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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:    Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent);

1) It is said that Russia’s prospects as the world’s biggest wheat exporter and a grain superpower are bright. Examine the reasons and prospects. (200 Words)


Russia is about to become the world’s biggest wheat exporter for the first time. The Black Sea region, consisting of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, has become a force in the international wheat market, boosted by high yields, weak currencies and falling freight rates. Grain flows from Russia are expected rise again this year after strong wheat output growth, with production expected to hit new records at around 70m tonnes.

grain recovery

The reasons for increase in the crop yield are:

As of the rise in global temperatures there are favorable climatic conditions for wheat growth in Russia.

There is longer growing season that is resulting into better crop yields.

More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is also good for crop of Wheat leading to the bumper yield.

Climate change means Russian farms can expand northward, to lands that were never used to grow grain. Those lands were abandoned in the early years of post-Soviet capitalism because they required too much investment and yielded little if any profit; that’s changing, both for climate-related reasons and with technological advances.

The Russian capitalist transition and the almost-free but excessively bureaucratized trade in land have created a few dozen large agricultural conglomerates, which have adopted Western technology to increase yields and which have been receiving increased government support since 2005, when the Kremlin declared agriculture a national priority.

The future prospects are:

The boom in Russia is attracting some of the world’s biggest trading houses, with Olam International Ltd., Cargill Inc. and Glencore Plc investing into everything from silos to export terminals.

Rich soil, government support and proximity to Black Sea ports for shipping means Russian costs can be as little as half those of major competitors supplying key import markets in the Middle East.

On top of strong output growth around the world, a lack of good quality storage in Russia will mean that this year’s competition on the wheat market will be especially fierce.

With storage limited in the face of a record crop, Russian farmers and grain handlers will turn to overseas markets, leading to heavy exports especially in the months immediately after the harvest.


Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation 

2) In your opinion, what should be included in a future payments-system policy framework? Discuss. (200 Words)



New technology and innovative businesses increasingly affect our daily financial lives. Mobile devices, high-speed data communication, and online commerce are creating expectations that convenient, secure, real-time payment and banking capabilities should be available whenever and wherever they are needed. At the same time, disruptive new technologies suggest that traditional financial service providers must innovate and adapt or be left behind.

The component of future payment system policy framework can be:

trends of future development.

  • An efficient payments system provides the infrastructure needed to transfer money in low-cost and convenient ways.
  • Future payment systems are expected to be innovative in improving the quality of services in response to changing technology and changing demand. Future systems need to be broadly accessible through means that are convenient for consumers, businesses, and financial institutions around the country.
  • The aim is to facilitate provision of a payment system for the future that combines the much-valued attributes of safety, security and universal reach with technological solutions which enable faster processing, enhanced convenience, and the extraction and use of valuable information that accompanies payments.
  • The payment system has to be accompanied by effective supervisory mechanisms to strengthen the resilience of the Financial Market Infrastructures (FMIs) and System Wide Important Payment Systems (SWIPS) in the country.
  • The system also need to take care of other aspects such as customer centric approach to streamline the customer grievance redressal mechanism, focus on building customer awareness and education, and initiate customer protection measures.
  • The right to privacy is also an area of concern as the balance between data regulation and individual privacy raises complex issues requiring delicate balances to be drawn between the legitimate concerns of the State on one hand and individual interest in the protection of privacy on the other.
  • Safety and security of payment systems and transactions is an important factor that helps in boosting the trust and confidence of the customers in using electronic payment mechanisms.
  • An important factor which contributes to refinement of policies and regulatory framework is the ability to gauge first-hand the developments / changes taking place in customer habits with respect to payment choices. In order to ascertain these changes, the system will need to engage with various stakeholders / professionals to conduct user / customer surveys over a period of time on specific aspects of payments systems.

 The broad contours of Vision-2018 revolve around the 5 Cs:

  1. Coverage – by enabling wider access to a variety of electronic payment services
  2. Convenience – by enhancing user experience through ease of use and of products and processes
  3. Confidence – by promoting integrity of systems, security of operations and customer protection
  4. Convergence – by ensuring interoperability across service providers
  5. Cost – by making services cost effective for users as well as service providers


The payment requires no other participants than the payer and payee, so by having no transaction processing fees and allowing low value transactions to be cost-effective. This uses inherent security mechanisms to ensure the safety of transactions independent of the transmission protocol being used. Commerce on the Internet needs payment mechanisms that can serve for as much diversity as commerce in the real world.

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations

3) Recently, in the Supreme Court this week the Centre refused to revise its stand on deporting Rohinya immigrants in India. Critically comment on India’s Rohingya policy and its implications for India’s image. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Who are the Rohingya?

The Rohingya are an ethnic minority in Myanmar. They live predominantly in the western state of Rakhine. They are not officially recognized by the government as citizens and for decades the nation’s Buddhist majority has been accused of subjecting them to discrimination and violence. Viewed by the United Nations and the United States as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities, thousands of Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladesh flee their countries every year in a desperate attempt to reach mainly Muslim-majority countries, Malaysia and Indonesia.


Myanmar’s government has so far refused to grant citizenship to the Rohingya. It views the estimated 1.1 million people as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh. Myanmar also objects to the use of the term “Rohingya” in any UN resolution and says it makes the government’s efforts more difficult in addressing the issue. Myanmar says it is ready to grant Rohingya Muslims citizenship if they identify themselves as Bengalis – a term which members of the minority group object to strongly.

Where does India stand on the issue?

Rohingyas influx into Bangladesh from nearby Rakhine state of Myanmar is further continuing into India via Bangladesh. It is estimated that there are thousands of Rohingyas in India.

Rohingyas entered into northeast India through various routes. They avoided staying near the Myanmar’s borders. Rohingyas spread over a large area across various states. They have their camps in Assam, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

Since 2013 Bangladesh has closed its door for Rohingyas, now they are entering India via North East; causing internal security concerns. The refugees detained under Foreigners Act, 1946 are now supposed to be sent to Tihar jail in Delhi as the UNHCR (United Nation High Commission for refugee) has only jurisdiction in Tihar.

Once these are recognised as refugee they will be sent to only refugee camp in India in Jammu. Rohingyas are entering into other neighbouring nations of Myanmar including Thailand, Bangladesh etc.

Delhi has maintained a cautious stance; it has been receiving Rohingya refugees and allowing them to settle in different parts of the country over the years particularly after the communal violence in Rakhine state in 2012.

The security concerns with respect to Rohingyas community are also needs to be taken into consideration.

The National Human Rights Commission added that the Supreme Court had declared that fundamental rights are applicable to all regardless of whether they are citizens of India.

There is threat of drug trafficking through Rohingya community as it has been observed earlier as well.

What India confronts is a case of ethics, a challenge to its understanding of citizenship and freedom. If India abandons the Rohingya, it abandons the idea of India as a home of refugees and hospitality. A country which offered a home to the Parsis, the Tibetans, the Afghans and the Jews cannot turn a little minority of helpless people back.


The issue of Rohingya minority is humanitarian in nature and involves the aspect of international ethics as well. The common solution needs to find out in order stop the homicide of innocent people. The south Asian countries needs to create a platform to sort out this issue and in such case India must take an initiative to reach common agreed solutions to deal with the situation compassionately.


Topic:  Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

4) Recently, the US ended amnesty scheme for young immigrants. Why this scheme was introduced? How will its end impact immigrants? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

The Donald Trump administration discontinued an Obama-era immigration reform measure that protected from deportation people who had entered the U.S. illegally as children.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA):

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration policy established by the Obama administration in June 2012. The policy allows some individuals who entered the country as illegally as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.

Approximately 800,000 individuals—referred to as Dreamers after the DREAM Act bill—were enrolled in the program as of 2017.

DACA increased the wages and labor force participation of DACA-eligible immigrants and reduced the number of unauthorized immigrant households living in poverty. Studies have shown that DACA increased the mental health outcomes for DACA-eligible immigrants and their children.

The term Dreamers comes from the proposed DREAM Act, which would have given unauthorised immigrants legal status in exchange for attending college or joining the military. The bill was first introduced in 2001, and the latest version was voted down in the Senate in December 2010.

Impact of this decision:

The Trump has promised to remove DACA in his Presidential campaign and thus the decision is not the surprise as such. The DACA has generally viewed as a humanitarian policy by American government towards minor who became illegal migrants with their parents.

There will be demonstration and protest against American government that may damage the image of the government as an anti-humane.

The undocumented population of Indians is quickly growing in the United States, according to government estimates. Undocumented Indian youth who have DACA status are now in a position where they don’t know if they can keep their jobs or if they have to live in fear of immigration.

The American economy could lose out on about $280 billion if the Trump Administration deports the undocumented who qualified for the program.

Once considered as flag bearer of freedom and justice, this decision of USA will surely draw international criticism for its conservative policies in recent times.




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

5) What are the salient features of the PCPNDT Act? Examine why Section 22 of the PCPNDT Act was in news recently. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to stop female foeticides and arrest the declining sex ratio in India. The act banned prenatal sex determination.


sex determination

Salient features :-

Offences under this act include conducting or helping in the conduct of prenatal diagnostic technique in the unregistered units, sex selection on a man or woman, conducting PND test for any purpose other than the one mentioned in the act, sale, distribution, supply, renting etc. of any ultra sound machine or any other equipment capable of detecting sex of the foetus. Main provisions in the act are

  1. The Act provides for the prohibition of sex selection, before or after conception.
  2. It regulates the use of pre-natal diagnostic techniques, like ultrasoundand amniocentesis by allowing them their use only to detect :
    1. genetic abnormalities
    2. metabolic disorders
    3. chromosomal abnormalities
    4. certain congenital malformations
    5. haemoglobinopathies
    6. sex linked disorders.
  3. No laboratoryor centre or clinic will conduct any test including ultrasonography for the purpose of determining the sex of the foetus.
  4. No person, including the one who is conducting the procedure as per the law, will communicate the sex of the foetusto the pregnant woman or her relatives by words, signs or any other method.
  5. Any person who puts an advertisement for pre-natal and pre-conception sex determination facilities in the form of a notice, circular, label, wrapper or any document, or advertises through interior or other media in electronic or print form or engages in any visible representation made by means of hoarding, wall painting, signal, light, sound, smokeor gas, can be imprisoned for up to three years and fined Rs. 10,000.



Section 22 of the PCPNDT Act pertains to prohibition of advertisements relating to pre-natal determination of sex and punishment for contravention.

Court’s ruling

  • The court ordered that the search engines “shall appoint their ‘In-House Expert Body’ which shall take steps to see that if any words or any key words that can be shown on the Internet which has the potentiality to go counter to Section 22 of the 1994 Act, should be deleted forthwith.”
  • It also said that the in-house expert body “shall on its own understanding” delete anything that violates the letter and spirit of language of Section 22 of the 1994 Act.
  • In case of doubt, they are free to approach the Ministry’s nodal agency and be guided by the latter.

Set up mechanism to delete sex determination ads: SC

  • The Supreme Court has ordered three Internet giants — Google, Microsoft and Yahoo — to immediately set up their own in-house expert bodies to keep tabs on and delete online prenatal sex determination advertisements.
  • The court said the intent of the order was to make these search engines “responsive to Indian law.” This step is in addition to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s move to set up a nodal agency to receive complaints on violation of Section 22 of the 1994 Act.


Topic:  Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology 

6) What are organoids? How they are created and what are their applications? Discuss. (200 Words)


Introduction :- An organoid is a miniaturized and simplified version of an organ produced in vitro in three dimensions that shows realistic micro-anatomy. They are derived from one or a few cells from a tissue, embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells, which can self-organize in three-dimensional culture owing to their self-renewal and differentiation capacities. The technique for growing organoids has rapidly improved since the early 2010s, and it was named by The Scientist as one of the biggest scientific advancements of 2013.

Creation process :-

Organoid formation generally requires culturing the stem cells or progenitor cells in a 3D media. The 3D media can be made using an extracellular matrix hydrogel Matrigel, which is a laminin-rich extracellular matrix that is secreted by the Engelbreth-Holm-Swarm tumor line. Organoid bodies can then be made through embedding stem cells in the 3D media. When pluripotent stem cells are used for the creation of the organoid, the cells are usually, but not all the time, allowed to form embryoid bodies. Those embryoid bodies are then pharmacologically treated with patterning factors to drive the formation of the desired organoid identity. Organoids have also been created using adult stem cells extracted from the target organ, and cultured in 3D media.

Applications :-

  • Stem cells have the unique property of developing into any cell of the body under the right conditions. For this reason, there is a growing interest in using them to treat disorders such as hemophilia, diabetes and even neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinsons. 
  • Organoids recapitulate the intricate physical and biological features of organs and hence are important new tools in understanding human tissue development as well as for finding new drugs to treat disorders. 
  • It will be a game changing technology in fields of organ replacement and transplantation.


Topic:   Corporate governance

7) It is said that the events that have transpired at Infosys in recent years have crucial ramifications for the way corporate governance in professionally managed firms shapes up in this country. Examine the lessons in corporate governance that can be learnt from recent Infosys episode. (150 Words)


Introduction :- Academic research in corporate governance highlights that good corporate governance is essential to overcome two key problems that plague professionally managed firms: (i) agency problems and (ii) asymmetric information.

Agency problems stem from the fact that as agents of investors, many professional managers pursue their personal interests, even if such personal interest is detrimental to investors’ interests. 

Asymmetric information refers to the fact that professional managers and board members possess significantly greater information than the average investor in these firms. This asymmetry in information is further exacerbated by the fact that—left to themselves—professional managers would aggressively reveal good news and assiduously hide bad news. The temptation to hide bad news can become particularly undeniable amidst agency problems that point a finger towards the board’s or the CEO’s conduct.

it is crucial to remember that investors expect a typical firm to hide bad news and reveal good news. Therefore, consistently revealing bad news in a proactive manner is crucial for a firm to develop a reputation for good governance. 

When the average firm is perceived to be badly governed, signalling good corporate governance requires a consistently high level of effort from the management. Such effort has to be made ex-ante and not ex-post. 

Some commentators have argued that Infosys needs to change its “conservative culture” to compete in the US market.

In fact, good corporate governance pertains to aggressiveness in disclosure, especially when the news is bad and when it concerns the management or the board.

Good corporate governance requires diligent adherence to principles that remove the twin perceptions of agency problems and asymmetric information.