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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:  Poverty and developmental issues; population and associated issues

1) India is in the midst of an epidemiological transition, whereby poverty-linked infectious, maternal and nutritional diseases exist in conjunction with non-communicable chronic illnesses. Analyse the causes and trends in spread of non-communicable diseases and their risk factors. (250 Words)




  • In recent years, India’s liberalised economy has spurred rapid diet and lifestyle changes and propelled a swift epidemiological transition, whereby the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) now account for a majority of deaths in India (WHO 2015). 
  • However, while India’s burden of chronic disease is also severe and growing
  • Clearly, India still faces major challenges of pervasive poverty, resulting in a high burden of pre-transitional infectious and nutritional diseases. 
  • As such, India’s “double burden of disease” advances challenging questions in terms of how to allocate resources between acute and chronic care.



  • NHFS–3 conducted in 2005–06 and NHFS–4 conducted in 2014–15 provide one of the strongest sources of data regarding nationwide overweight and obesity trends

   1.Increase of NCDs across India

  • In the past 10 years, on average, overweight and obesity prevalence rates have rapidly increased across India to bring the national average prevalence to approximately 20% for both women and men (20.8% and 19.9%, respectively). 

    2.Non-uniform distribution

  • However, these changes have not taken place uniformly throughout India; certain populations have experienced greater increases in overweight and obesity than others

    3.Poor states have higher increase

  • In states with low average per capita income, men and women both experienced higher percentage of increases in overweight and obesity than in more affluent states. 

    4.Rural states have higher increase

  • States with higher percentages of rural people also experienced much greater percentage changes in overweight and obesity as compared to urban states. 

   5.Undernourished states have higher increase

  • States with greater percentages of underweight children also exhibited higher percentage changes in overweight and obesity among women


Causes for such trends

  • Obesity and other NCD risk factors are precipitated and perpetuated by socio-cultural and political–economic factors. 
  1. Globalisation culture
  • The changing norms and lifestyles that come with India’s increasing engagement with the global economy are in a sense “vectors” of NCD

     2.Processed food availability

  • With economic growth, more processed food is easily available 

     3.Labour pattern mechanised

  • Labour and other daily activities have become more mechanised



Government efforts

  • National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke (NPCDCS), launched in early 2000s, is India’s primary national programme to address NCDs
  • This programme advances a two-pronged approach emphasising 


prevention and control through the promotion of healthy lifestyle changes


– early detection and treatment of common NCDs 

  • However, due to underlying questions regarding its relevance, almost 10 years after the inception of the programme, it remains in its infancy, underfunded, and under-implemented

General Studies – 2


Topic:  Poverty and hunger

3) Examine the impact of pollution and poverty on juvenile delinquency. (150 Words)

Down to Earth



Inflammation caused by air pollutants can damage brain structure, neural networks and influence adolescent behaviour. This is often accentuated by poverty.


Impact of Pollution

  • Iincidence of teenage delinquency with the rise in air pollution levels.
  • PM2.5 is particularly harmful to developing brains because it can damage brain structure and neural networks 
  • It is widely recognised that ambient air pollution is detrimental to the respiratory and cardiovascular health of young and old alike. 
  • But in recent years, scientists have come to acknowledge the negative impact of air pollution on human brains and behavior
  • Both lead and PM2.5 are environmental factors that can be cleaned up through a concerted intervention effort and policy change


Consequent effects of poverty

  • Poor people, unfortunately, are more likely to live in urban areas in less than ideal neighborhoods
  • This close proximity to roads causes health problems, such as asthma and can perhaps alters teenagers’ brain structures. This makes them more likely to engage in delinquent behaviour.
  • Poverty causes a stressful family environment and if that carries on for too long, the teenager could be in a chronic state of stress
  • This chronic stress makes teens more vulnerable to the effects of exposure to small particles. 


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

4) Discuss the significance and importance of the Utkrisht Impact Bond that was recently introduced in Rajasthan. (150 Words)

Down to Earth



  • Utkrisht Impact Bond was announced by Mark Green, the USAID International Development Administrator, with an aim to reduce the number of mother and baby deaths in Rajasthan.



  • About 0.75 million newborns die every year in India, which is the largest number for any country in the world. 
  • Four states—Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan—alone contribute to 55 per cent of total neonatal deaths in India.
  • Since Rajasthan is one of the biggest contributor to neonatal deaths, it is imperative to initiate an innovative approachlike Utkrisht Impact Bond.
  • It will be particularly significant as it addresses the following issues.
  1. Incentive for effective implementation
  • Developed by Merck for Mothers, USAID, the UBS Optimus Foundation and the Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust (HLFPPT), it will be the world’s first health impact bond
  • Utkrisht Impact Bond will support implementing partners, the Population Services International (PSI) and HLFPPT to improve healthcare facilities and provide quality health services in the region. 

    2.Innovative PPP model to finance social projects

  • Focused on outcomes, impact bonds are an innovative way to finance development using public-private partnerships.
  • The Utkrisht bond partners will receive social and financial gain
  • The private capital from UBS Optimus Foundation will cover the cost of developing private healthcare services and facilities in Rajasthan, while the HLFPPT and PSI will help them get certified. 
  • The USAID will then pay back the investment “only if the providers achieve certain concrete results” in reducing the number of mother and baby deaths.



  • We need innovative and sustainable financing models to help solve some of development’s vexing challenges.


Topic:  Civil society – development; Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests 

5) Examine why civil society organisations are unhappy with the recent WTO ministerial declaration on agriculture. (250 Words)

Down to Earth




  • The recent WTO decisions regarding public stock holding, domestic support , cotton etc at Buenos Aires have aggregated the civil society as the draft was prepared by only 7 countries and lack legitimacy.


  1. Public stockholding 
  • Peace clause proposals like onerous notification requirements, restriction to staple crops and restriction on subsidy which “distorts” trade have been retained.
  • In addition stock holding cannot be exported directly or indirectly.
  • Procurement limit of 12% of production with old 1986-88 reference rate will hurt ongoing programs in developing countries.

    2.Domestic support

  • It does not mention Doha development agenda, without this AMS or MSP provision will be lost.
  • It seeks to eliminate de-minimus box and development box along with Amber and green box is deterimental to developing countries.


  • No action have been taken to reduce trade distorting cotton subsidy.

   4.Post MC11 program

  • No further commitment have been made on Special Safeguard Mechanism.


India’s issues

  • It concerns the nation’s food security as well as welfare of farmers who are currently on a warpath in India.
  • The US rejection of a permanent solution to the public food stocking programme comes at a time when the government is under attack from farmer organisations for lack of both adequate support price and food procurement infrastructure for the bulk of their produce
  • Agriculture and allied sector posted negative growth of 0.2% in 2014-15. It recorded anaemic growth of 1.1% in 2015-16.
  • The promise to double farmer incomes by 2022  can be done only by increasing minimum support price (MSP) for key crops. However, in the absence of the ‘Peace Clause’, India cannot make proper use of this tool as it could risk violating WTO-permitted ceiling for domestic support price.
  • NDA government’s ‘Har Khet Ko Paani’ project holds out promise to improve the lot of farmers by reducing irrigation costs for them. However, with the peace clause expiring this year, investment under the scheme could be challenged at the WTO if found breaching the permissible 10% cap.



  • India still have large population living under poverty, farmers under stress and doing suicide makes a strong point for India to make permanent solution for public stock holding.

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

6) Examine the problems faced by tribal education programmes, especially ashram schools and suggest measures to improve these education programmes. (250 Words)




  • Keeping in view the peculiar problems pointed out by the Kothari Commission (1964–66) regarding tribal marginality, especially educational backwardness, the Maharashtra government took significant initiatives, such as setting up residential schools known as ashram schools (AS) in tribal areas. 
  • The primary objectives of these schools are to provide free accommodation, food, and education to tribal students with the aim of empowering tribal communities through education.


Issues associated with ashram shalas or tribal boarding schools 

  1. Rape and sexual abuse of children in these schools. 
  2. Frequent deaths children in ashram shalas in the last decade due to snake bites, scorpion bites, fever, and other minor illnesses – These deaths were mainly due to the “negligence of staff” who did not ensure proper treatment in time.
  3. Lack clean classrooms 
  4. Lack of sufficient water and toilets. 
  5. Quality of education remains poor. 
  6. A few students demonstrated an interest in sports
  7. Teaching seems to be systematic, but, due to unclean classrooms, a lack of teaching aids, and the language and style of teaching, students are unable to fully immerse themselves in the learning process.




  1. Political will
  • Constant attention from the political class can bring about substantial change in the quality of ashram shalas. 


     2.Giving gram sabhas power and resources to monitor schools

  • This can be facilitated by empowering gram sabhas and showcasing tribal folklore in the areas where ashram shalas are situated

    3.Revamp Tribal Sub Plan according to Kelkar Committee

  • Inconsistency in fund allocation and the implementation of the tribal sub-plan (TSP) seem to be debilitating the functioning of ashram shalas.
  • 70% of the ashram shala fund allocated is used to pay teachers’ salaries and 8% is earmarked for infrastructure development As a result, only 23% of the fund is available for educational material and the welfare of the students.
  • Kelkar Committee,2013 pointed out, the TSP budget should be considered as a separate financial allocation over and above the general grants and welfare programmes for tribal communities It also suggested that these funds should be distributed in line with the spirit of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) (PESA) Act, 1996. 

    4.Improve infrastructure

  • The criticism that ashram shalas lack staff is primarily linked to the lack of infrastructure at the school level. Although a few schools are located in semi-urban areas, the infrastructure and facilities to accommodate teachers are not available. 


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

7) A petition by tribal organisations says the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act violates constitutional rights and affects livelihoods of crores of adivasis and forest dwellers. Examine why. (150 Words)

Down to Earth



  • Tribal organisations says the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act violates constitutional rights and affects livelihoods of crores of adivasis and forest dwellers
  • CAF has the provision to create a national fund with contributions from user agencies—any person, organisation, company or department of the Centre or state government making a request to divert or de-notify forest land for non-forest purpose.




  1. Violates tribal rights regime
  • Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016 (CAF)gravely violates the constitutional and legal rights as well as livelihoods of crores of adivasis and forest dwellers in India, under Article 300A of the Constitution, Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) and the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA).

     2.Deforestation enhanced

  • Tribals criticised the act for creating a perverse incentive to accelerate deforestation rather than prevent it.

    3.Use of land is not defined clearly

  • There is no clarity on the plantation process. If land is diverted in one area, compensatory afforestation can be done somewhere far away
  • November 8 guidelines of the Ministry of Environment and Forest on creation of land banks for compensatory afforestation are vague and can include lands on which forest rights aren’t settled.      


Way forward


  1. Management of fund
  • Ensure that all accumulated Compensatory Afforestation funds are democratically managed and administered by transferring to gram sabhas 

    2.Decentralisation of powers to undertake works out of the fund

  • All activities with the fund must be done with free, prior and informed consent of gram sabhas. 


General Studies – 3


Topic:  Employment; Industrial policies

8) Examine the causes of rising inequality and unemployment in the manufacturing sector post economic reforms. (250 Words)




  • The economic reforms of 1991 were held a s a watershed moment in the growth trajectory of india. 
  • However after 25 years of economic reforms the scenario has changed leading to rising inequality and unemployment in each and every sector. The manufacturing is also not an exception to it.
  • The relationship between market imperfections and wage growth in the Indian manufacturing sector underscores rising inequality and unemployment in the sector


Causes for rising inequality and unemployment


  1. Market concentration
  • The impact of market competition on industry wage structure is dialectical: 


– firms with higher market power pay higher wages compared to competitors;

– However, if the market power translated into a monopoly position, then the company may resort to cost-cutting, leading to relatively decreasing wage growth. 

    1.Liberalised eonomy brought outside competition

  • Stiff competition from neighbouring countries such as bangladesh in case of apparel sector,china in case of steel etc. which forces indigenous manufacturers to cut down their employees resulting in inequality and unemployment

   2.Capital intensive industry grew at the expanse of labour intensive industry

  • Monopoly by bigger industry in terms of machinery, technologies etc does not allow small companies to expand their business.

   3.Skill set of the labour is poor

  • Lack of skills among the workers as compared to their counterparts in other countries 

   4.Lack of entrepreneurship potential

  • Lack of encouragement of entrepreneurship spirit among the young entrepreneurs 

   5.Exports affected in global volatile market

  • The export prospects has decreased since the global financial crisis. Also this is the period when India thought of encouraging manufacturing industry through Make in India et al.

   6.Low purchasing power domestically

  • The domestic market is huge, but is not viable for the manufacturing industry due to lower power purchasing capacity
  • Other general problems
  • Problems of land acquisition , ease of doing business ,credit facilities etc


Way forward


  1. Neutralise negative impact of liberalisation
  • Countervailing and anti dumping duties on those goods which are detrimental to local manufacturing industries

    2.Encourage MSMEs to absorb labour

  1. Skill upgradation
  • Upgrading skills of workers as per the demand of contemporary manufacturing sector.

    3.Encourage entrepreneurship

  • Instilling entrepreneurship spirit among the youth
  • Robust labour reforms,flexible ease of doing business procedures,credit facilities,one stop clearances etc

   4.Enhance exports

  • More SEZs, EEZs needs to be created along with tax holidays ,incentives etc
  • There is a need to diversify export locations in developin economies.
  • Connectivity like in North East and ASEAN through Kaladan port and other multilateral projects.
  • Our industrial and trade policy must b aligned

    5.Integrate Bhartmala and Sagarmala for more robust and efficient manufacturing


Topic: Environmental pollution

9) Recycling is the only option to handle plastic waste at present. Examine the different ways through which plastic waste can be used to clean environment. (150 Words)

Down to Earth



  • Plastic indifferent forms is found to be almost 5% in municipal solid waste, which istoxic in nature. 
  • It is a common sight in both urban and rural areas to findempty plastic bags and other type of plastic packing material littering theroads as well as drains. 
  • Due to its non-biodegradability it creates stagnation of water and associated hygiene problems. 
  • The indiscriminate burning of plastic results in emission of deadly gases and carcinogens into the environment. 
  • Dumping them in landfills results in leaching of toxins into ground and surface water resources. 
  • Recycling is the only option to handle plastic waste at present.


Use of Plastic waste


  1. Plastic waste to decontaminate water
  • Plastic waste can be used to develop  a low-cost magnetically responsive adsorbent material which can be used to remove an antibiotic cephalexin from water.
  • Upcycling polyethylene terephthalate (PET) waste into a magnetically responsive carbon nano-material by carbonization and activation of the PET char under controlled conditions and magnetic modification by a simple chemical precipitation route.
  • This technique of magnetic separation for spent adsorbent decreases the secondary pollution problems associated with the non-magneto active adsorbents.

   2.Plastic waste for rural road construction

  • Union Ministry of Rural Development has even recommended and issued guidelines to construct roads in rural areas of the plastic waste.
  • waste plastic, when added to hot aggregate will form a finecoat of plastic over the aggregate and such aggregate, when mixed with thebinder is found to give higher strength, higher resistance to water and betterperformance over a period of time
  • Therefore, it is proposed that we may use waste plastic in the construction of Rural Roads.
  • Plastic Roads, are found to perform better compared to those constructed with conventional bitumen. Further it has been found that such roads were not subjected to stripping when come in contact with water. 

General Studies – 4

Topic:  Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world. 


Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.



  • Education has deeper meaning, it seeks to develop an all round personality who is better equipped to understand and deal with the complexities of outer world, human relations & emotions, humanity at large and able to participate in the process of making the society better, harmonious, conscientious and modern.



  • Educating only mind means we are able to develop only cognition. 
  • But, educating the heart signifies developing empathy, compassion, respect for diversity & human dignity, love, respect for the law of the land etc. That would entail learning about and appreciating the wisdom of philosophy, ethics, morality, societal values, the beauty of art, literature, poetry, and music. 
  • Developing cognition only will lead at best of making human robots not human beings.


Contemporary context and relevance

  • Unfortunately, today Education has been reduced to just learning of predefined facts. The ideal values sought to be secured to an educated individual are completely absent and this has manifested itself in the form of hate crimes, terrorism, crimes against humanity etc. 
  • Education system shall do away with the utilitarian approach where only aim of education is to get jobs etc. and shall strive to secure this true education to an individual where she can proudly claim that she is educated both at her mind and heart.
  • Education which includes education on both the dimensions (heart & mind) makes an individual not only intellectually sound but also socially productive 
  • .For example we have the epitome case of Dr. APJ Kala  who was not only a great scientist, but also a President who connected with people emotionally.  
  • Similarly, Hitler or Osama bin laden were  instructively educated but without education of the heart and thus proved dangerous for the humanity.


Significance of holistic education


  1. To make us a civilized human being 
  • to educate the mind makes us only a machine like robot, which don’t have any kindness, sincerity, love, hate etc type human like feelings.

    2.To take right decision 

  • A right decision can take with the help of both mind and heart. Mind of conscience is very necessary in this sense. The criticism of AI also highlights the same.
  • To establish some values of life 
  •  Some values like religiousness, nationality, independence etc are directly comes from heart, there is no any mind led concept here.