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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-History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

1) After getting independence from the colonial powers African countries suffered from several shared problems. Discuss.(250 words)

Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe; Chapter- Problems in Africa

Why this question

African independence is an important historical narrative and it is also directly related to the syllabus. Therefore it is essential to understand the commonality of problems faced by the individual nations.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. We also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the problems faced by the African countries on getting independence which were shared by most of them. We have to be as descriptive and exhaustive (within word limit) as possible.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Write a few lines about African independence from colonialism. E.g African nationalism spread rapidly after 1945 as more and more Africans became educated and aware about the racial discrimination etc. Mention the various powers that ruled the continent and also different levels of entrenchment of the white people etc.


Discuss in points the problems that were commonly faced by the newly independent African nations. E.g

  • Tribal differences.
  • Lack of economic development.
  • Political problems like lack of familiarity and experience with running democratic institutions.
  • Economic disaster in the wake of global recession of 1980s which further resulted in natural disaster due to death of livestock, famines, crop failures, starvation, death etc.

Discuss each heading in detail and give examples of some countries to frame and polish your answer.

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


  • By early twentieth century African soil was almost completely controlled by European governments, with the only exceptions being Liberia (which had been settled by African-American former slaves) and Ethiopia (which had successfully resisted colonization by Italy). Britain and France had the largest holdings, but Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and Portugal also had colonies.
  • The decolonizationof Africa followed World War II as colonized peoples agitated for independence and colonial powers withdrew their administrators from Africa.
  • African nationalism spread rapidly after 1945 as more and more Africans became educated and aware about the racial discrimination etc.

African countries suffered from several shared problems like:- 

  1. Tribal differences:
    • There were so many different tribes who were held together by the colonial rulers and they came together and united in the nationalistic struggle for freedom from the foreigners.
    • After they gained independence they felt it is more important to be loyal to the tribe than to the nation.
    • Civil wars broke out in many countries like Nigeria, Rwanda etc.
      • For instance in Congo/Zaire there were 150 different tribes .Holding them together even with administrative experience was a great task.
  1. Economic under development:
    • These newly independent countries often relied on only one or two commodities for export. This led to a disaster when the prices of these products fell.
    • For the loans taken from abroad they concentrated on increasing exports .At the same time food for home consumption became more scarce.
    • They were still at the mercy of western nations for investment and enabled those countries to exert some control over African governments(neo colonialism).
    • In the 1980’s the world recession reduced demand for African exports.
    • In 1986 by the time the impact of drought was no more visible also led to these countries reeling under debt crisis and were forced by IMF to economise drastically in return for further loans.
      • So these countries had to devalue their currency and reduce food price subsidies leading to increased food prices. This was a bad time as already unemployment was rising ,wages falling and social services were cut as part of the austerity programme.
    • Lack of infrastructure:
      • One of the most pressing challenges African states faced at Independence was their lack of infrastructure. These new countries also lacked the manufacturing infrastructure to add value to their raw materials. Rich as many African countries were in cash crops and minerals, they could not process these goods themselves.
    • Energy dependence:
      • The lack of infrastructure also meant that African countries were dependent on Western economies for much of their energy.
  1. Political issues:
    • Some countries suffered direct military intervention from countries which did not like their government.
      • For instance Angola was invaded by South Africa and Zaire because these countries disapproved of Angola’s Marxist-style government.
    • The Parliamentary form of government which was left by the colonial powers in Africa as well faced with difficult problems as Africans lacked experience on how to work with such system and also governments became corrupt.
    • This led to creation of one party states as the only way to achieve progress. For example, in Kenya and Tanzania it led to stable governance
    • But to oppose such governments by legal means was beyond possible so military coups and violence was the only solution to overthrow unpopular rulers.
    • Nigeria’s civil war:-
      • 1966-military coup took place and the main politicians were killed. This further deteriorated the situation as they were savage massacres in the north.
      • Eastern Nigeria seceded form the mainland and became independent state of Biafra and Gowon, the supreme commander now took more than a short police action to bring east back to Nigeria.
      • Neither the United nations nor the commonwealth was able to mediate and the final surrender of Biafrans happened in 1970 and Nigerian unity was preserved.
    • Lack of national identity
      • The borders Africa’s new countries were left with were the ones drawn in Europe during the Scramble for Africa with no regard to the ethnic or social landscape on the ground.
    • Inexperienced leadership:
      • At Independence, there were several presidents, like Jomo Kenyatta , had several decades of political experience, but others, like Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere had entered the political fray just years before independence.
      • There was also a distinct lack of trained and experienced civil leadership. 
    • Finally, decolonization coincided with the Cold War, which presented another challenge for African states.
    • The push and pull between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) made non-alignment a difficult, option, and those leaders who tried to carve third way generally found they had to take sides. 
  2. Disasters:
    • In 1980’s Africa reeled under severe drought which caused crop failures, famine,deaths of live stock and starvation.
  3. Cultural and racist conflicts:-
    • IN South Africa the whites dominated the politics and the economic life of the new state .Blacks were not even allowed to vote.
    • Even though blacks made up the majority of the population they were discriminated very badly.
    • Black people had to do most of the manual work in factories and on farms and were supposed to stay in the places reserved for them away from the white residential areas.
    • A governmental system of pass laws controlled the movement of blacks.
    • After second world war situation deteriorated for blacks because of the apartheid law enacted by the government. This tightened up control over blacks still further.


However over the years leaders propped up in many African countries who worked hard to improve the condition of their people and succeeded to some extent but still more needs to be done.

General Studies – 2

Topic–  Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

2) Article 35A is at the heart of Indian federation and any attempt to hold it otherwise will have negative consequences. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The SC is presently hearing a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of article 35A. It is a keystone article which forms the basis of the relationship between the erstwhile princely state of J&K and India. It is essential to know how a positive judgement in favour of the PIL can impact the relationship in a negative way.

Directive word

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue and form an opinion as to whether Article 35A is at the heart of Indian federation and any attempt to hold it otherwise will have negative consequences, or not. You have to present relevant facts/ arguments and then based on your discussion we have to form an opinion on the issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few lines about the history of article 35A and its association with article 370.

Article 35A was inserted into the Constitution as part of amendments made through a 1954 presidential order, imposed under Article 370.


  • Describe the article in detail. E.g Broadly, it empowers Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to not only define a class of persons as constituting “permanent residents” of the State but also allows the government to confer on these persons special rights and privileges with respect to matters of public employment, acquisition of immovable property in the State, settlement in different parts of the State, and access to scholarships or other such aids that the State government might provide. The Article further exempts such legislation from being annulled on the ground that they infringe one or the other of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution etc.
  • Discuss the facts/ arguments in support of your opinion on the issue (You are free to take the stand in favour of or against the statement but you have to properly justify yourself). E.g . The law on the subject is well settled. Previous Benches have already put their imprimatur on the 1954 presidential order; India’s Constitution, as the political scientist Louise Tillin has explained, establishes a form of asymmetric federalism, in which some States enjoy greater autonomy over governance than others. This asymmetry is typified by Article 370; with the disbanding of J&K’s Constituent Assembly in 1956, the question of suspending Article 370 was rendered moot; Article 370 is as much a part of the Constitution as Article 368. That the framers were deeply cognisant of the fact that the Constitution accorded J&K exceptional status is free of any doubt; “Kashmir’s conditions are… special and require special treatment,” ; any dilution of the provisions will have a further alienating effect on Kashmir and may fuel more violence, insurgency, economic breakdown and loss of democracy in the valley etc.

Conclusion- sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.

Background :-

  • Article 35A remains as one of the most divisive provisions in the Constitution as mere talk of any alteration to it provokes sharp reactions from parties across the aisle. Recently Supreme Court took up a petition to challenge the validity of Article 35A of the Indian Constitution.

Article 35 A :-

  • The Article 35A of the Indian Constitution empowers the state legislation of Jammu and Kashmir to not only define “permanent residents” of the state but also equip them with special rights and privileges. So the people holding the Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC), have exclusive right to acquire property in the state and enjoy any state-sponsored schemes.
  • These privileges and rights are not extended in any way to any non-permanent citizen. Thus a person from Uttar Pradesh cannot move the courts saying that their right to equality is infringed by a special right given to a permanent resident of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Article is located in Appendix-1 of the Indian Constitution within the text of Presidential Order, 1954.

Implications of abrogating article 35 A  :-

  • Positive:-
    • Closer integration of the valley with the rest of the country
    • Accelerate development and investment in the valley
    • It will further uphold right to equality and right to reside in any part of the country
  • Negative:-
    • Impact on other orders:-
      • Then all 41 subsequent Presidential Orders will then become susceptible to legal challenges because all of these Orders were in essence amendments to the 1954 Order. These subsequent orders have extended 94 out of the 97 entries in the Union List to the state as well as applied 260 articles of the Indian Constitution to the state.
    • Alienation:-
      • Such moves only deepen the sense of alienation on the ground and push Kashmiri youths towards militancy .Abrogating Article 35A may permanently alienate the people of Kashmir.
      • If India is not going to honour Article 35A, the people of the State of Jammu Kashmir might protest that they are no longer bound by the instrument of accession and state of Jammu and Kashmir would become a sovereign state.
    • Land issues:-
      • If this Article goes the land in the state of Jammu Kashmir can be purchased by any one from India and with the passage of time the state will lose all its land.
    • Business affected:-
      • Once the people of India would purchase land in Jammu they would open their businesses in Jammu and the business community of Jammu would be seriously affected.
    • Housing issue:-
      • Further, the people of Jammu would face shortage of accommodation as most of the slums who will come from other parts of the country would settle in Jammu rather than in Kashmir.
    • Employment issue:-
      • Presently, most of the educated youth in Jammu Kashmir are unemployed and if protection by Article 35A would have not been given to them. the fate of educated unemployed youth of Jammu Kashmir would be worse.
    • The benefit of this provision is that only permanent residents can contest elections and if this Article goes everyone from the country is entitled to contest elections.
    • Another implication of abrogation of this article would result cultural aggression and the death blow to Kashmir identity. Thus Kashmir will suffer more culturally and morally while as Jammu will also suffer economically and socially and Ladakh would not be an exception.

Conclusion :-

  • Articles 370 and 35-A accords special status to the state of Jammu Kashmir within the Indian Union. The special status ensured by these articles makes it different from other states and allows the state to have its own constitution and protects its identity. So Multiple stakeholders need to be involved to take a decision that is the national interest.

Topic– Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges

3) If there was any real benefit in having a Legislative Council, all States in the country should, and arguably would, have a second chamber. Evaluate.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article discusses the debates surrounding the creation of Legislative Councils in states. The issue gains significance in light of the wish of Odisha to have an upper house of its own. The creation of Legislative Councils needs to be evaluated in this question.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the role Legislative Councils play and how useful are they for states. The question makes an assertion that if LCs were useful for states, each state would have one. Since not all states are having LCs, it indicates the limited utility of LCs. We have to give our opinion on this assertion mainly.

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 – Explain the constitutional provisions regarding LCs and highlight the number of states that have LCs in India.


  • Discuss the role that LCs were envisaged to perform as per the founding fathers of our constitution – as a revisory house, give an opportunity to diverse section to be a part of the law making process etc
  • Highlight the status quo of functioning of Legislative councils in the states in India.
  • Mention the negatives of having an LC – Constitution Assembly itself felt this body would delay legislative process, not a representative of people directly, and an expensive institution, no real power except the power to delay legislations etc
  • Discuss the recommendations of committees like 2nd ARC and what they have suggested for improving the functioning of LCs – election of members of legislative council, role of teachers and graduates should be decreased or done away with. And more say should be given to local bodies. So that SLC can represent local bodies at state level as Rajya sabha represents states at national level. It will strengthen the root level democracy.And SLC should be strengthened as a Second chamber rather than a secondary chamber.
  • Examine whether a national policy for states to have LCs would make more sense

Conclusion – Give your view on the importance of LC for states and the way forward.


  • Recently Odisha made a proposal that it wants to join the group of States that have an Upper House/ legislative council. So there is a need to analyse the utility of legislative council.

Legislative council:-

  • Legislative Council or Vidhan Parishad is the upper house in bicameral legislatures in some states of India. While most states have unicameral legislature with only legislative assembly, currently, seven states viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh have legislative council. 
  • Article 168 of the constitution of India provides for a Legislature in every state of the country. The same article mentions that there are some states where there is a legislative council as well. Thus, Indian Constitution does not adhere to the principle of bicameralism in case of every legislature

Need of legislative council:-

  • Wide discussions:-
    • An Upper House provides a forum for academicians and intellectuals. It provides a mechanism for a more sober and considered appraisal of legislation that a State may pass.
    • The legislative councils do accommodate such mature and serene personalities not only through the nominated quota at the disposal of Governor but also through the quota reserved for teachers and the graduates.
  • Acts as a check on hasty actions by the legislative assembly.
  • Having a second chamber would allow for more debate and sharing of work between the Houses.
  • It lessens the burden of the lower House and enables it to fully concentrate on measures of greater importance..
  • LCs were envisaged to perform as per the founding fathers of our constitution as a revisory house, give an opportunity to diverse section to be a part of the law making process etc

No, there is no need for legislative council :-

  • Opposition to the idea of Legislative Councils is centred on three broad arguments:-
    • They can be used to park leaders who have not been able to win an election.
    • They can be used to delay progressive legislation.
    • They would strain state finances.
      • In the West Bengal also one of the main reasons for its abolition was stated as unnecessary burden on the State exchequer.
    • The process of creating an Upper House is lengthy:-
    • The State Assembly has to pass a resolution for the creation of the Council by a majority of its total membership. Thereafter, Parliament has to enact a law to create it. Two Bills introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2013 for establishing Legislative Councils in Assam and Rajasthan are still pending, indicating the lack of support for such a move.
    • Another issue is that graduates are no longer rare. Also, with dipping educational standards, a graduate degree is no guarantee of any real intellectual heft.
    • Constitution gives Councils limited legislative powers:-
      • Unlike Rajya Sabha which has substantial powers to shape non-financial legislation, Legislative Councils lack the constitutional mandate to do so. Legislative Assemblies have the power to override suggestions/amendments made to a legislation by the Council.
      • While Rajya Sabha MPs can vote in the election of the President and Vice-President, members of Legislative Councils can’t. MLCs also can’t vote in the elections of Rajya Sabha members.
      • As regards Money bills, only fourteen days’ delay can be caused by the Council, which is more or less a formality rather than a barrier in the way of Money Bill passed by the Assembly. 

Way forward:-

  • Recommendations of committees like 2nd ARC need to be implemented for improving the functioning of LCs like the election of members of legislative council, role of teachers and graduates should be decreased or done away with.
  • More say should be given to local bodies so that they can represent local bodies at state level as Rajya sabha represents states at national level. This will help strengthen the root level democracy.


Topic– Issues related to health

4) Insurance based health schemes are unlikely to succeed unless supplemented with improvements in primary healthcare. Discuss.(250 words)


Why this question

PM has announced the intention of the government to come out with a health insurance scheme that deals with the problem of rising OoPE wrt healthcare. The article discusses whether an effective health insurance scheme would alleviate the issue or whether it requires more systemic changes to be brought into the healthcare sector.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the debates wrt health insurance schemes and examine whether the problem of OoPE would be resolved by NHPM, or whether it requires more systemic changes.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that the independence day speech by PM laid special emphasis on this scheme.


  • Discuss the nature of NHPM or Modicare being envisioned by the government. highlight the issues that the government is trying to solve.
  • Discuss the problem of OoPE with facts and figures and link how OoPE can be reduced if such insurance schemes work. Highlight other pros of insurances schemes
  • Discuss the issues with relying on insurance without improving the basic health infrastructure of the country with special emphasis on the status of PHC.

Conclusion – Give your view on the effectiveness of health insurance schemes in dealing with OoPE and what should be the way forward.



  • India is concerned with many health issues be it malnutrition, infant mortality, rising non communicable diseases, growing number of deaths due to cancer etc. The national health protection scheme or the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme is the latest step in the right direction which can give impetus to healthcare in India.

Ayushman Bharat :-

  • Ayushman Bharat is National Health Protection Scheme, which will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
  • Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission will subsume the on-going centrally sponsored schemes – Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).
  • Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country and a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public/private empanelled hospitals across the country.

Benefits of the insurance based schemes in India:-

  • National health protection scheme:-
    • This mission enables increased access to in-patient health care for the poor and lower middle class. The access to health care is cashless and nationally portable.
    • It spurs increased investment in health and generate lakhs of jobs, especially for women, and will be a driver of development and growth. It is a turning point for the health sector.
    • Will bring healthcare system closer to the homes of people.
    • The new program would be a vast expansion of health coverage, allowing people to visit the country’s many private hospitals for needs as varied as cancer treatment and knee replacements. 
    • The scheme will replace Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana under which, the government provided Rs.30,000 annually for healthcare. Under NHPS, Rs.30,000 is increased to Rs. 5 lakhs.
  • RSBY:-
    • Early results were encouraging with increased utilization and hospitalization ,some indication of reduced out-of-pocket payments for healthcare and a means of identification with a clearly linked entitlement.

Insurance based schemes are not the solution as healthcare issues are very wide:-

  • Massive shortages in the supply of services(human resources, hospitals and diagnostic centres in the private/public sector) which are made worse by grossly inequitable availability between and within States.
    • For example, even a well-placed State such as Tamil Nadu has an over 30% shortage of medical and non-medical professionals in government facilities.
  • Health budget:-
    • The health budget has neither increased nor is there any policy to strengthen the public/private sector in deficit areas.
    • While the NHPS provides portability, one must not forget that it will take time for hospitals to be established in deficit areas. This in turn could cause patients to gravitate toward the southern States that have a comparatively better health infrastructure than the rest of India.
  • Infrastructure constraints:-
    • There are doubts on the capacity of this infrastructure to take on the additional load of such insured patients from other States, growing medical tourism (foreign tourists/patients) as a policy being promoted by the government, and also domestic patients, both insured and uninsured.
  • In the absence of market intelligence, arbitrary pricing and unethical methods cannot be ruled out:-
    • Aarogyasri scheme has only package rates, a procedure that all States have since followed as a model. Package rates are not a substitute for arriving at actuarial rating.
    • More importantly, there is no way the government or the payer has an idea of the shifts in the price of components within the package.This knowledge is essential to regulate/negotiate prices to contain costs. This also explains why there is no dent in the exorbitant health expenditures being faced in India despite government-sponsored schemes.
  • Absence of primary care:-
    • In the northern States there are hardly any sub-centres and primary health centres are practically non-existent.
    • The wellness clinic component is a step towards bridging that lacuna but funding constraints are here too.
  • Out of pocket expenditure high:-
    • Even the poor are forced to opt for private healthcare,  and, hence, pay from their own pockets. Resultantly, an estimated 63 million people fall into poverty due to health expenditure, annually. 
  • Inequities in the health sector existdue to many factors like geography,  socio-economic status and income groups among others. Compared with countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand and China, which started at almost similar levels, India lags behind peers on healthcare outcomes.
  • The Government has launched many policies and health programmes but success has been partial at best.
    • The National Health Policy(NHP) 2002 proposed to increase Government spending on health by two to three per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2010 which has not happened yet. Now, the NHP 2017, has proposed to take it to 2.5 per cent of the GDP by 2025.
  • Healthcare does not have holistic approach:-
    • There are a lot of determinants for better health like improved drinking water supply and sanitation; better nutritional outcomes, health and education for women and girls; improved air quality and safer roads which are outside the purview of the health Ministry.
    • These issues are increasingly being recognised with emerging challenges such as Anti-microbial resistance, air pollution, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
  • While private sector healthcare providers play an important role in the overall delivery of health services, any engagement of Government hospitals with private sector is seen with suspicion.
  • A number of health institutions, established since independence, seem to have outlived their utilityfor instance  institutions solely focus on family welfare.
  • Finally, universal health coverage (UHC) is a widely accepted and agreed health goal at the global level and has been included in the broader Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda as well. In India, the momentum seems to have been lost. The inclusion and articulation of core principles of UHC as central aim of NHP 2017, is a sign of hope. 
  • Rural medical practitioners (RMPs), who provide 80% of outpatient care, have no formal qualifications for it. 
  • Given low salaries, colleges face serious difficulties in filling the positions. The result has been extremely slow expansion of capacity in many states.
  • Pricing of medical equipment :-
    • Private hospitals are charging exorbitant prices for these and poor suffer the most and there is no price capping yet.

Way forward:-

  • There is a need for multi-sectoral planning and ‘health in all policies’ approach,where initiative of different departments and Ministries is developed and planned coordination, accountability  assigned and progress monitored jointly. It has to be coordinated at the level of Prime Minister or the Chief Minister’s office, as the case may be.
  • PPP in India needs a nuanced approach and systematic mechanisms, includinglegislation and regulatory aspects. The process requires wider stakeholder engagement and deliberations and oversight from top leadership.
  • There is a need to reform and re-design institutions to broader health system goals to contribute achieve sustainable development goals.
  • Policy proposals, such as setting up of Indian Medical Service, establishing public health cadre as well as mid-level healthcare providers and exploring lateral entry of technical experts in academic and health policy institutions, including in the health Ministry (up to the levels Joint Secretary and Additional Secretary levels) should be deliberated and given due priority.
  • A competitive price must be charged for services provided at public facilities as well. The government should invest in public facilities only in hard to reach regions where private providers may not emerge.
  • The government must introduce up to one-year long training courses for practitioners engaged in treating routine illnesses. This would be in line with the National Health Policy 2002, which envisages a role for paramedics along the lines of nurse practitioners in the United States.
  • There is urgent need for accelerating the growth of MBBS graduates to replace unqualified “doctors” who operate in both urban and rural areas. 
  • The government needs to provide adequate funding to improve the quality of services as well.
  • In a federal polity with multiple political parties sharing governance, an all-India alignment around the NHPS requires a high level of cooperative federalism, both to make the scheme viable and to ensure portability of coverage as people cross State borders.
  • State governments, which will administer it through their own agency, will have to purchase care from a variety of players, including in the private sector, at predetermined rates. Reaching a consensus on treatment costs through a transparent consultative process is vital for a smooth and steady rollout.
  • A large-scale Information Technology network for cashless treatment should be set up and validated. State governments need to  upgrade the health administrative systems. The NHPM has a problem with the distribution of hospitals, the capacity of human resources, and the finances available for cost-sharing.


  • Good health is part of ‘social contract’ between the Government and the people and essential for sustaining economic growth of the country. Seventy years of independence is an opportune time to revisit priorities and place health higher on policy and development agenda.

General Studies – 3

TopicEnvironmental Impact Assessment

5) There is a need to strengthen the EIA procedures and norms to make ourselves less vulnerable to the vagaries of nature. Analyze. (250 words)


Why this question

The frequency of natural disasters is on the rise not only in India but across the world. In India, however , as we have seen in the case of Kerala floods, our preparedness to deal with such natural disasters is limited because of the poor EIA norms. The article discusses the issues with EIA which is the first step in understanding how the process can be improved.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the issues with the current process of EIA, highlight the lacunae and discuss how strengthening EIA would help in making is better prepared for the disasters of the future.

Directive word

Analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what EIA is, the legal provisions related to EIA.


  • Highlight the importance of EIA in making us better prepared to deal with disasters.
  • Discuss the issues with EIA process in India –  Deliberate omission of vital information, False, unreliable and doubtful data, funded by agency whose primary business is to obtain clearance, no accreditation of EIA consultancy etc
  • Discuss the instances where poor EIA has led to magnification of impact post disasters – you can quote the examples cited in the article and the court cases as well
  • Thereafter, examine the linkage between strengthening EIA process and enhancing our disaster preparedness.

Conclusion – Emphasize on the importance of strengthening the EIA process and the way forward.


  • Compromised decision-making on development and infrastructure projects have already wrecked the lives of rural and forest dwelling people. Mining and industries pollute their water sources and farmlands and prohibit their access to forests. 

What is EIA?

  • It is a study to evaluate and identify the predictable environmental consequences and the best combination of economic and environmental costs and benefits of the proposed project.
  • On the basis of EIA, an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) is prepared, which is a description of the means by which the environmental consequences as pointed out in the EIA will be mitigated. Together the whole draft is termed as EIA-EMP report.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Notification (EIA) ,2006:-
    • The EIA notification categorizes all kinds of developmental projects in various schedules.
    • The EIA notification establishes four stages for obtaining Environmental Clearance.
      • Screening
      • Scoping
      • Public hearing
      • Appraisal

Importance of EIA in disaster management:-

  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) provides a framework for assessing the environmental impact of projects at their concept stage. It normally includes a detailed risk assessment.
  • This process is established good practice and an integral part of most multilateral and bilateral donors as well as governments planning for infrastructure investment. 
  • EIA plays an important part in identifying technological hazard risks and ensuring that appropriate measures are taken to prevent accidents.
  • EIAs also include the development of a ‘safety case’, integrating safety concerns at stages of design, construction and operation. 
  • Standard EIA guidelines include assessment of the potential impact of projects on natural hazards,

Why there is need to strengthen EIA:-

  • Report Issues.
    • Screening and Scoping not well defined:-
      • In the EIA notification 2006, there is a lack of clarity in overall conductance of the Screening process. As it is discretion of the State Level committee to decide which projects are B1 and which are B2, many a times the bias of respective State Governments come into play. The Scoping process faces same types of issues because of lack of clarity in guidelines.
    • Misleading EIA reports :-
      • Sometimes the EIA reports lack the expected degrees of honesty, owing to bias, corruption, exaggeration and wrong claims. Due to poor knowledge of the project area the agencies lift paragraphs and sentences from other sources, thus presenting contradictory, inconsistent and outdated information. Moreover there is no process for punishing the agencies tabling such dishonest EIA reports.
      • The EIA reports for the approved redevelopment projects in Delhi used plagiarised information and old baseline data.
    • Insufficient EIA reports:-
      • Agencies or project proponents also prepare incomplete EIA reports, which include incomplete surveys, arbitrary demarcation of EIA study area and unsubstantiated statements. Sometimes the impact with respect to flash floods, landslides, peak precipitation etc. round the year is grossly ignored in reports.
    • Poor quality of EIA professionals:-
      • This happens mostly when the proponents themselves conduct the EIA. They intentionally hire local and incompetent professionals to save cost over the whole process or some other vested reasons. These poor professionals prepare a poor quality of EIA reports.
      • Indian EIAs are never peer reviewed. EIA procedures are so corrupted by project interests that reputable scientists almost never agree to be on the Expert Appraisal Committees (EAC) after one experience. 
      • In the 1990s, EAC committees used to have eminent environmentalists in them which is not the case now
    • Public hearing issues
      • Lack of awareness:-
        • There is a gross lack of awareness among the local people, about the process of EIA, its significance for them, role of various players and their own rights and responsibilities.
        • Moreover there is a communication gap between authorities and local people because the notice for Public hearing is issued in local newspapers only and no separate notices are sent to individual concerned panchayats.
        • Lobbying efforts have ensured that several sectors, including real estate construction, are altogether exempted from public hearings giving urban communities no say in how their cities are shaped and reshaped.
        • There are no public hearings held for urban construction projects, and governments assume that citizens have nothing to say about them.
      • Unavailability of EIA in local languages:-
        • Most of the time EIA reports are unavailable in local languages, thus local people are unable to decipher the reports, and are misled by the proponents. This can be interpreted as a clear violation of the right to information on their part.
      • Ignorance of officials:-
        • The concerned officials for example those in Public Hearing committee are ignorant of their roles and responsibilities. Sometimes they don’t even get a copy of EIA report and it is passed without their consent, owing to gross corruption of the system.
      • Over involvement of Public hearing consultants:-
        • In the public hearing meeting, the consultants should not be allowed to have a dominant say, except responding to the issues of the people. On the contrary, they get involved in public hearings beyond requirements and thus mislead the local people.
      • Unaddressed issues persist:-
        • The issues raised by people in public hearings remains unanswered and they do not know what happens to the issues, nor do they know if the issues raised are reflected in public hearing reports that is presented to Ministry of Environment and forests
      • Large constructions have been difficult to manage in India. The sector has systematically lobbied to be excluded from the environmental norms of the countryand has been successful in carving out special privileges for itself in the environment clearance process.
      • Compensatory afforestation taken up in lieu of trees felled by projects is a failure due to poor survival rates of saplings and no monitoring.

Way forward:-

  • The burden of resource use in upcoming buildings or urban housing projects can be minimized in many ways.
    • Properly designed housing projects can provide numerous services such as purification of air and water, pollution control, mitigation of floods and droughts, re-generation of soil fertility, moderation of temperature extremes, climate change mitigation and enhancing the landscape quality.
  • The NCEPC, revived in a form reflecting the times, could be the body entrusted with the preparation of a workable policy document on “Environment and Development”
    • It could be fashioned on the model of the White House Council on Environmental Quality functioning in the US directly under the President.
    • The Indian version could be under the Prime Minister advising him on matters referred to it by him or taken up by it suo moto for enquiry.
    • The reason for locating the Committee directly under the Prime Minister is that environment being an all-embracing term, the issues it would deal with would often be the concern of more than one ministry and their examination has necessarily to be undertaken with a perspective larger than what any individual department or ministry may have.
  • The revival of the NCEPC need not be at the cost of the MOEF:-
    • While the former would act as a senior policy adviser to the Prime Minister, the latter could continue to look after its present duties and responsibilities

Topic Part of static series under the heading – “air masses”

6) Discuss the concept of air mass and explain its role in macro-climatic changes?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to answer by explaining what air masses are, essential conditions for the formation of an air mass, and how an air mass differed from a mass of air. Finally, explain how air masses impact the micro-climate of a region.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that an air mass is a large body of air having uniform temperature, humidity and pressure which it adapts from the surface present below it. Discuss the essential conditions for formation of an air mass such as uniformity in meteorological conditions , ample time and plain topography which plays an assisting role.

Body – Explain how air masses impact the micro climate – creation of an occluded front, maritime air masses causing rainfall, cyclonic and anti cyclonic conditions etc. Give examples for these impacts on micro climate.

Air mass:-

  • An air mass is a large volume of air in the atmosphere that is mostly uniform in temperature and moisture. Air masses can extend thousands of kilometres across the surface of the Earth and can reach from ground level to the Stratosphere -16 kilometres into the atmosphere.
  • Air masses form over large surfaces with uniform temperatures and humidity, called source region
  • They acquire a distinct identity by their humidity, orgin and movement.
  • They are classified based on:-
    • Latitudinal origination – Arctic, Tropical, Equatorial, Antarctic,etc.   
    • Continental air mass/ Oceanic air mass
  • An air mass may sit over its source region for long periods of time, or it may migrate. An air mass on the move begins to transform as it passes over new landscapes, while at the same time retaining enough of its original conditions to alter local weather.

Conditions for the formation of Air masses:-

  • Source region should be extensive with gentle, divergent air circulation(slightly at high pressure).
  • Areas with high pressure but little pressure differenceor pressure gradient are ideal source regions.
  • There are no major source regions in the mid-latitudes as these regions are dominated by cyclonic and other disturbances

Role in macro climatic changes:-

  • Most of the migratory atmospheric disturbances such as cyclones and storms originate at the contact zone between different air masses and the weather associated with these disturbances is determined by characteristics of the air masses involved.
  • Low windspeeds let air remain stationary long enough to take on the features of the source region, such as heat or cold. When winds move air masses, they carry their weather conditions (heat or cold, dry or moist) from the source region to a new region. When the air mass reaches a new region, it might clash with another air mass that has a different temperature and humidity. This can create a severe storm. 
  • The properties of an air mass which influence the accompanying weather are vertical distribution temperature(indicating its stability and coldness or warmness) and the moisture content.
  • The air masses carry atmospheric moisture from oceans to continents and cause precipitation over landmasses.
    • Frontal Precipitation – when warn air mass and cold air mass come in contact frontal precipitation occurs. It is widely witnessed in temperate region.
    • The Air masses when pass through warm water or currents acquire their moisture and cause rainfall in coastal regions.
    • The climates of most regions worldwide are affected by air masses. For example, maritime-tropical air sourced over warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, primarily between 10 and 30 degrees north of latitude, is the main contributor of precipitation for much of North America east of the Rocky Mountains.
  • They transport latent heat, thus removing the latitudinal heat balance.
  • Desertification:
    • They cause arid conditions when dry air mass is present in a region. Sahel region of Africa is impacted by this.
  • Cyclonic and Anticyclone conditions:
    • When these continental air masses move towards pole side and polar air masses move towards equatorial side both of them form fronts. These cyclonic fronts are responsible for cyclonic storms at temperate regions
    • Stormy cyclones form near the air-mass fronts. 
    • The temperate cyclones occur in the mid latitude of both the hemisphere. These cyclones are born along the polar front, particularly in the region of Icelandic and Aleutian sub –polar low pressure areas in the northern hemisphere.
  • A continental polar air mass originating from the tundra of northern Canada may push southward during the winter.
    • It brings frigid temperatures to the central United States, even as it warms up somewhat on its journey across lower latitudes.
    • While dry in its source region, such an air mass often picks up substantial moisture during an early-winter transit of the Great Lakes, allowing it to dump so-called lake effect snow on leeward coasts
  • Also helps in creation of an occluded front

General Studies – 4

Topic-Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

7) What are human values. Discuss. Also discuss some the human values having a universal relevance.(250 words)

Lexicon Ethics Book; Chapter- Ethics and Human interface.


Directive word

Discuss- Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. We also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the meaning and significance of human values. It also wants us to write in detail about some human values that have universal relevance.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a few introductory lines about human values. E.g values are desirable, trans-situational goals, varying in importance, that serves as guiding principles in people’s lives. Each of us holds numerous values with varying degrees of importance. A particular value may be very important to one person, but unimportant to another.


  • Discuss the common features of human values. E.g Values are beliefs are beliefs tied inextricably to emotion; Values are a motivational construct. They refer to the desirable goals people strive to attain ; Values transcend specific actions and situations. They are abstract goals which distinguishes them from concepts like norms and attitudes, which usually refer to specific actions, objects, or situations; Values guide the selection or evaluation of actions, policies, people, and events i.e serve as standards or criteria; Values are ordered by importance relative to one another. People’s values form an ordered system of value priorities that characterize them as individuals. This hierarchical feature of values also distinguishes them from norms and attitudes.
  • Discuss in points values which have a universal relevance in terms of different societies. E.g

Truth; Love-Caring; Peace; Responsibility; Justice etc.Discuss each value briefly and take the help of the book and the article attached to the question to from your answer.

Conclusionsum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.


Values are the guiding principles of our lives. They are essential for positive human behaviour and actions in our daily lives. They are formed on the basis of interests, choices, needs, desires and preferences. Values transcend specific actions and situations. They are abstract goals. The abstract nature of values distinguishes them from concepts like norms and attitudes, which usually refer to specific actions, objects, or situations. A particular value may be very important to one person, but unimportant to another.

Values guide the selection or evaluation of actions, policies, people, and events i.e serve as standards or criteria; Values are ordered by importance relative to one another. People’s values form an ordered system of value priorities that characterize them as individuals. This hierarchical feature of values also distinguishes them from norms and attitudes.

Human values:-

Human values are necessity in today’s society and business world. Human values are the features that guide people to take into account the human element when one interacts with other human. They have many positive characters that create bonds of humanity between people and thus have value for all human beings. They are strong positive feelings for the human essence of the other. These human values have the effect of bonding, comforting, reassuring and procuring serenity. Human values are the basis for any practical life within society. 

Common human values are as under:

  1. Brotherhood, friendship, empathy, compassion, and love.
  2. Openness, listening, welcoming, acceptance, recognition, and appreciation.
  3. Honesty, fairness, loyalty, sharing, and solidarity.
  4. Civility, respect, and consideration.

The function of these basic values enable every human to realize or maintain highest or human value for establishing relations of peace and yet it remains indefinable.

Human values having universal relevance:-

value is a universal value if it has the same value or worth for all, or almost all, people. 

The values which are considered basic inherent values in humans include truth, honesty, loyalty, love, peace, etc. because they bring out the fundamental goodness of human beings and society at large. Further, since these values are unifying in nature and cut across individual’s social, cultural, religious and sectarian interests; they are also considered universal, timeless and eternal applying to all human beings. These values are directly associated to physical, intellectual, emotional psyche and spiritual facets of human personality. 

Love: The presence of love in human life, the love they have for their families, friends, our faith and for themselves is important source of energy to lead smooth life.

Respect: Respect is a feeling of deep esteem for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

Trust: Trust can be understood in many ways, but finally it comes down to reliability and truth. Without trust, the world simply would not function.

Integrity: As a human value, integrity is imperative that people stand spiritually undivided and hold true to our integrity, the importance of which is often forgotten.