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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– Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

1) Discuss the key principles that grew out of Montagu Chelmsford Report and how those principles impacted our constitution?(250 words)

the hindu

Why this question

As the article states, in July 2018 it has been 100 years since the Montagu Chelmsford Report came out. Considering UPSC’s fascination with such historical milestones, it becomes important to prepare the topic in detail. Hence this question.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the key principles that came out of the Report and explain how they are being continued in our present constitution.

Directive word

Discuss – Here your discussion has to remain focussed on underlining the key takeaways from the report that had an impact on the polity and explain whether or not and in what ways those provisions had an impact on our constitution.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give a short brief on the Report explaining it’s origin, objectives etc.


  • Explain the key takeaways from the Report – responsible government, self-governance,federal structure etc
  • Examine the impact these features had on Indian polity.
  • Discuss how they were or were not continued in subsequent years. Discuss the provisions of local self government, the federal structure etc in our constitution, the foundations of which were laid down by such Acts

Conclusion – Give your view on the contribution of British in evolving a sound polity in India through these reports.


  • July 2018 marks the 100th year of the publication of the ‘Report on Indian constitutional reforms’, commonly known as the Montagu-Chelmsford Report (MCR).
  • Edwin Montagu,then Secretary of State for India, had advocated for increased participation of Indians in the British Indian administration.

Key principles out of Montague Chelmsford reforms:-

  • Elucidates the principle of accountable governance by directing that the Government of India must remain wholly responsible to Parliament.
  • The Government of India act 1919 had a separate Preamble. This Preamble declared that Objective of the British Government is the gradual introduction of responsible government in India.
  • Introduction of Diarchy:-
    • Preamble suggested for a decentralized unitary form of government.
    • Diarchy means a dual set of governments one is accountable another is not accountable.
  • Subjects:-
    • The Government of India Act of 1919, made a provision for classification of the central and provincial subjects.
    • The provincial subjects were divided into two groups: One was reserved and another was transferred.
    • The reserved subjects were kept with the Governor and transferred subjects were kept with the Indian Ministers. This division of subjects was basically what they meant by introducing the Diarchy.
    • The reserved subjects were the essential areas of law enforcement such as justice, police, revenue. The transferred subjects were such as public health, public works, education etc.
  • The Indian executive comprised of the Governor General and his council:-
    • No bill of the legislature could be deemed to have been passed unless assented to by the governor general. The later could however enact a Bill without the assent of the legislature.
    • This act made the central legislature bicameral. The first house which was central legislature, with 145 members (out of which 104 elected and 41 nominated) was called central Legislative Assembly and second called with 60 members (out of which 33 elected and 27 nominated) was called Council of States. The term of the assembly was fixed 3 years and council 5 years.
    • The central legislature can be called a primitive model of today’s Lok Sabha and council of states can be called a primitive model of Today’s Rajya Sabha.
  • The act provided for the establishment of a Public Service Commission in India for the first time.
    • This act also made a provision in its part V, that a statutory commission would be set up at the end of 10 years after the act was passed which shall inquire into the working into the system of the government.
  • The Simon commission of 1927 was an outcome of this provision.
  • The communal representation was extended and Sikhs, Europeans and Anglo Indians were included.
  • Voting:-
    • The Franchise (Right of voting) was granted to the limited number of only those who paid certain minimum “Tax” to the government.
  • The seats were distributed among the provinces not upon the basis of the population but upon the basis of their importance in the eyes of the government, on the basis of communities, and property was one of the main basis to determine a franchisee.
  • Governor general powers:-
    • The central legislature was empowered to consider, pass or reject legislation on any of the subjects enumerated in the Central list. But, the Governor-General had the last word on any Bill passed by the Legislature.
    • He possessed the power to prevent the consideration of a Bill or any of its part, on the plea that it was injurious to the peace and tranquility of the country.
    • He could disallow a question in the legislature.
    • He had the power to withhold his assent to any Bill passed by the legislature without which it could not become an Act.
    • He also had the power to disallow an adjournment motion or debate on any matter.
    • He could enact a law, which he considered essential for the safety and tranquility of the empire even if the legislature had refused to pass it.
  • Financial powers of central legislature:-
    • The financial powers of the central legislature were also very much limited. The budget was to be divided into two categories, votable and non-votable. 
    • The votable items covered only one third of the total expenditure. 
    • Even in this sphere the Governor-General was empowered to restore any grant refused or reduced by the legislature, if in his opinion the demand was essential for the discharge of his responsibilities.


How it impacted Indian constitution:-

  • MCR would go on to become the basis for the Government of India Act, 1935, and, ultimately, the Constitution. The key principles of responsible government, self-governance and federal structure grew out of these reforms
  • Administrative changes:-
    • MCR stands out for proposing some of the most radical administrative changes and for giving provincial legislatures the mantle of self-governance. To this extent, the report advocated the need to emancipate the local governments and legislatures from central control
  • The report also advocated in the direction of conferring responsible government on the provinces.
  • Indian constitution adopted bicameralism as seen in form of Lok sabha and rajya sabha and states have also adopted.
  • They further demanded that administration of the Presidencybe eventually moved to the local legislature. To this end, they suggested that departments in administration be placed under the control of legislatures.
  • Similarly Indian constitution also provides each states and Union Territories autonomy in it areas.
  • India also adopted concept of public service commission in the form of Union public service commission.
  • Indian constitution adopted the concept of Direct election on the basis of universal adult franchise.
  • 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment( devolution of power)
  • Article 75 talks about responsible and accountable government.


  • Franchise was very limited.
  • At the centre, the legislature had no control over the governor-general and his executive council.
  • Division of subjectswas not satisfactory at the centre.
  • Allocation of seats for Central Legislature to provinces was based on ‘importance’ of provincesfor instance, Punjab’s military importance and Bombay’s commercial importance.
  • At the level of provinces, division of subjects and parallel administration of two parts was irrationaland hence unworkable.
  • The provincial ministershad no control over finances and over the bureaucrats, leading to constant friction between the two. Ministers were often not consulted on important matters too; in fact, they could be overruled by the governor on any matter that the latter considered special.
  • On the home government (in Britain) front, the Government of India Act, 1919 made an important change the secretary of statewas henceforth to be paid out of the British exchequer.


  • The MCR on Indian constitutional reforms along with the Montagu Declaration are, thus, worthy claimants of the title of the Magna Carta of modern India.

Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Recommendations of Punchhi Commission”

2) Recently, in the process of formation of government in Goa and Karnataka, a lot of political drama ensued. Discuss how the recommendations of Punchhi Commission, if implemented, would have ensured smoother processes?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the issue faced in government formation in those states. Thereafter, it expects us to quote the relevant recommendations of Punchhi Commission and how those recommendations would help.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the recent uncertainty and confusing in government formation in case of hung assembly in Goa and Karnataka.


  • Discuss the two major recommendation of Punchhi Commission regarding – clear guidelines on the chief ministers’ appointment so that the discretionary powers of the governor are limited in this regard, and reforms in the office of governor
  • Discuss these reforms in great detail alongwith its impact

Conclusion – Give your view on what the way forward should be.


  • In the recently concluded elections in Goa and Karnataka there was no party which won with absolute majority so there was confusion with respect to which party has the right to form the government.

What did Punchi commission say:-

  • Forming the government:-
    • Among the significant suggestions made by the Commission is, laying down of clear guidelines for the appointment of chief ministers. Upholding the view that a pre-poll alliance should be treated as one political party, it lays down the order of precedence that ought to be followed by the governor in case of a hung house:
      • Call the group with the largest prepoll alliance commanding the largest number; 
      • The single largest party with support of others
      • The post-electoral coalition with all parties joining the government
      • The post electoral alliance with some parties joining the government and remaining including Independents supporting from outside.
    • Governor:-
      • As for qualifications for a governor, the Punchhi commission suggests that the nominee not have participated in active politics at even local level for at least a couple of years before his appointment.
      • It also agrees with the Sarkaria recommendation that a governor be an eminent person and not belongs to the state where he is to be posted. 
      • The commission also criticizes arbitrary dismissal of governors.
      • It has also recommended that the state chief minister have a say in the appointment of governor. 
      • Underlining that removal of a governor be for a reason related to his discharge of functions, it has proposed provisions for impeachment by the state legislature along the same lines as that of President by Parliament. This, significantly, goes against the doctrine of pleasure upheld by Supreme Court judgment.
      • Endorsing an NCRWC recommendation, it says appointment of governor should be entrusted to a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha and chief minister of the concerned state. The Vice-President can also be involved in the process. 
      • Unlike the Sarkaria report, the Punchhi report is categorical that a governor be given fixed five-year tenure.
      • The Punchhi Commission report also recommends that a constitutional amendment be brought about to limit the scope of discretionary powers of the governor under Article 163 (2). Governors should not sit on decisions and must decide matters within a four-month period.

Yes it would have solved the issue:-


  • In the case of Goa, the debacle exposes the fact that there are no specific guidelines in the Constitution on who the Governor should invite to form a government in a State where rival parties with narrow majorities engage in a face-off.
  • The clear cut structure laid down by the commission of how a governor should approach when hung house takes place gives clarity to parties as well as governor and no confusion will be present.
  • Governor following the guidelines of the commission ensures that there is stability of the government and the spirit of democracy is upheld.
  • The constitutional convention of inviting the single largest party in the case of a fractured mandate has been outlined by the Sarkaria Commission recommendations, which were affirmed by a Constitution Bench of the SC in Rameshwar Prasad v Union of India in 2005 can also be considered.

General Studies – 2

Topic– Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

3) Discuss the debates surrounding section 13(1)(d)(iii) of PoCA, 1988? Examine the amendment to PoCA and discuss the impact that it will have on fight against corruption?(250 words)


Why this question

Section 13(1)(d)(iii) of PoCA has been a matter of debate since a long time with several committees such as 2nd ARC expressing its opinion. The spectre of 3C is closely related to this provision of the PoCA. The amendment is thus important and its impact on the fight against corruption needs to be analyzed.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain section 13(1)(d)(iii)  of the Constitution and discuss the debate surrounding mens rea as a result of this section. Explain why there have been calls for amendment and the arguments against it. Discuss the amendments that have taken place and the likely impact.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

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 – Explain that amendments have been made to one one the key provisions of PoCA. Explain what PoCA is


  • Discuss what is entailed in Section 13(1)(d)(iii). Examine the view of  2nd ARC that a distinction between collusive and coercive bribing. Give the potential harms such as risk of policy paralysis, unable to respond in a dynamic manner etc. Also bring out the other aspect that is how diluting the provision could have a detrimental effect in the fight against corruption. Highlight views of TSR Subramanian who has repeatedly said that the existing law offers adequate protection to honest officers
  • Discuss the amendments made to aforementioned section and insertion of Section 17A to say that even an inquiry/investigation cannot be carried out without the approval of the government. Discuss the impact it is likely to have on fight against corruption.

Conclusion – Give your view on the amendment and its impact on corruption.


  • Parliament recently passed a bill to amend the 1988 anti-graft law by seeking to punish bribe- givers for the first time along with the bribe takers.

Debates surrounding section 13(1)(d)(iii)  of POCA:-

  • Section 13 (1) (d) (iii) of PCA 1988 held that if a person while holding office as a public servant, obtains for any person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage without any public interest, then such an act amounts to criminal misconduct.
  • The original Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) was drafted in such a manner that, often enough, the courts had no option but to hold officials guilty as in the case of former coal secretary in the coal scam case if it was found that the decision taken benefitted someone
  • This section of the PCA has been amended by saying that the public servant will be guilty of criminal misconduct if he intentionally enriches himself illicitly during the period of his office apart from proof of a direct bribe related to a clearance/permission, the fact that the official has assets disproportionate to his/her sources of income can be used to prove culpability.
  • The present Bill removes this section and replaces it with a truncated definition of criminal misconduct by a public servant: fraudulent misappropriation of property under one’s control, and intentional, illicit enrichment and possession of disproportionate assets.
  • Under this new definition, any benefit that is not economic, that is indirect or that cannot be proven to be intentional fraud will not be punished as corruption.
  • The Law Commission studied this proposed amendment carefully and disagreed with the narrow definition. Instead it proposed an even wider definition. The Law Commission suggested that any “undue advantage” that results from “improper performance of public function or activity” of a public servant should be punishable.
  • The Existing Section 13(1)(d) is the only provision in the PCA which deals with corruption in high places where, typically, no under-the-table transactions take place.
  • The corrupt public servant usually receives illegal gratification in an extremely clandestine manner such as off-shore transactions or non-monetary considerations such as a better posting, post retirement benefits, etc.
  • All major scams, right from Bofors to the 2G scam, the Commonwealth Games scam, the coal scam, etc. became criminal offences by virtue of this section.
  • This is precisely why a section of bureaucrats has been demanding a deletion of this provision on the ground that it inhibits fearless decision-making that may involve exercise of discretion and bona fide errors.
  • S.R. Subramanian has repeatedly said that the existing law offers adequate protection to honest officers. It does not punish any bona fide difference or even mistake unless it is a clear abuse of power leading to financial or other gains.
  • The report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission has recommended a distinction between “coercive” and “collusive” bribing. 

Amendments to POCA:-

  • Its aim was to enhance transparency and accountability of the government and also to make the provisions under the law stringent.
  • Provisions of the bill:-
    • Bribe giving:-
      • Giving bribe is a specific and a direct offence.
      • It makes a provision for providing protection to ‘coerced’ (forced to pay a bribe) bribe-giversif the matter is reported to the concerned law enforcement agencies within a week.
      • The Bill has removed the provision which protected a bribe-giver from prosecution for statements made by him/her during corruption trials.
      • The Bill covers bribe-giving commercial organisations to be liable for punishment or prosecution. However, charitable institutions have been left out of its ambit.
    • Imprisonment:-
      • Those convicted of taking bribes can be imprisoned for three to seven yearsbesides being fined under the provisions of the Bill.
      • Bribe-givers have also been included in the legislation for the first time and they can be punished with imprisonment for up to seven years, a fine or both.
    • The Bill also redefines criminal misconduct and will now only cover misappropriation of property and possession of disproportionate assets.
      • Under the amendment to the act, criminal misconduct will now include only two offences (already mentioned above):
      • Misappropriating of property entrusted to the banker
      • Amassing assets disproportionate to known sources of income
    • The Billproposes a ‘shield’ for government servants, including those retired, from prosecution by making it mandatory for investigating agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation to take prior approval from a competent authority before conducting an enquiry against them.
      • However, it states that such permissions shall not be necessary for cases involving the arrest of a person on the spot on the charge of accepting or attempting to accept any undue advantage for himself or for any other person.
      • Another relief that the Bill provides to a public servant is that in any corruption case against him or her, the factor of “undue advantage” will have to be established.
      • According to PRS Legislative Research, the Bill provides powers and procedures for the attachment and forfeiture of a corruption-accused public servant’s property.
    • Trial:-
      • According to the Bill, the trial in cases pertaining to the exchange of bribe and corruption should be completed within two years. Further, even after reasoned delays, the trial cannot exceed four years.
    • Forfeiture of property
      • This section was introduced for the Special Court to attach and confiscate property, which was earlier done under a 1944 ordinance through civil courts.
    • Sanction for prosecution
      • A sanction is needed for prosecuting former officials for offences done while in office. The decision on sanction request is to be made under three months which may be extended by a month. Centre may notify about the guidelines.

Positive Impact:-

  • Safeguards incorporated for Honest Officers
    • Bill had many provisions to ensure speedy trial of corruption cases, besides providing protection to bureaucrats, even after their retirement, from malicious complaints. 
    • Brought amendments so that honest performing officer does not get intimidated or his initiatives get killed.
  • Banking industry:-
    • Prevention of corruption bill (amendment) 2013 is a relief for bankers. Under it, bankers cannot be pulled under the corruption law unless they have accumulated assets more than what they could have obtained with their steady income, or have misappropriated assets entrusted to them
    • The amendment comes at a time when the bankers are facing intense scrutiny for their lending decisions which have resulted in NPAs. Bankers have argued for a long time that they should not be prosecuted for lending decisions they made honestly.
    • The amendment to the anti-corruption law aims at helping the bankers take business decisions without fear.
  • The amendment also intends to empower the public to refuse to give a bribe with provisions of punishment for those who willingly offer bribe to the government officials.
  • Forfeiture of property is believed to help avoid a fresh procedure to confiscate property obtained through corruption and to enable court conducting trial to do so itself.
  • Experts are also concerned about the pre-investigation approval rule. Also, there was no similar provision in the Act, but a rule similar to it was struck down by Supreme Court.
  • In a departure from the earlier anti-corruption law, the current law makes a distinction between collusive bribe givers and those who are forced to give.


Negative impact:-

  • The Bill serves to dilute and defeat the whole point of anti-corruption legislation in more ways than one.
    • It narrows down the existing definition of corruption, increases the burden of proof necessary for punishing the corrupt, makes things more difficult for the whistle-blower, and strengthens the shield available to officials accused of corruption. And it slips in a diabolic clause that would protect the babu-neta nexus from ever facing any serious anti-corruption probe.
    • The older law had a broad definition of a corrupt public official, defining it simply as any person who, while holding office as a public servant, obtains for any person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage without any public interest.
    • The amendments narrow this definition significantly, by adding the test of intention, meaning prosecuting agencies will have to prove a conspiracy to carry out corrupt acts, rather than simply pointing to disproportionate assets or questionable actions.
  • The Bill makes it more difficult to hold someone guilty of disproportionate assets as it raises the threshold of proof.
    • Under the old law, the possession of monetary resources or property disproportionate to the public servant’s known sources of income is enough to prove corruption. Now the prosecutor will also have to prove that this disproportionate asset was acquired with the intention of the public servant to enrich himself illicitly. 
    • The offence of disproportionate assets under Section 13(1)(e) has been made much more difficult to prove and has been diluted
  • The proposed amendment makes it more risky for a bribe-giver to give evidence against a bribe-taker.
    • Under the old law, if a person makes a statement during a corruption trial that he gave a bribe, it would not be used to prosecute him for the offence of abetment of corruption. The current Bill omits this provision and proposes that bribe-taking and bribe-giving will be equally punishable. This would obviously deter bribe-givers from appearing as witnesses in cases against public officials.
  • The bill reduces the chances of prosecution of the corrupt:-
    • The existing PCA requires the government’s or higher officials sanction before any serving public servants can be prosecuted under the Act. The proposed amendment extends this protection to retired public servants, if the case pertains to the period when they were in office.
    • This provision adds another unnecessary and pointless condition. If a private person approaches the government for sanction to prosecute a public servant for corruption, he would now need a court order to this effect. This additional layer of protection for the accused would discourage victims of corruption and anti-corruption activists from prosecuting corrupt public servants.
  • Section 17 A:-
    • The bill proposes to insert a new Section 17A that would bar investigating agencies from even beginning an inquiry or investigating the offences under this Act without prior approval. Section 19 of the Act already protects officials from mala fide litigation. If someone wishes to harass an innocent officer without any credible evidence of corruption, the government can refuse to give sanction for prosecution. 
  • The amendments seek to define criminal misconduct more narrowly, by including just two clauses: if the public servant dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriates or otherwise converts for his own use any property entrusted to him or any property under his control as a public servant or allows any other person so to do or if he intentionally enriches himself illicitly during the period of his office.
    • This means that if a public servant cannot account for assets or property disproportionate to their known sources of income, then they are presumed to have intentionally enriched themselves illicitly. The changed clauses however, do not account for assets that have been illicitly procured for other people.
  • The amendment Bill has not mentioned who the concerned authority is for providing sanctions for investigating a public official. 
  • Some existing important provisions in the old law are being dropped. These new terms will take decades for getting their interpretations from the Supreme Court.
    • Sections 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the existing Act have been deleted and replaced by completely new provisions, with completely new definitions and words. It may now take decades before the new provisions are properly interpreted and settled by judiciary.
  • The provision under Section 13(1)(d) has been deleted. This is the provision which is used for involving senior bureaucrats and ministers in corruption cases, since direct acceptance of bribe by them was generally not possible. 
    • Further, the maximum punishment for this would now be only 7 years imprisonment as against the existing punishment for 10 years.
  • Prior permission of the Government or the competent authority will now be required for registering certain corruption offences. Previously, the provision for taking such permission was quashed and set aside by the Supreme Court in 2014 in a writ petition.
    • This permission will give immunity to corrupt Government officers.
    • Even sanction for prosecution of corrupt public servants would now be needed even after their retirement, giving them one more level of immunity or protection. 

Topic – Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

4) Religious freedom clauses in the Indian Constitution are possessed of a special complexity. Comment, in the context of the controversy surrounding access  of women into the Sabarimala temple.(250 words) 

The hindu


Why this question

Women empowerment and ending social and religious discrimination faced by them is one of the cherished goals of any modern constitutional democracy, including India. It is important to know the constitutional provisions and the legal interpretations and judgements related to these issues.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue and discuss the constitutional provisions related to religious freedom and access of women to religious places. It wants us to express our opinion as to what are the complexities involved in the issue and how they manifest themselves in the present discourse on entry of women into the Sabarimala temple.

Directive word

Comment- Here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer

Write a few lines about the issue of entry of women to religious places in India. E.g recent  incidents- Haji Ali Dargah , Shani Shingnapur temple, Trimbakeshwar Shiva temple etc. Mention that Sabarimala temple issue is being currently under the adjudication of the Supreme Court-Indian Young Lawyers Association v. State of Kerala.



  • Highlight and discuss the related provisions in the constitution of India. the right to freedom of religion of both individuals and groups; Articles 25 and 26; , subject to common community exceptions and also, crucially, to the guarantee of other fundamental rights;Article 25(2)(b) which creates a further exception to the right ;Article 26, on the other hand, which is also subject to limitations imposed on community grounds, accords to every religious denomination the right, among other things, to establish and maintain institutions for religious purposes and to manage their own affairs in matters of religion etc.
  • Discuss the core issue surrounding the Sabrimala temple controversy. E.g clash between a series of apparently conflicting claims: among others involving the temple’s right to decide for itself how its religious affairs ought to be managed; a rights of the women to unreservedly enter and pray at the shrine etc.


Conclusion– Based on your discussion form an overall opinion on the issue.


  • In a landmark decision by the Bombay High Court, women will now be allowed inside the inner sanctum of Mumbai’s Haji Ali Dargah. The Shani Shingnapur temple, that had barred women from entering its core area for over 400 years, allowed women activists to pray inside the temple after much resistance, same goes with Tria mbakeshwar Shiva temple etc.
  • While the country might be witnessing a wave of changes in this sphere, temples like Sabarimala are fighting head-on to uphold the atavistic traditions in the name of religion.

Religious freedom clauses in Indian constitution and how these clauses are complex:-

  • The right to freedom of religion of both individuals and groups is recognised as an intrinsic facet of a liberal democracy. The Constitution memorialises these guarantees in Articles 25 and 26.
  • Article 25:-
    • It recognises a right to freedom of conscience and a right to freely profess, practise, and propagate religion, subject to common community exceptions of public order, morality, and health, and also, crucially, to the guarantee of other fundamental rights.
    • Article 25(2)(b) creates a further exception to the right. It accords to the state a power to make legislation, in the interests of social welfare and reform, throwing open Hindu religious institutions of public character to all classes and sections of Hindus.
  • Article 26, on the other hand, which is also subject to limitations imposed on grounds of public order, morality, and health, accords to every religious denomination the right, among other things, to establish and maintain institutions for religious purposes and to manage their own affairs in matters of religion.
  • Until now, most cases involving a bar of entry into temples have involved a testing of laws made in furtherance of Article 25(2)(b). For example, in Sri Venkataramana Devaru v. State of Mysore (1958), the Supreme Court examined the validity of the Madras Temple Entry Authorisation Act of 1947, which was introduced with a view to removing the disabilities imposed by custom or usage on certain classes of Hindus against entry into a Hindu temple. The court upheld the law on the ground that statutes made under clause 2(b) to Article 25 served as broad exceptions to the freedom of religion guaranteed by both Articles 25 and 26.
  • But in Indian Young Lawyers Association, the attack is to the converse
    • It is to Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965, which states, Women who are not by custom and usage allowed to enter a place of public worship shall not be entitled to enter or offer worship in any place of public worship.
    • It is by placing reliance on these rules that the Sabarimala temple prohibits women aged between 10 and 50 years from entering the shrine.

Sabarimala controversy:-

  • The Supreme Court is currently hearing oral arguments in Indian Young Lawyers Association v. State of Kerala, in which rules that bar the entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala have been called into question.
  • Women’s rights:-
    • To prohibit women from entering a public space, from worshipping in a shrine of their choice, one would think, ought to be anathema to the tenets of a constitutional democracy.
    • The petitioners have argued that the ban enforced on menstruating women from entering the Sabarimala shrine does not constitute a core foundation of the assumed religious denomination.
  • Customs:-
    • The Devaswom Board contends that established customs deserve respect, that this particular Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala is a celibate, and that women of menstruating age are, therefore, forbidden from entering the temple.
    • The temple says that it is its right to decide for itself how its religious affairs ought to be managed.
  • The court will undoubtedly notice that most policies of exclusion in India’s history have been defended as being extensions of a prescription of faith, of being rooted in culture and tradition. 
  • Law favouring the autonomy of the group over the autonomy of the individual tends to have the harmful effect of favouring the view of the association proffered by the powerful over the views proffered by less powerful members of the group that is, traditionally subordinate members such as women, children, and sexual minorities.

General Studies – 3

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

5) A recent WHO Report pointed out the problem of fake drugs in India. Discuss the problem and analyze how Blockchain can help in addressing this issue?(250 words) 


Why this question

The article points out the problem of fake drugs in India and the way technology is being utilised for solving the issue. Blockchain has been in news because our PM himself has appreciated the merits of the technology and thus its application becomes useful from the point of view of mains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain the problem in depth. Thereafter, we need to explain how Blockchain can be utilised to solve this issue. The problem being talked about is the menace of spurious drugs.

Directive word

Discuss – The details of the problem have to be given such as the extent, impact, reasons etc.

Analyze – Your answer should focus on linking how the application of blockchain technology can help in dealing with the problem of fake drugs.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that India is largely known as the pharmacy of developing world and the problem of fake drugs has serious implications for India.


  • Discuss the extent of India’s pharma market and the significance of it.
  • Discuss the findings of the who report that highlighted 20% of all drugs sold in India are fake, also stated that 35 % of all the counterfeit drugs sold worldwide originate from India. The implications need to be discussed.
  • Explain what Blockchain is. Highlight how blockchain can help in addressing this issue. Discuss its use in end to end supply chain managed.

Conclusion – Emphasize on the advantages of introducing such a measure along with way forward.

Background :-

  • India is one of the leading global producers of low-cost generic medicines due to its high domestic demand and inexpensive manufacturing costs. The country’s pharmaceutical market is the world’s third largest in terms of volume, but the thirteenth largest in value.
  • However, counterfeiting is pervasive, with an estimated 20 per cent ($4.3 billion in 2013-14) of India’s drug market comprised of counterfeit drugs.
  • The NITI Aayog has planned to put the entire stock of medicines made in India on blockchain, in an effort to combat fake and spurious drugs. The government has hired US-based tech giant Oracle to implement the pilot project and work is expected to begin by November.
  • Washington-based International Policy Network says over 7 lakh people die every year across the world due to the consumption of fake or spurious drugs.

Problem of fake drugs in India :-

  • A recent report by the World Health Organization estimates that 20 per cent of all drugs sold in India are fake. It also states that 35 per cent of all the counterfeit drugs sold worldwide originate from India
  • India’s pharma market is the world’s third largest in terms of volume, and is valued at Rs 1,80,000 crore, of which counterfeit drugs account for over Rs 35,000 crore.
  • Drugs prescribed for cold and cough or a headache are mostly either fake or of poor quality.
  • The standards created by the Pharmacy Council of India for setting up of pharmacy shops are also being regularly violated. One of the rules is that there should be a gap of at least 300 metres between two pharmacies. However, it is a common sight in India to spot two or three pharmacies right next to each other. 


Blockchain technology is a virtual register in which transactions between users are stored in a secure, permanent and verifiable way. The data relating to the exchanges are saved inside blocks. It creates an endless chain of data blocks that allow for all the transactions to be traced and verified.

One of the biggest advantages of blockchain is the extent of security. According to cyber security experts, once a transaction is certified and saved within one of the blocks, no one can tamper or edit the information saved. The information also gets time-stamped.


How can Blockchain help in resolving this issue :-

  • Initially, the technology will track pharmaceutical firms, stockists, pharmacists, and consumers. In the second phase, the government plans to involve hospitals to record drug deliveries on a blockchain.
  • Unique identification codes or numbers may be allotted to every single medicine, which can then be tracked through the entire supply chain using blockchain. At each step of the distribution process, technology will affirm the provenance and authenticity of the batch of the drug.
  • To block the flow of such drugs, the government plans to track and authenticate them at each stage of their journey from pharmaceutical companies to the patient’s home.
  • End-to-end implementation of this technology from the manufacturer to the consumer  which will make the leakage or infusion of spurious or fake drugs into the system impossible
  • The patient will be able to trace the movement of the drug he is consuming. He can scan the barcode on the medicine pack to see how many hands the drug has passed through before reaching his doorstep.
    • Once the product is sold , the code gets irrevocably audited on the blockchain that this ID has been sold, and no longer exist
  • Application of blockchain technology is the best option when it comes to supply chain management or fighting the challenge of fake drugs. The model will bust the racket of fake drugs entering the supply chain.
  • Challenges:-
    • It will be a challenge for the government to connect over a lakh drug manufacturers, their warehouses, and chemists across the country.
    • But there are apprehensions around cost. Even simple two-dimensional barcoding, which is not common in India for drugs, comes at a significant cost. 
    • There is one problem with putting the entire inventory on blockchain. Additional barcoding will result in a production loss of 25% in the short term at least. This is because of inadequate packaging capacity.

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

6) A number of factors have been contributing towards the growth of the Electronics Sector in India.Discuss. Also highlight the efforts of the government to make  India a global hub for electronics manufacturing.(250 words)


Why this question

The Indian electronics industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world. Electronics manufacturing is a potential area where india can absorb its vast human resources. Coupled with a burgeoning domestic market and a plethora of pressing social needs, the opportunity can be utilized to make India a global hub of manufacturing, create employment and boost social and economic growth.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the factors behind  the growth of the electronics sector in India. It also wants us to discuss about the efforts of the government towards making India a global hub for electronics manufacturing.

Directive word

Discuss- This s an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. We also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Structure of the answer

Write a few lines about the growth of electronics industry in India- growth rate in recent years, projected growth rate vs global projected growth rate etc.


  • Mention that, in 2015, the industry in India was valued at USD 75 Billion, despite a weak global economy. Discuss the factors behind the growth of the electronics industry in India- Increasing domestic demand, upswings in disposable incomes, the endeavour to build a Digital India through wider broadband connectivity and e-governance programs, rising manufacturing costs in other manufacturing economies and burgeoning consumption in the Middle East, Latin America and North Africa fuelling global demand.
  • Discuss the efforts of the government to make  India a global hub for electronics manufacturing. E.g Digital India; a budgetary provision of USD 114 Million has been made in towards incentive schemes like Modified Incentive Special Package Scheme (M-SIPS) and Electronics Development Fund (EDF) in FY 2017-18. The increase in allocation has been made to keep pace with the increase in the number of investment proposals received within the sector. This is likely to reduce the dependence on imports; The Electronics Manufacturing Clusters Scheme; etc.

Conclusionsum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.


  • The Indian electronics industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world. This sector comprises electronic products as well as components to manufacture these products. In 2015, the industry in India was valued at USD 75 Billion,

Factors contributing towards the growth of electronics sector in India:-

  • Demand:-
    • With a spike in demand for electronic products, the ESDM sector in India is predicted to reach USD 228 Billion by 2020, growing at 16-23% annually.
    • Increasing domestic demand
  • Upswings in disposable incomes
  • A growing middle class
  • Rising manufacturing costs in other manufacturing economies and burgeoning consumption in the Middle East, Latin America and North Africa fuelling global demand have been contributing towards the growth of the Electronics Sector in India.
    • Due to rising labour costs, an increasing number of companies are now relocating their units from China to India to serve domestic demand.
  • There is also a significant demand for high-end consumer electronics.
  • Apart from these factors, India boasts of a vast talent pool which has strong capabilities in design and R&D. The work force is not just skilled, but cost-effective as well.
  • Initiatives:-
    • The endeavour to build a Digital India through wider broadband connectivity and e-governance programs
    • Further boost is being provided in this area through a host of Skill Development initiatives. This has resulted in a large number of global enterprises setting up their manufacturing units in India.
  • Declining prices of electronics also has led to a fast-growing market for electronics and hardware products.

Efforts made by government to make India a global hub for electronics manufacturing:-

  • The Government has envisioned a policy to substitute the import of electronic products by 2020. Electronic manufacturing companies are now increasingly looking at setting up their units in India, especially in the mobile phone segment, to serve the Indian domestic market.
  • Industrial electronics contributed 15% to the revenue share, largely driven by Government infrastructure projects such as smart cities, modernisation of railways and increasing automation in industries. 
  • Government initiatives like Digital India are providing an impetus to the electronics manufacturing sector.
    • Digital India aims to ensure all Government services are accessible to citizens electronically. With a rise in income driving demand for electronics and the Government’s focus on e- governance initiatives, Digital India is likely to spur growth in the ESDM sector.
  • To make India a global hub for electronics manufacturing, a budgetary provision of USD 114 Million has been made in towards incentive schemes like Modified Incentive Special Package Scheme (M-SIPS) and Electronics Development Fund (EDF) in FY 2017-18.
    • The increase in allocation has been made to keep pace with the increase in the number of investment proposals received within the sector. This is likely to reduce the dependence on imports.
    • About 15 product categories fall under the M-SIPS Scheme now – smart cards, consumer appliances, Internet of Things products, to name a few.
  • The Electronics Manufacturing Clusters Scheme intends to promote the establishment of Greenfield and Brownfield Electronic Manufacturing Clusters to promote innovation and steer growth in the ESDM sector.
    • In the case of Greenfield EMCs, assistance will be provided with a restriction of 50% of the cost of the project, subject to a ceiling of USD 7.6 Million for every 100 acres of land.
    • For Brownfield projects, assistance will be provided with a restriction of 75% of the project with a ceiling of USD 7.6 Million.
  • Electronic Development Fund has been one of the other major schemes rolled out by the government towards domestic manufacturing in the electronics sector.
  • In the last few years, the Government has initiated positive steps to create a favourable ecosystem for investors, under the umbrella of the Make in India initiative.
  • New electronics policy will focus on opening up Indian market for exports. The plan is to attract sub-assembly manufacturers in India.
  • There are various government schemes to encourage domestic manufacturing which provide tax and tariff concessions, investment subsidies, preferential market access in government procurement and export subsidy.
  • Recently the government increased the import duty on various electronic items like smartphones, LED bulbs and microwave ovens for most products, the rate increased from 10% to either 15% or 20%.
  • Introduction of the landmark goods and services tax (GST) has increased the distance that trucks are travelling by about 30%. GST has also reduced the confusion associated with various state and local taxes. 


  • Trade deficit:-
    • However, India’s weak manufacturing base has not been able to respond to this increasing demand, leading to a growing trade deficit. Of the country’s total demand for electronics, between 50-60% of the products and 70-80% of the components are imported. 
    • The trade gap for electronics products has doubled in the last five years. The deficit stood at $38.94 billion for 2017-18
  • Focus of the government on mobile phone manufacturing can be gauged from the fact that phone-making units in the country have increased to around 120 in 2018 from less than 10 in 2014.However, a majority of these are doing assembling only with imported components.
    • One of the reasons for increase in the bill is low-value addition in the country, and most of the value addition is happening at assembly level.
  • Many companies have opted out of their planned investments due to the slow pace of approvals for disbursement of incentives.
  • Investments committed under the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS) have reduced to around Rs 914 billion as on April 2018 as against the earlier proposals of Rs 1.57 trillion.
  • Lack of Semiconductor Wafer Fabrication Manufacturing Facilities (FAB) in the country is often regarded as a major stumbling block to the growth of electronics industry in the country.
    • A FAB can lead to the development of an entire ecosystem for electronics manufacturing, but till now investors have not shown interest in setting up a FAB in India because, such units can cost up to $5 billion and the technology involved is also very advanced. Very few companies in the world have the expertise to set up a FAB. 
  • The inverted tax structure for electronic goods:-
    • Due to a limited base of local component suppliers, manufacturers are dependent on importing parts. Under the World Trade Organisation’s information technology agreement of 1995 (ITA-1), tariffs on 217 IT products were set at zero.
    • However, the positive custom duties on the components (or parts) used in electronic products make it expensive for domestic manufacturers to compete with foreign competitors who can access the components at lower prices.
    • Solution:-
      • The solution is to bring the duties on components down to the level of the product. Some parts might be used for multiple products that may have different duties, but it’s important to rule in favour of simple rules and apply the rate-cut regardless of use. 
    • Foreign direct investment (FDI) in electronics is less than 1% of the total FDI inflow because of onerous labour laws, delays in land-acquisition and the uncertain tax regime have kept investors at bay.
    • The procedures for cross-border trade work against the competitiveness of Indian producers due to the high costs of compliance. The numerous forms, fees, inspections and the associated time discourage domestic producers from exporting and keep them out of the international supply chain.

Way forward:-

  • In order to inspire confidence, laws need to be liberal and predictable. In the case of taxation, it is important to clearly establish the tax liabilities under different circumstances in full detail. A possible experiment could be special economic zones like the Dubai International Financial Centre Dubai’s normal civil and commercial laws do not apply in this area and a British chief justice ensures the practice of British common law.
  • For attracting investments from IT and electronics companies some of the critical factors like connectivity to good seaport, air and road connectivity; availability of talent; and adequate availability of power and water, is a must. So greater efforts have to be made on not only creating the infrastructure that can serve the needs of the investing companies but also on branding and promotion.
  • The way forward is to increase the country’s general competitiveness in the export market instead of pursuing sectoral policies.



General Studies – 4

TopicProbity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government,

7) How do you see the six  perceived governance quality measures enunciated by the 2nd ARC report, in the context of the present India. Critically Comment. (250 words)


Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to highlight and describe the six  perceived governance quality measures as enunciated by the 2nd ARC report and express our opinion on their status, desirability etc in the present Indian narrative.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – write a few lines about the 2nd ARC report and its purpose of constitution.


  • Mention and briefly discuss each of the  six perceived governance quality measures- voice and accountability; absence of political instability and violence; government effectiveness; reasonableness of the regulatory burden; the rule of law; and the absence of graft.
  • Now compare these measures with, where India stands today. Mention various indices/ statistics related to these measure which highlight India’s position. Give your personal opinion as to what you perceive about the present context.

Conclusion– Conclusion- Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.


Elimination of corruption is not only a moral imperative but an economic necessity for a nation aspiring to catch up with the rest of the world. Improved governance in the form of non-expropriation, contract enforcement, and decrease in bureaucratic delays and corruption can raise the GDP growth rate significantly.

Six perceived governance quality measures:-

Six perceived governance quality measures are voice and accountability, absence of political instability and violence, government effectiveness, reasonableness of the regulatory burden, the rule of law and the absence of graft. Of these, the last two are the most directly significant in the context of ethical governance.

Voice and accountability:-

Right to dissent and right to speak up is the fundamental nature for a citizen to show their active participation in the political governance of the nation. Over the years governments have become more accountable with citizen charters, Right to information , involving multiple stakeholders etc.

Absence of political instability and violence:-

When there is a stable government which enjoys the trust of the people violence would decrease. For instance states in India with political stability are more peaceful than the ones which do not have such governments.

Government effectiveness:-

The efficiency and effectiveness of government depends on the strengthening of the cohesion among different communities in the nation, increasing the standard of living of the citizens , making people more tolerant and Uphold India’s unity and diversity. Most of the governments have been successful but still communal riots, religious conflicts, mob lynching, farmers suicides etc persist.

Reasonableness of the regulatory burden:-

There need to be proper balance between regulation and reasonableness in the governance of the nation.

The rule of law:-

‘Rule of law’ measures whether crime is properly punished or not; enforceability of contracts; extent of black market; enforceable rights of property; extent of tax evasion; judiciary’s independence; ability of business and people to challenge government action in courts etc.

Absence of graft:-

‘Absence of graft’ measures relative absence of corruption among government, political and bureaucratic officials; of bribes related to securing of permits and licences; of corruption in the judiciary; of corruption that scares off foreign investors.

There is a perception that the public services have remained largely exempt from the imposition of penalties due to the complicated procedures that have arisen out of the Constitutional guarantee against arbitrary and vindictive action.

Good governance must be founded on moral virtues ensuring stability and harmony. Confucius described righteousness as the foundation of good governance and peace. The art of good governance simply lies in making things right and putting them in their right place. Confucius’s prescription for good governance is ideally suited for a country like India where many of our present day players in governance do not adhere to any principle and ensure only their own interests.