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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.


Topic:  Indian society; Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)

1) Discuss the economic potential of religious tourism in India. (200 Words)



We live in an era where economic growth has fuelled an exponential rise in domestic tourism, with recreational travel now becoming an integral part of the work culture as well as the social norm.

Increased accessibility, improved infrastructure and growing aspirations have seen the industry mature over the years. And tourism has been one of the sectors that has witnessed a complete transformation with the surge of information technology over the last two decades.

However, on-ground infrastructure and service delivery has not been able to keep up pace with rapid innovations in sales and marketing channels, and popular Indian destinations now face stiff competition from their neighbouring Asian counterparts.

Religious tourism stands out in this backdrop. With travel motivations rooted deeply in socio-cultural aesthetics, it has few rivals in terms of product offering.

Also, each destination has a unique significance and characteristic, with a mix of both ‘loyal’ and ‘new’ consumer bases. The paradox here arises from the demand side skew, the large number of seasonal tourists creating resource oversupply and unemployment for most of the year, and unregulated visitor numbers leading to seasonal strain on environmental resources.

Economic potential of religious tourism in India-

Religious tourism is defined as going for a pilgrimage and it may or may not involve an overnight stay.

  • Religious tourism has a big future in India. India is richly endowed with ancient temples and religious festivals. Religions originating in India, be it Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism or Buddhism, have a vibrant culture and spiritual philosophy. Together, they present a viable, alternative way of life as compared to the materialism and confrontation prevalent in the West.
  • There is a revival of religious attitudes not only in India but the world over. The second and third generations of the Indian Diaspora are actively seeking out their roots in religion.
  • Within its distinct segment, religious tourism in India offers a variety to attract different kinds of tourists. In time, it has the potential to become a commercially viable endeavour. To begin with, there are pilgrimages to several world-renowned temples and shrines, such as Tirupati, Golden temple, Vaishno Devi, Ajmer Dargah, Bodhgaya etc.
  • But traveling to temples and seeking the blessings of the gods is only one aspect of religious tourism and an aspect that may not interest many. Foreigners to India are fascinated by the gaiety and pomp that marks religious festivals. These can also be made nodal points for promoting religious tourism in India. Some fairs like the Kumbh at Haridwar and Pushkar camel fair already draw significant tourists, but much more can be done.

Recently a study about religious pilgrimage across the religions were conducted by the Lokniti at the Delhi-based Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). Its main findings were-

A study conducted by Lokniti on Religious attitudes, behaviour and practices in 2015 shows that a significant section of the population in all major religious groups in India reported having undertaken religious tourism over the past two years.

  • The economic impact of pilgrimage tourism can be seen its contribution to a country, the largest contributions to pilgrimage tourism is seen in the many pilgrimage places in India. Many small places economies are highly depend on pilgrimage tourism as evidenced by the significant share of pilgrimage tourism in their total earnings.
  • In 2009, pilgrimage tourism alone contributed 44.5 percent of the total export earnings of Indian tourism. Tourism in India has also provided a substantial contribution to Indian tourism, amounting to 13.7 percent in 2009, taking full advantage of the potential of their natural, pilgrimage tourism resources, countries like India and foreign countries are benefiting from the pilgrimage tourism.
  • The pilgrimage tourism contributes significantly to the creation of employment, both directly and indirectly in 2009, the industry in Indian region provided jobs for about 21% people. Representing an average of 8.9% of total employment.

pilgrimage religion pilgrimage

Way forward-

  • While, in principle, religious tourism in India has immense potential to evolve as a niche segment, there are hurdles to be overcome. The first hurdle is the poor tourism infrastructure in general, and perhaps the even poorer infrastructure of religious centers. Adequate facilities for lodging, boarding and travel will have to be created.
  • What needs to be done is to create nodes near religious centers, where there is already a basic infrastructure present and plan day trips from there. For example, Chennai in South India can be a node for excursions to Madurai, Thanjavur, Trichnapalli and Pondicherry. Madurai is the home of the exquisite Meenakshi Temple, which is regarded as the holiest temple in India by many people.
  • The second aspect that will need to be taken care of will be to provide the tourists with a holistic religious experience. Tourists may not find it worthwhile to come all the way just for a pilgrimage.
  • A packaged trip that offers the different hues of religious tourism will have to be prepared. This would require blending the ritualistic part of the religious tours with informative, cultural and philosophical inputs.
  • Information on the mythological significance of the places of pilgrimage will need to be provided in advance so that tourists are better prepared. Traditional dances, music and theatre related to the religious shrine will have to be built into the itinerary. Discourses on the essence of the religious beliefs, workshops on yoga and ayurvedic practices can add immense value to religious tourism.

Religious tourism in India can provide an experience that cannot be had anywhere in the world. But for it to fructify, the seeds will have to be sown and the saplings will have to be nurtured.


Topic: , Urbanization, their problems and their remedies

2) Rapid urbanisation brings with it enormous challenges. Examine measures initiated by the present union government to address these challenges. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


Urbanization is an integral part of the process of economic growth.  As in most countries, India’s towns and cities make a major contribution to the country’s economy. With less than 1/3 of India’s people, its urban areas generate over 2/3 of the country’s GDP and account for 90% of government revenues.

Urbanization in India has expanded rapidly as increasing numbers of people migrate to towns and cities in search of economic opportunity. Slums now account for 1/4 of all urban housing. In Mumbai, for instance, more than half the population lives in slums, many of which are situated near employment centers in the heart of town, unlike in most other developing countries.

Meeting the needs of India’s soaring urban populations is and will therefore continue to be a strategic policy matter.


  • Planning:
    1. Many urban governments lack a modern planning framework
    2. The multiplicity of local bodies obstructs efficient planning and land use
  • Rigid master plans and restrictive zoning regulations limit the land available for building, constricting cities’ abilities to grow in accordance with changing needs.
  • Housing:
    1. Building regulations that limit urban density – such as floor space indexes – reduce the number of houses available, thereby pushing up property prices
    2. Outdated rent control regulations reduce the number of houses available on rent – a critical option for the poor
  • Poor access to micro finance and mortgage finance limit the ability of low income groups to buy or improve their homes
  1. Policy, planning, and regulation deficiencies lead to a proliferation of slums
  2. Weak finances of urban local bodies and service providers leave them unable to expand the trunk infrastructure that housing developers need to develop new sites.
  • Service delivery:
    1. Most services are delivered by city governments with unclear lines of accountability
    2. There is a strong bias towards adding physical infrastructure rather than providing financially and environmentally sustainable services
  • Service providers are unable to recover operations and maintenance costs and depend on the government for finance
  1. Independent regulatory authorities that set tariffs, decide on subsidies, and enforce service quality are generally absent.
  • Infrastructure:
    1. Most urban bodies do not generate the revenues needed to renew infrastructure, nor do they have the creditworthiness to access capital markets for funds
    2. Urban transport planning needs to be more holistic – there is a focus on moving vehicles rather than meeting the needs of the large numbers of people who walk or ride bicycles in India’s towns and cities.
  • Environment:
    1. The deteriorating urban environment is taking a toll on people’s health and productivity and diminishing their quality of life.
  • Ineffective devolution of powers:
    1. The challenges of urbanisation include a lack of prior and proper planning, the ineffective functioning of civic bodies and the paucity of resources for urban local bodies. In a bid to address these shortcomings, the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments were passed to devolve more powers and the three “Fs” — funds, functions and functionaries. However, this is not happening effectively.

Therefore, the need of the hour is to implement the “New Urban Agenda” by pursuing appropriate policies and addressing the challenges in terms of physical spaces and other issues for urban, peri-urban and rural areas at all levels — international, national and local.


Measures initiated by present government-

The present government has taken multiple steps in the direction to address the challenges of the urbanization in India.  

  • Its flagship schemes like the Smart Cities, AMRUT, Housing for All, HRIDAY and Swachh Bharat are aimed at not only addressing various deficits to provide better urban governance, but also seek to make Indian cities and towns throbbing hubs of growth and sustainable development.
  • A series of reforms through incentives and disincentives have been put in place to achieve these goals. Incentives for universal housing, giving infrastructure status to affordable housing, allowing FDI and providing income tax exemption are among the important measures taken.
  • In a historic declaration, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a reduction in interest — 6.5 per cent subvention for economically weaker sections, 4 per cent for low-income groups and 3 per cent for middle-income groups — because housing is the basic requirement for any sustainable development and a major component of inclusive development.
  • Also, the government is promoting innovative measures like waste-to-energy, waste-to-compost and the reuse of construction and demolition waste as part of sustainable urbanisation.
  • As part of the determined effort to make cities sustainable and livable, the ministries of Urban Development and Housing and Poverty Alleviation have so far approved an investment of over Rs 4 lakh crore for improving urban infrastructure under the new urban missions. This includes Rs 1.38 lakh crore under Smart City Plans for 60 cities, Rs 0.78 lakh crore under AMRUT, Rs 0.68 lakh crore under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), Rs 0.45 lakh crore under new metro projects and Rs 1.04 lakh crore for building affordable houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban).


Unless there is proper planning and various deficits relating to infrastructure, housing, slum up-gradation, employment, education and health in urban areas are addressed on a war footing through public and private participation, there will be utter chaos and cities will become uninhabitable.


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

3) Why did intellectuals in South India oppose imposition of Hindi language during and after freedom struggle? Does it make sense to impose Hindi today? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


The language problem was the most divisive issue in the first twenty y ears of independent India, and it created the apprehension among many that the political and cultural unity of the country was in danger. People love their language; it is an integral part of culture.

Constitutional provisions regarding Hindi-

The constitution provided that Hindi in Devanagari script with international numerals would be India’s official language. English was to continue for use in all official purposes till 1965, when it would be replaced by Hindi. Hindi was to be introduced in a phased manner. After 1965 it would become the sole official language. However, parliament would have the power to provide for the use of English for specified purposes even after 1965. The constitution laid upon the government the duty to promote the spread and development of Hindi and provided for the appointment of a commission and a Joint Parliamentary Committee to review the progress in this respect.

Intellectuals in South India opposed the imposition of Hindi language because-

  • The constitution-makers had hoped that by 1965 the Hindi protagonists would overcome the weaknesses of Hindi, win the confidence of non-Hindi areas, and hold their hand for a longer period till such time they had done so. It was also hoped that with the rapid growth of education Hindi too would spread and resistance to Hindi would gradually weaken and even disappear. But, unfortunately , the spread of education was too slow to make an impact in this respect.
  • Hindi suffered from the lack of social science and scientific writing. In the 1950s, for example, there were hardly any academic journals in Hindi outside the literary field. Instead of developing Hindi as a means of communication in higher education, journalism, and so on, the Hindi leaders were more interested in making it the sole official language.
  • Moreover, the chances of Hindi’s success as an official language were spoilt by the proponents of Hindi themselves. Instead of taking up a gradual, slow and moderate approach to gain acceptance of Hindi by non-Hindi areas and to rely on persuasion, the more fanatical among them preferred imposition of Hindi through government action. Their zeal and enthusiasm tended to provoke a counter-movement.
  • They tried to Sanskritize the language, replacing commonly understood words with newly manufactured, unwieldy and little understood ones in the name of the ‘purity ’ of language, free of alien influences. This made it more and more difficult for non-Hindi speakers (or even Hindi speakers) to understand or learn the new version.
  • The critics of Hindi talked about it being less developed than other languages as a literary language and as a language of science and politics.
  • But their main fear was that Hindi’s adoption as the official language would place non-Hindi areas, especially South India, at a disadvantage in the educational and economic spheres, and particularly in competition for appointments in government and the public sector. Such opponents tended to argue that imposition of Hindi on non-Hindi areas would lead to their economic, political, social and cultural domination by Hindi areas.

Should Hindi be imposed in current scenario?

  • Having one official language in a vast and diverse country like India may help to connect the people from different regions. It may also help in bringing administrative convenience, easiness and coordination. However the imposition of any such language on the non-speakers of it could create the detrimental effect instead of reaping these benefits.
  • It alienates the people and creates divisive conditions among the different regions having their own languages. This defeats the very purpose of implementation of official language. This was seen in the mid-1960s when Hindi protagonists tried to done the same.
  • Even after 50 years of the anti-Hindi protests in South India, the situation has not changed significantly. Though Hindi is spreading in South India, it is nowhere close in creating the sense of belongingness in South Indians. In fact South Indian states have taken more strides in the socio-economic progress than North Indian states without adopting Hindi.
  • Further English is serving them better than any other language with rest of India and more importantly with the world. The South India has emerged as hub of IT services in India on account of closeness to English.
  • In such conditions the need is to make efforts in the direction where the locals in South India learn Hindi voluntarily and without any force from the North India. At the same time as decided in three-language formula, any of the South Indian language should be taught effectively in the North India. When both, the South and North make efforts to bridge the distance, there are chances of better cooperation, improved communication and coming together of people even if single language does not emerge out of it.

Thus even in today’s conditions, the imposition of Hindi will prove detrimental to the socio-economic progress of South Indian states.     


General Studies – 2

Topic:  Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

4) Critically comment on the role of government and civil society in battling sexual crimes against children. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- Sexual violence against children remains a taboo subject in India despite reports of children being raped, molested and trafficked.

Role of Government:

  • Increasing legal awareness: Through raising stringent laws and effective monitoring, the govt plays a major role in this issue. But the law is seldom used because of less awareness.
  • Role of police in enforcing POCSO Act : They should be equipped to handle child abuse cases with zero tolerance and literate them to handle several aspects of the case.
  • Role of Education: Gender equality should be made a part of the school curriculum. Steps to create awareness on gender sensitization starting from school level as stated in Justice Verma Committee report.
  • Use of technology: We have DeITY and IT Act Section 79 for this but a dedicated unit is needed to take down obscure materials online and track down child pornography.

rape of children

Role of Society:
A number of NGO’s like Childline India Foundation, World Vision, Arambh India have played important role in raising awareness on child sexual abuse. But as a whole, the society has a major role to play.

  • Removing the victim-dishonour mindset: Many cases go unreported because of this societal taboo. It’s our duty to remove this mindset, create awareness and support the survivor.
  • Parents responsibilities: 97% of perpetrators are persons they already know. Should educate the children about various aspects of danger and safety measures with open communication and attentive watch.
  • Society-Watch: Active monitoring of repeated sexual offenders in the area.

Thus the effective role of government and society cemented together is much needed to eradicate child sexual abuse.


Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential;

5) Critically analyse impact of big data on governance. (200 Words)


Introduction :- Big data is a term for data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing application software is inadequate to deal with them. Challenges include capturestorageanalysisdata curation, search, sharingtransfervisualizationquerying, updating and information privacy. The term “big data” often refers simply to the use of predictive analyticsuser behavior analytics, or certain other advanced data analytics methods that extract value from data, and seldom to a particular size of data set. “There is little doubt that the quantities of data now available are indeed large, but that’s not the most relevant characteristic of this new data ecosystem.”

global info storage capacity

Almost 90% of the world’s data today was generated during the past two years, with 2.5 quintillion bytes of data added each day. 

The focal point of the concept of the big data can be understood as the consolidation and centralization of public data inputs from various spheres of activities like commercial, consumer based , census , or even Aadhar controlled personal information.

  • Big data with the government is a huge boon for governance .
  • It is basically an enabler;
  • It is more like a facilitator in the process of policy formulation for good governance.
  • Consumer habits can be studied and such policies can be framed which would then be in line with the need of the hour for enhancing consumption expenditure which will would spur the supply of goods and services.
  • Patterns of investment , savings and expenditure can be revisited with changing time and govt can instil such changes in its policies as and when they happen.
  • Security of the state can be further enhanced by access to larger data related to public and it would even improve vigilance capacity of the government.
  • The analysis of vast amounts of data collected from the different devices that we use on a day-to-day basis provides an opportunity to discover hidden secrets and enables us to do predictive analysis and informed decision making across individual, organizational, societal, national and international levels.
  • One of the most critical aspects of Big Data is its impact on how decisions are made and who gets to make them. When data is scarce, expensive to obtain, or not available in digital form, it makes sense to let people with experience make decisions, based on patterns and relationships they have observed and internalized.
  • Leaders state their opinions about what the future holds, what’s going to happen, how well something will work, and so on as per their “intuition”—and then plan accordingly.
  • However, in the age of Big Data, leaders and managers in private organizations and government have to be data-driven. They should have the courage to ignore their intuition and do what data says. This requires a change in mindset and effective training to make data-driven decisions.
  • While businesses have adopted Big Data and analytics in various forms very effectively to personalize offerings, and to improve business efficiency, governments have been laggards. The possible benefits of Big Data analytics in government could range from transforming government programmes and empowering citizens to improving transparency and enabling the participation of all stakeholders.

some issues:

  • Cyber security: recent ransomware attacks have uncovered the vulnerability of even the developed countries towards hacking .
  • Needless to mention the centralization of data in itself is a security issue. and it was done away with under home secretary ship of Theresa may in case of UK in 2010.
  • Validation and verification is yet another issue :- It is said well begun is half done but imagine relying on false figures and facts and then formulating the policies. it would be like injecting more poison into the victim already bitten by the snake so verification must be done meticulously.
  • Big data is like a double edged sword and it will be wise to handle it with utmost care and conscience.


General Studies – 3

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

6) Examine how Geographic information system is playing a huge role in initiatives such as Digital India and Smart Cities Mission. (200 Words)


Introduction :- A geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present spatial or geographic data. The acronym GIS is sometimes used for geographic information science (GIScience) to refer to the academic discipline that studies geographic information systems and is a large domain within the broader academic discipline of geo informatics. What goes beyond a GIS is a spatial data infrastructure, a concept that has no such restrictive boundaries.

In general, the term describes any information system that integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares, and displays geographic information. GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries (user-created searches), analyze spatial information, edit data in maps, and present the results of all these operations. Geographic information science is the science underlying geographic concepts, applications, and systems.

GIS is a broad term that can refer to a number of different technologies, processes, and methods. It is attached to many operations and has many applications related to engineering, planning, management, transport/logistics, insurance, telecommunications, and business. For that reason, GIS and location intelligence applications can be the foundation for many location-enabled services that rely on analysis and visualization.



  • The Digital India initiative is under way with 22 projects on digital infrastructure and on-demand government services.
  • The Smart Cities Mission aims to transform more than 100 cities to become more citizen-friendly and sustainable. With these initiatives, India is becoming a leader in digital transformation.
  • These capabilities are being used across all sectors of the economy, including natural resources, business, transportation, emergency response, health care, and urban planning.
  • In disaster management and the military, threats are being assessed, and advanced planning is helping to minimize impacts. In health care, GIS was instrumental in containing Africa’s Ebola epidemic. Health care workers are also using GIS to track child immunizations, and they are conducting research to ensure that patients receive effective treatment.
  • Cities such as Bhubaneswar and Bhopal have defined and are implementing the smart city vision with GIS at its heart. The key innovation has been in institutionalizing the use of GIS across the city functions and citizen services. Cities use GIS for property taxation, water distribution, smart waste management, public safety, emergency response and management, and in health and education services.

The following are some examples of what some Indian organizations are doing with GIS technology:

  • The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre provides real-time weather information, forecasts, early warnings, and advisories about natural disasters in the state. The organization deployed GIS to aggregate information coming from 6,000 rain gauges and more than 750 weather stations that transmit data every 15 minutes. This solution automated a system that was largely manual, providing a new real-time visualization and alerting system. The time it takes to generate reports decreased from 20 hours to 30 minutes. The web-based system now allows public users to query and view the weather database.
  • The National Dairy Development Board applied GIS to dairy planning across India, bringing together all stakeholders down to the village level. It allowed for the analysis of the entire distribution network to maximize coverage and identify new locations for collection centres to improve milk quality. GIS is shared across marketing, processing, and collection departments to better coordinate operations.
  • Cairn India Ltd, one of the largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies in India, has been using GIS in its exploration division since it began operations. It has since extended GIS use to its land, projects, environment, operations, and security departments. GIS has improved operations in each department and has become critical in the boardroom, where projects can be visualized and analyzed for quick and accurate decision-making.
  • The department of ecology, environment and remote sensing for the state of Jammu and Kashmir has deployed GIS to analyse its healthcare network. The department faced problems connecting patients to basic healthcare facilities in far-flung areas. By using GIS to model the rough terrain and travel times based on available transportation, department staff identified 237 new sites for health care centres. The additional facilities ensure that each patient can reach a centre within 60 minutes.


Topic: Infrastructure; Energy

7) Recently, the union government gave go-ahead to 10 indigenous reactors. Is it a right step? Critically discuss. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- India now has 22 nuclear power units. The government’s go-ahead to 10 indigenous reactors is a timely step towards nuclear energy self-sufficiency. With the United States and French companies unable to deliver the services on time , the time is apt for Indian companied to step in because of the following reasons:

  • Boost make in India: Indigenous nuclear technology will give a major boost to Make In India Initiative.
  • Past experiences: Past experiences have shown that Indian Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) have performed well and have given efficient output.
  • Knowledgeable agencies: Bhabha Atomic research centre and NPCIL are renowned agencies and by focussing on indigenous reactors, India will show trust on its own scientists.
  • It will create 33,400 jobs and add about 7,000 mew capacity and will give boost to schemes like Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, which focuses on 25*7 electricity to rural areas.

Some precautions need to be taken to ensure success of this mission, like,

  • Strict quality control: Quality checks on the whole project would guarantee the success of this project .
  • Conforming to standards: Indian agencies will have to conform to standard protocols to be able to deliver appropriately.
  • Up to the mark material: Good quality material would ensure that everything goes well.
  • Attention to safety: Proper attention has to be given to safety and any breach of safety protocols has to be avoided by means.

Conclusion :- By about 2025 or so, India may itself supply enriched uranium from its own enrichment facilities. The government’s push for 10 IPWRs will secure India a position of nuclear power plant supplier not only for application in India, but also as a potential exporter. While our earlier plans on expanding nuclear power have not materialised, the alternative plan suggested now, which envisages building 28 units with a total capacity of about 25,000 MW in 15 years from now, can still ensure that nuclear power remains an important part of our strategy to minimise carbon emissions in the long run.