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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:  Poverty and developmental issues

1) India’s record of reducing poverty pales in comparison to China, Brazil and Mexico. What lessons should India learn from these countries in its efforts at reducing poverty? Examine. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


The World Bank’s Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals has noted the variations in the quantum of poverty reduction in the different countries. It found that proportion of people removed out of poverty in India is considerably less than other emerging economies like China, Brazil and Mexico. It states that India extricated 120 million people from extreme poverty between 1990 and 2013. Over the same period, China reduced the number of people living in extreme poverty from 756 million to 25 million. Even Brazil and Mexico whose economic growths were lesser than India in the same period were able to extract more people out of poverty compared to total number of poor people.

What lessons should India learn from these countries in its efforts to reduce the poverty?

  • An essential element in any enduring poverty alleviation strategy is to offer various means to poor people to earn livable income and reducing the ways by which people fall back into poverty basket.
  • Well-conceived and effectively implemented state-sponsored anti-poverty and social protection schemes play a significant role in reducing poverty. 
  • Redistributive transfers have played effective role in reducing the poverty in Brazil. India too needs redistributive transfers where rising inequality have nullified the positive impact of the growth on poverty reduction.
  • Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) can also prove as an effective instrument in poverty reduction. An added attraction of transfers is that, beyond the immediate safety net objective, they could also serve longer term objectives through behavioural changes in households.
  • The essential condition for welfare program and schemes to succeed is that they need to be accompanied by social infrastructure in terms of quality education and healthcare services. In Brazil poverty reduction measures could have had better results, had health programs like CCT Bolsa Familia achieved the intended results.
  • Similarly, the impact of Mexico’s Oportunidades on health outcomes has been inconsistent, owing to variations in the quality of health infrastructure, scarcity of medicine, low level of care, and discourteous treatment by health professionals.

The economic survey of India in its recent edition has talked about providing Universal Basic Income (UBI) to all its citizens. The feasibility and desirability of such program is being debated in India, it is mainly conceived with an idea to block the ways by which people above poverty line fall back into poverty basket.

To maximise the bang for the buck, an effective poverty strategy should pay attention to the short-term safety-net aspects of any transfer-based programme, the medium-term behavioural effects, and perhaps most critically, the longer-term changes in outcomes. The aim therefore should be to stop people from becoming poor and maximize the channels for upward rise making access to the right mix of social services critical.


Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

2) Health insurance as a long term plan for healthcare financing is perilous. Analyse. (200 Words)



Central and state governments in India are increasingly relying on health insurance as solution to the problems of the healthcare sector in India. Though health insurance is one of the ways to handle healthcare woes in India, it also suffers from many limitations.

Benefits of health insurance-

  • It reduces out-of-pocket expenditure of the people, particularly of the people below poverty line.
  • It is one of the chief ways to ensure that people above the poverty line do not incur high expenditure on health services which can push them into poverty basket.
  • Private sector plays major role in providing insurance thereby supplementing the limited resources of the government.
  • Government can focus more on poor people to ensure their well-being.

Despite such benefits of the health insurance, it cannot become the sole instrument for bringing health reforms. Health insurances have their own drawbacks which limit their utility to the large section of the people.

Why health insurance cannot be the long term model for healthcare financing-

  • Extreme poor households do not use their health insurance coverage given their low financial literacy and awareness.
  • Insurance is widely recognized as a poor model for healthcare financing because it suffers from serious information asymmetries. In a voluntary insurance market, there is an adverse selection problem where people who buy insurance on average are sicker than the average population. This makes the pool of insured more risky and thereby makes pricing of insurance difficult.
  • The other big worry is a moral hazard. Clients and doctors are incentivized to over-use facilities, thereby driving up health costs. Neither have the incentives to control costs, making the insurance system unsustainable.
  • Though health insurance is aimed at reducing the out-of-pocket expenditure, strangely it has found that out-of-pocket expenditure on health has increased in the last decade when there has been growth in the health insurance all over the country since then.

Thus Indian healthcare reforms cannot revolve around just health insurance. There is need to carry out comprehensive reforms that could address the structural issues of the healthcare system in India.

Way forward-

India could follow model that have been successfully implemented in Singapore. Medical savings accounts (MSAs) is one such product. Singapore adopted MSAs in 1984, and presents a success story. Its healthcare outcomes are comparable to most developed countries, while its spending is significantly lower.


Topic:India and its neighborhood- relations. 

3) India being a party to build Afghanistan is not only in Afghanistan but also India’s national interest. Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu



India and Afghanistan have shared friendly relations since 1950s. India has been in forefront to find amicable and peaceful solution to the Afghan issue. Recently USA has contemplated greater role to India to solve the Afghan issue considering latters impeccable record of upholding international peace and security.

Benefits to Afghanistan for greater role in re-building Afghanistan-

  • India has proved to be greatest asset for Afghanistan in building its civilian infrastructure. For eg. Afghan national parliament, Salma dam etc.
  • India has not let India-Pakistan relations to influence its Afghan policy. Further India is not friendly with Afghanistan due to formers hostility with Pakistan. Thus India-Afghan relations are based on sound footing.
  • India has never interfered into internal affairs of the Afghanistan providing domestic space for the later to take free and fair decisions.
  • India tops the list of nations when it comes to enjoying the goodwill of the Afghan people. This has provided Afghanistan with greater flexibility to rebuild the Afghanistan.
  • India has been helping Afghan troops in anti-terrorist activities and counter-insurgency operations. India also provides specific military hardware to Afghanistan on government’s demand.
  • Afghanistan can use India card for excessive interference of Pakistan into its internal affairs.

However the benefits of India Afghanistan are not only limited to Afghanistan only. India too benefits on numerous geo-eco-strategic and issues such as-

  • Central Asia has been resource rich region and India has been energy striving nation. Entry into Afghanistan provides India opening to vast resources of the central Asia to meet its economic appetite.
  • Stable Afghanistan is important for the stability of South Asia. Stable Afghanistan would curtail the export of Talibani terrorist to other regions in the south Asia.
  • India has acquired the rights to develop Chabahar port in Iran. Connectivity from Chabahar to Afghanistan provides India with strategic advantage in case of future conflict with Pakistan.
  • China has been pursuing active policy in finding urgent and peace solution to Afghan issue on account of its OBOR project thereby unsettling India’s aspirations in Afghanistan. India could stand up to Chinese aggression in Asia if the former holds ground in Afghanistan. Thus proactive role of India has become important for maintaining its interests in Asia.
  • Pakistan has been fumbled with increasing role assigned to India in Afghanistan in USA’s current Afghan policy. Thus India can ensure that Pakistan do not exploit the volatile situation in Afghanistan with adverse effects on India.
  • India has always championed the cause of democratic governments of the world and has supported the building of strong democratic institutions. Similar solution in Afghanistan would only strengthened the role of India as a upholder of the democratic set up in the world.

Thus India-Afghanistan relations have various facets that could help both the countries in reviving their fortunes and glory in the Asia.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

4) How can cooperative societies aid in better micro finance? Highlight the role cooperative societies can play in enhancing farmer welfare. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Cooperative society is an organization of group of people with collective responsibilities and thoughts for the development of needy, especially under privileged. Cooperatives have inherent advantages in tackling the problems of poverty alleviation, food security and employment generation. It is considered to have immense potential to deliver goods and services in areas where both the public and private sector have failed.

How can cooperative societies aid in better micro-finance?

  • Cooperative institutions have reach of almost 97% of the villages in India. Thus they can be greatest vehicles for the promotion of micro-finance.
  • Cooperatives work on the principle of mutual help and cooperation. Hence they are flexible enough to understand the credit need of their customers and to waive of technicalities that exist in commercial institutions.
  • Cooperative societies can readily grant short term funding to small and marginal farmers, SHGs and to women’s group to meet latter’s financial requirements within short time. Such short term credit to these groups is of utmost importance for their survival and sustainability.
  • Cooperative societies can spread financial literacy in the backward and under-privileged sections of the rural areas. This could lead more savings and judicious use of financial resources among rural population.
  • Profit is not motive of the cooperative societies. Thus the chances of exploitation of members are reduced and that of welfare is increased.

Role of cooperative societies in enhancing farmer’s welfare-

  • Cooperatives help farmers by providing top quality fertilizers, seeds, insecticides, pesticides etc at reasonable price.
  • Farmers also get marketing, warehousing facility and transportation support from the cooperatives.
  • Service cooperative societies help the poor and marginal farmers with tractors, threshers etc on rent.
  • Sugar Industry has thrived in India largely on the cooperative basis. It has helped farmers to receive better prices for their produce and to resist the exploitation carried out by private sugar industries.
  • Dairy cooperative is another success story in India. To prevent the exploitation of marginal milk producers by the private dairy, farmers in Gujarat formed the “Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union Ltd.” in Anand. Under this Union, cooperatives were formed at every village to collect surplus quantities of milk from small producers and a modern dairy was established to process the milk locally. The products were sold under the brand name Amul since 1955.
  • Establishment of marketing cooperatives have encouraged in providing marketing facilities to small farmers. The anticipated advantages were increase in bargaining strength of farmers, removal of intermediaries and direct interaction with consumers. The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) was established in 1958 for promoting cooperative marketing of agricultural produce. Indian Farmers’ Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) was established in 1967 to produce and distribute fertilisers through cooperatives.
  • Allied Agricultural Cooperatives cover activities like dairy farming, poultry, piggery, etc. which provide secondary income source to farmers besides dairying.

Self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity which helps in Cooperatives are democratically-managed economic institutions with social objectives providing every kind of services that the members need based on the principles of the Cooperation. Cooperatives are the backbone of rural India and the prosperity of rural India depends on the success of cooperatives.


Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth

5) FDI in the Indian Textile Industry should boost the sector and protect the interest or marginal craftsmen. Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu


The textile industry in the country is growing exponentially with the foreign direct investment having tripled in the last three years. Though FDI had touched 618.95 million U.S. dollars in 2016-17, there is still a huge potential for further growth.

Impact on FDI on textile sector and marginal craftsmen-

  • FDI in textile industry would bring cutting edge technologies and best practices of the other nations to Indian textile industry.
  • Indian textile sector is one of the largest in the world. However lack of competition from the outside world had crippled the productivity of the indigenous textile production. FDI would bring requisite competition to prosper the indigenous textile industry.
  • FDI would increase the investment in textile industry thereby providing much needed capital to the sector.
  • This could also help in increasing the export of textile products and apparels on larger scale than before.
  • FDI would incentivize the development of backwards areas and could also revive the small and medium scale industries in the rural areas.
  • FDI in textile industry would increase the employment opportunities, particularly for skilled workers thereby strengthening the efforts to reduce unemployment and poverty.
  • Massive program of skill training has been envisioned under Make-in-India and Skill India programs that would help to acquire skills and new techniques to marginal craftsmen. This would improve their productivity and efficiency.

However there are also some concerns regarding such policy-

  • Government needs to ensure fair ground and equal opportunities to both domestic and foreign players to reap the anticipated measures.
  • It is essential to provide skill and training to marginal craftsmen to ensure their wellbeing in the ever increasing cut throat competition in the market.
  • Other programs like Make-in-India, Skill India, Stand-up India, MUDRA need to implement effectively so that marginal craftsmen are not pushed to isolation and textile industry witnesses greater growth.

The textile sector employs the second largest workforce in the country, with 4.5 crore people directly getting livelihood from it and 2 crore people being indirectly employed. Hence policies like allowing FDI on larger scale should be carefully planned and executed effectively.



Topic: Infrastructure 

6) Building heavy infrastructure such as mega dams must be examined through a heavy cost benefit analysis. Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Cost benefit analysis is the comparative analysis between inputs given and outputs gained in particular project. In this case the outputs are socio economic and environmental in character, while cost involved too has various angels other than monetary terms.

Large infrastructure projects need CB analysis because:

  1. The Heavy infrastructural projects has long gestation period that may reach upto 20 years. This time period must be taken into consideration in order to calculate future cost of the specific project.
  2. Heavy infrastructural projects also come with the huge initial investment costs. In order to get maximum benefits from input cost, CB ratio must be calculated for profitability.
  3. In a democracy such as India, peoples’ money must be utilised with utmost care. Transparency and most possible effective use of taxpayers’ money is part of financial accountability of democratically elected government.
  4. In many cases, it has been observed that, mega infrastructural projects come with detrimental environmental costs. In first instance itself, it is tough to calculate the exact cost and ways to compensate such costs. Eg: Big dams lead to the siltation in area and may lead to submergence of surrounding land.
  5. Social cost is important component needs to be consider in case of big infrastructural projects as it may create adverse impact on livelihood, immigration, local ecology etc. example of Narmada Sarovar Dam is very recent and under public critical discourse.


  1. Cost benefit analysis needs to include possible future challenges such as opposition by farmers in land acquisition, maintenance challenges of remotely located issues, agreement problems of PPP model based projects.
  2. Cost benefit analysis is essential in order to pull private sector efforts in construction of these projects of service delivery from these projects. Corporate social responsibility must be effectively used by government.
  3. The big infrastructural projects must be established on very transparent information available to all sectors. The involved cost and benefit analysis must be keep open to all and should form a case study for Right to Information act.


In midst of debate about small projects verses large infrastructure project, CB analysis must be part of standard operating procedure for various infrastructural projects. The CB ration must involve detail cost on society and environment and should be given priority while consideration of viability of particular project.



Topic: Ethics in human actions

7)  Trolls and hate campaigns targeted against women cannot be solved just by legislative change but a mentality overhaul. Comment. (150 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Trolls and hate campaigns are being used against women on social media platform in order to harm them psychologically, taking help of anonymity and spread of social media platforms.

Legislative efforts by government like The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, has largely proved ineffective in curbing this onslaught on the Internet. Though the Act was passed to prohibit indecent representation of women through advertisements or in publications, writings, paintings, figures or in any other manner, it pertains only to the print media.

The Bill defines the ‘indecent representation of women’ to mean the depiction of the figure or form or body or any part thereof, of a woman in such a way as to have the effect of being indecent or derogatory to or denigrating women, or in a way likely to deprave, corrupt or injure public morality.

Though legal means have always been part of ethical, moral determinations of society since period of socio religious reform movements in India the intended impact of said legislation comes only when they are accepted from below. Troll and hate against women represents the deep rooted patriarchy, cultural, psychological subjugation of women in society.

It needs a lot of maturity, broadness of thinking, sympathy and empathy for women to minimize and curb these incidences.   It needs a complete mentality overhaul in terms of  acceptance, recognition of women’s dignity, presence. Legal measures can only facilitate the process and not root it out.


Topic: Ethics in human actions

8) What is meant by the principle of Greater Good? Explain an instance from your experience where such a principle needed to be applied. (150 Words)

Introduction :- The greater good is a common expression which refers to the fact that we are doing something that most likely will not benefit us but many people, a community or even the human race according to the context.

To follow the Principle of greater good one should posses the values of compassion, empathy, integrity, honesty, leadership in him/her. One must put the interest of others over self interest. The principle of greater good closely resembles with the principle of utilitarianism. It advocates the greatest good for greatest number of people and enhances the concept of benevolence to new height. However some difference remain.

In both the sole motive is to ensure happiness for majority and keeping the minority aside but principle of greater good also involves taking decisions to benefit minority keeping aside majority . It is not about the numerical reach but about the impact and motive. For example in doing partition of country the leaders thought about greatest good for greater number of people and hence took the painful decision even if it was harsh, ruthless for innocent people. However in setting up girls school in Pune and facing resistance from majority of people by Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule also involved principle of greater good although it was only for minority.

In personal life when a civil servant is caught in dilemma about family responsibilities and professional responsibilities he/she must try to balance but if there is need to give priority then by principle of greater good public service need to be put above personal issues.