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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) Inequality is reprehensible not only because it is inherently unfair and unjust, but because it can cause harm in a number of domains of everyday living. Discuss. (200 Words)


Introduction :-

Our inequality materializes our upper class, vulgarizes our middle class, brutalizes our lower class


Inequality is one of the worst form of evil in society. It leaves the poor, downtrodden helpless and hopeless as it is unfair and unjust. It can impact the life of poor in in everyday in number of domain :-

  • The poor spend the bulk of their income on necessities, the marginal propensity to consume out of income is higher for the poor than it is for the rich.
  • The concentration of wealth and income in the hands of a few is conducive to a market structure that is monopolistic or oligopolistic. Monopolistic pricing is associated with deadweight losses in welfare.
  • Inequality is often both the source and the consequence of economic domination by one group of people over another. The ghettoization of the Muslim community in Gujarat after the events of 2002, and the attempt at nullification of the community’s economic status, is a case in point.
  • Inequalities of income and wealth have a way of spilling over into other domains, such as health. Economic inequalities are known to have stress and demoralization effects on workers. Inequality can thus dampen productivity, and so earning potential, and so productivity again in a vicious cycle. 
  • Public health and public education might be expected to be among the casualties of a system of self-centred vested interests wrought by large concentrations of economic resources and political power in the hands of a few. 

Way for ward :-

  • Income differences can be reduced via redistribution through taxes and benefits, or by reducing differences in pre-tax incomes.  The international evidence suggests that greater equality confers the same benefits on a society whether it is achieved through one of these approaches or the other.
  • Forms of economic democracy, such as employee ownership, employee representation on boards, employee share ownership, mutuals and cooperatives tend to reduce the scale of income inequality and help equality to become more embedded in a society.
  • To reduce inequality, policies should be universal in principle paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations.
  • In most cases, it is the result of institutional structures that create social barriers based on: sex, age, ethnicity, social status, among other variables that define individuals’ initial conditions. Hence creating an enabling environment is necessary with steps like spreading education, empowering the weaker section by skilling, providing free health, food facilities etc.
  • Targeting helps to reduce income inequality and inequalities related to education and health. Income transfers programmes can have a greater and longer term impact if better targeting is used, ensuring people with wider gaps in access and income inequality are participants of the programmes. For ex. MGNREGA, PDS
  • Revision of legislative frameworksthat foster inequality and enacting enabling laws:-This strategy can help to identify discriminatory laws or laws that generate inequalities among people or regions. Recently Maharashtra government has passed law against social boycott to reduce social inequality and discrimination. 

Discrimination against certain groups of population might isolate them and limit their access to opportunities for a better wellbeing. Media campaigns and advocacy efforts, which identify this kind of discrimination and promote the participation of these sectors, can make people with disabilities, migrants, religions groups and indigenous groups more confident about their inclusion in the State. Affirmative action can help to reduce the impact of ancient discrimination and inequality towards social groups. Quotas for education, political participation can also improve their voice on public policy.

Topic:   Role of civil services in a democracy.

2) Specialisation in the Indian Administrative Services is pending eventuality but lateral entry is not the only answer. Comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- Good governance is basic to all reforms and changes in society. Given the significance of the bureaucracy in India’s development, some of the major changes need to be incorporated in order to improve the bureaucracy’s efficiency and performance.

Need of specialization in civil services :-

  • Civil services in start were just about the tax administration but with changing time the nature and requirements of it has undergone major changes. The focus is on increased specialization, technicalities, expertise and functionalities.
  • Generalists heading specialised areas seems to be an inefficient arrangement at times. There is also a misconception that only generalists who have a breadth of understanding and experience can provide best leadership. All these have raised questions about the role and relevance of the generalised IAS.
  • The coveted IAS is hamstrung by political interference, outdated personnel procedures, and a mixed record on policy implementation

Lateral entry need :-

There is an overall 20% shortfall of IAS cadre officers alone in 24 state cadres. The Baswan Committee (2016) showed it. Outside talent from the private sector in the form of lateral entry is more likely to be target-oriented, which will improve the performance of the government. The conventional wisdom on lateral entry is that it infuses fresh energy and thinking into an insular, complacent and often archaic bureaucracy. It enables the entry of right-minded professionals and the adoption of best practices for improving governance.

What can be done :-

  • India’s civil services need reform. There is little argument about this. Internal reforms—such as insulation from political pressure and career paths linked to specialization—and external reforms such as lateral entry are complementary, addressing the same deficiencies from different angles.
  • Any serious attempt at revamping the bureaucracy must start from this very fundamental feature. Apart from basic work of revenue administration there is a need to convert training of civil servants into creating cadres of, if not specialised, at least fairly well-oriented administrators in fields that they will be called upon to administer.
  • It is also necessary to create a fast-track career progression path for those with a demonstrated dynamic and outstanding display of public leadership and innovation in good governance.
  • Reforms are also needed to reshape recruitment and promotion processes, improve performance-based assessment of individual officers, and adopt safeguards that promote accountability while protecting bureaucrats from political meddling.


No civil service structure can be static in its character. It has to be dynamic and has to change with the times. Revamping the bureaucracy is not a Herculean task. It merely requires a positive mindset of the government in power and a determination among the aspirants in the service to deliver as per the hallowed objectives of the service. We need to emulate some of the culture embedded in the civil services of Singapore, Scandinavian countries and the qualities that the British Civil services.

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

3) Despite a dedicated legislation to emancipate the condition of street vendors in India, they await transformative reforms and effective implementation. Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to regulate street vendors in public areas and protect their rights. According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, there are 10 million street vendors in India, with Mumbai accounting for 250,000, Delhi has 450,000 etc.

The bill aimed at providing social security and livelihood rights to street vendors, has its origins in the ‘Street Vendors Policy’ introduced in 2004, which was later revised as ‘National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, 2009. The act recognizes that street vendors constitute an integral part of our urban economy.

Problems faced by street vendors :-

  • Street vendors contribute significantly to the urban distribution system, but in return face humiliation, harassment and confiscation threats from police officers and inspectors from the local governing bodies.
  • The risk of displacement often increases in the context of elections, mega-events or efforts to beautify city centers.
  • Since street vendors spend the majority of their working time on open roads, they are vulnerable to different types of diseases like migraines, hyper-acidity, hypertension and high blood pressure due to pollution.
  • The lack of toilets has an adverse effect on women’s health and many suffer from urinary tract infections and kidney ailments. 

Hence the comprehensive act Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) was passed. In spite of the provisions of town Vending Committees, vending zones, certifications of venders the legislation is not creating ground level impacts.

Issues in legislation and implementation :-

  • The obligations such as fee for certification, maintenance charges, to maintain public property/hygienic conditions can be cause of breach of conditions by a street vendor as their income is so meagre.
  • The undertaking given by person that no other means of livelihood is controversial because street vendor do look for other temporary jobs to supplement their incomes.
  • There is no clause to impart training to representative of street vendors in TVC regarding knowledge of all type of vending business to gain maximum profit, as most of vendors are illiterate.
  • The Government shall add provisions to safeguard interest of street vendors who are working on pleasure of some private owners or contractors.
  • The act provides legal status to only street vendors of urban areanot for rural areas.
  • Conflict with State Laws: The act states that the central law will override any other state law in case there is conflict between the two laws. Under this act, the TVC has a limited role involving the issue and renewal of registration and vending certificates and keeping records of street vendors such as the stall allotted for vending, category of vending and the business carried out.
  • The railway accommodates a significant population of street vendors in India but unfortunately railway is excluded from purview of this act. The standing committee has also recommended that railway should be included under purview of this act.

Over the years the street vendors have organized themselves into trade unions and associations, and numerous NGO‘s have started working for them. The National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), based in Delhi, is a federation of 715 street vendor organizations, trade unions and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s).

However there are some flawed provisions in street vendor’s act 2014 but still it is a very good start for creating a harassment free environment for street vendors. There is need to do a lot for purpose of harassment free environment such as training to TVC members, organized elections of street vendors in TVC, apply provisions of this act to railways etc.  

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

4) European Union and India share a tripartite of business, humanitarian, and democratic interests. Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- India and the European Union (EU) meet at their 14th summit recently in New Delhi. Trade and investment, science and technology, and innovation and education will remain the traditional areas of Indo-European partnership. but such tactical cooperation will prove meaningless unless it is given a strategic and democratic direction to navigate an increasingly hostile global environment.

The tripartite of India – EU

Business interests :-

  • India’s economy grew by 7.5% in 2015-2016. The performance of the Indian economy makes it the fastest growing large economy on the planet. The European Union (EU28) is India’s second largest trading bloc, accounting for around 20% of Indian trade .
  • France, Germany and UK collectively represent the major part of EU-India trade. Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Spain and Poland are the other more prominent European Union countries who trade with India.

Humanitarian interest :-

  • The rising terrorism threat in world has EU as it’s new victim while India has also experienced it many a times. Co-operation between two is needed for intelligence sharing, joint actions etc.
  • The refugee crisis in Syria has slackened EU from within. India is also experiencing the Rohingya issue. Such issues needs to be tackled with international co-operation.
  • The European Commission has been present in India since 1995 and has responded to all major emergencies, including the Orissa cyclone in 1999, the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, the Tsunami in 2004, the Jammu and Kashmir earthquake in 2005, the Bihar floods in 2008 and Cyclone Phailin in 2013. The EU’s total humanitarian assistance to India to date exceeds €128.9 million.

Democratic interests :-

  • Rooted in its democratic institutions and open societies, the Indian and European world views are far more similar than usually assumed. 
  • This is increasingly manifested in their converging interests to ensure Eurasian connectivity plans that are truly multilateral, and also financially and environmentally sustainable; the protection of international legal principles such as the freedom of navigation; or the development of regulatory frameworks that foster scientific and technological innovation under the rule of law.

India-EU must go beyond business as usual. Exploring areas like democratic and humanitarian is in utmost interest of both in changing world scenarios full of threats of terrorism, crisis which needs the co-operative efforts.

Topic:  Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate 

5) Convergence of the armed forces in an egalitarian manner can address the mechanics of national security. Comment with reference to the prospect of integrating Armed Forces. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- The recent comments by Indian Air Force, Vice Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal S.B. Deo that “Ours is a growing country, our budget is limited. We cannot afford duplicating capabilities. We cannot have an Air Force with the Army, an Air Force with the Navy and another Air Force.” Has created debate over the possibilities of integration of Armed forces.

Advantages and need for integration :-

  • Chief of Defence staff post :- India’s strategic weaknesses that have emerged in the wars since 1947 centre on lack of war preparedness, poor intelligence and crippling processing of defence requirements. Subrahmanyam Committee proposed having a CDS for the first time after the review of Kargil war. Such post under integration will prevent any mis-communication and inefficiency in handling war like situations.
  • India’s land borders and threats are predominantly land-based and oriented. Despite technological advances India’s defence requirements would be man-power extensive based on the Indian Army. Hence integration under Army is needed.
  • The three Armed Forces function largely as separate executive entities without adequate coordination and wastage of resources. For ex. the army, air force and navy wastefully have their own separate logistics networks which results in considerable redundancy and even more waste.
  • Close monitoring and candid joint assessment of emerging situations, their implications and responses instead of three separate assessments is a must in the national interest, and this can only occur through better management of higher defence.
  • It will ensure service specific approach to operations towards a system which avoids duplication, ensures optimum utilisation of available resources, brings in greater jointness, leads to timely and mature decisions to developing situations and ensures flawless execution of orders to achieve success in battle.

Way forward :-

  • After much deliberation, the consensus has turned towards a Permanent Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC), a four star officer equivalent to the three service chiefs, while ideally what the country needs is a full-fledged five star officer. The four star officer would serve no real purpose except adding to the already existing protocol nightmare and complicating the situation further.
  • The Defence Ministry is yet to form a view on the subject. But experience from the US, Russia and China shows that the decision to create integrated theatre commands will have to be a political one, which will then be executed by the defence services.
  • A precursor to the creation of integrated theatre commands has to be the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff or Permanent Chairman, COSC. This was first proposed by the GoM in 2001, but hasn’t been implemented so far. Even the last Combined Commanders Conference at Dehradun in February, chaired by the Prime Minister, was inconclusive on the subject, with a consensus on taking the proposal forward.
  • The recently released ‘Joint military doctrine of the Indian armed forces 2017’ made the right noise on jointness and integration, but much work is needed on the ground to achieve desired goal.


Topic:  Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth. 

6) Low – End Manufacturing has the potential for productive skill friendly employment and enhancing national policy goals. Analyse. (200 Words)

The Wire

Introduction :- China currently dominates the global market of textiles and apparel, footwear and furniture which is low end manufacturing. However China’s move up the value chain and the relocation of low-end manufacturing to cheaper countries will continue to create opportunities and support strong economic growth in some of Asia’s frontier emerging markets.

Benefits offered by low end manufacturing :-

  • India should shift focus to low end manufacturing like China to take full advantage of its demographic dividend which stands nearly at 65% to avert an unemployment crisis in future.
  • The myth that India can bypass manufacturing stage and become developed has to be sidelined and steps for low end manufacture ng can be the first game changer.
  • For the sake of creating more jobs to accommodate the growing working population, India should not neglect the manufacturing sector, especially low-end labor-intensive industries. This could also help absorb a large number of workers who are employed in unorganized sectors. 
  • China lifted millions of people out of poverty in the last three decades by focusing on developing its own manufacturing industry India must learn and try to follow it.
  • According to a 2014 Boston Consulting Group report, the cost of Indian labour has remained virtually flatover the past decade when adjusted for productivity gains. By contrast, labour costs in China’s coastal provinces have nearly tripled due to low end manufacturing opportunities.


Low end manufacturing in national policy goal :-

  • India is striving hard to enhance the output of it’s manufacturing sector. The services sector absorbs only about a quarter of the labor force in India despite the fact that it accounts for more than half of GDP. On the other hand, manufacturing accounts for about 15 per cent of the country’s GDP and employs 11 per cent of the labour force. Hence low end manufacturing will provide ample scope.
  • Skill India aims to skill population of 40 crore by 2022. Such huge workforce will need to be absorbed accordingly for which sectors like apparel, textile, footwear are needed.
  • Another clear positive for India is the large size of its domestic market. It is not only the third largest economy in Purchasing Power Parity terms, it is also currently the fastest growing large economy. All this growth phenomenon will enhance with focus on low end manufacturing.


Challenges :-

  • Bangladesh and Vietnam already have strong footholds in these sectors – together they accounted for 8% of global clothing, footwear and furniture exports in 2015.
  • Such manufacturing base will require much work on backward and forward linkages in terms of market connectivity, skilling of workers, availability of infrastructure etc.
  • Indian labour laws, market regulatory system, ease of doing business environment will not favour a rapid enhancement of such low end manufacturing.

Topic: Ethics in human actions; Attitude

7) What do you mean by ‘Ambition’? How is it different from success? Is Ambition a good ethical value?  Comment. (150 Words)


Introduction :- Ambitions in simple words is a strong desire to achieve something. It is the internal driving force in a person which sets him/her on a mission mode to achieve the targets.

Difference between ambition and success :-

Success refers to the specific result, destination of the ambition, or effort. It can be also called a specific target, aim, or objective that serves as the focus of achievement. Success can have a variety of descriptions including; goal, distinction, or achievement.

Ambition on the other hand, refers to the determination in reaching a goal or any of its relative terms. Aside from the inclination and determination, it is also referred to as the process of achieving something. In having and fulfilling an ambition, the result will often bring personal satisfaction and advancement for the person.

Ambition and ethics :-

Being ambitious is often equated with being highly career/ goal oriented and later being unethical. It is assumed notion that is a person id too ambitious then he/ she might get indulge into unethical practices to achieve their ambitions.

However it’s a good ethical value.

  • Being ambitious is the first step to dream big and get success :- Ambitions play the role of internal drive, strength, lighthouse and catalyst towards ones goal. It’s presence will enhance the possibilities of success. Ex Muhamad Ali was so ambitious that he set and broke his own records many times.
  • Ambitions keep us alive in the worst circumstances and will motivate us towards our dreams. Mary Kom is too ambitious to get defeated despite of age, children factors.
  • Only ambitious people have changed the course of history. Gandhiji, Mandela, Aan San Syu Ki were ambitious to lead their country to freedom hence they could achieve impossible.

Hence ambition is not an issue being overambitious or blindly ambitious can be troublesome. Hitler’s ambitions about making Germany supreme country and German race a supreme race resulted into all unethical happenings.