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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:  Role of women

1) Discuss the contribution made by prominent women in shaping India’s constitution. (250 Words)

The Wire



  • 15 women in the 299-member constituent assembly.
  • Two of those 15 women were as follows


Dakshayani Velayudhan 

  • She was the first Dalit woman from Kerala to graduate from Madras University. 
  • In 1945, she was nominated to the Cochin Legislative Council that elected her to the constituent assembly. 
  • Dakshayani strongly opposed reservation or separate electorates and worked towards a vision of India free of caste or community barriers
  • She held that the assembly should offer the people a “new framework of life”.


Vijay Lakshmi

  • She was the first Indian woman to hold a cabinet post in pre-independent India
  • A decade before independence, she moved a resolution demanding a constitution, and among other issues, she spoke on the ‘Centrality of New Asia in Post-Raj World Order’.



  • Most were against reservation for women in the parliament 
  • They believed that new India would be one with gender equality.

General Studies – 2


Topic:   Role of civil services in a democracy. 

2) IAS-IPS Turf Wars Are Not Good For Governance. Discuss the gravity and ramifications of turf wars between IAS and IPS, and measures needed to address tussle between these two All India services. (250 Words)

The Wire


Prioritise the nation and its people

  • What is good for the IAS is not necessarily good for the country, and the same thing applies to the IPS. 
  • Their tendency to arrogate themselves to the colonial mai-baap status needs a reality check


Complex political economy and thus no expertise

  • In an age of specialisation and digitisation, the IAS can’t expect themselves to be experts on everything. 


Non-parity between IAS-IPS

  • There is a lot of bad blood between the IAS and IPS over issues like pay parity, promotions, central empanelment and avenues for deputation and foreign degrees and training courses. 


Colonial mindset of superiority exists for other services as well

  • There is something painfully similar to the way the IAS behave when it comes to the IPS and the way the IPS behave when it comes to their own constabulary and the cadre officers of the central armed police forces. 
  • There is a lot of living in bad faith involved in everyone’s conduct. 
  • The IPS have an association of their own. But are they comfortable with the idea of their constabulary forming an association to fight for their causes? 
  • This affects the morale of those serving in government services and thus governance.


Way forward

  • The clique-based loyalty of the trade union variety won’t be of much use in a democracy. History is a witness.
  • Turf wars won’t help them run an India that has 21st-century aspirations, with a 19th-century bureaucracy and its aura of entitlement using 18th-century laws


Topic:   Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.  

3) India’s strategic embrace of the US has failed to extend to the WTO. Comment. (150 Words)

The Wire


India’s Strategic Embrace of the US Has Failed to Extend to the WTO. Comment.

India’s strategic embrace and WTO failure

  • Over the last three years, India has proudly claimed to have built a deeper, strategic relationship with the United States with Prime Minister Narendra Modi making a great number of high profile visits to America. 
  • However, despite this new paradigm of so-called “strategic embrace”, India doesn’t seem to have succeeded in making the US budge on its key areas of economic interests at the WTO. 
  • The current ministerial level talks at Buenos Aires, Argentina, have collapsed largely because of US’s lack of will to find solutions to the pressing problems of the developing world.
  • US is not budging an inch from its past position that India is flouting WTO norms by procuring foodgrains from farmers at prices which violate established norms and which, of course, are deemed to be patently unfair.
  • What’s more, on the most critical issue for India – a permanent solution to its public food stocking programme which involves procuring food grains from millions of farmers – it is China that is on India’s side 


India’s position

  • A permanent solution to the ‘Peace Clause’ will necessitate making clear that 1986-88 benchmark price would be adjusted for inflation
  • That would give India flexibility to increase MSP for its key crops in line with movement in agriculture production costs without breaching the 10% cap. 
  • India had vowed to keep WTO focus on the Doha development agenda and prevent inclusion of new issues.


  1. Liberalisation of agriculture and services trade
  • India, which has been pushing hard for further liberalisation of agriculture and services trade, has been caught in a difficult situation as no outcome would be possible in these two areas unless all members agree
  • That means India will have to play ball with developed countries on new issues to secure their support to ensure farm and services negotiations are not abandoned
  • India’s exports are stagnating while imports continue to increase, a trend that should worry the country economic planners. 
  • So, it is very likely that India would try to find enhanced market access for merchandise and services exports.

    2. Consequent trade pacts bilaterally

  • There will be now added pressure on India to sign bilateral and regional trade pacts. However, that is not going to be easy. 
  • India has been trying to cut a bilateral free trade pact with the European Union. However, there is little sign of talks being concluded anytime soon.

   3.Free movement of professionals with EU and US

  • India stands to gain from any agreement on free movement of professionals.However, the EU is seeking quid pro quo in areas like legal services
  • It also wants India to lower customs duty on automobiles, wines and spirits
  • With both sides bargaining hard, talks are moving at a tardy pace, with no conclusion yet in sight.
  • Securing a free trade pact with the US would be even more difficult for India, with American president Trump openly following a protectionist policy to please his core political constituency. 
  • Given the way the US has tightened H-1B visa rules under the Trump presidency, it looks unlikely that it will generously accept India’s demand for allowing free movement of professionals under mode 4 of the WTO services agreement.


Topic:  Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these

4) Creation of the National Advisory Council (NAC) was an unique initiative towards democratising debates, bringing together government and movements, and introduction of rights based legislations.  Analyse. (250 Words)

The Indian Express


Creation of the National Advisory Council (NAC) was an unique initiative towards democratising debates, bringing together government and movements, and introduction of rights based legislations.  Analyse.



National Advisory Council (NAC) was a unique model of participatory democratic governance with following features.


  1. Democratising debate
  • NAC filled the gap that existed between the political elite and the masses by giving space to the leaders of masses.

     2.Bringing together government and movements

  • The social movements at the grassroots got space at the level of highest decision making, and thus the role of pressure groups got a new dimesion.
  • Its mandate to confine itself to social sector promises and initiatives was a significant, deliberate decision. 
  • The contributions from social activists, rooted in contemporary realities, and robust consultations with communities, lent rigour to the formulations.

    3.Rights based legislations

  • The year 2005 marks a watershed for social sector legislation. 
  • The RTI and NREGA — two pieces of legislation that have since their passage dominated the discourse on governance and entitlements for the poor — were passed after rigorous debate and discussion, inside and outside Parliament. 
  • These were followed by the enactment of many rights-based laws seeking to address basic needs of the marginalised, strengthening their agency and empowerment. 
  • Forest Rights Act, Right to Education Act, National Food Security Act, the amended Land Acquisition Act, Domestic Violence Act, Street Vendors Act, Social Security Act, the amended SC/ST Atrocities Act.


Topic:  Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

5) Laws that are based on gender are actually detrimental to women’s freedom and rights, hence our laws should be gender-neutral. Critically comment. (250 Words)




  • Instead of being a progressive agent, the state has used the law to perpetuate cultural practices
  • In the light of its failure to provide security, the state has resorted to protecting the interests of women through ad hoc provisions that are counterproductive
  • Law plays an important role in shaping the way women are viewed. Unfortunately, our laws are not the most liberal. 


Examples of gender-biased laws


  1. Criminalisation of minors’ sex as rape
  • Law criminalizes consensual sex between minors as rape committed by the boy

     2.Legal entitlement of girl upto marriage

  • women are legally entitled to maintenance from their father until they get married, while boys are only allowed this until they are 18; 


  • If a woman dies without a will, the Hindu inheritance laws put the rights of her husband’s heirs above those of her parents; 

    4.Jail exemption to women in certain cases

  • Women cannot be jailed for not filing their income tax

    5.Marital rape not criminalised

  • Marital rape is considered an oxymoron.

    6.Maternity leave, not Paternal leave

  • Take the recent legislation mandating paid maternity leave of 26 weeks and crèche facility in companies hiring more than 50 employees. The law intends to benefit working women, but the second-order effects of the piece of legislation will likely be that firms will hire fewer women, and pay those they hire less salary to compensate for the maternity benefits
  • The law furthers several stereotypes as well—that all women want to have babies, that all women want 26 weeks of paid leave, that it is only the woman’s job to take care of the newborn. 


State’s role unfulfilled

  • It cannot be denied that most women’s freedoms in this country are trampled on in the name of security
  • These are serious constraints on a good life, and they are caused by one major issue—the state’s failure to provide security.
  • It is the state’s fundamental duty to protect the life and property of citizens from physical injury. 
  • In the absence of adequate policing and a slow judiciary, women are exposed to threats from the physically stronger gender, and it is the men in their family and friends who end up providing security. This establishes the subordination of women to men in other domains of life—whether it is to fathers, brothers or husbands.



  • Gender-based laws are like a double-edged sword
  • Sometimes, the conservatives wield it to preserve our culture, at other times, progressives take positive discrimination too far. 


General Studies – 3


Topic:  Development in S&T

6) While it is legitimate to question the ethics and rules surrounding autonomous weapons, the idea that their development will necessarily usher in an apocalyptic future may not be accurate. Comment. (150 Words)





The debate on lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) first began circa 2013, polarized opinions and doomsday prophesies have hindered a more nuanced analysis of the issue. 

There are real concerns and were key points for discussion at the UN group of governmental experts (GGE) that met last month in Geneva. 


Arguments for ban on Autonomous weapons

     1.To prevent war

  • The development of autonomous weapons will reduce combat fatalities for the aggressor, driving militaries to engage more frequently. 

     2.Authoritarian regimes using them

  • These weapons will proliferate rapidly, ultimately falling into the hands of authoritarian regimes

     3.Start of AI arms race

  • They will kick- start an AI arms race.


Arguments against ban on autonomous weapons

    1.Autonomous weapons not factor of war

  • For one thing, autonomous weapons by themselves are unlikely to lower the threshold for war. 
  • Political, geographical and historical drivers are far more likely to influence a state’s decision to enter into an armed conflict. 
  • If anything, calls for a pre-emptive ban might hinder the deployment of autonomous weapons in defensive capacities, such as the SGR-A1 gun used by South Korea along its demilitarized zone or Israel’s semi-autonomous Iron Dome that intercepts incoming rockets and artillery. These weapons can, in fact, increase the cost of aggression, thereby deterring conflict.

    2.Dual use may not prevent falling to authoritarian regimes

  • Second, LAWS rely on advancements in AI and machine learning. 
  • Most developments in AI are taking place in the civilian sector, with the potential for “dual-use” military capabilities. 

    3.Advancements in AI are in civilian sector majorly

  • Moreover, autonomous weapons are likely to be developed progressively—with autonomy being introduced gradually into various functions of weapon systems, such as mobility, targeting and engagement.

    4.False comparison with nuclear and biological weapons

  • Comparisons between autonomous weapons and biological, or even nuclear, weapons rely on a false equivalence. The latter, by their very nature, are incapable of distinguishing between combatants and non-combatants, thus conflicting with well-established IHL principles of distinction. 
  • LAWS, on the other hand, given enough technological sophistication and time, can meet the IHL thresholds of distinction and proportionate response
  • Initially, new autonomous weapons are likely to be deployed in areas where civilian presence is minimal or absent, such as the high seas or contested air-spaces.

    5.Arms race already underway

  • Finally, while the idea of a new arms race is cause for concern, it is undeniable that it has been under way for some time now. 
  • US, UK, Russia, China, Israel and South Korea—are already developing and testing autonomous weapons, while another 44, including India, are exploring their potential. 


Way forward

  • India, an emerging power, should not fall prey to the insecurity plaguing smaller nations, like Pakistan and Cuba, who have been joined by 20 other countries in calling for a ban. 
  • A pre-emptive ban is only likely to compound inequity in military capability, with the bigger powers employing these weapons anyway.
  • Rather than mischaracterizing LAWS as new weapons of mass destruction or harbingers of a dystopian future, it is critical to develop principles and norms to govern their use


Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

7) It is argued that more lives of fisherfolk would have been saved if disaster management action plans were implemented properly during the recent cyclone Ockhi event. Examine how this disaster could have been managed effectively. (150 Words)

The Hindu



  • There are some basic failings in the government’s response: the cyclone warning was delayed; the warning, when it came, was ineffective because it could not be conveyed to thousands of fisherfolk who were already out at sea; and once the cyclone struck, there was no war-like mobilisation and action, which are the hallmarks of good disaster management.


Deficiencies in handling the cyclone disaster

    1.Cyclone warning delayed

  • Many fisherfolk have diversified into deep-sea and long-distance fishing
  • Considering that their fishing voyages sometimes last from ten days to more than a month, the Indian Meteorological Department’s timing of the cyclone forecast was futile.

    2.Central institutions not used for rescue

  • Action plans should have kicked in and the Indian Coast Guard, with its seaborne vessels and helicopters, should have launched emergency search and rescue operations
  • Coast Guard ships should have taken along a few fishermen from the villages as navigation assistants (because they knew where to look for missingpeople) and should have intensely combed the area.
  • Indian Navy with its vast array of ships, aircraft and state-of-the-art technology should have stepped in immediately. 

    3.Ineffective Disaster Management infrastructure

  • National Disaster Management Act (2005), 
  • the National Policy on Disaster Management (2009)
  • the National Disaster Management Plan (2016) and 
  • the National Disaster Response Force


Way forward

  • The cyclone has also resulted in massive losses to the livelihoods of people living in the coasts due to the destruction of crops, banana, rubber, coconut and forest trees
  • Relief and rehabilitation is going to be a monumental task and the State government alone cannot take the huge burden of providing a decent compensation to the victims of the cyclone.
  • Central Relief Commissioner should immediately visit the district, make realistic assessments, and award reasonable compensation immediately.



General Studies – 4

Topic:  Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems;


Hate speech is incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief and the like

Thus, hate speech is any word written or spoken, signs, visible representations within the hearing or sight of a person with the intention to cause fear or alarm, or incitement to violence.

Hate speech poses complex challenges to freedom of speech and expression. 


  • In March 2017, the Law Commission, led by former Supreme Court judge, Justice B.S. Chauhan, recommended inserting two new provisions in the IPC, including speech that instills “fear or alarm” in the listeners, probably goading them to violence.


Amendments suggested


The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017 suggested by the Commission proposes to add 

  • Section 153C (prohibiting incitement to hatred) 
  • Section 505A (causing fear, alarm, or provocation of violence in certain cases) in the IPC and 
  • make the necessary changes in the Criminal Procedure Code.



  • The global disparity in the treatment of hate speech, the Commission reasons, may be because they apprehend that setting a standard for determining unwarranted speech may lead to suppression of free speech and expression.
  • Also hate speech may perpetuate the deep rooted notions and prejudices. Thus the attitudes got formed which are harmful.
  • It also disturbs the discourse by preventing real issues to crop up.
  • It tends to neglect the minority views thus hampering democratic framework
  • It creates stress , trauma,fear in the minds of people , among different communities,religion etc.