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[ Day 27 – Synopsis ] 75 Days Mains Revision Plan 2022 – GS 2 – Full Syllabus & Ethics



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.

GS 2 – Full Syllabus

Q1. Women’s nutrition deserves attention to tackle malnutrition in all forms at all ages and to break its intergenerational cycle. Discuss.15M


Malnutrition is defined as ill health caused by deficiencies of calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals interacting with infections and other poor health and social conditions. According to NFHS-5 in India, 32% of children under the age of 5 are underweight, 68% of infants and 57% of women (15-49 years) have anemia.


Adequate nutrition is critical for women because inadequate nutrition wreaks havoc not only on women’s own health but also on the health of their children.


Malnutrition of women and inter generational cycle:


Addressing women’s malnutrition has a range of positive effects because healthy women can fulfill their multiple roles —

  • Generating income: The health status of workers is crucial to maintaining their productivity and it will impact output per capita. Women’s increased nutrition will increase their earnings and help them make meaningful choices, both for the household and society.
  • Ensuring their families’ nutrition: Women are often responsible for producing and preparing food for the household, so their knowledge — or lack thereof — about nutrition can affect the health and nutritional status of the entire family.
  • Reduce infant mortality: Infants with low birth weight account for the majority of infant deaths in the first week of life in many less developed countries and are at higher risk of death throughout infancy.
  • Having Healthy children: Children of malnourished women are more likely to face cognitive impairments, short stature, lower resistance to infections, and a higher risk of disease and death throughout their lives.
  • Reduce maternal mortality: Poor diets of mothers can cause anemia, pre-eclampsia, hemorrhage and death in mothers. They can also lead to stillbirth, low birth weight, wasting and developmental delays for children.

 Major factors that contribute to malnutrition: Malnutrition in women is rooted in poor care practices at the individual, household, community and societal levels.

  •  Socio-cultural factors: 
  • Inequitable practices: Women are neglected when it comes to eating, often eating less and only in the end after the family has consumed the meal.
  • Gender norms: A WFP study in Uttar Pradesh reveals that one-fifth of the women surveyed mentioned having consumed less food or reduced portion size owing to economic constraints to buy food. Another study on women from rural India indicates dietary gaps and a lack of diversity in diets consumed by them.
  • Joint large families: the per-capita availability of food becomes less with increasing members leading to an inadequate supply of food to every member.
  • Lack of proper basic amenities: poor quality of housing, water and sanitation leads to infections and causes diseases which ultimately lead to malnutrition.
  • Poverty: Undernutrition in women is a consequence of poverty and is mediated by socio-cultural norms and inequitable practices that constrain women’s ability to make decisions about their nutrition.
  • Marriage and migration: Many families migrate to cities to seek out a better living. But that also means being left out of massive government schemes that are mostly delivered at the local level. 

“Life cycle approach” to improve women’s nutrition:

  • Infancy: Exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months protects infants from illness, and starting breastfeeding soon after birth may help prevent excessive maternal bleeding.
  • Childhood: Iron is critical for cognitive development during the first two years of life, and girls may be at particular risk of iron deficiency if scarce iron-rich foods are given mainly to boys.
  • Adolescence: Adolescent girls need access to information and services related to nutrition, reproductive health, family planning, and general health. Programs can reach girls through a variety of avenues, including schools, workplaces, marriage registration systems, and youth-oriented health programs.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnancy is typically the first point after early childhood when women seek out and receive health services. Women should consume daily iron and folate supplements when they are pregnant and for at least three months after childbirth and should receive other micronutrients as needed.
  • The postpartum period: Women require approximately 50% more calories while breastfeeding than they need during pregnancy. Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin A is particularly important for nursing mothers.

Initiatives by the Government: 

  • Pradhanmantri mature vaya Vandana Yojana (PMMVY): under this scheme, the government provides maternity benefits to pregnant and lactating mothers in three installments.
  • POSHAN Abhiyan 1.0 & 2.0 : helps in improving the nutritional status of children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
  • Integrated children development scheme and anganwadis: help in the provision of supplementary nutrition and ration to pregnant and lactating mothers.
  • Food fortification: an initiative to fortify essential nutrients in staple food for access of all the citizens.


It is said that ‘Hunger has a woman’s face’ as in nearly two-thirds of all countries, women face more food insecurity than men. Investing in better nutrition for women is crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of ending all forms of malnutrition.


Q2. Sustainability of Microfinance Self Help Groups in India is challenging. Discuss (10M)


SHG is a self-governed, peer controlled, informal group of people with similar socio-economic backgrounds having a desire to collectively perform a common purpose. The present SHG movement is inspired by the Bangladesh Gramin bank model 


Objectives of the microfinance SHG

Fig : objectives of SHG

 Challenges to sustainability: 

  • Credit Mobilization:
    • A study has shown that about 48% of the members had to borrow from local money lenders, relatives and neighbors because they were getting an inadequate loan from groups.
  • SHGs are run by non-professionals:
    • There is no professionalism within the SHGs. This does not promote the expansion and improvement of the SHGs. This does not allow for the increase of wages of the members and improvement in their living conditions. This also leads to errors in accounting and mismanagement.
  • Exploitation by Strong Members:
    • It is also observed that in the case of many SHGs, strong members try to earn a lion’s share of the profit of the group, by exploiting the ignorance and illiterate members.
  • Too much dependence on government and NGOs:
    • Many SHGs are dependent on the promoter agencies for their survival. In case these agencies withdraw their support, the SHGs are vulnerable to downfall.
  • Lacks up-gradation of skills:
    • Limited awareness with regards to new technologies and they do not have the necessary skills to make use of the same. Furthermore, there is a lack of effective mechanisms.
  • Politicization: Political affiliation and interference has become a serious problem with SHGs.
    • Politicization/ castization of SHG
    • Political parties have created SHGs based on caste -> use them as money distribution agencies during elections
  • Weak Financial Management:
    • It is also found that in certain units the return from the business is not properly invested further in the units, and the funds are diverted for other personal and domestic purposes like marriage, construction of a house etc.
    • Corruption and financial mismanagement allegations between banks and NGO
      • E.g. Srijan scam in Bihar
  • Inadequate Financial Assistance:
    • It is found that in most of the SHGs, the financial assistance provided to them by the agencies concerned is not adequate to meet their actual requirements. The financial authorities are not giving adequate subsidies to meet even the labour cost requirements

Govt steps to promote microfinance SHG 

  • Central government
    • National SHG policy: It provides guidelines for financial support to promote women’s SHG
      • Financial inclusion
      • Institutional arrangement
      • Capacity building
    • Govt is providing training to promote SHG through Mahila Kisan Sashaktikar Pariyojna
  • State government
    • Andhra Pradesh has evolved an institutional mechanism for SHG i.e.
      • Village organization
      • Sub district level organization
      • District level organization
    • NABARD started a microcredit innovation department to support the bank linkage program
    • NABARD is giving loans to RRB and cooperative’s to perform the role of SHPI (Self-help promoting institution)
  • RBI
    • In 2006, RBI issued a circular that SHG can also become a bank correspondent
    • Banks could lend to SHG without asking for the purpose for which the loan is being taken.
    • Giving Loans to SHG come under Priority sector lending
    • Banks should not ask for collateral.
    • Banks would be allowed to lend to unregistered SHGs also


SHGs have the inherent strength to contribute towards rural development and women empowerment. Their limitations need to be addressed in a holistic manner to make them true partners in development



Q3. Discuss the key principles of public service ethics. Examine with examples the major ethical dilemmas which lead to a compromise of such principles in a public servant. 10M


Public servants act as a link between government and the public. They are trustees of the people. In day-to-day administration, they tend to be influenced by political authority and also by the public as well. So To be neutral in such situations, public servants need to follow certain principles.


7 principles of public service that are outlined by the Nolan Committee.



  • Selflessness – Public Servants should not take decisions in the interest of benefiting themselves or family or friends. Their decisions should serve the Public interest, not the private interest.
  • Integrity – Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organizations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.
  • Objectivity – Decision of public servants whether it is of appointment, reward or any punishment that should be based on merit, analysis of facts and evidence.
  • Accountability – Public Servants need to be responsible and accountable for their actions, and decisions to the public and higher authority.
  • Openness – Holders of public service must be as open as possible to their actions and decisions. They also have to submit the reasons for the same.
  • Honesty – Public Servants should declare any private interests relating to their public office and have to take steps to resolve such conflict of interest situations.
  • Leadership – Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.


Major ethical dilemmas that lead to a compromise of principles:

  • Conflict of interest – Certain public employees who intend to seek future employment, act according to government needs and take decisions or actions in favour of them during their tenure.
  • Eg – Post retirement political appointments of bureaucrats and members of the judiciary. This instance raises questions about CJI’s integrity. Canada has laid down a Conflict of Interest and Post Employment Code
  • The conflict between professional ethics and unjustified demand by superiors: As public servants need to abide by a code of conduct, sometimes rules, and regulations by the organization will make a public servant compromise public service values.
  • Example: There are several Supreme Court and high court cases which have revealed how investigations were pursued in order to frame innocent persons or subject them to harassment.
  • Public life vs Private life – Family, friends and benefits either monetary or otherwise influence public servants to indulge in Corruption, nepotism or other unethical practices etc. Thus compromising accountability and objectivity.
  • Eg – IAS officer Pooja Singhal’s involvement in the MGNREGA scam.
  • The ethical dilemma between efficiency and accountability.
  • Political pressure: The study, titled ‘Status of Policing in India Report 2019’ by the NGO Common Cause, and the Lokniti found that 72% of India’s police officers have felt political pressure during probes.


                            Public servants involved in various diverse portfolios in administration, cultivating strong ethical values within them will ensure the upholding of public service principles.