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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.

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

1) Which events led to partition of India? Do you think wounds of partition have healed after 70 years of independence? Discuss. (200 Words)


Ans –

The partition of British India, into India and Pakistan, is one of those moments that would remain etched in history forever. The division of India into two, engineered by the British, was due to a number of events, which had taken place over the span of a couple of decades before that.

Some of the incidents culminating into partition :

  1. A feeling of religious and cultural exclusion:
  • When the religion took greater pride than other paradigms. For example: cow protection movement in 1840s, shuddhi movement.
  • Religion centric festivals such as Ganpati Festival in Maharashtra
  • Aligarh Movement
  1. Institutional mechanisms introduced by the British:
  • Partition of Bengal, 1905 by Lord Curzon
  • Separate electorates in Morley-Minto reforms, 1909
  • A recognition to League’s idea of separation in Shimla Agreement and by the Cabinet Mission
  1. Domestic political factors:
  • Propaganda of separation by Muslim League and a general feeling of apathy for Muslims by Congress.
  • The rise of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, especially after 1930.
  • The provincial elections of 1937.
  • Rejection of the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946, and the call for ”Direct Action” by Muhammad Ali Jinnah on 16th August, 1946.

The wounds have been healed partially and we as a nation, have learned to embrace them with grace.
Indian constitution adopted the ideal of secularism, liberty, equality and fraternity. Prominent posts in Indian polity are inclusive of all religions. The political affairs are no longer based on religion to that extent, but more on socio-economic and developmental needs. Acceptance of partition and recognising sacrifices during partition such as by establishing Partition Museum in Amritsar. In India, more than partition, the spirit of independence is celebrated.

However, the wounds still persist to some extent, because of the following reasons:

  1. The bad blood between Hindus and Muslims, which spills out in the form of communal riots, social ostracization, and discriminatory treatment, on both the sides.
    2. The persistent dispute concerning Jammu and Kashmir acts as a constant reminder.
    3. The belligerent attitude of Pakistan, and its very existence, also acts as a source at times.

Many thousands perished upon the birth of an independent India and Pakistan. We were out of the prison of colonialism, only to enter the prison again of regionalism, communalism and ultra-secularism, through another door. We need to strive against this domination as well


Topic:  India and its neighborhood- relations

2) Recently Sri Lanka inked a revised version of a $1.1 billion deal for leasing the Hambantota port to a Chinese state-run company. Does this revised deal address India’s concerns? Critically examine. (200 Words)



Ans –

Background –

Colombo inked a revised version of a $1.1 billion deal for leasing the Hambantota port to a Chinese state-run company. The port has been controversial ever since the China Merchants Port Holdings (CMPort) signed a framework agreement in December 2016 with Sri Lanka, taking an 80% stake in the project. Following the deal, however, there was much domestic unrest and accusations by Sri Lanka’s opposition parties of a sell-out to China, forcing Colombo to reconsider its position.

Sri Lanka also recognized regional concerns that Chinese control of Hambantota would result in its greater use by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). In particular, Colombo empathized with a growing sense in New Delhi that China’s expanding naval presence in South Asia represented a deliberate violation of India’s strategic redlines.

Addressing India’s concerns –

Sri Lankan leaders say the new deal corrects all that was wrong with the 2016 agreement. Besides restricting CMPort’s stakes to 70% (the lease period remaining at 99 years), Colombo has ensured that the port will not be used for military purposes. The pact limits CHPort’s role in running commercial operations by splitting the administrative functions between two companies. With a capital of $794 million, Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) will run operations at the port and its terminals. Controlled by CMPort, it will hold an 85% stake, with the rest held by Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). The second company, Hambantota International Port Group Services (HIPS), will have a capital investment of $606 million and oversee security operations, with the SLPA holding a 50.7% stake and CHPort, 49.3%. Colombo says the agreement gives it full control over security matters, as also the right to inspect ships entering the port.

However, the deal is a cause of worry for India as-

  1. Though the deal assuaged some Indian concerns, but China’s economic dominance over Sri Lanka is still a worry.
    2. Though Sri Lanka claims to have reduced the stake of the Chinese company entrusted with the development of the port, but, in effect, the majority shares of 2 firms involved belong to the Chinese company, which could ensure control over ship movements, including those of Chinese was vessels.
    3. There is also the likelihood of potential overlaps in authority and jurisdiction between 2 controlling firms, 1 of Sri Lanka’s and the other Chinese, at the port.
    4. In all likelihood, the final authority in the case of disagreement would rest with the majority stakeholder, that is, the Chinese company. The relevant sections haven’t been made public.
    5. The Sri Lanka’s moratorium on the docking of Chinese warships and submarines at Hambantota is unlikely to endure in the long run. China is bound to exploit deliberate ambiguities in the agreement to utilize Sri Lankan ports for military replenishment purposes.

Conclusion –

The true nature of Sri Lanka’s pact with China at Hambantota will only be revealed through a close reading of its original document. Regardless of what Colombo professes, India will be wary about the agreement at Hambantota—not just in relation to the division of ownership, but also regarding the prospect that China’s possible acquisition of berthing rights at Hambantota could lead to the setting up of the PLA’s first dual-use civilian-cum-military facility in South Asia.

India needs to keep persuading Sri Lanka through diplomacy to not compromise on India’s core interests. India cannot take its regional primacy for granted. It is high time for India to strengthen herself to challenge China’s growing dominance in India’s backyard.


Topic:  India and its neighborhood- relations  

3) How did partition affect and shape India’s relations with its neighbours? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


More than six decades later, the debates around partition of India show dichotomy: while some prefer to delve deep into the culpability factor for the violence, others choose to rather neutrally research the trauma factor that resulted from it.

The 71st independence day makes us to think on the effect of partition on India’s’ relationship with neighbouring countries.

  • The partition between India and Pakistan has resulted into hostile relations between two countries. The long period till today has been unable to establish peace and cordial relations between two countries despite many efforts.
  • The tense relations between India and Pakistan due to bitter past of many years have resulted into militarization of Jammu And Kashmir State. The demographics of Jammu and Kashmir state has resulted into assertive demands linked with autonomy and security linked challenges. These demands form the important component of foreign policy linked decisions.
  • The partition has also had impact on India Bangladesh relations as the center of control for Bangladesh for long time was East Pakistan. The role of India in Mukti bahini has been criticised and praised simultaneously.
  • The rising economic might of China has become the very decisive factor in foreign policy of India. The impact of partition and resultant conflict at various border points leads to the tense relationship with neighbouring countries in today’s context.
  • The partition has not just divided the geographies of nations, but it has also divided the existing natural resources. The division of natural resources has led to the dependencies in terms of economic requirements. The trade relation has become strategic need irrespective of philosophy or ideological synergy with ant country in the world. With neighbours, this applies more intensely.
  • The rising border security challenges in form of infiltration and illegal trade has created tensions between India and neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
  • The small neighbouring countries, mainly Bhutan and Nepal have been acting as buffer states for the India. Sandwiched between two Asian powers, these countries needs to maintain a balance between India and China. This strategic balance by Nepal and Bhutan is part of India’s relations with neighbouring countries.

The India Pakistan partition was considered a temporary event that will not lead to such a long-lasting results by that time. The partition has definitely shape the relations between India and its neighbouring countries in considerable extent.


Topic:  Structure, organization and functioning of the Judiciary

4) Do you think creation of an All-India Judicial Service (AIJS) along the lines of the All India Services (AIS) would solve problems being faced by the Indian judiciary? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

What are All India Services?

The All India Services (AIS) comprises Civil Services of India, namely the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Forest Service (IFS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS). A common unique feature of the All India Services is that the members of these services are recruited by the Centre (Union government in federal polity), but their services are placed under various State cadres, and they have the liability to serve both under the State and under the Centre. Due to the federal polity of the country, this is considered one of the tools that make union government stronger than state governments. Officers of these three services comply with the All India Services Rules relating to pay, conduct, leave, various allowances etc.

Status of AIJS:

The proposal for an All-India Judicial Service was first suggested in the Chief Justices’ Conference in 1961 as a way to remove any scope for judicial or executive intervention in the appointments to the judiciary in the High Courts and the Supreme Court in India. The idea had to be shelved after some states and High Courts opposed it.

The Constitution was amended in 1977 to provide for an AIJS under Article 312. The proposal was again floated by the ruling UPA government in 2012 but the draft bill was shelved again after opposition from High Court Chief Justices who labeled this an infringement of their rights.

On similar lines, judges are recruited by High Courts on the basis of a common examination.

What is the proposal?

The idea was first mooted by the Law Commission in the 1950s to have an AIJS.

Under this the district judges will be recruited centrally through an all-India examination.

They will then be allocated to each State along the lines of the AIS.

Need of AIJS:

  • The AIJS is an attempt to ensure that younger judges are promoted to the SC and HCs. In the existing system, recruits join as magistrates in the subordinate judiciary and take at least 10 years to become district judges.
  • This is expected to ensure a transparent and efficient method of recruitment to attract the best talent in India’s legal profession.
  • Making it an all India service, it can attract the best talent in the country for better functioning of judiciary.
  • Currently India’s legal infrastructure is facing various issues, particularly the lower judiciary. The demand for reforms in the subordinate judiciary is long pending. At present India has just 13 judicial posts per million people, though the Law Commission had recommended 50 judges per million of the population, based on the ratio prevalent in the US previously.
  • Judiciary is suffering from massive vacancies across the nation and the scarcity is worsened in some states due to judicial absenteeism. Hence there is need of urgent mechanism to appoint new judges.
  • Due to these problems, India ranks as low as 172 when it comes to enforcement of contracts in the World Bank’s ranking on ease of doing business.
  • Similarly judiciary suffering from various infrastructures related issues, like newly appointed judges does not have required court rooms; hence there is need of huge investment.

Arguments against AIJS:

  • The idea of an AIJS is opposed mainly because it seems to lack basic understanding of the problems with judiciary.
  • A national exam is said to be disadvantageous to the less privileged candidates from being able to enter the judicial services.
  • Taking into account local laws, practices and customs which vary widely across States and even training judges in this line would be a problem.
  • Data from December 2011 show that 24.91% of AIS vacancies were unfilled, while the figure for the subordinate judiciary was 20.45%. Therefore, both the decentralised approach of each High Court conducting its own appointment and a centralised one seem to have roughly the same efficacy in filling up the vacancy.

As the current situation of judiciary is well below the expected lines, hence there is an urgent need of reforms.



Topic:  Disaster and disaster management.

5) It is said that flood governance through resilience building could bring about sustainable change in how disasters are managed in India. Elaborate. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :-Flood has caused havoc in many parts like Assam, Gujrat, Bihar in 2017. Thousands of people are  affected with many dead. There is, however, a need to shift the focus from flood protection to flood governance.

This would require a shift in the understanding of floods from being an extreme weather event, to a hazard that is partly natural and partly anthropogenic.

Causes :-

  • Flooding is natural because the rivers in the Northeast, mostly originating in the Eastern Himalayas, experience a sharp fall in gradient as they move from Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan to reach Assam’s floodplains.
  • Flooding is partly anthropogenic as the sediment load carried by the rivers is accentuated through “developmental” interventions in the Eastern Himalayas that result in deforestation.

Flood protection :-

  • The dominant narrative of flood protection includes measures such as embankments, dredging rivers and bank strengthening. The focus here has been more on construction and less on maintenance.

Important steps :-

Before a flood event

  • Flood risk prevention aims to decrease the consequences of flooding by decreasing the exposure of people and property via measures that prohibit or discourage development in areas at risk of flooding, e.g., spatial planning, reallotment policy, expropriation policy. The main focus of this strategy is “keeping people away from water” by building only outside flood-prone areas.
  • Flood defense measures aim to decrease the probability of flooding. This is accomplished using infrastructural flood defenses, such as dikes and weirs; by increasing the capacity of existing channels; by increasing space for water and by creating space for upstream water retention. In other words, “keeping water away from people.”
  • Flood risk mitigation focuses on decreasing the magnitude or consequences of flooding through measures inside the vulnerable area. The magnitude of flooding can be decreased by retaining or storing water in or under the flood-prone area, e.g., rain water retention. The consequences can be reduced by flood zoning or (regulations for) flood-proof building.

During a flood event

  • Flood preparation and response measures include developing flood warning systems, preparing disaster management and evacuation plans, and managing a flood when it occurs.

After a flood event

  • Flood recovery includes reconstruction and rebuilding plans as well as public compensation or private insurance systems.


Resilience building :- Reducing vulnerability, increasing access to services, and maximising productivity through optimal use of available resources can be the three pronged approach for resilience building.

  • Access to basic facilities like schooling, clean water, sanitation needs to be ensured.
  • Health of people, animals is important as floods are accompanied by diseases like diarrhoea. Access to veterinary services is limited resulting in high cattle mortality and morbidity.
  • People in the flood-prone areas in the Northeast, by and large, practice subsistence agriculture. While the land remains inundated for an extended period in the monsoons, limited irrigation coverage constrains intensification of agriculture in the dry months. Productivity can be maximised by giving people access to cheaper sources of irrigation, research on short duration boro paddy, and innovative agriculture techniques like floating vegetable gardens. Scientific fish farming on the waterbodies and the inundated land can ensure that inundation, when it cannot be avoided, is put to optimal use.
  • Community-based advance flood warning systems, for example, have been successfully piloted in parts of Assam.

Flood governance would require innovative combination of these initiatives. Strategic environment assessment of development activities, a practice followed in several countries, needs to be undertaken in the Brahmaputra basin. Strengthening planning authorities like the Brahmaputra Board and flood control departments by staffing them with scientists from a wide range of disciplines is essential. The flood-prone regions of the country require a focused approach from the Centre and state governments.


Topic: Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security

6) What do you understand by Cyberbullying? Critically examine how recent evolution of social media is affecting children. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Ans –

Social media is a platform to interact and adhere in society and around world.
Although social media has encouraged mass awareness, interaction, knowledge based society, it has certain associated flaws.

Cyber-bullying may be defined as the act of harassment, intimidation, threatening of another person, via the cyber-space.

The positive effects –

  1. Enabling better communication and connectivity with peers.
    2. A source for self-motivation.
    3. Social media has acted as an alternative avenue for entertainment for children.
    4. In a way, it has also helped in better access to new kinds of information, as well as knowledge sharing.

Ill-effects –

  1. The urge to visit inappropriate websites, without necessary filters or regulatory mechanisms being in place.
    2. Issues like online stalking, body-shaming, trolling and cyber-bullying have shown an exponential rise over the years.
    3. Access to the dark web, where organised criminals function, has been made easily accessible through social media networks. Ex: The recent revelation of school-going children procuring drugs through such networks, in Hyderabad.
    4. Problems like obesity, mood swings, and online addiction have been observed in recent times. Decline in physical activity has also been seen in case of children.
    5. Most importantly, the inability to differentiate between real life interaction skills, and ability to communicate digitally has been observed. Ex: Children have found it difficult to cultivate real life inter-personal skills due to excessive dependence on social media.

The Effects of Cyberbullying –

Victims of cyberbullying may experience many of the same effects as children who are bullied in person, such as a drop in grades, low self-esteem, a change in interests, or depression. However cyberbullying can seem more extreme to its victims because of several factors:

  • It occurs in the child’s home. Being bullied at home can take away the place children feel most safe.
  • It can be harsher. Often kids say things online that they wouldn’t say in person, mainly because they can’t see the other person’s reaction.
  • It can be far reaching. Kids can send emails making fun of someone to their entire class or school with a few clicks, or post them on a website for the whole world to see.
  • It can be anonymous. Cyberbullies often hide behind screen names and email addresses that don’t identify who they are. Not knowing who is responsible for bullying messages can add to a victim’s insecurity.
  • It may seem inescapable. It may seem easy to get away from a cyberbully by just getting offline, but for some kids not going online takes away one of the major places they socialize.

In short, social media has had a mixed effect on children. Proper supervision by parents and teachers, and regulating the time spent on internet through various productive activities and hobbies, might be regarded as some of the ways in which the ill effects of social media on children might be minimized.


Topic: Agriculture issues

7) What are the biggest challenges faced by Indian agriculture today? How can we overcome these challenges? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Indian agriculture suffers from following problems :-

1. Inequality in Land Distribution:

The distribution of agricultural land in India has not been fairly distributed. Rather there is a considerable degree of concentration of land holding among the rich landlords, farmers and money lenders throughout the country. But the vast majority of small farmers own a very small and uneconomic size of holdings, resulting to higher cost per units. Moreover, a huge number of landless cultivators has been cultivating on the land owned by the absentee landlords, leading to lack of incentives on the part of these cultivators.

2. Land Tenure System:

The land tenure system practiced in India is suffering from lot of defects. Insecurity of tenancy was a big problem for the tenants, particularly during the pre- independence period. Although the land tenure system has been improving during the post-independence period after the introduction of various land reforms measures but the problem of insecurity of tenancy and eviction still prevails to some extent due to the presence of absentee landlords and benami transfer of land in various states of the country.

3. Sub-division and Fragmentation of holdings:

In India, the average size of holding is expected to decline from 1.5 hectares in 1990-91 to 1.3 hectares in 2000-01. Thus the size of agricultural holding is quite uneconomic, small and fragmented. There is continuous sub-division and fragmentation of agricultural land due to increasing pressure of population and breakdown of the joint family system and also due to forced selling of land for meeting debt repayment obligations. Thus the size of operational holdings has been declining year by year leading to increase in the number of marginal and small holdings and fall in the number of medium and large holdings.

4. Cropping Pattern:

The cropping pattern which shows the proportion of the area under different crops at a definite point of time is an important indicator of development and diversification of the sector. Food crops and non-food or cash crops arc the two types of crops produced by the agricultural sector of the country.

5. Instability and Fluctuations:

Indian agriculture is continuously subjected to instability arising out of fluctuations in weather and gamble of monsoon. As a result, the production of food-grains and other crops fluctuates widely leading to continuous fluctuation of prices of agricultural crops. This has created the element of instability in the agricultural operation of the country.

6. Conditions of Agricultural Labourers:

Agricultural labourers are the most exploited unorganized class in the rural population of the country. From the very beginning landlords and Zamindars exploited these labourers for their benefit and converted some of them as slaves or bonded labourers and forced to continue the system generation after generation. All these led to wretched condition and total deprivation of the rural masses.

7. Poor Farming Techniques and Agricultural Practices:

The farmers in India have been adopting orthodox and inefficient method and technique of cultivation. It is only in recent years that the Indian farmers have started to adopt improved implements like steel ploughs, seed drills, barrows, hoes etc. to a limited extent only. Most of the farmers were relying on centuries old. Wooden plough and other implements. Such adoption of traditional methods is responsible for low agricultural productivity in the country.

8. Inadequate Use of Inputs:

Indian agriculture is suffering from inadequate use of inputs like fertilizers and HYV seeds. Indian farmers are not applying sufficient quantity of fertilizers on their lands and even the application of farm yard dung manure is also inadequate. Indian farmers are still applying seeds of indifferent quality. They have no sufficient financial ability to purchase good quality high yielding seeds. Moreover, the supply of HYV seeds is also minimum in the country.

9. Inadequate Irrigation Facilities:

Indian agriculture is still suffering from lack of assumed and controlled water supply through artificial irrigation facilities. Thus the Indian farmers have to depend much upon rainfall which is neither regular nor even. Whatever irrigation potential that has been developed in our country, a very limited number of our farmers can avail the facilities.

10. Absence of Crop Rotation:

Proper rotation of crops is very much essential for successful agricultural operations as it helps to regain the fertility of the soil. Continuous production of cereals on the same plot of land reduces the fertility of the soil which may be restored if other crops like pulses, vegetables etc. are grown there. As the farmers are mostly illiterate, they are not very much conscious about the benefit of crop rotation. Therefore, land loses its fertility to a considerable extent.

11. Lack of Organized Agricultural Marketing:

Indian farmers are facing the problem of low income from their marketable surplus crops in the absence of proper organized markets and adequate transportation facilities. Scattered and sub-divided holdings are also creating serious problem for marketing their products.

12. Instability in Agricultural Prices:

Fluctuation in the prices of agricultural products poses a big threat to Indian agriculture. For the interest of the farmers, the Government should announce the policy of agricultural price support so as to contain a reasonable income from agricultural practices along with providing incentives for its expansion. Stabilization of prices is not only important for the growers but also for the consumers, exporters, agro-based industries etc.

13. Agricultural Indebtedness:

One of the greatest problems of Indian agriculture is its growing indebtedness. The rural people are borrowing a heavy amount of loan regularly for meeting their requirements needed for production, consumption and also for meeting their social commitments. Thus the debt passes from generation to generation. Indian farmers fall into the debt trap as a result of crop failure, poor income arising out of low prices of crops, exorbitantly high rate of interest charged by the moneylenders, manipulation and use of loan accounts by the moneylenders and use of loan for various unproductive social purposes.

Solutions to the problem:

  1. Multiple crops Cultivation of multi crops such as coconut, turmeric, pine apple, banana, apple, papaya, ginger will yield profitable results to the farmers.
  2. Special agricultural zone Just like industrial zone, there is an urgent need to establish special agricultural zones, where only farming and agriculture related activity should be allowed.
  3. Need to modernize agriculture By introducing farm techniques which guarantee a definite success, an increase in youth participation on agricultural fields is economically possible.  This can be attained only by implementing new technologies.  Research efforts should continue for the production of crops with higher yield potential and better resistance to pests. Technological advancement in agriculture should be passed down to the small farmers. Where the existing crops would not do well under drought and weather conditions, the farmers should be helped to shift to cultivating crops that would be easy and economical to cultivate.
  4. Educate the farmers Many farmers in India are not aware of crop rotation. Though education in urban areas has improved a lot, the government has ignored the same in rural areas in general and in agriculture sector  in particular.  This is the reason why farmers are not  adequately aware of the various schemes provided by the government.
  5. Clubbing of small fields may help Several farmers who own small piece of land can join together and combine all small fields into one large chunk.  This may help in variety of ways.
  6. Need for meaningful crop insurance policies Crop insurance is must and the claim should be settled easily under the supervision of the district collectors. Traditional crop insurance depends on the direct measurement of the damage suffered by a farmer to determine his/her payout.  However, field loss assessment is often not feasible or expensive, since most of our farmers are small holders. Index based insurance, on the other hand, responds to defined parameter. Index based insurance has the advantages that it is transparent and all the insurers within the defined geographical area are treated equally.  It has low operational and transnational costs, while also ensuring quick payouts.

7.Need for better water management Irrigation facilities that are currently available do not cover the entire cultivable land.  Apart from the areas where perennial rivers flow, most of the agricultural fields do not have irrigation facility. In most cases, it is not the lack of water but the lack of proper water management that causes water shortage. Improved modern methods of rain water harvesting should be developed. Water management can be made more effective through interstate co-operation on water resources, where surplus water from perennial rivers can be diverted to the needy areas. Connecting the rivers throughout the country will solve this problem. Construction of National Waterways will improve the irrigation facility, which in turn can save the farmers, if the monsoon would fail.

  1. Alternate source of income for farmers Small farmers should be encouraged to develop alternative sources of income and the government should take up the responsibility for providing training to the farmers to acquire new skills. In drought affected areas, the government should start alternative employment generation programs to reduce the dependence on agriculture as the sole source of income. Such programs should be standardized. Farmers should be enabled to divide their activities into three parts.  One for regular crop production, one for animal husbandry or fisheries and another for timber production.  These activities complement each other and also alternate sources of income of farmers can be ensured.
  2. Need for national weather risk management system/disease alert system Facilitating  national weather risk management system that alerts farmers when there is a danger of extreme weather, would go a long way in reducing losses in agriculture. Value added services like pest and disease alert applications, in combination with the weather forecast would equip the farmers to handle and manage their crops better. For example, Water Watch Cooperative, a Netherlands based organization, has developed a disease alert system that sends an alarm to farmers, if probability of a pest/disease would be detected. Similarly,  systems that detect the amount of water to be provided to a field based on the field water content, biomass, and rainfall probability, would aid in the optimization of water provision to the crop and ensure efficient crop management.


Topic:  Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

8) Write a note on John Stuart Mill’s theory of value and the principle of utility. (150 Words)




Introduction :- The ethical theory of John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) is most extensively articulated in his classical text Utilitarianism (1861). Its goal is to justify the utilitarian principle as the foundation of morals. This principle says actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote overall human happiness. So, Mill focuses on consequences of actions and not on rights nor ethical sentiments.

Theory of value and the principle of utility.

  • Mill defines “utilitarianism” as the creed that considers a particular “theory of life” as the “foundation of morals” His view of theory of life was monistic: There is one thing, and one thing only, that is intrinsically desirable, namely pleasure.
  • In contrast to a form of hedonism that conceives pleasure as a homogeneous matter, Mill was convinced that some types of pleasure are more valuable than others in virtue of their inherent qualities. For this reason, his position is often called “qualitative hedonism”.
  • Many philosophers hold that qualitative hedonism is no consistent position. Hedonism asserts that pleasure is the only intrinsic value. Under this assumption, the critics argue, there can be no evaluative basis for the distinction between higher and lower pleasures.
  • Which inherent qualities make one kind of pleasure better than another, according to Mill? He declares that the more valuable pleasures are those which employ “higher faculties” The list of such better enjoyments includes “the pleasures of intellect, of the feelings and imagination, and of the moral sentiments”
  • These enjoyments make use of highly developed capacities, like judgment and empathy. In one of his most famous sentences, Mill affirms that it “is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied” .
  • This seems to be a surprising thing to say for a hedonist. However, Mill thought that we have a solid empirical basis for this view. According to him, the best obtainable evidence for value claims consists in what all or almost all people judge as valuable across a vast variety of cases and cultures.
  • He makes the empirical assertion that all or almost all people prefer a “manner of existence” that employs higher faculties to a manner of existence which does not. The fact that “all or almost all” who are acquainted with pleasures that employ higher faculties agree that they are preferable to the lower ones, is empirical evidence for the claim that they are indeed of higher value. Accordingly, the best human life (“manner of existence”) is one in which the higher faculties play an adequate part. This partly explains why he put such great emphasis on education.