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General Studies – 1;

Topic:  World history; Political philosophies

1) What are the dangers of hyper-nationalism? Discuss from the experiences in modern world history. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Hyper-nationalism is defined as having extreme pride for one’s country, its people, culture and values. Hyper nationalism tends to see their nation as the greatest of all and may have attitude of inferiority towards the other people and nations. The most important objective of Hyper-nationalists is to uphold the greatness of their country at any cost.

Dangers of Hyper-nationalism-

  • It allows the government to control the country on the premise of national pride. Nationalism has been used for centuries as a propaganda tool to manipulate people into buying into the governments agenda.
  • Hyper-nationalism does not allow critical engagement in any sphere of life. It projects anything critical of the ruling party as anti-national. It operates hand in glove with casteism and religious fundamentalism. This attitude keeps little room for the improvement in the governance of the country. This also restricts the reformative scope of the government.
  • Hyper nationalism follows ‘One size fits all’ and ‘Top-down’ approaches and also possesses the authoritarian attitude in its governance.
  • It discourages the international relations of a nation. Nationalism creates xenophobes. It creates the idea that outsiders are not to be trusted.
  • Hyper nationalism also breeds the racism. Hyper nationalists think they are of pure blood and the main contributor towards the progress of their nation. Minorities tend to be treated with contempt and discriminatory attitude.
  • Hyper-nationalism helps to keep the nation perpetually in conflict, with everyone at war with the other.  The three main groups are those who believe in the supremacy of their nation are on the far right, those who have all inclusive and democratic attitude are on the central side and those who want treatment of equality and positive discrimination for historically discriminated on the far left.
  • Hyper nationalism has also waged many wars and battles with the other countries thereby disturbing the global peace in the history to establish their dominance over others.

Experiences from the modern world history-

  • The Hyper or extreme form of nationalism was strongly witnessed in Europe during the first half of 20th
  • First decade of 20th C witnessed extreme nationalism in Balkan region, Austria, Russia, Germany etc which led to the precipitation of 1st WW in 1914.
  • The most evident example was Nazism in Germany and Fascism in Italy led by Adolf Hitler and Bennito Musolini respectively. This Hyper nationalism in Germany had a racist angle towards the non-Germans. Millions of Jews were wiped out through systematic government-led genocide.
  • The Hyper nationalist tendencies were also visible in America in 19th and 20th It had racial dimension and was directed against the blacks. Martin Luther King Jr had to wage Civil rights movement in mid 1950s to assert the rights of the black people. Even as late as 2013, the movement named ‘Black lives Matters’ was organized to protest against the systematic discrimination against the blacks by state-led police forces in USA.  


Government is the main instrument through which hyper nationalism is systematized and institutionalized. Thus it is the chief responsibility of government to check the hyper nationalist tendencies of the citizens and to desist from giving any patronage to it.


Topic: Role of women; Social empowerment

2) Examine how the role of women is changing in Afghan society. In your opinion, in societies like Afghanistan, what factors would help in meaningful empowerment of women? Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Women in Afghanistan have been silent, yet vulnerable victims of civil wars and violent conflicts for years. Since the military coups of 1973 and 1978 that brought political instability and after the fall of the Soviet regime back in 1989, women have been excluded from society and merely deprived from all rights. Their status became non-existent and their role as citizens made little sense in a society largely made for and by men. In the light of the past few years, and the multiple efforts by the international community to bring peace to Afghanistan, the condition of women is changing for a good.

How the role of women is changing in Afghan Society?

  • Since the formation of government of Hameed Karzai and currently under the Ashraf Ghani efforts are being taken to encourage the women to work in Public life.
  • The educational opportunities are fairly available for women in Afghanistan and more and more women are being pursuing higher education in major cities of Afghanistan.
  • Large number of women are taking jobs as teachers, medical doctors and nurses and government servants.
  • Women are also exploring the hitherto male dominated professions like Journalism, Law and Civil services.

However, women in Afghanistan’s professional world is still a revolution in the making. Culturally speaking, for many Afghans the idea of women owning businesses and working outside of their homes is still suspect. Furthermore, not all Afghan women who own and operate their own businesses yet control their profits, as this role is sometimes usurped by their husbands or other male family members. For other Afghan women, daring to begin a new business can still be a life-endangering act.

Measures to be followed for meaningful empowerment of Women in Afghanistan-

  • Prioritizing women’s inclusion at every stage of planning for reintegration and reconciliation.
  • Prioritizing women’s inclusion in decision making bodies.
  • Ensuring that women who participate in decision making bodies and the peace jirga are representative of women civil society activists
  • Ensuring that the government of Afghanistan offers guarantees of women’s constitutional rights, including basic freedoms such as access to education, right to work, access to health, access to justice, freedom of speech and freedom of movement.
  • Ensuring that a proportion of the financial incentives to communities to support reintegration should be used to support women’s empowerment and development.
  • Ensuring that mechanisms are in place to protect the rights of women and girls in reintegration and reconciliation plans through rigorous monitoring and mechanisms of redress.
  • Devoting a significant proportion of international donor assistance (including funds going through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund) to women’s needs in the areas of reconstruction, rule of law, and access to formal justice.
  • By ensuring that all girl children get formal education till the graduation with the aid and efforts of government.
  • By reserving at least 25% of the seats at national and provincial level legislature for women.
  • Government should ensure that those who attack women working in public places do not go unpunished.
  • Further government shouldvigorously investigate and prosecute all crimes of violence against women, including sexual violence.
  • Government should support programs of gender awareness for men at all levels public life to discourage discrimination and an atmosphere of hostility and intimidation for women.


To establish and sustain the new Afghan economy, it is imperative that Afghan government makes whole-hearted efforts to increase women’s participation in all spheres of public life. Those women who have dared to break traditional norms and have singularly achieved spectacles in public life should be rewarded and be made as examples for other to follow.


General Studies – 2

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

3) How does Aadhaar empower people? It is also argued that the state, rather than Aadhaar empowers people. Do you agree? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


The statutory recognition given to Aadhaar has raised debate whether Aadhaar empowers people or it empowers state. The debate encompasses various dimensions of privacy, rights and entitlements.

How does Aadhaar empower people?

  • It establishes people’s identity through unique identification number. This also helps state to eliminate ghost beneficiaries while awarding entitlements.
  • The identity is used by people to receive entitlements of welfare schemes from government.
  • People can exercise their rights without fear of being excluded or having their rights taken away.
  • People can use Aadhaar to open bank accounts, avail of doorstep banking, make digital payments etc
  • Indian residents can receive benefits under the PDS, MGNREGA, Ujjwala and the LPG subsidy, pensions, and scholarship schemes directly from the government without middlemen usurping them.

Whether Aadhaar empowers state vis-à-vis people?

Critics of Aadhaar are of the view that it empowers state more than the citizens and benefits to citizens are not in proportion to the claims made by government.

  • According to them just having Aadhaar card does not enables inclusion as people need to qualify other eligibility criteria of particular program as well. They also point out that Aadhaar cannot reduce quantity fraud in PDS. Also large numbers of needy people are excluded from receiving welfare scheme benefits just because of not having Aadhaar number.
  • At the same time, critics argue, that state is acquiring uncontrollable authority over people through the Aadhaar Database. Government went ahead to make law on Aadhaar despite Supreme Court’s reservations on making Aadhaar mandatory.
  • Through Aadhaar act, government has made it mandatory for every resident of India to have Aadhaar number for receiving any entitlement from government. At the same time government can use the stored database without the consent of people in cases where government dims fit. Further government is yet to secure Aadhaar database through strong cyber infrastructure measures.

Thus it is said that state is getting more empowered than people through Aadhaar statute and this would not be in the interest of the welfare of the people as a whole.


While the debate would continue till the actual functioning and outcome of making Aadhaar mandatory, the debate itself is necessary for the full-proof and effective implementation of the Aadhaar statute. The government should provide due attention to the criticism of the Aadhaar and should make necessary changes where they are useful.


Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

4) How is the approach of US government towards key issues changing dynamics of diplomacy around the world? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


The present US government under the new President Donald Trump has convincingly shifted American policy on key global issues from his predecessor. This shift could cause far reaching effects on various countries, international institutions and key global agreements.

Changing dynamics of diplomacy around the world-

  • Global efforts to arrest Climate change-

Recently US president Donald Trump withdrew America from the Paris agreement on climate change. This could seriously hamper the efforts to arrest the climate change and to mitigate its ill effects. The withdrawal of USA would adversely affect the funding towards this cause and other nations may have to bear the more cost. 

  • Multilateralism-

The president Trump has also withdrawn USA from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), thereby giving indication of America’s walk away from multilateral agreements. This could affect the global trade negatively and making trading opportunities more difficult for nations around the world.

  • Isolationism-

President Donald Trump has challenged the key principles of NATO and has asked NATO members and other countries like Japan to bear the cost of their protection. This has made European and other countries dependent on the US security anxious and insecure. USA risks losing its influence from these countries. Japan is even considering amendment to its art 9 which prevents it from having full-fledged armed forces.

  • Immigration

President Trump has pledged to revive glory of America through the strict immigration policy and putting America’s interests above everything. The countries like Mexico, India, China and west Asian nations would be affected by such policy. The global talent may shift to some other country or region like Canada, Australia or Europe. This has could strain America’s relation with these countries.

  • Terrorism

President Trump has launched crusader against the terrorism in all forms and in all countries. The president has also acknowledged the role of states in sponsoring terrorism eg In Pakistan. Countries like India, Japan and European nations have supported his stance and there could be collective global efforts to fight terrorism.

  • Anti-China attitude-

The present American government is wary of China’s rapid rise and considers it as challenge to their global supremacy. China’s aggressive attitude in South China Sea, establishment of new financial institutions like AIIB, and most importantly projects like ‘One Belt One Road’ etc have made USA susceptible of China’s aspirations. This has also made America to come closer to India and Japan in the region.

  • New groupings-

America’s persistent anti-Asad stance in Syria, its involvement in Afghanistan and anti-China attitude has helped to forge strong friendship between Russia and China. Further alienation of Pakistan could help to form Beijing-Moscow-Islamabad axis which would disturb the regional and global peace.


The approach of present American government could shift the global balance in favor of Russia and China and could change America’s policy continued after the 2nd WW. India needs to adapt to the new situation and work towards securing its own interests.


General Studies – 3

Topic:   Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

5) Recently, pharmacies across the country went on a one-day strike this week to highlight their concerns about the threat from e-pharmacies. Discuss how e-pharmacies impact various stakeholders. Comment if concerns about e-pharmacies are well founded. (200 Words)

The Hindu


The recent one-day strike by pharmacists against the e-pharmacies across the India shows the rise of new model business in medicinal market and also the lack of clear regulations on the part of government.

How e-pharmacies would impact the various stakeholders?   


  • Positives-
  1. Consumers will have more options to choose from while buying medicines. They can resist the monopoly of existing retail pharmacies.
  2. The consumers could get the best medicines at cheap prices by comparing medicines at different pharmacies online.
  3. The rich and accessibility of medicinal distribution would rise with the home delivery of the medicines.
  • Negatives-
  1. Lack of digital literacy and awareness about the functioning of e-pharmacies could make consumers susceptible to mal-practices of the online retailers.

Brick and Mortar pharmacies-

  • Their monopoly over the drug distribution would be broken with intense competition from the rise of online pharma-retailers.
  • E-pharmacies could also encourage traditional pharmacies to find out innovative practices to attract the consumers.


  • Government needs to bring out clear rules and guidelines to regulate the online sell of drugs.
  • Government should not bow down before the coercive tactics of traditional pharmacies for asking government to blindly ban e-pharmacies.
  • Government needs to chalk out plan for creating level playing field for both Brick and mortar pharmacies and online drug retailers.

Are concerns about E-pharmacies well-founded?

Risks associated with e-pharmacies, especially when it comes to the dispensation of prescription drugs without the necessary checks should be taken seriously by regulating authorities. Considering high illiteracy and particularly that of digital illiteracy makes it imperative for the government to take measures avert any malpractices by the online retailers.

At the same time apprehensions created by traditional retailers about the e-pharmacies are over-hyped and are related to the business. The government cannot turn blind eye to the developments in the digital world. Thus government needs to find right balance of policies where both traditional retailers and online retailers are equally placed and have equal business opportunities.


Topic:  Indian economy – growth and development

6) Non-performing assets, restructured loans and written-off assets — collectively called ‘stressed assets’ — have become a major challenge to the country’s banking system. To combat these, what has government done? Will these measures be effective? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


The stockpile of bad loans has had several ill-effects on the economy at large. With 16.6 per cent of their loan book tied up in stressed assets (bad and doubtful loans), banks have been fighting shy of new lending. This is constraining new investments in projects that can power the economy. Even if the Government were to infuse fresh capital into public sector banks, there’s worry that this may go to write off older bad loans rather than kick-start lending.

Public sector banks, which hold over 70 per cent of all deposits, are the worst hit by the bad loan problem. For some of these banks, the provisions for bad loans have already overtaken operating profits, leaving them short of capital to sustain operations.

Steps taken by government-

  • The Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993
  • The Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002

The Act has empowered Banks / Financial Institutions to recover their non-performing assets without the intervention of the Court, through acquiring and disposing of the secured assets in NPA accounts with outstanding amount of Rs. 1 lakh and above. The banks have to first issue a notice. Then, on the borrower’s failure to repay, they can:

  1. Take possession of security and/or
  2. Take over the management of the borrowing concern.
  • Appoint a person to manage the concern.
  • Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions (DRT) Act:

The Act provided for setting up of Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) and Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunals (DRATs) for expeditious and exclusive disposal of suits filed by banks / FIs for recovery of their dues in NPA accounts with outstanding amount of Rs. 10 lac and above.  Government has, so far, set up 33 DRTs and 5 DRATs all over the country.

  • Lok Adalats: 

Section 89 of the Civil Procedure Code provides resolution of disputes through ADR methods such as Arbitration, Conciliation, Lok Adalats and Mediation. Lok Adalat mechanism offers expeditious, in-expensive and mutually acceptable way of settlement of disputes.
Government has advised the public sector banks to utilize this mechanism to its fullest potential for recovery in Non-performing Assets (NPAs) cases.  

  • Further, the enactment of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016 has opened up new possibilities for time-bound resolution of issues related to stressed assets. The IBC was enacted to consolidate and amend the laws relating to re-organization and insolvency of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time-bound manner for maximization of the value of assets in order to promote entrepreneurship, availability of credit and balance of interest of stakeholders.
  • Central government also created a specialized body called Public Sector Asset Rehabilitation Agency or PARA which is an independent entity that will identify the largest and most vexatious NPA accounts held by banks, and then buy these out from them. By consolidating problem accounts across banks, the PARA is expected to solve two problems. One, it can effect speedier settlements with borrowers by cutting out individual banks. Two, as a single large lender, it can drive a better bargain with borrowers and take more stringent enforcement action against them. 
  • Recently government promulgated Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 to fight the menace of stressed asset.
    1. The ordinance enables the Union government to authorise the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to direct banking companies to resolve the issues related to specific stressed assets, by initiating insolvency resolution process wherever required.
    2. The government has introduced two new provisions — Sections 35A and 35AB, under Section 35A of the Banking Regulation of Act of 1949 through which banking companies can initiate insolvency proceedings.
  • The RBI has also been empowered to issue other directions for resolution, and appoint or approve for appointment, authorities or committees to advise banking companies for stressed asset resolution.

Will these measures be effective?

However just enacting laws, creating new institutions and formulating policies themselves do not ensure its success. It needs strong political and administrative will to take on the banking problems like NPAs both on the part of banks and government.

The effectiveness of these steps would be primarily dependent on following things-

  • Time bound recovery: These measures would be effective only if they are able to recover loans in a time bound manner.
  • Deterministic approach: The government needs to be deterministic in its plans to implement these policies to really clear off the bad loan problem.
  • Denouncing populist approach- Central government which is owner of the public sector banks need to denounce its populist measures like making banks to give loan to corporate sector which had provided them funding.

Thus strong political will and wiser banking policies would help to reduce the problems of stressed asset in India.


The government has finally recognised that stressed assets “have reached unacceptably high levels”. And with the current ordinance, the RBI is in a stronger position to find a permanent solution to India’s NPA crisis.