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General Studies – 1;


Topic:  Population and associated issues

1) What do you understand by replacement-level fertility? Analyse its trend in northern and southern states in India and importance of its trends to policymaking, especially development and migration planning. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- “Replacement level fertility” is the total fertility rate—the average number of children born per woman—at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration. This rate is roughly 2.1 children per woman for most countries, although it may modestly vary with mortality rates.

Trends in northern and southern states :-

  • Despite the decline in total fertility rates (TFR) countrywide, 12 States continue to have TFR above 2.1 children per woman, known as replacement-level fertility. 
  • The trends suggests a predominantly youthful north and a maturing south and west. 
  • Just nine States – all of them in the north and east, except for Gujarat – haven’t yet reached replacements levels of 2.1
  • In North Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh these five States will account for more than 55% of population growth in India till 2030.
  • West Bengal now has India’s lowest fertility, with the southern States, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Among backward States, Odisha too has reduced its fertility to 2.1.

india population

Importance of these trends in policymaking (development and migration):-

  • The migration trend is evident, with established flows of young people from these northern States to other parts. The divergent demographic transition in the high-low TFR States will add further impetus to this movement in the coming decades.
  • Challenges :-
  • Destabilised demography as young people are migrating leaving behind elderly and children
  • Challenges of moving into new communities that speak different languages and have different cultures 
  • Understanding of migration flows deeply
  • If we analysed this migration pattern and try to address the challenges mentioned above estimations and projections can be made regarding changing need for housing and infrastructure, health care and utilities, education and skills. States need to work together to provide portability of identity proof and entitlements, as well as build support systems for families left behind.
  • It will also help in making policies in consonance with present realities and distribution of population.
  • Studying such trend will help in effectively utilising the demographic dividend which India is witnessing.
  • Policy success also depends on how precisely they are build on concrete and scientific statistical data available in order to benefit from scarce resources and to maximise impact with minimum investment.

Conclusion :- India urgently needs to take cognisance of the divergent demographic transition trends. Timely strategic action can develop human capacities to cater to future needs and build rights-based policies that work for migrants as well as locals. All adding up to help optimise development, employment and collaboration across States in the country.


TopicPopulation and associated issues

2) What do you understand by ‘population dynamics’? Why is understanding population dynamics important for Indian policymakers? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :-

Population dynamics is the branch of life sciences that studies the size and age composition and distribution of populations as dynamical systems, and the biological and environmental processes driving them (such as birth and death rates, and by immigration and emigration). Distribution can be described across geography, gender, age, economic, health and education status etc.


Understanding it is important for Indian policymakers because  :-

Size of population –

Factors affecting – natality, mortality, immigration and emigration.

Policy implications – devising specific policies targeting high population growth , high birth rates or high death rates and their etiologies. Providing infrastructure for immigrants mainly in urban areas, measures for balanced and sustainable immigration , programmes for areas from where emigration occurs , the changing size of the resources needed to meet the requirements of growing population, environmental impacts of population and required actions.

Age composition –

It studies the population composition in terms of earning and dependent population . less dependency ratio is good for economy implying low proportion of children and old age people. India being in the phase of demographic window , has many policy implications.

Policy implications – to reap the fruits of demographic dividend, policies for human resource development like skill development , education , health , etc. should be devised. Further , providing quality jobs for the young population of India is the priority for policy making.

Gender composition –

Sex ratio is the important indicator of overall social development of a nation . low sex ratio in some states and overall prevalence of sex-selection requires govt. action .

Policy implications – Beti Bachao Beti Padhao targeted in Haryana, strict implementation of PCPNDT act , etc.

Resource allocation –

Uneven distribution of various resources among population elements requires targeted policy action. Rural development, financial inclusion , provision of health facilities , education and employment opportunities, etc.


The economic survey 2016-17 highlighted lack of population dynamics currently taken into consideration by policymakers when it showed that Welfare spending in India suffers from misallocation – the districts with the most poor are the ones that suffer from the greatest shortfall of funds in social programs. We need to account for demographic dynamics in our policy.


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

3) Discuss the significance of philosophy and objectives behind the Gandhian ashram. Do you think the Gandhian ashram experiment is relevant today? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

“This is the right place for our activities to carry on the search for Truth and develop Fearlessness

For, on one side, are the iron bolts of the foreigners, and on the other, thunderbolts of Mother Nature.”

                                                                                                                                 : M K Gandhi on Ashrams

Gandhi, it is true, was not concerned with constructing a system of philosophy, but mainly with applying the ideals and principles that had become a part of his life. Therefore, we do not find the distinction between the ideal and the actual explicitly stated. One discovers this only when studying his ideas in the context of his background, which was essentially that of Hindu philosophy. Cut off from this source, his ideas sometimes produce the impression of inconsistency; read in the context, they form a coherent whole.

The experiments of ashram by Gandhigi have to be seen and studied with the background. The ashrams were the centers for the devoted people and showed the way for life to many young minds. The phase of Indian struggle for independence needed a dedicated cadre who are clear about their goal and methodology. The ashrams provided base on which a particular pattern of thinking was nourished, developed and made to work for service of the country.

As Gandhiji always said, means are as important as goals. The ashrams exactly met with this way of living where in the whole living style was taken into consideration.

The ashrams were the place that created the sense of common responsibility among the people living there. This responsibility towards the principles of truth and non-violence established the foundation of Indian freedom struggle.

The ashrams has always been open to all and thus spreaded the message of non-discrimination. The involved people in created environment thought and work on sustainable development in very indigenous manner.

The Gandhi ashrams were the source of inspiration as well as seat of intellectual inputs and outputs that held the potential to change the world for better life for all souls.

As a guide to action, Gandhian methodology is a double-edged weapon. Its objective is to transform the individual and society simultaneously, in accordance with the principles of truth and nonviolence. The historic task before humankind is to progress towards the creation of a nonviolent political, economic and social order by nonviolent struggle. Ashrams were the site for these experiments.

Relevance of Ashrams in contemporary sense:

  • Concept of Sarvodaya:

Sarvodaya is the economic and social development of a community as a whole, especially as advocated by Mahatma Gandhi. In today’s world of inequality the very idea of inclusivity needs better understanding of this concept given by Mahatma Gandhi.

  • Forum for critical thinking:

The perception of what is the truthful path is largely a matter for the individual’s reason and conscience, which therefore play key roles. The individual should subject each idea to the test of his or her own conscience and reason. Reason and rationality have enormous roles to play in the Gandhian way of thinking.

  • Trusteeship:

Trusteeship is a socio-economic philosophy propounded by Mahatma Gandhi. It provides a means by which the wealthy people would be the trustees of trusts that looked after the welfare of the people in general. A compromise was to encourage the wealthy to hold their wealth in trust, to use themselves only what was necessary and to allow the remainder to be utilized for the benefit of the whole society. Many of the ashrams were established with the help of charities and donations by rich people. In today’s world idea of philanthropy can be well linked with this concept.

The ideals of tolerance as a way living life in ashrams is a guiding path for society today. The level of religious fanatics and many other dividing lines among society are so grave and serious that the ashrams concept and philosophy holds the learning message for all people.


General Studies – 2


Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations

4) What is bottom trawling? Why did Sri Lanka recently ban this practice? How does this ban affect Indian fishermen and, in your opinion, what measures should Tamil Nadu government take? Discuss. (200 Words) 

The Hindu


Bottom trawling is an industrial fishing method where a large net with heavy weights is dragged across the seafloor, scooping up everything in its path – from the targeted fish to the incidentally caught centuries-old corals. Bottom trawls are used in catching marine life that live on the seafloor, such as shrimp, cod, sole and flounder.

Bottom trawling, the practice of pulling a fishing net along the sea bottom behind trawlers, removes around 5 to 25% of an area’s seabed life on a single run. A 2005 report of the UN Millennium Project, commissioned by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, recommended the elimination of bottom trawling on the high seas by 2006 to protect seamounts and other ecologically sensitive habitats. This was not done.

demersal trawl

The Srilanka has banned this destructive fishing method due to following reasons:

  • The very basic reason of this ban is to enhance the sustainable fishing and thus to reduce the ongoing exploitation in Palk bay region. In recent years some of the local fishers mans of Srilanka has adopted the destructive bottom travelling fishing method. In order to conserve the marine ecology, this legislative step has been taken.
  • Overfishing has also been widely reported due to increases in the volume of fishing hauls to feed a quickly growing number of consumers. This has led to the breakdown of some sea ecosystems and several fishing industries whose catch has been greatly diminished. The extinction of many species has also been reported. According to a Food and Agriculture Organization estimate, over 70% of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted.
  • Ecological disruption – Fishing may disrupt food webs by targeting specific, in-demand species. There might be too much fishing of prey species such as sardines and anchovies, thus reducing the food supply for the predators. It may also cause the increase of prey species when the target fishes are predator species such as salmon and tuna. In addition, the weight and width of a bottom trawl can destroy large areas of seafloor habitats that give marine species food and shelter. Such habitat destructions can leave the marine ecosystem permanently damaged.
  • By catch- By catch is the portion of the catch that is not the target species. These are either kept to be sold or discarded. In some instances the discarded portion is known as discards. Even sports fisherman discards a lot of non-target and target fish on the bank while fishing. This collateral damage, can amount to 90% of a trawl’s total catch.
  • Marine debris- Recent research has shown that fishing debris such as nets, buoys, and lines, accounts for a majority of plastic debris found in the oceans, such as in the Great Pacific garbage patch.
  • Apart from domestic reasons there is the component to conserve Srilankan seas from exploitative fishing done by Indian fish trawlers as well. This will soon to be create considerable impact on Tamilnadu fisherman and thus becomes important aspect of India Srilanka fisherman issue.

Impact on Indian fisherman:

  • The new law will create more confrontation with respect to local Tamilnadu fisherman as there is rampant use of fish trawls from Indian fisherman’s side.
  • It will create short term challenge to Indian fisherman in terms of livelihood as the change in methodology will take some time to adopt the new framework.
  • It is an opportunity if we see its long term impacts. Though it will create short term stress, it has many long term benefits as it will promote sustainable fishing methodology.

Measures to be taken by Tamilnadu government:

  • Given the prevailing situation, intervention by Tamilnadu seems unavoidable in order to gradually resolve the problem.
  • State government should work out an arrangement with the Srilankan government wherein the rights of both the countries’ fishermen are protected within the respective territorial jurisdiction. Thus the proper information must be provided about the details on territorial jurisdiction to Indian fisherman community.
  • Government needs to positively intervene for skill up gradation and technology based training in order to adopt new sustainable methods of fishing.
  • The Joint working group on fisheries established in 2016 must proactively suggest for sustainable harvesting fishing methods. The Fishermen’s Associations of the two countries must come up with a blue print for cooperation in this issue.
  • SOP can play very vital role in reducing the confrontation and arrest issues. Working out the modalities for the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for handing over of apprehended fishermen can create a positive dialogue between two countries.
  • Tamilnadu government should be in constant dialogue with central government of India so that a model of cooperative federalism can solve this issue permanently.
  • There is a glaring need for institutionalization of fishing in Indian waters by the government of Tamilnadu so that alternative means of livelihood are provided.
  • Government will have to mark up a comprehensive plan to reduce the dependence of Indian fishermen on catch from Palk Bay.

Thus, this legislative action by Srilankan government is hidden opportunity for India as, unsustainable fishing has always been an issue in Indian waters as well. Along with finding out solutions to long pending fisherman issue between two countries, India should support the act as it strives for marine ecological conservation. An idea of a sustainable fishery is that it is one that is harvested at a sustainable rate, where the fish population does not decline over time because of fishing practices. Sustainability in fisheries is need of time.


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

5) What is the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)? What are its important features? Discuss its significance today. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)-

  • The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is an arms control treaty that outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and their precursors.
  • The full name of the treaty is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction and it is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons(OPCW), an intergovernmental organization based in The Hague, Netherlands.
  • The treaty entered into force in 1997. The Chemical Weapons Convention comprehensively prohibits the use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of chemical weapons. Any chemical used for warfare is considered a chemical weapon by the Convention.
  • The parties’ main obligation under the convention is to effect this prohibition, as well as the destruction of all current chemical weapons. The destruction activities are verified by the OPCW.
  • Till present 192 states have given their consent to be bound by the CWC. Israel has signed but not ratified the agreement, while three other UN member states (Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan) have neither signed nor acceded to the treaty.

Important features-

  • Prohibition-

The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits:

  1. Developing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling, or retaining chemical weapons.
  2. The direct or indirect transfer of chemical weapons.
  3. Chemical weapons use or military preparation for use.
  4. Assisting, encouraging, or inducing other states to engage in CWC-prohibited activity.
  5. The use of riot control agents “as a method of warfare.”
  • Declaration Requirements-

The CWC requires states-parties to declare in writing to the OPCW their chemical weapons stockpiles, chemical weapons production facilities (CWPFs), relevant chemical industry facilities, and other weapons-related information. This must be done within 30 days of the convention’s entry into force for each member state.

  • Destruction Requirements-
  1. The convention requires states-parties to destroy:
  2. All chemical weapons under their jurisdiction or control.
  3. All chemical weapons production facilities under their jurisdiction or control.
  4. Chemical weapons abandoned on other states’ territories.
  5. Old chemical weapons.
  • On-Site Activity-
  1. The convention establishes three types of on-site activities that aim to generate confidence in states-parties’ CWC compliance. These include:
  2. “Routine inspections” of chemical weapons-related facilities and chemical industry facilities to verify the content of declarations and to confirm that activities are consistent with CWC obligations.
  3. “Challenge inspections” which can be conducted at any facility or location in states-parties to clarify questions of possible noncompliance. (To prevent abuse of this measure, the OPCW’s executive body can vote by a three-quarters majority to stop a challenge inspection from going forward.)
  4. Investigations of alleged use of chemical weapons.
  • Trade-

The convention encourages trade among states-parties, calling upon them not to maintain restrictions on one another that would hamper the trade of chemical-related items to be used for peaceful purposes.

  • Penalties for Noncompliance-
  1. If states-parties are found to have engaged in prohibited actions that could result in “serious damage” to the convention, the OPCW could recommend collective punitive measures to other states-parties. In cases of “particular gravity,” the OPCW could bring the issue before the UN Security Council and General Assembly.
  2. States-parties must take measures to address questions raised about their compliance with the CWC. If they do not, the OPCW may, inter alia, restrict or suspend their CWC-related rights and privileges (such as voting and trade rights).

Significance in present time-

  • The CWC is the first disarmament agreement negotiated within a multilateral framework that provides for the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction under universally applied international control.
  • Use of chemical weapons is considered as most unethical during the war-fares. Thus OPCW is playing pivotal role in destroying the chemical stockpiles across the world and making world better place for living.
  • As of October 2016, about 93% of the world’s declared stockpile of chemical weapons had been destroyed. The convention has provisions for systematic evaluation of chemical production facilities, as well as for investigations of allegations of use and production of chemical weapons based on intelligence of other state parties.
  • Terrorism has become a big threat and with fully self-funded terrorist organization like ISIS and Al Qaida coming up, a close implementation of treaty is necessary otherwise the technology as well as chemical weapons could easily fall into terrorists’ hand making entire world vulnerable to attacks by chemical weapons.
  • CWC played key role in destructing the chemical weapons possessed by Syria following the August 2013 Ghouta chemical attack.
  • Organizations like OPCW have played a crucial role with regard to monitoring the violations of the provisions of the treaty and it has also helped spread the message of global peace.

Some concerns-

  • Some chemicals which have been used extensively in warfare but have numerous large-scale industrial uses such as phosgene are highly regulated, however certain notable exceptions exist. Chlorine gas is highly toxic, but being a pure element and extremely widely used for peaceful purposes, is not officially listed as a chemical weapon.
  • Certain state-powers like North Korea and Egypt continue to regularly manufacture and implement such chemicals in combat munitions. 


The world has already witnessed a horror created by chemical weapons in world wars. 192 countries have ratified the CWC and its one of the great achievement in itself. The international pressure should be built up on remaining countries for signing up and ratifying the treaty so that the world gets rid of the threat of chemical weapons forever.


Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

6) Do you think there is a need for codifying privileges and giving primacy to a citizen’s right to free speech over legislative privileges? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu


The case of the Karnataka Assembly imposing fines and imprisonment on two journalists for writing something against the Speaker when he was a legislator and against another legislator has once again revived the debate about the need for codifying privileges and giving primacy to a citizen’s right to free speech over legislative privileges.


The term parliamentary privileges is used in Constitutional writings to denote both these types of rights and immunities. Sir Thomas Erskine May has defined the expression Parliamentary privileges as follows: The sum of the peculiar rights enjoyed by each house collectively and by members of each house of parliament individually, without which they cannot discharge their functions, and which exceed those possessed by other bodies or individuals. Articles 105 and 194 of the Indian constitution clearly lay down that the “power, privileges and immunities of the legislature.

Is there need for codifying the legislative privileges by giving primacy to a citizen’s right to free speech over legislative privileges?

Arguments against-

  • Legislative privileges are provided so that legislatures can discharge their duties without fear and favor and without external interference. Codification of their privileges would undermine their freedom and may hamper the effectiveness of legislature to discharge their duties.
  • Just because some parliamentarians violate the spirit of the legislative purposes do not mean that they should be overhauled and be made drastic changes in them.

Arguments in favor-

  • Absoluteness of privileges-

Un-codification of the privileges has led to absoluteness of the privileges. Articles 105 and 194 clearly lay down that the “power, privileges and immunities of the legislature shall be as may from time to time be defined by the legislature, and until so defined, shall be those of the House of Commons”. The expression “until so defined” does not mean an absolute power not to define privileges at all.

The present situation has led to classic paradox where the ‘sovereign people of India’ have a restricted right to free speech but ‘their servants or representatives’ have an absolute freedom of speech in the Houses.

  • No parliamentary sovereignty-

In India parliament is not sovereign body like that of British. Thus there should be some checks and controls over the powers and privileges of the parliament. However non-codification of the privileges paves the way for authoritarian tendencies in democratic institution.

  • Parliamentary privileges Vs Fundamental rights

Parliamentary privileges violate the fundamental rights of the citizens. For eg recent case of Karnataka legislative assembly. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression under art 19 (though not absolute) is easily overridden by the parliamentary privileges due to lack of codification of the privileges.

  • Increasing misuse of the privileges-

There have been increasing instances of the misuse of the privileges by legislatures in India. Though constitution makers have left the space for the codification of the privileges, there have been no such steps taken by the parliament thereafter. This has left the vagueness, ambiguity in the privileges that leads to its misuse. 

  • Fear of judicial scrutiny-

The codification of privileges is basically resisted because it would make the privileges subject to fundamental rights and hence to judicial scrutiny and evolution of new privileges would not be possible.


With the increasing awareness in the political sphere, there have been growing clamor for the control over parliamentary privileges. Legislative organ of the state should voluntarily adopt the codification of the privileges that would preserve the dignity of the institution and rights of the citizens.


General Studies – 3

Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

7) How can India achieve the target of becoming a global manufacturing hub? Discuss. (200 Words)


Introduction :- Globally, India is the sixth-largest manufacturing nation and the biggest recipient of foreign direct investments (FDIs). Making India a global manufacturing hub will be the reality if following measures are taken:-

  • India should embrace digital technologies. The global manufacturing landscape is being transformed by digital technologies such as the “internet of things” and robotics collectively called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” or “Industry 4.0”. Adoption of digital technologies in India is still in its infancy. Increasing investment in these technologies is propelling traditional manufacturing powerhouses of the 20th century back to the top of competition.
  • There is a need to meticulously invest, accumulate large productive capabilities, advance manufacturing techniques, develop capabilities in core products, setting up advance manufacturing facilities. and also organize large scale production in peripheral products to make the manufacturing base strong.
  • Developing capability in advance manufacturing would also require leapfrogging mindset, deep commitment and long term investments in existing and new R&D institutions headed by professionals of proven capability.
  • Creating large scale manufacturing facility for producing skill and labour intensive products is also need of our. China has become leading exporter of auto components, Toys, furniture, footwear, apparels, mattresses, locks, low end engineering products by creating largest possible scale of organized production that ensured economies of scale.
  • India has a number of factors in its favour, including a huge and growing market, a large workforce with diverse skills, demographic dividend, English-speaking scientists and engineers, research and development centres of over 1,000 top global multinationals, the world’s third-largest technology start-up base and a government focus on making the nation an easy place to do business. India must positively utilise these factors.

Conclusion :- India’s challenges include issues relating to infrastructure—physical and digital, skill gaps, innovation ecosystem, public-private partnership, support for MSMEs, data security and privacy, standards-based interoperability and a conducive regulatory framework. Collaborative efforts by central and state governments, industry, academia, research and financing institutions are the need of the hour to ensure leveraging of the digital manufacturing revolution and reaping benefits of enhanced competitiveness.


General Studies – 4



TopicEthics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions

8) Define ignorance, passion and fear. Examine how these influence human actions. (150 Words)

Reference (Page 54, 55 and 56)

Introduction :-

Ignorance :-

Ignorance is the absence of knowledge in a subject capable of having knowledge, or lack of knowledge in a subject who should have knowledge.
An animal cannot be ignorant because of its inability to have human knowledge. But a public manager can be ignorant if she lacks knowledge of managerial principles or ethics in public organizations. Amore critical element of ignorance is the distinction between invincible and vincible ignorance. Invincible ignorance means that the actor does even suspect that she is ignorant or that she is in doubt about the nature of the action but does not have access through common sense to dispel the doubt. Vincible ignorance, on the other hand, means that the actor c through the use of ordinary care or common sense dispel the doubt.

Passion :-

Passions are powerful emotions or appetites springing from a pretense of something perceived as good or evil; they are usually accompanied by bodily changes. Passions include human appetites, such as anger, grief, love, hatred or greed. Some passions precede an act of the will and cause the will to act. Sometimes, the actor deliberately arouses his passions.
There are many passions that influence human action.  The most fundamental one is love, which inclines us toward the good and union with the person loved.  Desire moves us to set out to attain a good that is absent.  Joy is the result of attaining this good.  Hate is opposed to love and arises when something is seen as evil; aversion is opposed to desire, and sorrow to joy.  Daring spurs us to seek what is good despite the difficulties involved; fear leads us to distance ourselves from an evil that is difficult to avoid, while anger spurs us to resist forcefully an evil we confront.


Fear is an unpleasant and often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. Fear is completely natural and helps people to recognize and respond to dangerous situations and threats. However, healthy fear — or fear which has a protective function — can evolve into unhealthy or pathological fear, which can lead to exaggerated and violent behaviour.
Fear may come from sources outside ourselves for from within. It can be inflicted justly or unjustly—justly when inflicted by a person with the right to inflict it and in the proper manner, as happens when a judge acts; or unjustly when inflicted either by a person without authority or in an improper manner.
People are social in nature, with shared values, religion, tradition, language, etc. Whenever the basic characteristics that tie a group together are threatened, the group will fear for its survival. As a result, the group will also attempt to get rid of the threat, sometimes through distorted or violent means.
For example, historical tensions and wrongdoing affect the way Israelis and Palestinians see each other today.