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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: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country. 

1) Analyse the role played by moderates in securing press freedom during the Indian national movement. (250 Words)

India’s Struggle for Independence, Chapter – 8


  • The national movement from the beginning zealously defended the freedom of the Press whenever the Government attacked it or tried to curtail it. In fact, the struggle for the freedom of the Press became an integral part of the struggle for freedom.

Role played by moderates :-

  • The early phase of the nationalist movement, from around 1870 to 1918, focussed more on political propaganda and education, formation and propagation of nationalist ideology, training, mobilisation and consolidation of public opinion.
  • The main aim of these newspapers was to serve the public. In fact, these newspapers had a wide reach and they stimulated the popular library movement which enabled not only political education but also political participation.
  • Many newspapers emerged during these years under distinguished and fearless journalists. These included The Hindu and Swadesamitran under G. SubramaniyaAiyar, The Bengalee under Surendranath Banerjee, Voice of India under Dadabhai Naoroji, Amrita Bazar Patrika under Sisir Kumar Ghosh etc.
  • Through the newspapers, a nationalistic rebellion was slowly being pieced together through words and symbols. 
  • Government acts and policies were put to thorough scrutiny. They acted as an institution of opposition to the Government.
  • Indian newspapers became highly critical of Lord Lytton’s administration, especially regarding its inhuman treatment to victims of the famine of 1876-77.
  • Adapted quickly:-
    • The vernacular Press Act 1878 passed by British  was not imposed on English-language publications. 
    • So Amrita Bazar Patrika, a bilingual, adapted to the circumstances and became solely an English weekly, going on to play an important role in the development of investigative Indian journalism.
  • Tilak who was later termed as extremist encouraged anti-imperialist sentiments among the public through Ganapati festivals (started in 1893), Shivaji festivals (started in 1896) and through newspapers Kesari and Maharatta. 
  • People became politically aware because of newspapers and this later contributed  to mass mobilisation as well.

General Studies – 2

Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein

2) In a federal polity like India why is it important for states to have both financial and cultural autonomy? Do you think it’s time for India to become a federation of states? Analyse  (250 Words)

The Hindu



  • India is termed as a union of states since independence but in the recent times there have been protests and demands by the states for greater autonomy.

Why is it important for states to have both financial and cultural autonomy/ why is it necessary for India to become federation of states :-

  • While the constituent units of the union i.e.., states have changed, the relationship between the Union and the States has remained the same.
  • Genuine federalism requires dual centres of fiscal authority
    • Creating a fiscal structure where the states have greater revenue-raising authority, as well as greater decision making power on spending, implies a lower reliance on the Union government in fiscal matters as well as governance decisions.
    • Greater financial autonomy means reducing the system of the Union government receiving a large proportion of all revenue and then allocating that revenue among the stat
  • Embrace genuine fiscal federalism by permanently creating a fiscal power centre in the states. For the richer states, this is an excellent solution.
    • They raise a larger share of the revenue and will benefit immediately.
    • It allows these governments to take on long-term infrastructure and governance projects to benefit its citizens.
  • Citizens of democratically powerful states will benefit in the long run because fiscal autonomy will put pressure on these governments to take welfare seriously which implies
    • Greater revenue
    • Greater power for state parties governing these states in the long run.
    • Budgetary crisis in these states in the short run need not harm citizens adversely because India constitutionally guarantees freedom of movement.
  • Some of the instances which show that the states are demanding greater autonomy
    • The recent instance of unveiling of state flag by Karnataka
    • The continued existence of provisions such as Article 356 (President’s rule) are threatening states
    • Protests against Jallikattu, imposition of preferences on food, exclusion of women form the Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala.
    • So a central authority cannot draw the boundaries of cultural practice in ways that are sensitive to tradition. 
    • Inter state water disputes
    • Now, the skewed terms of reference for the 15th Finance Commission have brought the south together in making a strong case for fiscal federalism.

India cannot be the federation of states :-

  • The units of Indian federation have undergone multiple transformations since 1947. This is because Article 3 of the Constitution empowers Parliament to create new States. While such a provision can be seen as giving the Union too much power, it has arguably been central to holding India together since it allows the federation to evolve and respond to sub-national aspiratio
  • The government has sought to assuage such concerns by invoking the idea of “cooperative federalism”. The 14th Finance Commission, in 2015, recommended raising the share of States in the divisible pool of Central taxes from 32% to 42%. 
  • The constitution provided safeguards for federalism already through V th and VI th schedule,Article 370, Special category status, Centrally sponsored schemes etc
  • As the regional disparities between states widen further , a strong centre which can provide grants to backward states is very necessary,
  • India is a union of states /indestructible union of indestructible states which makes sense keeping in mind the cultural diversity in the country. So cultural autonomy should not threaten national integration
  • India is in a complex geographical position with rising insecurity across its borders, effective distribution of resources , also riddled with various socio-economic complexities .So states alone are not equipped to deal with these internal and external security challenges. Strong centre is necessary.


  • With effective democratic décentralisation ,fiscal  cooperative  and competitive federalism, inclusive growth the states can develop and integrity of the nation will not be hampered.

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

3) In the light of the recent developments that are taking place in the Korean peninsula, India should stop being a passive observer of the Korean geopolitical theatre. Analyse. (250 Words)

The Indian Express

The Hindu


  • The drastic changes in the Korean peninsula be it diplomacy superseding in the relations between north and south Korea, US- north Korea ready for talks raises questions about India’s role in this sensitive geopolitical region.

Yes, India needs to play a greater role:-

  • After Korea’s Independence in 1945, India was chairman of a nine-member UN Commission that was set up to hold elections in Korea. India maintained a balance between the two Koreas, even though India’s diplomatic effort was marginal during those years.
  • A more active engagement with the leadership of the two Koreas would better prepare India for potential historic changes in the region.
  • India and South Korea should have a thoroughgoing discussion on Northeast Asia. The parties involved must break the barrier of Seoul’s traditional prism of only contacting the Six-Party dialogue partners.
    • To improve its strategic weight, South Korea needs new Asian partners beyond China. India has always advocated for de-nuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and asked for dialogue and peaceful resolution of the crisis.
  • Policy designs such as Sunshine Policy and Northeast Asia Peace Initiative (NAPCI) have been the main policy directives for South Korea over the last two decades. Involving India in the Northeast Asian peace process will be instrumental in strengthening India-Korea relations.
  • The enduring regional tensions in South Asia especially between India and China  create a common interest for India and South Korea to discuss a collaborative approach for regional stability.
  • Moreover, South Korea’s key interest in managing their nuclear neighbour on the Korean Peninsula, is similar to India’s considerations toward Pakistan.
  • India has relations with both the countries.
    • South Korean company KIA is setting up a plant in India. India implemented a plan to launch a strategic initiative, “Korea Plus” to facilitate Korean FDI in India and forge larger economic cooperation in pursuit of the Act Asia Policy..
    • There is also good import-export relationship between India and North Korea .so greater involvement can be made.
  • Also regional security is threatened if Korean peninsula is unstable so India needs to play a greater role.


India needs to be a passive observer:-

  • India has been kept out of diplomatic discussions pertaining to the region so far.
  • India’s foreign policy is rested on the principle of non interference on the internal politics of other nations.
  • Indian resources is still limited in terms of economic clout, military strength, diplomatic resources



  • Global events have effect on India and world has become very integrated whole. So India needs to play a greater role to ensure its rising clout around the world and especially East Asia.

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

4) Differentiate between global order and international order. Is it in India’s interest to seek or acquire greater responsibilities in the international order? Comment. (250 Words)


Global order :-

  • The distribution of power and authority among the political actors on the global stage. It is the system controlling events in the world, especially a set of arrangements established internationally for preserving global political stability.
  • The Commonwealth was the foundation of a new world order.

International order :-

  • The International Order is defined as the body of rules, norms, and institutions that govern relations between the key players on the international stage. Today, this body includes a nexus of global institutions, such as the United Nations, and the World Trade Organization; bilateral and regional security organizations.
  • The international order was constructed following World War II to manage geopolitical exigencies wrought by the Cold War. 


Yes, it is in India’s interest to acquire greater responsibilities :-

  • India has on numerous occasions  worked with both developing and developed countries to frame rules that advance India’s objectives.
  • Framework conventions on climate change and tobacco control would not have been produced had India not worked behind the scenes to shape those rules. Greater role is expected in nuclear disarmament and arms control, reforms in international institutions etc.
  • Trade negotiations from the Uruguay Round onward have seen an India willing to concede when liberalization increases market access for Indian products. India has had the capacity to play this role.
  • The leadership role being played by India in International solar alliance ,Paris agreement even after US pulled back, being one of thefastest growing economies in the world India is ready to play greater responsibilities.
  • India is already part of leadership role in the organisations like BRICS,SCO,SAARC,ASEAN etc.
  • US and Western countries that lead the international order are open to meaningfully sharing power with rising powers like India. 


  • India’s overriding focus on securing its periphery and improving its growth trajectory serve as constraints to higher ambitions in the international order.
  • India’s diffidence when dealing with crises in Syria and Libya testify to the difficulties that come with greater responsibilities.
  • Occasionally, India’s economic interests conflict with or complicate policy choices, as was the case when the US began to walk back on the  Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)  with Iran, a move that could imperil import of crude oil from Iran. 

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

5) Discuss the significance of the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act) for India which was recently signed by the US President. (250 Words)

The Hindu

CLOUD act:-

  • The CLOUD Act  (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data) is a set of regulations handling how data stored in one country can be accessed by an entity in a different country
  • It will enable the U.S. government to enter into agreements with like-minded states for cross-border data sharing. 

Significance :-

  • With the enactment of the CLOUD Act, an Indian officer for the purposes of an investigation will no longer have to make a request to the U.S. government but can approach the company directly.
  • India in the first half of 2017 requested data from Facebook 9,853 times, of which only 54.3% were met. Over the years, requests from Indian law enforcement to American service providers have been on a steady rise. This act makes the process easierand would also limit the activities similar to Cambridge Analytica in future.
  • Cross-border crimes such as cases of online radicalisation would require agents to access data that are stored abroad. The act helps enforcement agencies to solve the crime fast.
  • It reflects a growing consensus in favour of protecting Internet users around the world and provides a logical solution for governing cross-border access to data.
  • Introduction of this bipartisan legislation is an important step toward enhancing and protecting individual privacy rights, reducing international conflicts of law and keeping us all safer.


  • Among many commitments, to qualify for an executive agreement, India will need to ensure that its authorities collect, retain, use and share data as per an established procedure.
  • In addition, Indian laws must provide for electronic data requests to be reviewed by a court or other independent authority. As of now, India falls short of these requirements. 
  • Concerns are raised that this will erode privacy protections around the globe.


  • Passage of the CLOUD Act, therefore, sets the stage for ongoing public debates about privacy and human rights standards for government access to data. It provides an opportunity to promote improvements in privacy and human rights practices with partner nations around the globe.

General Studies – 3

Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, 

6) Can shift in cropping and consumptions patterns  reduce India’s micronutrient deficiencies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Examine. (250 Words)

The Hindu


  • According to a latest study ,three-quarters of Indians consume less than the ideal number of calories a day, and more than half have protein deficiency
  • The deficiencies of micronutrients were more prevalent: nearly nine in 10 Indians are iron-deficient, 85% do not meet the required intake of vitamin A, and two-thirds have zinc deficiency.

Shift in cropping patterns and consumption patterns reduce India’s micronutrient deficiencies:-

  • A shift to wheat, millets from polished rice could reduce India’s micronutrient deficiencies to
  • Micronutrients can be met by reducing the intake of rice and replacing them with coarse cereals such as bajra and ragi, along with legumes, dark, leafy vegetables, and coconut. These dietary changes could also reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in India by up to 25%.

Shift in cropping patterns and consumption patterns reduce India’s  green house gas emissions:-

  • Researchers suggested that shifting consumption away from livestock products is a major opportunity for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and may also provide health, food security and other environmental benefits, thought this is context-specific.
  • The livestock sector is also responsible for anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems.
  • The intensified rice and wheat cropping systems consume most of the fertilizer and irrigation water in India and are major sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • Land use changes, irrigation, soil nutrient drainage, fertiliser application practices, and changes in crop and livestock patterns all contribute to changes in soil carbon.
  • Whereas conventional production and the current meat oriented nutrition patterns lead to high green house gas emissions
  • Shift to chicken and legumes from beef and eggs, along with leafy vegetables and coconut could reduce greenhouse gas emission.


Way forward:-

  • Food systems that would allow healthy choice of food and facilitating the process of intelligent food synergies with home as the centre point of the activity and caregiver as the change agent with effective participation from family members is required.
  • Tracing the path that leads these changes and intervening at these critical points may result in overall health and nutrition security especially micronutrient security.
  • There is a tremendous reduction potential, if products are organically produced and if there is a shift to vegetarian-based diets.

 General Studies – 4

Topic:  Corporate governance. 



Over the past few years,  public sector banks have faced a barrage of criticism because of their pile of bad loans and recently because of the discovery of frauds, comparisons have been made with some of India’s top private banks, not just in terms of operational efficiency and lower bad loans, but also on governance.


Conflict of interest:-

Conflict of interest is a situation in which an individual has competing interests or loyalties.  A conflict of interest can exist in many different situations.


 For instance a public official whose personal interests conflict with his/her professional position. Instances of the largest shareholder appointing himself as CEO, deciding his salary and then appointing his son to a key post and higher royalties to the parent company are some of the serious conflict of interest issues in India which don’t  receive necessary attention.


Conflict of interest is seen  as a moral issue and not strictly a legal one accompanied by criminal culpability in India so it is hardly surprising that blatant violations are virtually seen every day.


Conflict of interest situation if left unchecked can hinder or even cause the collapse of the banking sector. It happened in 2008, when the global financial markets collapsed under the massive weight of the numerous low quality collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) that were issued.


At investment banks, analysts are tempted to tailor reports that keep the underwriting business going, at the reputed consulting firms, a favourable audit report could provide a gateway to more (non-audit) business have been affecting  interest of customers who expect fair investment advice.


Banks or financial entities, which are granted a licence by the banking regulator, can leverage and lend the public deposits that they mobilise. It is a business to which trust and confidence are central, and any erosion of which can lead to a run on deposits  as has happened earlier in India and elsewhere in the world.


The  fallout effect of conflict of interest is often detrimental to economic growth and dampens market forces for instance fall in the ICICI bank shares in the stock market by 6% after CBI enquiry into Videocon loan.


Better oversight, higher levels of corporate governance, vigilant groups such as credit-rating agencies, consumer watchdogs, shareholder activism etc have helped. RBI is planning to create a fund from which payments will be made to rating agencies to replace the existing practice wherein the borrower or the issuer company pays the agency rating its credit worthiness.


The priority must be to frame a modern law relating to conflict of interest, along the lines of what exists in the statute of the other countries like the United States and also ensure them to their work ensures ethical governance.

Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators

8) Briefly discuss Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy and its relevance today. (150 Words)

The Hindu



At the heart of Dr. King’s philosophy was the concept of service. He believed that a person’s 
worth should not be measured by his or her colour, culture, or class but rather by his or her

commitment to making a better life for all.

Some of the principle values he focussed on are:-

  • Courage :-
    • King believed that if you had nothing you were willing to die for, you had 
      nothing you were living for.
  • Non-violence :- 
    • Revolution is a social, political and cultural transformation that humans bring to their world through what they think and feel and do, and the values that they assign to their thinking, feeling and doing. In the case of King, this value was non-violence. The revolution that accompanied it was the democratisation of America. As such, his greatest achievement is, without doubt, his non-violent struggle against injustice.
  • Soul force :-
    • The power of a person’s love and humanity to awaken other people’s 
  • Justice:-
    • He considered that an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere and had to be confronted. 
    • Concept of democracy necessarily compelled further action against injustice.
  • Community:-
    • He believed that oppression of any part of the human family hurt the whole human family. 
  • Love:-
    • Even the enemy is a neighbour who must be loved into doing right–for the 
      enemy’s sake as well as for the sakes of his or her victims.
  • Suffering and sacrifice:-
    • Those who would stand up for justice must be willing to endure much for the sake of their cause. 
  • Human dignity:-
    • All people deserve to be treated with equality and respect simply because they are human beings. 
  • Forgiveness:-
    • The victim must forgive the victimizer and make room for repentance and 
  • Faith:-
    • Eventually right will prevail because the universe is founded upon justice.
  • He challenged the social and political injustice of American society with ideas and values that met the demands of contemporary humanism and inclusive emancipation.


King’s civil rights campaign played a pivotal role in ending racial segregation and the denial of voting rights to African Americans in the southern states. It also created a cultural shift in attitudes on race issues


Half a century after the end of racially discriminatory statutes in the US, there are stark limitations of mere equality. The informal segregation of black and white communities in some parts of the US, caste discrimination in India, religious fundamentalism, rich-poor gap still exist .

The racist bias in the criminal justice system means that black people continue to account for 40 per cent of the prison population, despite being only 12 per cent of the population overall in US.


The only way to honour the civil rights icon is to depart from the path of self-defeating hate that world finds itself stuck on today.


King thereby laid the foundation for a revolution of values in American society, but also for our world, beyond the ideals and actions of any other American of his generation. He created a new image of America  an image of compassion and justice, which can overcome its own evils of arrogance, pride and prejudice.