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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) The  only noticeable contribution of moderates to India’s struggle for freedom is the economic critique of colonialism. Comment. (250 Words)

India’s Struggle for Independence, Chapter – 7



  • Congress politics during the first twenty years of its history is roughly referred to as moderate politics.

Economic critique of colonialism by moderates :-

  • The most significant historical contribution of the moderates was that they offered an economic critique of colonialism.
  • The early nationalists took note of all the three forms of contemporary colonial economic exploitation, namely, through trade, industry and finance. They clearly grasped that the essence of British economic imperialism lay in the subordination of the Indian economy to the British economy.
  • They complained of India’s growing poverty and economic backwardness and the failure of modern industry and agriculture to grow and they put the blame on British economic exploitation.
  • British colonialism had transformed itself in the 19th century by jettisoning the  direct modes of extraction through plunder, tribute and mercantilismin favour of  free trade and foreign capital investment. This turned India into a supplier of agricultural raw materials and foodstuffs and a consumer of manufactured goods.
  • Dadabhai Naoroji’s work focused on the drain of wealth from India into England through colonial rule. Naoroji’s work on the drain theory was the main reason behind the creation of the Royal commission on Indian Expenditure in 1896 in which he was also a member

Other contributions:-

  • Excellent work in legislative councils :-
    • Legislative councils in India had no real official power till 1920. Yet, work done in them by the nationalists helped the growth of the national movement. 
    • They wanted to broaden Indian participation in legislatures.
    • Nationalists were able to transform these councils into forums for ventilating popular grievances, for exposing the defects of an indifferent bureaucracy, for criticising government policies/proposals, raising basic economic issues, especially regarding public finance.
  • Early nationalists worked with the long-term objective of a democratic self-government.
    • The scope of constitutional demands was widened and they demanded self-government like the self-governing colonies of Canada and Australia.
  • Also, leaders like Pherozshah Mehta and Gokhale put government policies and proposals to severe criticism.
  • Administrative:-
    • The first demand of the moderates was for the Indianisation of the services. An Indianised civil service would be more responsive to the Indian needs. It would stop the drainage of money, which was annually expatriated through the payment of salary and pension of the European officers. More significantly, this reform was being advocated as a measure against racism.
    • They demanded Separation of judicial from executive functions.
    • The other administrative demands of the moderates included the extension of trial by jury,repeal of the arms act, and a campaign against the exploitation of the indentured labour at the Assam tea gardens,  Increase in expenditure on welfare i.e., health, sanitation, education ,irrigation works and improvement of agriculture, agricultural banks for cultivators, etc.
    • They demanded better treatment for Indian labour abroadin other British colonies, who faced oppression and racial discrimination there.
  • Military:-
    • Moderates demanded that this military expenditure should evenly shared by the Britishgovernment. They demanded higher positions for Indians in the army.
  • Social:-
    • Some Moderates like Ranade and Gokhale favoured social reforms. They protested against child marriage and widowhood
  • Defence of Civil Right:
    • The early Indian nationalists were attracted to modern civil rights, namely, the freedoms of speech, the Press, thought and association. They put up a strong defence of these civil rights whenever the Government tried to curtail them.
    • The struggle for democratic freedoms became an integral part of the nationalist struggle for freedom.


  • HoweverBritish rule, to most of them seemed to be an act of providence destined to bring in modernization.
    • The moderate politicians could not or did not organize an agitation against British rule because of them still shred an intrinsic faith in the English democratic liberal political tradition. 
  • Their politics was very limited in terms of goals and methods.
  • They were secular in their attitudes, though not always forthright enough to rise above their sectarian interests. They were conscious of the exploitative nature of British rule, but wanted its reforms and not expulsion.
  • They equated liberty with class privilege and wanted gradual or piecemeal reforms.
  • Early Congressman had an implicit faith in the efficacy of peaceful and constitutional agitation as opposed to popular mean of agitation.
    • Believed in Petition, Prayer and Protest. They did not go for mass mobilisation. The basic weakness of the early national movement lay in its narrow social base. It did not penetrate down to the masses. In fact, the leaders lacked faith in the masses. 
  • Their immediate demand was not for full self-government or democracy. They demanded democratic rights only for the educated membersof the Indian society, who would substitute for the masses.


  • Despite limitations representation, the historical significance of the early Congress lay in the fact that by providing an economic critique of colonialism and by linking Indian poverty to it, the moderate politicians had constructed a discursive field within which the subsequent nationalists attack on colonialism could be conceptualized.

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) 15th Finance Commission’s suggestion to use population figures from 2011 census instead of 1971 census for sharing tax revenue among states has triggered opposition from South India. Examine why. Also comment if southern states are unfairly subsidising northern states.  (250 Words)




  • The rise in the demands of autonomy by the southern states have been taken place in the recent years. With the 15th finance commission’s suggestion to use the population according to  2001 census instead of 1971 census has triggered new insecurities.

Reasons why southern India is opposing :-

  • Using 2011 census data instead of 1971 census data to decide the allocation of tax revenue to states could lead to a major disruption of southern finances since southern states have been more successful in bringing down population growth rates after 1971. 
  • If the previous finance commission had used 2011 population figures entirely instead of as a sub-component southern states would have received about Rs20,000 crore less over the 5-year period from 2015-2020.
  • Southern states contribute maximum tax revenues to the centre, but due to this decision  money  can be diverted to  the development of northern states.
  • Experts point out that it is a poor idea to give weightage to population to assess states fiscal needs by the finance commission.
  • The development needs of an area are not necessarily captured in its population statistics.
  • Redistribution of pooled taxes has been progressive for years, ensuring poorer states get a larger share, both per person and in absolute terms. The fear among southern states is that the degree of redistribution would increase.
  • Southern states feel that development is not being rewarded with this decision of finance commission.
  • The usage of the 2011 Census is being opposed for the same reason the usage of 1971 Census was made mandatory – to make sure States that have worked on population control do not lose out on benefits.
  • The concerns expressed by the States in 1976 which necessitated the freezing of seat allocation on the basis of 1971 population figures would appear to hold good even today and have to be addressed to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

Southern states are unfairly subsiding northern states :-

  • The states of the South have nearly reached replacement levels of population growth. Yet, population is a prominent criteria for devolution of central taxes.
  • They also get much less funding from the Centre
  • Their financial muscle does not  translate into political heft.
  • The vastly differing rates of fertility paired with differences in economic growth will also affect inter-state migration which is already moving at a faster pace for southern states.

However despite concerns made by the southern states India is union of states .Only when federal entities truly support each other does the nation flourish. Also the less developed states contributed to the economy of the nation  with natural resources. It is also the duty of states to consider regional imbalances and strive for the development of the nation as a whole.



  • Balance between more granular criteria like development indicators, fiscal discipline, fiscal disabilities such as per capita income distance is essential.

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary 

3) Fixity of tenure and removal only by impeachment, no doubt, are guarantees for independence. But, do you think there should be some safeguards before the impeachment motion, tabled by the requisite number of Members of Parliament, is admitted? Comment. (250 Words)

The Hindu


  • Indian Constitution supported independence of judiciary. The proposed resolution of impeachment of the Chief Justice of India is a matter of grave concern, for it brings to fore issues that directly impinge on the independence of the judiciary.

Some safeguards are necessary before introducing impeachment motion because :-

  • Even a mere admission of an impeachment motion can cause an incalculable damage  and  loss of reputation to the judge under question.
  • Moreover , till the proceedings conclude, the functioning of the judge concerned comes under a cloud and even an ultimate exoneration cannot give him or her back the enormous loss of honour. 
  • The process itself causes great damage to the institution of the judiciary.
  • Large body of independent judges needs  protection and need not be inhibited while going about their work with any possible threat of an impeachment looming large.
  • Judge is obliged to decide on a variety of matters concerning the government and the political class so a sincere judge may face flak from vested interests who want to destroy the integrity of the judiciary and initiate the impeachment motion.
  • After the Second Judges case,  the power to appoint judges of the higher judiciary vests in the apex court. Removal being directly connected to appointment, it is only logical that the first filter in the process vest with the judiciary.
  • The principle of independence of the judiciary on which the Second Judges Case was founded for the aspect of appointment should apply with full vigour to the initiation of the removal process.
  • The Judges (Inquiry) Act expressly provides that the presiding officers, before admitting a motion for impeachment, will consult such persons as they deem fit. This needs to be considered.


However in the recent years issues  around Justice Ramaswamy case ,Justice Dinakaran raised the questions about the integrity of judiciary. Also the motion of impeachment is very tough and difficult to be passed as the process is very complex and cumbersome and so far none of the chief justice has been impeached .


Way forward:-

  • Before admitting a motion of impeachment against a judge of a high court or the Supreme Court, the presiding officers in Parliament should be obliged to obtain the concurrence of the full court of the Supreme Court.
  • This would be on the administrative side and if it involves a judge of the apex court, that judge would not participate in the sitting. 



  • The relation between judiciary and legislature needs to be strong rather than antagonistic. Fearless judiciary is of no threat to a clean government .


General Studies – 3


Topic: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology. 

4) Discuss the merits and demerits of recent draft defence production policy. (250 Words)



  • With the aim of creating up to 30 lakh jobs and a total turnover Rs. 1.7 lakh crore in defence goods, the Union government has prepared its draft Defence Production Policy, 2018.
  • The vision of the policy is to make India among the top five countries of the world in the aerospace and defence industries, with the active participation of the public and private sectors, fulfilling the objective of self-reliance as well as the demand of other friendly countries


  • The draft policy says the government’s aim is to achieve a turnover of Rs. 1,70,000 crore (approximately $26 billion) in defence goods and services by 2025,involving additional investment of nearly Rs. 70,000 crore (about $10 billion) creating employment for nearly 2-3 million people.
  • It also hopes to achieve exports of Rs. 35,000 crore in defence goods and services by 2025
  • The policy aims to create an environment that encourages a dynamic, robust and competitive defence industry as an important part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative”.
  • The policy also hopes to reduce current dependence on imports and to achieve self-reliance in development and manufactureof several weapon systems/platforms.
  • The policy proposes to increase the foreign direct investment (FDI) capin niche technology areas to 74% under the automatic route.
  • Private sector:-
    • The government will list its requirements in terms of platforms and weapon systems for the next decade to help private sector companies understand the opportunities
    • It will also simplify procedures for private firms to enter defense production, i.e., liberalize the regime by issuing licenses in 30 days and pruning no-go areas to a small ‘negative list’ for licensing
    • The government will also do away with capacity assessment, except for critical projects
  • Taxes:-
    • In the area of taxation, the government has proposed rationalization of taxes on import of capital goods for servicesand inputs for defense and aims to prevent inversion of taxes
  • The policy also plans to export defence goods worth $5 billion to other countries. It also plans on setting up Defence Export Organisation in partnership with the industry and market domestically produced goods overseas.


  • By giving a leg-up to defense manufacturing, India hopes to transform itself into a global leader in cyberspace and AI (artificial intelligence) technologies.
  • It pushes for increased indigenisation of defence production not just for purposes of self-reliance, but also to widen India’s export to other nations.
  • The policy also attempts to make it easier to do business. It calls for increased participation of MSMEs, start-ups and other players from the private sector in the defence industry.
  • The Government also wants greater interaction between private and public sector.
    • This policy aims at fusing together technologies from Ordnance Factory Board, Defence Public Sector Undertaking and private players.
    • It aims at advancing and boosting the existing public sector defence production units through skill development and overall program management.
    • It creates open competition in the industry. By opening the sector to private players, the policy is determined to create a driving force for increased productivity and innovation.
    • By inviting the private actors, India sees an opportunity to maximise returns on money.
  • The document also seeks to take advantage of the fact that India has emerged as a top destination for Research & Development (R&D) in the world. It proposes that India utilise this opportunity and catapult itself as a hub for defence related Intellectual Property (IP).
  • The Simplified Make-II would be facilitated easily through this draft policyand will launch itself as an initiative to make it easier for industries to enter defence sector
  • The broad policy accelerates domestic defence production and thereby makes it feasible for India to have its own market .Indigenous defence production will attract more investors which eventually will lead to massive market creation.


  • Private defence industry has welcomed the announcement of explicit targets, but points out that close oversight would be needed to achieve them. The key to its success lies in how vigorously it is implemented.
  • R&D incentivisation across industry is falling. Earlier, there was tax exemption of 200 per cent of the R&D spend, which will be fallen to 100 per cent from 2020.
  • There is scepticism within industry above how exports can be scaled upfifteen fold in just seven years, from the current level of about $330 million.
  • To boost defence exports to $5 billion, there is a need for a body like Israel’s SIBAT, in which the military and the highest levels of government together facilitate arms sales abroad. The draft policy unfortunately limits itself to export promotion by DPSUs/Ordnance factories.

Way forward:-

  • Its success will lie in its implementation strategy, a periodic review mechanism, and ensuring accountability for non-compliance.
  • There must be a higher targeted incentivisation for defence R&D and product development.
  • It must contain a formal commitment that orders will not be given on “nomination” to DPSUs and ordnance factories, so that there is a true level playing field.
  • It should mention export promotion initiativessuch as providing low-cost capital to defence exporters from the growing foreign exchange reserves  which could be detailed in separate export facilitation guidelines. 


Topic: Conservation

5) Examine how poaching has been curbed in Kaziranga. Also examine what it takes to step up conservation in Kaziranga. (250 Words)

The Indian Express


  • Kaziranga lost over 500 rhinos in the last two decades of the twentieth century but the latest rhinoceros census in Kaziranga reported a gain of  12 rhinos since 2015.

 How  poaching has been curbed in kaziranga :-

  • The enforcement has reined in a battery of hostile informers used by the civil administration. In connivance with their controllers, this lot was apparently shielding poachers.
  • Protection act by the frontline staff and the police force of the neighbouring districts ever since 2001.
  • The park is also making efforts to monitor the wildlife by using drones since the officials believe the poachers are well-armed and on a constant lookout to strike.
  • Better landscape management and willing involvement of local communities in conservation efforts.
  • Present government broke the  decade-long tradition of offering political patronage to monetise Kaziranga’s rhinos.
  • Assam government had amended the Wildlife (Protection) Act 2009 by raising the penalty for second offences against wildlife such rhino to minimum of seven years and maximum of life imprisonment and fines.
  • The state government had also installed gadgets such electronic eyes, used dog squads and set up a special task force to protect rhinos


Issues that need to be dealt to improve conservation in Kaziranga are:-

  • The local issues such as
    • porous border all around
    • lack of sophistication of equipment to deal with
    • growing population around its fringe areas have always been challenges while tackling poaching and need to be dealt.
  • But the new issues such as rising prices of rhino horns in the international market, easy availability of illegal arms, involvement of militant groups, use of sophisticated arms such as AK series rifles and silencers, counter fire on forest staffs, poor intelligence network must be fully addressed .
  • Police need to provide enough priority to such trans-national crime. Majority of police personnel need to be aware that wildlife laws define the duties of police along with forest staffs.
  • Need for effective coordination between  police and forest officials for reducing poaching.
  • Infrastructure update, use of new technology and creating new habitats for rhinos is recommended by forest officials.
  • Growing conflict in and around Kaziranga between the interests and rights of local and indigenous people and the need to protect threatened species. So conservation need to consider human rights and social issues.

Topic:  Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; 

6) Schemes to ensure that farmers get fair returns will come a cropper unless trade and tariffs are synced with minimum support prices. Analyse. (250 Words)

The Indian Express


Background :-

  • Overall approach to agriculture is marked by reactive, rather than clear-sighted, proactive thinking. Almost all policies are geared towards ‘price’.
  • It is assumed that getting this right is the panacea for all the problems. It is not surprising that the focus has deflected from enhancing productivity, which is the right answer to most problems in agriculture.
  • Despite schemes like Direct income support, MSPfor crops will be at least 5 times the production cost in the budget were announced more needs to be done to make farmers get effective income.

Why trade and tariff need to be linked with MSP :-

  • Increasing the MSP more to suit the interests of farmers rather than linking it with market dynamics has distorted the pricing system.
  • Hence, when the MSP of soyabean is increased, market prices would increase even if the crop is good, as the MSP sets a benchmark. The MSP hence becomes an income-setter rather than a fair market price. Its contribution to inflation has also been distinct.
  • By forcing sales of higher quality at the base price, both farmers and traders are put in a spot. Such policies will induce farmers to lower their standards and pitch for lower varieties. Buyers would be reluctant to pay a higher price for a lower quality, and this can lead to a stalemate.
  • Trade policy is warped for farm products. At times, there are bans on exports. In times of shortage the time taken to recognise a shortage and import through a bidding process is long and time consuming. Often by the time imports arrive prices are already on the descent.
    • If there is a cyclical failure, the government runs the risk of being blamed for having exported the commodity in the previous years. This was an issue with sugar in 2010. Hence, both exports and imports of farm products along with their strategies have to be defined for easy implementation.
  • MSP has resulted in crops like rice being grown in Punjab and Haryana which are not suitable for it. This impacts soil health and results in problems like overexploitation of ground water and decreases productivity in the long run.
  • The recently announced rise in minimum support price of agri commodities by the government is not the best way to increase farmers’ income.
  • Given that MSP procurement is too small compared to the harvest, it can’t sway the market price.MSP alone is not a good thing if the country is into free trade and want highest quality, lowest cost product for the ultimate buyer-the consumer.
  • Large carry-over stocks in many crops is one of the reasons for the price decline. In the recent years, production of some agri commodities both in the domestic and in the international market has increased significantly
  • High domestic price of crops makes them uncompetitive in the export market.

Way forward:-

  • The MSP should be linked with procurement which in turn should not be open-ended or else there will be distortion in the market.
  • Rather than protecting the income of farmer, the incentives should be to increase productivity, which can mean access to seed and irrigation.
  • Making the NAM (national agriculture market) real is a long-term solution but linking the same with contract farming or direct sale in towns and cities could be better still.
  • Prices should always be determined by the market to reflect the demand-supply dynamics, and there should be no intervention.


General Studies – 4

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics




It is not great wealth in a few individuals that proves a country is prosperous, but great general wealth evenly distributed among the people. It is the struggling masses who are the foundation and if the foundation be rotten or insecure, the rest of the structure must eventually crumble. This is exactly correct in the current scenario where rich are growing richer and poor are becoming poorer .


This economic insecurity  is a driving force behind violent conflicts in the Middle East, the rise of fascist elements in some European countries and rise of chauvinistic supremacist identities and other social problems even in United states.


Economic inequality can give wealthier people an unacceptable degree of control over the lives of others. Economic inequality can undermine the fairness of political institutions ,economic system itself.


Despite all of the proclaimed ideals,  poverty and its concomitant human rights deprivations persist on a massive scale. They persist even while global average income is increasing and the world on the whole is doing quite well.


There are people who want to change this picture but yet some believe that current income disparities are fair because they are a result of free markets.


Some want absolute equality but pushing for absolute equality could erode the incentive to work, leading to widespread economic breakdown.


Some argue that the rich needs to be taxed and poor need to be ensured basic minimum income but others argue that with this the people who worked hard to improve their life and merit are not being appreciated.


Addressing the challenge of economic insecurity will require a balance between ensuring equality and poverty eradication.


Economic prosperity, if it does not ensure justice to all, will not lead to long-lasting peace,

well-being, and development in the world. Those who are denied justice and even a minimum means of life will rise against the powerful who deny them justice and oppress them in different ways. Development in solidarity is necessary for peace and harmony in this world.