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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: Colonialism

1) Countries colonised by Europe’s imperial powers had vastly divergent economic fates after the end of colonial rule. Some prospered into extraordinarily rich economies, while others made very little progress. Examine the causes of this divergent economic fates of colonies. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- The idea of colonial hegemony propagated for the better part of 18th,19th and the 20th century. The resources being drawn out from the colony were responsible for fuelling and sustaining Industrial revolution of the 19th century. 
As the colonialism ebbed to it’s nadir in the second half of the 20th century, certain fissures began emerging amongst various colonies. Some proposed to great heights, some undertook growth at a mediocre pace and a few others developed at the snail pace. There were various reasons for these differences. Some of them are-

  • Quality of institutions – The quality of institutions developed and put in place by the colonial masters was one of the major factors. In places where the institutions were long lasting, like in Spain, they propelled after colonial growth of the economy. At other places, where institution were only of make shift type and meant for quick 
    plunder, like in Nigeria, these institutions itself became a burden on the overall system.
  • Ratio of European population to the Total population – The colonies where the European population was significant as compared to indigenous population, those colonies were favoured by the inflow of technology and modern ideas which helped them shape up their ” after-colonial ” economy. The best example is of America where Colonial masters drove away the indigenous American Indian population.
  • Climatology of the colony – The European Masters made home to the places where climate was favourable to the them. Hence, these colonies prospered (consider temperate climate in USA). On the other hand, in the tropical countries, the Europeans didn’t settle due to the unfavourable climate and plundered these colonies in quick time, drying them of their resources. For eg. The Asian tigers.
  • Democratic system – India where British introduced democracy prevailed later and allowed for people’s will to guide the development.
  • Different attitude towards decolonization – Where British invested a lot in the infrastructure like Railway , educational institute leading to better growth in later years. On other hand, Belgium barely invested anything in Congo leaving it bare.
  • Divide and Rule – African division on the straight lines partitioned several countries into numerable warring tribes leading to civil war in several African countries.
  • Some countries like Zimbabwe witnessed rapid growth in initial years because of increased White settlement and their control over key land and industrial resources. But this growth was not widely shared among mass population and later control by native population put their growth rate on backfoot.
  • International cooperation – British strategy of cooperating with its colonies through commonwealth further guided the development and helped colonies to secure a status in the international forums leading to better developments.
  • Fight back by the countries like Egypt to control critical asset of Suez canal led to enormous increase in their revenue thus better spending on healthcare and education.
  • Nature of leadership- Military leadership proved to be a bane. Benevolent dictatorship worked well in Malaysia . Populist leadership worked well to mitigate colonial wounds but was unsustainable in the long term.
  • Variation of resources and geographical conditions- The variation in the distribution of resources also played a role in progress as in the early USA. Geographical features hindered growth as in African nations and in some regions of India. Location and coastline benefitted the Asian tigers. But some countries like Australia rose above such barriers.
  • Human resource- Some nations developed to manufacturing hubs due to cheap labour. nations where people had a more progressive mindset became technologically advanced. Countries like India and Pakistan where people were not very open to change faced hurdles in keeping up with the pace of other countries.


General Studies – 2


Topic:   Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure

2) Critically analyse observations made by the Supreme Court in the Binoy Viswam v. Union of India case. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :-  The Binoy Viswam vs. Union Of India case has given verdict as follows :-

In these three writ petitions filed by the petitioners, who claim themselves to be pubic spirited  persons, challenge is laid to the constitutional validity of Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act’), which provision has been inserted by the amendment to the said Act vide Finance Act, 2017. Section 139AA of the Act reads as under:

“Quoting of Aadhaar number. – (1) Every person who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar number shall, on or after the 1st day of July, 2017, quote Aadhaar number–

(i) in the application form for allotment of permanent account number;
(ii) in the return of income: Provided that where the person does not possess the Aadhaar Number, the Enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form issued to him at the time of enrolment shall be quoted in the application for permanent account number or, as the case may be, in the return of income furnished by him.

(2) Every person who has been allotted permanent account number as on the 1st day of July, 2017, and who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar number, shall intimate his Aadhaar number to such authority in such form and manner as may be prescribed, on or before a date to be notified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette: Provided that in case of failure to intimate the Aadhaar number, the permanent account number allotted to the person shall be deemed to be invalid and the other provisions of this Act shall apply, as if the person had not  applied for allotment of permanent account number.


  • The petitioners before the court had argued that the provision, which makes it obligatory on individuals filing income tax returns to link their permanent account numbers (PAN) to their Aadhaar, was unconstitutional as it, among other things, infringed a number of fundamental rights.
  • By making it mandatory, ‘Right to equality’ (Article 14) will be affected as the ‘State’ will discriminate between haves and have nots (in terms of AADHAAR) on the basis of providing services.
  • Along with the above it will choke the ‘right to choice’ which comes under the ‘Right to freedom’ (article 19).
  • The Supreme Court essentially stuck to judicial restraint in this case. The court underlined the fact that it will not question the intelligence of the legislature to frame laws, unless the law clearly violated any fundamental right or went against the spirit of the constitution.
  • An underlying implication is that the court doesn’t recognize Right of Privacy to be violated in this court. It held that the government has the right to take the essentials for Aadhar, if the scheme was for the common good for the larger population.
  • In the hearing the court however, didn’t question the feasibility of Aadhar and PAN linkage in curbing Tax leaks or Black money. Nor did it entertain the fact that it violated right against discrimination where the tax filer has to part from their privacy and the non tax filers does not.

Conclusion :- The supreme court’s verdict has created a space for the government to link more schemes to Aadhaar. The Aadhaar is a positive change and will help plug many issues currently in the public systems but it must be done smoothly without unnecessarily harassing the common man. While assisting the government in curbing tax evasion can be described a positive step, judiciary should ensure that proposed legislation meets the dictum of law and justice completely.


Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

3) Why is upcoming visit by the Indian Prime Minister to the US is dubbed as his most difficult foreign trip during his tenure? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Introduction :- Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on the most hazardous journey of his political-diplomatic life towards the end of June for his maiden encounter with U.S. President Donald Trump. The sweet bonhomie between India and US meticulously generated in the last 10-15 years hit a roadblock with the advent of Donald Trump and thus the upcoming visit by Indian Prime Minister (PM) to US is dubbed as his most difficult foreign trip which can be gauged from the following:

  • Cultural – Safety of Diaspora: A number of hate crimes against Indian in America have been perpetrated on xenophobic grounds and there has been lack of comprehensive steps to avoid the same in future.
  • Economy: India’s exports in general and competitiveness of IT sector in particular (H1b visas) have been impacted tremendously. US has aimed to restrict trade with countries that have burgeoned their whopping trade deficit. India being one such country shall be affected negatively.
  • Climate Change: US reneging on Paris deal and accusing India of targeting US shall be a difficult bone to pick.
  • Terrorism: Repeated threats India faces form the terrorism emanating from Pakistan and US’s continued supply of monetary aid to Pakistan to ostensibly eliminate terrorist safe heavens.
  • China factor: Growing resurgence of China and it’s policy of strategically circling India from all corners.
  • Losing an old friend: the drifting of India’s longstanding ally Russia towards Pakistan and china due to independent geopolitical reasons.
  • Europe factor: Political uncertainty in European union following Brexit, which happens to be on good terms with India. European disintegration doesn’t bode well for us.
  • Environment and energy :- .India’s stand to support Paris Accord is in stark contrast to Trumps’ liking. Trump has already accused India of leveraging the Accord to get billions of dollars without curbing its carbon emission.
    American funding and technology for setting up of Atomic reactors in India, after bankruptcy of Areva and Westinghouse, would also be a bone for contention between the two.

Conclusion :- All the aforementioned problems require proactive American assistance in form of strategic and economic aid. That would be possible only when the American regime is more sensitive to India. The prime minister will have a clear cut task of convincing US that in India’s benefit lies their benefit.


Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

4) How should both the Union and West Bengal government should handle longstanding issues such as the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland in the Darjeeling Hills of West Bengal? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Gorkhaland is a proposed state in India demanded by the people of the Darjeeling Hills and the people of Nepali-Indian Gorkhas ethnic origin on the Northern part of West Bengal on the basis of linguistic and cultural difference with regard to Bengali culture. The demand is still undergoing in the form of several strikes, rallies, etc. Darjeeling movement for Gorkhaland has gained momentum in the line of an ethno-linguistic-cultural sentiment of the Nepali language speaking Indian people who desire to identify themselves as Indian Gorkhas. Two mass movements for Gorkhaland have taken place under the Gorkha National Liberation Front (1986–1988) and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) (2007–present).


The proximate cause for the recent flare-up in the Hills was the State government’s announcement that Bengali should be compulsorily taught in all schools in West Bengal till Class X.

Recent revival of demand necessitates permanent solution for which state and central government should engage in a constructive negotiation-

  • Government can set up a panel to get empirical evidence about the conditions and requirements of Gorkha people in WB. For this one member in the panel should be a representative of Gorkha community.
  • End of violence, restoration of normalcy and socio-economic development of Gorkha people are necessary to take an environment conducive for negotiation.
  • Party politics has to be kept off. Central government has to be neutral while engaging with GJM, Gorkha party in WB and state government has to avoid any mandatory unilateral imposition of language on Gorkha people speaking Nepali.
  • Bridging development deficit : Though improving social sector, infrastructure and creation of alternative employment avenues.
  • Government of India has adopted a policy of conciliation and negotiation with unarmed movements and a policy of aggression towards violent groups such as ULFA and Maoists. This has given mixed results such as quelling of once violent regions such as Meghalaya and Tripura while increasing problems and violence in areas such as Darjeeling, Kashmir and Nagaland. This same approach can help in this case as well.

Conclusion :- The State government must reach out to the GJM and work out a way to transfer powers to the GTA as was promised in 2011. A signal in this direction will go a long way in tamping down the violent agitation. It should also abandon its wishful thinking that short cuts can solve the intractable Gorkhaland issue, which is culturally rooted. Demands of new states are indication of recognition of diversity that India enjoys but it has to be properly handled unless it can lead to perpetual conflicts and never ending ethnic disputes. Government at both levels have a good chance to engage and to give an example of cooperative federalism in India.


General Studies – 3

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

5) What difficulties does police involved in terror investigation face in India? Do you think India is systematically diluting the capacity and skills of the local police forces? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


India has been facing regular and robust terrorist attacks. However her performance in bringing to books the perpetrators of these heinous crimes is far from encouraging which has its roots in the difficulties faced by police in terror investigation. In wake of any criminal or terror activity, the local police are the first responders. Thus, they play a crucial role in crime investigation and prosecution.

The problems faced by the local police are as follows:

  • Politicization of issue:

Be it the international stage (ex. Pakistan) or national one (Communists in reference to Left Wing Extremism), issues are being politicized. This has encroached upon the space of police force to freely investigate the terror attacks.

  • Lack of training, personnel and modern forensics:

Indian police forces are under-staffed, poorly skilled and lack the latest technology to probe terror cases.

  • Human rights issues:

International perceptions of poor manhandling of the accused, subjection of the accused to systematic tortures by the police in India are major roadblock.

  • Non-uniformity – 

Admissibility of certain evidences as a proof in a court is debatable. (POTA bill controversy).

  • Institutional and infrastructural support

Local police in India have no proper police chawkies with modern inspection systems and investigation equipments. They are relied on state governments for any new procurement of weapons and infrastructure, which most of the time get delayed due to lackadaisical attitudes of governments towards needs of local police.

  • Lack of Autonomy to the local police

Problem of political interference which prevails at all levels of police force but at local level police suffers from interference by police at higher levels too. Local police is used as supplementary despite having first-hand experience of local situations and nitty-gritties.

  • Overburdened police

Police is overburdened due to activities other than law and order maintenance. It worsens the police-people ratio in the country which is already below the required level.

Dilution of their role –

  • The local policemen generally perform just basic functions under the supervision of central agencies which act as hindrance in development of proper human resources and also lead to demoralization of police force.
  • Lack of co-ordination with various specialized central agencies such as NIA, CBI, etc. which leads to improper dissemination of critical information among the investigators.
  • In this age of highly sophisticated and organized crimes, with the use of cyber-technology, etc. Indian police establishment has failed to develop capabilities to match the challenges. The proliferation of large number of central agencies ,lack of funds for capacity building, prominence of CBI, etc. in major cases, etc. have led to a situation where local police are not even considered for major and complex cases, thus leading to their underdevelopment.

Conclusion –

The success of 1993 Mumbai blast case and 2008 Taj attacks case are testimony of the resolve and grit local police comprise of. The changing security dilemma of 21st century necessitates India to reform the police force and increase international cooperation for effectiveness.


Topic: Awareness in S&T

6) A recent discovery pushes the history of human evolution back to at least 3,00,000 years. Discuss the significance of this discovery. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Scientists have just clocked back human history 3 lakh years with the recent research on fossils unearthed from Morocco in 1960s. This has lead up to huge excitement and conjecture in the paleontology community that reversed many prior assumptions. The findings which comprise of a tranche of a jaw, tooth and skulls are quite significant in the history of evolution of mankind-

Myths busted-

Till now, it was believed that mankind had its roots to some 2,00,000 years back but the age analysis of the Moroccan findings quell this belief as they indicate an underestimation on our part and suggest that mankind could well be some 3,00,000 years old.

Locations diversified –

In the previous decades, the fossils of human precursors such as homo habilis and homo erectus were usually found in the East African Rift valley giving rise to the notion of the region being “the Cradle of mankind’ but the recent findings in South Africa and now Morocco have put questions over East Africa’s claim.

Confusing Traits –

Earlier scientific community used bipedalism, tool making, brain volume and social strata as the traits of mankind and tried to decipher its evolution through such traits but now it is increasingly evident that these traits are widely distributed over the animal kingdom giving rise to much more confusion.

Mankind’s technological advancement –

The other significance is the technological progress we humans have been able to achieve especially in the anthropological domain. The Complex techniques of Electron Spin Resonance Dating, Thermo- luminescence and Genome Sequencing are being employed to uncover the mysteries of our origin. 

This new discovery leaves new questions for scientists on how the earliest humans lived in these new areas being explored and how did the civilisation evolved from West to East Africa. It leaves a whole 1,00,000 years of history unexplored and gives an opportunity for historians to explore and increase understanding. 


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

7) What do you understand by knowledge-based economy?  What are the powers and components of knowledge-based economy? Can India be considered as knowledge-based economy? Substantiate. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


Knowledge Based Economy (KBE) is an economy in which knowledge and information are the main drivers of the economy. Many OECD economies could be considered as KBE economies, in contrast to economies like India and China which rely upon cheap labor for its growth.

Components of an Knowledge Based Economy (KBE):-


There is huge investment into future technologies like Robotics, Artificial Intelligence etc.


There is great deal of digitization encompassing all walks of life.


Skill set of the labor is high and are usually involved in management and research than in actual delivery of service or manufacturing.


Since advanced economies face ageing population, they tend to reduce reliance on human labor, automating the process.


There is a cyclic linkage between government policies, industries and academia in pursuit of knowledge.

India – not a KBE

  • Though service sector contributes more than 50% to the GDP, there are no substantial high value technological investments in the sub-sectors (even in IT). For example- Indian IT companies with thrice the employees as Google (US company) makes only third of its profit.
  • The competitiveness of Indian exports is entirely based on cheap labor across the sectors.
  • Indian Technical education is poorly funded and lags behind. Consequently, India is at 60th position in World Innovation Index by WIPO, which is ranking based on patents and research papers filed.

Why do we need to move towards knowledge based economy?

Automation threatens labor intensive industries. Avoiding demographic trap is hence difficult. Government and policy makers have to coordinate with industry and academia to encourage out-of-box thinking and research, while accommodating risk-taking. Unnat Bharath Abhiyan like initiatives should be given more thought and funding.

India striving to become KBE –

  • India is the 2nd largest country in the global distribution of tertiary degree holders’ share at nearly 78 million after China in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects.
  • Bengaluru is the fastest changing and most dynamic city in the world according to the JLL City Momentum Index 2017. It has done in terms of the ‘speed of progress in property’, ‘economics’ and ‘digital success’.
  • TeamIndus, the only Indian team in Google LunarXPRIZE competition, has built a privately funded spacecraft capable of soft landing on the Moon. Along with this, PSLV-C37 successfully launches 104 satellites from a single rocket in its low cost space exploration programme deserves ‘celebration’.

Conclusion –

Developing and nurturing the educational institutions, ensuring their linkages to the needs and challenges of the nation – including its economic needs; inducing young minds to grapple the challenges the nation and society faces can help India become a Knowledge base economy.