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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:  Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. 

1) Maharashtra’s new law prohibiting the social boycott of individuals, families or any community by informal village councils is a template for other states. Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu



A boycott is an act of voluntary and intentional abstention from dealing with a person, as an expression of protest, usually for social, political, or environmental reasons. The purpose of a boycott is to inflict some economic loss on the target, or to indicate a moral outrage, to try to compel the target to alter an objectionable behaviour.


  • The Issue of social boycott is historical and it is unfortunate fact that it exist even today. Though the boycott has reduced to a considerable extent at individual level, the Jat panchayats still practice this inhumane tool to suppress the acts which are considered as anti social or different from traditional practices.
  • The State of Maharashtra has seen several instances of social boycott of individuals most often for marrying within the same gotra (clan) or outside the prescribed boundaries of caste. The highest number of incidents was reported from the districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri and Nashik; and the largest number of cases of social boycott was provoked by inter-caste marriages.
  • Maharashtra’s social boycott law is best understood as one front in a long struggle to effectuate the Constitution’s guarantee against social exclusion, as expressed in Articles 15(2) and 17.
  • Article 17 of the Constitution and the Protection of Civil Rights Act outlaw untouchability in all its forms, but these are legal protections intended for the Scheduled Castes. In reality, members of various castes and communities also require such protection from informal village councils and gatherings of elders who draw on their own notions of conformity, community discipline, morality and social mores to issue diktats to the village or the community to cut off ties with supposedly offending persons and families.

Salient features of the bill:

  • The Bill provides for prohibition of social boycott of a person or group of persons, by an individual or a group like caste panchayats.
  • The provisions of the law define social boycott as a cognisable, but bailable offence, and provide for an imprisonment of up to three years or Rs. 1 lakh fine or both.
  • The legislation had provisions for disbursing the fine amount to the victims and their rehabilitation.
  • The law recognises the human rights dimension to issues of social boycott, as well as the varied forms in which it occurs in a caste-based society.
  • The bill takes into account discrimination on the basis of morality, social acceptance, political inclination, sexuality, which it prohibits.
  • Bill makes it an offence to create cultural obstacles by forcing people to wear a particular type of clothing or use a particular language.

Way ahead:

The state of Maharashtra is the first state to enact such law and thus provides the path for the other states to follow it. Reasons can be:

  1. Constitutionality: The legal provisions of this act protect the article 15, 17 and 21 of Indian constitution. These provisions of constitution aim to protect the civil rights of an individual and thus there is huge scope to implement provisions of law on similar lines in other states.
  2. The law maintains the demographic balance of society by prohibiting illegal activities such as  forced migration , female foeticide etc
  3. The issue of informal jat panchayat can be effectively solved by such progressive legislation. The jat panchayat do not fits into the progressive philosophy of contemporary age and thus should be strictly regularised to prohibit any decision based on discriminatory ground.
  4. The provision of rehabilitation will help to strengthen the one of the marginalised sections of the society.
  5. The issue of cultural obstacle created by people with respect to clothing or language are very critical, especially in urban areas.

The social boycott is the worst case of discrimination. As the state has the welfare state policy , any kind of negative discrimination ,based on any ground is derogatory and thus to be prohibited by law. The very purpose of the legislation is to push society towards radical reforms and thus making efforts to have an egalitarian structure where in opportunities and rights are equal for all. The current piece of legislation is on the same line of thought.


General Studies – 2


Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary 

2) Recently, a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether privacy is a fundamental right. Discuss the importance of and need for large bench hearings of the Supreme Court. (200 Words)




The right to privacy in current context is statutory right and thus protected under rule of law. Declaring right to privacy as a fundamental right will have a many repercussions and thus the issues is to be decided by larger constitutional bench.


  • Article 21 of the Constitution of India states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”. After reading the Article 21, it has been interpreted that the term ‘life’ includes all those aspects of life which go to make a man’s life meaningful, complete and worth living. The strategy adopted by the Supreme Court with a view to expand the ambit of Art. 21 and to imply certain right there from, has been to interpret Art.21 along with international charters on Human Rights.
  • The Court has implied the right of privacy from Art.21 by interpreting it in conformity with Art.12 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Art.17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966. Both of these international documents provide for the right of privacy.
  • Article 21 of the Constitution of India states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”. The right to life enshrined in Article 21 has been liberally interpreted so as to mean something more than mere survival and mere existence or animal existence. It therefore includes all those aspects of life which makes a man’s life more meaningful, complete and worth living and right to privacy is one such right.
  • The first time this topic was ever raised was in the case of Kharak Singh v. State of UP where the Supreme Court held that Regulation 236 of UP Police regulation was unconstitutional as it clashed with Article 21 of the Constitution. It was held by the Court that the right to privacy is a part of right to protection of life and personal liberty. Here, the Court had equated privacy to personal liberty.

What is constitutional bench?

Constitution bench is the name given to the benches of the Supreme Court of India which consist of at least five judges of the court which sit to decide any case “involving a substantial question of law as to the interpretation” of the Constitution of India. This provision has been mandated by Article 145 (3) of the Constitution of India.The Chief Justice of India has the power to constitute a Constitution Bench and refer cases to it.

Need of larger constitutional bench:

  • The sheer importance of Aadhar issue makes this decision worthy enough to get mandate of 9 judge constitutional bench.
  • The challenge created by use of technology in daily lives has made this issue very crucial, challenging and complicated, thus the constitutional bench should make a decision on such critical aspect of life.
  • The history of judicial interpretation about the right to privacy has created some kind of ambiguity and thus the 9 judge bench and its authority will create the clarity about the legal and constitutional position of right to privacy.
  • Larger constitutional bench will accommodate more judges and thus will bring the expertise from diverse section and fields. This will lead to consideration of all possible dimensions about this issue very important issue.

As far as the delays are avoided, the 9 judges’ constitutional bench is the welcome step for the interpretation and decision making on right to privacy and its status as a fundamental right.


Right to privacy is an essential component of right to life and personal liberty under Article 21. Right of privacy may, apart from contract, also arise out of a particular specific relationship, which may be commercial, matrimonial or even political. Right to privacy is not an absolute right; it is subject to reasonable restrictions for prevention of crime, disorder or protection of health or morals or protection of rights and freedom of others. Where there is a conflict between two derived rights, the right which advances public morality and public interest prevails.


Topic:  Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

3) NITI Aayog is responsible for monitoring and evaluating government schemes. Critically evaluate its functioning. (200 Words)




NITI Aayog or the National Institution for Transforming India is a Government of India policy think-tank established by the government to replace the Planning Commission which followed the top-down model.


Aim of establishing Niti Aayog:

  • To evolve a shared vision of national development priorities sectors and strategies with the active involvement of States in the light of national objectives
  • To foster cooperative federalism through structured support initiatives and mechanisms with the States on a continuous basis, recognizing that strong States make a strong nation
  • To develop mechanisms to formulate credible plans at the village level and aggregate these progressively at higher levels of government
  • To ensure, on areas that are specifically referred to it, that the interests of national security are incorporated in economic strategy and policy
  • To pay special attention to the sections of our society that may be at risk of not benefiting adequately from economic progress
  • To design strategic and long term policy and programme frameworks and initiatives, and monitor their progress and their efficacy. The lessons learnt through monitoring and feedback are to be used for making innovative improvements, including necessary mid-course corrections
  • To provide advice and encourage partnerships between key stakeholders and national and international like-minded Think tanks, as well as educational and policy research institutions.
  • To create a knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurial support system through a collaborative community of national and international experts, practitioners and other partners.
  • To offer a platform for resolution of inter-sectorial and inter­ departmental issues in order to accelerate the implementation of the development agenda.
  • To maintain a state-of-the-art Resource Centre, be a repository of research on good governance and best practices in sustainable and equitable development as well as help their dissemination to stake-holders
  • To actively monitor and evaluate the implementation of programmes and initiatives, including the identification of the needed resources so as to strengthen the probability of success and scope of delivery
  • To focus on technology up gradation and capacity building for implementation of programmes and initiatives
  • To undertake other activities as may be necessary in order to further the execution of the national development agenda, and the objectives mentioned above.

Criticism of Niti Aayog:

  1. Any think tank has to be slightly distant from the Government. The members and Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog have been defending Government on all issues which is actually the role of various ministries of the Government.
  2. There has to be awareness regarding all the constraints, be in touch with professional organizations and then decide whether a programme and schemes will work or not. Based on this, it has to give suggestions to the State Governments and Government of India. This role has not been performed by NITI Aayog; therefore, this body needs some more time.
  3. Financial independence of Niti Ayog is still under question.
  4. Sector wise solutions have to be found in order to make implementation more effective.
  5. People’s participation has not provided enough attention in the administrative structure of Niti Aayog.


Any criticism that leads to improvement or transformation is welcome. More studies are required to be done along with accountability. A clear roadmap of plans and ideas has to be there. The institution is expected to serve the purpose of co-operative federalism. NITI Aayog should make evaluations of the flagship programmes being run by the Government and help in delivering those programmes on ground.


Topic:  Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability,

4) Discuss various cases and committees related to the right to privacy issue in India. (200 Words)

The Indian Express



Right to Privacy is not explicit in the Constitution of India, so it is a subject of judicial interpretation. Different cases and opinions of the judiciary have added different dimensions to the issue of right to privacy in India. Thus there is need to trace the origin of concept in India and its logical evolution.

Various cases and committees related to the right to privacy issue-

  • In M.P. Sharma v Satish Chandra (1954), Supreme Court on the issue of ‘power of search and seizure’ held that they cannot bring privacy as the fundament right because it is something alien to Indian Constitution and constitution maker does not bother about the right to privacy .
  • After M.P. Sharma Case, in Kharak Singh Case (1963) Supreme Court on the issue of whether surveillance, defined under Regulation 236 of the U.P. Police Regulations is amount to infringement of fundamental right and whether right privacy is come under the purview of fundamental right; they denied the right to privacy as fundamental right and they concluded that “the right of privacy is not a guaranteed right under our Constitution and therefore the attempt to ascertain the movements of an individual which is merely a manner in which privacy is invaded is not an infringement of a fundamental right guaranteed by Part III”.
  • But there was the powerful dissenting judgment of Justice Subba Roa, with whom Justice J.C. Shah concurred. They argued that even though the right to privacy is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, it is a necessary ingredient of the right to personal liberty. 
  • In the Gobind case (1975) the minority opinion of Kharak Singh case became the majority opinion. The court has recognised right to privacy as an integral part of right to personal liberty. Today, liberty is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. Supreme Court interpreted the objective of makers of Constitution of India and then broadened the scope of Article 21, so that the right to privacy can fall into it. They found that the objective of them is to ensure the conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness, emotions and sensations.
  • R. Gopal v State of Tamil Nadu was the first case which explained the evolution and scope of right to privacy in detail. In order to attain this question, Supreme Court went through the entire jurisprudence of right to privacy, its evolution and scope; and this fulfills gaps of Govind Case. To explain evolution it mainly discussed the Govind Case and follows the almost same approach. This Court held that the right to privacy is implicit in the right to life and liberty guaranteed by Article 21. Reached on the conclusion, that right to privacy no longer subsists in case of matter of public record.
  • People s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) v Union of India is related to phone tapping and it discussed that whether telephone tapping is an infringement of right to privacy under Article 21. Supreme Court argued that conversations on the telephone are often of an intimate and confidential character and telephone-conversation is a part of modern man’s life. Supreme Court also said that whether right to privacy can be claimed or has been infringed in a given case would depend on the facts of the said case.
  • In Mr. ‘X’ v Hospital ‘Z’ it was decided that when the right to privacy clashes with the other fundamental right i.e. right of privacy one person and right to lead a healthy life of another (society), then the right which would advance public morality or public interest would alone be enforced.
  • In Sharda v Dharmpal , Supreme Court held that a matrimonial court has the power to direct a party to undergo medical examination and passing of such an order would not be in violation of right of privacy or personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution of India , in support of this supreme court argued that information which is necessary for society should not protected from the making known to other under right to privacy.
  • In People s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) v Union of India, Supreme Court upheld the validity of various provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 and said that Right to privacy is subservient to that of security of State and referring to the Sharda v Dharmpal they said that holding information which is necessary for the security of state cannot be the subject to security of state.


Despite the implicit recognition of privacy as a fundamental right under art 21, the government continues to have powers to impose “reasonable restrictions”.  Moreover, global experience shows that the denial of privacy neither promotes national security nor curbs terrorism, it merely takes away citizen’s freedom to be left alone and curtails his/her choice in personal decisions. Thus it is argued that need has arisen in India to declare explicitly the right to privacy as integral part of fundamental right.


Topic: Powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

5) Criminalisation of politics has been a matter of great concern, particularly in the last two decades. Critically examine how both the Supreme Court and the Election Commission of India are becoming instrumental in cleaning politics. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

The participation of anybody involved in criminal doings, minor or major in political functioning of the country is termed as leading to “criminalisation of politics”.

Every third MP in the 16th Lok Sabha has criminal charges. Vohra Committee in 1993 and the second ARC report, 2008 recommend to cleanse politics. But still Criminalisation of politics has been a matter of great concern.

Roles played by S.C. and E.C. –

Judgements by Supreme Court in concern:

  1. Section 8 of the Representation of Peoples’ Act, 1951 disqualifies a person convicted with a sentence of 2 or more years from contesting elections. But those under trial continued to be legible to contest elections. Lily Thomas case (2013) ended this advantage to criminals.
  2. In Ramesh Dalal Vs UoI 2005, held that members of legislature shall also subject to disqualification if on the day of filling his nomination paper he stands convicted in the court of law.
  3. Introduction of NOTA in PUCL vs Union of India, 2014.
  4. In UoI vs ADR 2002 the Supreme court directed that all the contesting candidates at the time of filling the nomination papers shall disclose their assets and liabilities, criminal conviction if any and pending cases in court of law so that voters can reject candidate with such background.
  5. The Supreme Court asked the Law Commission of India to submit a report on framing of false charges and submission of false affidavits, which were accepted by it partially in 2014.
  6. The Supreme Court in 1997 directed all the high courts not to suspend the conviction of a person on appeal if he is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment by a trial court under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988.
  7. In Public Interest Foundation Vs UoI 2014, the Supreme Court directed the trial courts to complete the trial of cases involving the legislators within one year.

Election Commission also kept into account the need to exclude criminals from politics:

  • It has suggested debarring candidates facing serious criminal charges in 2015. But it will include only:
  1. Only heinous offences like murder, dacoity, rape, kidnapping or moral turpitude. 
  2. The case should have been registered at least a year before the elections.
  3. The court must have framed the charges.
  • EVM machine: Electronic voting machine brings more transparency by preventing malpractice of false voting and ballot tampering.
  • VVPAT initiative: Voter verified personal audit trail will address issue of loopholes such as EVM hacking and Machine manipulation.
  • Installation of CCTV camera during voting: Direction of election commission to install CCTV camera at sensitive polling booth will bring more transparency in the voting process.
  • Model Code of Conduct: These are guidelines issued by ECI at election time which should be followed by political parties and candidates fighting an election.
  • In 1997 the ECI directed the Returning Officer to reject the nomination papers of any candidates if on the day of filling nomination paper he stands convicted in a court of law even if his sentence is suspended.

However, there are some concerns regarding these measures:

  • Lengthy legal process- sometimes the cases drag for even decades.
  • False cases may be filed as a tool of political vendetta.
  • The definition of heinous crimes may change as per times and societal conditions.

Conclusion –

Cleaning politics has been a matter of concern since a long time. Intervention by various NGOs, Election commission and Supreme court at various instances are positive moves to make political system clean and healthy which is the utmost requirement of one of the largest democracy of the world.


General Studies – 3


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

6) It is said that soaring tech sector valuations and start-up mania are bringing back memories of the turn-of-the-century dotcom bubble. Do you agree? Critically examine. (200 Words)



Dot Com bubble of the 1990s was a period of rapid rise in equity market fueled by rapid investment in internet based companies. This bubble was fed by cheap money, easy capital, market overconfidence and pure speculation. We see a rapid rise in equity market due to tech valuation and start-ups today raising the threat for repeat of dot com bubble.

The reasons for calling the current increase similar to dot com bubble are:

  • Rapid rise in Unicorn companies.
  • No ceiling on the amount of investment in a company making a “horde all” scenario which raises the question of on ground realities of these investments.
  • Failure of big firms such as Dazo, Jewelskart, Bagskart and other suffering like Swiggy, Oyorooms, Snapdeal makes the bubble seem to burst.
  • Exaggerated valuations for more investment.
  • Revenue model focused on Burn rates for discounts, massive ad campaigns, internal spending than on core growth operations (Most food startups failed due to this faulty revenue model).
  • Shutdowns of startups – Cutting on workers has been observed (Snapdeal), poor business model.

However, there are reasons which suggest otherwise such as:

  • The market has matured substantially in the last 17 years.
  • The network is more entrenched leading to more diversified companies which can support one arm with another in times of failure. Tech firms have diversified their roles, expanded in other sectors (Paytm) and merger with other tech firms (Flipkart-Myntra).
  • It is not complete speculation this time as the start-ups are able to provide innovative solutions to problems which are in demand by the customers.

Conclusion –

We cannot completely deny the existence of a bubble regarding the increasing tech valuation and start-ups. However, it is less potentially damaging and more advantageous as it is helping nation’s economic growth, employment generation, creation of new opportunities. The venture capitalists need to invest only where there is true potential which can be ascertained by creating indexes similar to the Macro-vulnerability index and Rational investor rating index for the company.


General Studies – 4



Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators

 7) Anubhava Mantapa was said to be the fountainhead of all religious and philosophical thought pertaining to the Human Values, Ethics. Discuss its teachings. (150 Words)




Anubhava Mantapa was an academy of mystics, saints and philosophers of the Lingayat faith in the 12th century. It was the fountainhead of all religious and philosophical thought pertaining to the Lingayat. It was presided over by the mystic Allama Prabhu and numerous Sharanas from all over Karnataka and other parts of India were participants. This institution was also the fountainhead of the Vachana literature which was used as the vector to propagate Lingayata religious and philosophical thought. Other giants of Lingayat theosophy like Akka Mahadevi, Channabasavanna and Basavanna himself were participants in the Anubhava Mantapa. The Anubhava Mantapa also called as the Mahaamane.

The fundamental principles accepted Anubhava Mantapa may be summarized as follows:

  • All are equal reflects the notion of equality irrespective of the meaningless differentiation of human beings as high or low either on their birth or on their occupation.
  • Woman has equal rights with man to follow the path of self-evolution. It shows the emphasis on women emancipation, empowerment and attitude of compassion towards them.
  • Universal brotherhood, Community approach (team work) and Practice before preach are highly valued ethical conducts of humans, persuasion of justice in society.
  • Each one should follow a profession of his own choice means respect for freedom of choice and personal liberty.
  • Varnas (or castes) and Ashrams (or stages) are to be discarded, Inter-group marriages and free dining should be encouraged indicates high importance to rationality and idea of oneness in people.
  • Untouchability has no place in the society.
  • Every man is free to think on all spiritual and social subjects, reason and experience are the only guiding lights for free thinking and spiritual advancement reflects emphasis on human dignity, capability of everyone and scientific temperament.

Hence Anubhava Mantapa, the first parliament in history of mankind, through its principles and ideals tried to inculcate the necessary human values and ethical conduct. In times when society was plagued with many evils it proved to be the necessary guiding light.


Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators

8) Discuss the values preached by Jyotiba Phule and their relevance today. (150 Words)



 Jyotirao Govindrao Phule (11 April 1827 – 28 November 1890) was an Indian social activist for the Dalit people, a thinker, anti-caste social reformer and writer from Maharashtra.

The values preached by him:-

  • Equality, liberty and fraternity :- He worked for eradication of untouchability, upliftment of Dalits and downtrodden. He promoted the societal cooperation, brotherhood and unity of individual concepts.

Though our constitution guarantees these values legally their acceptance in people’s mind and heart is still distant dream. We must strive to instil them in us. The Manual scavenging abolition, spread of education are right steps.  

  • Justice, humanitarianism :- His work for oppressed through his literature like Shetkaryancha Asud, Gulamgiri and organisations like Satyshodhak samaj, his symbolisation of Raja Bali all reflects the above values.

These values are required today in order to make society a fair place to live. Like community of Transgender was given due recognition many other sections of society needs to be uplifted. 

  • Devotion, compassion, truthfulness, sympathy and feminism :- He devoted his entire life for progress of others. He was an living example of these values. He established Satyashodhak Samaj which means society of seekers of truth. His and his wife Savitribai Phule’s zeal for women emancipation, empowerment through education was remarkable.

Individuals are the most important part of any society. These values are needed today to make them good, ethical.

Jyotiba Phule left behind his legacy of values, ethics and work. These were capitalised upon by great people like Dr Ambedkar. Still they hold much relevance today in growing issues like caste discrimination, communalism, racial hatred, child marriages etc. Spreading his work and inculcating his preached values in society is need of hour.