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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: Resources

1) What is commons? It is said that from land to creative spaces, our commons are being fenced by encroachers and even the state. Do you agree? Discuss critically. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- A common is a shared resource managed by a community who create rules to make the resource durable. The resource cannot be monopolised by one or a group of individuals; it has to be as opened as possible. The resource is not private or public; it is a third thing: a common. These can vary from global commons as space, the Antarctica continent to local commons such as wetlands, ponds, parks and beaches. While global commons are protected under various treaties, the local commons are suffering for deliberate encroachment by the private citizens as well as government apathy.

Types of common


The examples below illustrate types of environmental commons.

European land use

Originally in medieval England the common was an integral part of the manor, and was thus legally part of the estate in land owned by the lord of the manor, but over which certain classes of manorial tenants and others held certain rights. By extension, the term “commons” has come to be applied to other resources which a community has rights or access to. The older texts use the word “common” to denote any such right, but more modern usage is to refer to particular rights of common, and to reserve the name “common” for the land over which the rights are exercised. A person who has a right in, or over, common land jointly with another or others is called a commoner.

Mongolian grasslands

Based on a research project by the Environmental and Cultural Conservation in Inner Asia (ECCIA) from 1992 to 1995, satellite images were used to compare the amount of land degradation due to livestock grazing in the regions of Mongolia, Russia, and China.

Community forests in Nepal

Implemented in the late 1980s, Nepal chose to decentralize government control over forests. Community forest programs work by giving local areas a financial stake in nearby woodlands, and therefore increasing the incentive to protect them from overuse. 

Irrigation systems of New Mexico

Acequia is a method of collective responsibility and management for irrigation systems in desert areas. In New Mexico, a community-run organization known as Acequia Associations supervises water in terms of diversion, distribution, utilization, and recycling, in order to reinforce agricultural traditions and preserve water as a common resource for future generations.

Cultural and intellectual commons

Today, the commons are also understood within a cultural sphere. These commons include literature, music, arts, design, film, video, television, radio, information, software and sites of heritage. Wikipedia is an example of the production and maintenance of common goods by a contributor community in the form of encyclopedic knowledge that can be freely accessed by anyone without a central authority.

Digital commons

Mayo Fuster Morell proposed a definition of digital commons as “an information and knowledge resources that are collectively created and owned or shared between or among a community and that tend to be non-exclusivities, that is, be (generally freely) available to third parties. 

Civil society and state has time and again responded to such stresses.

  • Chipko movement and such environmental protection movements have time and again forced the world to think and act upon conservation and sustainable utilisation of resources.
  • WHO’s call to western world to delink life saving drugs from IP laws is one of many government’s and civil society’s calls to prevent fencing of Intellectual properties.
  • New Middle Income scheme of Supreme Court, democratic decentralisation (73rd and 74th amendments) can be called as step in right direction to give access to justice, legislative processes and executive posts of the government.
  • Land Encroachment :- E.g. Lately in Chennai sea beach, a soccer tournament was going to be conducted for underprivileged children but authorities concerned rejected the application by giving a mere excuse that it will harm the activities of Olive Ridley Turtles, But irony here is that ,the time when soccer tournament would have taken place ,Olive Ridley turtles were no where to be seen.
    As per rules, Construction near 8000 acres of area near Water spread region will be considered illegal but 1089 acres of area is currently being used by Thermal power plants, oil companies.
  • Intellectual Property :- while surfing internet we can see that there are intellectual property norms which bars everyone to use some contents. This internet space should be common to enable innovative ideas.
  • Some states to show their supremacy encroach upon water bodies. e.g South China Sea. This will have a long term devastating impact on the ecology of flora and fauna in world’s deepest sea.
  • Conquering forests ,wildlife and more interference with nature by this encroachment lead to a disturbed environment.

However these developments have been coupled with the following developments too

  • Governmental initiatives: Planned infrastructure like Smart Cities Mission have been incorporated with specific focus on creating commons like playground for recreational purposes.
  • Arctic Council, CLCS(Commission on Continental Shelf): Have been put in place to ensure that commons are not apportioned by any specific entity and is open to all in just manner, maintaining ecological balance.

In today’s world of dwindling resources subjected to ever increasing pressure of burgeoning population , it is of vital importance that we avoid “free riding of resources” to avoid ” nature’s curse” by charting out roadmaps for use of commons and adhering to it like true global citizens.


Topic: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

2) Critically comment on the role played by Sabarmati Ashram in India’s struggle for Independence and its significance today. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- Sabarmati Ashram (also known as Gandhi Ashram, Harijan Ashram, or Satyagraha Ashram) is located in the Sabarmati suburb of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, adjoining the Ashram Road, on the banks of the River Sabarmati, four miles from the town hall. This was one of the residences of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, generally called Mahatma Gandhi, who lived there for about twelve years along with his wife, Kasturba Gandhi.

It was from his base here that Gandhi led the Dandi march also known as the Salt Satyagraha on 12 March 1930. In recognition of the significant influence that this march had on the Indian independence movement the Indian government has established the ashram as a national monument.

History :-

On his return from South Africa, Gandhi’s first Ashram in India was established in the Kochrab area of Ahmedabad on 25 May 1915. The Ashram was then shifted on 17 June 1917 to a piece of open land on the banks of the river Sabarmati. Reasons for this shift included: he wanted to do some experiments in living eg farming, animal husbandry, cow breeding, Khadi and related constructive activities, for which he was in search of this kind of barren land; mythologically, it was the ashram site of Dadhichi Rishi who had donated his bones for a righteous war; it is between a jail and a crematorium as he believed that a satyagrahi has to invariably go to either place. The Sabarmati Ashram (also known as Harijan Ashram) was home to Mohandas Gandhi from 1917 until 1930 and served as one of the main centres of the Indian freedom struggle. Originally called the Satyagraha Ashram, reflecting the movement toward passive resistance launched by the Mahatma, the Ashram became home to the ideology that set India free. Sabarmati Ashram named for the river on which it sits, was created with a dual mission. To serve as an institution that would carry on a search for truth and a platform to bring together a group of workers committed to non-violence who would help secure freedom for India.


Its role in  freedom struggle :-

  • Experiments in livingg. farming, animal husbandry, cow breeding, Khadi and related constructive activities. For Gandhi freedom did not just mean no British rule, but freedom from social evils and freedom to live a satyagrahi lifestyle. He developed those in Sabarmati.
  • Idea of Dignity in Labour : Intrinsic to the independence movement was upliftment of the masses. Campaigns for cleanliness became a part of the Gandhian idea of a new India and In Sabarmati Ashram both Gandhi Ji and Kasturbaji cleaned the Ashram themselves.
  • Schools : While at the Ashram, Gandhi formed a school that focused on manual labour, agriculture, and literacy to advance his efforts for self-sufficiency. During the freedom struggle many Indian schools were opened as an alternate to British schools.
  • Dandi March :From the Ashram, on 12 March 1930, Gandhi launched the famous Dandi march (with 78 companions) in protest of the British Salt Law.
  • Important decisions taken here : Many national leaders like Pandit Nehru, Vinobha ji, Sardar Patel, Rajaji have visited this place and took historic decisions.
  • Home to leaders : Vinoba Bhave lived here as did Miraben.


Ashram’s relevance today :-

  • In times of turbulence or unrest when not so often the civil society raises its voice against the atrocities by holding protests and sitting on dharnas outside the Sabarmati Ashram, the world gets a glimpse of the reminiscences of Gandhi’s freedom struggle in the form of demonstrations, protests, marches and boycotts which formed the core of the political satyagrah movement for freedom in India.
  • But it is only a look alike of the yester times—there is hardly the fire, the will or the respect for the very cause of these collective actions. The conscience seems to have become slightly dormant, the inner voice seems to be fading and the will to dream is slowly losing its life.
  • But the Ashram reminds us to be hopeful and optimistic. It tells us to not thwart the vision of the Mahatma even in the face of immense adversity. The Ashram embodies the true memory of Gandhi, his pure truth and his utmost humility as his way of life.
  • The Ashram still personifies the ideals of truth and humility of a man who once lived there and lived for a nation and died for a nation. A man who wanted these high ideals to be held high always by a nation so great as India.

Conclusion :- The Ashram tells us about one man’s dedication, determination and ideals but also reminds us of the road we still need to traverse in order to realise Gandhiji’s dream of an India free from injustice. On its 100th birthday, the Ashram had a wish–“We need Gandhiji more than ever”. It muses “How long will I have to wait to see his dreams fulfilled, an India with equality and equal opportunities for all?”


General Studies – 2


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

3) Examine the role of Chinese and Pakistan factors in shaping the relations between India and the US. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Introduction :- In the foreign policy, the calculus of the relation between two countries are often influenced by various other countries. Indo-US relation is no exception with China and Pakistan factors playing an important role in how the relation is shaped. It can be seen from the following:


Pakistan impact :-

  • India has complained of American lack of sympathy for its concerns in its policy towards Pakistan. There has been increasing appreciation among Washington’s strategic thinkers and policymakers of Pakistan’s duplicity in the conflict in Afghanistan.
  • That Pakistan exports terror to its neighbouring countries has now been stated in multiple government documents and Congressional hearings. However, successive U.S. administrations have viewed India’s attempts to influence America’s Pakistan policy with scepticism. While India wants the U.S. to rein in Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism, it does not want American opinion on Kashmir — a position that American policymakers consider contradictory.
  • While Americans increasingly appreciate the fact that India has been a victim of Pakistani aggression, they also believe New Delhi could be more appreciative and supportive of American efforts to stabilise the region. Stabilising Pakistan and seeking a political deal with the Taliban have been part of that approach.

Chinese factor :-

  • Security:Chinese aggression in South China Sea seen to affect various US allies has been a the pivotal concern in “US Pivot to Asia” with India acting as the main pivot to reign in Chinese aggression. India on its side has been vociferous about the Chines claim in Arunachal Pradesh and the recent passage of CPEC corridor in Kashmir.
  • Economic dominance:US recent economic downfall has been challenged by rise of Chinese. Trump administration had seen Chinese as “currency manipulator”. However, the rise of North Korea nuclear issue has changed the dynamics between the countries and cooperation between them is seen which doesn’t bode well for Indian interests.
  • Assertiveness of China in South China Sea. This has become root cause of India-US defence co-operation and maritime exercise like MALABAR Exercise 
  • Chinese intends to reduce it dependency on supranational bodies like International Monetary Fund, World Bank. It is quite evident from establishment of AIIB,NDB etc. US perceives India has balancing force to China. This further reinforces India-US relationship
  • Establishment of SCO as regional military organisation. This may be consider as counterpart of NATO. That’s why President Trump retracted from his earlier stand of dismantling NATO. So US is also giving India ‘Major Defence Partner Status’


Conclusion :- As the relationship between India and the U.S. develops, Washington will need to pay close atten­tion to the dynamics of the India-China relation­ship and be smart about its approach: Even though Washington and New Delhi share similar concerns regarding China, Indian officials will balk at any U.S. overture that appears to use New Delhi to con­tain or directly counter Chinese influence. India and China have a long history and a compli­cated relationship. Any misstep by the U.S. that puts India in an awkward political situation has the potential to damage overall U.S. interests in the region and limit the prospects for the U.S.-India relationship.

Also in case of Pakistan playing it against India doesn’t hold much potential as Russia and China both are increasing its relationship with it and US need India to balance china in South East Asia.


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

4) Critically analyse how does the National Health Policy (NHP), 2017, seeks to address issues of the rapid rise in the share of the old — i.e. 60 years or more — and associated morbidities, especially sharply rising non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and disabilities. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Geriatric care management

  • Geriatric care management(also known as “elder care management”, “senior health care management” and “professional care management”) is the process of planning and coordinating care of the elderly and others with physical and/or mental impairments to meet their long term care needs, improve their quality of life, and maintain their independence for as long as possible. It entails working with persons of old age and their families in managing, rendering and referring various types of health and social care services.
  • Geriatric care managers accomplish this by combining a working knowledge of health and psychology, human development, family dynamics, public and private resources and funding sources, while advocating for their clients throughout the continuum of care. For example, they may assist families of older adults and others with chronic needs such as those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia

national health policy

Challenge of Geriatric care in India:

Detailed projections of the old in India by the United Nations Population Division (UN 2011) show that India’s population, ages 60 and older, will climb from 8% in 2010 to 19% in 2050. By mid-century, their number is expected to be 323 million. However, India lacks the basic infrastructure and expertise to support the health and welfare of the elderly. According to multiple surveys across the country, for most Indian senior citizens, the biggest concerns are: healthcare costs, lack of financial support and isolation. Additionally, most of the aged are not accorded the dignity of care they deserve.

The challenges can be listed as:

  • Lack of physical infrastructure is a major deterrent to providing comfort to the aged.
  • Very little information and knowledge exists about specific geriatric diseases.
  • In addition, there is little public or private financial support for the elderly.
  • Unlike most developed countries, emergency response infrastructure for senior citizens is ill-developed.
  • Rapid socio-economic change, including more nuclear families, is also making elder care management difficult.
  • Most senior citizens who live alone suffer due to lack of companionship.

National Health Policy, 2017:

The primary aim of the National Health Policy, 2017, is to inform, clarify, strengthen and prioritize the role of the Government in shaping health systems in all its dimensions- investment in health, organization and financing of healthcare services, prevention of diseases and promotion of good health through cross sectorial action, access to technologies, developing human resources, encouraging medical pluralism, building the knowledge base required for better health, financial protection strategies and regulation and progressive assurance for health. The policy emphasizes reorienting and strengthening the Public Health Institutions across the country, so as to provide universal access to free drugs, diagnostics and other essential healthcare.

 The broad principles of the policy is centered on

  • Professionalism
  • Integrity and Ethics
  • Equity
  • Affordability
  • Universality
  • Patient Centered & Quality of Care
  • Accountability and pluralism


The national population policy 2017 fails to cater the very specific needs of the elderly population; following are some of the points that can have impact on geriatric care indirectly.

  1. The policy assigns specific quantitative targets aimed at reduction of disease prevalence/incidence, for health status and programme impact, health system performance and system strengthening.
  2. Geriatric health care and care for major NCDs is listed as a focus area in the primary healthcare packages .The policy recognizes the growing need for palliative and rehabilitative care for all geriatric illnesses and advocates the continuity of care across all levels
  3. It seeks to strengthen the health, surveillance system and establish registries for diseases of public health importance, by 2020. It also seeks to align other policies for medical devices and equipment with public health goals.
  4. The policy aspires to provide at the district level most of the secondary care which is currently provided at a medical college hospital. This is important as majority of senior citizens reside in rural areas.
  5. The policy envisages strategic purchase of secondary and tertiary care services as a short term measure to supplement and fill critical gaps in the health system.
  6. The NHP, 2017 advocates a positive and proactive engagement with the private sector for critical gap filling towards achieving national goals. It envisages private sector collaboration for strategic purchasing, capacity building, skill development programmes, awareness generation, developing sustainable networks for community to strengthen mental health services, and disaster management.

The NHP, 2017 fails in following aspects:

  • The policy has not specifically mentioned the disability that occurs at old age. The kind of disability that occurs in old is different from the general occurrence of disability at varied ages and by varied causes.
  • There is need of gender wise differentiation in case of handling the challenge of Geriatric aspect of medical conditions such as severity and type of disabilities. It has been found that the some type of disabilities is prominent in female than in male old age population.
  • Careful attention must be given to reorient health systems to accommodate the needs of chronic disease prevention and control by enhancing the skills of health-care providers and equipping health-care facilities to provide services related to health promotion, risk detection, and risk reduction.
  • The India has huge challenge of old age people care management as it may create hindrance in the utilization of demographic dividend. Being the ethical issue as well the taking care of aged people has to be one of the priority areas for the government who represents popular will. The new comprehensive policy for geriatric care can deal with very specific challenges of this field.


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

5) A  special provision in the recent Mental Health Act wants public institutions such as universities to treat mental health as a valuable public good in its own right. Elaborate and discuss this provision. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Statistics on mental health challenges in India as per findings by National Mental Health Survey

  • Nearly 10 per cent of the population has common mental disorders, 1.9 per cent of the population suffers from severe mental disorders. The prevalence of mental morbidity is found to be very high in urban Centres, where there is a higher prevalence of schizophrenia, mood disorders and neurotic or stress-related disorders.
  • Due to the stigma associated with mental disorders, nearly 80 per cent of those with mental disorders had not received any treatment despite being ill for over 12 months.

Details on Mental healthcare bill 2017:

  • The bill effectively decriminalizes suicide attempt under the Indian Penal Code by mentally ill persons by making it non-punishable. Electro-convulsive therapy, which is allowed only with the use of anaesthesia, is however out of bounds for minors.
  • The bill outlines the procedure and process for admission, treatment and subsequent discharge of mentally ill persons.
  • Bill mentions that every mental health establishment has to be registered with the respective Central or State Mental Health Authority. For registration, the concerned establishment needs to fulfill different criteria as mentioned in the Bill.
  • The provision in the bill empowers a mentally-ill person to have the right to make an advance directive that explains how she/he wants to be treated for the requisite illness and who her/his nominated representative shall be.
  • This bill states that every person will have the right to access mental healthcare from services which are operated or funded by the government. It also includes good quality, easy and affordable access to services. It also provides for the right to equality of treatment, seeks to protect such persons from inhuman treatment, access to free legal services, their medical records, and the right to complain in the event of regarding deficiencies in provisions.

Importance of this specific clause:

  • The clause of inclusive education is well integrated in sarva shiksha abhiyaan in order to create the healthy and non-discriminated for differently abled people. This provision in mental healthcare bill is a step ahead in order to sensitize this issue at higher level of education. The provision is potential enough to generate many innovative solutions to manage challenges of mental health problems.
  • The youth of today faces pressure in many forms: competition, social and family pressure to excel in academics, the urge to be unique and do well in more spheres than one. This may at any time put the youth through more than he expects to deal with. Mental health can easily take its toll under such circumstances.
  • Likewise, teachers may encourage students to consider how their respective disciplines add value to human wellbeing. This provision can create the sensitiveness towards challenges faced by mentally ill person.
  • This specific provision mentions the right based approach of inclusivity and thus treats the differently abled people as the Human resource development.


General Studies – 3

Topic: Resource mobilization

6) What is the objective of GST’s ‘anti-profiteering’ clause? Does it make economic sense? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

What is anti-profiteering clause?

  • This clause requires businesses to pass on the benefit of input credit or tax reduction to the end consumer by way of a commensurate reduction in prices.
  • This clause further provides for the establishment of an authority against anti-profiteering in order to ensure its compliance. While the end consumer may have some reason to cheer, the industry is still doubtful of its implementation.
  • The objective of this move is to protect consumers from inflation after GST implementation.

The implementation of GST has often led to some inflationary pressures in countries where this tax is already in place. But while the objective may sound simple, implementing an anti-profiteering clause is fraught with grave risks.

Does it make economic sense?

  • With a legal obligation on businesses to pass on the benefit, this will help in instilling confidence in GST among people. This will help ensure any spike in prices during transition to GST and thus would act as a check against short term inflation.
  • Biggest challenge is that of compliance. The government will have to ask for pre- and post-GST cost sheet of each product and calculate the pre-GST tax rate and post-GST tax rate for each and every item to understand the quantum of tax benefit that a supplier should get.
  • There is no clarity on how will they calculate the profit an organization made, will it be net basis or gross basis, a body will be needed to govern the whole process and for how long and how minutely will they be monitoring businesses to understand whether benefits have been passed on.
  • A new body as has been suggested to look into matters of non-compliance is another redundancy since the same could have been achieved by referring such matters to CCI which already has experience and expertise in associated areas.
  • This clause can increase the bureaucratic interference and can lead to corruption and inefficiencies as the National Anti-profiteering Authority has been empowered to foresee that businesses to pass on the profit to consumers and penalize the defaulters.
  • Corporates, especially small and medium enterprises, are ill-prepared as the infrastructure is still not in place to deal with changes that GST would bring along and in such a scenario, going ahead with something as complex as the anti-profiteering clause may lead to a lot of disruption.
  • What corporates are also worried about is whether the anti-profiteering clause will result in witch-hunting by tax authorities. The fear among corporates with respect to anti-profiteering is that it gives lot of power to the taxmen who may misuse it and harass taxpayers since a slew of indirect taxes will now be out of window and with that, their access to taxpayers would lessen.
  • An Anti-Profiteering clause has been introduced in the GST Act to ensure that consumers receive the benefits of lowered taxes from the producers. It will be ensured by a NAPA National Anti-Profiteering Agency to punish violators and pass on compensation to consumers.


Anti-profiteering is a transitional provision and could be a short-lived concept. It has been introduced to protect the interest of consumers and at the same time not harming the industry interest. Efforts should be made in the direction of a streamlined and transparent process to identify malign practice if any. Despite various challenges, the clause would make economic sense if implemented in right spirit and by taking industry and businesses into confidence.