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

General Studies – 1

Topic Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times. 

1) The period between the Sangam Age and the Pallavas — the second to the sixth centuries CE — were trying times for Tamil literature and the Hindu religion. What happened during this time? How did the arrival of Bhakti movement help in revival of Tamil culture and literature? Examine. (250 Words)

The Hindu




  • Religion has always been a big patron of art and literature in most languages, and much of the earliest literature in most languages now extant is religious or philosophical in character.
  • But the Sangam poetry and other early works of Tamils refer less to religion than to social customs and traditions. A strong secular character seems to have influenced Tamil poetry in the early period.


The period between the Sangam age and the Pallavas is a trying period for for tamil literature and Hindu religion because:-

  • The Kalabhra kings who were ruling during this period seem to have been patrons of Jains and Buddhists and were antagonistic towards the Hindu and Brahman religions of the majority population of the Tamil region during the early centuries C.E. So Pali and Prakrit seem to have flourished.
  • Though the five great Tamil epics and a number of other works were composed by Jains and Buddhists in this period experts say their social ideals were contrary to the Tamil customs and traditions seen in Sangam poetry.
  • There was also a declining trend in the social life of the Tamil people. Social ethics began to decline during this period. The Tamil literature of this period reflected the ethical and moral ideas with a view to reform the society.
    • The post-Sangam literature consists of the twin-epics – Silappathikaram and Manimekalai and also Pathinen Keezhkanakku. The impulse of these works was oriented towards reforming the society.

Arrival of bhakti movement led to revival of tamil culture and literature:-

  • Bhakti movement was a social reaction to the town-based and mercantile society of Jains and Buddhists. It may be seen as an expression of the largely rural population with emphasis on agriculture. This is reflected in the works and contributes to the idea that they are “more rooted in Tamil culture.
  • Even the religion of the Bhakti poets is sensuous, and the Azhwars and the Nayanmars alternately profess love to or chide their gods, depending on their mood, in their poetry.
  • The poetry of the Bhakti movement some of the first being the Nalayira Divya Prabandham (4,000 songs) of the Azhwars (Vaishnavite) and the Twelve Thirumurais (comprising 18,426 songs) of the Saivite saints  have as their main theme religion and god.
  • Many historians convey  Bhakti movement as one of the reasons for Tamil to be a living classical language.
  • Women such as Karaikkal Ammaiyar and Andal got public recognition, just as women poets were welcomed in the courts of kings in the Sangam Age.
  • Vivid portrayals of country life are seen in the poems, and Tamil music is celebrated. 
  • In music, too, the idea of Bhakti, after finding roots in different parts of the country through various people’s movements, becomes a major inspiration for composers like Tyagaraja.



  • In a way Bhakti movement in is relevant even today not only in Tamil Nadu  and indeed everywhere in India as it challenges caste hierarchy, their concerns, indeed devotion, is to the cause of economic justice and a more egalitarian world


General Studies – 2

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

2) Discuss the features of the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018. Why is human trafficking is on the rise in India in recent years? Critically examine. (250 Words)

PRS(Page 5)

Business Standard


Background :-

  • Trafficking in human beings is the third largest organized crime violating basic human rights. There is nospecific law so far to deal with this crime. Accordingly, the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 has been prepared.
  • The Bill addresses one of the most pervasive yet invisible crimes affecting the most vulnerable persons especially women and children. The new law will make India a leader among South Asian countries to combat trafficking. 

Features of the bill:

  • Addresses the issue of trafficking from the point of view of prevention, rescue and rehabilitation.
  • Aggravated forms of trafficking, which includes trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, begging, trafficking by administering chemical substance or hormones on a person for the purpose of early sexual maturity, trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage or after marriage etc.
  • Punishment for promoting or facilitating trafficking of person:-
    • Which includes producing, printing, issuing or distributing unissued, tampered or fake certificates, registration or stickers as proof of compliance with Government requirements; or commits fraud for procuring or facilitating the acquisition of clearances and necessary documents from Government agencies.
    • The new law also seeks to make way for punishment of three years for a person found to be promoting or facilitating trafficking.
    • Punishment ranges from rigorous minimum 10 years to life and fine not less than Rs. 1 lakh in cases of “aggravated” crimes
    • In order to break the organized nexus, both at the national and international level, the Bill provides for the attachment & forfeiture of property and also the proceeds for crime.
  • The confidentiality of victims/ witnesses and complainants by not disclosing their identity. Further the confidentiality of the victims is maintained by recording their statement through video conferencing (this also helps in trans-border and inter-State crimes).
  • Time bound trial and repatriation of the victims – within a period of one year from taking into cognizance.
  • Rehabilitation:-
    • Immediate protection of rescued victims and their rehabilitation. The Victims are entitled to interim relief immediately within 30 days to address their physical, mental trauma etc. and further appropriate relief within 60 days from the date of filing of charge sheet.
    • Rehabilitation of the victim which is not contingent upon criminal proceedings being initiated against the accused or the outcome thereof.
    • Rehabilitation Fund created for the first time. To be used for the physical, psychological and social well-being of the victim including education, skill development, health care/psychological support, legal aid, safe accommodation, etc.    
    • As per the Bill, the rescued adults would be given an opportunity before the Magistrate if they want to stay in protection homes or go to their native places.
  • Institutional mechanism:
    • Designated courts in each district for the speedy trial of the cases.
    • The Bill creates dedicated institutional mechanisms at District, State and Central Level. These will be responsible for prevention, protection, investigation and rehabilitation work related to trafficking.  National Investigation Agency (NIA) will perform the tasks of Anti-Trafficking Bureau at the national level present under the MHA.
  • The Bill comprehensively addresses the transnational nature of the crime. The National Anti-Trafficking Bureau under national investigation agency will perform the functions of international coordination with authorities in foreign countries and international organizations;

Human trafficking on rise in recent years because:-

  • False pretext:-
    • Traffickers abduct or lure women and children, mostly from remote villages, with false promises of jobs before selling them off to brothels, factories or gangs which force them into begging.
    • Under the garb of supplying cheap domestic help, placement agencies traffic people, making this a large organised crime, especially in metropolitan cities.
  • Governance and institutional failure:-
    • Delayed action by government agencies against trafficking has resulted in its widespread incidence across the country, which spans from trafficking into forced labour in hazardous work and factories to the seemingly innocuous trafficking into domestic labour.
    • Trafficking is profitable and corruption is widespread. It is all too easy for traffickers to buy off police and other law-enforcement agents.
    • India passed a bill amending laws concerning sexual violence and making sex trafficking a criminal offense earlier . But the gap between enactment and enforcement remains unacceptably wide
    • As per official estimates, 15 children go missing every hour in India and 8 are never found. The real number of trafficked children is never known.
  • Other disturbing forms of trafficking are also emerging. Children in armed conflicts, illegal adoptions, the sale of organs, and trafficking for marriage are some of the other ugly heads of trafficking that have emerged in the past few years.
  • Urbanisation:-
    • Thousands of children are going missing from some of India’s remote tribal areas as human traffickers respond to a surge in demand for domestic child labour in booming urban districts. This is due to rising demand for domestic maids due to rising income in urban areas and wide scale poverty in rural areas.
    • Rapid urbanization and the migration of large numbers of men into India’s growing cities creates a market for commercial sex.
  • Nepal:-
    • Following the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that human trafficking from Nepal to India witnessed a three-fold jump.
  • Persistent poverty is a major factor. Many vulnerable women and girls are lured by promises of employment, and some parents are desperate enough to sell their daughters to traffickers.
  • Sex-selective abortion practices led to gender imbalance that has created a generation of young men who have little hope of finding female partners.
  • India’s affluence is also a factor, luring European women into India’s sex trade.
  • The caste system compounds the problem. Victims of sex trafficking disproportionately come from disadvantaged segments of Indian society.


Measures needed :-

  • The trafficking bill 2018 need to be passed as it would plug the loopholes in earlier anti-trafficking laws and help tackle the menace of human trafficking as also the festering issue of illegal brothels by equipping the law enforcement agencies with more ammunition.
  • Instead for a multi-faceted legal and economic strategy
    • Robust implementation of labour laws
    • A universal social protection floor
    • Self-organisation of workers
    • Improved labour inspection, including in the informal economy
    • Corporate accountability for decent work conditions are needed.
  • Need for systemic reforms
    • To counter distress migration
    • End caste-based discrimination
    • Enforce the rural employment guarantee legislation
    • Avoid the indiscriminate rescue of voluntary sex workers
    • Protect migrants mobility and rights.
  • Victims of trafficking, especially children, need safe social and economic rehabilitation.
    • Higher budgetary allocations are needed for their immediate help and counselling, besides making arrangements for their vocational training, housing and repatriation.
    • The reintroduction to education is also a must. Also, changes in the education system to include rights-based information, if given to each child, can lay the foundations of an aware and secure generation.
    • Schools and parents must make children aware of the dangers of trafficking and prepare them to recognise and tackle it.


  • Trafficking bill is the first step in the measures which are bold and holistic response to a socioeconomic problem of labour exploitation and this can help India realise SDG 8.7.

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

3) For India, Jordan is more than a transit point and can be considered as its natural ally. Comment. (250 Words)



The Hindu


  • Benefitting from its strategic location in the Middle East, Jordan is a model of tranquility and security . However it is a resource-poor country and the Hashemite Kingdom has long relied on foreign assistance, especially from Western and Arab Gulf states. 
  • It is perfect transit point for India to the middle east as the Palestinian territories cannot be visited without transiting through a third country like Egypt and Jordan as possible transit points for the Gaza Strip and West Bank, respectively.
    • India cannot help the Palestinians constructively without coordinating with Jordan .A greater Jordanian role is a pre-condition for Palestinian statehood, both for logistical as well as developmental considerations. 

However Indian Jordan relations are more of natural allies than just a transit point because:-

  • Security issues:-
    • Both India and Jordan face the common threat of terrorism and extremism.
    • Both countries share the view that nations must coordinate their positions to fight against the misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred and justifying terrorism.
    • Terrorism, lack of employment opportunity, weak governance, conflicts and civil war are depriving the region and its people of their right to live in peace and prosperity. India and Jordan can collaborate effectively to mitigate the adverse impact of these negative developments.
    • India and Jordan can be termed as natural allies as both countries are peaceful, stable and are witnessing rapid economic growth and have similar positions on regional and global affairs.
  • Economic:-
    • India is Jordan’s fourth largest trade partner after Iraq, Saudi Arabia and China. Bilateral trade totalled USD 2.2 billion in 2014-15. 
    • Jordan also plays an important role in India’s food security through provision of fertilisers and phosphates
    • Indian investors have taken advantage of Jordan’s free trade agreements with the US and are trying to make it a hub of textile exports. The famous Abdoun bridge in Amman by Larsen & Toubro, the rock phosphate terminal by Afcons Infrastructure Limited in Aqaba, and more than 20 textile units owned by Indians in special economic zones stand testimony to India’s continued interest in Jordanian opportunities.
  • Strategic and geopolitical:-
    • When India wants more partners in West Asia Jordan can be an asset to India’s think west policy.
    • India can deepen security ties with Jordan to leverage its unique strategic location in the Levant, with access to the Red Sea and the eastern Mediterranean.
  • Cultural:-
    • Jordanians of all backgrounds have built the Hashemite Kingdom, and this fabric enhances the unity of the people and their respect for fellow citizens regardless of religion or roots. India is also known for its unity in diversity
    • Jordan has historical importance in India’s religious texts.
    • Jordan is keen on attracting Indian tourists as well as Bollywood to its historic and religious sites, where yoga is already very popular. Jordan grants Indians an entry-upon-arrival visa, while India also offers Jordanians an e-visa. 
  • The recent visit of King Abdullah II’s visit to India represents an opportunity to catapult the relationship to the next higher level in strategic, security, political, energy, trade, investment and economic cooperation.


  • Jordan respects the India’s civilisation, vision for development and progress, as well as a principled foreign policy stand, especially on the Palestine issue. The two sides are on the same page on most international issues that impact our region.

General Studies – 3


Topic Storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints;

4) The government has been making efforts to integrate farmers with agro-industries to ensure that they get better prices for their produce. Is contract farming a better solution in this regard? Examine the problems involved in contract farming and analyse if the draft model contract farming Act, 2018 would address these problems. (250 Words)




  • Government has been making efforts to integrate farmers with agro-industries to ensure that they get better prices for their produce. This is why contract farming has come to be seen as a panacea.

Contract farming is the solution :-

  • Contract farming refers to an agreement between farmers and marketing firms for the production and supply of agricultural products under forward agreements, frequently at predetermined prices.
  • Famers advantage:-
    • The contract between farmers and buyers insulates farmers from price risk, helps them develop new skills, and opens new markets. 
    • Inputs and production services are often supplied by the sponsor. This is usually done on credit through advances from the sponsor.
    • Contract farming often introduces new technology and also enables farmers to learn new skills.
    • Farmers’ price risk is often reduced as many contracts specify prices in advance.
    • Contract farming can open up new markets which would otherwise be unavailable to small farmers.
  • Advantages for sponsors
    • Contract farming with small farmers is more politically acceptable than, for example, production on estates.
    • Working with small farmers overcomes land constraints.
    • Production is more reliable than open-market purchases and the sponsoring company faces less risk by not being responsible for production.
    • More consistent quality can be obtained than if purchases were made on the open market.

Problems with contact farming :-

  • Problems faced by farmers
    • Particularly when growing new crops, farmers face the risks of both market failure and production problems.
    • Delay in payment of produce 
    • Inefficient management or marketing problems can mean that quotas are manipulated so that not all contracted production is purchased
    • Sponsoring companies may be unreliable or exploit a monopoly position.
      • Typically, contract firms enter into an agreement with farmers to grow differentiated crops. This turns the firm into a sole buyer and farmers into price-takers. Contracting firms can exploit this situation to their advantage by offering lower prices to farmers.
    • The staff of sponsoring organizations may be corrupt, particularly in the allocation of quotas
    • Farmers may become indebted because of production problems and excessive advances
    • Farmers sometimes do not understand contract specifications like the quantity and quality to be produced, or the effect of price change. These market failures lead to suboptimal outcomes. Buyers may penalize farmers.
  • Problems faced by sponsors
    • Contracted farmers may face land constraints due to a lack of security of tenure, thus jeopardizing sustainable long-term operations
    • Social and cultural constraints may affect farmers ability to produce to managers specifications
    • Poor management and lack of consultation with farmers may lead to farmer discontent
    • Farmers may sell outside the contract (extra-contractual marketing) thereby reducing processing factory throughput
    • Farmers may divert inputs supplied on credit to other purposes, thereby reducing yields
    • Contracting firms do not have complete information on productivity and land quality. This can lead to a situation where farmers produce below-quality crops.

Draft model contract  farming act will address these issues:-

  • The model Act makes a good move in the direction of promoting contract farming. Many private companies have said that they face a lot of difficulties when they approach the State for contract farming license. This Act attempts to smoothen this process.
  • Role of Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees/Marketing Boards
    • As per the draft Model Act, contract farming will be outside the ambit of the state APMCs.  This implies that buyers need not pay market fee and commission charges to these APMCs to undertake contract farming. 
    • Further, the draft Model Act provides for establishing a state-level Contract Farming (Promotion and Facilitation) Authority to ensure implementation of the draft Model Act. 
    • Further, the sale and purchase of contracted produce is out of the ambit of regulation of the respective state/UT Agricultural Marketing Act.
  • Under the draft Model Act, in case of disputes between a producer and a buyer, they can:
    • (i) reach a mutually acceptable solution through negotiation or conciliation
    • (ii) refer the dispute to a dispute settlement officer designated by the state government
    • (iii) appeal to the Contract Farming (Promotion and Facilitation) Authority (to be established in each state) in case they are not satisfied by the decision of the dispute settlement officer
  • Under the draft Model Act, limits of stockholding of agricultural produce will not be applicable on produce purchased under contract farming.

Concerns about the act:-

  • The model Act requires the sponsor and the farmers to register the contracts with a registering and agreement recording committee. Registration imposes additional procedures and costs on the parties, and small and medium farmers cannot easily afford these costs.
  • The Act also proposes price protection for farmers by determining a pre-agreed price. This will be counterproductive.
  • The entire premise of the model contract Act seems to be aimed at creating a legal infrastructure to ensure that both parties honour the contract. This approach is flawed. 
  • Separate legal structure is not required for contract farming as the provisions of the Indian Contract Act are sufficient to cover the necessary requirements.
  • The Act is aimed at helping agribusinesses to rake in profits. It promotes an unequal arrangement where farmers’ products would be available cheaply to these companies.
  • It also has a provision to allow companies to buy produce at lower than contracted prices citing inferior quality.

Measures needed further:-

  • Foster more competition: 
    • The government needs to create market-based incentives for both farmers and buyers.
    • It should improve farmers connectivity to spot markets and mandisacross the country. E-NAM (National Agricultural Market) is a great initiative in that direction. This would encourage contracting sponsors to raise their bids and compete to enroll farmers to secure input supplies.
    • The competition amongst sponsors would also incentivise them to offer better terms and services to farmers
  • Provide public goods: 
    • The government should maintain an information repository of farmers and contracting firms. The repository can provide details about farmers or farmer producer organizations with regard to land availability, default rate, and performance standards.
    • Similarly, details of sponsors can include services provided, requirements of crops, and the default rate. This will helpfarmers and sponsors to evaluate each other prior to engaging in contracts.
    • Also, the government can facilitate the establishment and enforcement of standards for crops. This will set clearer expectations regarding the contracted crop
  • Encourage softer means for enforcement:
    • Incorporating risk-sharing mechanisms in contracts, incentive schemes, repeated contracting and renegotiation options, and simplified and transparent contract terms would help in contract enforcement. The government can educate farmers and make them more aware about contract farming and model contracts.
  • Other recommendations
    • These include:
      • (i) allowing direct sale of produce by farmers
      • (ii) removing fruits and vegetables out of the ambit of APMCs
      • (iii) setting-up of farmer-consumer markets

Topic:  Environmental pollution

5) To join other nations in the war on carbon, India needs to undertake a comprehensive approach, which can be done by establishing an emissions trading scheme (ETS). Discuss. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Emissions trading scheme(ETS) :-

  • An ETS is a market-based mechanism where a cap is set on the amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases that can be emitted by covered entities. The emitters can either reduce their emissions to adhere to the cap or buy additional allowances from other entities to compensate for their deficiency. One allowance gives the right to the holder to emit one tonne of carbon. 

Compressive approach through emissions trading scheme is needed because :-

  • Introducing such a scheme would make India a leader among developing economies and possibly help in better regulation of pollution.
  • A system in line with world standards would help bring in more foreign investment and also boost the economy.
  • Other approaches do not give economic incentive to the producer. The producer can easily pass on the costs to the consumers and not worry about reducing any pollution. So emissions trading scheme is the most cost effective way of reducing pollution.
  • Moreover, marketable permits provide experts with more certainty about the level of pollution.
  • ETS will reduce emissions because emissions are capped, and this cap is reduced over time. However, ETSs typically allow emissions to be traded across countries.
    • Hence part of the cap can be met using international carbon credits. Credits from developing countries are currently very cheap so international trading means less local action to cut emissions. 

Concerns remain :-

  • Formalising emission rights effectively gives firms a right to pollute.
  • The location of the source of pollution:-
  • In theory, a cap on the emissions can be set up but in practice this cap might not result in the most fruitful outcome because the source of pollution might play a bigger role than expected.
  • A very basic issue is what kind of caps are feasible in an economy. Setting very stringent caps can result in the non-compliance to the norms and thereby degrading the environment further more.
  • One of the desirable aspects about marketable permits is the ability to raise income levels for participants. This also raises the incentive for non-compliance. A weak enforcement system could result in illegal activity for higher profitability.
  • In contrast to a taxation regime, a permit trading programme does not provide any insular protection against ‘shocks’.
    • An emission cap can lead to politically unacceptable permit price increases.
    • This was seen in the Los Angeles RECLAIM(Regional Clear Air Incentives Market) where a very large unanticipated rise in power could only be accommodated by increasing power production from the older, more polluting plants
  • Accepting an emissions trading scheme means that India would also have to agree to a emission cap for itself. However, this might turn out to be counter-productive for India since being a rapidly developing economy with large incremental rise, its emissions might rise above the cap for which it would have to face severe consequences
  • The longest running ETS is in the European Union. It has failed badly and 134 environment groups have demanded it be scrapped and replaced with policies that work.It has resulted in windfall profits for polluters, while not reducing emissions

Way forward:-

  • The ability of soils to sequester carbon is a win-win strategy for farmers, people and for climate change
  • Some of the approaches that could remove or absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are better agricultural practices that leave carbon in the ground, use of biochar, undertaking afforestation and reforestation.
  • Bioenergy for fuel in combination with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is another method. This involves the use of plants as fuel. 


  • Emissions trading scheme is a temporary solution but for a permanent one  policies should nudge especially the more prosperous communities towards less carbon intensive lifestyles, either through taxes or incentives or both. Otherwise, today’s largely policies would merely shift current problems on to the shoulders of future generations.

General Studies – 4

Topic:  Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions;


Imprisoning individuals who break the law has many goals. Imprisonment shows society’s abhorrence for certain antisocial behaviours and incarceration removes individuals from the community for a period of time. Another goal of incarceration is that imprisonment will serve to deter offenders from engaging in further criminal behaviour.


Correctional confinement is a process of reforming the prisoner .Generally  confinement can happen for reasons such as retribution, deterrence, reformation, containment and of late, just rewards. Retribution ,deterrence and containment include  elements of imbibing harsh punishments trying to make the person feel physical and mental pain .So it has a cruel element to it. Reformation is more about reforming the person so it deals with compassion respecting the human dignity towards the person and trying to change him in to a good person through empathy.


Following only  cruel punishments do not reform the prisoner ,human rights are violated and there are even possibilities of  recidivism . So for non grave crimes as far as possible resorting to compassion  and giving an opportunity for reform to prisoners is necessary for the peace and the best interests in the society . For example parole, commutation of sentence, initiatives taken in Tihar jail ,Food for freedom programme in Kerala  show how compassion and empathy can reform the prisoners.


However in grave crimes, terrorism, espionage ,crimes against the state where harsher punishments are required the accused should not be dealt leniently.


So we should not rely on punishment by itself to change behaviour. We need to create a true system of rehabilitation .Such a system will be comprehensive, coherent and internally consistent in applying evidence-based practice at all levels.