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General Studies – 1;


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

1) Write a note on India’s Home Rule movement and opinions of Tilak, Gandhiji and Tagore on Home Rule. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- The Indian Home Rule movement was a movement in British India on the lines of Irish Home Rule movement and other home rule movements. The movement lasted around two years between 1916–1918 and is believed to have set the stage for the independence movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.

Indian home rule movement began in India in the background of World War I. The Government of India Act (1909) failed to satisfy the demands of the national leaders. However, the split in the congress and the absence of leaders like Tilak, who was imprisoned in Mandalay meant that nationalistic response was tepid.

By 1915, many factors set the stage for a new phase of nationalist movement. The rise in stature of Annie Besant (who was of Irish origin and a firm supporter of Irish home rule movement), the return of Tilak from exile and the growing calls for solving the split in congress began to stir the political scene in India. The Ghadar Mutiny and its suppression led to an atmosphere of resentment against British rule.


Tilak on Home Rule :-

  • Lokmanya Tilak first started the Home Rule Movement. He was against the discriminative attitude of the British government. He was of the opinion that the Britishers were responsible for the degrading condition of the Indians.
  • He said that they made the Indians economically weak. In order to uplift the Indians from their degrading condition and make them strong enough to fight the war of independence, he establishes the Home Rule League in India in 1916 along with Mrs. Annie Besant.
  • His main aim was to drive out the Britishers from India ultimately and establish a self-government in India. His main political goal was the political emancipation of the motherland. The main aim of the movement was to give the Indians their rights.
  • Tilak said that every community should have the right of self-determination Tilak’s approach towards emancipation and uplift of individuals was highly acclaimed by the individuals.


Gandhiji on Home Rule :-

  • First, Gandhi argues that ‘Home Rule is Self Rule’. He argues that it is not enough for the British to leave only for Indians to adopt a British-styled society. As he puts it, some “want English rule without the Englishman … that is to say, [they] would make India English. And when it becomes English, it will be called not Hindustan but Englishtan. This is not the Swaraj I want.”
  • Gandhi also argues that Indian independence is only possible through passive resistance. In fact, more than denouncing violence, Gandhi argues that it is counter-productive; instead, he believes, “The force of love and pity is infinitely greater than the force of arms. There is harm in the exercise of brute force, never in that of pity.” This is essential throughout Hind Swaraj.
  • To exert passive resistance, Gandhi reasons that Swadeshi (self-reliance) be exercised by Indians, meaning the refusal of all trade and dealings with the British. He addresses the English when he states, “If you do not concede our demand, we shall be no longer your petitioners. You can govern us only so long as we remain the governed; we shall no longer have any dealings with you.” Gandhi makes an intriguing argument here: if the British want India for trade, remove trade from the equation.
  • Finally, Gandhi argues that India will never be free unless it rejects Western civilization itself. In the text he is deeply critical of western civilization, claiming, “India is being ground down, not under the English heel, but under that of modern civilization.” He speaks about civilization not just in relation to India, though. He argues that “Western civilization is such that one has only to be patient and it will be self destroyed.” It is a profound repudiation. Not only is western civilization unhealthy for India, but western civilization is by its own virtue unhealthy.


Tagore on Home Rule :-

  • Sir Rabindra Nath reviewed the political situation created by the Home Rule agitation and the attitude of the Government towards it. He impressed upon the audience that it would not do for the people of Bengal to cry for Self-Government if they continue to be bound and led as they had been for ages past by false ideals of society, religion and morality and sacrificed truth and right at the alter of those ideals.



Topic:  Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India) 

2) It is said that GST could fundamentally alter the economic geography of India. Examine how. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- Goods and Services Tax (GST) is an indirect tax which was introduced in India on 1 July 2017 and was applicable throughout India which replaced multiple cascading taxes levied by the central and state governments. It was introduced as The Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act 2017, following the passage of Constitution 122nd Amendment Bill.

The GST is governed by a GST Council and its Chairman is the Finance Minister of India. Under GST, goods and services are taxed at the following rates, 0%, 5%, 12% ,18% and 28%. There is a special rate of 0.25% on rough precious and semi-precious stones and 3% on gold. 

In addition a cess of 15% or other rates on top of 28% GST applies on few items like aerated drinks, luxury cars and tobacco products. GST was initially proposed to replace a slew of indirect taxes with a unified tax and was therefore set to dramatically reshape the country’s 2 trillion dollar economy. The rate of GST in India is between double to four times that levied in other countries like Singapore.

Overhaul in economic geography of India :-

  • The coming into force of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will unify the nation into a common economic market, obviating the need for goods to be taxed each time they cross a state border. 
  • It will change all aspects of business, from the location of production and investments to logistical and supply-chain optimisation.
  • Prior to GST, the internal movement of goods was subject to a number of barriers.
  • There were taxes on the inter-state movement of goods and cross-state differences in VAT structures.
  • There were cumbersome inspections, especially at state borders. 
  • A recent World Bank-funded study roughly 20 per cent of the transit time is spent at the border on verification of documents.


  • GST will eliminate taxes on inter-state movement and harmonise the VAT structure across states 
  • GST is expected to result in a significant increase in internal trade — by as much as 30 to 40 per cent, according to some estimates.
  • Beyond the increase in internal trade, other economic factors are at play that can significantly alter the economic map of the country. 
  • a reduction in transport barriers, as is the case with GST, can change the location of production within a country quite dramatically — away from the largest market to low production-cost locations, thus diluting the home-market effect.
  • As economic corridors change, the demand for new investment in transport and logistics infrastructure will increase. Supplying this demand will require a nimble reading of where markets will grow and where new investments will be necessary
  • The McKinsey study, Building India: Transforming the Nation’s Logistics Infrastructure, estimated that logistical inefficiency in India amounts to around 4 per cent of the GDP — this could well increase as the GST intensifies logistical needs Infrastructure is often identified as a “binding constraint” to growth.


India’s economic destiny will crucially rely on its ability to anticipate, support and leverage its evolving economic geography. Much economic and political effort will be required to arrive at optimal investment choices — on the modal mix, the balance between road and rail, air and water, on the location of the vaunted multi-modal logistics “parks”, on technology adoption and on the setting of standards (for instance, on containerisation) to support inter modal transport inter alia — and to achieve efficient funding.


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

3) “Rules on secrecy of ballot in Rajya Sabha polls are not in sync with free choice and consent.” Comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

The Hindu


 Ans –

Two contradicting rules prevail as per the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 –

  • Rule 39 A – the vote should be a complete secret and not let anyone else know. If the ballot paper is shown to a third unauthorized person, it is deemed invalid.
  • Rule 39 AA – the vote can be disclosed to an authorized whip of the political party he belongs to.

As per the Conduct of Election Rules 1961, the procedure laid down for the Rajya Sabha elections calls for a ballot-in-secret. Secrecy under Rule 39A mandates that the elector cannot declare his ballot to anyone; any deviation results in the invalidation of the ballot by the presiding officer. But Rule 39A seems to be amiss of norm of a secret ballot.

Secrecy aims to protect the vote as it affords the right to the voter to keep silent over the choice of candidate. All electoral polling, either for the presidency, vice-presidency, Parliament, or state assemblies, is in essence a secret ballot. However, there are two means of executing such ends: The duty-based measure and the rights-based measure.

  1. The rights-based measure provides the voter the right to keep his vote a secret. Such a right creates a correlative duty on the election authorities to afford voting facilities and procedures that do not disclose the vote. But the voter can choose to not opt for secrecy. The voter is given legal anonymity for the vote he casts, but he may choose to claim authorship over the same.
  2. On the other hand, the duty-based measure imposes secrecy as a statutory duty not only on the election authorities but also on the voter. The voter even by his consent cannot declare his choice; doing so would invalidate his vote. Rule 39A creates secrecy in the nature of a duty-based measure, which creates pragmatic absurdities that weaken electoral practice.

Rule 39A applies only while the election process is underway. There is nothing in the Conduct of Election Rules or the Representation of People’s Act which prohibits a voter from declaring his vote after the process is completed. This scheme lacks procedural merit because it cannot control the behaviour of the elector outside the ballot box. Therefore, the scheme of duty-based secrecy fails.

An argument for the mandatory non-disclosure of the vote presses upon the need that the voter should not be given an option to declare his vote because the flexibility would allow others to pressure him informally into declaring his choice. However Rule 39AA of the Conduct of Election Rules defeats this purpose. It mandates that an elector belonging to a political party must declare his vote to the party agent, if the political party has issued a whip regarding the vote. Refusing to do so is a violation of the election procedure and the vote stands invalidated. Essentially, all non-independent electors would have to disclose their choice in a secret ballot. Rule 39AA creates a party hegemony that assails the democratic consent of the elector. This allows for internal voter intimidation by parties.

The five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the Kuldip Nayar case (2006) upheld the open ballot system, holding that it was “essential as electors were resorting to cross voting under the garb of conscience voting, flouting party discipline in the name of secrecy of voting”.

In its order, the EC has observed that Rule 39AA “is very clear that the elector has to show his ballot paper only to the authorised representative of his party and to no one else”. It said that in case of independent MLAs, they do not have to show their votes to “anyone at all”.

However, Rule 39AA is silent on who would be the authorised representative for a rebel MLA- the party against which he rebelled or for which he rebelled.


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

4) Critically comment on NITI Aayog’s recent push to states to privatise well functioning district hospitals in the Tier 2 and 3 cities. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


Ans –

NITI Aayog’s recent push for privatising district hospitals in Tier 2 and 3 cities can be viewed from both positive and negative approaches.


  1. Access to advanced technology – Private sector is much advanced in health sector in India in terms of equipment, accessibility, quality of service.
  2. Human resource – Tier 2 and 3 cities lack number of Doctors, Nurses proportion in comparison to population. This move can attract urban medical professionals to pursue their career in these cities.
  3. Better governance, more Investments – Public funds are in shortage to administer government hospitals coupled with corruption, failure of timely service, etc.


  1. Monopoly – Promotes corporatisation, increased cost of service, commercialization with private sector being the only option in these cities.
  2. Crony capitalism, corruption, collusive bribery with government can increase with respect to purchase of medical equipment, distribution. Burden on poor and marginalized people.
  3. Regional inequality with private sectors concentrating in well to do districts.

Conclusion –

Privatising district hospitals can have right impact when state governments regulate them through measures like prescribing generic medicines [Jan Aushadhi outlets], procuring medical equipment in transparent manner, option to provide services at low cost under CSR and regional medical insurance schemes, Incorporating Traditional AYUSH systems along with modern methods etc. The intention of NITI Aayog is right but implementation must be regulated so as to ensure justice to all and achieve goals of SDG-3 in India.


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

5) Considering  socio-economic factors and the state’s limitations in providing education, especially for the weaker sections, do you think government’s decision to scrap no-detention policy under RTE is warranted? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu


What is no-detention policy?

No student up to class VIII can be failed or expelled from school. All the students up till Class VIII will automatically be promoted to next class. The policy was introduced under Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE). The guarantee of uninterrupted schooling that the Act provides under sections 16 and 30(1) is founded on the no-detention policy until Class 8.

It is a process of assessment under the Right to Education Act of India. The main aim of CCE is to evaluate every aspect of the child during their presence in the school. It was also done to reduce the workload of children by taking continuous tests of the students throughout the year. Under this system, the student’s marks will be replaced by grades which will be evaluated throughout the year through a series of circular and extra-circular activities.

Under the scheme, grades will be awarded instead of the marks to the students. The grades will be awarded based on work experience skills, dexterity, innovation, steadiness, teamwork, public speaking, behavior, etc.

Why was the policy implemented?

The policy was implemented under RTE Act in 2010 for the holistic development of the students throughout the year and not just twice a year. The idea was also to reduce the number of dropouts from the schools. Many states already had no-detention policies. This was also done to reduce the pressure on the students of the exams twice a year and rather they were evaluated throughout the year.

Criticism of no detention policy:

  • It is based on the flawed understanding of the student behavior that the students will study only when there is a fear of failing, which is not the case with many students.
  • The policy makers forgot the fact that all the students don’t learn at the same rate. There are some slow learners who require extra attention and care from the teachers.
  • This, in turn, promotes coaching classes. These students don’t pay attention in class and to pass in the Board examinations they chose to go to these coaching classes. The students also lose out on a chance to develop better.

Irrespective of above mentioned criticism; there are some positive aspects of no detention policy. The recent cabinet decision on scrapping the no detention policy at elementary level and introduce detention of students who fail a designated test in Class 5 or 6 can be analyses as:

  1. There are always the high chances that, the failed students drop out from the school due to financial constraints in repeating the year.
  2. No detention policy has removed the coercive fear of failure from student’s mind that has promoted the real learning. If this policy is scrapped now, the process of learning will get compromised to large extent.
  3. The RTE is student oriented law that has focused on learning process rather than powers centered with teacher. Scrapping the no detention policy will again reestablish the coercive power of failure to teachers / school administration.
  4. Examinations have led to completions that may not establish good learning habits and culture among student. The revival of detention may restart the fruitless competitions once again.


The recently appointed T. S. R. Subramanian committee has recommended that the no detention policy must be continued for young children until completion of class V when the child will be 11 years old. At the upper primary stage, the system of detention shall be restored subject to the provision of remedial coaching and at least two extra chances being offered to prove his capability to move to a higher class.



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

6) Should marijuana be completely banned in India? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

What is marijuana?

Marijuana is one of the most abused drugs in the world. There is an ever-growing gap between the latest science about marijuana and the myths surrounding it. Some people think that since it is legal in some places, it must be safe. But body doesn’t know a legal drug from an illegal drug. It only knows the effect the drug creates once have taken it. Marijuana comes from the Indian hemp plant, and the part that contains the “drug” is found primarily in the flowers (commonly called the “buds”) and much less in the seeds, leaves, and stems of the plant.

Effects of marijuana

When a person smokes cannabis, THC is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, reaching the brain within minutes. Neurotransmitters affect brain areas involved in memory, thinking, concentration, movement, coordination, sensory and time perception, as well as pleasure.

THC also disrupts the function of the cerebellum and basal ganglia, adversely affecting balance, posture, coordination, and reaction time, which can make it unsafe for a person using marijuana to drive a car, operate heavy machinery, or engage in sports or other potentially dangerous physical activities.

People use marijuana to achieve the feeling of elation (a high), giddiness, and relaxation. Marijuana also produces sensory perception changes; colors may seem brighter, music more vivid, and emotions more profound.

When cannabis is consumed for recreational purposes, the following effects are possible:

  • Change in perception – marijuana can have slight hallucinogenic effects, making users see reality in a distorted way
  • Alteration in mood – some may experience euphoria, become more animated, while others enter a state of relaxation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Reduction in blood pressure
  • Impairment of concentration and memory
  • Reduced psychomotor coordination
  • Nausea (despite the fact that cannabis can treat the symptoms of nausea)
  • Increase in appetite
  • More rapid breathing

Arguments in favour of legalizing Marijuana use in India:

The cannabis plant has tremendous amount of medicinal value and its potential for industrial usage can be tapped by legalizing its usage for this purpose.

Many countries have developed fabrics. It has unlimited usage in diverse fields, including in the field of semiconductors.

It has the potential of becoming a cash crop for poor marginal farmers. If proper research is done and cultivation of marijuana encouraged at an official level, it can gradually become a source of income for poor people with small landholdings.

Taxing marijuana will increase government’s revenue .By legalizing and taxing marijuana, the government will stand to earn huge amounts of revenue that will otherwise go to the Italian and Israeli drug cartels.

Marijuana legalization (or decriminalization) will replace the black market production and distribution with an ‘overboard industry’. There will be rules and regulations but the trade will be ‘populated by the government, farmers, merchants and retails clerks, not by criminals or drug dealers’.

Legalization of marijuana for recreational and medical purposes in Colorado has created 10,000 new jobs in the area. There are a plethora of jobs that can be created by the marijuana industry and help reduce India’s unemployment rate.

In India, dealers often mix hash and weed with chemicals or other drugs like afeem to improve the taste, color, texture or ‘high’ of the stuff. Legalization will improve the quality of marijuana sold to the users because government will regulate the production and sale of the drug.

The Marijuana plant is native to north India and can be planted on bunds and borders of the farms. There is huge scope for legalized Marijuana cultivation in India.

Arguments against legalizing Marijuana:

Cannabis, like other analgesics, can cause dependence and addiction. Over time, the persistent overstimulation of the endocannabinoid system can cause changes in the brain that result in addiction; this is much more likely in people who start using marijuana when young and who are heavy users.

An estimated 9 percent of people who use marijuana become dependent on the drug. Teenage users have a 17 percent risk of becoming addicted, and 25-50 percent of regular (daily) users become addicted. Abrupt withdrawal from cannabis can be uncomfortable but not life-threatening.

The full extent of long-term health risks of chronic cannabis use is currently unknown. There is no determining who will develop serious physical, psychological, or other unwanted reactions.


Topic:  Environmental pollution

7) Recently, the Niti Aayog released the draft National Energy Policy. Discuss its provisions related to health and pollution. (200 Words)

The Hindu



Energy is acknowledged as a key input towards raising the standard of living of citizens of any country, as is evident from the correlation between per capita electricity (a proxy for all energy forms) consumption and Human Development Index (HDI). Accordingly, energy policies of India have over the years directly aimed to raise per capita energy (and electricity) consumption, even while the main focus of the country’s development agenda has been on eradication of poverty.

There are four key objectives of energy policy:

  • Access at affordable prices
  • Improved security and Independence
  • Greater Sustainability
  • Economic Growth.

Various aspects in policy linked with the health and pollution are:

  • The policy aims for 100 % electrification that will boost the potential use of hybrid vehicles and thus ultimately reducing the fossil fuel linked vehicular pollution.
  • The draft policy specifically frameworks the energy mix for broader aim of energy security.
  • The goal of sustainability acquires added importance and urgency in view of the threat of catastrophic effects of climate change as well as the detrimental effects of fossil fuel usage on local air quality.
  • Energy is the lifeblood of the economy. It is an important enabling factor of growth and its availability at competitive prices is critical to the competitiveness of energy-intensive sectors. Being a vast sector in itself, its growth can directly influence the overall growth in the economy.
  • So far rural areas have lagged in availability of efficient energy solutions. The NEP pays greater attention to the provision of basic infrastructure in rural areas. This clause of draft policy will take special care of the marginalised sections of the society such as woman with respect to provision of clean fuel and energy.
  • The energy basket would shift with increase in income. For example, networked devices will exert a large pressure on electricity share. Likewise, per capita transport demand would rise. The NEP take into account behavioural shifts that would accompany increases in income


Keeping all the challenges in mind, it is envisaged that the Government will first endeavor to provide grid based supply to all households, and renewable based supply will be resorted only in exceptional circumstances. There is also a need to redefine the concept of ‘Electrification’, as occurs in the DDUGJY, to include stages of electrification in a village, with the village being deemed completely electrified if and only if ALL households of a village have an electricity connection, which witnesses reliable supply of electricity at least for a set number of hours.


Topic:  Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance

8) In the recent cases of lynching of dalits and minorities, do you see lack of emotional intelligence both on part of administration and mobs? Examine how emotional intelligence can help address various injustices meted out to weaker sections. (200 Words)


Introduction :- Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.

In recent cases of lynching ferocious mob killed people in many places.

The people who committed the crime lacked self awareness and awareness about others choices, habits. They were ignorant enough to convert a habit issue into life and death scenario. It was also observed that they indiscriminately targeted old people, youth even children. They lacked empathy, tolerance and sense of justice in them. They failed to recognise their emotions and passions, failed to distinguish between their feelings and necessary course of action.

On other side the administration was not able to sympathise with the victims Ex Dadri case Also it was not able to handle situations intelligently and used force in many cases.

Emotional intelligence plays important role in administration and in addressing various injustices meted out to weaker sections which includes children, women, poor, backward classes etc.

 This group lack money, power and any other support to stand for their demands, rights hence its utmost responsibility of administration to stand for them Emotional intelligence helps the civil servants to gauge this sense of responsibility. It helps in addressing the apathy, lack of positive discrimination towards weaker sections in administration. 

Emotional intelligence help to improve a person in his personal life and their by help her in the professional life. In administration it can help in achieving the true goal of service which is welfare of weaker section of society.