) and 3(d).
    • As per Section 2(1)(ja) of the Patents Act, the product in question must feature a technical advance over what came before .Because secondary patents for pharmaceuticals are often sought for trivial variants, they typically fail to qualify as an invention.
    • Further, when a medicine is merely a variant of a known substance, Section 3(d) necessitates a demonstration of improvement in its therapeutic efficacy. The provision also bars patents for new uses and new properties of known substances.
    • This additional requirement is unique to Indian law, and along with Section 2(1)(ja), ensures that bad patents stay out of the system.
    • Section 3(d) is complemented by other exceptions to patentability like
      • Section 3(e) ensures that patents for combinations of known substances are allowed only if there is synergistic effect
      • Section 3(i) ensures that no exclusivity can be claimed over methods of treatment.
    • These provisions also extend to biologics, the new big players in the therapeutics marketplace.
  • Compulsory licensing:-
    • CL is granted subject to three conditions:-
      • one of them is about price. The reasonable requirement of the public with regard to the invention should be satisfied.
      • The price at which it is made available should be reasonably affordable.
      • It should be worked in India.
    • The Patents Amendment Act, 2005, introduced “Product Patent” in India.
      • The product patent was granted for the new product for a period of twenty years
      • This has helped Indian pharmaceutical industry to develop generic versions of the new medical drugs without having fear of infringement of patent.
      • This has also helped in achieving a key-objective of policymakers in the developing world to ensure the availability of new medical treatments to save millions of lives by production of cheap generic versions of on-patent drugs.
      • The introduction of product patents is considered as a major incentive for developing new medicines

Ways through which pharma companies try to subvert laws:-

  • The threat of precipitous fall in profits drives pharmaceutical companies to find new ways to postpone their exclusivity by filing secondary patents for derivatives and variants of the API, such as a physical variant of the API, a new formulation, a dosage regimen, or a new method of administering the medicine.
  • These additional patents rarely represent anything new in terms of science. Instead, their purpose is to prolong a company’s monopoly and, along with that, its ability to charge high prices for its drugs. Some drugs have dozens of secondary patents.


  • India must have more trained professionals to handle the rising trend of patents. Apart from efficient administration, the country requires special patent courts to process the pending patent litigations.
  • Else, with a very few patent lawyers and lack of awareness among the people about the benefits of the IPR as a whole, India’s journey to the 21st century global patent system will remain incomplete.

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

5) It is now well recognised that there is an investment slowdown in India, which is delaying a full-blooded recovery in the economy. How does this investment slowdown affect formal and informal sector? What are its policy implications? Examine. (250 Words)

The Hindu


  • Private investments which are the principle engine of growth, are slowing down in India and has offset the government’s macroeconomic stimulus of increased public investments.
  •  The slowdown started five years ago and according to Economic Survey 2018 it is the most severe in India’s history.

Investment slowdown impact on formal and informal sector:-

  • Formal sector:-
    • The corporate sector is not the source of the decline.
      • Corporate investments have been on the upswing, rising through the five-year slowdown.
    • There is negligible change in the investment behaviour of public and private finance corporations. Public non-financial corporations reduced investments marginally.
    • Corporates could have borrowed from overseas and raised funds from the capital markets. So companies are facing investment issues leading to infrastructure bottlenecks as well.
    • Jobs are not being created.
  • Informal sector:-
    • The sharpest pullback has been by the household sector as investments fell since the start of the slowdown. The bad bank loans also have restricted the funds supply to this sector.
    • Liquidity crunch:-
      • When the government (Centre plus the States)takes up larger portions of what net savers can provide, corporates can still access capital, but the informal sector is left without recourse.
    • The informal sector depends solely on the domestic pool of savings, largely through bank loans, to finance its investments which was affected adversely.
    • This give rise to more informal lending with high rates of interest

Policy implications:-

  • The government’s borrowings from the savings pool and from the banks seem to have crowded out the unincorporated enterprises or the informal sector. So crowding out is taking place.
  • Savings:-
    • The formal-informal divide shows up also in savings. Corporate savings are rising consistently, while those of the household sector are slowing.
  • Shows the vulnerability of the informal sector so implications like employee entrenchment, wage reduction might happen.
  • Wider protests are visible all over the country due to low market demand .So government need to take policy imperatives to change the situation.

Way forward:-

  • The Survey recommends
    • urgent prioritisation of investment revival to arrest more lasting growth impacts
    • Policy focus to be on both big and small companies, creating a conducive environment for the smaller industries to prosper and invest .
  • Urgent fiscal deficit reduction, quick clean-up of the bad loans mess, and restoration of banks health are more likely to revive private investments.

 General Studies – 4

Topic:   Ethics in human actions




The Supreme court’s latest observation that khap panchayats should not act as though they are conscience-keepers of society and that no one should interfere in relationships between adults brings in to light the issue of marriage and love in India.


Hindu mythology has so many instances about love be it Radha Krishna, Shiv Parvathi who are worshipped and glorified for their eternal love but when it comes to reality ,society perceives it as a threat to their culture, bringing disgrace to parent’s honour etc.


It is a grave misfortune that parents and self-appointed guardians of social mores continue to use coercion and harassment, and even resort to murderous violence, as a means to enforce their exclusionary prejudices.


Marriage and love are personal and individual choices ,even the Indian constitution upholds the personal liberty to marry someone of their choice. Recently in the Hadiya case Supreme court made it clear her marriage cannot be questioned even though it is inter religion.


India is such a diverse society that is unacceptable in  one part may be acceptable in the other. So a clear cut collective conscience cannot be defined. Even if it is defined the question is whether it is should be preceded over individual liberty.