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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) Much of the experience of Russia’s October Revolution has been horrific for the people of Russia, and benign for the rest of the world. Elucidate. (250 Words)

The Hindu

The Indian Express


Introduction :- The October Revolution officially known in Soviet literature as the Great October Socialist Revolution and commonly referred to as Red October, the October Uprising, the Bolshevik Revolution, or Bolshevik Coup was a revolution in Russia led by the Bolsheviks and Vladimir Lenin that was instrumental in the larger Russian Revolution of 1917. It took place with an armed insurrection in Petrograd on 25 October (7 November, New Style) 1917.

The central contradiction of Russian Revolution was that this was the most ambitious and sustained attempt at human transformation and liberation in modern European history – and yet the Soviet regime became the most violent state in modern peacetime Europe. 

It had many positive impacts on Russia like the czarist rule comes to an end and gives say to the workers and peasants. After the revolution, Lenin created free education throughout Russia. Children learned communist ideas but they were still educated about the world. Another positive effect was that Lenin made the eight-hour working day, which greatly improved working conditions.

However it was accompanied with some horrific results.

Horrific experience of Russia’s October revolution in Russia :-

  • Russian revolution came with end of World War 1. The experiences of war, state failure, and military defeat opened up spaces for paramilitary violence, atrocities and extremist politicsover the next three decades. 
  • The tragedy of the Russian Revolution is that the palpable sense of popular emancipation and empowerment in 1917 gave way to violent dictatorship.
  • 15 million people die after the Bolsheviks and anti-Bolsheviks sweep Russia after the revolution happened.
  • Within months of the October Revolution, Lenin bemoaned lack of disciplineamong Russian workers, and both Leninist thought and Bolshevik rule became noticeably more authoritarian.
  • Starting in summer 1918, with economic crisisand civil war setting in, the Soviet state dramatically intensified its practices of violence and repression.
  • Its leaders justified it as a path to the better future the revolution was meant to secure.
  • After the revolution, people’s freedom was lost and people couldn’t read, write, or say whatever they want. People were also not allowed to celebrate religion as religious leaders were murdered and churches were destroyed.

Benign Experience of Russia’s October revolution for rest of the world :-

  • Revolutionary Russia showed the way for the diverse working people around the world to unite, move beyond the chains of tyranny, and create a new world which could provide for the free development of each and all.
  • It generated a new way of thinking about economy, society and the government. The Bolsheviks set out to cure Russia of all its injustices that arouse from social class differences. This was to be implemented in rest of the world too.
  • It led to the populism and spread of Communism, Socialism systems and their adoption by many countries in world like Russia, Cuba etc.
  • The Revolution led to redefinition of democracy. Most people began to recognise that for democracy to be real, political rights without social and economic rights were not enough.
  • The Russian Revolution hastened the end of imperialism. Russia after the revolution was the first country to openly support the cause of independence of all nations from foreign rule. The revolution awakened the peoples of Asia and Africa and infused a new spirit of nationalism in their fight for freedom from the European colonizers.

Though by the end of the 20th century the international reputation of USSR as a socialist country declined but the socialist ideals of the Russian Revolution still enjoy respect among the peoples of the world.

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

2) Is Commonwealth group relevant today? Comment on Britain’s renewed interest in the Commonwealth amidst its impending separation from the European Union. (250 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :-

The Commonwealth of Nations (formerly the British Commonwealth), also known as simply the Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of 52 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire. The Commonwealth operates by intergovernmental consensus of the member states, organised through the Commonwealth Secretariat and non-governmental organisations, organised through the Commonwealth Foundation.


Relevance of Commonwealth :-

The Commonwealth encompasses almost a third of the world’s population, bringing together people of many faiths, races, languages and incomes.

By voting to leave the EU, Britain’s future relationship with its fellow Commonwealth members has assumed both a greater significance and a greater degree of uncertainty.

Britain’s renewed interest in Commonwealth with exit From EU :-

  • Britain’s trade with its fellow Commonwealth members has been a relatively steady 10% of the UK’s GDP for the past decade, with five Commonwealth countries representing the bulk of that trade statistic: India, Australia, Canada, Singapore and South Africa.
  • British governments have been cautious about taking a lead in the Commonwealth as they risked being accused of a post-imperial plot.
  • But despite what some politicians might hope, the Commonwealth does not offer a platform for the overt pursuit of British national interests. As many as 31 nations out of 53 are small island nations which could not make significant difference in Britain’s presence in world.

These are uncertain times in intra-Commonwealth relations. It’s possible that as well as threatening the future of the UK and the cohesion of the EU, the Brexit vote also threatens the socio-economic development and therefore the political stability of a number of Commonwealth countries.

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

3) Setting up fast-track courts to deal with criminals in politics would do little to break the symbiotic relationship between politicians and criminals. Comment. (150 Words)



Introduction :- Criminalization of politics means rising participation of criminals in the electoral process and selection of the same as elected representatives of the people.

Reasons for criminalization of politics :-

  • Criminalization of politics ensures protection for those who break the law based on: Political, Group, Class ,Caste, Communal considerations
  • It also results from partisan interfering in crime investigation and poor prosecution of cases.
  • Massive delays over the years and high costs in judicial process would be another reason for this phenomenon.
  • Mass withdrawal of court cases and unwarranted grant of parole have also spurred criminalization in politics.

To do away with the problem of slow process of justice delivery system the Parliament of India introduced Fast Track Courts for Elected Representatives Bill, 2014 in the House of People to establish Fast Track Courts for trial of cases involving criminal charges against elected representatives.

Criminalization of politics needs to be prevented and reduced to a certain extent. The roots of the problem lie in the political system of the country. There is lack of political will to curb the menace. The political parties bypass the ethical and democratic norms. Setting up of special courts is the way to prevent and control criminalisation of politics. To maintain sanctity and purity of elections, it would be more beneficial to the society to try all cases of politicians by special courts.

However it bore less impactful results owing to the fact that criminalisation is increasing day by day. The data shows that out of a total of 62, 847 candidates analysed, 11, 063 (18%) have declared criminal cases against themselves

The reform needs to change the incentives for both politicians and voters.

  • Bringing greater transparency in campaign financing is going to make it less attractive for political parties to involve gangsters. Thus, either the Election Commission of India (ECI) should have the power to audit the financial accounts of political parties, or political parties’ finances should be brought under the right to information (RTI) law.
  • Broader governance will have to improve for voters to reduce the reliance on criminal politicians. That requires a rationalization of bureaucratic procedures and an increase in state capacity to deliver essential public goods like security of life and contracts, and access to public utilities.
  • Other innovative options like exploring possibilities of right to recall, simultaneous conducting of elections, adding art to RPA in order to empower election commission to cancel polls for use of money power etc can be implemented.

Standing alone, fast-track courts for politicians will be ineffective in cleansing Indian politics.Eradication of three Cs – Cash Corruption and criminality could lead our country towards vibrant polity and democracy.

“Democracy disciplined and enlightened is the finest thing in the world. A democracy prejudiced, ignorant, superstitions, will land itself in choos.” – M.K. Gandhi

Topic: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it

4) The societal reach of India’s economic growth in recent decades still remains unquantified and a common measure to quantify the social progress of Indian States that can pinpoint the achievements and the challenges is still missing. Discuss the efforts made in this regard and suggest ideas to quantify societal reach of India’s economic growth. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- The accomplishments of modern India are recognised around the world. A country that was a symbol of hunger and poverty at the time of Independence and admonished for its Hindu rate of growth during the initial decades has now transformed itself into one of the the fastest growing major economies.

The societal reach of this economic growth still remains unquantified. 

Efforts made in this direction :-

  • National University of Educational Planning and Administration and the Government of India (Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of School Education and Literacy) compute an Educational Development Index for primary and upper primary levels of education that compare States on different aspects on education universalisation.
  • NITI Aayog has rolled out the health, education and water index.
  • Apart from these individual indices, there have also been efforts to look at progress through the lens of a human development index but that does not isolate the impact of economic growth. 

Ideas to quantify societal reach of India’s economic growth :-

  • Social Progress Index :- We can rank States using social and environmental indicators on the basis of their capability to provide for basic needs such as shelter, water, and sanitation; a foundation for well-being with education, health, and communication facilities; analyzing the prejudices that prevail in a region prohibiting people from making their personal decisions; and evaluating whether citizens have personal rights and freedom or whether they are susceptible to child labour, human trafficking, corruption, etc.
  • Conducting surveys like Socio Economic Caste census, Capability index approach of Amrtya Sen, Opportunity index of citizens etc to gauge the real reach of societal economic growth.

The overall findings show that while the economy is on the right track growing at approx 8% rate, there is an urgent need to identify and focus on social parameters as overall social progress score for the country now stands at 57.03. The reliance on the idea that economic development will automatically transform social conditions will hamper further improvements in social progress. Social progress needs to be stimulated by focussing on policies directly targeting social issues.

Topic:  Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

5) A meaningful and consistent dialogue between the union government, interlocutors and separatists in Kashmir is sine qua non for establishing peace in the Kashmir Valley. Comment. (250 Words)

The Hindu


Introduction :- The Kashmir issue is very complex and is compounded by many pulls and pressures of political parties at the Centre as well as the state levels.

The path of Kashmiriyat, Jamhuriyat and Insaaniyat need to be followed. This means, dialogue is the only practical and humane option the Government of India has to control the situation in Kashmir in both its internal and external dimensions. Internally, the government should initiate talks with all the stakeholders, including the Hurriyat, in Jammu & Kashmir. Externally, India should conduct talks with Pakistan to agree on a final settlement of the Kashmir issue, as mandated by the Shimla Pact of 1972. There is no military solution to the problem, either in it’s internal or external dimensions.

  • Civilian casualties are something that could change the mood overnight, and therefore should be avoided by every means.
  • One should not get into working a ‘package’ for Jammu and Kashmir as some of the issues could not be resolved (by it) and hence would hold back other positive actions.
  • Government should get some of the ‘do-ables’ done right away and others can be negotiated later.
  • The coalition government of the Peoples Democratic Party and Bharatiya Janata Party should demonstrate that they are alive to the aspirations of the people of the three regions of the state and could fulfil them.
  • Such genuine dialogue between Delhi and J&K would be appreciated by the international community and would silence the Pakistani establishment as any of their tricks could further damage their reputation.
  • India should maintain that Pakistan has no role at all in Kashmir affairs, and, hence, it would not negotiate with it on this issue.
  • If there is no let up in its export of terrorism across the border, there must be well deliberated retaliation — both diplomatically and militarily.
  • Each action of Pakistan should be well documented and publicised before any retaliatory counter action is taken.
  • Consistent policy of talks with the Kashmiris and a stick for the Pakistanis would prove effective and productive in the long run.

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

6) “Contrary to belief, demonetisation was not a case of a ‘good idea, bad execution’. It was a fundamentally flawed idea borne out of overriding of institutions and circumventing consensus.” Critically comment. (250 Words)


Introduction :- The 8 November 2016 decision by the Prime Minister to extinguish nearly nine-tenths of the value of currency in circulation and render Rs500 and Rs1,000 banknotes worthless overnight was a misguided act of coercion that shocked and had an impact on every single Indian.

Demonetisation though had many positive impacts like :-

  • Black money :- Out of 17 lakh crore money in circulation black money consists of 3 lakh crore. With a single stroke of demonetization this black money can be significantly wiped out.
  • The Rs 400 crore black money could be curbed effectively which has injection rate of Rs 17 crore per year in Indian economy.
  • The financing to terrorist, naxalite and Kashmiri insurgents was reduced to some extend.

However it was fundamentally a flawed idea with damage in not just economic but social, institutional and reputational sphere.

  • The economic impact of demonetization is quite evident in the slowing of GDP growth and deterioration of other economic indicators. The current economic slowdown triggered by a liquidity shock due to demonetization was needless and entirely self-inflicted.
  • It is said that money is an idea that inspires confidence. Similarly, a sudden withdrawal of money can dent confidence. The business confidence was plummeted due to demonetisation.
  • At a time when individual and regional economic inequalities in India are rapidly widening, measures such as demonetisation have only exacerbated such inequalities. 
  • A pretentious pursuit of a ‘less cash economy’ to justify a fundamentally flawed act neither recognizes nor solves the twin economic challenge of unequal and jobless economic growth.
  • The democratic institution of India like parliament, legislative assembly, Judiciary, Election commission, Central Reserve Bank etc forms bedrock of country. Independence, credibility and trust of these institutions is of utmost importance to India’s sustained growth and development. Decisions like demonetization taken so secretly and immediately negate institutional democracy and imparts the authoritarian tone to it.


The father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, exhorted us to “recall the face of the poorest and the weakest” while contemplating policy decisions. A truly liberal society is one that strives to ensure that not even a single innocent is punished unfairly. The role of institutions is vital in ensuring such order. It is indeed time to move on from demonetisation but not move away from institutions, procedures and processes. 


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

Introduction :- Public service is a ‘vocation’ and only on this foundation upon which a moral and responsible government can be based. The civil servants need to be people of absolute integrity, ethics and morality because only then they can take the civil service as a ‘vocation’.

It strengthens the sense of mission which a civil servant is supposed to undertake to serve the public; perform duties and fulfill obligations. A similar doctrine of vocation was enunciated several thousand years ago by Lord Krishna in Bhagwad Gita. It has been mentioned there, that ”Securing” universal welfare by one’s action is the ultimate measure of a human being but more so of those who hold the public office”.

Hence it becomes important to indoctrinate trainees in ethical behaviour however it’s useless if the selection is of an unethical individuals.

Ways to select ethical individuals in civil services :-

  • Go beyond testing the theoretical knowledge of candidates and take measures to test real ethical sense like psychiatric test for interview, more weightage to candidates real tilt and personal interests like if he/she is involved in some social activities, any remarkable work done in own profession etc,
  • Testing individuals on spot questions and ethical dilemmas rather than rotten theories in Ethics paper. Posing candidates to questions which need critical decision making.
  • UPSC civil services interviews can be reformed to be more elaborate on line of SSB interview to gauge the real potential of candidates.
  • Putting more importance to individual behaviour, views, stands in training period and option of cancellation of permanent recruitment in civil services if trainee fails to show ethical approach in training.

It’s important to place right persons in system in order to be hopeful for fixation of it’s deteriorating state today. As it is said “Your best efforts will never be enough when your best efforts are being wasted on wrong person”

Topic: Emotional intelligence

Introduction :- According to Peter Salovey and John Mayer Emotional intelligence is a synergy of four components

Emotional Intelligence business diagram management strategy concept chart illustration

 Application of emotional intelligence in administration :-

  • It is the base for other civil services values like empathy, compassion, trustworthiness, honesty, integrity, non partisanship etc. It will be helpful in imparting sensitive understanding to civil servant about the societal issues.
  • Emotional intelligence is required in team building, in maintaining interpersonal relationship with the subordinates, creating positive environment in workplace and inculcating work culture in true sense in organisation.
  • It is highly useful in decision making, consensus building, improving transparency, accountability, imparting service orientation in public servants.
  • In leadership, conflict resolution, being professional, increasing productivity, moral etc it has huge role owing to it’s inherent simplicity in orienting an individual on right path of behaviour.

To summarize, Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and understand emotions and their impact on behaviour and attitudes. Those who have a high degree of emotional intelligence are in tune with both their own emotions and the emotions of other people with whom they come in contact. Recently, focus on understanding emotions in organizations has resulted in increased attention to the role of Emotional Intelligence.