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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:  Salient features of Indian society

1) Why do you think dera’s and ahsrams mushroom and attract huge number of people in the Indian society? Critically analyse. (200 Words)


Ans –

“Religion is the opium of masses”.           – Socrates.

India is a land of diverse cultures and of different faiths. People of different religions sought relief in the different religious institutions and systems of faith, since the ancient times.

However, in recent times there has been a surge in the ashrams and deras because of –

  1. Indian culture and traditions – India and Hindu religion has always been fertile ground for new faiths, spiritual cults, heroic religious personalities.
  2. Economic reasons – Philanthropic activities by these ashrams and deras such as free health facilities, education, disaster relief facilities, etc. have attracted many people. People stuck in the poverty seek financial support and solution in these ashrams.
  3. Blind faith and superstitions – Though majority followers are from poor, illiterate class, educated and well-to-do families also follow these self-styled godmen who run these ashrams and deras. Claims of magic, full proof solutions to problems attract large number of people. Lack of rational thinking and blind faith, superstitions and false propaganda by the disciples of the so called godmen are the real culprits.
  4. Political nexus – These ashrams act as power broker in vote bank politics and muster political support.
  5. Caste-discrimination and search of identity – Human beings strive for identity and being a part of such ashrams provide them with an identity and a sense of belonging apart from their ascribed status/identity(especially for people from lower castes who form a substantial portion of followers). Lower caste strata join them for separate religious identity and to get rid of Dalit stigma.
  6. failure – No regulation by the government on the activities of these institutions while providing them with subsidies and special facilities. These institutions fill the gap left by the state—they provide a social security net, offer education and healthcare, and foster a sense of safety and belonging that binds individuals and builds communities. 
  7. Slow judicial system – delay to punish these so-called godmen for criminal offences.

However, there are many ashrams who are genuine in their mission and work for the upliftment of poor and work for the downtrodden. These ashrams promote the feeling of humanity, brotherhood, secularism and mutual happy co-existence. Some ashrams such as Ramakrishna math, art of living ashram focus on spiritual upliftment, meditation and yoga, etc. and has played a pivotal role in changing life-style of people for better.

Hence, the need of the hour is that the govt. should take pro-active measures to regulate activities of suspected ashrams/deras, etc. People should be made aware to take rational decisions and not to follow these godmen blindly. Government should look into breaking the politics-religious institution nexus through electoral and governance reforms. State must put a check on fraudulent and deceiving ashrams while simultaneously promoting the genuine ones without infringing Article 25 providing fundamental right of freedom of religion and practice of any faith.




Topic: Poverty and hunger; Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,

2) There is an upsurge in collective efforts in India to improve neonatal and maternal health in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Examine the causes and suggest improvements. (200 Words)



Statistics –

India loses more children under age 5 each year than any other country. Countrywide, more than half of these deaths occur in the neonatal period, most often because babies are born prematurely, suffer from birth asphyxia, or have neonatal infections. Of the 27 million babies born in India annually, approximately 13% (3.5 million) are born preterm and 28% (7.6 million) with low birth weight, increasing their risk of dying in the neonatal period. The maternal mortality for India continues to be high, with 167 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. In addition, as compared to males, newborn deaths among females are higher at the district level—newborn care units typically admit approximately 30% fewer female neonates than male neonates.

In the recent releases of the National Health policy 2017 and National Family health survey, it is seen that the Govt. has laid wide emphasis on neonatal and maternal health.

The NHP 2017 expressly targets-

  • Neonatal mortality to 16 per 1000 by 2025
  • Infant Mortality to 28 per 1000 by 2025
  • Maternal Mortality rate at 100 per 100,000 by 2025

Causes for an upsurge and targeted importance –

  1. India is seen to fall behind on various parameters of healthcare stated out in the MDG’s and SDG’s.
  2. With leaps in economic growth, a faltering healthcare retards potential sources of growth.
  3. With visions of making India a hub for medical tourism, it is imperative to improve outcome conditions in healthcare.
  4. Several initiatives, such as the Janani Suraksha Yojana and Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, are paying increasing attention to scaling up through institutional delivery, which has a greater impact. Efforts are under way to implement both facility-based newborn care (FBNC) and home-based newborn care (HBNC) programmes to further reduce maternal and infant mortality.
  5. The Union government’s safety net programmes, such as the public distribution system, integrated child development services, and midday meal schemes, while challenged by inefficiency, play an important role in offering social protection and ensuring that poor families do not go hungry.
  6. Moving from reactive to preventive – Many state governments in India are making efforts to address public health challenges in their states. Maharashtra has a home-based newborn care programme in Gadchiroli to reach women in settings where public health infrastructure may be limited. In Odisha, the government is using self-help groups and community participation to address the equity and quality of delivery of public health programmes.

However, there are challenges –


  1. Limited coverage – Marginalized communities suffer the most in terms of Neonatal and maternal deaths. Neonates born to vulnerable populations, such as the urban and rural poor, and traditionally marginalized and excluded communities, such as Adivasis and Dalits, have a higher probability of being excluded from health services and are at high risk of morbidity and mortality. They should get the accessible and affordable health care facilities.
  2. Governance challenge – The socio-economic factors continue to persist in spite of numerous efforts by governments and civil society to address them. We need better oversight and governance through the engagement of civil society organizations and information technology (IT)-enabled platforms, which can lead to the generation of real-time data for better decision making.
  3. Shortage of health workers in primary healthcare facilities – Improve the healthcare infrastructure and personnel at primary level and rural areas.

Conclusion –

The recent decline in maternal and infant mortality rates is a positive example of public health intervention in India. There is an upsurge in collective efforts in India to improve neonatal and maternal health in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. However, major challenges remain, especially around ensuring that small and isolated populations, women and children in particular, in vulnerable locations can access the healthcare they need. To solve these challenges successfully, we need urgent and more coordinated collaborative efforts that address the complex socio-economic factors leading to ill health in children and women in India. 




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

3) Can India and China use BRICS to build good relations and strengthen mutual cooperation? Discuss how. (200 Words)

The Indian Express



BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Originally the first four were grouped as “BRIC” (or “the BRICs”), before the induction of South Africa in 2010.The BRICS members are all leading developing or newly industrialized countries, but they are distinguished by their large, sometimes fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional affairs; all five are G-20 members.

The BRICS nations have together promoted their exports, coordinated responses in international legal disputes, successfully negotiated for an increase in voting shares at the World Bank and in an increasingly overpopulated topography of multi-lateral institutions, have consolidated their reserves to become creditors of foreign aid rather than just borrowers of the same.

BRICS to strengthen India china relations:

The main reason for co-operation to start among the BRICs nation was the financial crises of 2008.The crises raised skepticism on the dollar-dominated monetary this area India and China being the strong economies of Asia hold potential to work for mutual benefits.

Another important facet of BRICS co-operation was that it did not stop after the financial crises; rather it “spilled over” to other areas. Still there are many areas where BRICS can play the role of platform to bring India and China together in other areas such as tourism, disaster management etc

The BRICS development bank is the result of growing frustration among the BRICS nations on failure of IMF to implement 2010 IMF quota reforms. India has done long and continuous efforts for IMF reforms. The BRICS development has open new economic opportunities for cooperation between India and China.

China is one of the most important member of BRICS due to its sheer economic size it adds economic muscle to the bargaining power of the BRICS. India must gain economic and political benefits from this aspect of Chinese presence in the BRICS.

The BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) is a framework for providing protection against global liquidity pressures. This includes currency issues where members’ national currencies are being adversely affected by global financial pressures. India and China can cooperate in providing mutual protection from liquidity issues at global level.

The ongoing crisis between India and china on Doklam plateau highlights the need of political cooperation and mutual constructive dialogue. BRICS platform must come to help in such critical times as well.

This group has so far been successful in the race of approaching the aims and is also proved to be fruitful for all the members. The further motives of this group are heading to make this group meet its aim of enhancing the economies. It is always a better option to walk with others then to run alone. The path that India chose will lead India to overcome its long coming economic and political problems.


Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential

4) What is digital economy? Do you think there is a need to regulate digital platforms or replace them with state owned platforms? Critically examine. (200 Words)



Digital economy refers to an economy that is based on digital computing technologies. The digital economy is also sometimes called the Internet Economy, the New Economy, or Web Economy. Increasingly, the “digital economy” is intertwined with the traditional economy making a clear delineation harder.

The term ‘Digital Economy’ was coined in Don Tapscott’s 1995 book The Digital Economy: Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence.

Three main components of the ‘Digital Economy’ concept can be identified:

  1. E-business infrastructure (hardware, software, telecoms, networks, human capital, etc.),
  2. e-business (how business is conducted, any process that an organization conducts over computer-mediated networks),
  3. E-commerce (transfer of goods, for example when a book is sold online)


The digital economy permeates all aspects of society, including the way people interact, the economic landscape, the skills needed to get a good job, and even political decision-making. Our emerging digital economy has the potential to generate new scientific research and breakthroughs, fueling job opportunities, economic growth, and improving how people live their lives.

The Department of Electronics & Information Technology of India published Internet of Things policy estimating IoT industry in India grow up to INR 940 billion, by 2020.

Primary benefits of India’s public sector are increased revenue; reduced costs; higher employee productivity; improved safety and security; improved environment; enhanced citizen experience, and better health and well-being.

India’s leaders also acknowledge the digital economy’s potential and have substantially invested in digitalization for public and private sectors. The commitment of India’s government to spend Rs1.13T (US$19 billion) within the next five years strategically acknowledges the increasing value of Communication Technologies (ICTs).

Need to regulate digital economy:

Technology is fast becoming necessary to all kind of businesses. To be able to stay afloat in the industry, even small businesses have to become tech-savvy and hire staff that is well aware of the digital world.

This is the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and it’s going to have a massive impact on the economy as well. Already we’re seeing the rise of the sharing economy, blockchain technology, and changes in manufacturing driven by 3D- and 4D-printing.

There already seems to be a skill gap in different industries, including retail industry. With new retail tools being introduced at a rapid pace, there is a dire need for businesses to educate their employees to be able to meet the changing requirements.

In country like India where still many people are not connected to the internet, the regulation is must in order to bring this virtual platform for the service of all sections of the society.

There is lack of uniformity with respect to hardware and software in order to create a seamless economic platform. Such kind of infrastructural differences may create the challenges at the receiving end such as the indivisual customer or small business firm.

The cybercrime can be one of the biggest threats that can be kept under some control by mode of regulation.

The overall virtual platform in general and digital economy in particular is evolving and under change. There are many areas to explore that will raise the more concerns, needing further solutions. This dynamic nature of digital economy highlights the need of regulation.

Digital economy creates negative impacts on environment and thus needs regulation.

The Internet of things is changing the interface of the various physical things and making the difference between conventional methods and new things very difficult to identify.



Topic: Inclusive development

5) Discuss the implications of right to privacy judgement on financial inclusion. (200 Words)


Introduction :- Privacy had emerged as a contentious issue while the apex court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing government schemes. In 2015, Attorney General while defending the Aadhaar project that seeks to assign every resident a biometric ID argued that Indians have no right to privacy under the Indian Constitution. This shocked observers and legal experts.


The government’s claim would set back the privacy debate by over 50 years. Over decades, the Supreme Court has in its judgements read the right to privacy into the Constitution. The highest court in doing so had recognised that without a right to privacy, the right to liberty and freedom of expression cannot survive. The government’s claim threatened our basic rights.


A nine-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court ruled that privacy is a fundamental right in a verdict that would have implications for everything from data protection to sexual preference.

The right to privacy is an intrinsic part under Article 21 that deals with the right to life and liberty, the top court ruled. It overturned two earlier verdicts to the extent that they say there is no fundamental right to privacy.

As India uses Aadhaar to advance financial inclusion efforts, it is essential that both privacy and financial interests of the poor are protected.


Implications on financial inclusion :-

Positive :-

  • A data protection law is especially important at this early stage in the development of databases, policies and systems in India that rely upon Aadhaar.
  • While Aadhaar promises to bring improvements in the delivery of services to poor people and under-served communities, it could also facilitate the collection of massive amounts of information, which would expose vulnerable consumers to privacy risks—competing factors that well-crafted legislation can address.
  • Collection, storage, utilisation and preservation of citizen’s data will be done in more prudent and responsible manner which will make people confident about government’s efforts hence more enthusiastic financial inclusion on part of citizen
  • More efforts on side of government to build secure infrastructure, robust human resource, multiple security checks will enhance the digital economy hence more inclusion.

However on other hand Aadhaar is being used as the biggest tool for financial inclusion and recent SC judgement doesn’t render it invalid as SC declared right to privacy is subjected to reasonable restriction of public interest, national security etc.



Way Forward :-

India also has the opportunity to establish safeguards for consumer privacy that are integrally part of the design, including the technical design, of government and private sector systems. This approach, often called “privacy by design”, has received widespread support from regulators and policymakers around the world. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which takes effect next year, mandates data protection by design and by default, significantly expanding the reach of this process.

Judicial rulings are one path for developing the right to privacy. The legislative path allows India to develop world-leading data protection that moves away from the flawed notice-and-choice model to one that establishes for the government and private sector alike clear, predictable parameters on the collection, use, processing, sharing, and the security of personally identifiable information. The Supreme Court’s recognition of a right to privacy provides the foundation to ensure that innovations such as Aadhaar are used to enhance the poor’s dignity and well-being.


Topic:  Environmental pollution


6) Bellandur lake in Bengaluru has been much in the news in recent months for the surge of foam and froth from the polluted lake, and the rise of smoke and flames from the area surrounding it. What does this incident indicate about the process of urbanization in India? Discuss critically. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- Bellandur Lake is a lake in the suburb of Bellandur in the southeast of the city of Bangalore and is the largest lake in the city. It is a part of Bellandur drainage system that drains the southern and the southeastern parts of the city. The lake is a receptor from three chains of lakes upstream, and has a catchment area of about 148 square kilometres (37,000 acres). Water from this lake flows further east to the Varthur Lake, from where it flows down the plateau and eventually into the Pinakani river basin. It is currently highly polluted with sewage, and in May 2015 the foam covering the water surface caught fire and burned for hours.

  • Bellandur is only one example, although a major one, of what we are doing to most of our lakes, streams and rivers in urban India.
  • Out of 480 million litres per day (MLD) of wastewater discharged to the lake, only 308 MLD is treated. According to the CPCB, 75 per cent of the measured pollution in our rivers from point sources is from municipal sewage and 25 per cent is from industrial effluents.
  • Indian cities and towns have abused their surface water bodies. Sewerage networks are supposed to ensure that sewage or wastewater is conveyed to a sewage treatment plant, treated and then discharged into water bodies.
  • Bengaluru has 6,800 km of sewerage line and 14 sewage treatment plants. The capacity for sewage treatment in Bengaluru in 2015-16 was 51 per cent but actual sewage treatment was only 37 per cent of the sewage generated. This is still higher than the 30 per cent average for all Indian cities and towns.
  • In the recent crisis on the frothing and flaring in and around the Bellandur lake, far too much of press attention was placed on fire-fighting with bio-culture and/or water sprinklers and not enough on the factors that have brought us to this pass.
  • There are no short-cuts to protecting our catchments for freshwater. Waste management is critical — solid waste (garbage), liquid waste (sewage), and acquatic waste. Additional challenges are posed by encroachment, which diminishes catchments for freshwater.


Urban planning in India must ensure that wetlands which are natural recharge zones are typically not disturbed. Also, natural drains which provide a safe exit to storm-water including flood-water and also recharge ground water, should be protected from encroachment.


Topic:   conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance

7) Differentiate between morality and consciousness. What is the function of morality? Also discuss the relationship between morality and consciousness. (150 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- Morality (from the Latin moralis “manner, character, proper behavior”) is the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper. Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion or culture, or it can derive from a standard that a person believes should be universal. Morality may also be specifically synonymous with “goodness” or “rightness”.

Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined variously in terms of sentience, awareness, qualia, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood or soul, the fact that there is something “that it is like” to “have” or “be” it, and the executive control system of the mind.

Understanding the function morality serves holds the promise of enabling us to enhance our moral capacities. It ensures the well functioning of society. It allows people to follow largely accepted and socially right paths. It helps in solving many problems in contemporary society. It also helps an individual to guide his/her behaviour.

Morality is something you learn with experience, it can be by observing your elders and people around you. Once you get to know the consequences of any action you make judgement in your head right there by deciding if this act got punished it must be wrong and if it was appreciated/rewarded definitely its a good thing to do.

Conscience on the other hand comes from within. It is an inherent knowledge of right and wrong. One experiences guilt feeling when engaged in any task and you get that feeling of inner voice stopping you to do that. That is your conscience stopping you do that. Conscience is internally focused.

What’s good or right for one can be bad or wrong for someone else. Morality varies from one culture to another and from group to group within the same society; it varies in every individual. There is no correlation between consciousness and morality because there is no universal code of conduct. Morality is subjective and so are perceptions in different states of consciousness.