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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) “Nehru and Patel were colleagues not rivals, co-workers not adversaries. Working individually, and together, they united India and gave it a democratic template.” Analyse. (250 Words)

The Indian Express



  • Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, its first deputy prime minister were two towering figures of India’s anti-colonial freedom movement.

Similarities and how they cooperated with each other:

  • In November 1946, Nehru joined the interim government and resigned from the party presidentship on the ground that the two roles of the leader of the government and the president of the party could not be combined. Even Patel supported this view.
  • They said that the proceedings and the papers of the government were secret and could not be divulged to persons outside the government. In essence they argued for the autonomy of the parliamentary wing and even its supremacy over the party in so far as government affairs were concerned.
  • They complemented each other in many ways as one was a great organizer and able administrator, the other commanded immense mass support and had a wide social and developmental perspective
  • There was considerable mutual affection and respect for each other and each recognized the indispensability of the other.
  • Gandhi’s death also made a difference; the two realized that it had made their cooperation all the more necessary. Throughout Patel remained Nehru’s loyal colleague, assuring him of complete support for his policies.
  • The integration of the princely states including Kashmir into the Indian union successfully shows the coordination between the two leaders.
  • The democratic values enshrined in the constitution was supported both the leaders.

However they had their differences:

  • But their worldviews differed widely, which reflected in their contrasting attempts to shape the trajectory of the freedom movement, the Indian constitution, issues related to integration of the reluctant princely states, and matters relating to combating communal violence.
  • After 1947, policy differences on several questions cropped up between them.
    • The two differed on the role and authority of the prime minister
    • The manner in which the riots of 1947 were to be handled and the relations with Pakistan.
    • Nehru opposed, though unsuccessfully , Patel’s view that the right to property should be included among the Fundamental Rights in the constitution.
  • Differences in Economic Policy:
    • Nehru envisioned a socialist India with the elimination of profit in society with social service and cooperation taking place of competition’
    • Nehru replicated the Soviet planning commission and its Five Year Plans while severely restricting the scope of private enterprise
    • Patel on the other hand believed that capitalism could be ‘purged of its hideousness’. For him, creation of wealth for ushering in societal prosperity was a desirable trait. 
  • Differences in Foreign Policy
    • Nehru and Patel’s foreign policies too were fundamentally opposed.
    • Patel questioned the legitimacy of India’s policy in delaying recognition to the state of Israel only to placate the sentiments of its Muslim citizens
    • He was also perturbed by the approach of Nehru towards the Chinese and was deeply anguished in India being unable to defend the right of the Tibetan people
    • As for an Indo-China military conflict, Nehru confidently predicted that such a situation was ‘unlikely’ in the ‘foreseeable future’
    • Nehru rejected Patel’s advice of modernizing the army and making adequate security provisions


  • Differences on Communalism
    • Perhaps, the most irreconcilable differences between Nehru and Patel related to their approach towards countering communalism and the violence that came in its wake.
  • Kashmir:-
    • On Kashmir, Patel had advised Nehru against going to the UN.


  • The admiration for each other can be summarised in one statement by Nehru where he stated “The Sardar has been a tower of strength; but for his affection and advice I would not have been able to run the State”.


General Studies – 2 

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

2) According to one authoritative study, there are a million unregistered and unqualified medical practitioners in India. Critically examine why quacks function freely in India. (250 Words)



  • The recent arrest of a man in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly injecting 41 people with the HIV virus from a single infected needle highlights how so-called ‘quacks’ are able to ply their trade freely in India.

Reasons why quacks function freely in India are:-

  • India is beset by a wide range of problems in healthcare delivery:-
    • Overcrowded and under resourced public hospitals and expensive private hospitals often lead poverty-stricken families to turn to quacks.
    • Thus, patient safety is largely compromised in India.
  • Needle safety:-
    • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged all countries including India to switch to the exclusive use of the auto-disable (AD) “smart” syringes that can only be used once. India is yet to adopt this on a national scale.
  • Almost 15% of the ailing sample opted for treatment from an unregistered private practitioner. They attract a lot of patients owing to their location utility and low charges
  • While there is a huge shortage of doctors, there are over one million quacks practising in India, according to the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
  • India currently has no tracking of infections or registry via public healthcare from reuse of syringes or needles or needle stick injuries. According to WHO, every $1 spent on injection safety saves $14 in public healthcare.
  • Qualified doctors have some assistants who later start their own clinics without license.

Way forward:-

  • It is urgently needed to introduce Universal Infection Prevention (UIP) guidelines including urgent deployment of auto disable syringes to limit infections from spreading. WHO says that the move can eliminate avoidable deaths and infections from reusable syringes and unsafe injection.
  • According to the National Health Profile 2017, in India there is one government allopathic doctor for every 10,189 people, one government hospital bed for every 2,046 people and one state-run hospital for every 90,343 people. The manpower and infrastructure needs to increase.
  • Public need to be made aware about the health issues that might prop up by the treatment of quacks.
    • There is a database of doctors who have license and people can look into it whether any doctor is certified or not.
  • Strict action needs to be taken by the government against these doctors.


Topic:    mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections.

3) The recent economic survey highlights the importance of gender-disaggregated data in examining socio-economic growth. Examine how this gender-disaggregated data can be generated and challenges such data poses in policymaking. (250 Words)

The Indian Express


  • Gender disaggregated data gives a clear idea of the status of women in a country giving impetus to the direction of the measures taken by the government to be more inclusive

Present gaps in gender disaggregated data: (extra)

  • Repeated data isn’t available to help assess change over time or design interventions.
  • Lack data on women’s formal financial service access and usage.
  • Health expenditure surveys at the household level don’t give the information about how women are taking care of their health, including mental health.
  • Data on the productivity differences between women’s and men’s farms, and market price realization by women farmers is another gap area.

How the gender disaggregated data can be generated:-

  • The proposed national time use survey can help provide better estimates of women’s work participation.  Further, it would be good to better understand how norms and attitudes are changing across adult women and youth.
  • Gender-disaggregated data provides a critical understanding of the status of women in both national as well as state-level institutions over time. A subset of these indicators can be used to construct a Gender Well-Being Index that is published periodically.
  • There are cost-effective ways to introduce gender-disaggregated questions into large national surveys by asking questions about who owns, who uses, who transacts within the household.
  • Applying a gender lens also requires ensuring that the right mix of women are included in the sample. This generates estimates of different sub-groups of women, especially those who are the most marginalized
  • While some of this data can be generated by utilising existing datasets better, measuring progress on other indicators will require the inclusion of additional questions in current surveys or the design of new surveys.
    • For instance, a nation-wide survey on the prevalence of violence against women and girls will be extremely helpful for unmasking geographical and other disparities as well as designing policy interventions.
    • Similarly, time-use surveys can capture the continuum of women’s work.
    • This will necessitate a strengthening of the management information systems of various ministries.
  • International examples:-
    • Countries that have made significant strides towards achieving gender equality have put in place strong gender disaggregated data.
    • The Gender Monitoring Office in Rwanda performs key functions to assess the progress made in the implementation of the national gender policy.
    • It develops gender-disaggregated data systems, publishes impact evaluation studies and most importantly, holds different institutions accountable.
    • Finland’s Gender Equality Unit discharges similar functions.


Challenges it poses to policymaking:-

  • The absence of data prevents stakeholders from being able to develop sound policies or relevant interventions.
  • The evolving policy framework around sustainable development would also need to be careful not to further existing gender roles.
  • For example, the latest gender guidelines released by the ministry of drinking water and sanitation caution against stereotyping women by limiting their role as behaviour change agents in sanitation.
  • Survey questions can sometimes be based on traditional views of gender roles, and as a result, miss women and girls entirely, or undercount and undervalue their economic and social contributions to their families, communities, and countries. So, it’s vital that the data that’s gathered is accurate and comprehensive.

Way forward:-

  • A dedicated cell within the Women and Child Development Ministry that focuses on data gathering, monitoring and conducting regular reviews with other ministries on defined gender targets is worth considering. This could allow the Ministry to play its oversight and coordination role more effectively.
  • Legal frameworks and equal opportunity policies such as those pertaining to leave, maternity benefits, flexi hours and grievance redressal have a crucial role to play in ending the discrimination.

Topic:  Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure,

4) All the states in India  are justified and constitutionally empowered to adopt their own flag to uphold the pride of their State without infringing the law. Comment. (250 Words)

The Hindu



  • Of late, the demand for a state flaghas been gaining traction in  This raised the debate whether states are allowed to have a separate flag or not.

No issue:-


  • Under the Constitution, a flag is not enumerated in the Seventh Schedule. It is clear that there is no prohibition under the Constitution to hoist any flag other than the national flag.
  • Parliament has framed legislation regulating the hoisting of the national flag. One is the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950. The other is the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
    • Under the 1971 Act, there is no prohibition against any State hoisting its own flag.
  • Even the Flag Code of India, 2002 does not impose prohibitions on a State flag. it only says that the Code expressly authorises the flying of other flags under the condition that they should not be hoisted from the same masthead as the national flag or placed higher than it.
    • By implication, the Code provides space for a State flag as long as it does not offend the dignity and honour of the national flag.
  • In India, State boundaries are demarcated on the basis of linguistic homogeneity. This has naturally generated aspirations in the States for promoting their own languages and cultures. It is, therefore, natural for them to have symbols to recognise, protect and promote their own languages and cultures. A flag, which is both a benediction and a beckoning, serves this purpose better than any other symbol.
  • Having a separate flag is not going to be an affront to national integration. On the contrary, a separate flag for each State would strengthen the federal structure and serve as a symbol for a much more specific identity.
  • A democratic right based on international examples:-
    • All the 50 States in the U.S. have separate and distinct flags, apart from the national flag.
    • In the U.K., the political units of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their own flags without offending or affecting the integrity of the U.K.
    • It is the democratic right of Karnataka to assert its identity through a separate name, emblem and flag.
  • India’s pluralistic nationalism celebrates the coexistence of multiple identities. As long as subnationalism is not secessionist ,it should not be viewed as a threat, but rather as a constitutive element of India’s plural democracy.

However some Issues are not resolved:-

  • India has already divided the states on linguistic basis. The segregation of nation on the basis on state flags will only further divide the country.
  • If other states too follow Karnataka, there will be scope for conflict between states in case of disrespect to the flag of another state.
  • Having a separate state flag is against the spirit of ‘One Nation One Flag’ and diminishes the importance of the national flag.
  • There are possibilities of it leading to narrow-minded regional feelings.

Way forward:-


  • The state should frame a Flag Code carefully without giving scope for it to affect the unity and integrity of the country. Moreover, the codes for both the flags should not clash.

General Studies – 3

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

5) What is social enterprise? A self-sustaining social enterprise has the potential to address contextual problems and provide meaningful, continuous employment. Analyse. (250 Words)

The Hindu


Social enterprise:-

  • Social enterprises tend to operate with a purpose of creating value for the society and also generate income (if not wealth).


  • The solutions they offer are supposed to be innovative, unique, people and environment friendly
  • Social enterprises typically deal with people who live at the bottom of the pyramid, therefore they are beneficial to the poor, generally by providing them with a means of livelihood.
  • Social entrepreneurship has evolved over the years and given India innovative and profitable ideas that address social problems. Successful examples such as Amul, Barefoot College, Grameen Bank, etc., has the ability to create many more socially relevant enterprises
  • A localized, self-sustaining social enterprise, through forward and backward linkages, not only has the potential of addressing a contextual problem but also of providing meaningful, continuous employment to the local populace for whom self-employment, many a times at subsistence level, and informal employment are the norm.
  • Social enterprises have time and again demonstrated ways of empowering women at the grassroots level by providing them with income-generating activities, adding to a rise in rural household incomes
    • Through engaging local women in the production of local handicrafts
    • Building capacities of women to formalize and manage their self-help groups.
    • By making women economically independent, these enterprises contribute to a tacit shift in power within existing societal norms.
  • Examples:-
    • Aravind Eye Care System in south India, focuses on curing blindness among India’s poor. The hospital chain serves approximately 12,000-15,000 outpatient visits and 1,500 surgeries each day.
    • Karuna Trust and its public-private partnership model serve over 2 million low-income clients by transforming government primary health centres into hubs of low-cost, high-quality healthcare delivery.
    • Nidan has organized close to a million informal-economy workers across India into collectives and enterprises, secured their access to markets, technology and financial services and successfully influenced government policy on their social and economic inclusion.
    • Safe drinking water is also a leading health challenge for many of India’s urban poor, and now multinationals and small social enterprises alike respond to the problem.
      • One local company, Sarvajal, has created the “Water ATM”, a stand-alone water dispenser that uses off-grid solar energy to power a reverse osmosis system and provides treated water 24 hours a day at a low cost. Users simply swipe a pre-paid card at a price Sarvajal claims is cheaper than other alternatives.
    • A great positive of social enterprises is the opportunity they afford to people to acquire new skill sets and enhance existing ones. Furthermore, usage and adaptability of ever-changing technologies help improve the existing processes of enterprises, and build efficiency and the social well-being of people, thereby enhancing value for all.
    • Beyond their direct reach and impacts, social entrepreneurs represent a powerful idea, an idea that is relevant today more than ever before that business can be a vehicle to create both economic value as well contribute to building a fair and equitable society.
    • Delivering on India’s inclusive growth agenda calls for multi-pronged interventions. One of them needs to be cultivating and nurturing its innovative social enterprises through public-private cooperation.


  • Their impact is often limited to select geographies.
  • A big roadblock for social enterprises is obtaining funding and the right backing for the business.
  • Since the enterprise is not “traditional”, and is often a pilot venture, market feedback is not readily available. That is why formal lenders remain apprehensive while lending to such ventures.
  • The scenario is changing steadily due to fewer restrictions and an increased risk appetite in the formal lending environment, but it isn’t growing fast enough.
  • Many social enterprises grapple with at a nascent stage is the weak formal structure of the organization.
  • Very few of them are able to take their ideas off the ground; of those, even fewer can continue running their enterprises for a long duration.

Way forward:-

  • However, in order to be relevant to rural areas, it’s important that social enterprises are supported through a market-based model of financing rather than a philanthropic one to ensure their sustainability.
  • Development and impact bonds that provide a return against actual results to lenders have the potential to be a capital tool, thereby attracting funds to support social ventures.
  • One of the ways for companies to address these challenges, aside from offering training on skills to budding entrepreneurs, is to offer mentorship support a way of sharing lessons, insights and foresight gathered through work experience.
  • True public-private collaboration is key to make social enterprises successful. When designing and implementing policies, the government could draw on the knowledge and experience of social entrepreneurs, the ideas and dynamism of its youth and the capabilities of the corporate sector to plan and execute large scale projects.
  • India’s corporate champions have an opportunity to deepen their corporate global citizenship by joining forces with the government and social entrepreneurs in scaling the innovation.


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

6) Recently, the Parliament passed amendments  to the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Act, 1981. Examine implications of these amendments for government’s push to boost the rural and agricultural sector, especially for rural entrepreneurship. (250 Words)

The Hindu


  • The 1981 Act provides for the establishment of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).  NABARD is responsible for providing and regulating facilities like credit for agricultural and industrial development in the rural areas. The government seeks to amend it through the NABARD (Amendment) Bill, 2017 .
  • provides for empowering the Central government to increase the authorised capital of NABARD from Rs. 5,000 crore to Rs. 30,000 crore in consultation with the RBI. The amendments primarily seek to transfer the RBI’s balance equity of Rs. 20,000 crore in NABARD to the Central government.


  • Increase in capital of NABARD
    • The Bill allows the central government to increase this capital to Rs 30,000 crore.  The capital may be increased to more than Rs 30,000 crore by the central government in consultation with the RBI, if necessary.
  • Transfer of the RBI’s share to the central government
    • The Bill transfers the share capital held by the RBI and valued at Rs 20 crore to the central government.  The central government will give an equal amount to the RBI. 
  • Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME)
    • The Bill replaces the terms ‘small-scale industry’ and ‘industry in the tiny and decentralised sector’ with the terms ‘micro enterprise’, ‘small enterprise’ and ‘medium enterprise’ as defined in the MSME Development Act, 2006. 
    • Under the 1981 Act, NABARD was responsible for providing credit and other facilities to industries having an investment of upto Rs 20 lakh in machinery and plant.
      • The Bill extends this to apply to enterprises with investment upto Rs 10 crore in the manufacturing sector and Rs five crore in the services sector
    • Under the 1981 Act, experts from small-scale industries are included in the Board of Directors and the Advisory Council of NABARD.  Further, banks providing loans to small-scale, tiny and decentralised sector industries are eligible to receive financial assistance from NABARD. 
      • The Bill extends these provisions to the micro, small, and medium enterprises.
    • Consistency with the Companies Act, 2013
      • The Bill substitutes references to provisions of the Companies Act, 1956 under the NABARD Act, 1981, with references to the Companies Act, 2013.  These include provisions that deal with: (i) definition of a government company, and (ii) qualifications of auditors.


  • Positive:-
    • The amendments recognise the vital role of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as defined under the MSME Development Act of 2006, in rural entrepreneurship and are intended to make financing easier for them.
    • Role of Nabard is critical to achieve the objective of doubling farmers’ income and increasing the infrastructure in the rural areas.
    • This bill will enable Nabard to fulfill its commitment. Farmers, rural artisans and labourers would benefit and their income will increase.
    • Financial situation of Nabard will improve and loans will be provided to farmers and MSMEs.
    • It provides loans for agriculture, small scale industries among others.
  • Negative:-
    • The All India Nabard Employees Association (AINBEA) is strongly opposed to the complete transfer of the RBI’s shares to the Union government. The relationship between the central bank and the development institution will help the cause of agriculture and rural development at a critical juncture when the country is faced with a serious agrarian crisis.

Topic:  Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

7) The recent economic survey while admitting scientific and technological innovations underpin economic prosperity, carries an entire chapter on transforming science and technology in India. Discuss its mains observations and recommendations regarding boosting S&T research in India. (250 Words)

The Hindu


  • Science, technology, and innovation have instrumental and intrinsic value for society. They are key drivers of economic performance and social well-being

Observations by economic survey 2018 :-

  • India under-spends on research and development (R&D), even relative to its level of development.
  • India’s R&D spending is also mostly carried out by the government. Private investments in research have severely lagged public investments in India.
  • It pointed out a lack of enough skilled workforce that can carry out quality research, especially in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.
  • Universities in India also play a relatively small role in the research activities of the country.
  • Indian Ph.D. students obtain their degrees either within India or abroad, especially in the US. However, it appears that fewer Indian students have been enrolling in recent years for such degrees, whether due to more attractive options after a master’s degree or rising work visa challenges.
  • Publicly funded research in India concentrates in specialized research institutes under different government departments.
    • About three-fifths of the public investment is spread over the key government science funding agencies like Atomic Energy, Space, Earth Sciences, Science and Technology and Biotechnology. Given the country’s severe health challenges, the low and virtually stagnant budget of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) is striking.
    • This leaves universities to largely play a teaching role.
  • While India has made considerable strides in improving access to primary and secondary education, learning outcomes have been weak. This weakness denies India access to the intellect and energies of millions of young people.
  • Domestic patent system:-
    • While India’s patent applications and grants have grown rapidly in foreign jurisdictions, the same is not true at home.
    • Indian residents were granted over 5000 patents in foreign offices in 2015, the number for resident filings in India was little over 800.
    • The decrease in grants could have been due to a stricter examination process. Evidence suggests that there is a severe backlog and high rate of pendency for domestic patent applications.

Recommendations :-

  • Research and development:-
    • It calls for doubling research and development expenditure
    • Much of the increase should come from the private sector and universities.
      • The private sector should be incentivized to both undertake more R&D but to also support STEM research through CSR funds.
      • Current tax law already favors CSR investment into R&D, but the types of R&D activities eligible can be expanded.
      • Government can also work with the private sector to create new R&D funding opportunities, which are also in line with private sector interests.
    • There is a need for greater State Government spending, especially application-oriented R&D aimed at problems specific to their economies and populations
      • State governments too need to recognize the need to invest in application oriented research aimed at problems specific to their economies and populations.
    • Link national labs to universities and create new knowledge eco-systems
  • Enhanced competitive research grants for the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, and universities will help address the needs of a larger pool of scientific talent outside national labs and bring in returns by way of publications, patents and innovations that can meet immediate needs.
  • India should take a more mission-driven approach in areas such as dark matter, genomics, energy storage, agriculture, and mathematics and cyber physical systems.
  • Vigorous efforts to improve the “ease of doing business” need to be matched by similar ones to boost the “ease of doing science”.
  • India needs to gradually move to have a greater share of an investigator-driven model for funding science research.
    • The government’s recent hiring of over 450 additional patent examiners and creation of an expedited filing system for Indian residents in 2017 will therefore be a welcome and crucial intervention to help fix the existing patent system



  • India needs to understand that no country can create a vibrant superstructure of R&D with weak foundations of primary and secondary education for so many of its young.


General Studies – 4

Topic:   Ethics in human actions


Famously stated by Issac Asimov through his character Salvor Hardin in Foundation, the title quote could not be more apt at the current moment in history when violence is plaguing the world everywhere.


When someone does not know how to solve a problem or is incompetent they become angry, and can become violent. So this shows the person has not tried other approaches like pacifying and peaceful means and resorted to coercion, force and violence.

The fear-based society promotes violence to solve issues. Fear is covered by anger that leads to rage, to hurting others in revenge, to killing others from projecting their inner pain, to killing themselves to escape that inner hopelessness and helplessness.


Only the incompetent wait until the last extremity to use force, and by then, it is usually too late to use anything. For instance if the British and French hadn’t capitulated to Hitler in 1938, the Germans would’ve been forced to back down or go to war before they were ready and there’s a good chance Hitler would’ve been deposed peacefully.


Even in the case of religious fundamentalism when people don’t accept their point of view ,fundamentalists and terrorists resort to violence thinking that will instill fear and make people in sync with their point of view. This only shows they have not applied their emotional intelligence and took the easy way out.