Print Friendly, PDF & Email



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) Critically comment on the cultural significance of ‘Padmavat’ – a poem written in Avadhi language by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi. (150 Words)

The Indian Express




  • Written in Avadhi language by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi, ‘Padmavati’ was a tale of love, heroism and sacrifice, dotted all along with fantastical elements giving it a larger than life imagery. 
  • The poem narrates that a princess of unparalleled beauty called Padmini lived in the kingdom of Simhaladvipa, now Sri Lanka. 
  • Enamoured by her beauty, King Ratansen of Chittor was engulfed with the passion to acquire her and overcame a large number of adventurous obstacles to make her his queen. 
  • Back in the kingdom of Chittor, Ratansen banished a sorcerer, who travelled to Delhi and told its ruler Alauddin Khalji of Padmini’s beauty. 
  • The Khalji ruler marched to Chittor and vanquished Ratansen. But he did not manage to win Padmini as she along with other Rajput women committed Jauhar by consigning themselves to the flames.


Cultural significance


  • Every year between the months of February and March, the city of Chittorgarh in Rajasthan comes together in celebration of what is believed to be one of the most critical episodes of their community’s history — the Jauhar (self-immolation) of Queen Padmavati in defence of her honour and virtues.
  • Her choice to rather die than be captured by another man has been celebrated with utmost vehemence as the symbol of Rajput valour and integrity. 
  • The legend of Padmavati first appeared in a piece of poetry called ‘Padmavat’ dating back to the sixteenth century
  • This narrative of their past is something that has been learned through oral transmission from one generation to another and local folk tales that have given it a sacred legitimacy.


Critical analysis


  • Cultural memory of a community hardly ever distinguishes between historical authenticity and fictional concepts that have over time acquired the garb of historicity. 


Contemporary relevance


  • The circulation and transmission of the Padmavat has been an ongoing process and its interpretation at various historical stages needs to be located in the political context of the time in which it was being read. 
  • The modern interpretation of the text is a result of the twentieth century rendition of it inspired by the nationalist movement of the time



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

2) India’s actions since the outbreak of Rohingya violence in Myanmar have negated its position as a regional, subcontinental and Asian leader, and it has also undermined its democracy. Comment. (250 Words)

The Hindu



  • There has been a flurry of diplomatic activity on he Rohingya issue across the world except India. 
  • India in fact should be showing the most initiative in this crisis. 
  • The government began to dispatch humanitarian aid in an operation rather grandly named “Operation Insaniyat(Humanity)”, but was only one of several countries including the U.S., Turkey, Azerbaijan, Malaysia and others to do so. 
  • Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visited Bangladesh, where she didn’t even spare time for a trip to the camps, stands out not just in stark contrast to other nations, but to India’s own record
  • In every way, the Rohingya crisis is mammoth, with around a million men, women and children in Bangladesh and Myanmar living perilously. 


How India lost the diplomatic cause?

  1. Vacated the space for other countries to intervene in her neighbourhood
  • US, Britain, Canada, Singapore, Germany, Sweden and Japan sent their Foreign Affairs Ministers to Rohingya camps in Bangladesh. 
  1. Opportunity for partnership with ASEAN in new domain missed
  • The role of ASEAN was explored to resolve the crisis. 
  1. China asserted itself and relegated India
  • China successfully mediated and “forced” Bangladesh and Myanmar to sign an agreement to resettle Rohingyas in Rakhine State. 
  1. India’s soft power dimnished
  • India, which has a tradition of rushing humanitarian aid and medical assistance, doctors and volunteers to other nations — for example, after the 2004 tsunami, the 2008 Cyclone Nargis that hit Myanmar, and the 2015 Nepal earthquake — has been seen to visibly hold back during the Rohingya crisis.
  1. India’s principles at the pedestal of UN compromised
  • At the UN too, India’s voice has been consistently muted, ceding space to other countries to take the lead on the issue. 
  • It doesn’t mark itself out for principled leadership of any kind. 
  1. Bangladesh’s favourable leadership not heeded its due
  • It also had a bearing on India’s standing in Bangladesh, one of its closest allies in the region, whose leadership is struggling to cope with the flow of refugees as Ms. Hasina braces for a tough election next year.
  • All of India’s actions since the outbreak of this round of violence in Myanmar have negated its position as a regional, subcontinental and Asian leader. 


Topic Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, 

3) It would be appropriate for India to draw up a data protection law using the rights-based approach of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, 2016, in which data protection is comprehensive and exemptions limited. Discuss. (250 Words)

The Hindu



  • The dawn of the information age opened up great opportunities for the beneficial use of data. It also enhanced the perils of unregulated and arbitrary use of personal data. 
  • Unauthorised leaks, hacking and other cyber crimes have rendered data bases vulnerable.
  • Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee is to elicit views from the public on the shape and substance of a comprehensive data protection law 


Need for data protection

  • In this era of Big Data analytics and automated, algorithm-based processing of zettabytes of information, the fear that their personal data may be unprotected may conjure up visions of a dystopian world in which individual liberties are compromised. 


  1. European model
  • Therefore, it would be appropriate to draw up a law using the rights-based approach of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, 2016, in which data protection is comprehensive and exemptions limited


  1. American model
  • Norms are stringent for government departments processing personal information, while private entities have to abide by the norms of giving notice and receiving consent. 
  • An enlightened citizenry will only help itself in participating in the search for a good data protection framework.


Current status

  • India does not have a separate law for data protection.
  •  Section 43A of the Information Technology Act provides a measure of legal protection of personal information
  • Even though the Information Technology Act contains certain provisions about data protection and handling, experts are of the opinion that India needs a fresh data protection law with the increased digitisation led by Aadhaar, the Goods and Service Tax and the push towards a digital economy.
  • IT Act may also be inadequate to deal with the current requirements since it was drafted almost 17 years ago in 2000 and was amended last in 2008.
  • Also, in the last 5-6 years there has been a quantum leap in the world of technology which has been driven by trends such as proliferation of social media, growth of ecommerce leading to boom in transactions over the Internet and demonetisation, which has pushed more people into the digital economy, so the IT act may have to be obviously reconsidered in the light of these developments


Way forward

  • It is legitimate to collect personal data in the public interest, but this information should be protected and used only for the purposes it was collected. 
  • Above all, the law must provide for a suitably empowered statutory authority to enforce its promised protection to citizens’ data.
  • The new Bill should be based on five salient features: technological neutrality and interoperability with international standards; multi-dimensional privacy; horizontal applicability to state and non-state entities; conformity with privacy principles; and a co-regulatory enforcement regime.


Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations. 

4) “Pakistan’s original sin is its construction and treatment of Ahmadis.” Discuss critically why anti-Ahmadism in Pakistan is threatening its socio-political fabric. (250 Words)

The Indian Express


What is Original Sin?

  • Most nations often labour under the shadow of an original sin. This is a form of injustice that inflects the nation’s identity. 
  • It often acquires a power of its own such that it rears its head even in attempts to overcome it. Its shadow continues to govern and distort politics in deep ways. 


Role of state to address social injustice

  • Race and the legacy of slavery are such issues for the United States; arguably caste and communalism arising from the shadow of Partition for India. In both these cases, the state and political culture have tried to overcome them, with some success.


Pakistan’s state role contrary

  • In countries where the state itself perpetuates its original sin, however, there is likely to be chaos. A good example of this is Pakistan.
  • Pakistan’s original sin is its construction and treatment of Ahmadis. 
  • Anti-Ahmadism, arguably, cuts even deeper than anti-Indianism in more intimate and existential ways. It has become more central to Pakistan’s identity as a state. 
  • It makes the state, and loyalty to the state, depend upon deep theological adjudication. 
  • It makes the state, not the protector of freedom, but the custodian of belief — to furnish its Islamic credentials. 


Pakistan founding priciples

  •  Iqbal, who had a complicated relationship with Ahmadis in his early life, finally began to argue that Ahmadis were both a threat to the unity of Islam, and he argued, to India as well. 
  • By denying the finality of the Prophet and the oneness of god, they were denying the essence of Muslimhood. 
  • He advocated a peculiar toleration for them as a separate community. But they could not identify as Muslims. 


Consequences on society

  • There were riots on this issue as early as 1953, and in 1974, amendments to the constitution declared Ahmadis non-Muslim. 


Topic:   Employment

6) “Gender gaps come in the way of business competitiveness.” In the light of recent gender gap report findings, analyse. (150 Words)

The Indian Express



  • The Global Gender Gap ranking for 2017, compiled by the World Economic Forum was released last month.
  • India slipped 21 places in this ranking compared to last year. 


  1. Economic Participation and Opportunity
  • It includes three indicators: 
    • The participation gap (difference in labour force participation between men and women), 
    • the remuneration gap (captured by a hard data statistic of ratio of estimated female-to-male earned income, as well as a qualitative indicator about wage equality for similar work), and 
    • the advancement gap (measured through two hard data statistics: Ratio of women to men among legislators, senior officials and managers, and the ratio of women to men among technical and professional workers


  1. Political Empowerment
  • It identifies gender gaps in the highest level of political decision-making, and includes the ratio of women to men among ministers, among parliamentarians, and in terms of years in executive office (president or prime minister) over the last 50 years.


  1. Educational attainment 
  • in primary, secondary and tertiary levels


  1. Health and survival
  • Sex ratio t birth to capture the phenomenon of “missing women” due to strong son preference
  • gender gaps in life expectancy.


Gender equality and growth


  1. Larger talent pool
  • Gender equality is desirable, even for purely instrumental reasons, and should be supported even by those who think equity concerns are getting in the way of business. 
  • As the 2017 report points out, talent is important for competitiveness and to find the best talent, everyone should have equal opportunity. 
  • When women and girls are not integrated, the global community loses out on skills, ideas and perspectives that are critical for addressing global challenges and harnessing new opportunities.
  • There is ample research documenting the staggering economic costs of sidelining women. 


  1. Loss to GDP
  • An OECD estimate reveals that gender-based discrimination in social institutions could cost up to $12 trillion for the global economy, and that a reduction in gender discrimination can increase the rate of growth of GDP. 



  • Internalisation of this understanding would mean that gender equality has to be mainstreamed into economic policymaking, rather than viewed as a residual concern to be tackled later, as an afterthought.


Topic: Conservation

7) The obsessive attention on conserving tiger has diverted attention from saving other important species of birds and animals that are endangered or nearing extinct. Comment. (150 Words)

The Hindu



  • Several smaller species die, or are near extinction, or are threatened in India. 
  • The National Board for Wildlife in 2012 identified more than 15 species, including the magnificent Hangul of Kashmir and the Barasingha of Madhya Pradesh, as critically endangered.


Snow leopard

  •  Excellent conservation work has led to greater siting of the snow leopard in the snowy reaches of Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh.


Hog dear

  • The hog deer, which are prolific breeders, were the principal food of the tiger in the grasslands of Corbett National Park in the sixties. 
  • There was an abundance of them and it was a major species of the park, vital for the survival of the tiger. 
  • Now there may be just 20 of them in Corbett and no one seems concerned. 
  • Though the preferred food of the tiger is the chital, there were not enough of them in the sixties to provide sustenance for the tiger, so the focus was on the hog deer.


Great Indian Bustard

  • One of the rarest species and undoubtedly one of the most endangered is the Great Indian Bustard, which is the State bird of Rajasthan. 
  • Endemic to Jaisalmer and Pokhran, its habitat was severely damaged by the nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998. 
  • In Gujarat, not a single adult male has been sited. 
  • In the Naliya area of Kutch, the last bastion of the bustard in the State, power lines are pushing out the bird. In Maharashtra too, they are missing. 
  • The world population of the bird may be just 80.


Mouse deer

  • The mouse deer (scientific name Chevrotain) is a miniature, just a foot high and tiptoes like a ballerina. 
  • It can be found in the Sal forests of south India, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. 
  • Mouse deer meat is said to be delectable and before the Wildlife Act came into existence, it cost thrice the price of any other meat. 
  • The mouse deer raises its young in the hollow of the fallen Sal, but unfortunately these trees are used as fuel wood.



  • The caracal has disappeared from the Kuno sanctuary of Madhya Pradesh
  • However, there are records of it being seen in Ranthambore in Rajasthan and in Kutch, Gujarat. 


Malabar Civet

  • It is feared that the Malabar civet cat may have gone into extinction.



  • The pangolin, which can be found all over India, seems doomed because its scales, which are said to have medicinal value and are more expensive than gold, are sheared ruthlessly. 
  • Its meat too is in demand in China. 
  • Illegal trade continues not just in parts where there are tigers but also in parts where there are musk deer, otter, mongoose and other animals.


Slender Loris

  • The slender loris, a nocturnal animal found in the Western Ghats, and the tortoise are traded in the pet market.




  • Now with reports of nomadic Gujjars making forays into Dachigam, the Hangul, the only deer species of its kind, is down to around 200. 



  • Manipur’s State animal, the brow-antlered deer or Sangai, which lives on the floating morass of Loktak Lake, is also fighting for survival with numbers down to around 200. 
  • However, with Sangai festivals and Sangai tour services, Manipur is going all out to protect them.



  • With so many small animals on the verge of extinction, it is time we gave priority to animals on the basis of the threat perception to them. Today, we have the expertise to save them but lack the political will. They are perched on a precipice and unless we act, they will become as dead as the dodo.

Topic:  Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions;


Resolving ethical dilemma

  • A individual should ask himself/herself the following questions


  1. Is the action legal and consistent with govt policy?
  • There is no provision for banning a film in the certification rules. 
  • The rules are only meant to classify films into various categories
  • Of course, we need to ensure that films do not spread ideas that sow the seeds of treason or divisiveness among people
  • But there are sufficient safeguards against such possibilities in the Constitution.


  1. Is the action in line with my organization’s goals and Code of Conduct?
  • A committee headed by Shivaram Karanth was formed in 1979 to advise the government on the film industry and how quality of films could be ensured
  • There was consensus that censorship is a shame and should be done away with
  • Chopra and Sagar pleaded with us not to recommend scrapping of censorship as the censor certificate was what saved them whenever someone went to court against their big-budget films. 
  • They said the certification was a sign of approval of their films from the government


  1. What will be the outcomes for – organization  colleagues, other parties and myself?
  • Outcomes for organisation


  1. Ban will an indignition to the interity of Censor Board
  • Outcomes for Collegues


  1. They will become more vulnerable to political pressures against the mandate of impartiality.
  • Outcomes for other parties – Rajput Community


  1. Their sentiments should be adequetly taken care of without undermining the sanctity of the institution.