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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:  The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country. 

1) Critically analyse Madan Mohan Malaviya’s contribution to India’s struggle for independence. (250 Words)

The Hindu


  • He was the founder of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) at Varanasi in 1916
  • Hewas one of the founders of Scouting in India.
  • He also founded a highly influential, English-newspaper, The Leader published from Allahabad in 1909.
  • He was also the Chairman of Hindustan Times from 1924 to 1946. 


Political career

  • In December 1886, Malaviya attended the 2nd Indian National Congress session in Calcutta under chairmanship of Dadabhai Naoroji, where he spoke on the issue of representation in Councils. 
  • Malaviya became the President of the Indian National Congress in 1909 and 1918
  • He was a moderate leader and opposed the separate electorates for Muslims under the Lucknow Pact of 1916
  • The “Mahamana” title was conferred to him by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • He remained a member of the Imperial Legislative Council from 1912 and when in 1919 it was converted to the Central Legislative Assembly he remained its member as well, till 1926
  • Malaviya was an important figure in the Non-cooperation movement. However, he was opposed to the politics of appeasement and the participation of Congress in the Khilafat movement.
  • In 1928 he joined Lala Lajpat Rai, Jawaharlal Nehru and many others in protesting against the Simon Commission, which had been set up by the British to consider India’s future. 
  • He issued, on 30 May 1932, a manifesto urging concentration on the “Buy Indian” movement in India. 
  • Malaviya was a delegate at the Second Round Table Conference in 1931.
  • However, during the Civil Disobedience Movement, he was arrested on 25 April 1932, along with 450 other Congress volunteers in Delhi, only a few days after he was appointed in 1932 at Delhi as the President of Congress after the arrest of Sarojini Naidu.
  • In 1933, at Calcutta, Malaviya was again appointed as the President of the Congress. 
  • Thus before Independence, Malaviya was the only leader of the Indian National Congress who was appointed as its President for four terms.
  • On 25 September 1932, an agreement known as Poona Pact was signed between Dr. Ambedkar (on behalf of the depressed classes among Hindus) and Malaviya (on behalf of the other Hindus). 
  • The agreement gave reserved seats for the depressed classes in the Provisional legislatures, within the general electorate and not by creating a separate electorate. Due to the pact, the depressed class received 148 seats in the legislature, instead of the 71 as allocated in the Communal Award proposal of the British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald. 
  • In protest against the Communal Award which sought to provide separate electorates for minorities, Malaviya along with Madhav Shrihari Aney left the Congress and started the Congress Nationalist Party. 

Journalistic career

  • n 1889, he became the Editor of the “Indian Opinion”. 
  • When the English Government tried to bring in the Press Act and Newspaper Act in 1908, Malaviyaji started a campaign against the Act and called an All India Conference in Allahabad. 
  • He then realized the need of an English Newspaper to make the campaign effective throughout the country. 
  • As a result, with the help of Motilal Nehru he started an English daily the “Leader” in 1909, where he was Editor 1909-1911 and President 1911-1919.
  • In 1924, Malaviya along with the help of national leaders Lala Lajpat Rai and M. R. Jayakar and industrialist Ghanshyam Das Birla, acquired Hindustan Times and saved it from an untimely demise


Social work

  • Malviya founded Ganga Mahasabha to oppose the damning of Ganges.
  • The slogan “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth alone will triumph) is also a legacy given to the nation by Pandit Malaviya as the President of the Indian National Congress in its session of 1918 at Delhi, by saying that this slogan from the Mundakopanishad should be the slogan for the nation.


Excerpts from Sumit Sarkar

  • Malaviya had already annexed to his brand of politics the emotional forces of Hindi and Hindu revivalism which otherwise might have been used by radicals
  • By 1909, however, a closer look had made men like Malaviya extremely critical of the excessive concessions to Muslims
  • On the eve of the 1926 elections, Motilal’s old rival Madanmohan Malaviya formed an Independent Congress Party in alliance with Lajpat Rai and the Responsive Cooperators, with a programme which combined political moderation with uninhibited Hindu communalism.
  • The Hindu Mahasabha, started at the Hardwar Kumbh Mela in 1915 by Madan Mohan Malaviya along with some Punjabi leaders, had become practically defunct in the Non-Cooperation years.
  • A major revival began from 1922-23, and the Banares session of August 1923, which incorporated the shuddhi programme and called for Hindu self-defence squads, represented an alliance of Arya Samajist reformers with Sanatan Dharma Sabha conservatives in a common Hindu-communal front presided over, as usual, by Malaviya
  • From 1925 onwards, Malaviya made very effective use of Hindu communalism in his bitter rivalry with Motilal Nehru, organizing with the help of Lajpat Rai an Independent Congress Party which was little more than a Mahasabha front
  • The basic conservatism of the makers of the Nehru Report was revealed also by their acceptance in August 1928 of an amendment by Malaviya guaranteeing ‘all titles to private and personal property’
  • Orthodox Hindu opinion in Bengal bitterly attacked the acceptance of a permanent caste Hindu minority status by the Poona Pact, but the Congress Working Committee in June 1934 adopted a compromise ‘neither rejection-noracceptance’ formula which led Malaviya to start a breakaway Congress Nationalist Party.
  • The new patron-client model seems more than a little over-extended when it is used to describe both Malaviya’s connections with the Tandon business group in Allahabad and the relations between Hindu zamindars and Muslim peasants of east Bengal.

Topic:  Urbanisation – problems and remedies

2) How does rapid urbanisation affect temperature patterns in cities? Discuss with examples. (150 Words)

The Hind



Rapid and unplanned urbanisation of cities and concomitant reduction in vegetation results in increased rise in temperature compared to non-urban areas. 



  • Rapid urbanisation combined with changes in land use pattern has led to land use change.
  • With heavily built-up areas and concrete structures, most cities in India and in the world are warmer than surrounding non-urban areas due to the urban heat island effect


  1. Decrease in dense vegetation
  2. Decrease in water bodies 
  3. Decrease in crop fields 
  • These changes have led to increase in the urban heat island effect. 
  • All the losses mentioned negatively impact the thermal and radiative properties of the surface and make cities hotter than surrounding non-urban areas



  • Delhi is 4-12°C warmer due to the urban heat island effect.


Way forward

  • With proper planning we can minimise the impacts. So urban dwellers may not suffer from excessive changes to heat and rainfall patterns.

General Studies – 2


Topic:   Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential

3) Why is linking of Aadhaar with other documents is said to be cumbersome and hurtful to poor? Critically examine. (150 Words)

The Indian Express



  • In 2010, when the first Aadhaar was issued, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the economically and socially backward people will be the biggest beneficiaries, who, till then, couldn’t avail the benefits of government welfare schemes due to lack of identity proof.
  • The founding premise of Aadhaar was to recognise the exact beneficiary of government subsidies and weed out duplicates and forgeries.
  • Today 12-digit unique identity number has created unique problems by making it a must-have for almost every facility a citizen wants to avail, irrespective of his or her social and economic status.


How it affects the poor?


  1. Denied service in case of databse failure
  • Many poor people have been excluded due to discrepancies that occur one time or anothr in Aadhar database.
  • Because of this, the poor have no been able to acess the very basic services they are entitled to as a matter of right.


  1. Linkage of Aadhar with other services costly
  • The linkage of Aadhar requires visit to a government office where they are likely to be succumbed to the apathy and corruption of the officials due to lack of adequate information.
  • The loss of wage for the day entails another significant cost which the poor can ill afford in highly unorganised market of labour.
  • Transportation costs are again an oft repeated argument in case access of government services to the poor is concerned.


Topic:  India and its neighborhood- relations.

4) Post Doklam issue, what efforts are being made by India and China to repair their relationship? Critically examine. (150 Words)

The Indian Express



  • What’s new, though, is the fact that Beijing and Delhi are finally acknowledging the deeply problematic nature of the relationship
  • This public admission of trouble is a welcome departure from the entrenched habit of sweeping differences under the carpet and masking problems with grandiose rhetoric on “building a new Asian century” and “promoting multipolar world”.


Post -Doklam


  1. Chinese insistence for “new” relationship with India
  • The idea that the two sides must “turn to a new page” has been articulated frequently, in recent times by the Chinese ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui
  • One of his proposals is to sign a “treaty of good neighbourliness and friendly cooperation”. 
  • India and China have had a tradition of hoary declarations that created an illusion of mutual understanding but deepened mutual distrust. The declaratory approach was of no help in addressing the real disputes over territorial sovereignty.
  • As Beijing’s comprehensive national power has grown, it has become more assertive on territorial disputes and its appetite for risk taking has increased. India, which took peace on the border for granted until recently, is ready to throw everything it has to prevent any further weakening of its position
  • Without a renewed effort to resolve the boundary dispute, the Sino-Indian frontier is unlikely to remain tranquil.
  • Panchsheel agreement signed in 1954 was of no help in resolving the difficulties over Tibet and the boundary that emerged in the late 1950s. 
  • What we need now is not another declaration but steps that address the core problems in the relationship that generate the mistrust.

     2. On BRI

  • If the Chinese leadership has invested much personal and political capital on the BRI, India’s concerns have been so deep that Delhi took the unusual step of publicly criticising the BRI and staying away from it. 
  • China insists that the BRI is a win-win for both; Delhi fears it might just mean two wins for Beijing.
  • Delhi, however, has also said it is open to a dialogue with Beijing on the BRI. China is yet to respond. 
  • Unconditional bilateral discussions on the BRI make good sense. After all, both Delhi and Beijing say they are eager to promote connectivity in their shared neighbourhood.



  • As the stronger power today, China might think it can afford to be unilateral — on the frontier as well regional economic initiatives. 
  • Without a return to genuine bilateralism that takes into account the interests of both parties, Beijing will find the chasm with Delhi continues to deepen.


General Studies – 3


Topic:  Economic growth ; Inclusive development 

5) The World Inequality Report 2018 released by the World Inequality Lab last week says that income inequality in India has increased since economic liberalisation. Discuss the findings of this report and causes of raising inequality in India. (250 Words)

The Hindu



  • The World Inequality Report 2018 released by the World Inequality Lab last week says that income inequality in India has increased since economic liberalisation. 


Findings of the report

  • Income inequality in India has reached historically high levels with the share of national income accruing to India’s top 1 per cent earners touching 22 per cent in 2014, while the share of the top 10 per cent was around 56 per cent
  • Inequality in India has risen substantially from the 1980s onwards, following profound transformations in the economy that centered on the implementation of deregulation and opening-up reforms, as per the report.
  • Middle 40 per cent have seen relatively little growth in their incomes.
  • Post 1980s, inequality has risen in China and India. Inequality rose to extreme level in India and moderate level in China as China invested more in education, health and infrastructure for its bottom 50 per cent population.
  • The report shows unequal impacts of globalisation over past 40 years. 



  1. Structural changes to the economy 


Income not from work

  • As regards the top 10%, and especially the top 1%, much of their income comes from profits from business, dividends and interest from stocks and bonds, rent from land and buildings, and salaries and bonuses deriving from management control in business enterprises, the latter more like property income rather than income from work.
  • Moreover, over the last three decades, it is likely that real wages have been lowered relative to labour productivity, thus increasing the share of property incomes over incomes from work in value added.
  • And, even within property incomes, the eschewing of antitrust action to reduce monopoly power has concentrated profits in the hands of the big oligopolies to the relative detriment of small businesses.


Monopoly of natural resources

  • The access of big business to undervalued assets of the public sector, of mineral and forest resources, of land, and of the allocation of the spectrum for telecom.



  1. Change in taxes
  • Changes in tax regulation, appear to have had significant impact on income inequality in India since the 1980s.
  • The eminent economist D R Gadgil wrote in 1949 that “tax evasion by the rich may … have to be taken as a chronic feature of the Indian economic situation”, is applicable still.


Topic:  Basics of cyber security;

6) According to the Internal Security Threat Report of 2017 by Symantec India is the fifth most vulnerable country in the world in terms of cybersecurity breaches. Do you think it’s time to integrate cybersecurity in every aspect of policy and planning? Discuss. (250 Words)

The Hindu


Why is there a need for comprehensive cybersecurity?


  1. Economic and governance dependence on cyber world
  • India is one of the key players in the digital and knowledge-based economy, holding more than a 50% share of the world’s outsourcing market. 
  • India is already the third largest hub for technology-driven startups in the world and its Information and Communications Technology sector is estimated to reach the $225 billion landmark by 2020.
  • Pioneering and technology-inspired programmes such as Aadhaar, MyGov, Government e-Market, DigiLocker, Bharat Net, Startup India, Skill India and Smart Cities are propelling India towards technological competence and transformation. 

    2.Cyber attacks

  • India the fifth most vulnerable country in the world in terms of cybersecurity breaches, according to the Internal Security Threat Report of 2017 by Symantec India.

    3.Attacks from private organised and unorganised hackers

  • The recent WannaCry ransomware attack (May 2017), which infected more than 2,30,000 computers in over 150 countries, brought the compelling need for cybersecurity policies and laws into sharp focus.
  • This  malware infected at least 48,000 computer systems across various organisations in India. 
  • In India, in May 2017, a data breach at the food delivery App, Zomato, led to personal information of about 17 million users being stolen and put for sale on the Darknet. 
  • Similarly, hackers stole data from 57 million Uber riders and drivers.
  • While Windows operating systems were the most vulnerable to cyberattacks, a number of Android threats have been reported in the last couple of years, including potent crypto-ransomware attacks on Android devices. 

    4.State sponsored cyber attacks

  • In a series of recent events, a number of countries have witnessed serious incidents wherein outside agencies have attempted to hack networks during general elections and turn cyberspace to a certain strategic advantage or tip election results in favour of a particular party or candidate. 
  • It is widely believed that the 2016 US presidential election was an easy target for Russian cyberespionage


Government efforts

  • Cybersecurity needs to be integrated in every aspect of policy and planning. 
  • The second Global Cybersecurity Index, released by the International Telecommunication Union in July, which measured the commitment of nations to cybersecurity, found that India ranked 23 out of 165 nations.


  1. Funding to cybersecurity research
  • The government is keen to fund cybersecurity research. 
  • It announced that it will award a grant worth 5 crore to startups working on innovations in the field of cybersecurity.
  • It will help create adequate infrastructure

     2.Updated Policy and laws

  • India needs to quickly frame an appropriate and updated cybersecurity policy, 


National Cybersecurity Policy, 2013

  • The NCSP offers a 14-point strategy to establish a secure cyber-ecosystem and assurance framework. 
  • It centres on product, process/technology, and the personnel that form the basic building blocks of any cybersecurity system. 
  • It seeks to promote global best practices in information security (IS) and compliance through standards and guidelines—the International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) 2001 is the best known standard in the family providing requirements for an information security management system (ISMS)—it includes IS system audits, penetration testing and vulnerability assessments, formal risk assessments and risk management processes, as well as a cyber-crisis management plan for all entities within the government and critical sectors.
  • The document envisioned the creation of a 5,00,000-person workforce (cyber-warriors) skilled in cybersecurity within five years. However, there appears to be a glaring skill gap in the cybersecurity industry, and to compound the problem, cybersecurity professionals are in great demand in the public as well as private sectors. 
  • Moreover, there are very few academic programmes on cybersecurity at the university level, and existing curricula do not address emerging trends and challenges. 
  • The NCSP needs an overhaul to grapple with new technological innovations and, in turn, challenges in the field.


Information Technology Act, 2000

  • The IT Act, 2000 was designed in response to the increasing risk of cyberattacks
  • It seeks to reduce the digital divide to bring about societal transformation
  • The IT Act is an umbrella legislation that primarily aims to regulate electronic commerce as well as to gradually promote a culture of e-governance in India. 
  • It seeks to effectuate the 1997 United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on E-Commerce and refers to it in its preamble. 
  • An amendment in 2008 to the act widened the definition of cybersecurity to include “protecting information, equipment, devices, computer, computer resources, communication device, and information stored therein from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction” 
  • The law seems to make a reasonable effort to tackle two areas of policy in need of reform: cybersecurity and data privacy. 
  • However, it lacks detailed architecture to establish an effective cybersecurity system
  • As such, it calls for a comprehensive cybersecurity legislation to address growing threats to information infrastructure systems and networks and suggests a new specialised professional institutional structure to meet the cybersecurity challenge.


  1. International Cooperation
  • India should foster closer collaboration between all those involved to ensure a safe cyberspace
  • There must be enhanced cooperation among nations and reaffirmed a global call to action for all United Nations member nations to not attack the core of the Internet even when in a state of war. 
  • There is a need for a Geneva-like Convention to agree on some high-level recommendations among nations to keep the Internet safe, open, universal and interoperable.


Topic:  Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

7) Many of the greatest scientists that independent India has produced are little known, like hidden figures in their own homeland. Briefly discuss contributions of such scientists. (250 Words)

The Hindu


Contribution of scientists in Independent India

  • Har Govind Khorana – He was the first person to segregate the DNA PARTS and chains of nucleotides 
  • Salim Ali – He studied birds life, known as bird men of India. He conducted systematic bird surveys across India.
  • Vikram Sarabhai – He started a project for the fabrication and launch of an Indian satellite which led to launch of the first Indian satellite, Aryabhata.
  • Visvesaray – His efficient method of river bed management ,block irrigation system a novel idea to irrigate land.
  • Birbal Sahni- an Indian paleobotanist who studied the fossils of the Indian subcontinent.
  • Amal Kumar Raychaudhuri in cosmology
  • G.N. Ramachandran in protein crystal structures
  • C.K. Majumdar and Dipan Ghosh who extended the quantum Heisenberg spin model
  • E K Janaki Ammal- was a renowned botanist and plant cytologist who made significant contributions to genetics, evolution, phytogeography and ethnobotany.
  • B Vijayalakshmi- she studied relativistic wave equations and their proportions. 
  • A Chatterjee- her area of interest was natural products with special reference to the medicinal chemistry
  • Anna Mani- the only woman scientist to work with C.V. Raman, is well known for her work in atmospheric physics and instrumentation.
  • Lalji Singh- worked in the field of DNA fingerprinting technology in India, where he was popularly known as the “Father of Indian DNA fingerprinting”


Why Indian scientists are less publicized?

  • C.N.R. Rao said in context of science leadership, “There is really a crisis of leadership in the country… There is a need to get in some fresh blood.


  1. Bureaucratization of Science institutions
  • The system is run by scientists-turned-bureaucrats, who have absorbed the culture of government. 
  • Independent India’s project of building a national science establishment has led to internal standards of judgment: the scientists in power certify each other’s work. Dependent on political patronage for continued funding, these leaders groom loyalists and yes-men rather than cutting-edge researchers
  • This has led to an insider culture, reproducing privileges rather than promoting excellence

    2.Poor innovation standards

  • The two conditions which are required for innovation – guarantees of long-term funding and scientists’ collaboration with each other.
  • Funding varies with the political climate
  • And collaboration is a social process, not an intellectual one



  • Durable institutions and cultures of innovation are not widespread in the Global South
  • But India is the most successful of all the nations in the Global South, with a more affluent diaspora than virtually any other country.

General Studies – 4


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

This quote was attributed by John Kennedy to a medieval thinker of Europe.

Morality is the greatest attribute of humanity and distinguishes it from mere animal existence. When humans are faced with dilemma of choosing between a good and bad act ( with supposed personal gains), moral crisis is said to be in place.


Neutrality is bad

Choosing nothing between moral and immoral act a person may think she has has avoided the crisis. However, it is not so because choosing nothing is also a conscious decision and will equally affect the outcome of the event.

If a moral man stands by, seeing and recognizing the atrocity and yet fails to intervene he is at least as responsible as the perpetrators themselves. If he does the wrong thing he may be immoral but being amoral means he has no values whatsoever and therefore cannot be improved or saved. Neutrality is another way of saying: stand by and do nothing when you could’ve made the difference.

Napoleon has asserted, ” The world suffer not by the violence of the bad people, but by the silence of the good people” .

Neutrality shows the trait of avoiding the responsibility. Our actions affect our surrounding and being neutral has its own consequences and the responsibility for the outcome of neutrality can never be avoided.


Neutrality is sometimes good


However, neutrality is also not infallible. Sometimes neutrality is demand of the time, say NAM by India and other developing nation was the need of the time which was also quoted sometime as negative in case of a Bipolar World. 

The NOTA option in elections also highlights the critical role neutrality can play. NOTA demands morality from the political parties while choosing their candidates.