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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:   Role of women; Social empowerment (Paper-2 topic too)

1) Social Media campaigns can raise voices but have limited actionability. With reference to the Me Too campaign, examine how can social media campaigns be more effective. (200 Words)

The Indian Express




  • Social media has emerged as the sixth pillar of democracy. It has provided avenue to the people to raise their voices.
  • The voices against gay rights, sexual abuse of women and many more are raising now globally. 
  • The recent #Me too is such a campaign that asking women who had been sexually harassed or assaulted to publicly acknowledge that experience. It turns a private trauma into a collective voice of anger and indignation. The campaign also had made a solidarity among women who had gone through such experience.


But such campaign has limited accountability in many respects.


  1. No channeling to the concerned agencies
  • It is important to involve the state agencies to make effective database and action.
  • But such sporadic campaign on the social media does not amount to concrete action on the ground.

     2.Limited presence of people on cyberspace

  • In a country like India with rampant illiteracy, it is hard to determine how such campaigns can mobilise opinion on a large scale.
  • In effect, the camapigns stays at the elite levels and do not percolate to the levels down where it is far much needed due to paucity of avenues to raise voice.

     3.Other factors important to alter patriarchal attitude

  • The male attitude is not going to change in the abrupt fashion the campaigns come and go.


The campaigns can be made more effective by following ways – 

  • It should address the problem to the concerned authority.
  • Social media campaign should involve more into action rather than merely sharing information, discussion or debates, though the latter is also very critical.
  • The sustained nature of mobilisation is thus the key for informing against the patriarchal attitudes.


General Studies – 2


Topic: Poverty and hunger

3) Public health and education programmes are the best way to tackle India’s hunger problem. Discuss. (200 Words)

The Indian Express



  • The recently published GHI report of International Food policy research institute (IFPRI) ranked India 100 out of 119 countries on the following parameters.
  • The World Bank says the poverty rate in India is 21.2 per cent. That rate is similar to the Gallup hunger estimates of 22.4 per cent.
  • The malnutrition rate (stunting among children below five years) is 38.4 per cent according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS 4) — there are 47.5 million stunted children in India out of 154.8 million globally. 


Aspects of malnutrition

  • There are three broad aspects of malnutrition that must be kept in mind when devising strategies for dealing with it.


  1. Access to food items
  • This depends on household income or the ability to sustain certain levels of consumption. 
  • The rate of poverty (headcount ratio) is the standard indicator.

     2.Information about nutrition

  • Two, household/family knowledge and information about good nutrition. 
  • This includes knowledge about locally available foods that are good from the nutrition perspective.

    3.State of health

  • Even if the right kind of food and nutrition is available, a child may not be able to consume and/or absorb it properly due to ill health or sickness. 
  • For instance, a child suffering from diarrhoea much of the time is unlikely to be able to ingest good and healthy food and absorb the nutrition, even if it is freely available and provided to the child by the mother/parents. 
  • Public health measures like clean drinking water, sanitation, sewerage, control of communicable and epidemic diseases and public health education thus play an important role in reducing mortality rates at every age and across gender. 


Steps needed to tackle malnutrition



  • Sanitation improvement is key, but so too are improving diets, and we know that especially for very young children (6-23 months), diets (meaning actual food intake) are terrible, but only about one in 10 meet diet adequacy (NFHS 4).
  • For every existing town, states must plan and install a modern drainage, sewerage and water supply system with water storage and purification, sewage treatment plants and garbage disposal sites


Amending existing social sector programmes

  • There are avenues available to maximise the nutrition-sensitivity of India’s large-scale Social Protection ProgrammesTPDS, MGNREGA, and MDMS
  • Addressing underlying determinants of fetal and childhood nutritioninvolves strengthening the delivery of the primary mandates of these programmes. 
  • Programmes can incorporate specific nutrition goals and actions such as fortification and commodity basket diversification
  • Under the third approach, programmes can serve as delivery platforms for nutrition-specific interventions such as providing deworming tablets, handwashing training, and micronutrient supplementation to schoolgoing children.
  • Going forward, the inclusion of fortification in the TPDS and MDMS, and the addition of deworming and micronutrients to the MDMS, at scale, could effectively address micronutrient deficiencies, reduce anaemia levels, and possibly even have cognitive benefits among target populations. 


Literacy about nutrition

  • Literacy can help in acquiring knowledge about hygiene, nutrition and sanitation. The government must ensure that every citizen has the education that she is supposed to acquire with the completion of primary education. 
  • But this education must also be made more relevant by providing information on matters that will improve their lives (health, hygiene, nutrition) and equip them to find useful information.


General Studies – 3


Topic:  Economics of animal rearing

4) Dairy farming in a confluence of international trade cycles and domestic structural inadequacies. Examine. (200 Words)

Down to Earth




India’s ongoing milk crisis has been pushing small dairy farmers out of business and helping dairy multinationals to expand at their expense. It argues that localised and people-driven milk markets based on agro-ecological livestock culture would be on its way out due to current milk crisis.


International trade cycle 


  1. Affected exports 
  • The global slump in skimmed milk powder (SMP) prices since 2015 is a result of China and Russia stopping import of SMP
  • It created glut in the EU and sent ripples in the global market. The situation worsened after April 2015 when the EU scrapped its milk quota, which regulates the production of milk and control its overproduction. 
  • The increase in production of milk in these countries has affected export of SMP from India.

     2.Corporates benefited at the cost of small farmers globally

  • Dip in price due to surplus in global market has given opportunity to big companies to expand into other countries
  • It pushed small dairy farmers out of the market but helped big corporations and cooperatives to expand their business.
  • The local and small dairy farmers became contract-based workers for big corporations. They have now become more vulnerable as they are now part of ecologically unsustainable production strategies.

     3.Other countries captured market

  • Our international counterparts such as the USA, EU and New Zealand have strategies in place to address the issue of plenty of low-priced milk in the market. 
  • They have started capturing the world market through investment, mergers and partnership across the globe.


Domestic structural issues


  1. Import of butter fat increased to conver SMP into milk
  • Butter fat, which is needed to make milk from SMP, was imported in a large amount at a cheap rate from the EU and the US in 2014-15. 
  • Meanwhile, India’s export of butter fat reduced from 2 million kg in January 2014 to around zero in March 2016.
  • The Indian dairy companies had attempted to dispose of SMP stocks in domestic market after recombining it with butter fat and converting it back to liquid milk. It led to slump in procurement price of milk in domestic market.
  • The availability of this milk further depressed the procurement prices. Less money from milk is pushing small dairy farmers in debt. 

     2.Low quality milk

  • The milk made from SMP has lower nutritional value as compared to fresh milk. Fresh milk is richer in vitamins and minerals than SMP. Moreover, a consumer is not able to determine the age of milk.


Topic: Environmental pollution

5) Demarcating silence zones can be only as effective to curb noise pollution as their implementation. Comment. (200 Words)

Down to Earth




Noise pollution refers to the situation when the noise is beyond a standard limit affecting the health of the people of the area in an adverse manner.

Noise pollution can cause hypertension, high stress levels, tinnitus, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful effects.


Silence zones

  • The neighbourhoods of hospitals are declared silence zones so that patients receiving treatment are not disturbed. So are the areas around schools, colleges, courts and other such places that need to be noise-free.
  • As per the standards, the decibel level in silence zones should not exceed 50 dB during the day and 40 dB during the night. But, sound levels at the sites varied from 56 dB to even as high as 77 dB for the day time and from 51 dB to 75 dB for the night.


Policy to curb noise pollution

  • Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) (Amendment) Rules, 2010 has been in order to address the issue of noise pollution.
  • These rules include restriction on use of horns, sound emission construction equipment and bursting of fire crackers. 
  • It is restricted to honk, burst crackers,use construction equipment in silent zones during night times unless it is an emergency. 


Implementation of Rules an issue

  • The above data highlights the fact that even the best rules fail to achieve the desired results if its implementation is not done properly.
  • People are not aware of the rules and the authority concerned to complain. Even the implementing agencies are not monitoring the compliance properly.


Steps needed


  1. Expand network for monitoring of noise 
  • The data collected through the National Ambient Noise Monitoring Network of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). 
  • The CPCB had set up the network in two phases. The first batch of 35 monitoring stations was set up in 2011 and the second, again of 35 stations, in 2014.
  • The noise monitoring network be further expanded so that the authorities could develop detailed noise maps

     2.Institute remedial efforts 

  • Installation of noise barriers for hospitals and other sensitive buildings, 
  • Enforcement of speed limits for heavy vehicles traversing through residential areas
  • Demarcation of no-honking zones 
  • Adoption of proper land use plans.



  • Hence first, the implementing authorities are to be made accountable & ensure they do regular inspections and punish the defaulters as per the rules.
  • Second, the public vigilance is important. People are needed to be created awareness on the rules & their right for a peaceful environment.

Topic: Employment

6) Despite India hosting the largest public works program MGNREGA, examine the reasons for persisting unemployment. (200 Words)

The Wire




India is the second most populous country of the world with 10 lacs people entering the workforce every year, the unemployment rate already at 5% need immediate measures. 

Though there is a public works programme MNREGA which guarantees the rural households 100 days unskilled labour in a year, it has not been successful in reducing the unemployment.


The reasons are as follows


  1. Restricted to rural areas
  • MNREGA provides labour to only rural households & that too unskilled people. The skilled labour are not included in it.

     2.Only unskilled jobs on offer

  • MGNREGA is restricted to unskilled jobs and that too for a limited time period in a year.


What is needed?


Coordinate trade and industrial policies

  • Comprehensive trade and industrial policies should be made which enhance the capacaity of the manufacturing sector, which can absorb millions.


Labour reforms

  • Labour regulations are impediment to the “economies of scale” due to which small sector become hesitant to expand its capacities and employ more.


Skill development

  • There should be coordination between educational institutes and industries


Encourage MSME sector

  • Cluster-development in MSMEs 
  • Startups should be emphasised, as in Start Up India scheme
  • Coordinate with urban development schemes like AMRUT


Revitalise labour intensive secotrs

  • Special package to rejuvenate labour-intensive sectors like apparel, garments, wood, furniture, leather etc


Human development

  • Development of social infrastructure- investment in education, health, women empowerment, housing etc. holds the key for employment in future.
  • BBBP, SSA, National Health Policy, PM Awas Yojana are in god direction


Along with plugging the loopholes of MNREGA, the schemes like START UP INDIA, STAND UP INDIA, MAKE IN INDIA & steps like encouraging FDI, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code to increase ease if doing business need to be strengthened in order to generate employment opportunities.


General Studies – 4


Topic:  Ethics in human actions; Dimensions of ethics

7) Ethics is always a conflict between pragmatism and idealism. Giving examples from your personal and professional lives, comment on the conflict. (150 Words)




  • Ethics are a set of principles that help us decide between right and wrong, but what is right and wrong conduct is debatable. Hence a lot of times we are struck between the choice of pragmatism and idealism. It is a very fundamental conflict and the decision is not always simple. 
  • There are 2 school of thoughts:


Idealism – It believes in upholding right conduct like honesty, impartiality, righteousness etc in all situations. It entails that a decision must only be judged on the basis on its intrinsic goodness or fairness. Practical failure or success should not affect your choice.


Pragmatism – It believes that the conduct which cannot be practically applied should be discarded. Chanakya once said, “A person should not be too honest, straight trees are cut first”. It entails judging a path on the basis of degree of its success. Here a decision which is more likely to succeed in real life has more value.

  • Therefore, ethics swings between idealism and pragmatism wherein individuals should know what is the right conduct but may at times, prefer not to take that way for practical reasons.


For eg.,  there is always a tempetation not to follow traffic rules when I am in a hurry to reach somewhere. I want to jump the traffic light in order to save time. This way I can reach in time and save myself from embrassment. But internally I feel that jumping the red light is wrong. It not only causes problems for other by congesting traffic but also increases chances of an accident.


Therefore, Ethics, though provides an ideal path but at times, one has to take practical path too like Irom Sharmila quit her fast after years of struggle and decided to be political representative.