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

1) The religious competition during the Reformation period was essential to the birth of capitalism and it continues to be relevant today. Discuss. (250 Words)


Introduction :- Reformation was a rebellion against the religious authority and temporal power of the Catholic Church.

  • German sociologist Max Weber and English economic historian R.H. Tawney drew a direct causal link between the Calvinist Protestantism founded during the Reformation and modern capitalism. 
  • Reformation broke the Church’s monopoly in the religious marketplace and promoted religious competition. 
  • Weber first observes a correlation between being Protestant and being involved in business, and declares his intent to explore religion as a potential cause of the modern economic conditions.
  • The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalismargues that Puritan ethics and ideas influenced the development of capitalism. The ‘spirit of capitalism’ does not refer to the spirit in the metaphysical sense but rather a set of values, the spirit of hard work and progress.
  • The religious competition also spilled over in ways that improved human capital in Europe with a resultant boost to the economy. While the traditional elite clung to the Church in several regions, the rising class of merchants and traders were attracted by Protestantism’s anti-corruption message. 
  • These developments are not historical artifacts relevant only to their times. Increasing urbanization and a shift from agriculture to manufacturing and services; rationalization of laws; the rise of entrepreneurship; rise in income tax revenue; and social safety nets—the Reformation established principles that are as important for economic development now as they were then.

The essentialness of religious competition to give birth to capitalism can be seen with Adam Smith, one of the Enlightenment’s champions, tried to underscore the importance of religious competition much as the importance of economic competition.


Topic:   Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues ; Political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society;

2) Give a brief account of contributions of M.N. Roy to India’s struggle for independence and to the cause of communism around the world. (250 Words)


Introduction :-  Manabendra Nath Roy (21 March 1887 – 24 January 1954) was an Indian revolutionary, radical activist and political theorist, as well as a noted philosopher in the 20th century. Roy was a founder of the Mexican Communist Party and the Communist Party of India. He was also a delegate to congresses of the Communist International and Russia’s aide to China. 

Contribution to Indian politics and world communism :-

  • Roy began his political career as a militant nationalist, considering in the cult of the bomb and the pistol and the requirement of an armed insurrection. 
  • N.Roy introduced the process of displacing communism in India by sending his trained representatives to different parts of the country.
  • Roy was a creator of the Mexican Communist Party and the Communist Party of India. 
  • In 1940, Roy was instrumental in the establishment of the Radical Democratic Party, an organisation in which he played a leading role for much of the decade of the 1940s. Roy later moved away from Marxism to become an advocate of the philosophy of radical humanism.
  • The groundwork of the Communist Party of India was significant event in the country’s political life and played an immense role in stimulating the struggle of the Indian people for national freedom and social advancement. M.N.Roy wanted to make the communist party of India as a legal and national political party like the Congress and Swaraj parties. 
  • Roy was a creative writer. He wrote many books, edited, and contributed to several journals. His famous books includes India in Transition, India’s Problem and its Solutions, What do we want, Labour Party, Open Letter to C.R. Das and Programme for the Indian National Congress, Revolution and counter revolution in China, Materialism.

Manabendra Nath Roy was an Indian innovative, radical activist and political theorist. He was the thinker of modern time. It is well acknowledged that the contribution of M.N.Roy for the origin and growth of Indian Communism was highly praiseworthy. He recognized the extremists, transformed the dissatisfied Indian Muslims as extremists and founded the party. He established the communism thought among masses and had immense contribution for the struggle of India. 

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

3) China has, for years, adopted a low profile in the Middle East. Recently, however, it has upped the ante with a slew of ideologically agnostic initiatives. Should India be worried about this? Critically comment. (250 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- China consumes approximately 13 million barrels of oil a day (mbd). Of that, 60 per cent is imported of which 50 per cent (approximately 4 mbd) is sourced from the Middle East — mainly Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Though it maintained a low profile relationship with middle east it is increasingly getting involved into it now.

  • China has recently engaged with many middle east countries like  naval exercise with the Iranian Navy in the Straits of Hormuz., it welcomed Iran’s arch enemy, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, to Beijing. There has also been speculation that China is interested in picking up a stake in the Saudi national oil company, Aramco.

Why it’s a cause to worry for India :-

  • Increased presence of China in middle east will increase competition. In this competition, Chinese companies have so far proven to be more efficient than Indian ones, who lost several contracts against their Chinese competitors. For ex e Iranian oil field of Yadavaran
  • Saudi Arabia has replaced Iran as China’s major supplier in 2009, and is also India’s most important supplier.
  • The role of external players such as Pakistan or the United States play a very important role as it places either India or China in a privileged situation in middle east. Hence such aggressive stance taken by China to enhance it’s engagement further put India at disadvantageous position.
  • The Indian Ocean Region, through which most of the oil passes, is considered by the Indians as their natural zone of influence, and by the Chinese as a strategic zone that needs to be controlled. Thus, a fierce competition is taking place between the Chinese and Indians.
  • While Indians have engaged themselves in a modernization of their navy, in which they have been supported by the United States in the framework of the Indo-US defense cooperation agreement signed in 2005, the Chinese have been leading a policy called by the US and India “The String of Pearls Strategy”.

Why it’s not a cause to worry for India :-

  • India and China cooperates in many areas in middle east including oil exploration. The case in Syria where Chinese and Indian oil companies jointly purchased shares of 36 Syrian fields.
  • Sino-Indian partnership for peace and prosperity is blooming and have since then conducted several joint military exercises in the Indian Ocean.
  • India enjoys unique and distinct relationship between it and countries of middle east since historic times like Iran.

China is showing increasing interest in the Middle East. India has major strategic interests in the Middle East. Aside from its dependence on the region for oil, it has eight million citizens who remit approximately $70 billion annually. A convulsion in the region would give India a massive logistic and financial headache. India must track its moves.


Topic:  Functioning of judiciary; Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity. Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act

4) Discuss briefly nature and significance of various observations and judgements delivered by the Supreme Court on the issues dealing with electoral reform during last few years. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- The Supreme Court till today continued with trend that started 40 years ago and strove for electoral reforms through it’s various judgements.

  • Mohinder Singh Gill :- Judicial decisions ushering in electoral reforms started in 1978, when the SC interpreted Article 324 of the Constitution to empower the Election Commission (EC) with unbridled powers in conducting and supervising elections.
  • Common Cause case :- In 1996, the court had ordered the political parties to submit details of expenses it incurred for each candidate and otherwise in an election.
  • In 2002, the apex court in Association for Democratic Reforms judgment returned its focus on the little man in the voter who alone slapped accountability on the political system in a democracy.
  • In 2002, the court ruled that voters’ right to information was fundamental. To enable a voter make an informed choice, the court ordered every candidate to submit an affidavit with nomination papers giving correct information about h/his educational qualification, details of h/his and family assets, and importantly, h/his criminal background.
  • 2004 judgment of the Patna High Courtin Jan Chaukidari v Union of India — upheld by the Supreme Court on 10 July 2013— all those in lawful police or judicial custody, other than those held in preventive detention, will forfeit their right to stand for election.
  • In Lily Thomas v. the Union of India, the Supreme Court declared Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, (RPA) which allowed legislators a three-month window to appeal against their conviction — effectively delaying their disqualification until such appeals were exhausted — as unconstitutional.
  • The SC in 2013 ruled that if a candidate left columns blank, then the returning officer could reject the nomination papers.
  • In 2013 SC delivered two important lessons. One allowed a voter to cast a negative vote ‘none of the above’ (NOTA) to tell political parties that candidates fielded by them were not worthy of his vote. In the second judgement Supreme Court (SC), in the case of Subramanian Swamy vs Election Commission of India (ECI), has held that VVPAT (Vote Verifiable Paper Audit Trial) is “indispensable for free and fair elections”.
  • The Allahabad high court stayed caste-based rallies in Uttar Pradesh, a move that will block off a key avenue that the major political parties use to expand their support base, especially before elections.

All these judgements and rulings have increased the transparency, accountability, non partisanship in elections. They have also helped to create a level playing field for candidates, more awareness in voters, deterrence for malpractices and corrupt elements in election etc.

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests; India and its neighborhood- relations

5) In its ambition and enthusiasm to actively engage in “Quadrilateral” grouping, India should not neglect its neighbours. Comment. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :-  By accepting an invitation to join the Japan-proposed, U.S.-endorsed plan for a “Quadrilateral” grouping including Australia to provide alternative debt financing for countries in the Indo-Pacific, India has taken a significant turn in its policy for the subcontinent.

  • The coming together of India, the US, Japan and Australia is being seen as building a strategic partnership to deal with China’s rise and its implications. 
  • On the other hand the logic of expanding membership in a security-focused group is not very obvious. Security collaboration among a larger group is a challenging task as success depends on the credibility and commitment of each participant. Moreover, the greater the number of people at the table, the narrower the agenda on which a consensus can be achieved.

However irrespective of it’s advantages or disadvantages it is necessary that India analyse the impact of this admission on all our relations.

  • India has already conceded it requires “other parties” in the neighbourhood, even as it seeks to counter the influence of China and its Belt and Road Initiative.
  • As a growing economy with ambitious domestic targets, India’s own needs often clash with those of its neighbors. Participating in such initiatives may sound neglecting regional partners and trying to cling to big ones.
  • India while pursuing aspirations in global alliances falls short of it’s regional commitments like Over the past decade, since the defeat of the LTTE, India passed up offers to build the port in Hambantota, Colombo, and Kankesanthurai, despite Sri Lanka’s pressing need for infrastructure. ew Delhi has changed its position on Hambantota several times. India has also been ambivalent on tackling political issues in its region like Nepal constitution, Maldives crisis, Myanmar Rohingya issue etc.

Owing to India’s presence and impact in South Asia the neighbourhood first policy should not take backseat. It is important to keep the track with neighbors first and grow regionally in order to grow globally.

Topic: Indian economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. 

6) What are the components of integrated flood management? Is poor governance the cause of flooding of Chennai and Mumbai during heavy rains? Discuss strategies to prevent floods in these two metros. (250 Words) 

The Hindu

Introduction :- Integrated Flood Management (IFM) integrates land and water resources development in a flood plain, within the context of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), with a view to maximise the efficient use of the flood plains and minimise loss of property and life.

The aim of IFM is to put in place well-functioning integrated measures for flood management, which enhance the benefits of floods and minimise their destruction. For this, the linkages between various relevant sectors become very important.

At the core of integration is effective communication across institutional and disciplinary boundaries, which can take place only if there is a perception of common interest.

Major integrated flood management measures aim to reduce flood risk and flood hazard across the flood plain and can be grouped into 4 classes

  • Land-use measures; – aimed at “keeping people away from floods”.
  • Structural measures;- aimed at “keeping flood waters away from the people”.
  • Flood preparedness measures; aimed at “getting people ready for floods”.
  • Flood emergency measures; – aimed at “helping affected people cope with floods”.

Urban floods and poor governance :

Regular flooding and water-logging in our cities indicate that the municipal administration and administrative coordination has collapsed.

Problems of over urbanization like slums mushrooming, illegal construction, in adequate drainage system, waste management system exaggerate the urban flood situation.

Similar flooding has been seen in Bhopal, Mumbai, Bangalore, Nashik and Chennai.

Their role in prompt actions, grievances redreassal, implementing preventive measures for flooding like planting trees, checking, cleaning drainages is alos not satisfactory hence a major responsibility for urban flooding goes to municipal corporations.

Strategies to prevent floods in these two metros :-

·         Introduce better flood warning systems :- The Central governmental agencies and city administration must “improve our flood warning systems”, giving people more time to take action during flooding, saving lives and property damage.

·         Modify homes and businesses to help them withstand floods :- The focus should be on “flood resilience” rather than defence schemes

·         Construct buildings above flood levels :– Metro cities, Smart cities should construct all new buildings one metre from the ground to prevent flood damage

·         Protect wetlands and introduce plant trees strategically :– The creation of more wetlands – which can act as sponges, soaking up moisture – and wooded areas can slow down waters when rivers overflow. These areas are often destroyed to make room for agriculture and development, the WWF said.

·         Restore rivers to their natural courses :- Many river channels have been historically straightened to improve navigability. Remeandering straightened rivers by introducing their bends once more increases their length and can delay the flood flow and reduce the impact of the flooding downstream. Ex Mithi river in Mumbai.

·         Other measures like Introduce water storage areas, Improve soil conditions, Put up more flood barriers must also be implemented.

Municipal bodies of our cities have to come out with consistent and coherent urban policy. Water-logging and flooding is as much a result of incoherent urban policy as it is of poor implementation. In the absence of a coherent urban policy, citizens would continue to suffer and be stranded in their vehicles for hours on a rainy day.

Additional information :-


Topic:  Effects of liberalization on the economy

7) How do companies evade taxes through offshore companies set up in so called tax havens? In the light of ‘Paradise Papers’, discuss critically. (250 Words)

The Indian Express


Introduction :- A trove of 13.4 million corporate records, primarily from Bermuda firm Appleby, as well as from Singapore-based Asiaciti Trust and corporate registries maintained by governments in 19 secrecy jurisdictions, often referred to as “tax paradises” has once again highlighted the issues of tax heavens and taxes evasion by off shore companies.


How do companies evade taxes through offshore companies :-

·         An individual or company transfers assets or cash to the nominal ownership of an offshore company, with the transaction facilitated by a law firm such as Mossack Fonseca.

·         The offshore company is registered in a tax haven regime such as the British Virgin Islands, which doesn’t disclose who the beneficial owner is and which doesn’t co-operate with other tax authorities. So the owner of the assets can avoid national taxes in their resident country  – whether income tax, capital gains, or corporation tax – which might otherwise be due.

·         To access the money, the offshore company could lend money with a zero interest rate to a company based in the home country of the individual which is also ultimately owned or controlled by the individual or company that is avoiding tax. This individual or company can then extract cash from the recipient company while paying minimal tax


Laws specifying general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR) are in force in countries like the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Hong Kong. There is FATCA in the US. In Europe, anti-tax avoidance measures in the pipeline include a blacklist of offshore tax havens and a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) for the EU, meant to block transfer of profit to low-tax jurisdictions.

In India Direct Taxes Code Bill, 2010, GAAR came into effect from April 1, 2017. India introduced this retrospective clarification to the I-T Act to ensure that cross-border transactions of assets and have signed double taxation avoidance agreement with many countries.

Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, 

8) How can be India competitive in cereals, pulses and oilseeds? Discuss the measures that government should implement in this regard. (250 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- India though one of the highest producer of cereals, pulses and oilseeds is suffering from many problems. Agricultural imports have been rising since 2004-05. Edible oils ($11.3 billion), pulses ($4.3 billion), and fruits, nuts, vegetables ($3.1 billion) accounted for $18.7 billion of the total agri-imports of $25.4 billion in 2016-17.

Hence India needs to adopt few steps In order to be competitive in cereals, pulses and oilseeds :-

  • India has to promote agri-exports and the country’s policymakers must build global value-chains for some important agri-commodities in which the country has a comparative advantage.
  • India is competitive in cereals but the country can also be competitive in groundnut and mustard oil, provided there is an open and stable export policy. 
  • The country has a great potential to export fish and seafood, bovine meat, and fruits, nuts and vegetables. Infrastructural reforms like connecting export houses directly to farmer producer organisations (FPOs), sidestepping the APMC-regulated mandis, removing stocking limits and trading restrictions are needed.
  • Structural reforms in agriculture are also required like land distribution, land leasing, contract farming, corporate farming etc
  • Export-oriented value-chains to create jobs in rural areas, or to assist in adhering to sanitary and phytosanitary standards would make them more resilient to future price shocks.
  • In import India loses much in oilseeds. The import policy must, therefore, be designed such that the landed price of palm oil and yellow pea never goes much below the domestic prices of their nearest rivals, say, soybean oil and chickpea
  • For oilseeds, Measures like relay croppingof mustard can be taken up which will use residual moisture, and could yield an additional 3.5 to 4 million tonnes of rapeseed-mustard.
  • Community level planning processes and institutional frameworks have enabled better utilisation of scarce resources like groundwater for emergency irrigation for groundnut cultivation in states like Andhra Pradesh. These need to be replicated on a large scale.
  • Steps like inclusion of cluster demonstrations in rice fallows for pulses cultivation in rabi season from 2015-16 under BGREI (Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India) scheme in order to increase production of pulses in Eastern India in states of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Eastern U.P. and West Bengal is noteworthy.
  • To keep pace with the population, cereal production must grow by at least 4.2% a year, more than twice the current rate. For this irrigated land needs to be increases, and efficient allocation and use of existing stock is crucial.

Agriculture is the backbone of India. The production of cereals, pulses, oilseeds needs to be competent not only to feed the growing population but also to make agriculture a remunerative business and curb agricultural distress.

Topic: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration:


               “Discipline is giving yourself a command and following it up with order “

                                                                                                            -Bob Proctor

Discipline forms a very important part of human life. It is the primary requirement in order to live a good, healthy life. It is important for an organisation in following ways :-

  • It maintains hierarchy, rule orientation, efficiency by making the functioning of organisation smooth.
  • By this a healthy relationship between heads, subordinates and lower subordinates is maintained.
  • It’s role in maintaining respect, responsibility and prompt following of orders is immense.
  • It also helps a civil servant to inculcate other values like honesty, impartiality, integrity in him/her.

However it may be counter-productive for the organisation.

  • It limits the discretion in subordinate and eventually their innovative capacity to implement orders according to demands of situation. Ex firing on farmers in Pune Maharashtra few years back
  • It creates class distinctions and divisions among people of the organisation and may lead to ego clashes, negative feelings and atmosphere in organisation.
  • Strict discipline may even promote corruption, nepotism and other malpractices owing to the rule orientation nature of civil servant rather than service orientation. For ex if a department like PDS/ration shop does not at all consider excuses for misplacement of documents and adhere to procedures blindly then people might think about adopting corrupt ways to get the work done.
  • It may also create trust deficit between people and organisation Ex police/ military many a times follow orders and don’t use discretion based on demands of situation hence in incidences like dharana, protest people suffer lathicharges and create a negative impression about police that they are anti people.

Hence discipline though necessary it’s extent of implementation must be determined in case to case basis and with some flexibility in emergency, sensitive cases.