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

1) Discuss the contributions made by Mrs Annie Besant to India’s struggle for independence. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Indian history is rich of the contributions of many European and American women who played a vital role in the important religious movements. Annie Besant is thus a significant figure in this context. She was a prominent Theosophist and women’s rights activist who was born on October 1 1847.

She was a British socialist, theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule. Annie Besant always fought for the causes she thought were right, relating to freedom of thought, women’s rights, secularism, birth control and workers’ rights. She became involved in politics in India, joining the Indian National Congress. When World War I broke out in 1914, she helped launch the Home Rule League to campaign for democracy in India and dominion status within the Empire.

Annie had made noteworthy contributions to the Indian society by setting up a new school for boys at Varanasi: the Central Hindu College. The school aimed at building a new leadership for India. They spend their lives as monks and devoted a long time in prayer. The boys were trained at studying the Hindu scriptures along with modern science. Finally, Annie and fellow trustees of the Central Hindu College agreed to Government of India’s precondition that the college should become a part of the new University. Thus, the Banaras Hindu University started functioning from 1st October 1917 with the Central Hindu College as its first constituent college.

Bala Gangadhara Tilak formed Home Rule League in Mumbai in 1916. Mrs. Annie Besant, an Irish lady, was associated with Theosophical society at Adyar. Gradually she involved herself in Indian National Movement. She also started a Home Rule League in Chennai. The Leagues carried on propaganda in favour of Home Rule Movement of Self Government of Indians.

Dr. Annie Besant created tremendous enthusiasm among people by her speeches and writings. Her paper New India was banked. Both the leaders Tilak and Annie Besant were arrested. It was at that time the famous August Declaration of Montague was announced in 1917.

Her arrest also gave a chance to work the Indians together for an achievable goal. Annie Besant thus provided her support for the betterment of the country. Living her impact, she died on September 20th 1933 in Adyar, India.


Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

2) Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which defines rapes, makes an exception for marital rape. What’s the basis of this exception? Examine how’s marital rape treated in other countries. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code defines rape as “sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped, or is of unsound mental health and in any case if she is under 16 years of age.”

Section 375 of IPC, has echoing very archaic sentiments, mentioned as its exception clause- “Sexual intercourse by  man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.” Section 376 of IPC provides punishment for rape. This section in dealing with sexual assault, in a very narrow purview lays down that, an offence of rape within marital bonds stands only if the wife be less than 12 years of age, if she be between 12 to 16 years, an offence is committed, however, less serious, attracting milder punishment. Once, the age crosses 16, there is no legal protection accorded to the wife, in direct contravention of human rights regulations.

How can the same law provide for the legal age of consent for marriage to be 18 while protecting form sexual abuse, only those up to the age of 16 is still a question. Beyond the age of 16, there is no remedy the woman has.

The wife’s role has traditionally been understood as submissive, docile and that of a homemaker. Sex has been treated as obligatory in a marriage and also taboo. Economic independence, a dream for many Indian women still is an undeniably important factor for being heard and respected.

The revolution started with women activists in America raising their voices in the 1970s for elimination of marital rape exemption clause and extension of guarantee of equal protection to women.Marital rape is illegal in 18 American States, 3 Australian States, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Soviet Union, Poland and Czechoslovakia.

By 1986, in Europe, there was international pressure to criminalize marital rape: the European Parliament’s Resolution on Violence against Women of 1986 called for its criminalization. Marital rape was criminalized in Austria in 1989. In Switzerland marital rape became a crime in 1992. In Spain, the Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that sex within marriage must be consensual and that sexuality in marriage must be understood in light of the principle of the freedom to make one’s own decisions with respect to sexual activity; in doing so it upheld the conviction of a man who had been found guilty of raping his wife by a lower court.

The 172nd Law Commission report had made the following recommendations for substantial change in the law with regard to rape:

  • ‘Rape’ should be replaced by the term ‘sexual assault’.
  • In the light of Sakshi v. Union of India and Others [2004 (5) SCC 518], ‘sexual assault on any part of the body should be construed as rape.
  • Rape laws should be made gender neutral as custodial rape of young boys has been neglected by law.
  • Marital rape: explanation (2) of section 375 of IPC should be deleted. Forced sexual intercourse by a husband with his wife should be treated equally as an offence just as any physical violence by a husband against the wife is treated as an offence. On the same reasoning, section 376 A was to be deleted.

Marriage does not thrive on sex and the fear of frivolous litigation should not stop protection from being offered to those caught in abusive traps, where they are denigrated to the status of chattel. Apart from judicial awakening; we primarily require generation of awareness.


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

3) Reducing exposure to communicable diseases is of the highest priority in public health services, as their spread causes severe negative spillovers. Could India’s employment guarantee schemes use lessons from the US’ Depression-era public works programme to eliminate communicable diseases? Examine. (200 Words)



Health is determined not only by medical care but also by determinants outside the medical sector. Public health approach is to deal with all these determinants of health which requires multi sectoral collaboration and inter-disciplinary coordination. Although there have been major improvements in public health since 1950s, India is passing through demographic and environmental transition which is adding to burden of diseases. There is triple burden of diseases, viz. communicable, non-communicable and emerging infectious diseases.

Burden of communicable disease in India:

In India, the range and burden of communicable diseases are enormous. The administrative responsibilities of the health system are shared between the central (federal) and state governments. Control of diseases and outbreaks is the responsibility of the central Ministry of Health, which lacks a formal public health department for this purpose. Tuberculosis, malaria, filariasis, visceral leishmaniasis, leprosy, HIV infection, and childhood cluster of vaccine-preventable diseases are given priority for control through centrally managed vertical programmes.

In 2015, India saw its largest recorded dengue outbreak, with national authorities confirming almost 100,000 cases and 220 deaths (almost double that of the preceding year). Recurrent epidemics of encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) of unknown cause have also occurred in India. Between 2008 and 2014, there have been more than 44,000 cases and nearly 6,000 deaths from encephalitis in India, particularly in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The Central government can do much to strengthen public health service delivery in India. India’s employment guarantee schemes could use lessons from the US’ Depression-era public works programme, such as:

  • In areas badly affected by malaria, this labour was used for large-scale drainage and other works to control malaria, with technical inputs from public health personnel and sanitary engineers.
  • The Swachh Bharat campaign could also use such technical expertise to maximize its impact in reducing exposure to diseases.
  • State health authorities from USA learnt a lesson from Rockefeller Foundation’s efforts to improve public health and sanitation. They sponsored demonstration projects combining deworming treatment, campaigns to raise people’s awareness of the problem, and technical assistance in building latrines in homes and public buildings.
  • On similar lines much can be learned from non-government organisation in India as well.
  • The Central government could link its fiscal support to states with phased progress in

(1) The establishment within the state health departments of separate public health directorates with their own budgets and staff, managed by medical doctors trained in public health administration

(2) The enactment of public health Acts to provide the basic legislative underpinning for public health action

(3) The revitalization of public health cadres.

  • The Swachha Bharat Abhiyaan is golden opportunity with respect to establishing a culture of hygiene and behavioural change towards cleanliness.
  • A comprehensive review and redesign of the health system is needed urgently to ensure equity and quality in health care. One solution is the creation of a functional public health infrastructure that is shared between central and state governments, with professional leadership and a formally trained public health cadre of personnel who manage an integrated control mechanism of diseases in districts that includes infectious and non-infectious diseases, and injuries.

Moving forward:

In light of the increasing burden of communicable diseases, the risk of comorbidities, and the long term socioeconomic impacts in India, capacities for disease surveillance must be strengthened to facilitate evidence-based decision-making, to evaluate the success of existing public health programs, and to identify upcoming health challenges. Building awareness about risk factors, disease management, and the improvement of living conditions in cities, i.e., improving socioeconomic conditions of the urban poor, making cities more walkable, and providing recreational space to encourage healthy behaviour are important prerequisites.


Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

4) North Korea recently launched its 22nd missile this year(2017). Why is North Korea testing so many missiles? Is the threat of nuclear war real? What’s the responsibility of international organisations in this situation? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

 Ans –

North Korea is one of the few countries that are still under dictatorship. North Korea believes in “Brinkmanship diplomacy”. It (DPRK) is trying it’s best to ensure it’s continuity, for which it is also ready to plunge the world into a nuclear war. N.K. had recently tested the 22nd missile this year.

Reasons for so many missiles’ testing –

  1. To create the nuclear deterrence in the region.
    2. These tests also voice agitation against the UN sanctions. The USA-led sanctions have not gone down well with the North Korean regime and it seems to be using missile tests as a tool to quell international pressure.
    3. To signify self sufficiency in terms of technology, armament, etc.
    4. Frequent military drills between USA and South Korea would have spooked North Korea.
    5. To test the orientation of Mr. Trump, the new incumbent as president of US, like it did with Mr. Obama after his oath.
    6. Possibility of Russia or China behind such aggressive stance of DPRK cannot be ruled out.

The threat of nuclear war –

The nuclear deterrence has been the only reason for DPRK’s survival till now and till the button of nuclear warheads is in the hand of an authoritarian regime, the threat of nuclear war persists. Recent reports suggest that they have miniaturized nuclear war heads which along with their recently tested intercontinental ballistic missile raises risk of nuclear war.

But countries like Japan, South Korea are treading very cautiously and are not taking any irrational decision and are still keeping the hope of mankind alive. Hence until any action on ground is not taken by DPRK, nuclear threat persists but not eminently.

Role of international organizations –

As the threat of nuclear war jeopardizes the existence of entire mankind, the role of international organisations has become much more important. Following roles must be taken at international level –
• The UN and UNSC in ensuring universal peace and action against the rogue states.
• Forums and groupings like G20, NSG, OECD, APEC, etc. in building pressure via diplomacy and economic sanctions to stop war. 
• IAEA should give guidelines for the states having nuclear weapons on how to stop proliferation and how international community should deal with it. And such organizations should be allowed to have independent inspection, so as to know ulterior motives in advance.

UN, IAEA has played an important role in checking the spread of nuclear weapons and UN has imposed sanctions on DPRK for violation of international peace and security. Moreover a sudden meeting of security council was also called to discuss the course of action to be taken in the matter. UN has also been advocating that the matter should be resolved through bilateral talks, which is also the stance of South Korea and US. Before taking any action in these crises all nations must take note of following lines of M.K. Gandhi-

“An eye for eye will make the whole world blind.”




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

5) What do you understand by human capital? Why does it make sense to invest heavily in education? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Ans –

“Without investment in human resources development, economic development is unethical and unsustainable”                                                                                                                            – Amartya Sen 

Human capital is the stock of skill and productive knowledge embodied in the population. Population becomes human capital when there is investment made in the form of education, training and medical care. 

Education is one of the means to human capital enhancement if provided in a just, fair and inclusive environment.

Benefits of education at individual level –

  1. Instrument of self-actualization – it helps the individual in assessing self-worth. in other words, education helps in self-actualization of individual. 
    2. holistic development – it promotes all-round holistic development of the individual.
    3. Instrument of socialisation – Apart from cognitive development, education acts as an instrument of socialisation – making human a social animal.
    4. Equalising force – as former PM Rajeev Gandhi pointed out ‘education is a great equalising force’. It reduces the futile differences on caste, religious, gender lines & establishes egalitarian society.
    5. An educated society generally have low rates of crime as many evils in society are because of poor education for ex – domestic violence, female foeticide etc.
    6. Development of rationality – it promotes development of rationality among people & helps them judge a case on merits rather than on scriptural basis.

Investment in Education is highly necessary because –

1) Investment in Education will give higher returns because of higher productivity. It is directly related to the country’s economic growth.
2) Human resource is sustainable in nature. It can use it’s physical and inherent resources to make the economy of the country grow.
3) proper Investment in Education will help in yielding high skilled labour which will help to fulfill the need for globalization of economy.
4) If govt gives more economic freedom to people by lowering the tax, then people will invest more in Education. It has a substantial positive impact on education.
5) Investment in the training of the teachers will surely increase the quality of their teaching and thus the education outcomes.
6) the poor people in India do not invest more in their children’s education. Because they fail to see the long term benefits of it.
7) Investing in Education will also enhance the social, cultural, political growth of the nation. It will strengthen the soft power as well as the technology of the country.
8) Investment in education for girls is a must step which will help in materializing sex ratio, MMR, IMR, violence and economic growth, to the fullest.
9) Educated Citizens of any country can bring positive changes and growth in every aspect of the country.

The govt has invested immensely in Education through various schemes like SSA, MID DAY MEAL, PMKVY, skill India, etc.
But there’s more to be done to enhance the quality of the education and thus to change the socio-economic-political condition of the country.




Topic: Infrastructure; roads, transport

6) “The Golden Quadrilateral project shows how investment in transport infrastructure has shaped spatial development and improved allocative efficiency in India.” What do you understand spatial development and allocative efficiency? Discuss the benefits of the Golden Quadrilateral project. (200 Words)


Introduction :- The Golden Quadrilateral is a highway network connecting many of the major industrial, agricultural and cultural centres of India. A quadrilateral of sorts is formed by connecting Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai, and hence its name. Other metropolises also connected by the network are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Kanpur, Pune, Surat, Nellore, Vijayawada, Bhilwara, Ajmer, and Vishakapatnam.

The largest highway project in India and the fifth longest in the world, started by NDA Government led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Spatial development :-

Spatial development, where some industries move from urban to rural areas or from core to peripheries of cities, is evident in many countries, and is associated with the efficient placement of industries.

The Golden Quadrilateral project has encouraged efficient decentralization by making intermediate cities more attractive to manufacturing entrants. For instance, moderate-density districts—like Surat in Gujarat or Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh—that border the Golden Quadrilateral highway registered a more than 100% increase in new output and new establishment counts after the Golden Quadrilateral upgrades.

The upgrades were associated with better allocative efficiency as measured by the extent to which the employment of an industry is contained in the industry’s most productive plants. Industries that were initially positioned along the Golden Quadrilateral showed improved allocative efficiency compared to industries initially positioned on the NS-EW highway that was never built.

The projected economic benefits of the GQ project are

  1. Establishing faster transport networks between major cities and ports.
  2. Providing an impetus to smoother movement of products and people within India.
  3. Enabling industrial and job development in smaller towns through access to markets.
  4. Providing opportunities for farmers, through better transportation of produce from the agricultural hinterland to major cities and portsfor export, through lesser wastage and spoils.
  5. Driving economic growth directly, through construction as well as through indirect demand for cement, steel and other construction materials.
  6. Giving an impetus to Truck transport throughout India.
  7. better movement of products and people, more choice of locations for initiating industrial activity, reduced wastage for the agriculture sector, and a decrease in vehicle operating costs and time.


Adequate transportation infrastructure is an essential ingredient for economic development and growth. Business leaders, policymakers, and academics describe infrastructure as a critical hurdle for sustained growth that must be met with public funding, but to date there is a limited understanding of the economic impact of those projects and their financial forms.


Topic:  Disaster management

7) Despite being the victim of heavy rains and floods in the recent past, why do you think Mumbai city still cannot deal with heavy rains? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

The Hindu


Introduction :- The return of the deluge to Mumbai and the paralysis suffered by the city bring up the question of why Indian cities are unable to improve their resilience to extreme weather events.

Three factors cause urban flooding- meteorological, hydrological and human.There is nothing anyone in government can do about the first two factors, but failure in the third factor is what leaves a trail of destruction.

Mumbai’s problems are unique in one sense. Reclamation of land was initially carried out to link the seven islands which form Mumbai. This was followed by continuous building activity which eventually spilled over to choke waterways which allowed water to drain during monsoon.

The city’s storm water drainage system is a network of surface drains, underground drains and canals which discharge surface run-off into the city’s creeks, river or straight into the Arabian Sea.

Perhaps the most important component of the drainage network is the Mithi river which serves as the line of demarcation between the city and its suburbs.

Mithi river has over the years been not only been encroached upon, but whatever is left is clogged with solid wastes and plastic.

With perhaps the most important channel of the city’s drainage system under siege, flooding is inevitable even if the rainfall does not breach the existing record.



Putting new constructions on stilts, retrofitting houses to locate electrical installations high above, and creating a first response protocol are all important. Introduction of insurance cover for householder losses will provide financial protection and, crucially, require city administrations to provide professional management. If there is a single priority that every city needs, it is to reopen the veins of natural drainage that have been callously built over. Mumbai this year and Chennai’s disastrous flood of 2015 underscore that lesson.

Any long-term solution to Mumbai’s frequent flooding problem needs to deal with the reduction in the catchment area of Mithi river. Unless the channels are widened and the plastic menace dealt with, other efforts may be inadequate.

Mangroves which dotted the city’s coast line have largely disappeared. They once served as as an important element in absorbing water and, thereby, mitigated the impact of torrential rain. It may no longer be possible to go back to the mangrove cover which existed years ago, but it is essential to protect whatever is left.

It is simply not right that Mumbai should crumble so often. The intensity of urban flooding can be reduced.


Topic:  Disaster management

8) What is an embankment?  Discuss their role in prevention of floods and measures needed to manage them effectively. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- A flood embankment is traditionally an earth wall used to shore up flood waters.

Most flood embankments are between 1 metre and 3 metres high. A 5 metre high flood embankment is rare.

An embankment is an uplifted earthen structure constructed along the river channel to artificially reduce the size of the floodplains by constricting floodwaters to a narrow stretch. The land outside the embankment is supposed to be safe from floods. However, embankment breach resulting in flooding the “safe” areas is routine.

  • We need a paradigm shift in the way these embankments are managed. It is important to involve the community that is close to the embankment in its management. Only then can we break the build-and-forget mentality that currently rules the bureaucracy.
  • The responsibility of embankment management could be devolved to the community, while the ownership right resides with the state. But this task of decentralisation will not be easy when society is fractured along the lines of caste, class, and religion. We must remember then that disaster is non-discriminatory and affects all.
  • The community-based organisations (embankment management committees) should be empowered to earn revenue from the embankments through levying tolls (as most embankments are also used as roads), and undertake plantation activities (and sale of the harvest). 
  • In areas where villages exist both inside and outside the embankment, their interests conflict. In such cases, efforts could be made to ensure that the former has a greater share of the revenue. 

 If we have to shift from reactive flood protection to year-round flood governance, we must design ways of embankment management in flood-prone areas. Participatory embankment management could be the way forward.


CASE STUDY :- study of over 100 villages in the Ganga-Brahmaputra floodplains found that villages in these areas are exposed to diverse water-related hazards depending on their location vis-a-vis an embankment. Those located inside the embankment are vulnerable to floods and riverbank erosion, and those outside, in the “safe” areas, are prone to extended periods of inundation. This takes place when the construction of an embankment causes the drainage lines to be blocked, the regulators in the embankments become dysfunctional, or when there is a backflow of the larger river in spate. The people in these “safe” areas suffer from a perennial fear of embankment breach, which is not entirely unfounded. In Bihar in 2008, there was a colossal embankment breach in the Kosi river basin. This year too, in parts of Assam, Bihar and West Bengal breaches have caused flooding. Only in a few cases have newly constructed embankments been able to protect villages located outside them from floods. Despite this, in flood-prone areas with no embankments, people still articulate the need for embankments.


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

9) Define accountability, professionalism, integrity and transparency. Examine how these can be ensured in public service. (250 Words)


Introduction :-

Accountability :- In ethics and governance, accountability is answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and the expectation of account-giving. As an aspect of governance, it has been central to discussions related to problems in the public sector, nonprofit and private (corporate) and individual contexts. In leadership roles, accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions, products, decisions, and policies including the administration, governance, and implementation within the scope of the role or employment position and encompassing the obligation to report, explain and be answerable for resulting consequences.

Professionalism :- A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns their living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowledge and skills necessary to perform their specific role within that profession. In addition, most professionals are subject to strict codes of conduct, enshrining rigorous ethical and moral obligations.

The rationale behind professionalism is that public servants should be neutral, impartial, fair, competent and serve the public interest in carrying out their duties. They should be top people who are fairly remunerated and adequately trained to perform their work.

Integrity :- Integrity is the qualifications of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. It is generally a personal choice to hold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards.

In ethics, integrity is regarded by many as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Integrity can stand in opposition to hypocrisy, in that judging with the standards of integrity involves regarding internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding within themselves apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs. The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete. In this context, integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.

Transparency :- Transparency, as used in science, engineering, business, the humanities and in other social contexts, implies openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed. It has been defined simply as “the perceived quality of intentionally shared information from a sender”. Transparency is practiced in companies, organizations, administrations, and communities. It guides an organization’s decisions and policies on the disclosure of information to its employees and the public, or simply the intended recipient of the information.

Administrative decisions shall always be taken in accordance with transparent, simple and understandable procedures, while ensuring accountability.

All administrative units shall make available all the necessary information on acts and procedures in their respective domains, as well as the information required to assess their management, with a view to enabling those interested to have full access.

The administration shall inform the person concerned of any decision taken concerning him/her, should he/she decide to challenge the decision