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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:   Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times. 

1) Discuss the salient features and cultural significance of Bhimbetka cave paintings. (150 Words)


Introduction :- The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site of the Paleolithic, exhibiting the earliest traces of human life on the Indian Subcontinent, and thus the beginning of the Indian Stone Age. It is located in the Raisen District in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, near Abdullaganj town and inside the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary.

As reported in the UNESCO citation declaring the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka a World Heritage Site, Bhimbetka was first mentioned in Indian archaeological records in 1888 as a Buddhist site, based on information gathered from local adivasis. Later V. S. Wakankar, while travelling by train to Bhopal, saw some rock formations similar to those he had seen in Spain and France. He visited the area with a team of archaeologists and discovered several prehistoric rock shelters in 1957



Bhimbetka owes its name to the characters of the longest epic in the world, the Mahabharata. It is believed that when the five brothers, called Pandavas, were banished from their kingdom, they came here and stayed in these caves, the massive rocks seating the gigantic frame of Bhima, the second Pandava.

Salient features :-

  • Bhimbetka is a natural art gallery and an archaeological treasure. It shows vivid and panoramic details of life style of the humans since Paleolithic ages.
  • The rock paintings have numerous layers belonging to various epochs of time, ranging from the Upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic Age to the protohistoric, early historic and medieval periods.
  • The brilliant use of available space and colors by historic men shows their ability to express their observations, emotions effectively.
  • It depicts the detail of social life during the long period of time, when man used to frequent these rock shelters.
  • The paintings also depict matchstick figures of men and women. The scenes usually depict hunting, dancing, horse and elephant riders, animal fights, honey collection, decoration of bodies, disguises, masks and different type of animals etc.
  • The rock art of Bhimbetka has been classified into various groups on the basis of the style and subject. The drawings and paintings can be classified under seven different periods from upper Paleolithic to medieval.
  • Bhimbetka amazes not only because of its caves and rock paintings. In fact, numerous other archaeological remains which have been excavated Bhimbetka is home to such remains of yesteryears as walls of a ruined citadel, mini stupas indicating Buddhist influence in the Maurya / Sunga periods in this area.


Significance :-

  • It’s a masterpiece of historic legacy of our ancestors and opens a great window to look into life of men socio cultural politico and economically.
  • It’s reliable source to construct of history of men when other sources like literary were not available.
  • The cave paintings are also significant owing to the fact that they stands intact throughout the history of mankind hence its easy to build evolution of human history.
  • The art represented and the various themes used in paintings signifies importance of art, community living, dancing and other things in society
  • The recognition given to Bhimbetka by UNESCO shows its significance in world archeological area.
  • The role played by these caves in enhancing tourism of India is also noteworthy.

The rocks of Bhimbetka, with their discovery , set a silent revolution in history of mankind. They are one of the most valued, precious pieces of our heritage. Their preservation is the not only our duty towards our past, ancestral linkages but also towards our next generations to hand over this legacy intact.  Hence scientific preservation and up to date conservation by government, UNESCO and responsible tourism by people is the way out.


Topic:  History of the world will include events from 18th century such as redrawal of national boundaries

2) The Balfour Declaration is an inexcusable historical mistake. Comment. (150 Words)

The Hindu

The Guardian

Introduction :-  The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government during World War I announcing support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a minority Jewish population. It read:

His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

The declaration was contained in a letter dated 2 November 1917 from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. The text of the declaration was published in the press on 9 November 1917.

This British Mandate created the conditions for the Jewish minority to gain superiority in Palestine and build a state for themselves at the expense of the Palestinian Arabs. But it is an inexcusable historical mistake owing to it’s inherent contradictions and problems it created :-

  • The declaration had many long-lasting consequences. It greatly increased popular support for Zionism, and led to the creation of Mandatory Palestine, which later became Israeland the Palestinian territories.
  • As a result it is considered to have caused the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict, which is often described as the world’s most intractable conflict.
  • Those Jews managed to remain in their homes number roughly 1.75 million, and live within a system of institutionalised discriminationin what is now the state of Israel.
  • Approximately 2.9 million live in the West Bankunder a draconian military occupation-turned-colonisation

·         The issues and controversies involved like The term “national home” was intentionally ambiguous The term was intentionally used instead of “state”, Scope of the national home “in Palestine”, Civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities in Palestine, Rights and political status of Jews in other countries etc. have created situation of confusion and conflict.

·         Britain didn’t control the land it was promising in the Balfour Declaration. When the Balfour Declaration was issued, Britain was in the midst of fighting World War I.


The physical act of the signing of the Balfour declaration is in the past – it is not something that can be changed. But it is something that can be made right. This will require humility and courage. It will require coming to terms with the past, recognizing mistakes, and taking concrete steps to correct those mistakes.


Topic: Political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.  

3) China, being a competitor to liberal democracy, can it export its model of political system – especially the “Xi model” to the rest of the world? Critically comment. (150 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- The recently held 19th Chinese Communist Party meeting debated the issue that to what extend it can represent it’s model as an alternative to world political systems.

There is no question China seeks greater ideological legitimacy for its model. It will propagate it as a model to learn from. Part of seeking status is to have the success and legitimacy of one’s political system acknowledged. China perceives the normative subordination to which it is subjected by the West as a matter of affront. But there are reasons to be skeptical about the idea of exporting a Chinese model. 

·         It is still worth remembering that while Xi may place himself in line with Mao, in some ways the legitimacy for order in China is a kind of anti-Maoist impulse.

·         Models require preconditions for success, and it is doubtful that the Chinese believe the conditions that made the Chinese Communist Party what it is can be easily replicated.

·         The Soviet-American competition was more explicitly an ideological competition, in a way that Sino-American competition, despite having some ideological elements, is not. And the nature of the economic relationship between China and the West is of a different kind.

Richard McGregor, an authority on the Chinese Communist Party, wrote in The Guardian, referring to the confidence of the 19th CPC: “It (China) has always extolled the value of its system, but has never explicitly suggested it was something that could be exported around the world.” Hence while adopting Chinese model may seems a possible solution, achievements of it’s unique socio economic political conditions is rare case.


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

4) There is an urgent need to adopt a rights-based approach by all stakeholders in seeking arrangements for safe and orderly migration to prevent exploitation of migrants and refugees. Discuss. (150 Words)

The Wire

Introduction :- A refugee is a displaced person who has been forced to cross national boundaries and who cannot return home safely.

Migrant is a person travelling from country of origin to country of destination for work, education, marriage etc.

The world is experiences wave of refugees and migration but there are no concrete laws and conventions in place which creates favorable situations for their exploitation.

Refugee populations consist of people who are terrified and are away from familiar surroundings while migrants in most cases are willing travelled people. There can be instances of exploitation at the hands of enforcement officials, citizens of the host country, organisations and employees of migrants and even United Nations peacekeepers. Instances of human rights violations, child labor, mental and physical trauma/torture, violence-related trauma, and sexual exploitation, especially of children, are not entirely unknown. Hence a right based approach by all stakeholders in seeking arrangements for safe and orderly migration to prevent exploitation is required.

Refugee rights encompass both customary law, peremptory norms, and international legal instruments. They include the following rights and obligations for refugees:

·         Right of return :- Even in a supposedly “post-conflict” environment, it is not a simple process for refugees to return home. The UN Pinheiro Principles are guided by the idea that people not only have the right to return home, but also the right to the same property.

·         Right to non-refoulement :- Non-refoulement is the right not to be returned to a place of persecution and is the foundation for international refugee law, as outlined in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

·         Right to family reunification :- Family reunification (which can also be a form of resettlement) is a recognized reason for immigration in many countries. Divided families have the right to be reunited.

·         Right to travel :- Those states that signed the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees are obliged to issue travel documents (i.e. “Convention Travel Document”) to refugees lawfully residing in their territory.

·         Restriction of onward movement :- Once refugees or asylum seekers have found a safe place and protection of a state or territory outside their territory of origin they are discouraged from leaving again and seeking protection in another country. 

Measures to be taken must include :-

·         Combat xenophobia and racism: The international community must uphold their responsibility to combat all forms of hate speech, stigmatising discourses, scapegoating and measures must be taken to condemn xenophobia against migrants and refugees.

·         Promoting integration: Short and long-term measures are needed to foster social and economic environments for integration. Labour market access and mobility, pathways to citizenship, participation and social contact with the local populations are essential.

·         Border management: States must respect human rights obligations at all border crossings, including the right to due process for all migrants regardless of their status, in accordance with the principle of non-refoulement and the prohibition of arbitrary and collective expulsion.

·         Irregular migration: States should ensure that all measures aimed at addressing irregular migration and smuggling of migrants do not adversely affect the human rights of migrants and that such migrants are provided with necessary assistance and are afforded due process guarantees.

·         Exploitation and abuse: Measures must be taken to address all forms of labour exploitation and abuse, in particular, child labour. In line with SDG (target 8.8), domestic work should be regulated by national legislation and domestic migrant workers should also enjoy rights with respect to minimum wage, hours of work, days of rest, freedom of association, and other conditions of work, as well as the right to freedom of movement and residence, and to retain possession of travel and identity documents. 

·         Trafficking in persons: It is important to adequately train all stakeholders, including public officials and law enforcement officers working in areas of arrival of large influxes of people, to identify trafficking or risks of trafficking. States in this regard must work with United Nations agencies and programmes, international organizations, host countries and civil society organizations. 


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

5) What are the aptitudes, capabilities, skills and qualities that a university teacher/researcher – particularly in the domain of humanities and social sciences – needs to cultivate, and is the National Eligibility Test (NET) in tune with this spirit? Critically examine. (250 Words)

The Wire


Introduction :- The National Eligibility Test (NET) is a test to determine eligibility for college and university level lecturership and for award of Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) for Indian nationals. It aims to ensure minimum standards for the entrants in teaching professions and research. On behalf of the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) holds the test for determining the eligibility of Indian nationals for the Eligibility for Assistant Professor only or Junior Research Fellowship and Eligibility for Assistant Professor both in Indian universities and colleges.

NET becomes very crucial in the light that it recruits the change makers in society the teachers hence assessing it’s tuning with aptitude, capabilities, skills and qualities required for a teacher is a must :-

·         A teacher has to be a good communicator capable of retaining the autonomy of a vibrant classroom interaction. This is possible only when a teacher has something of his/her own – say, intellectual depth, critical consciousness and creative thinking and NET by it’s examination pattern doesn’t check this.

·         The pattern of questions in NET is more unnecessarily objective rather than analytical or subjective checking candidates actual depth of understanding about the topic.

·         A good teacher is not a quiz master or machine of objectivity but his/her primary task is to invite the young learners to the world of ideas. This skill is not developed or assessed by NET.

·         a teacher as a catalyst needs to have sufficient open/dialogic space within to encourage students to cherish ambiguities. For instance, it is not about whether Gandhi was wrong and Ambedkar was right; it is rather to make students think whether ‘modernist’ Ambedkar’s engagement with Buddhism and eventual realisation that the abolition of caste requires a moral/spiritual transformation was taking him closer to ‘spiritualist’ Gandhi. NET discourages development of such approach by candidate by it’s rotten pattern,

·         Far from living with the certainty of a ‘correct’ answer, a good teacher encourages students to rethink what appears to be ‘correct’.  Analytical thinking and empathic understanding, alert observation and self-reflexivity, seeing the values beneath the facts and creatively organised writing are some of the qualities required to be in a university teacher.

The NET, it seems, is a cumulative manifestation of these beliefs trying to measure the solidity of one’s knowledge. This is a dangerous trend. Hence, unlike the fact-centric/non-reflexive/objective questions are being modelled with requirements of teachers NET won’t serve it’s real purpose and would be detrimental for nation’s educational system in long run.



Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to health

6) India accounts for the highest TB incidence (23%) and mortality (26%) globally. How can India combat TB effectively? Discuss strategies. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- In India, each year, approx. 220, 000 deaths are reported due to Tuberculosis. Between 2006 and 2014, the disease cost Indian economy USD 340 billion. This public health problem is the world’s largest tuberculosis epidemic.

India bears a disproportionately large burden of the world’s tuberculosis rates, as it continues to be the biggest health problem in India. It remains one of the largest on India’s health and wellness scale. India is the highest TB burden country with World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics for 2011 giving an estimated incidence figure of 2.2 million cases of TB for India out of a global incidence of 9.6 million cases.

Strategies to combat TB effectively :-

·         Focusing on TB prevention strategy like TB vaccination, TB education, TB reporting, Stopping spread of MDR TB and Implementing the WHO Stop TB Strategy in a new form, energy etc.

·         The Indian government’s Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) started in India during 1997. The program uses the WHO recommended Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) strategy to develop ideas and data on TB treatment. However owing to it’s lacunas the need is to check it’s timely dosages, encourage patients for strict completions of cources and spreading awareness about government programs. 

·         Chemical strategy to combat TB is also effective. Current TB treatments are based on combinations of the drugs isoniazid, rifampicin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide. The new reaserches like 2-(Quinolin-4-yloxy) acetamide study and ITD-based candidates will be helpful.

·         Implementing End TB strategy by WHO which focuses on 80% drop in new TB cases by 2030, 90% drop in deaths due to TB by 2030 and 100% of family affected cost saving from TB.

·         Roping in civil society organisations and NGOs into TB eradication like The Tuberculosis Association of India.

India is moving optimistically on path of TB eradication. There was a 34% increase in case notifications by health-care providers in the private sector between 2013 and 2015. It improved from 61% in 2015 to 69% in 2016. Domestic funding (74%, $387 million) was raised for anti TB work. Governments efforts such as DOTS, X PERT, Revised national TB program, Mission Indradhanush, Nikshay, N-eHA, 90-90-90 atrategy are steps in right direction.


Topic: Conservation; Agriculture

7) What’s the mandate of and significance of work being carried out by ‘Bioversity International’ organisation? How is it different from India’s National Biodiversity Authority? Examine. (250 Words)

The Wire


Introduction :- Bioversity International is a global research-for-development organization with a vision – that agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet. Bioversity International is a member of the CGIAR Consortium – a global research partnership for a food-secure future.

The organization is highly decentralized, with about 300 staff working around the world. Its Headquarters are in Maccarese, outside Rome, Italy, with regional offices located in Central and South America, West and Central Africa, East and Southern Africa, Central and South Asia, and South-east Asia.

Mandate :-

  • The organization delivers scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural biodiversity to attain global food and nutrition security, working with partners in low-income countries in different regions where agricultural biodiversity can contribute to improved nutrition, resilience, productivity and climate change adaptation.

·         Bioversity International’s aim is to create seed banks across the world and encourage farmers to grow crops suited for their region.

Significance of work :-

  • Bioversity International is a global research-for-development organization, focused on safeguarding and using agricultural biodiversity to help meet four global challenges – improved nutrition; adaptation to climate change; increased sustainable production; an increase of agricultural biodiversity in global food systems. These all initiatives are the need of hour owing to the conditions of planet earth. According to World Bank India has nearly 50% of it’s population malnourished in some form or the other.
  • Bioversity International delivers its research through three Initiatives: Healthy diets from sustainable food systems; Productive and resilient farms, forests and landscapes; Effective genetic resources conservation and Use which helping nations, institutions and farmers across the globe.
  • The organization takes the view that the diversity of plants and animals offers opportunities not only through breeding but also by delivering many other benefits. Some are direct, such as the better nutrition and greater sustainability that come with locally adapted crops. Others are indirect, like the ecosystem services delivered by healthy populations of pollinators, biological control agents, and soil microbes.
  • Agricultural biodiversity will also be absolutely essential to cope with the predicted impacts of climate change, not simply as a source of traits but as the underpinnings of more resilient farm ecosystems

Difference between Bioversity International and India’s National Biodiversity Authority :-

  • While Bioversity Internationalis a global research-for-development organization the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) is a statutory autonomous body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India established in 2003 to implement the provisions under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, after India signed Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992.
  • The National Biodiversity Authority of India is not limited to agricultural biodiversity. They also formulate laws of the land and are an executing agency. In contrast, Bioversity International has a global mandate, but limited only to agricultural biodiversity. 


Topic:  Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

8) Employing army resources for civilian works is an acknowledgement of civilian institutional failure to the larger public and also has long-term costs. Comment. (250 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- Indian Army is used in many works of civilian institutions like maintaining law and order situation, helping and rescuing people in disaster etc.

It is required owing to the fact that Army personnel are rigorously trained in handling crisis situations, it is resource rich, can be mobilized quickly, have superior expertise and enjoys a wide public trust.


The examples like in 2016, the government had asked army engineers to make a pontoon bridge in the Yamuna flood plains for a mega event of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, in 2010, when a foot-bridge fell days before the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, the army engineers came in to erect a bridge in double-quick time, the army also makes pontoon bridges during the Kumbh mela, and to restore communication in inaccessible areas after natural disasters, the recent announcement of using army engineers to construct three railway footbridges in Mumbai shows increased dependence of government on Army.


However Employing army resources for civilian works is an acknowledgement of civilian institutional failure to the larger public and also has long-term costs :-

·         The immediate calling of Army in crisis situations and transfer of control of situation to it shows subjugation and underestimation of civilian institutions to tackle the situation for example rioting conditions like Dera Saccha Sauda Chief arrest protest.

·         Frequent restoration to use of Army strengthens people’s faith in them and weakens their faith in civilian institutions and creates an impression that Army is more capable to handle such crisis compared to civilian institutions. It reinforces the belief that only the army can provide an effective substitute.

·         Besides forestalling a badly needed reappraisal of civilian institutions, it is a trend which holds potentially negative consequences for the delicate balance of civil-military relations, if extended to other spheres of governance. 

An unthinking diversion of the armed forces for routine civilian tasks seems highly affordable but has long-term costs for the country. The government should remember the lessons from the 1950s and hence take steps to shun such practices. Efforts to upgrade, train and regularly inspect civilian institution’s capabilities must be taken.


Topic: Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security

9) With the advent of new age digital and social media, fake news has pervaded all spheres of life, political, economic and social – with negative implications. What measures need to be taken by various stakeholders to combat fake news menace? Discuss. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media. It has pervaded all spheres of life, political, economic and social – with negative implications.

·         On November 8, 2016, India established a 2,000-rupee currency bill on the same day as the Indian 500 and 1,000 rupee note demonetization. Fake news went viral over Whatsapp that the note came equipped with spying technology that tracked bills 120 meters below the earth. It had created much fear with already looming rumors about demonetization. 

In July, 2017, News18 India published a photograph of a flag alleged to be the Pakistani flag being raised over Uttar Pradesh. The story caused widespread outrage in India, but the flag in question was revealed to actually be a green Islamic flag, not the Pakistani flag.

·         The Muzaffarnagar riot in Uttar Pradesh happened as a fake video went viral and people charged with emotions attacked people and property.


Measures need to be taken:-

·         Using algorithms :- Algorithms are part of what spreads fake news. From an algorithmic perspective it’s possible for social media sites to recognise that website was only created two weeks ago, therefore it’s probably likely that this is a less trustworthy site

·         One of the steps is the enlisting of the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN), a branch of the Florida-based journalism think tank Poynter. Facebook users in the US and Germany can now flag articles they think are deliberately false, these will then go to third-party fact checkers signed up with the IFCN.

·         Innovative measures like one started by facebook that Facebook is to step up its efforts to fight fake news by sending more suspected hoax stories to fact-checkers and publishing their findings online must be encouraged.

·         Government needs to enhance their capabilities of cyber infrastructure and cyber human resource in order to tackle the fake news in time and in totality. Responsible vigilance, legal taping and filtration, watch of social media circulations are required

·         Individuals should use their discretion instead of herd following tendencies to just forward the sensitive things and spread tensions.

The lack of uniform guidelines, regulation and policy regarding such fabricated content needs to be addressed urgently. Considering the rapid penetration of mobile phones and the rise in use of social media in India, the dissemination of fake news is no longer a problem limited to the online world, especially because it has political, social and economic ramifications on the ground. Technology is always value neutral. It’s use by humans institutions determines it’s usefulness so it’s very much required to minimize the negative impacts of fake news through steps like mentioned above.

Topic:  Ethics in human actions

Introduction :- Ethical values is the set of established principles governing virtuous behavior. Common ethical values include: freedom, trustworthiness, respect, loyalty, responsibility, fairness, caring, and sanctity. Many of these are correlated with the view of human life. In Modern times we humans are facing crisis of ethical values like lack of trustworthiness, biased behaviours, cheatings etc. All these problems can be traced to the narrow perception of good life.  

  • The concept of good life has changed. It has conceived as individualistic life rather than family, social oriented life. This self centered behaviour narrows down happiness.
  • From being a healthy, spiritual life it has become materialist in nature. People are finding happiness in money, luxury rather than good relationships, peace of mind.
  • The requirements of good life were more simple in old times and has become complicated in modern times like getting normal food, cloth was happiness for many but in modern times it’s brand, source is given importance more than it’s utility in many cases.
  • Practicality and general routine customs are being given more weight than ethicality and rationality like corruption is prevalent hence hardly anyone thinks for not doing it.
  • In it we are caring more for temporary things than long lasting things hence the problems of industrialization, pollution, global warming occur as we exploit nature mercilessly rather than conserving it in long terms.

Bertrand Russell had said “A good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge“ which hold very much meaning in modern times. We need to broaden the perception of life in order to make it good. We must take our life to advance stage and beyond the basic things like by rising above the narrow conceptions, self centered behaviour and limited understandings of things. It is done by many people like Gautam Buddha, Mother Teresa, Steve Jobs, Institutions like Bachpan Bachao Andolan, nations like Bhutan and others must walk on same path.