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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) Who were ‘criminal tribes’? What was the British policy on these tribes in colonial India? Examine. (250 Words)

The Hindu




“Criminal Tribes” are any tribe, gang or class of persons recognized by Criminal Tribe Act, 1871 as addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offenses.

The genesis of criminal tribes goes back to disintegration of Mughal Empire when hereditary robbers used to robbing peaceful travelers in mostly central and northern India. 


British Policy

  • In 1835 Governor General William Bentick appointed William Sleeman as commissioner to deal with the rise in number of thugs.
  • In 1850 William Sleeman gave report that some commumities practice criminal offenses as they think it is as per God’s will and inheritance.
  • In 1871 criminal tribes act declared these tribes dangerous and born criminals, gave the police sweeping powers to arrest, control and monitor their movement. It recognized certain sections of communities as habitual criminals. To contain their movement, they were subject to weekly attendance at local police stations.
  • In 1911 punitive penalities were increased. Under this act local governement were empowered to establish separate reformatory settlements for tribal boys from age 4 to 18 years away from their parents. Separate areas were reserved for them under police guards. Schools and jobs were provided to these people.




Independent India was aware of colonial prejudice and administrative anxieties inflicted on these groups, thus, on the recommendation of Ayyangar Committee, CTA was repealed and on its place Habitual Offender Act, 1952 was passed. The Act recognizes individual hard core criminals rather than a social group.

Considering the still prevalent prejudice and stereotypes against these communities, the NCDNSNT has recommended reservation for these communities on the line of SCs and STs, as an empowering tool.

To conclude, Andhara Pradesh inhabited Yerukulas are still fighting this stigma. A comprehensive policy is immediately required to rehabilitate these communities and to ensure proper future economic prospects.


General Studies – 2


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

2) What are the important findings of Global Burden of Disease study with respect to India? Discuss the significance of its findings to policymaking in health sector for Indian states. (250 Words)

The Indian Express




Global Burden of Disease study chart the changing patterns of disease-related death and disability from 1990 onwards.

Health status of populations across the world changes over time in response to socio-economic, demographic, nutritional, scientific, technological, environmental and cultural shifts. Such health transitions have been especially profound in the past half-century due to sweeping industrialisation, rapid urbanisation and relentless globalisation in most parts of the world. 


Results of the finding




  1. Life expectancy at birth improved
  • Life expectancy at birth improved in India from 59.7 years in 1990 to 70.3 years in 2016 for females, and from 58.3 years to 66.9 years for males. 

    2.Per person disease burden decreased

  • The per person disease burden, from all causes, dropped by 36 per cent in the same period. 

   3.Under five mortality rate reduced

  • The under-five mortality rate has reduced substantially in all states in these 25 years. 
  • Despite a decline from 1990 levels, child and maternal malnutrition remains the single largest risk factor, contributing to 15 per cent of the disease burden in 2016. 
  • With its under-five mortality six times higher than Sri Lanka and burden of child and maternal malnutrition 12 times higher than in China, India has wide gaps to bridge.

   4.Communicable and other diseases burden decreased

  • Communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases contributed to 61 per cent of India’s disease burden in 1990. This dropped to 33 per cent in 2016.

   5.Sanitation related diseases decreased

  • The disease burden due to poor water and sanitation decreased in these 25 years, but the per capita burden due to these factors is 40 times that in China.




  1. Rise in non communicable diseases
  • The share of non-communicable diseases in the disease burden increased from 30 per cent in 1990 to 55 per cent in 2016

     2.Non uniform distribution of diseases across states

  • Life expectancy of women in Uttar Pradesh is 12 years lower than that of women in Kerala, while the life expectancy of men in Assam is 10 years lower than that of men in Kerala. 
  • In disease burden per person, there is almost two-fold difference between the states in 2016, with Assam, Uttar Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh having the highest rates, and Kerala and Goa the lowest rates.
  • There was a four-fold difference in under five mortality rate between the highest, in Assam and Uttar Pradesh, as compared with the lowest in Kerala in 2016. 
  • States in early stages of the health transition were coping with both the persisting challenge of infectious, nutritional and pregnancy-related health threats and the rising magnitude of non-communicable diseases. States in the advanced stage of the transition were grappling largely with non-communicable disorders.

     3.Past diseases threats not solved fully

  • Five of the 10 individual leading causes of the disease burden in India in 2016 are a carry-over of past threats: Diarrhoeal diseases, lower respiratory infections, iron-deficiency anaemia, neonatal pre-term birth, and tuberculosis. 


Significance for states

  • As health is a state subject and this kind of studies data reflects the varying efforts put on by state governments. The states like UP, Orissa, Jharkhand are lagging behind on various dimensions 
  • This study help the central government  to channel more funds towards the states where disease burden is more.
  • Study also links parameters like sanitation with diseases thus it contends for schemes aiding each other for example Swatch Bharat can help reduce infant mortality rate


Thus the report contends for large gaps on the health sector to be filled by the government to bring it at par with global standards and achieving sustainable development goals



Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health; Poverty and hunger 

4) Why is it advised for pregnant women to gain weight during pregnancy? Examine the causes of high IMR and MMR in India. (250 Words)

Down to Earth




  • The amount of weight gain during pregnancy is important for the health of pregnancy and for the long-term health of mother and your baby.
  • A little weight gain during pregnancy is thus beneficial for the child, for shorter women who are more likely to deliver low birth weight babies.
  • Putting on weight in the third trimester, between 6 to 9 months of pregnancy, in particular, had a significant impact.


Weight gain during the pregnancy

  • Amount of weight in pregnancy is associated with delivering a baby who is too small. Some babies born too small may have difficulty starting breastfeeding, may be at increased risk for illness.
  • Amount of weight in pregnancy is associated with having a baby who is born too large, which can lead to delivery complications, cesarean delivery, and obesity during childhood.
  • Short-statured women generally have a higher chance of delivering a low birth weight baby, which is a leading cause of death and illness in neonates. Short-statured women are thought to be more likely to deliver weak babies due to insufficient nutrition reserves that reduce their availability to the growing fetus. Also, they are thought to be prone to deliver small-sized babies as they have a short pelvic and uterine volume.
  • In addition, low birth weight babies are at higher risk of developing diabetes, hypertension and metabolic syndrome when they become adults.


Causes of IMR AND MMR in India


UNICEF estimates that 20 million babies are born with low weight every year in the world and that India accounts for nearly 8 million or one third of this global burden.

  • Child marrriage,
  • Early pregnancy,
  • Neonatal mortality,
  • Bad quality of antenatal care,
  • Maternal malnutrition and
  • privatisation of healthcare
  • Pollution is one of the major causes, patticularly in Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata where high mortality rate has been found.
  • Lack of education and awareness about the nutrition impedes the progress.


India is strongly committed to up the health spending by 2.5% of GDP by 2025 as articulated in Draft National health Policy, besides several pelrograme have been launched such as MAA, janani surakha yojana, ASHA workers , Mahila sakti Kendra etc.


General Studies – 3


Topic:  Awareness in biotechnology; Conservation

5) What is DNA barcoding? Discuss their applications, especially in conservation. (250 Words)

Down to Earth



DNA barcoding is a taxonomic method that uses short genetic marker to identify the particular species it belongs to.

DNA form a standardized region of the genome and that DNA sequence can be used to identify different species. DNA barcoding is thus used to identify unknown samples by looking at a preexisting classification




  1. Containing illegal trade of various species
  • Natural resource managers can monitor illegal trade of products made of natural resources like hardwood trees.
  • It identifies species even from minute amount of tissue which can help tackling problems like illegal trade of endangered species.

     2.Available for both plants and animals

  • Previous techniques like CO1 Cytochrome C Oxidase with 1 gene is only applicable for determining animal species whereas DNA barcoding is applicable to both plant and animal species.
  • DNA barcoding can be used to identify unknown samples by looking at previous classification.

    3.Monitoring Water Quality

  • Barcoding can be used by environmental agencies to improve determination of quality and to create better policies which can ensure safe supply of drinking water.

    4.Controlling Agricultural Pest

  • It can help in identifying pests in any stage of life making easier to control them saving farmers from cost of billion dollars from pest damage.

    5.Identifying Disease Vectors

  • It allows non ecologists to identify the vector species that can cause serious infectious diseases to animals and humans, to understand these diseases and cure them. For eg., global mosquito barcoding initiative 

    6.Identification of medical plants

  • DNA barcoding can be used to identifying the important medicinal plant.


As DNA barcoding has numerous application ,so promoting awareness among research scholar to do research in the area of DNA barcoding along with making Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) database completely free will be a proactive solution.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life 

6) What are biotoilets? Are they effective in managing sanitation problem in trains? Examine the alternatives that Indian railways can explore. (250 Words)

Down to Earth




Bio toilet is a waste management solution which reduces solid human waste to bio-gas and water, with the help of a bacterial Inoculum. Biological decomposition of human waste is done in bio-digester tanks with the help of anaerobic bacteria. 

It is a toilet attached to a fermentation tank containing a liquid consortium of bacteria both aerobic or anaerobic developed by DRDO.


Why Biotoilets are effective in Indian railways?

  • Indian Railways is often described as the world’s biggest toilet: It ejects around 3,980 tonnes of faecal matter, equivalent of 497 truck-loads, onto rail tracks every day, according to a report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in 2013. So Bio toilet is an effective solution which has greater aim at zero defection in to ground.
  • It requires less maintenance and is simple in design.
  • As there is no need of oxygen and sunlight for processing, it is very stable and effective in use.
  • It can be used for longer periods.


Why Bio toilet is not an effective solution?

  • Bio toilets is not an effective way to handle, and the water discharge is not better than raw sewage.
  • Using compounded bacteria, degradation in bio toilets start but the compounded bacterias are from Antarctica not from any local atmosphere.
  • Lifting bio toilets in trains once fitted with human waste a huge task.
  • As people are not accustomed to using bio toilets, they often become as garbage box, and thus used for spitting gutkha or throwing tea bags which are difficult to degrade.
  • Clearance certificate to import bacteria for bio toilets from NBA acts as a roadblock in managing sanitation in trains.
  • Recent studies show that there is no difference between septic tank and bio toilets 


Alternate solutions

  • Use of water less toilets and dry toilets instead of bio toilets.
  • Use microwaves to activate plasma gasification. The gas is then stored in a fuel cell for electricity, while excess heat is re-used to dry waste.
  • Use air-flow and natural heat to kill pathogens and dry waste until it becomes a benign material that can be dug into the soil. 
  • In composting toilets, human waste is biologically decomposed in a moist environment by micro organisms. 
  • Solar energy working toilets are also one of the solutions.
  • Incinerating toilets are a solution which are waterless, self contained system that do not discharge any effluent. They rely on electricity, propane etc to burn human waste into sterile ash.
  • Chemical toilets in which water is mixed with chemical preservatives which stops biological activity and prevent decomposition
  • Waterless urinals which trap water under a layer of oil and sealing it into the waste pipe
  • Dry toilets which separates dry from liquid waste that is than stored in a compostible bags.

Topic: Agriculture

7) What is permaculture? Can permaculture make agriculture sustainable? Examine. (250 Words)

Down to Earth




Permaculture is the development of agricultural ecosystem intended to be self sufficient and sustainable.


Permaculture and agriculture


  1. Use natural organic components
  • It reduces the cost of agriculture as it would be using all the natural components of the ecosystem than conventional farming.

    2.Waste converted to fertiliser

  • The waste generated is very less as the waste products are recycled and manured back to the earth which are then used as natural fertilisers
  • It thus emits less soil pollution as it uses natural fertilisers, which increases the life of soil

    3.Diversity of crops 

  • Permaculture helps to produce diverse variety of crops which results in self sufficiency.
  • Diversity acts as a hedge against crop failures which often occurs in monocropping.

    4.Carbon absorber

  • This acts as carbon sequestration and thus helps to mitigate effects of climate change.


However there are some issues as well.


  1. Low yield
  • There is comparatively slow rate of growth of plants as compared to chemically grown crops

    2.Low acceptance at highest levels

  • There is lack of govt incentives and R&D in permaculture
  • There is also lack of awareness about potential benefits of permaculture


General Studies – 4

Topic:  Ethics in international relations


All the mentioned attributes are complementary and supplementary to each other in international relations



  • Strength is sometime required to enforce the mutually agreeable decisions in the larger interest of all.
  • For example, India principally has been a supporter of nuclear disarmament but as the same time it became nuclear power.
  • The idea behind this emanates from the realist perspective of international relations that strength can act as a deterrent against chaos of international politics.
  • Though it tends to justify strength in ethical terms, the consequence can occur disproportionally to the ethics. The reaction of Pakistan to declare itself as nuclear power after India is an example.




  • Peace makes the environment amenable for discussion and cooperation. 
  • It boosts trade, commerce and people to people contact. Peace provides the foundation for development to take place. 
  • For example, the peace ushered in Europe after second world war has opened avenues of unprecedented development on all parameters. 
  • Significantly, the human development indices of Scandinavian countries who kept themselves aloof from interntional politics maneuvering are a case in point.




  • Security is of prime importance in international relation as sovereignty is fundamental to existence of state. 
  • Security threats like terrorism, human trafficking, smuggling, refugees issues etc strains relations with neighboring and other nations as international relation will strengthen only if national interest is protected.
  • The scope for global cooperation for security is immense at both bilateral and multilateral levels from threats of various forms, state or non-state actors.


Indian’s foreign policy is based on philosophies and principles like “Vasudev kutumbakam”, “Panchsheel, etc to bring to the front our strength along with advancement of peace and security all around the world as also enshrined in our Constitution.