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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– Part of static series under the heading – “Provisions related to official language in the Constitution”

1) What do you understand by three language policy? Critically comment on the view that the language conundrum in India can be resolved only by making English the link language?(250 words)


Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what the three language policy means, what kind of language conundrum exists in India, and whether making English as the link language would be an exercise in practicality or futility.

Directive word

Critically comment – When you are asked to comment, you have to pick main points and give your ‘opinion’ on them based on evidences or arguments stemming from your wide reading. Critically comment is also forming opinion on main points but in the end you have to provide a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that the three language policy was conceptualised as a solution for the problems coming in enacting a common language policy for the nation .It was recommended by Committee of parliament on official languages.

Body – Give details on three language policy, give arguments for and against the idea of making English as the link language. Discuss what the vision of the framers of our constitution was and whether making a departure from that view would be prudent. Go through the constitutional assembly debates on official language policy for greater insights.

Conclusion – Give your view on the solution to language conundrum in India.

Background :-

  • The three-language formula has its roots back in the year 1961 and it was implemented as a result of a consensus during the meeting of various CMs of the Indian states. The Three-Language Formula was supposed to be not a goal or a limiting factor in language acquisition, but rather a convenient launching pad for the exploration of the expanding horizon of knowledge and the emotional integration of the country.

Three language policy :-

  • According to the National Education Policy of 1968, the three-language formula means that a third language (apart from Hindi and English), which should belong to Modern India, should be used for education in Hindi-speaking states. In the states where Hindi is not the primary language, regional languages and English, along with Hindi shall be used.
  • This formula was altered and amended by Kothari Commission (1964–66) so as to accommodate regional languages and mother tongues of the group identities. Also Hindi and English remained at the two ends of the line.
  • The First Languagethat students should study- Mother tongue or the regional language
  • The Second Language:-
    • In Hindi-speaking states, this would be English or some other language belonging to Modern India.
    • In Non-Hindi states, this will be English or Hindi
  • The Third Language :-
    • In Hindi-speaking states, this would be English or some other language belonging to Modern India, but the one that is not chosen as the second language.
    • In Non-Hindi states, this will be English or some other language belonging to Modern India, but the one that is not chosen as the second language.
  • Advantages of this policy :-
    • This policy fulfils the linguistic interests of dominant ethnic communities in India.
    • Significance of regional language
      • Vernacular languages are given preference and students also have the option of easily opting out of learning regional language after class VII or VIII.
    • Disadvantages of this policy:-
      • Though TLF provides scope for mother tongue language education, the emphasis is lost due to varied implementation.
      • Amidst asserting political rights of dominant ethnic groups, this policy fails to protect various mother tongues from becoming extinct.
      • Students have to face increased burden of subjects because of the three language formula. 
      • In some areas, students are forced to learn Sanskrit.
      • Three-language formula has not been implemented in most North Indian States and in states like Tamil Nadu and Tripura.  Only a few states like Karnataka have implemented the three-language formula.  In many North Indian states, two languages or Sanskrit is being taught as a third language instead of another regional language.

Language conundrum in India can be resolved only by making English the link language :-

  • On the dawn of independence English was the link language of India. Since the administration , political workers and businessmen and students throughout the country knew English it was the most convenient, the most suitable language to be the link language at that particular point of time.
  • English will inevitably remain an important language because of our past association and because of its present importance in the world.
  • It is the only language which is understood by the educated people all over the country. English is needed not for operational purposes but also for identifying oneself with those who use the language in India and abroad.
  • Disadvantages of making English a link language:-
    • Due to excessive focus on English somewhere there developed a sense that Indian languages are inferior and speaking in English is a status symbol. So vernacular languages got neglected.

General Studies – 2

Topic– Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

2) Discuss the duties of the newly constituted National Commission for Backward Classes. Also discuss the issues associated with the NCBC bill recently passed by the parliament. (250 words)

The hindu


The hindu


Why this question

NCBC bill was recently passed in the Parliament, which gives constitutional status to NCBC. The related act assigns several functions/ duties to the Parliament. But there are also several issues associated with the body, which need to be discussed upon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to describe in detail the duties assigned to the NCBC and also write the issues with the relevant bill i.e NCBC bill which has been recently passed by the Parliament.

Directive word

Discuss- This s an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Write a few lines about the earlier NCBC and the role of NCSC in relation to the affairs of the backward classes.


  • Discuss the duties of NCBC. E.g (i) investigating and monitoring how safeguards provided to the backward classes under the Constitution and other laws are being implemented, (ii) inquiring into specific complaints regarding violation of rights, and (iii) advising and making recommendations on socio-economic development of such classes etc.
  • Discuss the issues associated with the bill. E.g reduced role of the states in determining the backward classes; reliance on caste as a determinant of backwardness which in itself is fraught with several problems; equates SCs/STs with backward classes etc.

ConclusionBased on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.


Background :-

  • With 123rd constitutional amendment bill the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC) was granted constitutional status, at par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.

National commission for backward classes :-

  • The new National Commission for Backward Classes will be constituted under Article 338B and will commence functioning as a constitutional authority, in the same manner as the National Commission for Scheduled Castes under Article 338 and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes under Article 338A.
  • Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the duties of the NCBC will include:
    • Investigating and monitoring how the safeguards provided to the backward classes under the Constitution and other laws are being implemented
    • Inquiring into specific complaints regarding violation of rights
    • Advising and making recommendations on the socio-economic development of such classes.
  • The central and state governments will be required to consult with the NCBC on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.
  • Powers of civil court:-
    • The new Commission will exercise the function of hearing the complaints/grievances of socially and educationally backward classes. It will have the powers of a Civil Court for this purpose.
    • Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the NCBC will have the powers of a civil court while investigating or inquiring into any complaints.  These powers include: (i) summoning people and examining them on oath, (ii) requiring production of any document or public record, and (iii) receiving evidence.
  • It will have the duty of advising of the socio economic development of the socially and educationally backward classes and evaluate the progress of their development, unlike the present Commission which does not have this role.
  • The NCBC will be required to present annual reports to the President on working of the safeguards for backward classes.  These reports will be tabled in Parliament, and in the state legislative assemblies of the concerned states.
  • Backward classes: 
    • The Constitution Amendment Bill states that the President may specify the socially and educationally backward classes in the various states and union territories.  He may do this in consultation with the Governor of the concerned state.  However, a law of Parliament will be required if the list of backward classes is to be amended.
  • Composition and service conditions:  
    • Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the NCBC will comprise of five members appointed by the President.  Their tenure and conditions of service will also be decided by the President through rules.
  • Role of NCSC: 
    •  Currently, under the Constitution the NCSC has the power to look into complaints and welfare measures with regard to Scheduled Castes, backward classes and Anglo-Indians.  The Bill seeks to remove the power of the NCSC to examine matters related to backward classes.

Issues  :-

  • One reason for the apprehension is that the language of the newly introduced sections, pertaining to specifying Backward Classes, is exactly the same as that used in Articles 341 and 342 in respect of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • Supreme court judgment:
    • A Constitution Bench judgment, in E.V. Chinnaiah vs. Andhra Pradesh, ruled in 2004 that the President alone has the power to notify Scheduled Castes/Tribes, and when it comes to varying the lists, the State legislatures do not have legislative competence.
    • Applying the same yardstick to Backward Classes may mean that the President alone may notify the list of BCs for every State, and that it cannot be varied except by a law enacted by Parliament.
  • The NCBC bill would undermine federalism, as it amounts to usurping the power of State governments to prepare their own BC lists.
  • Hereafter Parliament will determine who is a BC for the ‘Central’ List. Since it has no responsibility to define backwardness, it cannot address the current challenge of well-off castes demands to be included as BCs.


  • Would help the backward classes people fight atrocities against them and ensure quick justice to them.

Topic– Role of civil services in a democracy.

3) Evaluate the claim that amended PoCA is excessively favourable to public servants? (250 words)

Indian express


Why this question

The amendments to PoCA have been long debated. Vociferous voices can be heard on both sides of the debate – those in favour of freeing the bureaucracy from the stranglehold of prosecution even for honest mistakes vs those who feel that amendments represent a dilution of PoCA. This debate becomes important for mains in light of the amendments under discussion.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to examine the amendments to PoCA and discuss whether they are in sync with the needs of a bureaucracy which has to be dynamic and responsive to ever changing needs , or whether they amount to dilution of PoCA.

Directive word

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention the context of the entire debate surrounding PoCA

Body – explain the relevant amendments under question. Discuss whether they are meant to protect bureaucrats from frivolous complaints and investigation, whether they accord greater freedom to the bureaucrats to take decisions without fear, whether it would prevent policy paralysis , or , whether they dilute the anti corruption architecture in place for civil servants.

Conclusion – Give your view on the debate and discuss ways to ensure effective checks in the present system .


  • Parliament recently passed a bill to amend the 1988 anti-graft law by seeking to punish bribe- givers for the first time along with the bribe takers.

Prevention of corruption bill 2018:-

  • Its aim was to enhance transparency and accountability of the government and also to make the provisions under the law stringent.
  • Provisions of the bill:-
    • Bribe giving:-
      • Giving bribe is a specific and a direct offence.
      • It makes a provision for providing protection to ‘coerced’ (forced to pay a bribe) bribe-giversif the matter is reported to the concerned law enforcement agencies within a week.
      • The Bill has removed the provision which protected a bribe-giver from prosecution for statements made by him/her during corruption trials.
      • The Bill covers bribe-giving commercial organisations to be liable for punishment or prosecution. However, charitable institutions have been left out of its ambit.
    • Imprisonment:-
      • Those convicted of taking bribes can be imprisoned for three to seven yearsbesides being fined under the provisions of the Bill.
      • Bribe-givers have also been included in the legislation for the first time and they can be punished with imprisonment for up to seven years, a fine or both.
    • The Bill also redefines criminal misconduct and will now only cover misappropriation of property and possession of disproportionate assets.
      • Under the amendment to the act, criminal misconduct will now include only two offences (already mentioned above):
      • Misappropriating of property entrusted to the banker
      • Amassing assets disproportionate to known sources of income
    • The Billproposes a ‘shield’ for government servants, including those retired, from prosecution by making it mandatory for investigating agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation to take prior approval from a competent authority before conducting an enquiry against them.
      • However, it states that such permissions shall not be necessary for cases involving the arrest of a person on the spot on the charge of accepting or attempting to accept any undue advantage for himself or for any other person.
      • Another relief that the Bill provides to a public servant is that in any corruption case against him or her, the factor of “undue advantage” will have to be established.
      • According to PRS Legislative Research, the Bill provides powers and procedures for the attachment and forfeiture of a corruption-accused public servant’s property.
    • Trial:-
      • According to the Bill, the trial in cases pertaining to the exchange of bribe and corruption should be completed within two years. Further, even after reasoned delays, the trial cannot exceed four years.
    • Forfeiture of property
      • This section was introduced for the Special Court to attach and confiscate property, which was earlier done under a 1944 ordinance through civil courts.
    • Sanction for prosecution
      • A sanction is needed for prosecuting former officials for offences done while in office. The decision on sanction request is to be made under three months which may be extended by a month. Centre may notify about the guidelines.


  • Safeguards incorporated for Honest Officers
    • Bill had many provisions to ensure speedy trial of corruption cases, besides providing protection to bureaucrats, even after their retirement, from malicious complaints. 
    • Brought amendments so that honest performing officer does not get intimidated or his initiatives get killed.
  • Banking industry:-
    • Prevention of corruption bill (amendment) 2013 is a relief for bankers. Under it, bankers cannot be pulled under the corruption law unless they have accumulated assets more than what they could have obtained with their steady income, or have misappropriated assets entrusted to them
    • The amendment comes at a time when the bankers are facing intense scrutiny for their lending decisions which have resulted in NPAs. Bankers have argued for a long time that they should not be prosecuted for lending decisions they made honestly.
    • The amendment to the anti-corruption law aims at helping the bankers take business decisions without fear.
  • The amendment also intends to empower the public to refuse to give a bribe with provisions of punishment for those who willingly offer bribe to the government officials.
  • Forfeiture of property is believed to help avoid a fresh procedure to confiscate property obtained through corruption and to enable court conducting trial to do so itself.
  • Experts are also concerned about the pre-investigation approval rule. Also, there was no similar provision in the Act, but a rule similar to it was struck down by Supreme Court.
  • In a departure from the earlier anti-corruption law, the current law makes a distinction between collusive bribe givers and those who are forced to give.



  • Definition narrowed:-
    • The older law had a broad definition of a corrupt public official, defining it simply as any person who, while holding office as a public servant, obtains for any person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage without any public interest.
    • The amendments narrow this definition significantly, by adding the test of intention, meaning prosecuting agencies will have to prove a conspiracy to carry out corrupt acts, rather than simply pointing to disproportionate assets or questionable actions.
  • The amendments seek to define criminal misconduct more narrowly, by including just two clauses: if the public servant dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriates or otherwise converts for his own use any property entrusted to him or any property under his control as a public servant or allows any other person so to do or if he intentionally enriches himself illicitly during the period of his office.
    • This means that if a public servant cannot account for assets or property disproportionate to their known sources of income, then they are presumed to have intentionally enriched themselves illicitly. The changed clauses however, do not account for assets that have been illicitly procured for other people.
  • The amendment Bill has not mentioned who the concerned authority is for providing sanctions for investigating a public official. 
  • Some existing important provisions in the old law are being dropped. These new terms will take decades for getting their interpretations from the Supreme Court.
    • Sections 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the existing Act have been deleted and replaced by completely new provisions, with completely new definitions and words. It may now take decades before the new provisions are properly interpreted and settled by judiciary.
  • The provision under Section 13(1)(d) has been deleted. This is the provision which is used for involving senior bureaucrats and ministers in corruption cases, since direct acceptance of bribe by them was generally not possible. 
    • Further, the maximum punishment for this would now be only 7 years imprisonment as against the existing punishment for 10 years.
  • Prior permission of the Government or the competent authority will now be required for registering certain corruption offences. Previously, the provision for taking such permission was quashed and set aside by the Supreme Court in 2014 in a writ petition.
    • This permission will give immunity to corrupt Government officers.
    • Even sanction for prosecution of corrupt public servants would now be needed even after their retirement, giving them one more level of immunity or protection. 
  • The offence of disproportionate assets under Section 13(1)(e) has been made much more difficult to prove and has been diluted.


General Studies – 3

Topic-  Indian economy : issues

4) Discuss the impact that the draft e commerce policy is likely to have on online as well as brick and mortar retail?(250 words)


Financial express

Why this question

The draft e commerce policy proposes several steps relating to discounts, data security etc which will have a big impact on the e-commerce space. Understanding those impacts is critical for e-commerce sector in which space policy regulations are still in their trial and error phase. These articles discuss the steps suggested in the draft policy as well as critical analysis of the same. Hence this question.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the changes that have been suggested by the draft policy, its overall comments on the ecommerce sector. Next , we need to bring out the overall impact of these steps on online retail and brick and mortar retail. We also need to discuss the indirect impacts on jobs etc. Thereafter, we have to give some suggestions or way forward.

Directive word

Introduction – Mention about the growth in e-commerce sector along with potential (substantiate with data).


  • Discuss the needs of a growing e-commerce sector and the policy steps suggested in draft policy such as ending discounts after 2 years, 49% FDI in inventory model etc
  • Examine the needs of ecommerce sector and whether a policy micromanaging their pricing etc would impact them. Examine the suggestions like cap on discounts, and how it would impact the bottom-line of online retailers whose USP is selling at lower prices. Discuss the impact of allowing 49% FDI in inventory model but control to remain with Indian etc
  • Examine whether the focus of the policy is more on protecting brick and mortar retailers whose businesses are being impacted by growth of ecommerce players
  • Examine the real challenges faced by e-commerce players like capital availability, infrastructure for logistics services, EoDB which needs to be addressed

Conclusion – Give your view on the policy and discuss way forward.



  • In the last couple of years, e-commerce transactions have risen substantially in India and abroad. The size of the digital economyin India will be $1 trillion by 2022 and it will account for close to 50% of the entire economy by 2030.
  • This necessitates better policy response and coordination among various wings of the government. A national e-commerce policy will be an attempt at creating a one-stop shop for the norms and regulations under which online retailers will be covered.

Draft e-commerce policy:-

  • Discounts:-
    • Draft e-commerce policy proposes that all discounts offered by large e-commerce firms be phased out within two years to ensure fair competition with brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Consumer data:-
    • It mandates e-commerce firms to store consumer data in India. The firms will be given two years to comply.
  • An independent regulator will address compliance with FDI caps in e-commerce.
  • Data localization:-
    • The draft India e-commerce policy proposes tax sops to encourage data localization and grant infra status to data centres.
  • FDI:-
    • The draft policy proposes 49% FDI under the inventory model for firms to sell locally-produced goods on their online platforms. The control of such firms will remain with Indians.
  • Bulk purchases of branded goods “by related party sellers which lead to price distortions in a marketplace” will be prohibited.
  • To provide a forum for consumers, the task force has suggested the setting up of a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA).
  • Foreign e-commerce websites should be brought on a level playing field with their Indian counterparts by making them follow the same rules for payment systems
  • Greater regulatory scrutiny has been recommended for mergers and acquisitions that may “distort competition’. The Competition Commission of India has been asked to undertake such exercises. This assumes significance in the light of the recent acquisition of Flipkart by US retail major Walmart.
  • Marketplace model :-
    • For online marketplaces, restrictions would be imposed on group companies of such platforms.
  • Redressal :-
    • The draft suggests a separate wing to be set up in the Enforcement Directorate. This will handle grievances related to guidelines for foreign investment in ecommerce.
  • Payment :-
    • Currently, a large number of payments for online purchases is made through the cash-on-delivery option.
    • To make online payments safer, the task force has suggested creating a fraud intelligence mechanism. This would use artificial intelligence-based authentication systems, for early detection of frauds.

Impact :-

  • Positives:-
    • The draft policy makes a strong case for championing Indian online enterprise and creates a level playing field for homegrown companies.
    • Having a regulator, e-consumer courts may better address complaints about online financial frauds
    • In the long run, it helps the country and Make in India.
    • Millions of micro, medium and small enterprises (MSMEs) have a better chance to go online.
    • It will also help large companies build a viable business rather than just depend on discounts.
    • National e-commerce policy will also enable better negotiations on multilateral issues with the World Trade Organization.
  • Negatives:-
    • It may have major implications for foreign-owned ecommerce majors operating in India.
    • Heavy discounts offered by shopping portals may soon become a thing of the past.
    • Existing brick and mortar retailers, for instance, are saying that FDI into e-commerce players has been given a back-door entry. The way to set this right is by allowing 100% FDI in multi-brand retail. Instead, the policy seems to be looking to tighten controls over the e-commerce space under the guise of accelerating the pace of the digital economy “by providing a facilitative eco-system for spurring digital innovation”.
    • The top concerns raised by e-commerce firms include a recommendation that will restrict sellers to buy in bulk, a sunset clause that restricts discounting on e-commerce platforms.
    • E-commerce firms may have to share their stored data with the government. This is becoming to these e commerce companies.
    • Experts are expressing concerns over provisions relating to data protection and localisation. 


Way forward:-

  • The policy need to look into the following issues:-
    • Modern companies face the challenge of collaborating between different departments, some geographically isolated and present in different time zones. Marketers, merchandisers and e-Commerce managers need to learn to strategically operate through one integrated channel. 
    • Managing a repository of customer data is a challenge in itself, added to that e-Commerce companies have to understand how to use that data. Delivering customized content in the form of advertisements, special offers etc. are some of the methods which can be employed. 
    • The vast rural-urban divide, the incompetent and inefficient delivery infrastructure in many backward areas, the inadequate power supply, inaccessibility of the internet, are some major issues that India needs to tackle in order to successfully craft an e-commerce policy that will add to the economic welfare and development of the country. 
    • Focus on ease of doing business so that the sector can thrive locally too.
    • All the major segments of an e-commerce platform should be taken care of be it logistics, employees or the back-end. The policy should ensure that all employees are provided with minimum wages, medical expenses, among other benefits.
    • Managing logistics, seller registration, and inventory accounting present bigger challenges for the e-commerce companies

Topic- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

5) There is a need to develop and harness non-invasive, local, large-scale ‘conserve and use’ projects in order to address the looming water crisis in India. Comment with examples.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Water scarcity is a looming crisis in most of the Indian cities as well as many of its villages. It is essential to discuss all the plausible solutions that could be used to overcome the problem as well as meet the growing per capita demands of the population.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue and express our opinion on how non-invasive, large scale projects can address the looming water crisis in the country. We have to give suitable examples in order to illustrate our point.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Write a  few lines depicting India’s water crisis and give examples of Shimla and Bangalore which depict the state of water crisis in India.


  • Mention that over the years, several bottom-up schemes to revive and rejuvenate lakes, wetlands, streams and other small water bodies have been deployed. While these movements have brought about a significant change at the local level, the scale of India’s water problems is much larger. Discuss why- growing population; growing consumption; growing pollution etc.
  • Discuss the role of large scale non-invasive schemes. E.g they can provide a perennial supply of water to large populations in cities and towns, engage the natural landscape, sustain ecological balance and have major economic and health benefits etc. give examples like the Himalayan floodplain-  If we conserve and use the floodplain, it can be a self-sustaining aquifer wherein every year, the river and floodplain are preserved in the same healthy condition as the year before- e.g The Delhi Palla floodplain project ; a forest (like Asola Bhatti in Delhi) can be sustained as a mineral water sanctuary etc.

Conclusion- Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.


  • India has long undervalued one of its most precious resources, water. The country’s chronic mismanagement of water is staring at it now. Over 600 million Indians rely on the monsoon to replenish their water sources, and the unpredictable nature of rain leaves them vulnerable. 
  • The NITI Aayog report on Composite Water Management Index said that India is facing its ‘worst’ water crisis in history

Water crisis in India:-


  • Taps in Shimla went dry this summer, posing an unprecedented water crisis in the hill town. 
    • Reasons for water crisis can be :-
      • A combination of population explosion, unplanned growth of the city and its expansion to some traditional catchment areas (a region from which rainfall flows into a river, lake, or reservoir) have led to a reduction in the natural flow of water, and large-scale deforestation.
      • Climate change, leading to much lower precipitation during the winter months. As a result, the natural flow and recharge of water in the region has fallen sharply
      • The water demand in Shimla during peak tourist season is very high
    • Failure of State governments to check unplanned development and exploitation of water resources. There is no attempt at the central or state levels to manage water quantity and quality
    • The vegetation pattern has changed, tree cover is shrinking and unscientific dumping of debris in  water streams is rampant. 
    • The debris blocks the natural course of water bodies. 
    • Increasing number of tube wells resulting in depletion of groundwater. 
    • Changes in farming patterns lead to consumption of more water for irrigation and also change the soil profile because of the use of fertilizers
    • The states ranked lowest like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Jharkhand – are home to almost half of  India’s population along with the majority of its agricultural produce. 
    • There is also a lack of interest in maintaining India’s traditional water harvesting structures.
    • Increase in population, reduced rainfall, encroachment of water bodies, poor handling of industrial waste water,exploitation of natural resources, change in food consumption pattern etc. have all come together to deplete the amount of water available
    • Invasive schemes like dams to service these large cities and the huge needs of agriculture have caused extreme ecological devastation.
    • Resources (forests, mountains, floodplains and rivers) are often lost to the greed of governments, institutions, corporations and individuals.

Why non invasive large scale conserve and use projects are needed:-

  • Large-scale schemes can provide a perennial supply of water to large populations in cities and towns, engage the natural landscape, sustain ecological balance and have major economic and health benefits.
  • Floodplains of rivers are exceptional aquifers where any withdrawal is compensated by gravity flow from a large surrounding area and can be used as a source of providing water to cities for instance Himalayan floodplain.
    • Land on the floodplains can be leased from farmers in return for a fixed income from the water sold to cities. The farmers can be encouraged to grow orchards/food forests to secure and restore the ecological balance of the river ecosystem.
  • If we conserve and use the floodplain, it can be a self-sustaining aquifer wherein every year, the river and floodplain are preserved in the same healthy condition as the year before. For instance a forest (like Asola Bhatti in Delhi) can be sustained as a mineral water sanctuary etc.
  • Non invasive schemes can change the relationship between nature, water and cities. They differ in scale from the small, community-driven projects of check dams, water harvesting and lakes and can service large populations. Unlike large-scale dams, these projects work with nature rather than against it.

 Way Forward:-

  • Deepen our understanding of our water resources and usage and put in place interventions that make our water use efficient and sustainable. 
  • Augmentation of watersheds that can store more good water, for use in agriculture and to serve habitations. 
  • Strict pollution control enforcement.
  • Decentralisation of irrigation commands, offering higher financial flows to well-performing States through a National Irrigation Management Fund. 
  • Groundwater extraction patterns need to be better understood through robust data collection. 
  • Pollution can be curbed by levying suitable costs. 
  • Poor maintenance of pipelines, consistent leakage and illegal tapping of water are some of the issues that need to be addressed on a war-footing. 
  • Adopting rainwater harvesting techniques is the need of the hour. 
  • A legal mandate will work better than just competition and cooperation; it would make governments accountable. 
  • These forward-looking changes would need revamped national and State institutions, and updated laws.
  • Urban India needs to focus on recycling and harvesting water, havingbetter testing and purification facilities and increase public awareness on the need to conserve water. 
  • Large catchment areas need to be developed around water bodies so that natural recharge of groundwater takes place. A good example is the Seog catchment area which has been denoted as a wildlife sanctuary and where no construction is allowed.
  • Greywater recycling, a method of recycling wastewater from kitchen sinks, showers and laundry fixtures.

General Studies – 4

Topic–  Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

6) The existence of ethics entirely depends on our ability to choose. Critically Comment.(250 words)


Why this question

Free will is an integral component of the philosophy of ethics. It is therefore essential to examine and understand the association between the two.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding on the relationship between ethics and the free will. How is one important for the other.

Directive word

Critically Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon. Based on our discussion, we have to from a fair and a personal opinion on the issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few lines defining ethics and free will.


  • Discuss the relationship between free will and ethics in the sense that they are organically and intrinsically linked. E.g If some have the ability to choose but others do not, then ethics is applicable to the world, but perhaps not as we know it. If nobody has the ability to choose, then ethics is inapplicable to the world. If everyone has the ability to choose, then the actions they choose to do can be good, evil or neither; this being in virtue of their ability to choose etc.
  • Discuss how ethics can exist aloof from free will. E.g discuss the concept of utilitarianism.Take the help of the article attached to the question and other relevant material to frame your answer.

Conclusion Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Answer :-

For many philosophers, to believe in free will is to believe that human beings can be the authors of their own actions and to reject the idea that human actions are determined by external conditions or fate.

Existence of ethics entirely depends on the ability to choose. If everyone has the ability to choose, then ethics is applicable to the world. If some have the ability to choose but others do not, then ethics is applicable to the world, but perhaps not as we know it.

If nobody has the ability to choose, then ethics is inapplicable to the world.

If everyone has the ability to choose, then the actions they choose to do can be good, evil or neither, this being in virtue of their ability to choose. Thus the consequence of everyone being able to choose is explained.

If some have the ability to choose but not others, then the ones who have the ability to choose should treat the ones who do not with great care taking care not to hurt them if they are not dangerous, but to do what is necessary if they are. Thus the consequence of the second proposed condition is explained

If nobody has the ability to choose, then good and evil do not exist, because doing good or evil by definition depends on the ability to choose. If one is warned of a flood by the gradual rise in the tide, then whatever caused the rise in the tide did not do good, for it is not a conscious being with free will. However, if one is warned of a flood by another person (with free will), then that person obviously did good. 

In all of these cases, the complete nonexistence of free will negates the applicability of the question. Likewise, the condition that everyone has free will justifies and confirms the applicability of each thing discussed. In two of the scenarios, if some have the ability for free will and others don’t, then the ones that don’t ought to be controlled in one way or another.

Ethics and morals can act as guidelines for behaviors whether or not free will exists. Ethics are at least partially innate i.e.., you don’t need any particular upbringing to experience moral indignation if someone takes your stuff.  So however well your idea of free will jives with the concept of punishment, the former is not the cause of the latter. Rather, you want transgressors to be punished because that will, in the end, mean that there will be less transgressors.

Topic – ethical concerns and dilemmas in government ; strengthening of ethical and moral
values in governance

7) How we deal with those excluded out of NRC will determine how humane our democracy actually is. Comment.(250 words)

Indian express

Indian express

The hindu

Why this question

Updation of NRC and the consequent fate of those who do not find a mention in the hallowed list raises very important ethical questions and dilemmas for our democracy and government. These opinion all deal with the moral, practical and ethical challenges before us going forward and hence the issue needs to be prepared from a GS4 perspective as well.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what ethical and moral questions are raised by the entire debate, the security and historical concerns that the government has to be sensitive to, and how the current dilemma can be resolved.

Directive word

Comment – When you are asked to comment, you have to pick main points and give your ‘opinion’ on them based on evidences or arguments stemming from your wide reading.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about NRC, give its brief history and mention that the issue has to be handled sensitively by looking at the various sides of the coin.

Body – Elucidate the various aspect of this issue which makes it so difficult. Discuss the vexed “foreigner question” that has been a matter of great contention in Assam. Discuss the historical demand for such a register and the government’s commitment while signing the Assam Accord.

Discuss the inevitability of immigration as long as the world remains a global village. Highlight the ethical aspects in this situation where the fate of so many families and persons are linked to finding their name in a list which has scope for administrative errors. Discuss how has the SC and MHA given assurance and what needs to be done going forward.

Conclusion – give your view on how should the government resolve this ethical dilemma.

Answer :-

History of NRC:-

  • Since Independence till 1971, when Bangladesh was created, Assam witnessed large-scale migration from East Pakistan that became Bangladesh after the war. Soon after the war on a treaty for friendship, co-operation and peace was signed between India and Bangladesh. The migration of Bangladeshis into Assam continued.
  • To bring this regular influx of immigrants to the notice of then government, the All Assam Students Union submitted a memorandum to Indira Gandhi in 1980 seeking her “urgent attention” to the matter. Subsequently, Parliament enacted the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983.
  • On the other hand, Assam has been recurrently rocked by agitations against infiltrators. The student movement in the 1970s and 1980s was built around ethnic anxieties as it posited an Assamese versus non-Assamese divide

Issues with those who are excluded in NRC:-

At upwards of four million, the number of those excluded from the second draft of the National Register of Citizens published has sparked great anxiety about the legal status of so many individuals. So handling such an issue has to be done with utmost sensitivity.

The supposedly robust family tree verification process has resulted in numerous instances of parents being on the draft list but children being left out precisely the kinds of errors which were supposed to be excluded. Also the names of some of the elected representatives are also missing.

Also the people who are excluded from NRC face uncertain future for instance Bangladesh is not ready to accept them and even in India they might face resistance.


India has been known worldwide for its humanitarian approach towards refugees from different nations. This strengthened the image of India as democracy worldwide. So with respect to NRC government need to ensure that families are not torn apart, human rights of the people are upholded even if they are not included in NRC. So deportation is not a good idea to look at. There needs to be more clarity with the citizenship status for people in India.