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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.

General Studies – 1;

Topic: History of the world

1) Why was Germany divided after the Second World War? What factors contributed in its unification in 1990? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


The reunification of Germany in 1990 is one of the most important historical milestones of the European history after 1945. It once again created the strong Germany in the Europe and signaled the end of cold war.

Why Germany got divided after 2nd WW?

  • AFTER its defeat in World War II, Germany was divided into four zones under the control of the United States, Britain, France and the former Soviet Union. The division was initially decide as provisional one. What the Powers desired was an economically united Germany rather than a divided one because the country’s economic recovery was a prerequisite of the revival of postwar Europe.
  • However, the postwar development of Germany turned out to be different from the settlement of the Potsdam Conference (1945). The Powers failed to adhere to what they had decided in the conference and began to pursue their own interest in their occupation zones.
  • Different policies were carried out in the four zones, so economic unity and inter-zonal agreements had never been achieved. The most serious divergence existed in the US zone and the Russian zone, and consequently frictions developed between them.
  • The problem of reparations was the focus of dispute. For the Russians, the extraction of the greatest possible amount of reparations from Germany was of primary importance, so equipment was removed from the German factories and products were seized. For the Western Powers, the economic reconstruction of Germany was given priority.
  • There was also a disagreement on shaping postwar Germany. The former Soviet Union extended the communist economic and political systems towards its sphere of influence. The government, police and factories were dominated by communists. Nationalisation and socialisation went on in full swing.
  • Land was collected and then redistributed to the peasants. Bigger industries and commerce were transferred from the private sectors to state ownership. As a result, the Russian zone developed separately from the Western occupation zones.
  • In the Western zones, a different pattern of polices was carried out. The Allies preferred to stop Germany from posing as a menace to the world order by making it a peaceful member of the international community. The United States hoped for a democratic, pluralistic and capitalistic Germany that could become a market and partner of its trade.
  • After about a year of unpleasant experience, the Americans, British and French realised that they could hardly co-operate with the Russians on the German economic reconstruction and political unification, so they decided to work on their own. The release of the Truman Doctrine in March 1947 ended all the possibility of a US-Soviet co-operation and dashed the hope of German reunification as well. Later that year, one more step was taken to consolidate the unity of a West Germany. Three western nations decided to unify there areas into single block. The merger of the three Western zones was completed by mid-1948.
  • The Russians reacted by introducing the Ostmark in their occupation zone and the whole of Berlin. They also suspended all land and air traffic to Berlin. This was known as the ”Berlin Blockade”.
  • The Western Allies had to carry out massive airlift to provide food and other supplies to the West Berliners. The Russians eventually agreed to put an end to the blockade as it was costing more than it was worth, but the fundamental differences between Russia and the Western Powers on Germany could not be reconciled. The Berlin Blockade accelerated the setting up of a separate government in the Western zones.
  • The Federal German Republic (West Germany) was set up on September 21, 1949. This was followed by the setting up of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) with East Berlin as its capital a month later.

Factors contributing Germany’s unification-

  • Economic crisis in East Germany- East Germany’s economy and infrastructure underwent a swift and near-total collapse. While East Germany was long reckoned as having the most robust economy in the Soviet bloc, the removal of Communist hegemony revealed the ramshackle foundations of that system. The East German mark was worthless outside East Germany for some time before the events of 1989–90, and this further magnified the problem.

At the same time West Germany prospered under the western block. People of the East Germany wanted prosperity like West Germany and naturally got attracted to the idea of unification.

  • Role of Mikhail Gorbachev- In contrast to his predecessors, Gorbachev regarded as necessary to change radically not only the internal economic and political conditions but also the foreign policy of the Soviet Union including the attitude to the East European countries. He gave indications that East European countries had right to make their own policies. It created hopes and aroused the aspirations among both the Germany about the reunification
  • Weakening of hold of USSR-

With weakening of hold of USSR over its satellite states, many states started overthrowing the communist governments. This gave the hope of reunification to the people and governments of both East and West Germany.

  • Role of Helmut Kohl-

The crucial role in the process of the German reunification was played by the West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl who, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, clearly declared his intention to reunify both parts of the divided German state. On 28 October he gave in Bundestag an important speech in which he emphasized necessity of a speedy reunification of both German republics. On 28 November 1989 he presented so-called ten-point plan for German reunification.      Initially, no timetable was proposed. However, events rapidly came to a head in early 1990. First, in March, the Party of Democratic Socialism—the former Socialist Unity Party of Germany—was heavily defeated in East Germany’s first free elections. A grand coalition was formed under Lothar de Maizière, leader of the East German wing of Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union, on a platform of speedy reunification.

The integration of the two states was done also at the economic level. The date of declaration of the monetary union between the GDR and the FRG was set and the union came into effect on 1 July 1990.

On 23 August 1990 the East German parliament adopted at its extraordinary session the reunification of both parts of Germany and on 31 August 1990 the Reunification Treaty was signed by both the groups.


Reunification of Germany was one of the most important events of the 20th century. It gave shape to the wishes of the Germans and healed the wounds of the division. With the unification, Germany regained its glory and changed the course of history forever.


General Studies – 2


Topic:  Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies

2) “Whether an enlightened public figure or an active politician, the next President should be one who enjoys the widest possible acceptability.” Comment why. Also comment which one is more important is selection of the President candidate – contest and consensus. (200 Words)

The Hindu



Presidential elections in India are due in next month and political parties both the ruling and opposition are exploring the options of fielding the right candidates for election. The government is seeking to build consensus over the presidential candidate, opposition parties seem to determine to contest the post with the support of the regional parties.

Why the next President should enjoy widest possible acceptability?

  • Indian President is head of the state. He is integral part of the parliament and symbolizes the federal character of the country. He acts as the Symbol of unity, integrity and solidarity of the nation. Thus a president who enjoys the widest acceptability would make this happen.
  • India is a diverse nation and she needs President who can preserve this diversity and acts as true upholder of the constitution.
  • Though the Indian President does not have constitutional discretions, he/she has the situational discretion. Thus while using his/her situational discretion, President should be impartial and neutral and should not favor any political party over other. The president who enjoys the widest acceptability would be able maintain his/her integrity astutely.
  • Many political parties at the central level have used President as rubber stamp to forward its own agenda. For eg promulgating president’s rule in state ruled by opposition party. The president who enjoys the wide acceptability can resist such authoritarian decisions of the union government by making them to reconsider their decisions.

Contest or Consensus-

  • Indian President is indirectly elected by the both the houses of the parliament and by state legislative assemblies. The contest between different political parties may bring out the best candidate forward.
  • Contest provides level playing field and can even help those opposition parties that have majority governments at state level and in Rajya Sabha to win their candidate. Thus not having majority in Loksabha does not undermines the prospects of opposition parties.
  • However the principle of consensus and cooperation goes one step ahead of the contest. It prevents unnecessary groupings of the political parties at the time when post of President does not have real powers.
  • Further President elected by the consensus of all political parties will not be biased towards any political party and at the same time help government of the day to take rational decisions by giving valuable advices.

Contest gives political parties chance to oppose the government on key issues and check their legitimacy in the election. However, it would be best if someone who inspires confidence that he or she would act in a non-partisan manner is elected with the support of both the ruling party and the major parties in the opposition. It would enable the next incumbent to be the honest broker and wise counsel the Constitution envisions him or her to be.


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

3) Discuss the objectives of the latest Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill, 2017. Also examine how will these objectives work. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


The FRDI is aimed at providing a comprehensive resolution framework to deal with bankruptcy situations in financial sector entities such as banks and insurance companies.

Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill, 2017-

  • The Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance, Bill 2017 when enacted, will pave the way for setting up of the Resolution Corporation. It would lead to repeal or amendment of resolution-related provisions in sectoral Acts as listed in Schedules of the Bill.
  • It will also result in the repealing of the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, 1961 to transfer the deposit insurance powers and responsibilities to the Resolution Corporation. 
  • The Bill aims to strengthen and streamline the current framework of deposit insurance for the benefit of retail depositors.
  • FRDI Bill, 2017 seeks to protect customers of financial service providers in times of financial distress.
  • Further, it seeks to decrease the time and costs involved in resolving distressed financial entities.
  • It also aims to inculcate discipline among financial service providers in the event of financial crises, by limiting the use of public money to bail out distressed entities.

How these objectives will work?

  • The Resolution Corporation would ensure the stability and resilience of the financial system, protecting the consumers of covered obligations up to a reasonable limit and public funds to the extent possible.
  • The proposed Bill complements the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code by providing a resolution framework for the financial sector. Once implemented, this Bill together with the Code will provide a comprehensive resolution framework for the economy. 
  • Once enacted, a resolution corporation will be setup to strengthen the stability and resilience of the entities in the financial sector.
  • The Bill would help in maintaining financial stability in the economy by ensuring adequate preventive measures, while at the same time providing the necessary instruments for dealing with crisis events.


Once the bill is enacted, the effectiveness of the bill depends on how early the RC can identify weak companies in the economy and what steps does it take to ensure minimal loss to exchequer. Overall, its success will protect the customer and improve the investor rating by strengthening the financial system.


General Studies – 3

Topic: Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security;; Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

4) In the light of recent terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere, discuss critically how internet has become a ground for non-state actors to spread new wave of terrorism across world. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Europe in the recent time has witnessed the spate of attacks beginning with the attack in January 2015 on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, followed by a series of major terrorist incidents in Brussels, Paris, Nice, Berlin and Istanbul during the past two years. The most common yet disturbing thing was the use of internet to carry out such deadly attacks.

How internet has become a ground for non-state actors to spread new wave of terrorism across the world?

  • Radicalization via the Internet has attained a whole new dimension. Propaganda via the Internet today involves far more than mere recruitment imperatives, even though elaborate recruitment videos continue to be distributed via the social media, which depict the IS fighters as ‘knights’. All these still remains highly appealing to some frustrated youths.
  • Nevertheless, a far more dangerous aspect today is the arrival of ‘Internet-enabled’ terrorism. This has introduced a far greater degree of indeterminate complexity into an already difficult scenario. The result is that the ‘lone wolf’ is no longer alone.
  • Internet-enabled terror involves violence conceived and guided by “controllers” thousands of miles away. The attacks are masterminded from far, guided via the Internet, and the actual perpetrators of violence act almost like robots.
  • ‘Remote-controlled’ or Internet enabled terrorism is fundamentally different from anything seen previously. Remote controllers choose the target, the actual operative, the ‘nature’ of the attack, and even the weapon to be used. Operating behind a wall of anonymity, this helps obscure the role played by individual members of terrorist groups, who utilize various individuals to carry out attacks and leave no trace.
  • The IS appears to be in the lead in this respect as of now. Other international terrorist organizations are also beginning to resort to ‘remote-plotting’. Such situations will result in little or no dependence on the maintenance of safe havens for the plotters, since the plotters are anonymous.
  • Visa restrictions and airport security, including perimeter security of the installations to be targeted, would again mean little to attackers, since they will strike where they live, and will no longer have to travel abroad or long distances for both training and action.
  • We are nearing to the world of ‘cyber-planners’, who will be responsible for planning terror attacks, identifying recruits, assess possible opportunities, act as “virtual coachers”, and provide guidance and encouragement throughout the process. These elements could be involved in every single planning stage of an operation, including where to obtain weapons that will be needed for use. All the while, the ‘cyber planners’ and ‘cyber controllers’ would be able to maintain almost total anonymity.


The Internet has thus become a dangerous ‘plaything’ in the hands of the many of the new-era terror outfits. Some like the IS are said to be also preparing to use the ‘deep web’ and the ‘dark net’. The ‘dark net’, in particular, could become a vicious instrument in the hands of terrorist groups such as the IS.


Topic:  Economics of animal rearing

5) Examine the economic impact of the recent decision of the Ministry of Environment prohibiting trade of cattle and other animals meant for slaughter. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- he recent decision of the Ministry of Environment prohibiting trade of cattle and other animals meant for slaughter is baffling. This is sought to be accomplished by issuing a notification under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules 2017 (‘Rules’).

Cattle under the new Rules include bulls, bullocks, buffaloes, cows, heifers, steers, calves and camel. Apart from a written declaration that cattle will not be sold for slaughter, an undertaking will have to be given to market committees that cattle will be sold for agricultural purposes and not for slaughter. Under the Rules, records of such sales will have to be preserved for six months. Given this, the grievance of the States that the Union is seeking to interfere in areas within their exclusive domain is justified, despite a facile clarification by the Finance Minister.


  • The government is not unaware of the adverse consequences of the notification on livelihoods of the more than 22 lakh people employed in the meat industry.
  • Farmers too would suffer. Maintenance of uneconomic cattle costs a farmer Rs. 40,000 a year, a huge cost for small farmers to pay.
  • Of the overall meat production, cattle are a bare 5%, buffalo 23% and poultry 46%. After the new definition of cattle, 28% of the meat trade will be affected.
  • In 2014, India toppled Brazil and became the highest beef exporter globally with a volume of $4 billion.
  • The leather industry too will be badly hit. Meat exports fell by 13% during April-December 2016. The worst is yet to come.
  • Hides and bones of slaughtered cattle are used not just in the leather industry but also in the manufacture of soaps, toothpastes, buttons, paint brushes, surgical stitches, pharmaceutical products and musical instruments. India’s leather industry accounts for around more than 12% of the world’s leather production of hides and skins.
  • India also accounts for 9% of the world’s footwear production. If cattle are not slaughtered, they would need to be protected and cared for.
  • This will, in turn, impose an unprecedented burden of Rs. 3000 a month on owners, apart from massive adverse economic consequences.
  • What is under threat is the ‘mixed crop-livestock farming’ system. Livestock supplement farm incomes by providing employment, draught animals and manure (Economic Survey: 2015-2016). The state itself slaughters the highest number of buffaloes (6.2 million). With the new Rules, none of them can be bought from the market.

Conclusion :-

Hence government should reconsider the ban and regulation rather than outright ban should be the way out.


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

6) According to recent reports, China has combined satellite technology and the elusiveness of quantum mechanics to demonstrate how secret information can be transmitted over a thousand kilometres. What is quantum mechanics? How is it being used by China to transmit secret information to long distances? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Quantum mechanics (QM; also known as quantum physics or quantum theory), including quantum field theory, is a branch of physics which is the fundamental theory of nature at small scales and low energy levels of atoms and subatomic particles. Classical physics, the physics existing before quantum mechanics, derives from quantum mechanics as an approximation valid only at large (macroscopic) scales. Quantum mechanics differs from classical physics in that energy, momentum and other quantities are often restricted to discrete values (quantization), objects have characteristics of both particles and waves (wave-particle duality), and there are limits to the precision with which quantities can be known (uncertainty principle).

  • China — as a study in the journal Science reports — has combined satellite technology and the elusiveness of quantum mechanics to demonstrate how secret information can be transmitted over a thousand kilometres — a tenfold increase over what has so far been achieved — with the guarantee that any unauthorised attempt to decipher it would be immediately discernible.
  • Pairs of photons share their quantum properties no matter how long they are separated or how far they have travelled. These can even be created in a laboratory and are called entangled photons. Modern, electronic secrecy works by two parties encrypting the messages they want to exchange and sending each other ‘keys’ (which are chains of numbers) that can be used to decrypt the information. The trouble is that a third eavesdropper can intercept these keys. An “un-crackable” system would be one where both parties know if an intruder is trying to pry out information from the keys.
  • Enter the entangled photons of QM. Connected just like the ends of a see-saw, in that one going up necessarily means the other is going down, and using such photons to forge a key would mean that any change in their state indicates that someone’s been trying to manipulate them.
  • While this principle has been understood fairly well since the 1980s, it has been hard to transmit entangled photons through the atmosphere because they are extremely fragile and can disintegrate through contact with other particles in the air. Until last week the world record was a transmission of a few hundred kilometres.

China’s Efforts :-

  • The Chinese set-up transferred entangled photons through a satellite, called Micius, between two ground stations that were 1,200 km apart. 
  • The researchers shot a laser beam into a light-altering crystal in the satellite. The crystal emitted pairs of photons entangled so that their polarisation states (or how they are oriented in space) would be opposite when one was measured.
  • The pairs were split, with photons sent to separate receiving stations in Delingha and Lijiang, which are telescopes on mountains, 1,200 km apart. Both stations are in the high mountains of Tibet, reducing the amount of air the fragile photons had to traverse.
  • This team then simultaneously measured more than 1,000 photon pairs. They found the photons had opposite polarisations far more often than would be expected by chance.

China has made breakthrough in using this technology for secure communications. It has launched a satellite dedicated for its study.

  • Encryption : Encryption involves the encrypted message and a key, the receiver needs the key to de-crypt the encrypted message. A ground station beams a laser light encoded with the key to the satellite. Satellite will split the beam into entangled photons and beam them to different places(one to receiver and one to sender). 
  • Tackling Eavesdropper : If a eavesdropper intercepts the photon he changes it’s property and the entangled photon’s property. This would flag the receiver to stop them from sending in the encrypted message.
  • Applications : This could be utilized for secure military, administrative communications and secure financial transactions.

Though the technology still in its infancy, this is quite an achievement by the Chinese.