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NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.

General Studies – 1

       Topic:  Social empowerment; Population issues

1) Is the demand for inclusion among the OBCs by Patels and other powerful backward communities justified? Critically examine. (150 Words)

The Hindu


  • The Patidars in Gujarat, the Jats in Rajasthan, and the Marathas in Maharashtra have been demanding inclusion among the Other Backward Classes (OBCs). 


Comparative analysis of India Human Development Survey (IHDS) of 2011-12 and 2004-05


  1. At household level
  • The intergroup variations at household-level 


  1. Vis-a-vis other castes
  • In most variables, the three jatis are better off than OBC groups and SCs and STs in their respective States, and are closer to the forward castes


  1. In agriculture
  • In fact, what distinguishes these groups is the fact that they are predominantly involved in agriculture and are more likely to work on their land rather than as agricultural labourers.


  1. At individual level
  • Comparing individual-level outcomes they find that three jatis are similar to forward castes


  1. Government jobs
  • In terms of holding government jobs, there is a significant drop compared to the forward castes
  • The starkest difference is for the Patidars — their probability of holding a government job more or less matches with the OBCs (and is lesser than that of SCs/STs). 


  1. Land owning
  • Over time,, except for the Patels, there is a decline in the probability of owning or cultivating land for the other two jatis. 


  1. Casual jobs
  • A high proportion of them hold casual jobs in non-agricultural sectors despite them being largely agrarian communities. 
  • With a general decline in fortunes in the agrarian sector, more of them are seeking a future in non-agricultural jobs, especially government jobs. 
  • This explains why these groups demand OBC status.



  • Despite narrowing socioeconomic differences with dominant forward castes, the jatis perceive their political power and economic clout to be slipping due to the changing nature of the economy, but their demand for inclusion among the OBCs is unjustified.

General Studies – 2


Topic:  Poverty and hunger 

2) Critically examine the arguments made in favour and against the findings of recent Global Hunger Index (GHI), especially with respect to India’s ranking. (250 Words)

The Hindu


GHI Calculation

  • The GHI for 2017 is calculated as a weighted average of four standardised indicators, i.e. the 


–  percentage of population that is undernourished

percentage of children under five years who suffer from wasting; 

– percentage of children under five who suffer from stunting, and 

child mortality



Why it is misleading?


  1. Children Hunger Index!
  • Undernourishment and child mortality each make up a third of the GHI score, while child stunting and child wasting make up a sixth of the score, and together make up a third of the score. 
  • Three of the four indicators, refer only to children below five who constitute only 11.5% of India’s population.  
  • Therefore, the term “Hunger Index” is highly biased towards undernutrition of children rather than representing the status of hunger in the overall population


  1. Hunger index reflects other factors than food
  • Evidence shows that weight and height of children are not solely determined by food intake but are an outcome of a complex interaction of factors related to genetics, the environment, sanitation and utilisation of food intake
  • The IFPRI acknowledges that only 45% of child mortality is due to hunger or undernutrition.
  • Per capita food production in India has increased by 26% (2004-05 to 2013-14), while it has doubled in the last 50 years. 
  • India’s under three-year-old child malnutrition rate was double the poverty rate and 20 times the percentage of the hungry in India (percentage of households in which any member had less than two full meals, on any day of the month, that is, even one day without two square meals counts as hungry).


Aspects of malnutrition

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


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


  1. Information about nutrition
  • Two, household/family knowledge and information about good nutrition. 
  • This includes knowledge about locally available foods that are good from the nutrition perspective. 
  • This can be based on: 
  • Traditional knowledge (old wives’ tales); 
    • the ability to read coupled with the availability of appropriate reading material on nutrition
    • access to media such as newspapers, radio and TV, coupled with propagation of such information on radio 
    • special programmes like the ICDS that directly educate mothers about child rearing and nutrition.


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


Government efforts


  1. Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana
  1. National Nutrition Mission
  1. MAA programme



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

3) India’s admittance into the Wassenaar Arrangement as its 42nd participating member is a big step forward in its quest for formal acceptance as a responsible nuclear power. Comment. (150 Words)

The Hindu



  • Wassenaar Arrangement is a multilateral export control regime
  • Wassenaar Arrangement was founded in 1996, and is clubbed with mechanisms such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Australia Group
  • Its stated aim is “to contribute to regional and international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilising accumulations.”


India’s admission

  • India’s admittance into it as its 42nd participating member is a big step forward in its quest for formal acceptance as a responsible nuclear power, as a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
  • It comes on the heels of membership last year of the MTCR.
  • Ever since India signed the 123 Agreement in 2005, the underlying assumption was that the United States would help chaperone New Delhi into global nuclear acceptability after it separated its civil and military nuclear programmes and plugged the loopholes to prevent diffusion of nuclear materials and technology in a way that is demonstrably in line with best practices followed by the members of the NSG.
  • However, over the past couple of years it has become evident that Delhi has to do most of the heavy lifting to gain a seat at various global high tables



  • There is hope that a fresh momentum will be imparted to a future bid for the NSG
  • The Australia Group, which focusses on biological and chemical weapons, may be easier to crack given that China is not a member
  • Wassenaar Arrangement will embed India deeper in the global non-proliferation architecture and enable access to critical technologies in the defence and space sectors.

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

4) It is found that providing solar-powered systems across primary health centres can improve health outcomes. Discuss. (250 Words)

The Hindu



  • In rural India, PHCs provide the last-mile delivery of healthcare services. 
  • India has around 25,000 PHCs, and of the functional PHCs, 4.6% are not electrified
  • One in every two PHCs in rural India is either unelectrified or suffers from irregular power supply.
  • The National Health Policy 2017 reiterates the commitment to improve primary healthcare by strengthening infrastructure.
  • The use of renewable energy sources such as solar could help PHCs augment or even substitute traditional grid-based power systems. 


Why solar – PHCs are viable?


  1. Climate smart infrastructure
  • This would also help the transition towards a low-carbon, climate-smart healthcare system


  1. Uninterrupted power for emergency services
  • Solar systems can facilitate reliable and uninterrupted electricity supply critical for 24/7 emergency services, deliveries and neonatal care, as well as inpatient and outpatient services.


  1. Maintaining clod chains
  • The ability of solar-powered PHCs to maintain cold chains to store vaccines and drugs and operate new-born care equipment has significantly improved.


  1. Ensure comfortable environment for patients
  • Patients showed more willingness to get admitted for treatment at the solar-powered PHCs due to facilities like running fans.


Chattisgarh example

  • In order to augment electricity supply across PHCs in power-surplus Chhattisgarh, the Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA), between 2012 and 2016, installed off-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) systems of 2kW each in 570 PHCs

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora;  Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.  

5) Chinese involvement in peacekeeping, along with its higher funding contributions will put Beijing in the driver’s seat in formulating peacekeeping mandates, thereby affecting India in more ways than one. Analyse. (250 Words)

The Hindu



  • China is now the third-largest contributor to the UN’s regular budget and the second-largest contributor to the peacekeeping budget
  • Having made a reluctant entry in peacekeeping, when it sent a small cadre of soldiers to Cambodia in 1992, Beijing has become the largest troop contributor among the permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC). 


Affecting India’s interests


  1. Acceptance of China’s military strength
  • China’s participation in UN operations offers… a low-cost means of demonstrating their commitment to global stability… and allay(s) fears about its military and economic strength.


  1. India’s decreasing share vis-a-vis China
  • India’s contribution is only 0.737% when compared to China’s 7.92% and the U.S.’s 22%. 


India’s record of peacekeeping

  • India is losing out despite having provided almost 200,000 troops in nearly 50 of the 71 UN peacekeeping missions over the past six decades. 
  • India has also sent scarce aviation assets including Canberra bombers to a UN Mission in Congo in the 1960s and helicopters to Somalia, Sierra Leone and Sudan


Way forward

  • Peacekeeping missions are the raison d’etre of the UN and India’s generous contributions as far as peacekeeping troops are concerned should be key in its argument to have a greater say in the affairs of the UN
  • India must demand its pound of flesh.

General Studies – 3


Topic:  Environmental pollution

6) Do you think taxing carbon would curb pollution in India? Discuss. (250 Words)

The Hindu



  • About 75% of all greenhouse gas emissions are CO2 emissions produced through burning fossil fuels — oil, coal and natural gas — to generate energy. 
  • Since the early 2000s, carbon emissions have increased because of high growth in the Indian economy. In 2014, India’s total carbon emissions were more than three times the levels in 1990, as per World Bank data. 


Need for taxing carbon


  1. Environmental pollution and health impact
  • A report of the Lancet Commission on pollution and health states that around 19 lakh people die prematurely every year from diseases caused by outdoor and indoor air pollution


  1. Unwanted dependence on fossil fuel 
  • There is India’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels 


  1. Low energy efficiency
  • There is a dramatically low level of energy efficiency.


Efficient use of Carbon revenue


  1. Remodel the energy mix
  • Taxing carbon can be used to persuade people to move away from fossil fuels and adopt greener forms of energy. 
  • A part of the carbon revenue thus generated can be used for a systemic overhaul of the energy mix, which, to a large extent, would address the pressing problem of environmental degradation. 
  • The Indian economy’s energy mix needs to be remodelled through investments in clean renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and low-emissions bioenergy, 


  1. Enhance energy effiiciency
  • Raising the level of energy efficiency through investments in building retrofits, grid upgrades, and industrial efficiency. 


Issue with carbon tax


  1. Regressive nature of tax
  • It’s regressive in nature — it affects the poor more than the rich. 
  • But ‘tax and dividend’ policy can be employed according to which the revenue thus generated is distributed equally across its citizens and as a result, the poor are more than compensated for the loss, since in absolute amounts the rich pay more carbon tax than the poor. 
  • Such a policy of cash transfer, which might work in the West, however, has a problem in the Indian context.


Way forward

  • Instead of a cash transfer, the other part of the carbon revenue can be used for anin-kindtransfer of freeelectricity to the population that contributes less carbon than the economy average, and universal travel passes to compensate for the rise in transport costs and to encourage the use of green public transport


Topic: Awareness in biotechnology

7) What is DNA fingerprinting? What are the steps involved in it? Examine how this technology has become so crucial in establishing both culpability and innocence. (250 Words)

The Indian Express




DNA fingerprinting is a method used to identify an individual from a sample of DNA by looking at different patterns in their DNA.


Steps involved


  1. Collection of DNA sample
  • DNA can typically be extracted from blood and semen stains on clothes or on the body, from hair and teeth (with roots), and even from bones and flesh if they are not completely charred. 
  • Under the Indian criminal justice system, there are broad guidelines on how DNA samples are to be collected from a crime scene. 


  1. Cutting up DNA using enzymes
  2. Separating DNA fragments on gel by electrophoresis
  3. Transferring DNA onto paper
  4. Adding the radioactive probe
  5. Setting up the x ray film
  6. DNA is identified to establish unique identity.


Why the technique has become crucial

  • Aarushi Talwar murder case of 2008 is a prime example where the technique could have been used.
  1. DNA fingerprinting is a way to establish unique identity as every individual has unique pattern of DNA
  2. DNA testing can help solve crimes by comparing the DNA profiles of suspects to offenders samples
  3. Ease of collection from the crime scene as DNA sampling can be done from saliva,blood,hair etc
  4. Accuracy in results is profound.

General Studies – 4


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



Milton Friedman has asserted that it is incorrect to measure of any policy based on it intention rather than it outcome

No matter how compelling the reasons, governments cannot be guided by emotions of moral outrage and of right and wrong. 



  • The only course in such cases, that in India’s case are substantially high, is to severely punish the guilty and fine the establishments for poor oversight, while always keeping in hand the residual power to shut down a hospital in grave circumstances affecting public health. 
  • The cancellation penalises the negligence of duty
  • Justice for those that faced poor treatment, though it is elusive in senses more than one
  • It sets the right precedent for future cases where the accountability will be given due importance by the hospitals.
  • But populist measure may not be
  • It will not address the deeper massive of rampant corruption in medical administation and institutions like MCI, and thus comprehensive policy measures are required.

Bad in law

  • Encroachment of Authority: MCI and not Delhi government the right body to cancel registration. The action are reflective of the pathetic state of the MCI and its total failure to enforce ethical practice.
  • Rule of law violated : Even those that are not guilty shall be affected due to cancellation. A negligent action by one doctor or a department resulting in death or grievious injury should not entail cancellation and closure of a hospital that may contain many departments. A democratic society is founded on the basis of the rule of law that must guide government actions. This is so in order to avoid governments misusing their power, resorting to arbitrary action and ensuring fair play and natural justice.



  • Thus the spirt in some aspects is commendable it should be backed by commensurate, well thought out actions of good governance.
  • Governments have a special duty to lay down laws, rules and regulations to stop providers and hospital establishments from getting away with predatory behavior or malpractice