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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: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

1) Discuss how the theory of plate tectonics is an improvement over the theory of continental drift. (250 Words)

NCERT Class XI, Fundamentals of Physical Geography





In geography direct conceptual questions can be asked and the question is related to GS-1 syllabus under the following heading- Salient features of world’s physical geography.


The question wants us to discuss how theory of plate tectonics is a better and improved scientific explanation for describing various tectonic processes. We have to present facts in favour of the same.


Discuss- we have to write in length and compare both the theories and discuss evidences which prove that the theory of plate tectonics is an improvement over the theory of plate tectonics.


Introduction- introduce your answer by briefly describing both the theories one by one, along with name of scientist and year.

Body- after mentioning that theory of plate tectonics is an improvement over theory of continental drift, divide the body into parts and present evidences/ facts in favour of your stand. E.g tidal forces and centrifugal forces are too small to bring such changes, magnetite striping and seafloor spreading, pacific ring of fire etc.

Conclusion- in the end mention that the theory of plate tectonics has absorbed both the theories and built upon them to give a better explanation of various geophysical phenomena around us. .



  • Continental driftdescribes one of the earliest ways geologists thought continents moved over time. Today, the theory of continental drift has been replaced by the science of plate tectonics.  

Continental drift:-

  • The theory of continental drift is most associated with the scientist Alfred Wegener. In the early 20th century, Wegener published a paper explaining his theory that the continental landmasses were “drifting” across the Earth, sometimes plowing through oceans and into each other. He called this movement continental drift. 
  • Pangaea
    • Wegener was convinced that all of Earth’s continents were once part of an enormous, single landmass called Pangaea. 
    • According to Wagener’s theory, during the Jurassic period, about 200 to 130 million years ago, Pangaea started to break up into two smaller continents, which he called Laurasia and Gondwanaland.
  • His theory was inspired by the fact that edges of the continents south America and Africa fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, fossil remains of the same extinct animal or plant can be found across several continents, identical rocks could be found on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. These rocks were the same type and the same age , evidence from ancient glaciers.
  • Scientists did not accept Wegener’s theory of continental drift. One of the elements lacking in the theory was the mechanismfor how it works, why did the continents drift and what patterns did they follow

Plate tectonics:-

  • Wegener’s idea eventually helped to form the theory of plate tectonics, but while Wegener was alive, scientists did not believe that the continents could move.
  • Continents rest on massiveslabs of rock called tectonic plate The plates are always moving and interacting in a process called plate tectonics
  • Plate tectonics is the theory explaining the motion of the outer crust or the lithosphere of earth. Lithosphere is divided into tectonics plates. The crust moves due to convective forces generated within the asthenosphere, fuelled by the internal heat of the earth’s core.

How  plate tectonics is an improvement over continental drift theory:-

  • Plate tectonic explains the mechanism of the motion of the tectonic plates while continental drift theory left this question completely unanswered.
    • Tectonic plates have been constantly moving over the globe throughout the history of the earth. It is not the continent that moves as believed by Wegener. Continents are part of a plate and what moves is the plate.
  • Wegener had thought of all the continents to have initially existed as a super continent in the form of Pangaea. However, later discoveries reveal that the continental masses, resting on the plates, have been wandering all through the geological period, and Pangaea was a result of converging of different continental masses that were parts of one or the other plates.
  • At the time that Wegener proposed his theory of continental drift, most scientists believed that the earth was a solid, motionless body. However, concepts of sea floor spreading and the unified theory of plate tectonics have emphasised that both the surface of the earth and the interior are not static and motionless but are dynamic.
    • Sea floor spreading:-
      • The mobile rock beneath the rigid plates is believed to be moving in a circular manner. The heated material rises to the surface, spreads and begins to cool, and then sinks back into deeper depths. This cycle is repeated over and over to generate what scientists call a convection cell or convective flow
    • The ultimate proof of this was the discovery of “magnetic stripes”on the seafloor later in the 1960s: the magnetic domains in oceanic rocks recorded reversal of Earth’s magnetic field over time. The pattern was symmetric to the ridge, supporting the idea of symmetric seafloor spreading. The idea of subduction zones was born
    • With plate tectonicswe have a theory that explains Wegener’s observations and how lithosphere can be produced and consumed so that Earth does not change its size
  • Wegener’s continental drift theory lacked was a propelling mechanism. Other scientists wanted to know what was moving these continents around. Unfortunately, Wegener could not provide a convincing answer. The technological advances necessitated by the Second World War made possible the accumulation of significant evidence now underlying modern plate tectonic theory.
  • The following two forces are too small to bring in change :-
    • Pole-fleeing or centrifugal force:
      • The spinning of Earth on its own axis creates a centrifugal force i.e. force oriented away from the axis of  rotation towards the equator. Wegener believed the centrifugal force of the planet caused the super continent to break apart and pushed continents away from the Poles toward the equator. Therefore, He called this drifting  mechanism as the “pole-fleeing or centrifugal force”
    • Tidal force:-
      • Wegener tried to attribute the westward drift of the Americas to lunar-solar drag i.e. by invoking tidal force that is the gravitational forces of the sun and the moon .He also admitted that it is probable that pole- fleeing or centrifugal force and tidal force are responsible for the journey of continents. Wegener failed to devise a sound mechanism for the movement of the continents. For Wegener the drifting mechanism was the most difficult question to solve.
    • Plate tectonics is the grand unifying theory of geosciences that explains
      • Movement of continents
      • Earthquakes, volcanism most major features on Earth’s surface, including mountain building, formation of new lithosphere ,consumption of old lithosphere, mid-ocean ridges


  • It took nearly 60 years for the idea of continental drift to be scientifically confirmed in the form of plate tectonic theory. Ultimately it added new dimension in the understanding of the global distribution of earthquakes, volcanoes and identification of disaster prone areas.

Topic Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2) Unlike the dark middle ages of Europe, India’s middle ages brought about a very rich tradition of devotional literature and poetry which dispels its assumption of a dark period of India’s history. Comment. (250 Words)

NCERT Class IX & X History



Bhakti literature has been at the core of India’s history of diversity and unity since ages. Middle ages in India are usually labelled as dark ages due to stalment of scientific, technological and political progress. However, the period produced rich bhakti literature and poetry in which a number of women also took participation. This contradicts the claim of medieval dark ages of India. The question is related to GS-1 syllabus- Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


The question wants us to discuss why India’s middle ages were not like the dark ages of Europe and quote important works, writers, poets of that times. Giving examples is the key here.


Discuss- we have to write into detail about the medieval bhakti literature and poetry and their contributors. We also have to discuss the richness and refinement of the bhakti works and highlight their significance.


Introduction- introduce your answer by briefly describing the key facets of bhakti movement, when it started etc.

Body- divide the body into parts. In one part, discuss the salient features of bhakti literature and poetry; its themes, beliefs, closeness to common man  etc.

In the other part, mention the famous works, writers, poets who produced bhakti literature and poetry e.g Kabir, Lal Ded, Bavasna, Vidyapati, Sri CHaitanya, Jagannath Das etc.

Conclusion- in the end, present your conclusion and mention some other aspects of medieval literature and poetry e.g love ballads and heroic poetry of Punjab- KISSA and VAR, evolution of Urdu language and quote some important works in Urdu of medieval times.


  • India in dark ages was not different from the rest of the world in the sense that continuous rise and fall of empires and constant battles were omnipresent during that period. But the development India made in fields of religion, philosophy, literature, science, administration etc are the reasons that this period in Indian history is aptly called medieval period and not the “dark ages”.
  • Medieval India is also witness to Bhakti and Sufi movements. These were revolutionary religious movements which preached communal brotherhood, salvation through devotion, equality of mankind, shunning superstition to name a few.

Middle ages brought about a very rich tradition of devotional literature and poetry:-

  • Indian literature, which had survived through medieval times, has had their revival. Jnaneshwari, Tukaram, Ramdas, Mirabai, Kabir, Tulsidas, Surdas and a host of others spearheaded the movement for revival. The South had their strong stalwarts in Kanakadas, Tyagaraja and Subrahmanya Bharati. The movement of revival received impetus through translations of the classics.
  • Love poetry:-
    • The dominating note in bhakti is ecstasy and total identity with God. It is a poetic approach to religion and an ascetic approach to poetry. It is poetry of connections – connecting the worldly with the divine, and as a result, the old form of secular love poetry began to have a new meaning in all languages.
  • Bhakti also attacked the age-old caste system and devoted itself to the worship of humanity, because the catch-word of bhakti is that God is there in every human being. The movement was in essence subaltern, as most of its poets belonged to the so-called ‘lower’ castes.
  • The rise of bhakti poetry gave rise to regional languages (Bhasa):-
    • The conception of bhakti did away with the elite tradition of Sanskrit and accepted the more acceptable language of the common man.
    • The power of ancient bhakti poetry in Tamil set in motion what might well be considered a pan-Indian efflorescence.
    • After Tamil, Pampa’s great court epics were composed in Kannada in the 10th century.
    • Devotional literature in Kannada, the Vachanas (sayings) of the various saints of the Krishna, Rama and Shiva cults, is well known. Basavanna was a famous Kannada poet. Allama Prabhu (Kannada) wrote great poetry under the garb of religion.
    • Marathi:-
      • Gyaneswar is the first and foremost bhakti poet in Marathi. He became famous for his poetic contribution to bhakti for Vithal (Vishnu).
      • Eknath wrote his short poetic narratives and devotional abhangas (a literary form), and after him it was Tukarram whose songs cast a spell all over Maharasthra.
    • Gujarati poets like Narsi Mehta and Premananda occupy a prominent place in the galaxy of the Vaishnava poets.
    • Bengali:-
      • Chandidas, a Bengali poet, is acclaimed as a great genius for the lucidity and sweetness of his poems.
      • Sri Chaitanya a great Bengali saint, helped Vaishnavism to turn into a religious and literary movement, made it a living faith and became a source of never-ending inspiration to a host of Bengali poets, including Jiva Goswami.
      • Medieval Muslim Bengali poets like Daulat Kazi and Saiyad Alaoal wrote narrative poems based on Sufistic philosophy, betraying a happy cultural and religious synthesis of Islam and Hinduism. In fact, bhakti became a great platform for Hindu-Muslim unity.
    • Similarly, Vidyapati in Maithili created a new poetic language.
    • Lal Ded, a Kashmiri Muslim poetess, gave a new dimension to mystical bhakti.
  • In fact, epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata received a rebirth in the new languages. These languages gave a fresh life, a renewed relevance, and a meaningful reincarnation to the great Sanskrit epics, and these epics in their turn provided substance and style to the new languages too.
  • Women Poets of Bhakti
    • The Alwar women poets like Andal and others, gave expression to their love for the divine.
    • They all wrote small lyrics or poems of devotional fervour, metaphysical depth, and with a spirit of dedication and utmost sincerity. Behind their mysticism and metaphysics is a divine sadness.

Other Trends in Medieval Literature

  • Bhakti was not the only aspect of medieval literature. Love ballads and heroic poetry in Punjabi, known as Kissa and Var, were popular Punjabi medieval forms.
  • During the medieval period, Urdu, as a language, came into being. Then, it was Dard and Mir Taqi Mir who gave Urdu maturity and class, and ushered it into the modern period.

General Studies – 2

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

3) Instead of unilateral military action, Syria needs an aggressive multilateral diplomacy to find an immediate end to violence and more so to find a long-lasting political solution. Comment. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Financial Times



Why this question

Syria has been involved in a bloody uprising in which the anti-government forces are supported by western powers and Saudi Arabia while the pro-government forces are supported by Russia and Iran- each with their own agendas – are involved, making the situation far more complex and prolonging the fighting.They have been accused of fostering hatred between Syria’s religious groups, pitching the Sunni Muslim majority against the president’s Shia Alawite sect. Such divisions have led both sides to commit atrocities, torn communities apart and dimmed hopes of peace. Although India is presently not involved in the war, the conflict has the potential to escalate into the third world war, which makes it important for India. This question is related to GS-2 syllabus- India and its neighborhood- relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to present our view upon the need for a plausible and long-lasting solution for the ongoing Syria war. We have to take a stand over military action vs diplomacy here.

Directive word

Comment- we have to take a stand on the issue and present our personal opinion. Besides, we have to put forth facts/ arguments which justify our opinion.

Structure of the answer

Introduction-  you can introduce your answer by giving a brief description or the present status of the war.

Body- divide the body into two parts. In one part, present your arguments on why unilateral military action is not the best solution to the ongoing conflict. E.g civilian casualties, more bloodshed, escalation into third world war, need for peace, multilateral interests of different countries etc.  You can also take the opposite stand but justifying the same would be very difficult.

In second part, present your arguments in favour of a multilateral diplomatic solution to the problem. E.g multilateral interests involved which can be better negotiated among all stakeholders, initiation of peace efforts, chances of reconciliation, relief and international monitoring is needed to get appraisal of the ground situation.

Conclusion- bind the crux of your arguments and present it as a conclusion with some suggestions added.


Background :-

  • A peaceful uprising against the president of Syria seven years ago has turned into a full-scale civil war and has been detrimental to the people in the region.

 Problems with unilateral military action:-

  • Recently the U.K. and France joined hands with the U.S. to punish Mr. Assad’s regime through the launch of the missiles. This approach is only  escalating the devastating, multi-sided conflict.
  • Many groups and countries are involved militarily  each with their own agendas  making the situation far more complex and prolonging the fighting. Such divisions have led both sides to commit atrocities, torn communities apart and dimmed hopes of peace.
  • The conflict has left more than 350,000 people dead, devastated cities and drawn in other countries.
  • UN estimates 13.1 million people will require some form of humanitarian help in Syria in 2018.
  • This military approach led to displacement of millions of people moving to neighbouring countries and even to Europe leading to refugee crisis and unrest.
  • Huge numbers of losses in livelihood, property, affected generations of children .civilian casualties, more bloodshed, need for peace, multilateral interests of different countries etc.
  • Both the sides have nuclear arsenal’s and triggering the war militarily alone can even lead to third world war.
  • Multiple stakeholders are involved not just to end the war but also ensure the sustainability of livelihood for the people in these regions and improve their quality of life. This cannot be fulfilled with military approach alone.
  • Syrian sovereignty has been encroached by multiple actors. 


Why multilateral diplomacy is necessary?

  • The ground reality in Syria is so complex that a sudden collapse of the regime would push the country and the millions who live in relative stability in regime-held territories into further misery. This can be achieved by multilateral diplomacy.
  • If long lasting solution in Syria is needed, U.S., Russia, Iran and all other involved players have to have open diplomacy.
  • Multilateral interests are involved which can be better negotiated among all stakeholders, initiation of peace efforts need to be done by multi diplomacy.
  • Chances of reconciliation, relief and international monitoring is needed to get appraisal of the ground situation.
  • Diplomatic efforts have a broader perspective of ensuring a peaceful life for the refugees and development of the nation.

Way forward:-

  • The U.S. and Russia have to work together under a UN mandate and with Syria government to establish the democratic government .
  • Need of the hour is providing the relief to the people on the humanitarian ground, monitoring of the situation by international organisations and UN intervention.

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

4) Aspirational District Programme (ADP) is a marked shift in India’s governance model, that embodies cooperative as well as competitive federalism and efficiency in resource utilization, as its key determinants. Critically analyse. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Hindustan Times

The Economic Times

NITI Aayog


Why this question

‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme was launched in january 2018 with an aim to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts of the country. The Government is committed to raising the living standards of its citizens and ensuring inclusive growth for all – Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and ADP is an important tool to achieve the same on priority basis in some worst performing districts.. Therefore the question is important for mains exam. It is related to GS- 2 syllabus under the following headings- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,Education, Human Resources. Issues relating to poverty and hunger. Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.


The question wants us to analyse the salient features of the ADP and discuss how it embodies cooperative as well as competitive federalism; how it aims to raise and utilize the resources. It wants us to discuss the positive points of ADP vis a vis other programmes. However, we also have to analyse and see what are its limitations/ cons.

Critically analyze- we have to analyse both  the positive aspects as well as negative aspects of ADP  in terms of how it embodies cooperative and competitive federalism, how it will use the resources for development more efficiently.


Introduction- you can introduce your answer by briefly highlighting the salient aspects of ADP.

Body- divide the body into two main parts. In one part, discuss how ADP embodies a) cooperative federalism b) competitive federalism c) efficiency in resource utilization, and put arguments in favour of these aspects in the process of development.

In part two, discuss the limitations of the ADP, with special focus on already discussed aspects.

Conclusion- present your conclusion along with mentioning some suggestions to improve the programme.


  • India will not be able to sustain robust growth without focusing on all states and regions. Ensuring progress in areas facing the most severe challenges and improving conditions in remote and rural regions are prerequisites for India to reach the next stage of its economic and human development. Through its massive scale and innovative use of data, the aspirational districts programme (ADP) will help India move towards its goals.

Aspirational district programme :-

  • The Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) is a radical departure from the country’s previous development strategies in its scale, scope and ownership.
  • The 115 districts were chosen by the Union government in consultation with State officials on the basis of a composite index of the following:
  • Education, health and nutrition, financial inclusion, agriculture, skill development and basic infrastructure.
  • A minimum of one district was chosen from every State.
  • The largest concentration of districts is in the States which have historically under-performed such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, or which are afflicted by left-wing extremism such as Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. 
  • These 115 districts account for more than 20% of the country’s population and cover over 8,600 gram panchayats.

How is it different from previous programmes:-

  • With continuously updated data dashboards, those running the programme on the ground can alter strategies after accurate feedback.
  • The programme shifts the focus away from output and draws attention to socio-economic outcomes.Through its large-scale efforts to collect, distill and disseminate data, the programme is grounded thoroughly in evidence.
  • The programme is informed by the failures of the past and therefore has a more contemporary vision of how public services are best delivered to those who need them most.
  • Sensitive approach:-
    • Deliberately, the districts have been described as aspirational rather than backward so that they are viewed as islands of opportunity and hope rather than areas of distress and hopelessness.
  • Utilization of resources:-
    • There is no financial package or large allocation of funds to this programme. The intent is to leverage the resources of the several government programmes that already exist but are not always used efficiently.
  • Competitive federalism:-
    • This programme takes the principle of competitive federalism down to district administrations. Each district will be ranked on the focus areas which are disaggregated into easily quantifiable target areas. So as not to bias the rankings on historical achievements or lack of them, the rankings will be based on deltas or improvements. The rankings will be publicly available.
  • Up-to-date statistics on health, education and other dimensions of development lend the programme a rigour that an observational approach could not. Through ADP, data is advancing policymaking in three important ways: strengthening analysis and monitoring, enhancing accountability and transparency, and taking into account the heterogeneity across districts and states.
    • Data from these districts will help government and other organisations grasp the complexities of a given district better .They will help assess outcomes and monitor progress.
    • They also facilitate rankings, spurring competition between districts.
    • The programme is pioneering the democratisation of development data in India.
    • Till date, no other developing country has undertaken a data-driven programme of this massive scale to advance the holistic development of one-fifth of its population.
  • Cooperative federalism:-
    • The composite district-level data allows government to take into account the huge variation within India. With districts as diverse as Dantewada and Bastar in Chhattisgarh that are affected by leftwing extremism and Baksa in Assam where access to education is a challenge, a one-size-fits-all strategy will not work.
    • The ADP brings together all levels of government, from central and state officers driving operations, to the district collectors implementing innovative measures on the ground. It also tracks progress through real-time data collection. A critical aspect of the programme’s approach is its focus on district-specific strengths.
    • The ADP echoes the government’s belief that states and districts should have a greater voice in their development.
    • It truly embodies India’s shift toward cooperative federalism. The local, state and central governments work together to design, implement and monitor measures to drive development in the districts.
    • The strong belief that underlies this strategy is that each district’s advantages and challenges are different.
  • The ADP has opened its door to civil society and leveraged the tool of corporate social responsibility to form partnerships which will bring new ideas and fresh energy with boots on the ground from non-government institutions to join the official efforts. The force multiplier on outcomes from such participation is potentially massive.
    • For example, NITI Aayog is working with Piramal Foundation to strengthen public systems particularly in health and education.


  • Local government is in a unique position to understand the complexities of the districts. They can experiment with different measures to enhance socio-economic development on the ground. Panchayats are neglected.
  • Some of the states (West Bengal, Kerala and Odisha) have already opted out of the scheme, reducing the total number of identified backward districts from 115 to 102. This further reduces any limited benefit that ranking of districts may offer.
    • The three states have objected to the criteria set up by the centre for identifying backward districts without taking states into confidence.
  • Orissa also objected appointment of ‘prabhari officers’ citing the move would infringe country’s federal structure.
  • State government in its conditions has also demanded allocation of more funds for the most backward districts.
  • Data collection and analysis on monthly basis is a very hectic process which needs resources and efficient workforce.
  • The districts which are backward need to compete with the best performing so quick transformation might be difficult and be flawed as well.
  • Also there might be conflicts between centre and states .Work might be affected during elections etc 

Way forward:-

  • For the programme to succeed there is a need for effective monitoring which can be done by social auditing
  • Increase the awareness amongst the people and even some of them can be given work as volunteers.
  • With lack of digital literacy and infrastructure at local level compiling the enormous data and updating it is a humongous task.
  • Seeking rapid transformation of these districts on specific parameters such as health, education and nutrition need to happen alongside unlocking of their development potential.
    • In this context, recognising development trajectory of each district, relentlessly tracking district’s progress on its chosen interventions and indicators is probably a better approach.


  • Without improving human development and strengthening the economic situation of these regions, India as a whole cannot achieve significant progress. So this programme is moving in the right direction.

General Studies – 3

Topic:  Indian economy; Agriculture

5)Examine the impediments to the growth of agricultural exports in India. Discuss the steps taken by government to boost agricultural exports. (250 Words) 

The Indian Express


Why this question:

Dalwai Committee on doubling farmer’s income and Draft Agricultural Policy both highlight the importance of boosting agricultural exports for improving the economic condition of farmers and earning more focus. The challenges, opportunities, steps taken etc needs to be prepared thus.

Key demand of the question

The question is fairly direct. Focus while answering should remain on following

  • Status of agri exports – which will establish that the sector is indeed facing challenges
  • The nature of challenges needs to be examined. If the challenges are more in the nature of opportunities, that too needs to be brought out
  • The steps taken by the government along with its critical examination (in brief)

Directive word

Examine – we have to get into the details of the reasons why agri export is not picking up. Look at the issue from all angles and bring out direct as well as indirect causes.

Discuss – Mention the steps taken by the government along with their critical analysis in brief

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention the status of agri exports, the targets, the vision and the need of boosting agri exports.

Body – Divide the answer into parts. First part should answer Status of agri exports – which will establish that the sector is indeed facing challenges

In the second part, discuss the challenges. Quote from reports mentioned in the newspaper. Divide it into broad heads like infrastructural, WTO norms etc

Then discuss steps taken by government. Also mention the efficacy of the scheme.

Conclusion – Mention what in your opinion is holding back exports and what should be done.


  • Recently agriculture ministry announced the government’s resolve to increase the value of the country’s agricultural exports to $100 billion by 2022-23. The Dalwai Committee Report on doubling farmers incomes also talked of a similar target.

 Agricultural exports in India :-

  • Agricultural export is 10 per cent of Indian exports and  is the fourth-largest exported principal commodity.
  • Globally, exports in agricultural products is over $1,500 billion annually as per the latest data from WTO and India’s share is less than $35 billion at present

Impediments to the growth of these exports :-

  • India had imposed a ban on export of wheat in 2007 and on non-basmati rice in 2008. Although the ban on rice and wheat exports was lifted in 2011, it came too late for wheat traders to exploit the advantage of a massive drought in key supplier Russia and others in the Black Sea region.
  • The draft Agricultural Export Policy that has been put in the public domain has a target of $60 billion by 2022-23.The different targets also reflect a disconnect within the government and show inter-ministerial coordination in poor light.
  • Price competitiveness that restricts exports
  • The biggest hurdle comes from uncertain domestic marketing and trade policies. The inherent “consumer bias” in these policies makes the trading environment unstable and unpredictable. Any rise in domestic prices almost immediately leads to the imposition of market restrictions.
  • Exports are restricted through the use of minimum export prices and bans while the Essential Commodities Act is used to regulate private participation. This harms India’s image of a reliable supplier of agri-products and ensures that the country does not get the best price for its exports.
  • Restricting markets and compensating farmers through higher MSPs based on the new formula (cost A2+FL+50 per cent) will be an inflationary and unsustainable solution to the woes of the country’s agriculturists. It is likely to hit agri-exports adversely, especially rice and cotton.
  • Developed countries give heavy subsidies to their farmers leading to price incompetency for Indian farmers as their exports become costly. Also WTO restrictions on amount of subsidies to be given to a certain limit brings in complications for India.

Steps taken by India to boost agricultural exports:-

  • The draft Agri-Exports Policy rightly identifies two steps: Identify commodities in which India holds a global comparative advantage and develop clusters in states to create value chains for these commodities.
  • Crop diversification, focus on allied sectors and food processing and tapping global markets are among the steps the government is taking to meet the target.
  • Draft national agriculture trade policy has sought a stable trade policy regime with limited government interference for key farm items including the politically-sensitive onion and pulses
    • Reforms in the APMC Act, streamlining of mandi fee and liberalisation of land leasing norms are among the raft of measures suggested in the draft policy, formulated by the commerce ministry aimed at helping realise the government’s goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
    • Also, the policy is aimed at providing an assurance that processed agricultural products and all kinds of organic products will not be brought under the ambit of any kind of export restrictions, including the imposition of minimum export price, export duty and an outright ban.
  • The government has resorted to impose curbs on onion exports almost every year and periodically slapped restriction on cotton and sugar exports as well. An export ban on key pulses and oil seeds was in effect for a long time. However, in recent years, the fluctuations in farm trade policy have reduced considerably.
  • SAMPADA scheme
  • Mega food parks

Way forward:-

  • The draft policy said that there is a need to ensure greater interaction between the various research organisations and industry bodies which will enable the research bodies to work on industry specific requirements
  • The ministry will work on developing agri-parks in India.
  • This consumer bias in policies must be redressed and a balance should be struck between meeting the needs of food-insecure consumers and income-insecure farmers.
  • Policymakers should support agri-exports while ensuring environmental sustainability. Exports of rice must be properly assessed. Cultivating one kg of rice in Punjab or Haryana needs about 5,000 litres of irrigation water.
  • Government must develop efficient global value chains and liberalise land lease markets across all states. It should encourage contract farming on a medium- to long-term basis.
  • Exporters and processors must be encouraged to buy directly from farmer-producer organisations (FPOs), bypassing the inefficient APMCs.
  • Major investments are needed at the back-end to create infrastructure for global and domestic value chains, ranging from produce aggregation to its sorting and grading, packaging, storing and linking the hinterlands to ports for export markets.
  • The private sector can be an effective player in creating such value chains, but it needs to be enabled by institutional reforms. These investments could have a multiplier effect on the rural economy.
  • An international report urged the government to launch ‘Grow In India’ campaign aiming for substantial gains in agri-exports with a single authority to monitor India’s international agricultural trade-both exports and imports. 

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. 

6) Indian economic policy has not allowed firms to be created and to grow and prosper at the levels required for adequate job creation. Examine. (250 Words)

The Financial Express


Why this question

Generation of employment has been a huge focus of the governments over the years. India’s demography demands accelerated pace of job creation, yet numbers do not suggest that job market in India is booming. Hence the effect of government policy on employment has to be understood

Key demand of the question

The question is not focussed on why the need for job creation or the reasons why jobs are not being created. The focus is very specific – impact of government’s policies on the size of the firms which affects job market.

Directive word

Examine – The focus has to remain on the demand of the question. We have to get into the depth of why firms in India suffer from Peter Pan syndrome, why India is undergoing premature deindustrialization. The reason has to be limited to government’s economic policies.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention the employment scenario in India and a brief mention about the Peter Pan syndrome of Indian firms. Link how size of the firm is connected to employment

Body – Discuss the government’s policy which have resulted in the firms not growing big. Talk about – Laws (Labour laws), Infra, taxation policies, policies related to human capital growth.

In the next part, critically discuss why some of the initiatives of the government to allow firms to grow are either in formative years or have not picked pace. Talk about start up India, make in India etc

Thereafter discuss what should be done to ensure that the demographic dividend does not turn into demographic bulge.

Conclusion – highlight the importance of creating jobs in India and how time is running short in light of rapidly changing technology and demands.


  • Creating good jobs requires having more firms in operation, and these firms being more productive. Having more firms and more productive firms requires increases or improvements in physical capital, embodied human capital, disembodied knowledge, and physical and institutional infrastructure.
  • The tendency of firms to avoid productivity-enhancing technologies and remain small to avoid transparency has been dubbed the Peter Pan Syndrome. Yale university study found that found that firms tended to remain small to avoid transparency, a result of more technology, and thus avoid the risk of getting slapped with higher taxes and more regulation.

Problems with economic policy which is making firms not create jobs are-

  • Policy deficiencies include restrictive labour laws, but also inefficiencies in access by firms to financing, land, electricity, transport, and so on.
    • Labour-intensive SMEs employing between 10 and 200 are affected by dysfunctional and rigid laws. For instance, the Industries Disputes Act that mandates firms with over 100 employees to secure state approvals before closing down, laying off or dismissing employees, deters entry and expansion of small firms.
    • There are 200 central and state labour laws
  • Furthermore, firms have been restricted in shutting down (related to those restrictive labour laws), which inhibits new entry as well.
  • The constraints in education have included high costs and poor incentives for education delivery by existing institutions, as well as restrictions on entry or on operations by new providers. So the growth of human capital has been unnecessarily stunted.
  • The steps taken for improving the ease of doing business and the foreign investments regime have proved insufficient in restarting the private investments cycle. As a result, new jobs are not getting created.
  • Youth were no longer job seekers, but job creators and for this the government launched an ambitious Rs 10,000-crore Startup India programme in 2015 to spur entrepreneurship. Some 5,300 DIPP recognised startups created 40,000 jobs alright, but the promised 1.8 million jobs by 2020 under the Startup action plan has not taken place.
  • Lack of skills:-
    • Just 5 per cent of the current workforce have required skills making it difficult to embrace productive employment and needs immediate attention
  • Make-in-India’s primary goal is to renew interest in the country as an investment destination, has been also widely advertised by the government as a method to boost employment but it has been very unsuccessful in creating employment.
  • With the declining numbers in employment and the rise in FDI, especially given the majority of which is through Private equity investment  is proof that very little correlation between such investments and job creation exists.
  • While the DIPP is preparing the industrial policy document, it is essential that trade policy is consistent with such an industrial policy. Otherwise the two may work at cross purposes and undermine each other’s objectives. This is precisely what has happened over many years.
    • Excessive imports have been decimating Indian manufacturing.
    • An inverted duty structure has the following features: higher duty on intermediate goods compared to final finished goods, with the latter often enjoying concessional customs duty. As a result, domestic manufacturers face high tariffs since the last 12-15 years, leading to higher raw material cost at home, emanating from the unfavourable inverted duty structure.
  • AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) aimed at improving infrastructure for small towns. Infrastructure investment by the government always creates many jobs. But the programme does not take into account whether the infrastructure investment under it is taking place in towns which have clusters of unorganised sector economic activities.

Way forward:-

  • For Make-in-India to be truly successful, ‘Made in India’ must be as important as ‘Own in India’. Without this balance, neither can this initiative nor India have a sustainable future.
  • An industrial and trade policy is needed.
  • There was no National Manufacturing Policy after economic reforms and the Policy, when it came in 2011, was not even implemented.
  • There should be cluster development to support job creation in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)
  • Align urban development with manufacturing clusters to create jobs.
  • The availability of jobs close to where the skilling is conducted will also enhance the demand for skilling
  • Public investments in health, education, police and judiciary can create many government jobs. More government expenditure in health means more jobs in government and better health outcomes.

General Studies – 4

Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators

7) “Man is born free but is everywhere in chains”. Critically comment. (150 Words)

The Indian Express

Why this question

This is a very famous statement by Rousseau whose implications in the present times is immense. Rousseau was under the opinion that we are born bree meaning without biases, without the burden of acquiring property etc but eventually due to the society he/she lives in, loses his freedom. Whether or not this is true, needs to be examined

Key demand of the question

The question demands us to address the following points

  • What is freedom in your opinion
  • Whether we are free at the time of our birth or when our mind is a tabula rasa
  • What happens afterwards – What are the chains that keep us imprisoned
  • How can we break free

Directive word

Critically comment – Here we have the liberty to express our views based on our reading and understanding. We also have to look at both sides of the picture and provide a balanced stand at the end

Structure of the answer

Introduction – The statement should be liked to some issue that we are facing in the present time.

Body – In the first part comment on what it means to be free. Thereafter comment on the statement that man in born free. Whether any individual can ever be free of the restrictions, burdens etc imposed by society even at birth. Next, comment on how we are in chains. How have we moved away from being a noble savage. Question whether the system of governance, democracy, our society etc adds to or curtails our freedom.

Conclusion – In your conclusion mention how can we break free.





In the era of human history before rigid social structures developed, people were able to exercise free will. Man is born free without any chain or fetters, regardless of creed class, race and nation. A newly born baby takes his breath as a free mortal; his conscious is free from the thought that he is a slave or free citizen, a prince or penniless. In a world dominated by flashing mobile phones and social media. Man may indeed be born free, but in the 21st century, the chains may be even harder to see.


Rousseau explains how man went from this state of autonomy to the modern condition, dominated by inequality, dependency, violence and unhappiness. When people are in society, they are in chains. The society places all sorts of rules on them that limit their freedom. This also gives way to what Rousseau called the “right of the strongest”, where a reign of inequality destroys man’s original state of happiness and freedom.


The chain of slavery, poverty, class, sect are really a mark of ugliness on the face of  this beautiful world. Despite  slavery being  an unacceptable phenomenon in our civilized world but unfortunately, many nations are enslaved under the foreign domination even in the twenty first century. The third World 

is bond by the chains of slavery imposed on it by the economically developed countries in 

different forms.


The caste system never lets people forget their birth, people addicted to social media, people restricted by laws of the society curbing their freedom  for instance women in Saudi Arabia system makes it nearly impossible  for victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse to obtain legal redress because the police often insist that women and girls obtain their guardian’s authorisation to file a complaint – even when the complaint is against the guardian so true freedom is a myth. Even in Indian constitution there are restrictions on freedom of expression .


Man is enslaved by the chains of society some chains hurt  this soul and few chains prevent him from proceeding towards destruction. The delicate chain of relationship is unquestionably, the beauty of life. Family is the soul of social life and parental, matrimonial  and fraternal relationships are a strong chain for human beings but this chain does not hurt  an individual but instead it embellishes human life with love respect attention and dedication.


The chain of laws  prevents, man from becoming a beast. Without the implementation of laws, human society could present the picture of a jungle where the rule of might is right prevails. Such a society 

does not ensure even the basic human rights.  Society may legitimately coerce its people only when they agree to be ruled by that society.  He believes that people joined together in societies in order preserve their lives and make cooperation between people possible.  They willingly made a “social contract” in which they agreed to be ruled by the state in order that their lives can be improved through increased safety and cooperation.


 But on the other hand the chain of slavery ,ignorance, racial discrimination and many social evils 

should be eliminated from human society. Man should be set- free -from the slavery of his 

fellow human beings as it is against the dignity of mankind. Man is born free and he should 

be given  the right to enjoy his freedom within the limitations only then this world can become a model of peace which is the ultimate goal of mankind.