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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 – “ Soils of India”

1) Explain the main causes and effects of soil erosion in India, as well as prevention or soil erosion techniques?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the reasons why soil erosion happens, the ill impact caused by soil erosion as well as an explanation of the various techniques to control soil erosion.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what soil erosion is.

Body – One by one, answer the parts of the question.

  • Causes – Over-grazing, Deforestation, Action of wind, water, glacier, etc.Topography viz. steep slopes & heavy rainfall; Faulty methods of agriculture, over – irrigation, shifting agriculture etc; Other anthropogenic factors viz. mining, industrial activities etc.
  • Impacts – Loss of fertile top soil, Lowering of the underground water table and decreasing soil moisture, Drying of vegetation and extension of arid lands, Increase in the frequency of droughts and floods, Silting of river and canal beds, Recurrence of landslides
  • Methods of control – Terrace farming, contour ploughing etc. Also explain them.

Background :-

  • Soil erosion is a naturally occurring process that affects all landforms. In agriculture, soil erosion refers to the wearing away of a field’s topsoil by the natural physical forces of water and wind or through forces associated with farming activities such as tillage.

Main causes of soil erosion :-

  • Soil erosion can be a slow process that continues relatively unnoticed or can occur at an alarming rate, causing serious loss of topsoil. Soil compaction, low organic matter, loss of soil structure, poor internal drainage, salinisation and soil acidity problems are other serious soil degradation conditions that can accelerate the soil erosion process.
  • Erosion by Water :-
    • Rainfall Intensity and Runoff :-
      • The impact of raindrops will break up the soil and water build-up will create runoff, taking sediment with it.
    • Soil Erodability :
      • Based on the characteristics of each unique soil, it is more or less susceptible to erosion. Recurring erosion is more typical for soil in areas that have experienced erosion in the past.
    • Slope Gradient and Length:-
      • The steeper the slope, the greater amount of soil can be lost. As the soil erodes downward, it increases the slope degree, which in turn, creates further erosion.
    • Vegetation :
      • Vegetative cover of plants or crop residues protect the soil from raindrop impact and splash. The less vegetation cover, the more erosion can occur.
    • Rainfall and Flooding :-
      • Greater duration and intensity of rainstorm means greater potential for soil erosion.
      • Rainstorm produces four major types of soil erosion including rill erosion, gully erosion, sheet erosion, and splash erosion. These types of erosions are caused by the impacts of raindrops on the soil surface that break down and disperse the soil particles, which are then washed away by the stormwater runoff. Over time, repeated rainfall can lead to significant amounts of soil loss.
    • Rivers and Streams :-
      • The flow of rivers and streams causes valley erosion. The water flowing in the rivers and streams tend to eat away the soils along the water systems leading to a V-shaped erosive activity.
      • When the rivers and streams are full of soil deposits due to sedimentation and the valley levels up with the surface, the water ways begin to wash away the soils at the banks. This erosive activity is termed as lateral erosion which extends the valley floor and brings about a narrow floodplain. 
    • Erosion by Wind
      • Erodability of Soil:
        • The finest particles are transported by the wind, while the heavier particles are blown across the surface causing abrasion.
      • Soil Surface Roughness:
        • Soil surfaces that are not rough offer little resistance to wind erosion. Excess tillage can contribute to the breakdown of soil.
      • Climate:
        • Soil moisture levels at the surface can become extremely low in times of drought, increasing particles to be carried by the wind. Conversely, this effect can occur in freezing climates as well.
      • Un-Sheltered Distance:
        • The lack of windbreaks allows wind to transport particles a farther distance, increasing abrasion and erosion.
      • Vegetative Cover:
        • Lack of permanent vegetation creates loose, dry, and barren soil that is perfect for wind transport.
      • High Winds
        • High winds can contribute to soil erosion, particularly in dry weather periods or in the arid and semi-arid (ASAL) regions. The wind picks up the loose soil particles with its natural force and carries them away to far lands, leaving the soil sculptured and denudated. Hence, wind erosion is a major source of soil degradation and desertification.
      • Overstocking and overgrazing has led to reduced ground cover and break down of the soil particles, giving room for erosion and accelerating the erosive effects by wind and rain. This reduces soil quality and agricultural productivity.
      • Deforestation, Reduced Vegetation Cover, and Urbanization
        • Deforestation and urbanization destroy the vegetation land cover. Agricultural practices such as burning and clearing of vegetation also reduce the overall vegetation cover. As a result, the lack of land cover causes increased rates of soil erosion.
      • Mass Movements and Soil Structure/Composition
        • The outward and downward movements of sediments and rocks on slanting or slope surfaces due to gravitational pull qualify as an important aspect of the erosion process. 
      • Faulty methods of agriculture like over-irrigation, shifting agriculture etc. Other anthropogenic factors viz. mining, industrial activities also lead to soil erosion etc.

Effects of soil erosion :-

  • The loss of natural nutrients and possible fertilizers directly affect crop emergence, growth, and yield. Seeds can be disturbed or removed and pesticides can be carried off. The soil quality, structure, stability, and texture are also affected, which in turn affect the holding capacity of the soil
  • Eroded soil can inhibit the growth of seeds, bury seedlings, contribute to road damage, and even contaminate water sources and recreational areas.
  • The consequences of soil erosion are primarily centered on reduced agricultural productivity as well as soil quality.
  • Loss of Arable Land
    • Lands used for crop production have been substantially affected by soil erosion. Soil erosion eats away the top soil which is the fertile layer of the land and also the component that supports the soil’s essential microorganisms and organic matter.
    • In this view, soil erosion has severely threatened the productivity of fertile cropping areas as they are continually degraded.
    • Because of soil erosion, most of the soil characteristics that support agriculture have been lost, causing ecological collapse and mass starvation.
  • Water Pollution and Clogging of Waterways
    • Soils eroded from agricultural lands carry pesticides, heavy metals, and fertilizers which are washed into streams and major water ways. This leads to water pollution and damage to marine and freshwater habitats. Accumulated sediments can also cause clogging of water ways and raises the water level leading to flooding.
    • Water ways may also be blocked, and it may affect water quality. This means most of the environmental problems the world face today arises from soil erosion.
    • The water quality of various streams, rivers, and coastal areas has also been deteriorated as a result of soil erosion, eventually affecting the health of the local communities.
  • Sedimentation and Threat to Aquatic Systems
    • Apart from polluting the water systems, high soil sedimentation can be catastrophic to the survival of aquatic life forms. Silt can smother the breeding grounds of fish and equally lessens their food supply since the siltation reduces the biodiversity of algal life and beneficial aquatic plants.
    • Sediments may also enter the fish gills, affecting their respiratory functions.
  • Air Pollution
    • Wind erosion picks up dust particles of the soil and throws them into the air, causing air pollution. Some of the dust particles may contain harmful and toxic particles such as petroleum and pesticides that can pose a severe health hazard when inhaled or ingested.
  • Destruction of Infrastructure
    • Soil erosion can affect infrastructural projects such as dams, drainages, and embankments. The accumulation of soil sediments in dams/drainages and along embankments can reduce their operational lifetime and efficiency.
    • Also, the silt up can support plant life that can, in turn, cause cracks and weaken the structures.
    • Soil erosion from surface water runoff often causes serious damage to roads and tracks.
  • Desertification
    • Soil erosion is a major driver of desertification. This usually leads to loss of biodiversity, alteration of ecosystems, land degradation, and huge economic losses.

Prevention techniques towards soil erosion :-

  • Woven Geotextiles :-
    • Woven Geotextiles are typically classified as one of our strongest available options for soil and erosion control. Woven fabrics are typically classified by their grab tensile strength and are used to help with erosion under rip rap, roads, and pavement.
  • Natural Fiber Productsare one of the most environmentally friendly options for controlling soil erosion and stabilizing locations. Often made from coconut coir, straw or wood fiber, these products stabilize areas, enhance vegetative growth, and naturally biodegrade.
  • Mulch/Fertilizer:
    • Applying a layer of mulch to the soil top allows the soil to slowly soak up water, as it protects against rain impact, and restores pH levelshelping with erosion prevention
  • Retaining Walls:
    • Retaining walls can be built around the area of erosion to prevent water run off. Runoff water leads to further erosion, and if used with other methods, retaining walls can be a very effective way to prevent soil erosion.
  • There are five main techniques that can be used in controlling soil erosion are. 
  • Contour bunding and Farming 
  • Strip Cropping 
  • Terracing 
  • Gully Reclamation 
  • Shelter Belt
  • Soil  erosion can be controlled by adopting land management practices and also by changing the pattern of some human activities which accelerate soil erosion.

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.

2) There were many similarities between German Nazism and  Mussolini’s fascist system, but there were also some important differences. Analyze.(250 words)


Directive word

Analyze-here we  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.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue and bring out the similarities as well as differences between the German Nazism and Italian Fascism of the time.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a few introductory lines about German Nazism and Italian Fascism- their main leaders and the period when they were prevalent in their respective countries.


  1. Discuss the similarities between Nazism and Italian Fascism. E.g Both were intensely anti-communist and, because of this, drew a solid basis of support from all classes; They were anti-democratic and attempted to organize a totalitarian state, controlling industry, agriculture and the way of life of the people, so that personal freedom was limited; They attempted to make the country self-sufficient; They emphasized the close unity of all classes working together to achieve these ends etc.
  2. Discuss the differences between the two. E.g Fascism never seemed to take root in Italy as deeply as the Nazi system did in Germany; The Italian system was not as efficient as that in Germany; The Italian system was not as ruthless or as brutal as that in Germany and there were no mass atrocities; Mussolini was more successful than Hitler with his religious policy after his agreement with the pope in 1929; their constitutional positions were different etc.

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




  • Fascism and Nazism, the two extreme right-wing political ideologies that emerged during the World Wars in Italy and Germany, respectively, had a lot in common yet had many differences.


  • Fascism is a term that was originally referred to the fascists of Italy under Mussolini. Nazism on the other hand, referred as National Socialism, is in an ideological concept of the Nazi Party.
  • State:-
    • For Fascists, the state was the most important element. But Nazism emphasised on racism.
    • While fascism considered state as important, Nazism considered ‘Aryanism’ as more important.
    • Unlike Fascism that glorified the state as the highest ideal, the Nazis viewed the state as Lebensraum (living space) of “the master race“ which needs to incorporate the entire geopolitical area inhabited with ethnic Germans.
  • Corporatism:-
    • Fascists favor corporatism meaning that the sociopolitical organization of a society is to be led by large interest groups whereas Nazis don’t.
    • Nazis rejected corporatism although they supported state intervention in the economy and cultural production.
  • Art:-
    • Even when it comes to art, some major differences exist between the two ideologies.
    • Nazis had no positive attitude towards Modernism, which they considered to be a sign of Bolshevism and cultural degeneration. Instead, they much rather promote art reflecting the Nazi doctrine.
    • Fascists on the other hand generally had no problem with Modernism. For example, the Italian Fascists didn’t restrict artistic expression and even encouraged creativity.
  • Architecture:-
    • The artistic differences between Fascism and Nazism can be noted in architecture as well: the former embraced various styles (including Modernism) while the latter strongly favoured Neoclassicism.
    • Both the Fascist and Nazi architecture had a tendency towards monumentalism but again, they differentiated themselves in the view of modernism. Architecture in the Fascist Italy was marked by a variety of styles including modernism which was rejected by the Third Reich as a symbol of Bolshevism. The Nazis promoted neoclassicism as the official architectural style.
  • Race:-
    • Rejection of the concept of race and anti-Semitism is what differentiated the fascist ideology from Nazism the most. Mussolini later incorporated the concept of race into his doctrine but he never fully developed it.
    • Fascism was fueled by nationalism as well but it did not reject other nationalities, of course, under condition that they accepted the culture and language of the superior nation.
    • Mussolini focused on territorial expansion rather than creation of ethnically clean Italian state.
    • Nazis believed that the master race was undermined by inferior races, in the first place by the Jews and that the German race must be strengthened and its enemies eliminated to be reborn again.
  • Power:-
    • Another major difference between Fascism and Nazism was their rise to power. The National Fascist Party came to power in Italy as early as 1922,
    • The Nazi Party, officially called the National Socialist German Workers Party achieved virtually no success until the early 1930’s, while its leader Adolf Hitler was laughed at.
  • Fascism never seemed to take root in Italy as deeply as the Nazi system did in Germany. The Italian system was not as efficient as that in Germany
  • Brutality and violence:-
    • The Italian system was not as ruthless or as brutal as that in Germany and there were no mass atrocities
  • Religious policy:-
    • Mussolini was more successful than Hitler with his religious policy after his agreement with the pope in 1929; their constitutional positions were different etc.


  • Both pursue collectivism (ownership of the land and the means of production by the state) as a part of an economy led by the state
  • Both pursue the establishment of a dictatorship led by a leader who literally has all power and glorify violence, imperialism, and militarism.
  • They reject Democracy and traditional left and right wing parties, oppose freedom of speech and are strongly against Communism and Capitalism, Feminism and homosexuality alike.
  • Both ideologies were also marked by the cult of the leader, use of violence and rejection of both democracy and communism although both borrowed several elements from the Russian communism including the cell system and strict hierarchy.
  • Their promotion of Nationalism is being taken to an extreme and they aim for unity within their own respective states by holding mass demonstrations and military parades.
  • Both are totalitarian ideologies, which means that they seek to control all aspects of public and private life alike.
  • Neither believes in class conflicts and conflicts of interest as a result of their idea of class collaboration instead of class struggle
  • Both were influenced by the rise of nationalism, fear from communism, crisis of the capitalist economic system and dissatisfaction with the outcome of World War I.

General Studies – 2

Topic–  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

3) With a scheme like Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya yojana, our state capacity now needs to go far beyond the health sector, to ensure success. Examine. (250 words)

Indian express

Why this question.

The article discusses the things to be monitored to ensure success of PMJAY, which go beyond the requirements of health sector. PMJAY, is one of the most ambitious health scheme launched in the country and a lot is riding on its success. Examining Ng whether state capacity is sufficient to deal with challenges that might emanate from the scheme is important.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain what is envisaged under PMJAY, and thereafter examine the resons why is it that state capacity needs to go beyond state and the likely impacts of it.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – explain about PMJAY


  • Highlight that schemes based in health insurance brings with it its own set of special concerns. Discuss the concerns such as the need to deal with price externality and uniformity, the issue of top up prices etc.
  • Thereafter, we need to analyze state capacity and ability to deal with challenges mentioned herein
  • Finally, we need to discuss the impact of such challenges are not dealth with effectively – the scheme might follow the path followed by other insurance based health schemes

Conclusion – Give your view on the existing state capacity to deal with implementation of PMJAY and discuss 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. Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) is the step in the right direction which can give impetus to healthcare in India.

Pradhan mantri Jan aarogya yojana :-

  • The plan is to integrate and merge PMJAY with existing schemes such as Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and state-level health insurance schemes.
  • There is a heavy focus on rural areas with 8.3 crore families participating, and remaining 2.33 crore families are urban. Some states that were providing insurance through RSBY or own schemes had wider coverage than provisioned in PMJAY. Combining these with PMJAY could widen the total insurance coverage to reach around 60-65% of the population.
  • RSBY and other state insurance schemes are all enrolment-based schemes, whereas PMJAY is an entitlement scheme. Hence, if you fall under the beneficiary list, then you are automatically covered under PMJAY.
  • The PMJAY implementation strategy proposes two models: trust model and insurance-based model. Currently, majority of states have opted for the trust model for a variety of reasons, like package rates, existing contracts, etc.
  • Officials from various authorities will jointly form the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission Governing Board (AB-NHPMGB), which will be responsible for governance.
  • The National Health Agency (NHA) has been formed to provide vision and stewardship for design, roll-out, implementation and management.
  • The scheme aims to provide annual health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh to 10.74 crore beneficiary families i.e. over 50 crore beneficiaries across India. It is touted as world’s largest healthcare scheme.

Advantages :-

  • 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. 
  • Unlike private insurance schemes, PMJAY does not exclude a person on account of pre-existing illnesses. The size of the family is no bar.
  • There is also no need for formal enrolment. Families that are listed with defined deprivation criteria on the Socio Economic and Caste Census database are automatically enrolled.
  • A strong fraud control mechanism has been conceived. An audit system has been put in place. Thousands of Ayushman Mitras are being trained. At each facility, one of them will receive the beneficiary, check her eligibility and facilitate in-patient care.
  • A system for patient feedback and grievance redressal is also in place. The system will be cashless and largely paperless.
  • The Yojana will be implemented in concord with state-level schemes, if they exist. An autonomous and empowered National Health Agency (NHA) has been established with corresponding state level health agencies (SHAs). A plethora of guidelines on every aspect of the scheme has been developed and pre-tested.
  • A robust IT system has been put in place. An efficient claims management system is functional with payments to be made within two weeks.
  • One unique feature of the PMJAY is its national portability once fully operational. If a beneficiary from Jharkhand falls sick in Uttar Pradesh (UP), she is entitled to receive treatment in any of the empanelled hospitals in UP. Her home state will make the requisite payment for the services availed.
  • The service package rates are based on an extensive exercise to determine market-discovered estimates. If a state’s existing scheme has a higher rate for a specific package compared to the PMJAY, the former will apply.
  • It will dramatically improve provision of healthcare for the poor. It will be an enabler of quality, affordability and accountability in the health system. The empanelled hospitals have been tasked to follow the treatment guidelines. Patient outcomes will be monitored.
  • Another impact of the PMJAY will be rationalisation of the cost of care in the private sector. With an increase in demand created, it is expected that private sector will move from a low volume-high return paradigm to a high volume-fair return (and higher net profit) model.
  • The PMJAY is a poverty-reducing measure. More than a third of the out-of-pocket expenditure (around Rs 5,000 per household) is due to inpatient hospitalisations. One out of eight families have to incur health expenditure of more than 25 per cent of the usual household expenditure each year. PMJAY will ease this burden on the poor.
  • The scheme will create lakhs of jobs for professionals and non-professionals especially women. It will give a boost to the health technology industry.
  • With more private and NABH-accredited hospitals getting empanelled, the quality of care provided to the beneficiaries will improve going forward, paving the way for standardisation of care across the country

The following problems with Indian healthcare system need to be resolved to make Pradhan Mantri jan aarogya yojana a success:-

  • 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 utility for 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

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

4) Explain the reasons behind the recently witnessed Rupee slide. What are the options available with the RBI to ameliorate the situation. Discuss.(250 words)


Economic times

Why this question

The Indian Rupee has been at its historic low. It is important to analyze the reasons behind the same and also the options available with the the central bank to ameliorate the situation.

Directive word

Explain-Here we have to make something clear or easy to understand by describing or giving information about it.

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 bring out the reasons behind the recent slide in Indian currency. It then wants us to write in detail about the possible and feasible responses that the RBI can undertake under such circumstances.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the recent rupee slide.


  1. Discuss the reasons behind the present depreciation of Indian currency. E.g The Spike in oil prices has pulled down the rupee, by pushing up dollar demand; Global Trade war fears triggered by the US and China’s retaliatory import tariffs have also weakened the Rupee; The Chinese yuan has fallen sharply in the last few sessions; This has triggered a dollar flight from many emerging economies; The Spurt in dollar outflow has pulled down most Asian currencies, including the rupee.
  2. Discuss the options available with the RBI. Try to list all possible options, with the more feasible ones mentioned first. E.g Signal higher rates by raising repo rates could incentivise foreign investors to invest in Indian markets; Buy bonds and infuse rupee liquidity through open-market operations; Lower cash reserve ratio or CRR that commercial banks need to park mandatorily with RBI. This could help free up more monetary resources in the system

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

Background :-

  • India’s rupee value has fallen precipitously against the dollar.
  • At present, the value of India’s currency “rupee” is continuously falling and its value has declined by 12% between January – September 2018.Among the BRICS nations after the Russian Ruble, the Indian rupee depreciated the most in this period.

Causes of the Rupee depreciation :-

  • Spike in oil prices has pulled down the rupee, by pushing up dollar demand.
    • Increase in the demand of crude oil will be followed by the increasing import bill in the form of payment of more dollars to oil exporting countries. Hence the demand of dollar will increase in the Indian market which will reduce the value of Indian rupee.
  • Global Trade war fears triggered by the US and China’s retaliatory import tariffs have also weakened the Rupee.
    • So due to this war the price of the imported commodities will go up which will further increase the outflow of dollar from the Indian market.
  • Increasing Trade Deficit of India:
    • Outflow of foreign currency is more from Indian market as compared to inflow of foreign currency. As per the law of demand; if the demand of a commodity increases, its price also follows it. In the same way; when more and more foreign currency i.e. dollar goes out of Indian market, its domestic price increases and the price of Indian rupee decreases.
  • Political uncertainty:-
    • Major point of uncertainty is that whether the current government will retain the power at centre or not. If the new government comes in the power and changes the FDI and other policies then the money of investors will trap.
    • So the foreign investors are pulling out their money from the Indian market to invest in those markets which can provide them secured return.  This is the reason that the demand of dollar is increasing and the price of Indian rupee of falling.
  • International currencies:-
    • Chinese yuan has fallen sharply in the last few sessions. This has triggered a dollar flight from many emerging economies like India. Spurt in dollar outflow has pulled down most Asian currencies, including the rupee.
    • Free fall of the Turkish lira following an economic crisis in that country impacted emerging economy currencies, which lost ground against the dollar.
  • Global factors including rising interest rates in the US. The US Federal Reserve’s rate hikes have made dollar assets give more returns.
  • FPI outflows. 
  • The current account deficit and net capital outflows influence the shortage of dollar liquidity, which result in rupee depreciation. 
  • High import intensity in some key segments like petroleum and gems and jewellery.

Problems due to falling rupee in India :-

  • A weak rupee makes overseas travel costlier.
  • Imported goods like computers, mobile phones and crude oil may get costlier. This may prompt oil companies to hike petrol and diesel prices too.
  • Costlier transport fuel will knock up prices of most goods and stoke inflation. Diesel price hikes increase the cost of transportation of goods being transported by road. Unfortunately, many food items fall in this category.
  • Elevated inflation may prompt RBI to raise lending rates. It may also keep interest rates high to maintain India’s attractiveness as a debt market and woo dollars.
  • High-interest rates may push up home loan EMIs.
  • CAD:-
    • Even under a benign assumption of crude oil at around $70 per barrel, India’s current account deficit will reach a six-year high of 2.5% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018-19. If crude oil prices touch $90 per barrel, this could push up the current account deficit to 3.6% of GDP.
  • Exports:-
    • Also, not much respite is expected from the export channel. The recent depreciation in rupee is unlikely to boost exports in the short-run as there are other structural factors, which are weighing on India’s exports sector
  • Banking sector:-
    • With more hikes in the offing by RBI , the already low credit growth figures could dip further.
  • ECB:-
    • Slowing down of domestic credit flow had prompted many firms to borrow abroad, and external commercial borrowings (ECBs) had emerged as an important source of alternative funding for Indian companies over the past few quarters.
    • But the rupee’s fall will make even that option more difficult, as it has raised external borrowing costs.
    • This will dampen corporate borrowing and weaken economic activity at a time when domestic banks are not in the best position to raise lending.
  • Many domestic companies that have taken dollar loans will also face significantly higher servicing costs.
  • It may hurt India’s fiscal deficit as India is a net importer of crude oil. . 
  • Tourism:-
    • The domestic tourism could grow as more tourists visit India since their currency now buys more here. 
  • In the medium term, export-oriented industries may also create more jobs.


Options in front of RBI:-

  • Reserve Bank of India will have to introduce measures that will not only ensure adequate dollar and rupee liquidity in the system, but also help rein in the rupee and stop government bondyields from spiking further. Some options that the central bank could use are :-
    • Signal higher rates by raising repo rates could incentivise foreign investors to invest in Indian markets and add more dollar liquidity in the system though the initial reaction in the bond market may not be positive
    • Buy bonds and infuse rupee liquidity through open-market operations
    • Lower cash reserve ratio or CRR that commercial banks need to park mandatorily with RBI. This could help free up more monetary resources in the system
    • Step up intervention in the currency market by selling dollars from its stock of reserves which will help calm the rupee
    • Restrict outward dollar remittances under the liberalised remittances scheme which is now capped at $250,000 a year per individual
    • Some economists are also suggesting special schemes like an NRI bond that would add to dollar resources.
    • It could take the most direct route of offloading large amounts of dollars. This would increase the supply of dollars and so check the appreciation of the dollar, but at the cost of decreased liquidity.
    • RBI intervention in the forex market is the short-term solution. 

Topic- Major crops and cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage.

5) The management of shifting cultivation remains a fundamental imperative for agricultural development planning in the uplands of northeast India. Why do you think shifting cultivation is still practiced. Examine.(250 words)

The hindu


Why this question

Shifting cultivation has important economic and environmental costs. The NITI Aayog has recently released a paper on the related issue.

Directive word

Examine- here we have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.  

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to bring out the reasons as to why shifting cultivation is still practiced in some parts of India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  jhum/ shifting cultivation in India.


Discuss the reasons as to why the practice is still prevalent in India. E.g The new crops and cropping patterns have severely limited the seasonal availability of food crops and, in the case of plantation crops, restricted and compromised food availability during the gestation period, resulting in food insecurity. Food availability, and a compromised sense of nutritional security, thus becomes an issue of concern during transition. This is one of the reasons why a good number of farmers continue shifting cultivation even after adopting some alternative farming system; Changing land use and tenurial security; Challenges to ecosystem services; Access to programmes and schemes;  Credit facilities are extended against land mortgages and for shifting cultivators this effectively deprives them from accessing credit as they lack any land title deeds etc.

Go through the report to frame your answer.

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



  • While different programmes designed to address the management of shifting cultivation have claimed drastic reductions, both in terms of area under cultivation as well as number of households involved, the Forest Survey of India’s reports over the years continue to attribute large scale deforestation and loss of forest cover in North East India to shifting cultivation.
  • About 8,500 sq. km of area in northeast India is shown under shifting cultivation but there is inconsistency in the data of various agencies

Why is shifting cultivation still practised?

  • Crop diversity and food availability 
    • Government schemes have promoted settled agriculture by providing support for construction of terraces and development of plantation crops. The schemes have mostly prioritized cereal and plantation crops and caused a reduction in the diversity of crops that farmers were hitherto able to produce and access.
    • The new crops and cropping patterns have severely limited the seasonal availability of food crops and, in the case of plantation crops, restricted and compromised food availability during the gestation period, resulting in food insecurity.
    • Food availability, and a compromised sense of nutritional security, thus becomes an issue of concern during transition. This is one of the reasons why a good number of farmers continue shifting cultivation even after adopting some alternative farming
  • Changing land use and tenurial security 
    • Transformation to settled agriculture means change in land use, and hence changes in community access and ownership of land or the tenurial framework.
    • Under shifting cultivation, land is managed customarily as a common property. The change to private ownership compromises tenurial access to land and often means that farmers, particularly women farmers, are left with either less land or no land at all. This has implications for both tenurial access and livelihood security for affected households.
    • Insecurity of tenure also demotivates farmers from making any investments in the upkeep of land which in turn accelerates land degradation. In many places farmers continue jhum in order to maintain their rights over the land and not become landless.
  • Challenges to ecosystem services :-
    • Promotion of cash crops and overall changes in land use patterns by government programmes and schemes, has implications for ecology, in particular for vegetal cover. With settled farming, the regenerative fallow cycles undergo changes in land cover, often being converted into non-forest vegetation, leading to a loss of vital  ecosystem services and land degradation.
    • The farmers do not look at the ‘jhumscape’ as a food production system alone. They derive a wide gamut of other benefits from the system.
  • Access to programmes and schemes 
    • Most programmes and schemes for addressing transformations in shifting cultivation are designed for selected watersheds or localities, and do not always cover large areas, limiting implementation of such programmes and schemes to a section of the population.
    • The districts/villages not covered under such schemes continue to practice jhum. This raises the issue of equity and the problem is tackled only in a small area.
    • Consequently, even if shifting cultivators want to adopt transformative changes, they have no access to support services that would help them to undertake the transformation.
  • Credit and market
    • Credit facilities are extended against land mortgages and for shifting cultivators this effectively deprives them from accessing credit as they lack any land title deeds.
    • It has been observed that cash- and plantation crop based programmes in shifting cultivation areas have often not achieved the desired success if the market and related infrastructure are not concurrently evolved. The failure of orange and pineapple plantations in remote places of Arunachal Pradesh is an example.
    • Unable to take up modern agriculture which requires cash input, farmers continue to practice jhum which does not need any cash or credit for producing food.

Way forward:-

  • Home gardens:-
    • At the field level, promotion of home gardens by the North Eastern Region is a necessity. Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP) has resulted in positive outcomes, improving food and nutritional security and incomes for women, while gradually reducing dependency on shifting cultivation. Such initiatives must be encouraged and further supported.
    • Promotion of home gardens will ensure the cultivation of native crops, vegetables and fruits that are presently grown in jhum fields. Home gardens also ensure security of tenure for all participating households, can safeguard native crop species (nutritional security and an income from surplus) and reduce drudgery for women
  • Under-utilised crops from shifting cultivation have potential for being developed and promoted as health foods.
    • Products from fallows can be used for the development of vegetable dyes and other high value products linked to weaving, a strength of upland women. This will 
      address income generation and youth employment while providing a comparative advantage for such products, contributing to several Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Facilitating transformations – institutional mechanism 
    • Managing transformation of shifting cultivation areas is a complex process, requiring the active  participation of multiple ministries and agencies. For an effective management of transformation in shifting cultivation areas, it is recommended the programme be taken up in a mission mode.
  • Mission on Shifting Cultivation : Towards Transformative Changes needs to be launched under the Agriculture Ministry. The mission should set an institutional mechanism that ensures inter-ministerial convergence, as well as with other related ministries/departments at the centre and NE states.
    • This will ensure accountability of all related ministries and agencies that need to actively contribute to the process while also strengthening coordination among agencies as well as monitoring of the progress and achievement of set targets.
  • Bridging data gaps 
    • Non-availability of reliable data on temporal variation and extent of jhum in terms of area, population involved and geographical distribution makes proper planning and implementation of any project/scheme difficult. This needs to be addressed immediately and on a mission mode.
    • Remote sensing approaches can be immediately harnessed to determine the area affected and temporal changes in area under jhum.
  • Village survey:
    • Enumeration of the number of families (households) and percentage of population who are dependent on shifting cultivation in an area also needs to be carried out as an immediate measure. 
  • Promoting jhum agricultural and fallow produce 
    • Although organized market mechanisms do not formally recognize produce from jhum fields or fallow forests, unorganized market actors have been procuring several such produces for years – e.g. oilseeds and NTFPs.
    • This needs to be corrected and produce from these systems must be promoted in an organized manner. This will help shifting cultivators get a fair return from such produce, open up opportunities for value addition at the local level and also opportunities for promotion of enterprises and local entrepreneurs, thus contributing to local economic growth and long-term transformation. 
  • Perspective landuse planning (PLP):
    • These exercises need to be conducted for each village, involving village institutions (traditional institutions that determine tenurial access and land use) and line departments (agriculture, horticulture, forest and revenue as well as the district councils). PLP can determine/record present land use as well as future/planned land use changes. Such planning incorporates existing land uses as well as planned expansions for plantations, rice terraces, forests and settlements.
  • Formalise traditional tenurial arrangements and provide tenurial titles to households:
    • Shifting cultivators and upland communities usually do not have ownership rights but have tenurial security in common property resources handed over through generations. The formal regulatory system presently does not have provisions for providing tenurial titles to such households.
    • Traditional institutions should be encouraged to provide such tenurial titles and this should be formally recognized and ratified by all statutory bodies. 
  • Access to credit 
    • Steps need to be initiated so that a guarantee and vouchership from the village institution can be recognized as a viable alternative to land titles required for accessing credit from banks and other financial institutions. 
  • Need for policy coherence 
    • Policy synchronization is a necessity.
    • All government departments should look at the jhum land as a distinct land use, with an exceptionally long fallow phase.
    • Policy clarity with regard to categorization of shifting cultivation lands must be arrived at so that the ambiguity of categorizing the same land as ‘arable land’, ‘wasteland’ or ‘fallow forest’ at different times is dispensed with and such lands are categorized as a single distinct landuse type logically, as a distinct agricultural land use.
  • Shifting cultivation fallows must be legally perceived and categorized as ‘regenerating fallows’ which may, if given sufficient time, regenerate into secondary forests.
  • Key principles for implementation
    • While facilitating transformations in shifting cultivation areas, five basic principles are recommended: 
      • Mountain agriculture has a landscape approach that links agriculture, animal husbandry and forest. Adopt a ‘landscape or systems’ approach, not a crop based approach. Integration of various land use elements at the landscape level is fundamental for the success of transformation of shifting cultivation in  northeast India. 

General Studies – 4

Topic– Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government.

6) What do you think are the different types (levels)  of leadership in public service. Discuss. (250 words)


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 different stages of leadership (in terms of levels of leadership) in public service.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the meaning of leadership.


Discuss separately the stages of leadership. E.g

  1. The Brute Force Model- You do what I tell you to do or I will hurt you!” .
  2. Leadership through Stripes- “You do what I tell you to do because I have two chevrons on my sleeve and you have one.”
  3. Leadership by Expertise- “you do what I ask you to do because I can show you how to do it and you can learn.”
  4. Leadership through Espirit´- The group is so completely focused on a shared mission that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Discuss each style briefly and bring out the pros and cons of each style.

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

Background :-

  • Ethical leadershipin the government sector is about influencing others and setting the culture of a workplace. Leadership is a practice, rather than a position or classification level

Different Levels of leadership in public service :-

  • Brute force model:-
    • The first one of these styles is leadership by brute force. That is to say, “You do what I tell you to do or I will hurt you” Hurting someone does not obviously need to be by physical force. 
    • The problem with that leadership practice is that it is extremely inefficient. 
    • The organization would only get minimal performance. You will get just the extent of performance that you commanded and nothing more. There is no reciprocity between the leader and the follower; there is nothing in it for the follower other than the avoidance of pain.
  • Leadership through Stripes:-
    • In the stripes model there is more regularity. “You do what I tell you to do because I have two chevrons on my sleeve and you have one.”
    • The model typically is associated in modern times with military organizations, but it is almost pervasive in civil service bureaucracies.
    • The point of this theory is that there now begins to be something in it for the follower as someday he/she too, will probably have a second stripe and may be in the position of being able to give orders and have my will done rather than just blindly following.
    • There is a sense of hierarchy, a sense of orderliness, some sense of procedure that is involved in this model of leadership. As a consequence it is likely to be more stable.
    • However It rarely inspires individual creativity. And it also can be very inefficient. It is not as inefficient as the brute force model. 
  • Leadership by Expertise:-
    • The leadership by expertise is of the format “you do what I ask you to do because I can show you how to do it and you can learn.” The reciprocity between follower and leader here is quite different. There is something substantial to be gained by compliance with requests
    • There are several problems even with the expertise model.
    • One of them is leader exhaustion.
    • Expertise quickly can become obsolete.
    • Making sure that the expertise is continuously changing and updating itself is a significant challenge to the expertise model.
  • Leadership through Espirit :-
    • The group is so completely focused on a shared mission that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Each person performs at a high level of expertise, and each is aware of the strengths of the other.
    • It is very hard to tell leader from follower in this model because leadership is a changing mode depending upon the particular person or set of skills or group that is required for success. 


  • So just to review the hierarchy, the first style depends enormously on the motivation of fear, perhaps a powerful immediate motivator, but not a long lasting one. The second one relies upon an appeal to order. The third mode invokes an appeal to reason and rationality. And the fourth style resonates deeply with an appeal to aspirations and to values. This model constitutes the style of leadership to which most people aspire if they believe they can develop an organization to function at that level.