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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 20 March 2017


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 20 March 2017

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 : Political philosophies; Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

1) Critically analyse Ambedkar, Gandhi and Nehru’s views on democracy. (200 Words)

The Hindu


U.S. president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) defined democracy as: Government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Democracy is by far the most challenging form of government – both for politicians and for the people.

The term democracy comes from the Greek language and means “rule by the (simple) people”.

In India many great leaders differed on their view about democracy.

Dr Ambedkars :-

  • Dr Ambedkar says: “Democracy is not a form of government, but a form of social organisation.”
  • Dr Ambedkar believed that in democracy revolutionary changes in the economic and social life of the people are brought about without bloodshed. The conditions for that are as follows:

(1) There should not be glaring inequalities in   society, that is, privilege for one class;

(2) The existence of an opposition;

(3) Equality in law and administration;

(4) Observance of constitutional morality;

(5) No tyranny of the majority;

(6) Moral order of society: and

(7) Public conscience.

  • Addressing the Constituent Assembly, he suggested certain devices essential to maintain democracy: “(i) constitutional methods: (ii) not to lay liberties at the feet of a great man: (iii) make a political democracy a social democracy.”
  • Dr Ambedkar firmly believed that political democracy cannot succeed without social and economic democracy.
  • In his talk given on the Voice of America he argued that: “Democracy could not be equated with either republic or parliamentary form of government. The roots of democracy lay not in the form of government, parliamentary or otherwise. A democracy is a model of associated living. The roots of democracy are to be searched in social relationship, in terms of the associated life between the people who form the society.”

However such all round democracy is difficult to achieve specially by a young country India after independence. His thoughts were more idealistic than realistic.

Gandhiji on democracy:-

  • Non-violence: Mahatma Gandhi’s imagination of the democracy -fully encircled with non-violence -exists in no nation of the world as up to now. Democracy of his imagination happens to be one, which does not have any provision of punishment and even an organization like ‘State’ happens to be obsolete in it.
  • Stateless democracy: Gandhi’s ideal is a stateless democracy, in which there is a federation of satyagrahi village communities, functioning on the basis of voluntary cooperation and dignified and peaceful co-existence
  • Village economy: Gandhiji was again highly centralized production and advocate decentralized production. The idea was not to do away entirely with machinery as such, but to prevent the concentration of power in the hand of few rich.
  • Swaraj: Gandhian concept of Self Rule means Swaraj is real democracy, where people’s power rests in the individuals and each one realizes that he or she is the real master of one’s self.

But this version leads to fragmentation of nation and may lead to difficulties in integration. It is difficult to ensure higher growth rates with this model of democracy. Even Dr Ambedkar opposed the ideas of village panchayat.

Nehru on democracy:-

  • Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is not only the first Prime Minister of India but also the main gardener who sowed and flowered the spirit of democracy in a highly diverse country.
  • His ideas of democracy were liberal but classical. He conceptualized democracy in the Western liberal framework where the elections were to be organized in a regular fashion, with participation from all Indians who had full faith on their Constitution and the political institutions.
  • He believed like the Greek thinkers that citizens have a crucial role in governance; hence they need to participate in the democratic system as an energetic individual
  • Pandit Nehru’s democratic ideals had close relations with the amelioration of the problems and low conditions of multitudes of people. He therefore looked upto Fabian Socialism

His views were like a liberal in political sphere but like a socialist in economic sphere. He was champion of democracy and rooted many important values in Indian democratic system however he was not able to sow his economic democratic principles deeply.


TopicHistory of the world will include events from 18th century; Political philosophies

2) “The rise of Turkey’s Erdogan to absolute power is a classic example of the crisis democracies face today.” Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu


President Erdogan’s insatiable hunger for power has made him to use an iron fist to take whatever measure, however corrupt, to manipulate the rules and undermine the basic tenets of democracy depicts that democracy is in the danger. The referendum on 12th April shows the practical manifestation of it.

World is facing challenges to democratic order as many rightist governments are rising to power like Trump in USA. Many things in Erdogan’s reorganization of political system in Turkey indicates democratic crisis as follows:-

  • Authoritarianism:To codify the president’s absolute powers, Erdogan moved to change the president from a primarily ceremonial role to the sole executive head of state.

The President, in this case Mr. Erdogan, would be the head of the government, the state and the ruling party. He will have the powers to appoint cabinet ministers and senior officials without Parliament’s nod.

The post of the Prime Minister, currently the most powerful government position in theory, will be abolished.

He could also appoint more than half the members of the nation’s highest judicial body, dissolve the national assembly and impose a state of emergency.

  • Use of hate and xenophobia instead of development for garnering the popular support : while Erdogan has used the hate towards neighbors calling them fascist and Nazi , USA’s president has utilised the islamophobia to garner the popular support.
  • Suppressing the press(4th pillar of democracy): Erdogan has shown zero tolerance for criticism and has worked to stifle the press. Any media outlet that exposed corruption cases became an ‘enemy of the state.’ same goes with the USA’S current president. Thus the basic tenet of democracy called ‘right to dissent’ is being curbed in so called thriving democracies.
  • Threatens minority: Autocratism bases mostly on majority thought like of religion, race and such myopic ideologies, which threatens ‘others’. Its not a good sign for democratic nations.
  • Using the lacunae in the constitution to owns’ favour: Editing of constitutions to favour the existing elected leaders esp. to increase their tenure. For eg: Russia, Turkey, some African nations. Its like repeated promulgation of ordinances as seen in India.

However such desire by the Turkish president also shows the misgivings of democracy which necessitate his desires rather than citing it as crisis for democracy.

  • Diversified views of democracies many at times dilute the real intent of laws, due to the push and pull factors.
  • The transition administered by Erdogan is gradual and still awaiting people’s assent, which shows democracy prevails before anything.
  • The transition is only from Parliamentary to Presedential, which has its own kind of checks and balances, upholding democracy and thus not a crisis.


Democratic systems are the most appreciated form of governments. Any threat to it should be countered with active support from civil societies and other democratic countries in world.


Topic History of the world will include events from 18th century; Political philosophies

3) Differentiate between civil war and revolution. Examine how civil wars have shaped political philosophies 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. (200 Words)



A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology is a war between organized groups within the same state or country, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly united state. The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region or to change government policies.

A revolution (from the Latin revolutio, “a turn around”) is a fundamental change in political power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time when the population rises up in revolt against the current authorities. Aristotle described two types of political revolution:

  1. Complete change from one constitution to another
  2. Modification of an existing constitution.


  • Civil war was regarded as senseless violence actuated by base motives, the revolution came to be seen as transformative and driven by high ideals.
  • Civilians directly revolt against the government in a revolution, whereas in a civil war factions wage a war against each other
  • Revolution generally results into changes that take place outside the political arena ie cultural, philosophy, economic etc
  • In civil war, the two warring parties are generally equal In power, while in revolution smaller party raises voice against dominant elites
  • A failed revolution is a revolt or civil war but a successful civil war is a revolution.


  1. Enlightenment culminated in the French and American revolutions cum civil-wars, where people raised their opinions against the ‘Dark Age’ dominated by orthodox religious discriminatory laws 
    2. Increase in prominence of philosophy and science 
    3. Led to unification of people across social groups and enhanced the power of the national state
    4. Led to establishing of precedents of democratic institutions as elections, representative government, and constitutions in crude forms

This century was marked by the collapse of the Spanish, Napoleonic, Holy Roman and Mughal empires and emergence of colonial British, Russian, US and German empire

Some of the factors that shaped the political philosophies:-
1. Free market emergence (Adam Smith) :- Due to dominance of few colonial powers and race amongst them, world moved towards globalization, industrialization, and economic integration on a massive scale thus leading to empowerment of middle class (Competition for resources)  which then demanded concepts like laissez faire.
2. Egalitarianism :- Excessive centralism by elites and exploitation via capitalism; racial discrimination (slavery) led to increase in class conflicts via rise of Marxism (Socialism), Utilitarianism and led to demand for independence and fundamental rights Eg Argentine Civil War, American Civil War, Indian Civil War (1857)
3. Quick progress of science via works of Darwin, Tesla, Graham Bell and works of thinkers like Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau led to establishment of modern social values and liberal thinking which provided basis for multiple civil wars against dominant western powers

20th CE:- Disintegration of states
1. Polarization of world after WW-II, led to fighting of groups allied to different power axis Eg  Iran crisis of 1946, Greek Civil war, Korean civil war in 1950 (US-China axis)
2. Spread of both communism and democratic values with more states becoming independent
3. Demand for autonomy by minorities and persecuted communities Eg :- East Europe crises (breaking of USSR), Sudanese Civil War, Ugandan CW, Bangladesh Liberation War, Sri Lankan CW
4. Led to increased accountability with respect to Govt. as people tried to overthrew the corrupt Govt. Eg – First Congo War (1996), Syrian civil war


General Studies – 2

Topic:  Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity

4) The data suggest that the drug abuse problem in Punjab is highest in India. Critically examine its causes. Also comment on the role of political parties in combating drug problem in Punjab. (200 Words)

The Hindu


The Punjab Opioid Dependence Survey, which was conducted between February and April 2015, found that 230,000 people in the state were drug users.



  • Steady supply of drugs from across the border:- Heroin smuggled is in from Afghanistan and Punjab is a part of the transit route for drugs. This fact is evidenced by frequent seizures of illegal drugs by the authorities.The policy of ISI to bleed India into thousand cuts is well established today and drug supply is one of the tool.
  • Unemployment, Youth frustration:-Punjab is becoming victim of its own successes. The riches brought by green revolution are being wasted in some wrong ways. On other hands the youth of Punjab has freaked out onto some wrong means to vent out their frustration. The changing economic situation and the lack of employment opportunities have led to situations of unrest, for instance, in the form of campaigns for reservation in government jobs.
  • Punjabi cultural issues :- Punjabi culture for heavy drinking and partying as well as the habit of landowners supplying raw opium to farm laborers to encourage them to work harder, that has contributed to the problem. Most rural households in the state are thought to have one addict.
  • There is a nexus between Politicians-Religious Deras-Trade cartels. That makes it difficult to destroy
  • History of Khalistan movement- like any other terrorist organizations, even Khalistan relied on illicit trade of drugs for their funding.
  • Administrative fallouts:- There is Lack of proper enforcement of anti-abuse laws by the law enforcement authorities. Also the laxity in rules and regulations inspite of Punjab being a border states is noticeable.
  • Inefficiency of rehabilitation centres:-Some of the rehabilitation centres in Punjab are becoming another centres of spreading the drug menance instead of curbing it.

Ruling Government continues to live in a state of denial, even when the names of many of their top leaders have appeared for running the drug nexus. Other political parties also highlighted the issue with full vigour at the time of recent elections but could not reap the benefits. Some stern measures should be taken and are as follows:-
1)Effective affordable rehabilitation centers, focus on high-prevalence drug groups such as sex workers, transportation workers and street children,
2) Redressal of the unemployment situation.
3) A zero-tolerance policy towards drug cartels, syndicates and peddlers.
4) Try to break the nexus between the Politicians-Religious Deras with Drug traders by involving civil society, local public and enforcement of strict laws.


According to the latest report by the Narcotics Control Bureau, Punjab alone has registered 50 percent of the total drug-related cases in the country. It is acting as a energy drainer on Indian states. If all the stakeholders rise up to combating the problem in a determined manner, a change is certain to take place.


General Studies – 3

Topic: Indian economy – growth and development

5) In your opinion, which measures should government take to increase the size of India’s formal economy? Discuss. (200 Words)


Introduction :-  Sector which encompasses all jobs with normal hours and regular wages, and are recognized as income sources on which income taxes must be paid is formal sector of Economy.

According to NSSO data, there have been more jobs created in the informal sector than the formal and more than 90% of the population  is employed in informal jobs. 

Following steps must be taken by government in order to increase the scope of formal sector:-

  • Financial Inclusion- Access to formal credit, banking facilities and impart financial knowledge. The recent push for promoting digital cashless economy, Scehems such as Jan Dhan Yoajana, Bank Mitras, Lead Bank Scheme, Priority Sector Lending are good steps by the government towards promoting formal economy
  • Improve quality of human capital- Boosting education and skill levels will provide necessary foundation for the formalization of economy. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Mid Day Meal Schemes, SWAYAM, Skill Inida Mission are some good initiatives by the government.
  • Providing robust infrastructure: Improving connectivity through better roads and railways, improving access to cheap electricity would act as an incentive for setting up of formal companies.
  • Labour laws :- In India there are multiple labour laws and many outdated laws. Easy to understand and coherent set of law is necessary to enable formal sector to comply with it. Focus on increasing Ease of Doing business is also important.


According to the Arjun Sengupta committee report 92.4% of the population is engaged in informal sector ,which is a paradox to the inverse relationship between economic growth and informal sector numbers , in Indian economy. Hence enhanced efforts to increase the size of formal sector must be taken.