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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:  –  Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

1) Dalit unrest points towards rumbling of discontent in a community disgruntled by the promises of empowerment. Discuss (250 Words)

The Indian Express


Why this question

Dalit protests have rocked the nation. The issue has been in news for quite some time now. It is important thus to delve deep into the reason for the protests, the systemic issues that it highlights, the constitutional that have or have not been fulfilled, efficacy of the affirmative action policies taken by the government and so on. Empowerment of Dalits and its status becomes a very important topic for Mains.

Key Demand of the Question

Disgruntled by the promises of empowerment is the key word in the question. We have to discuss the promises made historically and currently, the status quo, alternative view point if any to the cause behind Dalit unrest and way forward

Directive word

Discuss – All aspects of Dalit disgruntlement has to be brought forward including – details of the empowerment objectives, status quo, what went wrong or what is going wrong etc.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Talk about the major incidents which highlight Dalit anger.


  • Discuss the promises that have been made
    • Constitutional
    • Legal
    • Historical
    • Currently
  • Discuss the steps taken to ensure empowerment of Dalits (some of the points are mentioned in the article)
    • DIscuss this in broad heads like legal, social, economic, institutional etc
    • DIscuss the pluses and the misses. Here point out the status quo with data from NCRB etc to back your arguments
  • Mention in brief whether the present anger is the next step in an age old struggle for Dalits or whether the dissatisfaction is deep seated now

Conclusion – Mention way forward and the necessity of solving this potential tinderbox


  • Dalit discontent has been piling up in the recent years . the most significant aspect of the widespread dalit protests across the country against the deemed dilution of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by a Supreme Courtorder, is the firm, unequivocal assertion of their right to humanity by one of the world’s most oppressed groups.

Promises of empowerment made for dalits:-

  • Economic:-
    • Successive governments promised economic empowerment of the Dalits through education, entrepreneurship and skill development.
    • The current government manifesto also stressed on preventing atrocities against the Scheduled Castes (SCs). 
  • Constitutional and legal:-
    • In 2015, the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill passed by Parliament, made several critical changes to the SC/ST act 1989.
      • New activities were added to the list of offences. Among them were preventing SCs/STs from using common property resources, from entering any places of public worship, and from entering an education or health institution.
      • In case of any violation, the new law said that the courts would presume unless proved otherwise that the accused non-SC/ST person was aware of the caste or tribal identity of the victim
      • Special courts have been established in major states for speedy trial of cases registered exclusively under these Acts. 
    • Dalits are given fundamental rights of equality, rights against untouchability etc
  • Schemes:-
    • Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme has been a significant project of the Ministry of Social Justice since Independence.
    • The government is working closely with the Dalit Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DICCI), in order to promote entrepreneurship as a tool of emancipation. For this purpose Stand Up India was launched.
    • Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers.
    • Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled Castes.
    • Even though these schemes had an impact on dalits more was needed.

Reasons for rise of Dalit disontent:-

  • Political:-
    • Dalit aspirations for equality, in consequence, became fodder for patronage politics, rather than politics of empowerment. 
      • Dalits have now rejected the patronising ‘mai-baap’ culture of political parties they don’t need them to espouse their cause. 
    • Dalits are poorly represented in the professions, business, media, and the higher levels of the government including the police, the army, and the judiciary.
      • Recent studies based on available data indicate, for example, that 47 per cent of the Chief Justices of India have been Brahmins as have been 40 per cent of all the other judges
    • Constitution gaurantees scheduled castes in India rights against untouchability, right to equality etc but in reality the prejudices still remain and caste discrimination still remains oppressive.
      • In politics , caste has been a rallying point in mobilising votes at the time of elections
    • The recent Supreme Court decision that diluted the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act   has given rise to the fear that the Dalits are losing the gains they had made in the past.
  • Social:-
    • Dalits are still subjected to violence, especially in rural areas, their women raped, and their land stolen.
    • Dalits perform the most dangerous and odious forms of labour in Indian society including that of manual scavenging or performing low-end ‘dirty’ wage labour in tanneries.
    • There is also rampant social discrimination against Dalits, including through the caste-ridden system of ‘arranged’ marriages. There is little social mixing of forward castes with the Dalits through shared festivals or even routine social interaction. 
    • According to a 2010 report by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Castes, a crime is committed against a Dalit every 18 minutes.
    • Brutal thrashing of four Dalit youths in Una, Gujarat, by cow vigilantes, led to widespread protests across the country
    • The fact that many higher education institutions have failed to fulfil constitutional quotas and the general feeling among the upwardly mobile youths from these communities that they face discrimination in higher educational institutions have only added to the
    • It has also been accompanied by a decline in the number of scholarships, increasing fee and denial of fellowships to these dalit students .This led to feeling of alienation among a large majority of these youth.
  • Education:-
    • The Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme has been a significant project of the Ministry of Social Justice since Independence. But against an outstanding requirement of Rs 8,000 crore, the 2018-19 budget allocated merely Rs 3,000 crore to the scheme.
    • More than 5,10,000 SC students across the country have been facing difficulties due to this funding deficit. The shortfall could also result in an increase in the dropout rate.
    • Moreover, the delay in release of funds to the UGC for National PhD Fellowships for SC/ST scholars has caused hardship to many researchers.
  • Economic:-
    • Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs:-
      • The upward mobility of some Dalits caused by market reforms post-1991, ironically leads to higher incidence of atrocities in the form of a backlash.
    • According to socio-economic and caste census 2011, 45% of SC households are landless and earn a living by manual casual labour.
    • Successive census reports on enterprises outside agriculture show that Dalits own far fewer businesses than from their share of the total Indian population.
    • India is one of the many countries where weak contract enforcement mean that entrepreneurs depend on trust-based community networks to transact business. There is no shortage of examples of specific businesses being dominated by members of one community. It is very difficult for a Dalit entrepreneur to break into these networks, a challenge that is perhaps even more difficult than getting bank loans.
    • According to the NHRC statistics 37 per cent Dalits live below the poverty line, 54 per cent are undernourished, 83 per 1,000 children born in a Dalit household die before their first birthday, 12 per cent before their fifth birthday, and 45 per cent remain illiterate. The data also shows that Dalits are prevented from entering the police station in 28 per cent of Indian villages.
    • Discrimination isn’t a rural problem alone. Joblessness among Dalits runs through the urban landscape as well.
      • According to 2011 Census data, the unemployment rate for SCs between 15 and 59 years of age was 18 per cent, including marginal workers seeking work, as compared to 14 per cent for the general population
    • The contract system, privatisation and disinvestment did their bit to make reservation norms inconsequential.

Way forward:-

  • For tribal communities and landless dalits, a starting point would be implementation of laws that give them ownership of some land, the primary asset in rural India. 
  • Structural diversification of the economy that has produced new jobs and dalit entrepreneurs
  • Obvious ways to ensure that the lot of the Dalits is improved are education, rise in economic status, market reforms transforming the lives of millions of Dalits living in impecunious conditions.
  • Change of attitude is needed among the ruling classes to stem the tide.


  • The need of the hour, therefore, is integration not confrontation; this is the key to social justice and rise of the subaltern.


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

2) The Revolutionaries supplemented the national cause and carried the message of nationalism in the country and outside the country. Discuss in light of the contribution of revolutionaries to Indian freedom struggle. (250 Words)

India’s Struggle for Independence, Chapter – 11 (Bipan Chandra)

Key demand of the question

  • Revolutionaries “supplemented” the national cause – main role was played by the extremists/ Gandhi. Examine this hypothesis by arguing both for and against
  • Discuss how and when revolutionaries carried the message abroad – Main part of the answer
  • Overall picture of the role of revolutionaries

Directive Word

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the role of the revolutionaries by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.


Introduction – Discuss who were revolutionaries and how they were different from Moderates and Extremists


  • Compare and contrast the role of revolutionaries with other school of freedom fighters
    • Discuss the impacts of revolutionaries vis a vis moderates/extremist. Bring out both pluses and misses
    • Should be short
  • Thereafter role abroad. Here divide into heads
    • Publications like that of Madam Bhikaji Cama
    • Diplomacy – meetings between revolutionaries and leaders
    • Arranging army etc
    • Mention Komagata Maru etc
    • Also highlight the shortcomings – such as lack of organization etc

Conclusion – Mention that each group contributed in their own way and that revolutionaries played a critical role in spreading the message of Indian freedom struggle abroad.


  • The end of 1907 brought another political trend to the fore. The young men of Bengal took to the path of individual heroism and revolutionary terrorism .
  • They have been incensed at the repression and the ‘mendicancy’ of the  Congress Moderates and also led to ‘the politics of the bomb’ by the Extremists’ failure to give a positive lead to the  people.

They supplemented national cause through(ideas):-

  • Direct action
    • Even though the Extremists had rightly emphasized the role of the masses the need to go beyond propaganda and agitation, demanded self- sacrifice from the youth they had failed to find forms through which all these ideas could find practical expression.
    • The Extremists waffling failed to impress the youth who decided to take recourse to physical force.
      • Failed to provide a positive outlet for their revolutionary energies and to educate them on the political difference between a evolution based on the activity of the masses and a revolutionary feeling based on individual action, however heroic
    • They inspired the people to cast off the yoke of slavery and be prepared for any kind of sacrifice for the cause of freedom.
    • They embraced death cheerfully and were not scared of the physical and mental injuries inflicted upon them by the cruel rulers.
    • They decided to organize the assassination of unpopular British officials. Such assassinations would strike terror into the hearts of the rulers, amuse the patriotic instincts of the people, inspire them and remove the fear of authority from their minds.


  • International examples:-
    • Ras Behari Bose, Chander Shekhar Azad, Lala Hardyal M.A., Madan Lal Dhingra and . S. Ajit Singh succeeded in expanding the movement of freedom to other countries as well.
    • Barindra Ghosh was sent to Paris to learn the science of Bomb Making and here he came in touch were Madam Bhikaji Cama
    • Madam Cama was already associated with the India House and the Paris India Society.
    • Shyamji Krishnavarma:-
      • He started a monthly journal, the Indian sociologist; an organ of freedom struggle of India in 1905.
      • Shyamji established the Indian Home Rule society and a hostel for Indian students living in London, popularly known as the Indian House.
    • The Indian Independence Committee in Berlin
      • After the outbreak of the First World War, Hardyal and other Indians abroad moved to Germany and set up the Indian independence committee at Berlin.
      • The policy and activities of the Berlin committee and the Ghadar party had greatly influenced the revolutionaries of Bengal.
      • The committee planned to bring about a general insurrection in India and for this purpose foreign arms were to be sent to India from abroad; expatriated Indians were to return to mother country, where they were to be joined by Indian soldiers and by the waiting revolutionaries.
    • Ghadar movement aimed at bringing an armed revolution in India and brought out a weekly called Ghadar.
    • Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose orga­nized Azad Hind Fauj and gave us the slogan ‘Give me blood, I will give you me freedom.
  • India:-
    • Very soon secret societies of revolutionaries came up all over the country. The most famous and long lasting being Anushilan Samiti and Jugantar.
    • Their activities took two forms
      • The assassination of oppressive officials and informers and traitors from their own ranks
      • Dacoities to raise funds for purchase of arms etc. 
    • In 1924, Hindustan Republican Army (HRA) was founded at Kanpur by Sachin Sanyal, Jogesh Chandra Chaterjee with an aim to organise an armed revolution to overthrow the colonial government. The most important action of HRA was the Kakori robbery in which official railway cash was looted.
    • In 1928 Bhagat Singh, Azad and Rajguru shot dead Saunders, the police official responsible for the lathi charge on Lala Lajpat Rai in Lahore. Sardar Bhagat Singh and his companions faced brutalities of Britishers boldly, cheerfully and willingly for the cause of India. They gave the nationalist movement a new turn
    • In 1929, Batukeshwar Dutt and Bhagat Singh were asked to throw a bomb in the Central Assembly against the passage of the Public Safety Bill and Trade Disputes Bill


  • Revolutionary terrorism gradually petered out.
  • Lacked a mass base
  • Despite remarkable heroism, the individual revolutionaries, organized in small secret groups, could not withstand suppression by the still strong colonial state.
  • The revolutionaries mainly came from the urban middle class intellegentsia out of touch with the peasants and workers.
  • They lacked a common plan and central leadership.
  • The British government on its part followed a ruthless and repressive policy towards them.


  • The contribution of revolutionaries is unparallel in the freedom movement as they played a critical role in spreading the message of Indian freedom struggle abroad.


General Studies – 2

Topic:  Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure

3) Critically examine whether the Terms of Reference of 15th Finance Commission violate the principles of fiscal federalism. (250 Words)

The Hindu


Why this question:

Finance Commission is a very important constitutional bodies whose recommendations have an impact on the nature of fiscal federalism in the country. The controversy over the ToR have to be understood and the reasons examined, and the overall impact of the FC’s ToR analyzed. Hence this topic is important.

Key demand of the question:

The question is directly asking us to examine the ToRs and explain the various issues in the ToR which might have an impact on Fiscal Federalism. Our own stand is also needed here.

Directive word

Critically examine – Have to present the ways in which ToR of FC and performance of FC (in past) has strengthened Fiscal Federalism. On the other side, we also have to examine how the ToR would affect state autonomy in handling its finances. Then a balanced view needs to be stated.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss fiscal federalism in brief. Move to the ToR then and highlight the sense of why the protests are happening.

Body: Discuss the issues in ToR one by one. The primary ones being

  1. Issue of Deficit Grants
  2. Issue of 2011 population
  3. Shortage of states revenues
  4. Merit of the proposal of performance based incentives for the states
  5. Whether ToR goes beyond the constitutional mandate of the FC

Mention both sides of the coin

Conclusion – Write your stand highlighting the importance of taking states along to strengthen cooperative federalism


  • The terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission are a matter of utmost importance to the resources available to the States of India. The terms of reference of this Commission have created apprehension among States about principles of fairness and equity in the distribution of public resources for development. 

Fiscal federalism:-

  • Fiscal Federalism refers to the division of responsibilities with regards to public expenditure and taxation between the different levels of the government.
  • Having a Fiscal Federalism mechanism allows the government to optimize their costs on economies of scale, because in this manner, people will get public service which they prefer, and there will be no unnecessary expenditure.
  • From the economic point of view also, having a federalized structure helps as it creates a unified market.

Terms of reference of this finance commission violate the principles of fiscal federalism:-

  • The foremost objective of the Finance Commission is an equitable distribution of financial resources between the two units of the Union. The States in India today neither have the resources to fulfil their tasks as laid down in the Constitution, nor do they have the right to raise such resources due to the government policy and GST reduced states independence even further.
  • Using the population data of 2011 as the base for tax devolution should not reduce the allocation of resources to States that have successfully reduced their rate of population growth.
    • These States have incurred huge fiscal costs in order to achieve a lower population growth and healthy demographic indicators. They have made substantial investments on education, health and directly on family welfare programmes. 
  • The current terms of reference go far beyond the constitutional mandate of the Finance Commission.
    • They intensify efforts to use the Finance Commission as an instrument of fiscal consolidation and to impose the ideological and economic agenda of the Central government on the States
    • This aspect is criticised as it is not the task of a Finance Commission to recommend road maps for fiscal management
  • Revenue grants:-
    • The terms of reference state that the Commission may also examine whether revenue deficit grants be provided at all.
    • Revenue deficits are offshoots of the path of development followed by States and cannot be brought down in the short term.
    • To discontinue post-tax devolution of revenue deficit grants would go against the principle of cooperative federalism.
  • Vertical devolution:-
    • The terms of reference explicitly privilege the committed expenditures of the Centre.
    • The Finance Commission should not take a residual approach to the question of vertical devolution. The approach should not be that of distributing what is left over after providing for the requirements of the Centre.
  • The terms of reference are unprecedented in asking the 15th Finance Commission to consider proposing performance-based incentives beyond those relating to fiscal responsibility, population and devolution to local bodies.
    • It is not the duty of the Finance Commission to venture into the realm of day-to-day governance. The elected governments of States will decide what policies are appropriate for people.
  • Shortage of revenues to states:-
    • 14th finance commission has provided for 42% devolution however the Centre help with respect to centrally sponsored schemes has been reduced.

Finance commission have always strived towards  fiscal federalism:-

  • According to the Economic Survey Fourteenth Finance Commission recommendations will enhance cooperative and competitive federalism.
    • Will bring about greater fiscal federalism
    • Will give greater autonomy to states on revenue and expenditure


  • India’s great wealth rests in its diversity. To recognise this diversity is also to recognise that States will follow diverse paths of development. The Finance Commission must facilitate diversity and a democratic path of development by respecting principles of equity and fairness in allocating resources between the Centre and States in India.

General Studies – 3

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology
and issues relating to intellectual property rights

4) In the wake of rising privacy concerns, EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are a huge respite. Critically analyse. Also, discuss the effect of these regulations on India. (250 Words) 

Economic Times




Why this question

  • Rising privacy concerns amid Facebook controversy and its role in influencing elections in many countries has generated a lot of debate on the issue. The issue is hence important for UPSC mains exam. It is related to GS- syllabus under the following headings.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology
    and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to analyse GDPRs and see how they are progressive in nature, and also discuss their limitations. It also wants us to discuss, what could be  their possible effects on Indian companies and market.

Directive word

Critically analyze- we have to examine both the aspects of GDPRs and discuss their pros as well as their limitations/ weaknesses.

Discuss- We have to write in detail about the possible effects of GDPRs on India.

Structure of the answer

introduction – briefly describe what are GDPRs and their salient provisions.

Body- Divide the body of the answer into three parts.

In first part, discuss how GDPRs are a progressive and much needed step.

In second part, discuss their limitations, weaknesses and present your opinion about the GDPRs

In third part, discuss their effects on Indian companies and on Indian IT industry.

Conclusion-draw your conclusion from the critical analysis done in part one and two. Also add in 1-2 lines, how Indian companies could adapt to the new regulations.


Background :-

  • In the light of growing concerns about privacy of persons due to exponential growth of digital platforms The European Union (EU) has taken the lead in amending its existing data protection laws through the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

General data protection regulation :-

  • GDPR prescribes how companies that deal with data of EU citizens could handle and store it with third parties.
  • The three objectives mentioned in the GDPR are:-
    • Protection of natural persons when their data is processed
    • Protection of their fundamental rights and freedoms with respect to 
      data protection
    • Freedom of movement of personal data for processing purpose.
  • The Regulation confers protection to data subject as a matter of right.
  • The penalties for not doing so could be 4% of the erring company’s global annual turnover or €20 million (about Rs 160 crore), whichever is more.

How is it a respite in the light of growing privacy concerns :-

  • GDPR also sets new data protection standards in place, which is likely to be adopted by other countries as well.
  • GDPR will be the most comprehensive dedicated legislation on data protection ever formulated.
  • GDPR goes further than the principles of data retention, lawful purpose and necessity of information mentioned under the IT Act.
  • Additional principles mentioned in the GDPR are data integrity, protection from unlawful processing or damage and fairness and transparency in processing.
  • GDPR also provides for regular revision of data collected for achieving data accuracy
  • Significantly, the principle of accountability is a notable feature of GDPR. Under this, the controller has been given the responsibility to uphold the principles mentioned and to demonstrate compliance with them.
  • Definition of consent has been considerably expanded under Article 4(11) of the GDPR.
  • Meaning of valid consent and demonstration of a valid consent are important elements of the GDPR.
  • The General Data Protection Regulation (or better known as GDPR) will give consumers stronger rights by strengthening the control they have over their personal data. For European residents, GDPR actively empowers consumers to keep businesses in check.


  • Biggest problem firms face while trying to comply with GDPR is the lack of clearly-defined guidelines.
  • There is no single authority to certify the level of compliance. This leaves a lot of subjectivity and hence can cause confusion amongst smaller companies that may not have easy access to the right legal entities.
  • 65% of organizations are still not confident that their GDPR data will stay within the EU.
  • Recently UK government report found that less than half of businesses are aware of the upcoming GDPR laws.
  • Confusion still reigns over the GDPR’s right to be forgotten.
  • Only 55% maintain audit trails for data consents, collections updates, and deletion.

Impact of these regulations on India :-

  • Concerns:-
    • Many Indian companies will have to comply with GDPR as they have access to or hold personal data of EU citizens.
    • While most companies are still in the initial phase to set up compliance frameworks, it is worrying to see that a majority are not really concerned about the law.
    • Europe is an important market for start-ups operating in the business-to-business (B2B) segment and mobile gaming. Hefty fines and strict regulations could hinder a firm’s operations or lead to a complete shutdown, especially of start-ups.
    • GDPR is enforceable even if companies do not have an office in the EU or do not operate in the EU, but handle private data of EU citizens. 
    • Due to the differences in regulatory practices, the legal parameters have been ambiguous which make compliance more complex and difficult to achieve. The Indian government has concerns with regard to the following issues:
      • The Indian IT/BPO industry requires an increased free flow of data to be transferred from the EU
      • The regulation will limit EU companies outsourcing options which will result in obvious opportunity losses for businesses in India
      • India’s relatively weak data protection laws make India less competitive as outsourcing markets in this space when other economies are updating their regulatory practices to ensure seamless inter-state operability
      • Largely inflexible, GDPR reduces the extent to which businesses can assess risks and make decisions when it comes to transferring data outside the EU
      • The regulations target service providers directly who will have to face high costs such as investing “cyber insurance” whilst adopting new technology. Non-compliance will result in severe penalties.


  • Opportunities:-
    • Indian companies that have operations in EU are looking to revise contracts with their vendors and customers to include GDPR.
    • By drawing upon the regulatory practices of GDPR, India could develop an over-arching data protection regime that would extend to all government and business practices as this will only boost growth in the long run.
    • GDPR is an excellent opportunity for India to update its regulatory practices and effectively implement the fundamental right to privacy.  The IT/BPO sector should use this as a stepping stone to move up the value chain by strengthening its automation portfolio and make the industry more competitive in the global market.

 Way forward:-

  • India could draw on an over-arching data protection regime by building on GDPR. GDPR will strengthen data protection measures of enterprises and empower them and their customers, if followed in the right word and spirit. 
  • A risk-based approach to data privacy can significantly reduce the potential of non-compliance violations or a breach.
  • Adoption of smart cost-efficient ways to address cyber security.
  • End-to-end Encryption to ensure compliance
  • A provision for Indian citizens to claim penalties if businesses fail to obtain clear consent
  • Distinguishing between personal and sensitive data. Individual names and email IDs are personal but freely available. However, a person’s sexuality, race, net worth or investment decisions are sensitive data which require stronger protection.
  • Clear rules regarding portability of customer data– what can or cannot be shared with or without consent.
  • Professional training for employees to acquire specific skill sets to develop a stronger data protection regime

TopicInfrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc., Investment models. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

5) Discuss the benefits and limitations of offshore wind energy generation, in relation to onshore wind energy generation. Also discuss steps taken by Indian government to harness offshore wind energy.  (250 Words)

Economic Times



Why this question

In 2015, India announced an ambitious goal of to increasing renewable power capacity to 175 gigawatts (GW) by 2022, with 100 GW of solar, 60 GW of wind, 10 GW of bioenergy and 5 GW of small hydro. Recently India had called for expression-of-interest for its first offshore wind energy project. Thus the issue is important for exam and it is related to GS-3 syllabus under the following heading; Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc., Investment models. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to highlight the benefits as well as limitations of offshore wind energy generation compared to onshore wind energy generation. Then it wants us to discuss what efforts have been made by India to harness its offshore wind energy.

Directive word

Discuss-  we have to write in detail about both the issue viz. 1) Benefits and limitations of offshore wind energy generation vis a vis onshore wind energy generation (not any other form of energy generation) and 2) steps taken by India.

Structure of the answer

introduction – introduce your answer by mentioning India’s wind energy targets and achievements.

Body- Divide the body into three parts.

In one part, discuss the benefits of offshore wind energy generation vis a vis onshore wind energy generation.

In the second part, discuss its limitations, negative point, challenges .

In the third part, discuss India’s offshore wind energy potential, identify challenges involved in harnessing offshore wind energy in India and what steps have been taken by the government to harness the same.

Conclusion- you can conclude your answer by presenting a few suggestions on how offshore wind energy can be better harnessed by India.



  • Following its plans to achieve 5 GW project capacity by 2022 in wind energy India is trying to explore offshore wind energy which has not yet been explored in the country before 
  • The development assumes significance given the 1,000 megawatts (MW) size of the project, with the government’s plan to set up at least 5 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2022. 
  • India has an estimated 127 gigawatts (GW, or 1,000 MW) of offshore wind power potential, mostly off the coasts of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.


Off shore and on shore wind energy generation:-

  • Offshore wind power or offshore wind energy is the use of wind farms constructed in bodies of water, usually in the ocean on the continental shelf, to harvest wind energy to generate electricity.
  • Wind turbines harness the energy of moving air to generate electricity
  • Onshore wind refers to turbines located on land, while offshore turbines are located out at sea or in freshwater.


  • Offshore wind turbines are being used by a number of countries to harness the energy of strong, consistent winds that are found over the oceans.
  • Offshore winds tend to blow harder and more uniformly than on land.
  • Wind speeds of only a few miles per hour can produce a significantly larger amount of electricity. 
  • Offshore wind speeds tend to be faster than on land.
  • Offshore wind speeds tend to be steadier than on land. A steadier supply of wind means a more reliable source of energy.
  • Many coastal areas have very high energy needs. Building offshore wind farms in these areas can help to meet those energy needs from nearby sources.
  • Offshore wind farms have many of the same advantages as land-based wind farms .
    • They provide renewable energy
    • They do not consume water
    • They provide a domestic energy source
    • They create jobs
    • They do not emit environmental pollutants or greenhouse gases.
  • These support larger wind turbines and so generate higher amounts of power. Given their location, these facilities face minimal space constraints and physical obstructions to wind flow


  • Offshore wind farms can be expensive and difficult to build and maintain.
  • High costs and transmission losses
  • Wave action, and even very high winds, particularly during heavy storms or hurricanes, can damage wind turbines.
  • The production and installation of power cables under the seafloor to transmit electricity back to land can be very expensive.
  • Effects of offshore wind farms on marine animals and birds are not fully understood.
  • Offshore wind farms built within view of the coastline may be unpopular among local residents, and may affect tourism and property values.

Steps taken by Indian government to harness offshore wind energy :-

  • In 2013, national institute of wind energy set up a 100-metre mast in the Rameshwaram town (TN) to measure wind speeds in the region. The NIWE has been studying the data and says the results obtained from the measurement campaign are promising and encouraging.”
  • In 2015, the country released its first National Offshore Wind Energy Policy,which involves wind energy mapping of the country to identify high-potential locations to be offered to firms for development through a bidding process.
  • More recently, in 2018, government said it was exploring options to set up a small government-owned offshore wind farm near the Pamban island off the Tamil Nadu coast. The idea is to have four or five windmills with a capacity to generate 6 MW of power each.
  • Meanwhile, one of India’s largest windmill manufacturers, Suzlon, has set up its own offshore met station off the coast of Gujarat to collect wind data and study the region’s potential
  • The government-owned research and development agency, National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), has sought expressions of interest  from wind power companies to set up an offshore wind farm with a capacity of around 1,000 megawatts (MW) in the Gulf of Khambat, off the coast of Gujarat
  • Development of offshore wind is a timely progression for India. The resource offers much higher PLFs that position it closer to base load generation, and now with larger sized turbines it is much more viable.


  • Success of this venture will depend on whether the government decides to subsidise the sector.
  • However, it will be a few years before India can see an offshore wind farm.
  • The call for expressions of interest is merely a preliminary step, as the document released by the NIWE doesn’t yet mention details of the project and only talks about a meeting of those interested in the idea.
  • Besides, there is no word yet on how the power from offshore farms will be priced..
  • This (Gulf of Kambhat) is just a pilot project and people are sceptical about its technical feasibility
  • Another major constraint is grid. As there is no clarity on how to make transmission lines available.
  • Issues with manufacturing or procuring equipment:-
    • Offshore wind farms typically have larger turbines of around 6 MW capacity (as against the average of 2.5 MW machines used onshore) and longer windmill blades.
    • But most firms in India don’t yet make such high-capacity machines, so components will have to be imported.
    • The factories’ configuration has to be changed. In terms of logistics, putting larger blades on Indian roads is next to impossible. That’s the reason wind blades on average are smaller in India than in China as the roads are smaller here. This might dampen investor interest.



  • The government’s plan will put India in the same league as other countries investing in offshore wind energy. Globally, there’s around 14,300 MW of installed offshore wind energy capacity, 88% of it in European waters and the rest in China, Japan, South Korea, and the US. If India is able to achieve the 5,000 MW target it will be one of the first markets to do so on a large scale.

Topic Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

6) Explain the difference between public and private blockchain. Also discuss its application in digitalization of land records. (250 Words)



Why this question:

Cryptocurrency has become a household name, so has the technology on which cryptos are based. Blockchain has diverse applications and its application in governance must be prepared well, for it is the technology of the future.

Key demand of the question:

The first part asks us simply to explain the difference. In the 2nd part, answer the way in which blockchain can be utilized in land modernization, why it will be such a radical step, the challenges and the way forward

Directive word

Explain – Simply tell the difference

Discuss – Need to bring out multiple facets of the issue as discussed above

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain blockchain is brief


  • Explain difference
  • Explain application of block chain in land modernization
  • The potential impact, this step might have
  • Challenges

Conclusion – Mention that use of technology in governance is a sign of progress and nothing better to start off with than land modernization



  • As many as two-thirds of civil cases are pending in Indian courts deal with land related disputes. So to make land management effective  NITI Aayog recently announced that it will bring out a discussion paper on leveraging blockchain technology for land records management.


Difference between public and private blockchain:-

  • In a public blockchain like bitcoin, all participants are allowed to create or modify the blockchain, while in a private blockchain, like what has been envisioned for land records, only select participants are given that responsibility. 
  • The sole distinction between public and private blockchain is related to
    • Who is allowed to participate in the network
    • Execute the consensus protocol and maintain the shared ledger.
  • Openness:-
    • A public blockchain network is completely open and anyone can join and participate in the network. The network typically has an incentivizing mechanism to encourage more participants to join the network. Bitcoin is one of the largest public blockchain networks in production today.
      • little to no privacy for transactions and only supports a weak notion of security.
    • A private blockchain network requires an invitation and must be validated by either the network starter or by a set of rules put in place by the network starte
      • Businesses who set up a private blockchain, will generally set up a permissioned This places restrictions on who is allowed to participate in the network, and only in certain transactions. Participants need to obtain an invitation or permissionto join. 
      • Only the entities participating in a particular transaction will have knowledge and access to it .
      • Will allow them to retain control and privacy
    • Power :-
      • One of the drawbacks of a public blockchain is the substantial amount of computational power that is necessary to maintain a distributed ledger at a large scale.
      • Low computational power in private blockchain
    • In fact, this private system will have lower costs and faster speeds than a public blockchain platform can offer.
    • The benefit of public blockchain is every transaction is public and users can maintain anonymity.
    • Decentralised:-
      • A public blockchain is most appropriate when a network needs to be decentralized
      • It is also great if full transparency of the ledger or individual anonymity are desired benefits.
      • In private blockchains, the owner of the blockchain is a single entity or an enterprise which can override/delete commands on a blockchain if needed. That’s why in its true sense it is not decentralized and hence can just be called a distributed ledger or database with cryptography to secure it.
    • Private blockchain is much less secure and closed as compared to public blockchain because it can be edited/written or read as when wished and deemed fit by the benefiting parties

Similarities: (extra

  • Public and private blockchain have many similarities:
    • Both are decentralized peer-to-peer networks, where each participant maintains a replica of a shared append-only ledger of digitally signed transactions.
    • Both maintain the replicas in sync through a protocol referred to as consensus.
    • Both provide certain guarantees on the immutability of the ledger, even when some participants are faulty or malicious.

Applications of blockchain in digitalization of land records:-

  • Andhra Pradesh is currently working with private firms to secure land records in its new capital, Amaravati, using blockchain. 
  • A blockchain-secured record-keeping process will collect, store and provide access to information quite differently than a conventional process. After reaching consensus on what constitutes a valid record, market participants use cryptography and consensus algorithms to create or modify records.
  • There is no need for a central authority to keep records as they are distributed across a system of networked computer nodes.
  • All participants can see and use the latest version of the record without relying on anyone else. In short, data stored using blockchain is secure, transparent, easy to access, and hard to dispute.
  • Not hard to imagine lenders seeking blockchain security for land records as it would dramatically cut down risks in lending against property.
  • In fact, the first step in pooling information on mortgages across lenders had already started with the setting up of the Central Registry of Securitisation Asset Reconstruction and Security Interest of India (CERSAI).
  • Overlaying blockchain on lands pledged against those mortgages could be a great start. Similarly, the newly set up information utility, National e-governance Services Ltd (NeSL), could also be used to drive blockchain-based record-keeping for underlying collateral like land.

Challenges exist:-

  • While blockchain could ensure integrity and indisputability of future changes, it cannot resolve differences that exist today.
    • Questions like what benefit would blockchain provide to a land whose area is not captured correctly, whose ownership is contested, whose liens are not fully recorded and whose value is underreported are still vague
  • Because blockchain expert developers are scarce in the market for now, the implementation cost might be higher.


  • The Central government has created a Government Land Information System (GLIS) to reflect details of all its land holdings. While the benefit of securing these records with blockchain is low today, it will pay off in future as government monetizes them.

General Studies – 4

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

7) “Treat others as you would have others treat you”. Critically analyse the given golden rule of reciprocity. (150 Words)


Why this question

  • The golden rule or the law of reciprocity is central to many world religions and has varied philosophical interpretations. The question will help you in critically analysing similar statements/ quotations which is an important aspect of ethics paper. The question is related to GS-4 syllabus under the following heading;
  • Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators and also
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to examine both sides of the debate over the given statement. It wants us to argue in favour of and against the given statement and then form a personal opinion.

Directive word

Critically analyze- we have two analyse all the aspects of the given quotation and express our arguments in its favour and against it. Based on those arguments we have form and present our personal opinion and interpretation.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- introduce your answer by mentioning further about the quotation and highlight its source and importance as an ethical question.

Body- Divide the body into two parts. In one part, present arguments in favour of it.

In second part, present arguments against it and other related but opposing philosophies, if any.

Conclusion- you can conclude your answer by drawing up a conclusion of the above analysis and presenting your personal opinion on the question




The Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do to you”, on account of its simplicity  is the most universal moral code known; appearing in nearly all cultures, being derived from multiple teachers, religions and philosophies at different times in different ways. 


It is the principle which is visible in the tenets of Indian constitution as well which upholds, equality, treating everyone equally, ensuring respect irrespective of case, gender ,sex etc.


The Rule is accepted by most People across the world. It is really easy to understand and Practice in real life. It is the rule which teaches humans to use their compassion and empathy towards others. Rich philanthropists donating for poor countries can be seen in this context as well if they think that they already have more and that can be redistributed to the poor.


Unfortunately, the ethic of reciprocity does not work. It is merely a goodwill gesture, and does not generate or sustain good morals in times of adversity or struggle. It is based around doing what you think is best – it’s all down to subjective, personal opinion. Therefore, it only works for people who are already thinking moralistically. It doesn’t work on natural thugs, and, it doesn’t allow any active, effective or aggressive resistance to immoral rulers. Sometimes, treating people nicely just doesn’t cut it when it comes to making positive social change.


Violent warrior is going to have a very different idea of what normal conduct is. One who fights for survival is both willing to attack others, and defend himself, and upholding the ethic of reciprocity appears to tell him that it is ok for him to attack others, just because it’s something he expects to happen to him too.
It can be argued that the Golden Rule as a guide for human  behaviour leaves them vulnerable to others who may not see its value as we do. Many may argue that those who practice the Rule are often pushed aside by their more assertive colleagues. They see the Rule as a recipe for weakness.


 Just because some version of the traditional Golden Rule can be found from culture to culture and religion to religion does not mean that people within that culture or religion actually believe it to be true, much less practice it. It says nothing about  the way others want to be treated relative to one’s own desires of how to be treated, which preferences are morally superior to others and what makes certain preferences for behaviour morally superior to others.


 Immanuel Kant portrayed that, the rule is not sensitive to different Situations. For instance a Convict can ask Judge to release him as the Judge might not want himself to be sent to Prison.


Therefore the Rule can not be a sole guide to actions of an individual. In the current world with violence being rampant, crimes against children and women occurring every day  there is  a need to not be lenient towards the accused.


The rule is necessary but it depends on the situations and interpretations made by different people.