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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)Breaking the Salt law during Dandi March was a deceptively innocuous move that proved devastatingly effective. Analyze.(250 words)

Bipan Chandra – India’s struggle for independence Pg 263

Key demand of the question

Two terms are important in the question which needs to be analysed. Firstly we have to explain how breaking the salt law was a deceptively innocuous move. Here we have to explain why Gandhi ji chose to break the seemingly innocuous salt law. Secondly, we have to analyze how the move proved to be effective – the impact of Dandi March. Analyze both the hits and the misses.

Directive word

Analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer
Introduction – explain the context in which Dandi March took place


  • Mention about the 11 demands submitted by Gandhiji, how a specific demand for granting independence was not there. Breaking the salt law was a relatively innocuous law to break, the reasons why it was chosen.
  • Discuss the impact of Dandi March
  • Hits like enormous publicity, boycott of foreign goods which was one of the most visible display of support, local revolts etc
  • Misses like lack of support of intelligentsia, lack of Hindu Muslim unity, no major labour participation etc

Conclusion – present the whole summary by summing up the two parts. Mention how breaking the salt law took forward the national movement.


  • Mahatma Gandhi was authorized by the Congress Working Committee to determine the time, place and issue on which the Civil Disobedience was to be launched.
  • He took the decision to break the salt law first, on which the British had imposed a duty, affecting the poorest of the poor.
  • Salt Satyagraha began with the Dandi March on March 12, 1930 and was the part of the first phase of the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Reasons for choosing salt as the symbol of protest during Dandi satyagraha:-

  • Gandhi placed an 11 point demand before Irwin and a failure to accept them would necessitate the launch of the movementabolition of salt tax and government monopoly on salt. Breaking the salt laws of the government non-violently was the basic activity of civil disobedience.
  • These points were declined. Since salt was an emotional issue with universal appeal, he chose to launch Civil disobedience movement by violating the salt law.
  • Making salt was state monopoly
    • Salt was a basic necessity for any household but people had to purchase it at higher prices
  • Salt was the most common item of consumption and imposition of salt duty would amount to taxing every section of the society.
  • Salt was manufactured from sea water through labour intensive techniques hence imposition of duty immoral.
  • Masses could be aroused on the issue of salt duty and would symbolise the defiance to the British colonial rule.
  • Violation of salt laws would amount to the violation of British laws that were unethical and repressive in nature.


  • This triggered the Civil Disobedience Movementand millions of Indians jumped in the tumult.
  • Breaking of the salt law was the formal inauguration of the Civil Disobedience Movement. A programme was outlined, which included the following:
    • Violation of the laws such as Salt Law
    • Non payment of Land Revenue, Taxes and Rent
    • Boycott of courts of law, legislatures, elections, Government functionaries, Schools and Colleges.
    • Peaceful picketing of shops that sold foreign goods.
    • Mass strikes and processions.
    • Picketing of shops that sold liquor.
    • Boycott of Civil Services, Military and Police services.
  • Popular across the country:-
    • Salt satyagraha was organised at many places all over India.
    • This gave impetus to other kinds of satyagraha and approaches like the breaking of forest laws,strikes and lock outs by the miners and industry workers, no rent no revenue campaign at many places by tenants and zamindars.
  • Wide variety of sections of the society got involved:-
    • For the first time, the workers and labourers indulged in the movement on such a massive scale.
    • Also saw the involvement of the business class and zamindars .
    • Women actively participated in the movement.
    • Youth participation was so much that government in Assam had to issue Cunningham circular to prevent the students from movement.
  • People also got psychological boost from this satyagraha as for the first time British were forced treat Indians as equals
  • Provided major recruiting ground for young people leading to emergence of new leaders like Subhash, Nehru.
  • It gave wide publicity to new political ideas and methods and created new political awareness even in the remote villages

TopicEvents from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

2)The global capitalist system’s periphery and semi-periphery is economically, politically, and militarily subordinate to its centre. Critically  comment.(250 words)


Why this question

This is a general socialism vs capitalism question demanding a sharp understanding and clear opinion on the issue. The twist here is the focus on the present global capitalist system rather than the historical narrative. The question is related to GS-1 syllabus under the following heading-

Events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

Key demand of the question.

the question wants us to dig deeper into the present globalist capital system and see how it is related to the peripheral and semi-peripheral bodies ( countries, international and regional organizations/ bodies/ unions). we have to present a personal opinion on the given statement.

Directive word

Critically comment- we have to form an opinion on the issue/ statement and give justifications in support of our opinion. But we also have to see the other side of the question and highlight the blessings of capitalist system, particularly the present global capitalist system.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– give a general description of present global capitalist system and their spread- e.g google, amazon, facebook, Apple, Alibaba, Samsung, Lockheed martin, adidas, etc.

Body- divide the body into main parts. Take the help of the comprehensive article attached as the link.


  • discuss the economic share of such corporations in the world economy and highlight the unequal distribution of revenue and difference in labour wages between central ( America, Europe, China) and peripheral economies (most of developing and underdeveloped world.
  • Discuss their power to shape and alter political decisions in the peripheral countries and how they have shaped the global military conflicts and weaponization programmes.


Conclusion– Form a personal opinion on the given issue and mention the good points about capitalism and reasons why it is still surviving and more accepted than socialism.


  • Today capitalism is undergoing on a global scale with both physical and technological presence. The usage of global internet networks like Google, social media platforms like Facebook, online shopping websites like Amazon shows the extent to which the companies have made their presence felt in the developing and the under developed countries.

How centre is dominating periphery and semi-periphery in multiple aspects:-

  • Political:-
    • The spread of social network platforms led to rise of Arab Spring and never ending protests in West Asia .
    • Concentration of wealth will lead to concentration of power.This will generate tremendous anger at the bottom, and that anger will disrupt everything. Brexit is the outcome of this anger.
    • A much higher rate of exploitation in the periphery and semi-periphery, and an unequal sharing of the system’s surplus, with the ruling classes and professional elites of the centre getting the hindmost, forms the core of the system’s exploitative institutional structure.
    • Unethical behaviour of political leaders in the greed of money from the tycoons leads to some decisions for the sake of those business companies and sideline the welfare the common citizens.
  • Economical:-
    • Leading to concentration of wealth in a few hands .Oxfam report says that eight people own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the world.
    • The capitalist system is a machine which sucks up wealth from the bottom to send it to the top.
    • With stagnation (slow economic growth, high unemployment/underemployment and excess capacity) at the centre, a worldwide proliferation of oligopolistic multinational corporations, and “financialisation of the capital accumulation process a large, relatively independent financial superstructure towers over the real part of the world economy and most of its national units.
    • This financial superstructure has, in turn, influenced the structure and functioning of the world’s major “real” economies and the corporations therein, obliging their managements to also engage in financial speculation.
    • With retained earnings not finding profitable outlets in real capital formation, they are diverted into speculative financial channels.
    • Multinational corporations are also culprits of facilitating illicit financial outflows through the manipulation of trade transactions. Trade misinvoicing, transfer pricing, payments between parent companies and their subsidiaries, and profit-shifting mechanisms designed to conceal revenues are all common practices by companies seeking to maximise profits.
    • Companies use tax evasion and tax avoidance, taking advantage of legal loopholes of the international corporate taxation system.
    • With growing financial liberalisation, the rates of return to wealth overtook the rates of return to all types of work. Global economic growth is slowing down while wealth inequality is accelerating.
    • State capture by the wealthy in advanced capitalist economies is easily documented in terms of numerous policies against the public interest which serve the interests of the elite.
    • The growth of high-skilled jobs and the automation of medium-skilled jobs means, on the central projection, that inequality will rise by 30%.
    • The more a country’s economy shifts to a post-industrial stage, the more its dependence on imports grows, in the process gobbling up other countries resources.
  • Militarily:-
    • Without conflicts amongst countries the business of weapon making will not survive. So capitalist system creates a sense of insecurity that countries would want to enhance their military technologies as deterrence.
    • They also increasingly exploit the resources of the rest of the world in the form of raw materials used to make the products they import.
  • The environmental impact in the exporting countries includes the use of open areas for raising animal feed as well as large-scale use of water resources.

Positives :-

  • By 2015, the World Bank estimated that less than 10 percent of the world’s population was living in extreme poverty. Capitalism has demonstrably improved the lives and general welfare of millions of people.
  • The capitalism has opened free trade between countries. The better economic interaction among countries has opened new avenues of employment opportunities. With surge in foreign investment, the developing countries now get access to better technologies and skills.
  • Capitalists enjoy a high degree of legitimacy today because they have found ways of co-opting thought leaders and the managerial class, as well as ways of keeping the labour class weak and divided.
  • Technology made possible by the greater capital invested by American and other Western firms, which raises the productivity of each worker. Similarly, the more modernized plants of the American companies translate to better and safer working conditions.
  • Technology and industrial mechanization  the achievements of the minds of men made possible by freedom are raising living standards in 21st century Asia.
  • The growing influence of capitalism brings countries together and this significantly impacts defence and military strategy of the countries as well.
    • Due to this growing cooperation war might not a reality and countries look to resolve issues amicably through diplomacy

General Studies – 2

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

3)NHPS is a critical step in improving the status of healthcare in India, however, the way ahead is fraught with challenges. Examine the challenges and suggest measures to tackle them. (250 words)

Financial express



Why this question

NHPS is a critical step in achieving the vision of universal healthcare in India. In light of the challenges associated with poor healthcare, out of pocket expenditure etc, the idea of health insurance to deal with these issues is a long debated one. Now that we are moving ahead on this, it becomes imperative to be aware of the challenges and discuss a way forward.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the following issues

  • Details of NHPS and what advantages it will bring
  • The challenges in the implementation of the scheme and the impacts it is likely to have in the effectiveness of NHPS
  • Learn from global experiences, experiences of states like TN etc, reports etc in writing a way forward

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

In the case of above question on challenges in implementation of NHPS, we have to examine different aspects like finances , regulations, capacity building etc and the impact those challenges are likely to have on the future of NHPS.

Suggest measures – Suggestions should be based on reports, opinion pieces, global and state’s experiences.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Write details about NHPS and how implementation of such a scheme is fraught with challenges.


  • Discuss why NHPS is important
  • Universal healthcare
  • Out of pocket expenditure
  • Improving hdi etc
  • Examine the challenges. Discuss challenges under broadheads like
  • Financing
  • Regulatory architecture
  • Infrastructural shortcomings particularly at primary and secondary level
  • Capacity building
  • Etc
  • Also mention the impact that these challenges would have on the future of NHPS , if left unresolved
  • Suggest way forward based on experiences of South East Asian countries in providing healthcare, quote from the opinions expressed in the articles , along with your own views

Conclusion – Give the issue a larger context by linking it to question of socio economic justice and the role of government in providing a better life to the citizens to establish that the issue deserves utmost importance.



  • India is concerned with many health issues be it malnutrition, infant mortality, rising non communicable diseases, growing number of deaths due to cancer etc. The national health protection scheme or the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme is the step in the right direction which can give impetus to healthcare in India.


  • The scheme seeks to provide health cover to 10 crore economically vulnerable families.
  • Every family will be provided Rs. 5 lakhs annually for secondary and tertiary health care.
  • 2000 crore are allocated for the scheme in the budget 2018.
  • The overall investment required for the scheme is estimated to be around Rs. 10,000 crores to Rs. 12,000 crores.
  • The Premium for every household is expected to be Rs.1000 to Rs. 1200 annually.
  • The scheme is acentrally sponsored scheme. The centre intends to bear 60 percent of the cost. Remaining 40 percent will be borne by the states.
  • The scheme will replace Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana under which, the government provided Rs.30,000 annually for healthcare. Under NHPS, Rs.30,000 is increased to Rs. 5 lakhs.
  • The centre will face an annual burden of around Rs. 5000- 6000 crores towards premium. The rest will be come from state governments.
  • NITI Aayog expects that at least 50% of the beneficiaries will use the scheme in the first year.

 It is a very critical scheme because:-

  • The NHPS will be financially viable, despite a high coverage offered to the few who fall sick in any year, because the rest in the large pool do not need it that year.
  • Will bring healthcare system closer to the homes of people.
  • It can achieve its goal as only 40 per cent of India’s population will be covered under this insurance scheme. If the National Health Protection Scheme is properly implemented and monitored we would have taken an important step in creating a Swasth Bharat.
  • State governments have the main responsibility of health service delivery and also need to bear the major share of the public expenditure on health. The National Health Policy (NHP) asks the States to raise their allocation for health to over 8% of the total State budget by 2020, requiring many States to double their health spending.

Challenges remain:-

  • The amount of Rs 5 lakh per family is a massive and unexpected hike from the existing fund of Rs 1 lakh per family. This amount is 17 times bigger than the RSBY scheme and will cover 40% of India’s population.
  • Though it improved access to health care, it did not reduce out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE), catastrophic health expenditure or health payment-induced poverty.
  • The NHPS addresses those concerns by sharply raising the coverage cap, but shares with the RSBY the weakness of not covering outpatient care which accounts for the largest fraction of OOPE.
  • The NHPS too remains disconnected from primary care.
  • Universal health insurance through private hospitals has not worked for the poor anywhere.Biggest beneficiaries are the private hospitals and insurance companies. There is no substitute for public health care. 
  • The government’s proposals do little to prevent poor health in the first place. India is plagued by increasing levels of water and air pollution, some of it worsened by pro-business policies. Malnutrition, poor sanitation and lack of proper housing also remain major problems.
  • Earlier programme failures cast new doubts:-
    • In its final iteration in 2016-2017, the RSBY also targeted 5.9 crore families, and managed to enroll 3.6 crore families. Thus the government’s announcement today of reaching ten crore families is also vastly ambitious
    • There is evidence to show that despite efforts towards pushing for increased insurance coverage, neither have the poorest been reached out to nor has there been efficient financial protection.
  • In real terms and as a percentage of GDP, there is a decline in the health budget this year.
  • It would take six more months to finalise the scheme and then perhaps a few more months to contract insurance agencies and providers. So it is uncertain if the scheme will be fully implemented this year
  • Challenges with states:-
    • Questions arise when centre has not raised its public expenditure on health will the states be inspired to raise their allocation for health to over 8%
    • The NHPS needs a buy-in from the States, which have to contribute 40% of the funding. Even with the low cost coverage of the RSBY, several States opted out. Some decided to fund their own State-specific health insurance programmes.
    • The southern states have vibrant and mature insurance schemes with Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka virtually racing towards universal health coverage. The scheme may enable them to avail of financial assistance from the central government and use the resultant savings for other health needs in the primary healthcare segment to avert disease and keep costs low.

Way forward:-

  • Universal health coverage is widely practised in the world. So India needs to accept it too.
  • Also the public healthcare needs to be strengthened especially in rural areas.
  • The government needs to provide adequate funding to improve the quality of services as well.
  • In a federal polity with multiple political parties sharing governance, an all-India alignment around the NHPS requires a high level of cooperative federalism, both to make the scheme viable and to ensure portability of coverage as people cross State borders.
  • The government should purchase healthcare services from the private players, wherever the government doesn’t have the wherewithal to cater to the demand.
  • International examples:-
    • Government needs to increase the overall spending on the healthcare sector. 
    • Important for the government to increase the spending on primary and preventive healthcare
    • Among the developing countries, Brazil and Thailand have achieved close to universal health coverage. In Thailand, the government health expenditure, as a percentage of total healthcare expenditure, stands at 78%

TopicIssues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

4)The crisis in India’s higher education system has only deepened with time. Analyse in the light of various ills plaguing our higher education system.(250 words)


Why this question

Education is a critical indicator of human development and an important issue for policymakers and academics alike. Indian education including the higher education is in poor form as can be assessed from our performance in world rankings. There are demands for various reforms and the government has taken several initiatives to address the issue, including the present decision to provide more autonomy to more than 60 institutions of eminence. However the malaise affecting the higher education in India is much worse than to be solved by band-aid solutions. The issue is related to GS-2 syllabus under the following heading-

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

Key demand of the question.

the question wants us to highlight and briefly describe all the major problems affecting India’s higher education. We have to trace the historical evolution of India’s higher education sector and analyse how the problem has worsened with time despite many attempts to reform it.

Directive word

Analyse- we have to look into the key aspects of the question (crisis has deepened with time and ills plaguing India’s higher education) and discuss in detail about them. We have to provide justifications and examples wherever required.

Structure of the answer

introduction- Mention the change in higher education sought before independence, and the priorities and vision of the newly independent India.

Body- Discuss in points about the various problems plaguing India’s higher education ( e.g Lack of quality, adhocism, erosion of autonomy, unnecessary bureaucratization and politicization,stress on exam process, grading, rot learning, employability etc.)  and highlight how the problem has worsened over time ( dilution of aims and values of higher education, over-regulation with time, adhocism, budget cuts, erosion of vital institutes or their autonomy, wrong direction of reform like rating universities/ institutes among themselves and ignoring the larger problem).

Conclusion- based on the above discussion, form a clear, fair and balanced opinion and present it as your conclusion. Also highlight the need  for major reforms in India’s higher education




  • Since independence one of the priorities that has been given by the Indian state is to provide free and compulsory education to all the citizens of the country as a part of its normative understanding of the idea of well-being.
  • Although education as a right, came as late as in 2009, the essence of focusing on human capital development was always in the blood stream of the policies that surrounded and operated at the peripheries of development related policies.
  • India since independence understood the need for education, and the responsibility to provide it was taken up by the central government. It was realized that, in order to have an enlightened citizenry the country had to have an educated population, specially the youth. The education of adult became imperative as ninety percent citizens were not educated.

They have worsened over a period of time:-

  • The issues range from quality to accountability from lack of widespread innovation to marketing quality of Indian schools globally Since Independence
  • Fairly quickly after independence, higher education governance came to be exercised in different ways between the centre and the states.
    • Control over the system’s governance was to later become an arena of contest between the national (central) government and the provinces (states), leading to disagreements on strategies, such as on funding and regulation.
    • In later phases, particularly in the third phase that began in 1984 and continues to the present, the disagreements intensified because educational priorities started changing due to the changes in the relative influence of stakeholder groups and new forces such as globalization.

What is ailing Indian higher education system :-

  • India’s focus on expanding the higher education sector to provide access has led to a situation where research and scholarship have been neglected.
  • Funding issues:-
    • The Central government’s slant toward premier institutions has continued ever since the Eleventh Five Year Plan where in spite of a nine-fold increase in Budget allocation State institutions have been left to fend for themselves with funding mainly directed towards starting more premier institutes.
    • Investment by State governments has been also dwindling each year as higher education is a low-priority area. The University Grant Commission’s system of direct releases to State institutions which bypasses State governments also leads to their sense of alienation.
    • There has been a demand to take spending on education to 6% of gross domestic product for decades.
  • Low enrolment:-
    • The gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education is 24.5 meaning out of every 100 youths eligible for higher education, less than 25 are pursuing tertiary education.
  • Desired levels of research and internationalization of Indian campuses remain weak points
  • It follows a largely linear model with very little focus on specialization. Both experts and academics feel Indian higher education is tilted towards social sciences.
    • Only 1.7% colleges run Ph.D programmes and a mere 33% colleges run postgraduate-level programmes.
  • Regulatory issues:-
    • The country has a poor record with both the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) being seen more as controllers of education than facilitators.
    • As a regulator of India’s higher education, coordinator of vastly different kinds of institutions, and custodian of standards, the UGC had begun to look ill-equipped.
    • Regulatory bodies with licensing powers hurt the autonomy of professional higher education, leading to serious imbalance in the diarchy they were under, and partitioning general from professional higher education in several crucial areas of knowledge.
    • Privately set-up institutions in medicine, engineering, and other fields created the ground conditions in which strict regulation acquired justification. The power to license led to corruption.
    • The existing model is based on deep and pervasive distrust among regulators over the possibility of universities doing things on their own, and doing it well. The current framework that require universities to be constantly regulated by laws, rules, regulations, guidelines and policies set by the government and the regulatory bodies have not produced the best results.
  • Lack of autonomy:-
    • All aspects of academic life, including admission norms, syllabus design, and examination were controlled by the affiliating university.
    • In colleges set up and run by the government, recruitment of faculty was the state government’s prerogative.
    • When certain state governments stopped fresh recruitment altogether and moved over to the practice of hiring contractual or ad hoc teachers, no college could practise autonomy to alleviate its suffering.
    • Autonomy to function through their own structures of governance first began to diminish in many provincial or state universities in the sphere of appointment of vice chancellors. State universities could not resist the imposition by those with political power of poorly qualified and unsuitable individuals as vice chancellors.
  • The vacancy crisis broke the sense of professional community among teachers and their organisations. Even teacher quality was abysmal
  • Ranking systems:-
    • Additional autonomy granted on the basis of NAAC rating and status in NIRF begs questions about these systems of evaluation. They are neither authentic nor valid. The reason they lack authenticity lies in the processes through which they are derived.
    • The NAAC is based on an inspectorial process. Its reliability suffers from both ends involved in any inspectorial system in our ethos. 
    • NIRF’s need arose from India’s poor performance in global ranking systems but the question is if Indian institutions of higher learning were found to be generally too poor to be noticed globally, how would they get any better if ranked among themselves
  • Roots of Vulnerability
    • Currently there is a dominant ideology of commercialisation of knowledge and teaching.
    • Higher education is not leading to graduates entering the work sector as the education is not in sync with the needs of the companies.

Way forward:-

  • Role needs to significantly change from the existing model to a more progressive approach where universities are allowed to take greater responsibility on their
    • There is a need to develop a framework of Earned Autonomy for universities where new forms of regulatory models are created. This model can have a system in which universities could be identified on the basis of indicators and assessment criteria so that a number of them, public and private, could be allowed to function more autonomously than others.
  • The regulatory framework ought to make an important distinction between the role of colleges in promoting access to higher education on the one hand and the larger focus of universities in India, which should be to create knowledge and promote research and scholarship leading to publications.
  • A systematic, coherent, and transparent approach is needed to determine the suitability of universities to pursue objectives of excellence.
  • Government can help define standards for universities via its ranking frameworks and accreditation surveys, or students can decide based on cut-offs, as is done in the case of Common Admission Test (CAT) for management courses.
  • A more robust and transparent admission system would not only lend credibility to the selection process, but it would also ensure quality.
  • HEERA needs to established soon


Topic Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the
protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

5)Critically analyze whether the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ initiative would help India India address the growing inter state and inter district disparities?(250 words)




Why this question

The rising inequality in India makes it imperative for us to ensure regional parity in development. Transformation of aspirational district initiative is a key focus area of the government as evident by the focus accorded by Niti Ayog and PMO. Hence learning about the strategy, impacts etc of the initiative becomes important.

Key demand of the question

The focus of the answer should be on bringing out the following points

  • Bring out the problem of inter region inequality in India and the need of addressing this issue
  • Details of the initiative. What is the initiative about etc
  • Strategy of the initiative. How the initiative plans to achieve its objective of reducing inequality and achieving prosperity in districts
  • Highlight the strengths and weakness of the initiative and provide your opinion on the same

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. You need to conclude with  a fair judgement, after analyzing the nature of each component part and interrelationship between them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the problem of glaring inter regional inequality in India and how the said initiative aims to change the status quo.


  • Facts and figures to prove that inter regional inequality is an issue that requires intense focus
  • Details of transformation of aspirational districts – what is the initiative, how it plans to achieve its aims , areas where it aims to make an impact etc
  • Analyze whether the areas chosen for the projects would help achieve a transformational change. Analyze whether the baseline ranking methodology and the focus on data collection and monitoring would ho achieve development in these regions. Etc

Conclusion – Based on your arguments above, mention your stand.


  • 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 it would help in resolving  Inter state and Inter district disparities:-

  • The programme shifts the focus away from output and draws attention to socio-economic outcomes. Through its large-scale efforts to collect, distil 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 backwardso 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.
  • With continuously updated data dashboards, those running the programme on the ground can alter strategies after accurate feedback.
  • 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 fundsfor the most backward districts.
  • Data collection and analysis on monthly basis is a very hectic processwhich 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 peopleand 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 and issues relating to employment ; Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

6)The nature of post industrial ecosystem has created newer and more complex challenges for job creation. Examine these challenges in Indian context and suggest ways to address them.(250 words)




Why this question

The rising use of technology like AI in economy, governance etc has put the future of human labour at peril. Recently our PM has also envisioned greater use of AI in governance etc. At a time, when job creation in the economy is under the scanner, this development will make the issue more complex. Hence it needs to be examined.

Key demand of the question

Following are the points that need to be discussed in the answer

  • What is the nature of post industrial ecosystem and the nature of challenges created by it
  • Examine the employment scenario in India
  • Examine how this development is bound to put India in a difficult spot – the need of providing jobs to reap the demographic dividend and the fast loss of traditional jobs in manufacturing and services.
  • Discuss the challenges in front of India
  • Suggest measures to help deal with the situation

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the technological developments that have taken us in a post industrial ecosystem


  • Explain nature of the post industrial ecosystem and how it changes the nature of work. More automations etc
  • Discuss in brief the employments situation in India – lack of jobs in manufacturing sector, lack of skills etc
  • Discuss how the status quo is going to get aggravated in future with job losses occurring in even well performing sectors like IT, Banking etc
  • Discuss the challenges in front of India – poor skilling, poor infrastructure , lack of human capacity development, outdated system of education etc – all of which make it more difficult and complex for us to achieve the transformation
  • Suggest way forward such as the need for constantly upgrading our skills and others as mentioned in the article.

Conclusion – Bring out the need for adapting to rapidly changing technology and the need for government to recognise this challenge and work on the way forward.

Background :-

  • World is in the midst of the most transformative age in human history where technological leaps could make possible a world of limitless food, water, and energy.
  • Although world has attained the ability to produce any resource at any speed or in any quantity, human capital requirement is on a steep decline owing to the advent of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics which are threatening jobs.

Post industrial ecosystem and its nature:-

  • A post-industrial society is a stage in a society’s evolution when the economy shifts from producing and providing goods and products to one that mainly offers services. In a post-industrial society, technology, information and services are more important than manufacturing actual goods.
  • The following shifts are associated with post-industrial societies:
    • Production of goods (like clothing) declines and the production of services (like restaurants)  goes up.
    • Manual labor jobs and blue collar jobs are replaced with technical and professional jobs.
    • Society experiences a shift from focusing on practical knowledge to theoretical knowledge. The latter involves the creation of new, invention solutions.
    • There is a focus on new technologies, how to create and utilize them as well as harness them.
    • New technologies foster the need for new scientific approaches like IT and cybersecurity.
    • Society needs more college graduates with advanced knowledge who can help develop and advance technological change.
  • Deepening levels of worker anxiety about retaining a job affects large swathes of the developed economies.
  • A large number of workers will lose jobs due to automationin the next two decades.
  • Five high-technology firms find themselves among the list of the top seven most valuable companies in the world, with a cumulative market capitalisation of almost $3 trillion
    • It is distressing to note that that they employ just under 700,000 people among them.
    • The inevitable widespread adoption of next generation technologies indicates a future of mass unemployment, and concentration of wealth in the hands of a few enterprises capable of providing minuscule job openings.

Indian employment scenario:-

  • Indian scenario already looks grim with the Labour Bureau stating that India added just 1.35 lakh jobs in eight labour-intensive sectors in 2015, against a backdrop of almost 1.5 crore annually entering the job market. 


Challenges for creating jobs in India :-

  • Informal employment:-
    • India is largely informal and ineffectively regulated for work standards and safeguards. Out of a workforce of around 427 million, formal employment is just 14 per cent at 60 million.
  • Women participation:-
    • Lack of opportunity in the workplace and cultural constraints keep 56 per cent of them (a vast majority of them being women) at home.
  • Automation:-
    • With latest technologies like artificial intelligence people are concerned about mass unemployment. Automation will lead to the substitution of labour in those tasks.
    • Automation is expected to gain further steam in 2018, rendering nearly 70 per cent of the Indian workforce irrelevant.
  • Lack of skilled labour:-
    • Most people today are acquiring skills that will be far less valuable in an AI-first economy, and the process of retraining and finding suitable jobs could be slow and painful.
  • Quality of education and system of examination system is not in sync with the changing needs of the society.
  • Failure of government schemes:-
    • The ‘Mudra Yojana’ is just one tool in the form of a loan scheme and that by itself it will not create jobs.
    • Even with Skills India scheme short term courses have been created which churn out skilled labour that is not able to meet industry needs.
    • Apprenticeship programs help bridge the gap between the unemployed freshers and the industries.  The Indian apprenticeship policy is in urgent need of reforms.
    • Lack of vision, roadmap And framework To enhance employability.
  • Dilapidated Employment Exchange
    • The employment exchanges in most states have been reduced to issuing employment cards for government jobs. They lack a decent website where citizens can enrol and seek information about jobs and vacancies. They do not conduct any survey or record any information about employment in the state.
    • The Employment Exchange must be upgraded with providing online services and real-time information about employment in the state.
  • Lack Of Reforms In Labour Laws
    • According to an Ease of Doing Business report by Niti Ayog in 2017, firms in labour-intensive sectors find compliance with labour-related regulations particularly onerous. This fact translates into enterprises avoiding the labour-intensive sectors.
    • Indicates a shift in the pattern of employment from permanent jobs to casual and contract employment. This temporary nature of work has adversely affected the wages, employment stability and social security of the workers.
  • Stagnant manufacturing sector:-
    • Stringent land acquisition laws and inflexible labour regulations make it difficult for India to attract investors in the manufacturing sector.
    • Others believe the lack of support to local manufacturers has led to the failure of the project.
  • Lack of innovation and lack of skilled labour resulted in the shutdown of many new startups.

Way forward :-

  • In the enhancing employability, 2016 report a policy was proposed to enhance workforce employability. It presented the following policy framework as follows:
    • Enhancing Post Metric Education
    • Anticipating emerging skill needs and adopting policies accordingly
    • Reinforcing the role of training and work-based learning
    • Enhancing the adaptability of workplaces
    • Promoting labour mobility
  • The overall approach to education needs to shift from knowledge dissemination to skills training, with students having the option to drop out after high school to pursue formal vocational training.
  • Reduce the expectation from manufacturing as a provider of non-agricultural jobs as due to technological advancements it might lead to less employment
  • Shift from informal sector employment to formal sector employment.
  • Technically skilled and business-oriented youth should be encouraged to explore the entrepreneurship option, and create jobs.
  • In the long run, less well educated workers could be particularly exposed to automation, emphasising the importance of increased investment in lifelong learning and retraining.
  • Reforms in informal sector:-
    • The informal economy employs more than 90% of our workforce. Efforts to structure the informal sector, by encouraging them to adopt modern-day tools and best practices, and by giving them adequate access to capital for expansion, would stimulate the economy and the job market.
  • Focussed government planning and spending, along with the creation of an environment that would encourage private investments into these potentially large-scale projects, could create immediate openings for millions in sectors like construction.
    • If leveraged to create essential and permanent assets, employment-guaranteeing schemes like MGNREGA would also effectively absorb a large slice of job seekers.
  • Skills councils are independent organisations that provide a platform for the discussion of the skills-related challenges of specific sectors or regional areas, as well as the development of joint policy responses.
    • They provide recommendations on education and labour market policy, which can be general in nature, or specific to a certain region, sector or individual education and training institution and its programmes.
  • Special packages are needed for labour-intensive industries to create jobs. 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.
  • Public investments in health, education, police and judiciary can create many government jobs

General Studies – 4

TOPIC : Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

7)What do you understand by Highest Priority Critically Important Antimicrobials (HPCIAs). Also, discuss role of livestock rearing in antibiotic resistance among humans.(250 words)



Why this question

Antibiotic resistance is a serious issue and more so for India, given its poor health infrastructure, a large population of unprivileged and vulnerable people and widespread misuse of antibiotics in animal rearing. The question is related to GS-3 syllabus under the following heading-

Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to give a proper and complete-in-meaning description of HPCIAs. Then it wants us to discuss how animal rearing is associated with antibiotic resistance among humans.

Directive word

What- we have to provide a description of the term.

Discuss- we have to look into the details and identify the prevalence of and reasons behind antibiotic abuse in livestock rearing.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- give a proper, concise and complete-in-meaning description of HPCIAs along with some examples of class of drugs.

Body–  divide the body into three parts.

  • discuss the prevalence of use and major uses of antibiotics in livestock rearing. e.g for treating diseases, as growth stimulators, environmental sources etc.
  • discuss why there is misuse of antibiotics- e.g lack of knowledge about proper usage, over the counter sale of antibiotics,  necessary for extracting decent profit from large intensive poultry and pig farms, etc.
  • briefly discuss the effects of antibiotic resistance in humans.

Conclusion– briefly mention alternatives to antibiotics usage in livestock rearing- e.g better health and hygiene, scientific management, incentivization of organic products, harnessing traditional knowledge on livestock medicine etc.


  • The World Health Organization has classified certain antimicrobial classes as Highest priority critically important antimicrobials for human medicine in the so called WHO list of critically important antimicrobials for human medicine recently.
  • A report out of the United Kingdom found that, worldwide, antibiotic-resistant bacteria could kill more people per year by 2050 than cancer kills today.

Highest Priority Critically Important Antimicrobials (HPCIAs) :-

  • In the latest version of the CIA list the “Highest Priority Critically Important Antimicrobials“ are :- Quinolones, 3rd and higher generation Cephalosporins, Macrolides and Ketolides, glycopeptides, and Polymyxins.
  • These have been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO), as they are of the only few available therapies for some of the most serious bacterial infections in human health.

Antibiotics in livestock rearing why are they used  :-

  • The issue of antibiotic use in livestock is particularly for non-therapeutic use such as mass disease prevention or growth promotion of poultry, pigs etc.
  • Studies conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment has shown the use of important antimicrobials, including critically important ones in poultry and aquaculture.

Why rampant usage of antibiotics continues in livestock rearing industries:-

  • Unregulated sale of the drugs for human or animal use accessed without prescriptionor diagnosis has led to unchecked consumption and misuse.
    • Of tested birds destined for meat consumption, 87% had the super germs based on a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
  • Farms supplying India’s biggest poultry-meat companies routinely use medicines classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “critically important” as a way of staving off disease or to make them gain weight faster, so that more can be grown each year for greater profit.
    • One drug typically given this way is Colistin which is used to treat patients critically ill with infections that have become resistant to nearly all other drugs.
  • In India, the poultry industry is booming. The amount of chicken produced doubled between 2003 and 2013. Chicken is popular because it can be eaten by people of all religionsand affordable. Experts predict the rising demand for protein will cause a surge in antibiotic use in livestock. India’s consumption of antibiotics in chickens is predicted to rise fivefold by 2030 compared to 2010.
  • Lax regulation:-
    • India does not have an effective integrated policy to control the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry with a viewpoint of containing antibiotic resistance
    • 2007: The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) recommends not using systemic antibiotics in poultry feed. The recommendation is voluntary and does not extend to gut-acting antibiotics, which BIS planned to cover by 2012
    • 2011:The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) sets maximum residue limits for four antibiotics in sea food and prohibits the use of certain others in seafood processing units. It does not prescribe standards for domestic poultry industry. The national policy on containment of antimicrobial resistance is finalised but does not focus on antibiotic resistance emanating from the large-scale use of antibiotics in animals 
    • 2013:-The Directorate General of Health Services issues a circular, asking state drug controllers to ensure that the withdrawal period of drugs meant for poultry and livestock are mentioned on packet. While it talks about regulating drugs, antibiotics as feed supplement remain out of its purview.
    • In 2014 the Agriculture Ministry sent an advisory letter to all State governments asking them to review the use of antibiotic growth promoters. However, the directive was non-binding, and none have introduced legislation to date.
    • Even the guidelines of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)on poultry waste management do not adequately address ABR.
  • In India, at least five animal pharmaceutical companies are openly advertising products containing Colistin as growth promoters.
    • Chickens are fed antibiotics so that they gain weight and grow fast.
    • Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has found residues of antibiotics in 40 per cent of the chicken samples it tested. 
    • In Europe, Colistin is available to farmers only if prescribed by a vet for the treatment of sick animals. In India there is no such thing.
  • India, level of awareness regarding antibiotic resistance is very low.
  • Antibiotics are also coming from China as the imports are not regulated
  • Poultry farmers also ignore the mandatory withdrawal period, time gap between the use of antibiotics and when it is slaughtered that helps ensure that high levels of antibiotic residues do not pass on to humans.
  • While many poultry farmers are aware of other options or antibiotic-free growth promoter feed supplements, their high cost is prohibitive for smaller players. Bigger farmers are less keen because there is no incentive to make antibiotic-free chickens.

Effects of antibiotic resistance on humans :-

  • Public health experts have suspected that such rampant use of antibiotics could be a reason for increasing antibiotic resistance in India.
  • These mutated robust strains bypass toxic effects of antibiotics, making them ineffective. They can easily spread among the flock and contaminate the food chain.They can also alter the genetic material of other bacteria, often pathogenic ones, making them resistant to several drugs and resulting in a global pandemic.
  • Antibiotic residues present in the meat can directly unleash an assault on microbes in humans.
  • The mutated robust microbe strain can invade the body and cause diseases that are difficult to treat.Even mild infections require stronger dosage.
  • These drug-resistant bacteria could nullify the gains of modern medicine by compromising the success of organ transplants, high-end surgeries and cancer chemotherapy.
  • With drugs losing their effectiveness, the world would need newer antibiotics. Unfortunately, no new class of antibiotic has hit the market since late 1980s.
  • Annual healthcare cost due to antibiotic resistanceis estimated to be as high as $20 billion, with an additional productivity loss of up to $35 billion in the US.
  • Treating fatal diseases like sepsis, pneumonia and tuberculosis (TB) are becoming tough because microbes that cause these diseases are increasingly becoming resistantto fluoroquinolones.
  • Farmhandswho handle the birds often wear open-toe shoes, providing a conduit of entry for resistant bacteria and resistance genes into the community and hospitals, where further person-to-person transmission is possible.

Way ahead:-

  • Ban the use of antibiotics for growth promotion and mass disease prevention. It should only be used to cure the sick animals based on prescription of veterinarians
  • Antibiotics should not be allowed in feed and feedThe government should set standards for animal feed and regulate the business
  • Encourage development, production and use of alternative antibiotic-free growth promoters, such as herbal supplements
  • All animal antibiotics should be traceable from manufacturing site to user. Implement stringent control on import of antibiotics and feed supplements
  • Good farm management practices should be followed to control infection and stress among the flock.
  • Veterinarians should be trained and educated on judicious use of antibiotics and infection prevention.The government should ensure that veterinarians do not get incentives for prescribing more antibiotics
  • There is a need to introduce a labelling system wherein poultry raised without use of antibiotics should be labelled through reliable certified schemes to facilitate consumer choice.
  • It is necessary to create an integrated surveillance system to monitor antibiotics use and antibiotics resistance trends in humans, animals and food chain. A national-level database should be developed and kept in the public domain.
  • Citizens should be educated about what they are eating, what does their food contain, and what are the consequences.