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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.

General Studies – 1;

Topic:  Poverty and developmental issues 

1) Both China and India have recorded appallingly unequal growth over the last three decades, but in China, even though it is not a democracy in the sense of permitting free expression of public opinion, its growth process over the period 1980–2014 has been relatively much less unequal than India’s. Examine why. (200 Words)




  • World Inequality Report 2018 asserts that there has been continuous growth in inequality here since the mid-1980s
  • However, inequality in India declined for three and a half decades since 1950 even as the economy grew steadily, though maybe not spectacularly.
  • Article 38 – 44th amendment – reduce inequalities in income, status


Case of China

  • World Development Indicators data released by the World Bank show that per capita income in China was five times that of India in 2016 while the percentage of the population living on less than $1.90 a day was about 10 times less at the beginning of this decade. India has a forbidding gap to traverse in all directions, but for now let us focus on inequality.
  • Since 1980, while the Chinese economy has grown 800% and India’s a far lower 200%, inequality in China today is considerably lower than in India. The share of the top 1% of the Chinese population is 14% as opposed to the 22% reported for India. 
  • Inequality actually declined in China from the early 21st century.


Investment in human Capital

  • If there is to be a meta narrative for China’s economic development, it is that its leadership combined the drive for growth with the spreading of human capital. Human capital is a person’s endowment derived from education and robust health.
  • The spread of health and education in China enabled the Chinese economy to grow faster than India by exporting manufactures to the rest of the world. 
  • As the human capital endowment was relatively equal, most people could share in this growth, which accounts for the relative equality of outcomes in China when compared to India. 
  • An ingredient of this is also the greater participation of women in the workforce of China, an outcome that eludes India.



Way forward for India 

  • India’s full panoply of interventions, invariably justified as being pro-poor, have not only not spread human capital, but they have also not been able to prevent a growing income inequality.
  • The focus must be on expanding profit-sharing arrangements, without stifling or centralizing market incentives that are crucial to drive growth.
  • A first step would be to give all of a country’s residents the right to a certain share of the economy’s profits
  • There is need to spread health and education far more widely amidst the population. 

Topic: urbanization, their problems and their remedies

2) Mumbai’s new proposed development plan focuses on providing employment space for 80 lakh persons and is depending on additional metro systems and the controversial coastal road project to take the potential load off the rail network. In the light of recent tragedy of stampede, comment its new development plan. (200 Words)




  • 20 odd people were crushed to death on a railway foot overbridge at Elphinstone Road Station on the Western Railway zone of Mumbai’s suburban railway network.  


Poor urban planning

  • The incident brought to the fore failures at various levels, with the prime ones being the lack of a responsive disaster management mechanism and a lack of planning that dovetails land use with the needs of an increasing commuting population. 
  • These are failures that not only plague a city that has grown inured to many human-made disasters, but also most urban centres in the country, and its lessons would be relevant too, if they are taken to heart.


Dwindling transport system

  • The public transport system linking the new residential hubs in the extended suburbs to the commercial spaces in south and central Mumbai has simply not kept pace. 
  • These spaces also suffer from heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic congestion that is not helped by the lack of coordination between the various bodies like the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the railway authorities. 
  • More metro and monorail stations, which will become operational soon, will only add to the congestion. 
  • Many of Mumbai’s unique characteristics are interlinked with the suburban rail network. 
  • These range from the mobility of its women and the “safety” they enjoy due to trains running for almost 22 hours daily, it being the most extensive and cheapest form of transport contributing immensely to the city’s famed resilience—decidedly growing thinner of late—and the work ethic of its working population, both blue- and white-collared, and an entire microcosm of the self-employed who sell everything, from flowers and hairpins to vegetables, fruits and books. 
  • Residential and commercial complexes have grown around railway stations, almost like civilisations around river banks of old, and these include buildings, slums and shanties. 
  • The bad news is that this growth is neither planned nor regulated in the far-flung suburbs, while in the central parts of the city frenzied building of “towers” continues and whose occupants will emerge onto narrow and congested roads.


Way forward

  • Better-maintained rail tracks and signalling systems 
  • Independent authority for the suburban rail network, 
  • Building multi-modal transport to absorb the strain of the railways, 
  • Creation of east–west corridors. 


General Studies – 2

Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure

3) The Uniform Civil Code is a delicate proposition with necessary progressive and consolidation measures. Comment. (200 Words)

The Wire




India is a multi religious, multi cultural and multi ethnic country. The beauty of diversity is encapsulated by the colourful rainbow it creates in the ancient land, besides retaining cultural coherence and “unity in diversity” as suggested by Nehru. This historic evolution of living with differences has also been celebrated by our Constitution for the modern polity.

However, the constitution also mandates under Article 44, a directive principle to the state policy, to strive for the uniform civil code for the citizens of India. The basic premises of this provision is to attain commoneness in civil code procedures like criminal code than to homogenise. It will also blend diverse people in one rope of nationhood.


Why uniform civil code necessary and progressive.


Gender equality

  • The religious codes which determines familial relationship are mostly confounded with archaic notions of how women is related to customs and traditions. They unequivocally hinder individual progress of women which is important for humane society.
  • In this respect, uniform civil code is a tool to attain the ideals of gender equality by flattening gender discriminations through a one single secular law.


Liberate thinking from religion

  • As rthe civil codes are religion specific, the lives of people get defined within the contours of religion only. It therefore hampers the liberal thoughts and new ideas.
  • Therefore uniform code can provide a framework in which diverse liberal thoughts of individuals can prosper.


Develop common consciousness

  • India being a secular country cannot afford to be perpetually divided on the basis of communities which do not intermarry. To contain the regressive campaigns like love jihad and emancipate consciousness to national level, uniform civil code can be important like Special Marriage Act, 1955 was.
  • It will also help in consolidation of Indian nation which is still undergoing in leaps and bounds.


Way forward

  • There must be whole discussion with all stakeholders before formulating the law
  • The code must not homogenise against the constitutional provision of “Right to Religion”, but make people unite under justice principle for women and nationhood.


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

4) The need for a global action against Dengue has never been more imminent with India being a focal point. Comment. (200 Words)

The Wire




  • The Global Burden of Disease Study estimated 58.4 million dengue cases in 2013 and about 10,000 deaths worldwide. Though the number of deaths due to dengue is relatively small, the pressure on healthcare systems and the reduction in workforce strength due to the illness take a heavy toll.
  • The mosquito Aedes aegypti, the primary carrier of the dengue virus, bites mostly during the day – which means unless you’re in an air-conditioned cocoon without any ventilation, there is danger.
  • Stagnant water along roads, temporary rain puddles, not-so-temporary rubbish-ridden rivers, a garbage dump waterlogged in the rain – all make excellent breeding grounds for mosquitoes.


Dengue in India

  • Dengue is one of the main mosquito-borne diseases in India, along with malaria, chikungunya and Japanese encephalitis. 


  1. Poor diagnosis
  • India’s National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) captures only 0.35% of the annual number of clinically diagnosed dengue cases.

     2.India urbanising rapidly

  • The versatile Ae. aegypti is the primary vector for dengue, which is highly adapted to the urban environment
  • It can breed in small collections of water. Even a small plastic cup would suffice. As the Aedes species spread all over the world with increased movement of humans and goods, dengue went with them. 
  • Population growth, unprecedented urban growth that provides the ideal ecology for viruses and mosquitoes, globalisation and modern transportation that provides the ideal mechanism for transporting the viruses and mosquitoes among population centres; and, deterioration of public health infrastructure and lack of effective mosquito control in tropical cities.

     3.All four serotyoes present in India

  • The prevalent dengue strains in India have been changing temporally. When dengue epidemics started in India in the 1950s and 1960s, all four serotypes were present in a mild form.
  • The dengue virus today has four serotypes. A serotype is a group within a species of microorganisms that has its own set of distinctive surface structures. One serotype is usually responsible for one epidemic, but there have been cases where more than one serotype circulates during an epidemic.
  • When a person already infected with one serotype is infected by a second, the body cannot fight both serotypes at the same time
  • The dengue virus has found a way to make its host’s body turn against itself. Antibodies produced against one dengue serotype can enhance infection by a second serotype, a phenomenon called antibody-dependent enhancement of infection

     4.Indian climate 

  • The first epidemics are in the south of India and then the disease spreads north. Mosquitoes breed better in warm, humid environments and they follow the monsoons northwards. 
  • The rainy season, with increased humidity, increases the survival of the mosquito, thus increasing the probability that an infected mosquito will live long enough to transmit the virus to other persons.



  • The fight against dengue thus needs to be at many levels: measures to control Aedes mosquito populations, vaccinating against the mosquito using techniques like Wolbachia infections, rapid diagnosis and effective treatment of the disease and, finally, developing a vaccine that can fight against all four serotypes.


  1. Aerial spraying not effective
  • Killing off adult mosquitoes by aerial spraying has been the go-to solution but its effectiveness has been questionable
  • Ae. aegypti dwells in sheltered areas where the spray doth not go. The chemicals need repeated application; the mosquitoes can develop resistance; and their environmental effects are numerous. 

      2.Using fish costly

  • Using fish, like guppies, that eat up mosquito larvae has been discussed as an option but it could get expensive in the large scale. 

     3.Genetic modification of mosquitoes under trial

  • Using genetically modified mosquitoes carrying a lethal gene that can induce sterility in wild mosquitoes is under trial.
  • Bacteria of the genus Wolbachia naturally infect many insects, though not mosquitoes that cause dengue. The bacteria can inhibit the growth of other microbes in its hosts and shorten their lifespan. Wolbachia is also compatible with a range of insects: a strain collected from one insect species can be used to infect another, even if the insect hosts are not related. 
  • Bacterium Wolbachia pipientis can be used to infect Ae. aegypti, where it can prevent the dengue virus from replicating in the mosquito.

     4.Rapid diagnosis 

  • Since fever is the first manifestation of the disease, it becomes difficult to differentiate dengue from a simple flu. 
  • The National Institute of Virology has a kit that can detect dengue, and other commercial tests are also available.


     5.Developing Vaccines

  • Vaccinating against dengue has been part of the plan to combat the disease – but vaccine candidates are still not in a position to hit the market. 
  • Global pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has developed a vaccine against dengue but India has not approved it for use.  Sanofi vaccine does not work on patients who have never had dengue before; it is a booster vaccine.



General Studies – 3


Topic: Infrastructure

5) Employment creation requires creation of social infrastructure as much as it does require structural reforms. Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu



  • India is indeed the fastest growing large economy in the world; yet with investment low, credit offtake low, capacity utilisation in industry low, agricultural growth low, plant load factor low, it is hardly surprising that job growth is low as well.
  • The pattern of growth is the problem in which it is not manufacturing that has been the leading sector driving growth. 
  • Manufacturing should drive productivity in the whole economy. Services cannot, as services by definition ‘service’ the distribution of produced goods.


Structural reforms


  1. Integrated industrial and trade policy
  • An industrial and trade policy is needed. Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is finally preparing an industrial policy, given the fat that there was no National Manufacturing Policy since 1991 before it came in 2011.
  • It is essential that trade policy is consistent with such an industrial policy. Otherwise the two may work at cross purposes and undermine each other’s objectives as excessive imports have been decimating Indian manufacturing. 

     2.Reverse inverted duty structures

  • Higher duty on intermediate goods compared to final finished goods, with the latter often enjoying concessional customs duty. 
  • It lead to higher raw material cost at home, emanating from the unfavourable inverted duty structure. This was true for critical sectors like aluminium, steel, chemicals, capital goods, electronics. This has prevented many manufacturing sectors from growing since economic reforms began. The automobiles sector in India faced no inverted duty structure, and has thrived.
  • This must be corrected.

    3.Special packages for labour-intensive industries

  • There are a number of labour intensive manufacturing sectors in India such as food processing, leather and footwear, wood manufacturers and furniture, textiles and apparel and garments
  • The apparel and garments sector received a package from the Government of India roughly a year back. The other labour intensive sectors have been ignored. 
  • The nature of the package will need to be individually designed for each sector defined as quickly as possible.

    4.Cluster development in MSMEs

  • There should be cluster development to support job creation in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). 
  • Most of the unorganised sector employment is in MSMEs, which tend to be concentrated in specific geographic locations. 
  • There are 1,350 modern industry clusters in India and an additional 4,000 traditional product manufacturing clusters, like handloom, handicraft and other traditional single product group clusters
  • There is a cluster development programme of the Ministry of MSMEs, which is poorly funded and could be better designed as well.
  • Spread over 6,000 clusters, it becomes even more inadequate to transform MSMEs located in clusters.

     5.Align urban development with manufacturing clusters 

  • The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has a programme called AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) aimed at improving infrastructure for small towns. Infrastructure investment by the government always creates many jobs. But the programme does not take into account whether the infrastructure investment under it is taking place in towns which have clusters of unorganised sector economic activities. 
  • Hence an engagement between the Urban Development and MSME Ministries is necessary to ensure that this is happening. It will attract more investment to industrial clusters, which is where most non-agricultural jobs are.


Creation of social infrastructure


  1. Women participation in workforce
  • Girls are losing out in jobs, or those with increasing education can’t find them, despite having gotten higher levels of education in the last 10 years. Secondary enrolment in the country rose from 58% to 85% in a matter of five years (2010-2015), with gender parity. 
  • Skilling close to clusters (rather than standalone vocational training providers), which is where the jobs are, is likely to be more successful. 
  • The availability of jobs close to where the skilling is conducted will also enhance the demand for skilling.

     2.Public investment in human development

  • Public investments in health, education, police and judiciary can create many government jobs. 



  • Given the state of health and nutrition of the population, it is critical that public expenditure on health is increased faster and not as late as 2025.
  • More government expenditure in health means more jobs in government and better health outcomes.



  • The number of teachers required, at secondary and higher secondary levels, is very high, particularly in science and mathematics
  • Many new government jobs can be provided if more young people could be trained specially to become teachers for science and mathematics at the secondary and higher secondary levels.


More Police and judiciary

  • State governments are not filling even sanctioned posts in the policy and in the judiciary (at all levels there are vacancies). 
  • More police and a larger judiciary can both reduce crime as well as speed up the process of justice for the ordinary citizen.


Topic: Agriculture

6) What is stubble burning? What measures can be undertaken so that stakeholders are persuaded against undertaking such a practice? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Indian Express




Pollution in Delhi has reached hazardous levels with potentially serious health effects on people, especially on children, the elderly and physically vulnerable people. Besides host of other facts, stubble burning is one of the critical reason for the pollution levels.


What is stubble burning?

  • Stubble burning is a common practice followed by farmers in the neighboring states Haryana and Punjab to prepare fields for sowing of wheat in November as there is little time left between the harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat.
  • Stubble burning results in emission of harmful gases such carbon diaoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide along with particulate matter.


Why it is proffered?

  • Burning stubble is convenient and cheap for the farmers.
  • Unlike the wheat stalk, which is used to make cattle fodder, the paddy stalk is of inferior quality and is of practically no use. So, the farmers cut it and set it afire.


What measures need to be taken?


As 2015 ban on crop-residue burning in Punjab and Haryana has not worked, other measures are needed as follows – 


  1. Incentive for Electricity production 
  • The available paddy straw can be effectively used for power generation, which will go a long way towards overcoming the problem of disposal of crop residues and power deficit in the region. 
  • Biomass-energy plants that buy paddy straw from farmers can be used in generating power.
  • But government incentives for biomass-energy plants haven’t been enough to galvanise industry.
  • There is great potential for making investments in paddy straw-based power plants which can help avoid stubble burning to a large extent and also create employment opportunities.

    2.Make available latest technology

  • Avail affordable machinery for collection, chopping and in situ incorporation of straw is required. For this, initiatives can also be made to convert the removed residues into enriched organic manure through composting.
  • Though the government has offered subsidies on a machine called Happy Seeder, which doesn’t require a stubble-free field to plant wheat, farmers haven’t taken to it as burning remains cheaper.



  • The regulatory bodies such as CPCB, SPCB, National Green Tribunal need to be empowered with penal provisions as well.
  • However the problem cannot be resolved only by penalising errant farmers as there are economic and behavioural issues behind farmers’ reluctance to use modern technology, which needs to be addressed.



Topic:  Environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

7) Air Pollution suffers from multifaceted turbulences without a national action plan. Comment.  (200 Words)

Down to Earth



  • British journal Lancet that concluded that there were 25 lakh premature deaths in India in 2015 due to air pollution.
  • While Delhi is the focus of current discussions, the reality is that many Indian cities have poor air quality.
  • Three years ago, the writing on the wall was the revelation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that Delhi was the most polluted city in the world, and 13 out of the 20 worst impacted were in north India.
  • The tell-tale parameter is the smallest measurable particulate matter — PM of less than 2.5 microns — which was an annual average of 153 micrograms per cubic metre that year, well above the WHO limit of 35. Beijing, which was previously the black sheep of the world’s urban air contamination, recorded 53 micrograms.


Air pollution in India suffers from the multifaceted turbulences in the following ways


  1. Lack of policy and institutional coordination
  • Due to lack of comprehensive National Action Plan, there is no coordination between Central Pollution Control Board, NGT, states, urban local bodies to control air pollution. Many a times their decisions come in conflict or overlap.
  • There is a lack of decisive and persistent policy actions, butt panic-driven and ill-considered bans like cracker ban.

     2.Impact of pollution on many aspects

  • Air pollution affects economy in major ways, besides health burden as suggested by Global disease burden.


So there is a need to formulate National Action Plan so that comprehensive network can be built with utmost coordination. 


  • Collaboration of all the stakeholders will be achieved.
  • .National, State, District wise Air Pollution Index can be maintained
  • Use of big data, artificial intelligence & satellites to keep real time data on air pollution
  • It can be brought in sync with the international declarations like Paris Agreement, Kyoto Protocol.
  • A synergy with National Energy Policy of the Plan can also be established so that renewable energy is generated.
  • A National Plan also act as a tool for mass awareness about the importance of forestry,organic farming which curtails air pollution


Way forward


There is a need to take decisive and persistent policy actions, not panic-driven and ill-considered bans.


The targets to produce 175 GW from renewable energy by 2022, International Solar Alliance, FAME, BS-IV vehicle are in the same direction. 

  • Regulation, including laws concerning land use
  • Giving priority to public transport over private – In 2002, when the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) rang the alarm bell about the quality of air in the capital and fought for the substitution of diesel with compressed natural gas (CNG) in all public transport.
  • Creating public access to open and green areas
  • Checking sources of pollution in the surrounding areas for a city is not an island.



General Studies – 4


Topic:  Dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

8) Ethics is essentially a study of human behaviour and societal conditions. Comment. (150 Words)




Ethics refers to values which distinguish between right and wrong. Ethics is the study of moral code of conduct which helps a human being in living a socially and morally upright life. As ethics is related to morality, so it affects the human behaviour and societal condition. 

It is continuous evaluation of existing value so as to ensure that they are rational and non- discriminatory. This practice of continuously studying values and moral standards has helped in social and human well being in various ways are as follows


Evolution of social ethics

  • Ethics helps in positive deviation from discriminatory laws and tradition . For eg slavery and varna system could not survive as they could not stand test of modern valued of equality, justice and liberty.
  • One of the greatest philosopher Aristotle argued against the equality for women, but in the contemporary world, equality for women is a cardinal concept. This demonstrates how ethicality of the question about women equality evolved over time.


Evolution of political ethics

  • Unlike the erstwhile eras where ruling dynasties formed the core of political system, today no political system can sustain without some elements of democratic decision making with particiaption of people. Values like human right, justice, fairness have become predominant now.


Evolution of business ethics

  • The free market principle is premised on the fact that ethics of business is to make only profit. Given the fact that capitalism has given rise to many vices including monstrous income inequality as suggested by Thomas Pikkety,  business ethics has evolved to include corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship and protection of the interests of small investors.


Evolution of environmental ethics

  • Since the beginning of modern industrial age, environment has been on the backstage. The resulting climate change consequences has given rise to environmental ethics. This has brought into focus the importance of clean environment for overall human well being.


The aim of ethics has always been to help the humans to change the societal actions in such a way that everybody in the society enjoys Equality, Liberty, Fraternity & Democratic ideals. Hence, ethics has helped immensely in introspecting over old and existing value system so that dignity of all living being is maintained and it ensures collective progress and welfare.