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[ Day 28 – 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. Highlighting the issues in India’s electoral system, discuss the reforms needed in the Representation of People’s Act to overcome them. (10M)


India is the largest democracy in the world. Article 326 of Indian constitution provides for universal adult suffrage and India has almost 90 crore registered voters.


While the electoral process is widely regarded as free and fair, and the Electoral Commission is highly independent and has wide powers, serious problems still remain.

Issues in India’s electoral system:

  • Criminalisation of politics: Over the last two decades, the influence of criminals in the political arena has shown a tremendous increase. Earlier these criminal elements used to influence the elections from outside but now they have become a part of the political system by contesting the elections themselves.
    • According to ADR 233 MPs (43%) in the current Lok Sabha are facing criminal charges, also there is an increase of 109% [in 2019] in the number of MPs with declared serious criminal cases since 2009.
  • Money and Muscle power: Candidates spend way above Election Commission (EC) limit of Rs.70 Lakh. Elections have become a costly affair. For instance, ₹300 crores in undocumented cash was netted by EC during the 2014 Lok Sabha election. The high cost of elections creates a high degree of compulsion for corruption in the public arena.
  • Financial transparency in political parties: The anonymous feature under which neither the donor nor the political party is obligated to reveal the source of income in Electoral bond scheme, defeats the fundamental principle of transparency in the electoral system.
  • Non-serious independent candidates: there has been a rise in the participation of non-serious independent candidates in electoral politics of India.
    • Serious candidates float candidates with similar names as their rivals to cut a good portion of the rival votes.
  • Misuse of government machinery: Government machinery is misused by the ruling parties and governments both at the state level and the Union government.
    • It involves using government vehicles for canvassing, advertisements at the cost of the exchequer, disbursements out of the discretionary funds at the disposal of the ministers, and other such means to improve the chances of their candidates winning.
  • Vote buying: that makes only people with money to be more qualified to become a representative over a well-qualified public spirited person.
    • According to ADR out of 533 elected candidates in 17th Lok Sabha (2019) 475 MPs are ‘crorepatis’ (88%) reflecting paradox in India’s electoral system.
  • Paid news: Paid News is the latest serious issue in the Indian electoral system. The manipulation of the media through paid news and other means disrupts the level playing field and circumvents the election expenditure limits.
  • Communalism and Casteism: despite election campaign along caste and communal lines being banned under election rules there have been repeated cases of violation of these rules.
    • The Caste and sectarian politics have engulfed the Indian electoral system creating disharmony in society during election times.

Sanctity and purity of Elections must be protected at any cost, as the future of India depends on it. Following reforms are needed in the Representation of People’s Act(RPA) to overcome the above mentioned issues.

  • Increasing security deposits of candidates: Under RPA, the election commission should be empowered to prescribe the security deposit before every general election to the House of the People as resorting to an amendment of the Act will not be feasible before every general election.
  • To deal with criminalisation of politics: Keeping a person, who is accused of serious criminal charges and where the Court is prima facie satisfied about his involvement in the crime, out of the electoral arena would be a reasonable restriction in greater public interests. There cannot be any grievance on this.
    • However, as a precaution against motivated cases by the ruling party, it may be provided that only those cases which were filed prior to six months before an election alone would lead to disqualification as proposed.
  • Limits on the number of seats one can contest: the law should be amended to provide that a person cannot contest from more than one constituency at a time, or If a person wins from two seats, he should deposit in the government account an appropriate amount of money for the expenditure for holding the bye-election in the constituency he has given up.
  • Opinion and exit polls: There should be a restriction on publishing the results of Opinion Polls and Exit Polls for a specified period during the election process. In many western democracies, there exist such restrictions for various periods.

 More powers to ECI: The ECI sought an amendment to RPA to include specific powers to postpone or countermand polls on the grounds of the use of money power.

  • Transparency: Political parties should implement CIC’s order and be open to public scrutiny under the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
  • Spending restrictions: There should be a ceiling on expenses that can be incurred by political parties during the election period. As of now, there is only a limit on individual expenditure.
  • An amendment should be made to Section 125A of the R.P. Act, 1951 to provide for more stringent punishment for concealing or providing wrong information on Form 26 of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 to minimum of two years imprisonment and removing the alternative punishment of assessing a fine upon the candidate



Maintaining the sanctity of the electoral process requires a multi-pronged approach, including removing criminal elements and moneybags in politics, disposing of poll petitions, and introducing internal democracy and financial transparency in the functioning of the political parties.


Q2. Urban planning is the foundation for an integrated development of cities, citizens, and the environment. In this context, highlight the present issue in urban planning and suggest measures for the augmentation of Urban planning capacity in India. (15M)


Urbanization is intrinsic to development and often serves as a major driver of economic growth. India has witnessed rapid urbanisation in recent years. According to Census 2011, India’s urban population was 37.7 crores, which is projected to grow to about 60 crores by 2030 according to the Economic survey.


The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the dire need for the planning and management of our cities.

Urban planning:

Urban Planning is a professional way of developing urban areas by making physical plans and development regulations. It is a combination of social, economic, environmental, and constructive efforts to make an urban dwelling a good, healthy place to live, work, and to move around.

In India, Urban local bodies or local governments implement urban development strategies. Planning urban development of cities faces a perennial challenge i.e rate of population increase, urban sprawl, etc.


Present issues in urban planning:

  • Infrastructural challenges:
    • Housing: Majority of lower income groups are residing in congested accommodation and many of those are devoid of proper ventilation, lighting, water supply, sewage system, etc.
      • One fourth of Mumbai’s population lives in Slums.
    • Safe drinking water and Sanitation: According to the World Bank, India is losing 5% of GDP annually due to inadequate sanitation and 10% of death is associated due to it.
      • The drainage system is mainly unorganized and it contaminates the drinking water sources.
      • There is also a issue of garbage disposal which poses a serious challenge for urban planners.
    • Health conditions: health condition for the urban poor is more adverse than for rural poor.
      • The situation gets worse for the migrant population as they cannot take any benefit from the government policies.
    • Urban public transport: As people with high incomes are buying more vehicles creating traffic jams, air pollution, time and fuel wastage making the life of poor people more challenging.
  • Environmental issues: are rising simultaneously. The risk is higher in urban areas owing to density and overcrowding.
    • Phenomenon of heat islands.
    • According to NITI Aayog around 21 cities will run out of groundwater very soon affecting the life of 100 million people.
    • Many cities in India have also been facing the problem of urban floods due to poor planning structure. For instance Mumbai, Chennai etc.
  • Urban Poverty: Urban poverty in India is over 25 percent; 81 million people live in urban areas on incomes that are below the poverty line.
  • Institutional issues
    • Lack of institutional clarity: authorities are involved in the planning process at city as well as state level, creating ambiguity about roles and function among officials.
    • Absence of effective decentralisation: despite 73rd Constitutional amendment, constitution most of ULBs have not been allocated urban planning function.
    • Issues in governance: Mayors have limited executive responsibilities and ward councilors are not well qualified for urban planning.
  • Issues in planning process:
    • Lack of participative decision making: Many states have created urban development authorities and metropolitan development authorities instead of giving planning functions to ULBs which are not answerable to citizens directly.
    • Lack of master plans: most states have legal powers to prepare and notify master plans and 65% of the 7,933 urban settlements in India do not have any master plan.
    • Lower private participation: mainly because statutory planning role has been allocated to public sector.
    • Other issues: there is a disconnect between urban land records and urban planning.
  • Human resource issues
    • Lack of specialised professionals: there is a shortage of technically qualified planners for coastal area planning, rural area planning, industrial area planning etc.
    • Limited awareness: there exists limited awareness about the socio-economic benefits about urban planning among administrators, masses and people’s representatives.
    • Substandard capacity building: there is an absence of a capacity building cell in the planning department and also there is a lack of regular training procedures for town planning officials.
      • Limited or no funding for training of professionals, fewer opportunities for them at national and international levels.


Measures for the augmentation of urban planning capacity in India:

  • Long term planning: urban planning should engage in long term planning involving principles of sustainability, disaster risk resilience etc.
  • Preparing master plans: Using GIS platform interoperable base map of the city should be created. There should be a proper mapping of relevant sub sectors of city’s infrastructure.
  • Capacity building: undertake regular capacity building programme by establishing a dedicated cell for town planning also there should be an objective evaluation of the performance of each participant involved in urban planning.
  • Reengineering urban governance: by clearly defining roles and responsibilities of various authorities, extensive adoption of technology for enabling public participation along with standardising job description of urban planners.
  • Reforming laws and regulations: the city should adopt rules and laws according to their needs and as per their context of economic growth.
  • Professional education and standard setting: establishing postgraduate courses in urban and rural planning and policy (with corresponding departments) in all central universities and technical institutions, and teaching the history of human settlements in the Indian subcontinent to all planners.
  • Augmenting human resources in the public sector: town and country planning departments across states have vacancies as high as 42% (of 3,945 sanctioned posts). These posts should be filled with immediate effect.
  • Steps for Enhancing the Role of the Private Sector: concerted measures must be taken at multiple levels to strengthen the role of the private sector to improve the overall planning capacity in the country.
    • These include the adoption of fair processes for procuring technical consultancy services, strengthening project structuring and management skills in the public sector, and empanelment of private sector
  • Other measures :
    • providing incentives to states for preparing sectoral visions based on budgetary allocations and citizen aspirations,
    • constituting metropolitan planning committees and district planning committees, and
    • Enhancing the scope of the Ease of Living Index for 500 cities to ensure healthy competition.



Cities are living ecosystems. They need to be managed accordingly. Rather than going by populist measures or sticking to the original master plans, local solutions, innovative and in situ and tailor-made solutions should be evolved, adapted and adhered to. Authorities need to be willing to learn and evolve.



Q3. Differentiating between Duty and Responsibility, discuss some of the ethical dilemmas Public Servants face while executing their duties. 10M


An ethical dilemma refers to a complex situation where a decision/choice has to be made between two undesirable/desirable options. Ethical dilemmas largely emerge in situations where the conscience of an individual comes into conflict with the stated rule or norm.


Differences between Duty and Responsibility.

Ethical dilemmas Public Servants face while executing their duties.

  • Conflict of interest: It is a situation involving conflict between private interest and public interest when an individual is in a position of power and trust.
  • Example: Arun Jaitley did not handle the Vodafone case because he had a conflict of interest as he was an advisor to Vodafone earlier.


  • Professional ethics vs 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 his/her personal ethical values.
  • Example: Even though CAG finds out gross violation of public money expenditure and brings it to the notice of concerned officials they ask him to go slow. Here he is faced with the dilemmas of whether to call a Press conference and bring it to the notice or keep quiet. Official rules forbid Civil servants from going to the press.
  • Personal values vs values of public administration.
  • Example: A public servant might be against the use of Aadhar because of high regard for the right to privacy, but might have to use it for public distribution systems.
  • Code of conduct vs accepting rewards or gifts for the performance of duty.
  • Example – A Public servant might think that small gifts act as a motivation to perform his/her duty but that is against the code of conduct.
  • Private life vs Public life – When an individual chooses to be part of public service employment, he/she has to subordinate their claims to private life, and family.
  • Conflict in conscience and prevailing political ideology: To what extent should a public servant support the political ideology practiced by the current government.


Public servants need to develop responsibility and public service values. Focusing on these elements helps public servants to resolve various ethical dilemmas.

Case study: 20M

Q4. ABC is a large district bordering the neighboring state. Its development had been neglected for years, but due to the efforts of the present government few industries have opened up in the district and there is good progress overall in the past decade.  Much of the population who were dependent on agriculture, have been moving into other sectors. The district headquarters is at the northern part of the district.  The newly empowered citizenry of other sub-districts are demanding bifurcation of the district with their respective sub-districts as the new headquarters. As elections are due next year the Government wants to settle this issue by creating a new district.

You have worked in that district previously and have been asked by the Government to head a committee for deciding the “sub-districts and headquarters” of the new district. X, Y and Z are the proposed headquarters of the new district. X is the second most populous and developed town in the district, and the place where the bifurcation movement is intense. It has all the characteristics of being the headquarters but it’s at the southernmost tip of the district far from other sub-district centers. Y is between x and z which is underdeveloped but recently many new industries have been set up here, having this as the new district would serve the purpose of bifurcation but the creation of new facilities here would require huge investments which the state government is not ready to fund. Z is the least populous town where the demand for a new district is at its weakest, but due to a PSU which is now defunct, it has all the facilities for hosting the new district administration and it’s almost at equal distances to other sub-districts. Meanwhile, a minister hailing from X has given an open statement about X being the new headquarters. This has led to intense protests from other regions, but the minister has silenced them by persuading the local MLAs of Y and Z. Top leaders now are keen on X being the new headquarters even before your committee’s report is presented. If you report on the Y or Z being the new HQ it would fuel the protests in X again, leading to a loss of life and property.

Given this situation,

  1. What are the principles one needs to follow in an administration? Highlight on the importance of Coordination between all organs of the state.
  2. Which one would you decide as the new headquarters? Justify by giving reasons for the same.



The case study highlights growing regionalism and separatism in India by the people of some regions. A far distance from district headquarters and underdevelopment of the region are some of the reasons behind regionalism and separatism.


  1. Principles need to follow in an administration

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


  • Professional ethics – Here public servants – I, ministers and the state government need to follow professional ethics that encompass actions to make things right. Here all organs must work in a coordinated manner that helps them to avoid selfishness and private gain from making a new district HQ.
  • Accountability – I as head of the committee need to be accountable to the state government and the state government needs to account to the public. It avoids unrest in the district and unnecessary loss of property and life.
  • Objectivity – for me, objectivity ensures free from bias and takes decisive decisions based on facts and evidence which minimizes errors in identifying HQ.
  • Openness – Openness helps me and the state government to open as possible about all our decisions and it enables us to provide reasons for selecting the proper HQ.

The above principles need to be followed by all organs of state to maximize cooperation and coordination between all organs of state.

Importance of coordination:


  • Proper direction: The minister hailing from X has given an open statement about X being the new headquarters. This misdirects people and creates confusion.
  • Facilitates motivation: Top leaders now are keen on X being the new headquarters even before your committee’s report is presented. This hinders the motivation of the committee.
  • Improves relations in the organization: With many declaring X as the new headquarters, any adverse report from the committee will create troubles within the government.
  • Improves goodwill: minister hailing from X has given an open statement about X being the new headquarters. This has led to intense protests from other regions. Thus decreasing the trust in the committee.
  • Optimum utilization of resources: If top leaders were keen on X being the new headquarters, why waste resources by appointing a committee.

Therefore, coordination is important and every organ of the government should work in tandem. Coordination between all organs of state helps to avoid such regionalism issues in the future and the development of underdeveloped regions like Y.


  1. I will prefer X as a new HQ for a new district to be created.


  • Proposing Y and Z as Headquarters will further intensify the situation in the X region, can cause unrest in the region and may lead to the loss of life and property. That can create unnecessary protests and a breakdown of law and order.
  • Earlier Bifurcation movement was intense in the X region and it was weak in other proposed HQ Y and Z. Even that was too silenced by the minister by persuading local MLAs.
  • X Being a developed town, here state need not create new facilities for the administration which will be required in Y if it has been proposed as a new HQ. The further state also shows reluctance to fund any new facilities.
  • Compared to Y and Z regions, X Being the most populous region, creating HQ will be accessible to most people and can attract new industries which further develop the region.
  • Development of Transportation and means of communication to the X region will make the new HQ to be accessible, even to the people of Y and Z regions and will also address the drawback of town X i.e, being at the southernmost tip of the district.
  • Doesn’t delay the implementation of the plan as the proposal will be in line with the decision of the minister and top leaders.
  • Lastly, I will also suggest the government develop both the Y and Z regions by providing incentives to industries and employment opportunities. This will act as a preventive measure against the rise of regionalism in the future.

Many argue that smaller districts lead to better administration and governance. Therefore, in this situation there is a need to focus on development, by putting end to all politics. Protests disrupt the normal functioning of the district administration and lead to further underdevelopment.