General Studies Model Test Paper-2 for IAS Mains Exam - 2013
1. “India can neither endorse nor afford to ignore Maritime Silk Road
proposed by China”. – Comment. (10 marks, 200 words)
The Maritime Silk Route is a maritime infrastructure corridor plan that aims to
link inland Chinese regions with neighboring countries. During the Special
Representative Talks in February 2014 and Vice President Hamid Ansari’s visit to
China in June 2014, China was persuading India to participate in the endeavor.
However, there are a few limitations to India’s willingness to join the
1. Unclear Ambitions – The primary aim of developing massive
maritime infrastructure and connectivity in the Indian Ocean may be a cover for
constructing military bases. China has not revealed any detailed plans for the
Maritime Silk Route.
2. Extending String of Pearls – Africa has been China’s focus in recent time.
The Maritime Silk Route could enable China to lay Sea Line of Communication
(SLOCs) in the Indian and Pacific Ocean. This could link East African coast to
Southern China and further Chinese String of Pearls threating Indian strongholds
in the region.
3. Chinese Reputation – China has been the source of most maritime turbulence in
the South East Asia. For instance, an exploration rig in Vietnam’s Economic Zone
and skirmishes with Philippines indicate non-benign Chinese national interest. A
full-fledged involvement in the project could potentially portray India as a
strong Chinese ally. This project may also be detrimental to India’s image of a
‘security provider’ in the region. It is important for India to conduct an
objective appraisal of these new realities before giving full approval.
2. “Nepal has always used the Indo-Nepal Treaty of 1950 as a stick to beat
India with”. Examine the statement in light of the developments during the
recent visit of PM to Nepal.
The Indo Nepal Treaty of 1950 is often viewed as tool of resentment despite
India’s efforts to further ties with Nepal. The treaty accords open borders,
government employment opportunities, and property and banks rights to Nepalese
in India. Nonetheless, PM Modi’s visit to Nepal in August 2014 is a crucial
indicator to revamp some political constraints in Indo-Nepal ties. Reviewing the
Treaty - The Treaty requires Nepal to consult India on defence requirements.
This is seen as unfair and is often used to stir Anti-India sentiments. India
faces a risk of terrorist due to a right to transit (open border) given under
the treaty. India has agreed to negotiate the terms of the treaty in addition to
other roles that should curb anti-Indian ideologies in the region.
Development Centric Talks – A power trade agreement between the two governments
has been signed to address the acute power shortages faced by Nepal. Despite a
feasible power potential of 45,000 MW, only 600 MW stands as the installed
capacity. Nepal imports close to a 150 MW of power from India and her demand is
growing at an annual rate of 20%. Additionally, a Power Development Agreement
has been concluded by GMR. The Constituent Assembly’s deadline to draw a new
constitution by January 2015 is about to expire. Thus, the political turmoil due
to the transition can lead to irking old grievances against India and a visit by
PM Modi ensures political attention from New Delhi to Kathmandu.
3. What are the regional and global implications of the ISIS venturing into
ISIS aims at establishing a Caliphate, Shariah Law, and sectarian goals in
nations it can reach. Central Asia has favorable political environments and
socio-cultural conditions for ISIS to grow. Consequently, this threatens
regional and global peace imbalances.
Political Environment – Instances such as the Islamic Republic of Uzbekistan
declaring allegiance to the Islamic State and ISIS appointing an anonymous
‘Amir’ of Uzbekistan cause enough concerns over the ISIS presence. Other
extremist organizations such the Tehreek-i-Taliban are attempting to work under
the IS banner. ISIS is already developing alliances that could provide useful
inspiration to replicate ISIS success in central Asia.
Socio-cultural conditions– Employment and earnings remain the main drivers
for youths to join the ISIS. Central Asian countries like Tajikistan and
Kyrgyzstan are crippled with structural economic problems. ISIS presence in the
region can lead to large number of volunteers signing up for ISIS thereby
causing serious threats to regional peace. Communities from Chechnya (Russia)
also sympathize with ISIS aspirations. Although India doesn’t directly face much
threat despite the emergence of the ISIS Flag on Tashkent bridge in Srinagar,
resolving the issue has become one of the top priorities of countries.
4. What was the impact of the fall of Berlin wall on International
The fall of the Berlin Wall is considered the most significant event in
European history. 9th November 2014 marks the 15th anniversary of the event.
More than a physical division between East and West Germany, it stood as a
division between the democratic western nations and communist Eastern Europe.
Naturally, the Fall had a far-reaching impact on International Relations. The
fall marked the end of Soviet supported authoritarian regimes in Eastern Europe.
Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev started his policies of openness and
restructuring. This relieved the stress of Soviet intervention in other
socialist countries. The Polish communist regime befriended the solidarity
movement and paved the way for free elections. Hungary and Austria demolished
land barriers as a result. A vision of a democratic, universally liberal, and
capitalist economy was the key driving force during the time.
The fall of the Berlin wall coincided with the collapse of USSR and the end of
the Cold War. Most of the European Nations went on to become members of western
organizations such as the EU, NATO, and OECD. While a few nations such as
Yugoslavia, Ukraine, and Tajikistan have witnessed non-peaceful transitions. In
a nutshell, the fall of the Berlin Wall gave the best version of Germany to the
world still holds hope for a more unified Europe. The continued presence of NATO
does signify a check on the unpredictability of the world.
5. Why does the introduction of Nitaqat pose considerable challenges to
Indian interests in Saudi Arabia?
Basically, Nitaqat aims at reducing unemployment for Saudi Arabian youth
through nationalization of the private sector. Saudi Arabia hosts 8 million
foreign workers and is known to be a labor destination. India contributes to a
35% of the total overseas workforce in the Kingdom.
Conditions of Indian Workers – The new scheme targets workers with improper work
permits. It also allows people to obtain proper work permits. Saudi Arabia has
regularized 1.4 million workers. Many Indians availed the grace period granted
and converted to Nitaqat compliant units or changed their professions. Returning
Indians did not face any penal action and are eligible to return to the country.
Saudi Labour Market Trends – The current Litaqat policy is enforced without
preparing Saudi nationals to take up new job opportunities. This could be a
temporary phenomenon. Also, there is a huge skill mismatch in the country
thereby reiterating the need for skilled foreign workers. Compensations demands
by local employees are higher despite their incompetency as compared to foreign
workers. Also, Saudi Arabia suffers from voluntary unemployment which is a
structural socio-economic problem that cannot be solved overnight.
Indian Responses – Saudi Arabia is lenient towards Indian workers. India should
also improve checks on illegal migration and control the problems of Indians
overstaying in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, India should train potential
immigrants through ITIs and other institutions to help Saudi concentrate on
promoting its non-oil sectors. Lastly, India and Saudi should jointly curb the
menace of fake issuance by fraudulent visa agencies leading to a trust surplus.
6. The trajectory of India-Vietnam relations implies that Vietnam is one of
the most important countries for India in the East Asian region. Highlight the
key milestones in the development of India-Vietnam relations.
India’s relations with Vietnam have progressed from warm friendship to
strategicties over the last few years. With high profile reciprocal visits by
our President Pranab Mukherjee and MEA Sushma Swaraj, Vietnam is slated to be an
important partner for regional development.
Act East Policy – Vietnam is a key nation to achieve the objectives of India’s
recently announced Act East Policy. India has agreed to set up a Data Reception
Centre in Ho Chi Minh to use data from satellites for disaster management and
mineral exploration. Also, an agreement has been drawn between ONGC Videsh and
Vietnam Oil & Gas Group to further oil and natural gas exploration. We have also
decided to set up an IT center.
Strategic Interests - Vietnam is endorsing India’s bid for a permanent seat at
the UNSC Security Council and is also backing India’s membership at APEC. India
has also supported Vietnam’s role in the South China Sea dispute. We have
allotted a 100 million$ line of credit to Vietnam to purchase four offshore
patrol vessels. With a potential to enhance people to people contacts through
tourism, Vietnam and India have much to work upon. Also, half of Vietnamese
population is Buddhist which could help is further fostering ties with India.
[Alternate Approach – The answer can also be themed as – a.
political/security/territorial, b. economical c. cultural developments]
7. “Thailand is a key country in ASEAN which occupies a significant
geostrategic location in Asia and South Asia”. Highlight the key challenges
leading to the political crisis in Thailand and its effect on its foreign
For major powers like US, China, Japan, and India, Thailand serves as a
gateway for further economic and political engagement with Indo-China.
Challenges of the Political Crisis in Thailand – Triggered by a controversial
amnesty bill that seemed to bring the incumbent PM’s coup-ousted brother Thaksin
Shinawatra back to Thailand, the country broke into massive protests in November
2013. This led to a military takeover in Thailand. The primary reasons for anti-Thaksin
sentiments include the resentment against Thai-royalty, rural-urban divide,
social inequality, over centralized bureaucracy, royal and military influence in
politics, and rising middle class.
Effects on Geo-politics- As a result of the ongoing protests by many
prodemocracy and anti-Thaksin parties, considerable damage to relations with
other nations has been caused. Thailand had agreed to hand over the Preah-Vihear
temple and some land surrounding it to Cambodia in accordance with an ICJ
verdict. The protestors claim vested interest in the form of commercial gains to
Yingluck Shinawatra in Cambodia for the decision. This has led to souring of
ties between the two nations. Likewise, a group of organizations marched to the
US embassy and accused the US of supporting the allegedly corrupt government.
Also, there is growing resentment against Chinese economic interest as they are
widely seen as tools to colonize. The current political crisis in Thailand does
not bode well for Thailand’s ambition to be the center of co-operation and
connectivity in the Indo-China linking with different countries and regions.
8. “Despite a litany of issues, SAARC leaders expect stronger ties with
India”. Examine the objectives of Indian foreign policy on South Asia given the
change in leadership.
The swearing-in of PM Modi itself hinted at winds of change as to how India
was pacing itself to interact with South Asia. The cornerstone of Indian
diplomacy today, stands at prospering regional interests on priority and then
developing relations with the rest of the world. Discredited with often not
having a distinct foreign policy, certain specific modules are beginning to
1. Economic Diplomacy – Despite territorial issues with China, Pakistan, and
Bangladesh, India is now more willing to undertake economic interests in the
regions to gain good will and develop strategic presence. The Act East Policy
reaffirms to fast track on-going projects and look for similar opportunities.
Also, India’s attendance at the East Asia, ASEAN, and SAARC summits reinforce
2. Political Strong-will – As continued through previous governments, India is
continuing to further her political ideologies whilst interacting with foreign
nations. India blatantly denied providing troop support to Afghanistan and
instead agreed on an agreement for material supply. India decided to call off
secretary level talks with Pakistan post the meeting between the Pak envoy and
separatist leaders. India seems more committed to resolving mutually beneficial
issues between her and other nations. Though our Prime Minister has expressed a
greater faith in the region and we are looking at greater representative
responsibilities like ASEAN membership, India should equally be responsive to
the other regions as we live in a highly globalized world order.
9. Write a short note on India’s “Connect Central Asia” policy, highlighting
the significance of Central Asia for India.
India’s ‘Connect Central Asia’ Policy is a broad-based approach, including
political, security, economic and cultural connections. Some of the elements of
India’s ‘Connect Central Asia’ policy are as follows:
1. India will continue to build on our strong political relations through the
exchange of high level visits. Its leaders will continue to interact closely
both in bilateral and multilateral fora.
2. India will strengthen its strategic and security cooperation. India already
has strategic partnerships in place with some Central Asian countries. In focus
will be military training, joint research, counter-terrorism coordination and
close consultations on Afghanistan.
3. India will step up multilateral engagement with Central Asian partners using
the synergy of joint efforts through existing fora like the Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation, Eurasian Economic Community (EEC) and the Custom Union. India has
already proposed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement to integrate its
markets with the unifying Eurasian space.
4. India looks to Central Asia as a long term partner in energy, and natural
resources. Central Asia possesses large cultivable tracts of land and it sees
potential for India to cooperate in production of profitable crops with value
5. The medical field is another area that offers huge potential for
cooperation. India is ready to extend cooperation by setting up civil
hospitals/clinics in Central Asia.
6. India’s higher education system delivers at a fraction of the fees charged by
Western universities. Keeping this in mind, India would like to assist in the
setting up of a Central Asian University in Bishkek that could come up as a
centre of excellence to impart world class education in areas like Information
Technology, management, philosophy and languages.
7. India is working on setting up a Central Asian e-network with its hub in
India, to deliver, tele-education and tele-medicine connectivity, linking all
the five Central Asian States.
10. How should India react to the provocation by non-state actors such as
Al- Qaeda stating their entry into the country?
In September 30, 2014, the head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, released a
video in which he declared a revivified and more ambitious al-Qaeda presence in
South Asia. This ostensibly newly branded franchise of al-Qaeda in the Indian
subcontinent is called the Jamā‘at Qā‘idat al-Jihād fī Shibh al-Qārra al-Hindīya
(the “Organization of the Base of Jihad in the Indian Sub-Continent” or simply
Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, or AQIS).
India does face multiple threats from various non-state actors and terror
outfits. India should show restraint and maturity like she always has and not
provoke such terror outfits. Also, India does not officially negotiate or
respond to any terrorist organization. This is seen in India not recognizing the
“Good Taliban’ as well. The Indian sub-continent is been targeted as a training
and battle ground for such activities for long time now, and India has been
facing the wrath of such events as well. This calls for a joint-action plan to
be implemented by all the key stakeholders in the region.
11. Does India need to strengthen and upgrade her relations with the Latin-
American-Caribbean (LAC) nations?
The Latin American region is fast emerging as one of the major growth engines
of the world. Like India, Latin America has remained largely resilient to global
economic turmoil and has stayed on the path of growth matching India's
attractiveness for investment. In 2014, India is looking at increasing the share
of hi-tech and high value-added defence exports to Latin American countries as
part of a rejig in its strategy on local defence production. The Commerce
Ministry has already indicated its intent of moving Indian exports away from
shipments of traditional items without much value-addition. In this regard, an
incentive scheme is being considered to boost exports of hi-tech and high
value-added defence exports in the forthcoming foreign trade policy (2014-19). .
Over the years, India's ties with Latin America have expanded beyond trade and
investment to cooperation in areas such as energy, knowledge sharing as well as
in multilateral fora such as G-20, BRICS and IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa).
These arrangements throw up huge opportunities for the business communities in
India and the LAC region, which need to be converted into comprehensive treaties
covering trade, services and investments. There is, a need for a roadmap and
agenda for our engagement with Latin America, especially initiatives aimed at
meeting the development, energy and food security needs of our region, new
infrastructural linkages with enhanced connectivity and trade and investment
facilitation that builds on the complementarities in our economic strengths.
After a clutch of automobile and energy sector investments in the region,
state-owned aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is now looking
to make inroads into the lucrative market with its indigenously developed
helicopter, `Dhruv'. Trade and investment form the bulwark of the current
India-LAC relationship, as both sides are highly complementary in the energy &
natural resources, pharmaceuticals, and business services sectors.
Diversification of trade partners and access to new markets is also a priority
for both sides, especially as Western demand stagnates under the shadow of the
12. Examine the Indo-Iran ties towards fostering Indian national interest
after the Union Cabinet has, decided to take up the development of Iran’s
From India’s point of view, the strategic importance of Chabahar is immense.
It not only gives access to the oil and gas resources in Iran but also provides
access to Central Asian Republics. India and Iran have already taken initiatives
to enhance connectivity through bilateral agreements. In April 2008, an
important initiative was taken by both countries when India and Iran signed an
agreement to establish a new rail link between Iran and Russia. India offered
assistance for technical training of personnel, railroad signalling projects as
well as the supply of locomotives and spare parts.
The trilateral agreement between the governments of India, Iran and
Afghanistan to develop the Chabahar route through Melak, Zaranj and Delaram will
also facilitate regional trade and transit and thus contribute to regional
economic prosperity. The Iranian port of Chabahar (previously Bandar Beheshti),
located on the Makran coast of the Sistan and Baluchistan province of Iran criss-crosses
some of the most important international corridors – East-West, North corridors,
South corridor and TRACECA4 - and can be considered one of the most strategic
Chabahar has immense potential to connect the business centres in South
Asia (Mumbai, Jamnagar, etc), the Middle East (Dubai), Central Asia
(Turkmenistan) and Afghanistan (Milak). It is close to the mainline shipping
routes connecting Asia and Europe.
13. “Judicial outreach threatens democratic processes and hints at a
judicial state.” Critically analyse the scope of Judicial Review and its
evolution in recent times.
In post-independence India, the inclusion of explicit provisions for
‘judicial review’ were necessary in order to give effect to the individual and
group rights guaranteed in the text of the Constitution. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, had
described the provision related to the same as the ‘heart of the Constitution’.
The scope of judicial review before Indian courts has evolved in three
dimensions – firstly, to ensure fairness in administrative action, secondly to
protect the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights of citizens and
thirdly to rule on questions of legislative competence between the centre and
the states. The power of the Supreme Court of India to enforce these fundamental
rights is derived from Article 32 of the Constitution.
Art 13(4) besides checking the constitutionality has over stepped the mandate on
some instances like
a) Monitoring coal scam
b) Policy decisions -Spectrum licences cancelled
c) Legislative reforms- Section 8(4) of RPA This strikes at the heart of
separation of powers in the long run it will lead to unbridled power in hands of
Supreme court without concomitant responsibility it will weaken institutions
like executive and legislative who shall be disincentivised to carry out their
constitutional mandate, after all judges are non-elected officials who cannot be
expected to take over functions of Legislative or Executive. Hence they should
exercise due restraint and legislature and executive should wake up to discharge
their constitutionally mandated duties.
14. Do you agree with the Public Accounts Committee recommending the CAG to
not report national losses? How does it impact the independence of the apex
auditing institution in the country?
CAG is a constitutional body entrusted with auditing financial accounts of
Center and State governments. CAG venturing into policy decisions of the
government by voicing uncomfortable findings with Coal, 2G, and Delhi Airport
allocations lead to the PAC Chairman and the current Finance Minister asking the
CAG to refrain from the same. A justifiable, scientific, and concrete estimation
of the CAG should serve as a guideline to the government as opposed to power
Strengthening Checks and Balances – Under Art 151, the CAG has to
submit an annual report of the government’s financial prowess before the
This serves as an indirect method to ensure legislative check on executive
functions. Equivalence with that of a SC judge under Art 148 instills the sense
of independence required by the constitution to undertake such a sensitive task.
Ambiguity of ‘Audit’ – The term ‘Audit’ has not been defined anywhere
in the Constitution or in the CAG Act of 1971. Therefore, proprietary audit
falls within the ambit of the CAG wherein the decision making behind expenditure
Reasoned Estimate – There is scope in determining exact prospective
losses as this is based on presumptive estimates. However, the wrongness in
fiscal expenditure still remains intact irrespective of the quantum of loss.
Undoubtedly, in the information age, it of utmost importance to indulge in
responsible criticism owing to growing trends of sensational coverage. However,
the task of ensuring an intelligently concluded scrutiny of financial policy
decisions of the government takes prime importance especially for a majority
15. Given the pendency of cases, would you agree that the Supreme Court
should only adjudicate constitutional matters?
With around 65,000 pending cases in 2014 and a simultaneous decrease in the
number of constitutional law related decisions, there is an urgent need to
welcome proposals allowing the SC to hear more constitutional matters.
Jurisdiction and Pendency – The original jurisdiction of the SC is its
primary responsibility, and requires it to adjudicate conflicts between Centre
and State governments. Additionally, the SC has to also hear cases alleging a
violation of Fundamental Rights through Writ jurisdiction. These may involve
constitutionally relevant questions. The advisory and appellate roles sanctioned
to the SC add to the case workload immensely.
Access and Quality – The cost of litigation can be overwhelming to the citizens.
In addition to this, the courts and government also incur significant legal
costs. With an increasing workload of a varying nature, there can be a dilution
of the quality of judgments.
Recommendations and International Practices – The recommendations of 229th
Report of the Law Commission and ex-CJI K.G. Balakrishnan speak of the formation
of a constitutional court of India in Delhi and four regional supreme courts to
serve as courts of final appeal for civil and criminal matters. The
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice in its 2006 report also
suggests the same division for effective and speedy justice. The U.S. Supreme
Court hears only constitutional cases, and the final authority on other cases
vests with the States’ Supreme Courts.
Vienna was one of the first nations to establish a constitutional division in
its supreme court. There is no requirement for a constitutional amendment for
allowing the SC to only hear constitutional cases and to set up regional supreme
courts as the seat of the Supreme Court can be anywhere in India. Thus, in the
interest of equity and justice, it is imperative to specialise the functioning
of the Supreme Court.
16. “The Presidents of India and France are distinctly placed as per their
constitutional mandates.” Compare and contrast the position of the Presidents of
India is a democratic republic with a parliamentary government while France
is semi-presidential republic with a quasi-prime ministerial government.
Consequently, in matters of status, election, and impeachment, there are stark
differences between the offices of the Presidents of both nations.
Status – The Indian President is the nominal head of State and does not form
a part of the real executive. He is constitutionally bound to work in
collaboration with the aid and advice of the council of ministers under Arts 53
and 74. The French President occupies prime focus of the French constitution and
plays a crucial role in the government. He is the real head of the state and
executive. Both Offices serve for five years but the French President cannot
hold office for more than two consecutive terms.
Election – The President of India is elected by indirect suffrage
wherein elected members of central and state legislatures take part. A system of
proportional representation through a single transferrable vote determines the
Indian scenario. However, the French President is elected through a direct
election thereby providing him the mandate to head the state not on a nominal
Impeachment – The President of India can be removed on grounds of violation
of the constitution through an immensely difficult special majority of both the
houses of central legislature. On the other hand, the French President can be
removed only through an absolute majority of both houses of Parliament on
grounds of high treason. This is followed by a trial by the High Court of
Justice which confirms Presidential impeachment. Consequently, the Indian
President enjoys lesser powers in comparison to his French counterpart. A
nominated council of ministers is a direct consequence of ensuing greater powers
in the French President thereby limiting parliamentary democracy which is the
crux of Indian governance.
17. Answer the following:
(a) “The restructuring of the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan in to Swachh Bharat
Mission changed the very orientation of the programme and is in line with
participatory approach of development.”- Discuss. Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan has
been restructured into the Swachh Bharat Mission with two sub-Missions - Swachh
Bharat Mission (Gramin) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).
The strategy of implementation of the Sanitation Programme under Swachh
Bharat Mission will focus on behaviour change, triggering of the population with
regard to toilet construction, and their use. Triggering of communities for
behaviour change and usage of toilets shall be given top priority to ensure
increased demand, which will lead to use of assets created. Effective use of
technology and media shall be done to communicate the message of the benefits of
safe sanitation and hygiene.
The programme includes elimination of open defecation, conversion of insanitary
toilets to pour flush toilets, eradication of manual scavenging, municipal solid
waste management, bringing about a behavioural change in people regarding
healthy sanitation practices, generating awareness among citizens about
sanitation and its linkages with public health, strengthening of urban local
bodies to design, execute and operate systems to fulfil these objectives and
creating an enabling environment for private sector participation in capital
expenditure and operational expenditure. Earlier it was merely a scheme like any
other, but mission mode is a target- and result-oriented approach. The mission
would be an independent authority and rope in private players through their
corporate social responsibility (CSR) to achieve targets as well as plan and
integrate the best practices adopted in different parts of the country.
(b) “Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana has an equal stress on both urban and
rural poor.”- Discuss. Under the Yojana, the Union Ministry of Rural Development
will launch skill development training centres on a large scale to address the
problem of unemployment particularly in rural India.
Main Highlights of the Rural Scheme
- The Yojana aims at training 10 lakh (1 million) rural youths for
jobs in three years, that is, by 2017.
- The minimum age for entry under the Yojana is 15 years compared to
18 years under the Aajeevika Skills Programme.
- Skill development training centres to be launched so as to address
the unemployment problem in the rural area.
- The skills imparted under the Yojana will now be benchmarked
against international standards and will complement the Prime Minister’s
Make In India campaign.
- Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana for urban areas- Under the Deen
Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana (DAY) for urban areas extends the coverage
to all the 4041 statutory cities and towns, there by covering almost the
entire urban population. Currently, all the urban poverty alleviating
programmes covered only 790 towns and cities. Main Highlights of the Urban
Scheme The scheme will focus on:
- Imparting skills with an expenditure of 15000 rupees to 18000
rupees on each urban poor
- Promotion of self-employment through setting up individual
micro-enterprises and group enterprises with interest subsidy for individual
projects costing 2lakhs rupees and 10 lakhs rupees for group enterprises.
Subsidized interest rate will be 7 percent.
- Training urban poor to meet the huge demand from urban citizens by
imparting market oriented skills through City Livelihood Centres. Each
Centre would be given a capital grant of 10 lakhs rupees.
18. The recent labour reforms approved by Government of India are in line
with “Make in India” vision and can increase the organized employment in the
country. - Critically analyse.
Make in India is an invitation policy aims at de-licensing and deregulation.
It offers to improve existing infrastructure whilst improving skill sets in the
economy. India’s lagging manufacturing sector also needs to be revamped through
this mission. To be more integrated in the world economy is required to have
greater allowances of FDI in key sectors. Understandably, these objectives
cannot be achieved unless fundamental labor reforms are executed simultaneously.
Therefore, the new labor reforms also seek to work complementing the aspirations
of the Make in India policy.
Primarily targeting the recognition and rehabilitation of women and
apprentices in general, these labor reforms aim to increase productivity,
welfare and quality of the employees. Initiatives such as a certification
program which could also be availed online and a joint training plan that can be
provided by many companies will enhance identity and skills. Designated
workweeks with schemes like the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana will secure the
welfare of the people. The number of workers has been reduced to 40 to be
recognized as a MSME (Mid-Scale-Management-Enterprise), which can attract more
benefits to the organization. The Factory Bill, 2014 would be able to provide
for a skilled workforce which could, in turn, scale up the quality production in
the country in a regulated safe environment.
19. The key enablers of corruption such as economic rents, discretionary
power of bureaucrats and weak institutions can be effectively handled through
e-Governance. In this context, discuss various e-Governance initiatives in India
that seek effectively to reduce corruption.
Government of India recognizes that e-Governance in the context of developing
countries provides an excellent opportunity of transforming governance. Indian
governance is marred with problems like lack of transparency, accountability,
red tape and corruption. Hence e-Governance provides an excellent opportunity to
address these problems because it ensures
c) Faster processing of application and simplification of procedures
d) Ensures convenience of the public
Several measures taken by Government are
1) E-filing of Income tax returns it cuts down on procedural delays and
2) E-citizen –services like issue of Certificates, Ration Cards, Passports,
Payment of bills taxes. Online passport application has clearly reduced
corruption and time delays
3) E-tendering all tenders floated online ensuring greater transparency and
competition for the overall good of the nation
4) All Public acquisitions will be put up on corresponding Departmental Website
5) E-Transport –Registering of Motor vehicles, Issue of Drivers licenses
6) E-medicine- linking various hospitals in different parts of the country thus
providing better services to the citizens
7) E-education- includes educating citizen and government with various
8) E-court-Creating database of judgements , filing of cases
9) E-police- Online filing of FIR
Hence e-Governance can play a major role in transforming governance and
governments need to take proactive measures to promote e-governance.
20. Health and education initiatives can better evolve through network and
collaboration of higher educational initiatives across the globe. Analyse and
discuss the Global Initiative of Academic Networks programme (GIAN) and the
relevance of massive open online course in India.
GIAN aims at tapping the talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs to
engage with the institutes of higher education in India to augment the country`s
existing academic resources, accelerate the pace of quality reforms and further
strengthen India`s scientific and technological capabilities. The proposed
India-US Cooperation will be beneficial for adoption of newer methods of
pedagogy, infuse creativity and innovation-driven learning and professional
rigour at a relatively lower cost, boosting research in cutting edge
technologies and to build stronger academic networks between the two countries.
The proposal envisages the creation of a channel for US academics in
science, technology, engineering and mathematics to spend part of their time
teaching in academic and research institutions across India. Relevance of open
courses – India is one of the fastest growing nations in terms of access to the
internet and use of portable devices. Portals like the MIT open courseware,
Harvard open school, and Khan open source base are increasingly becoming
popular. With such potential it is prudent to envisage a collaborative open
course via the internet. On the contrary, the urban-rural mismatch in terms of
access to technology needs to be addressed on an immediate basis for maximum
21. “Fuelling propaganda through the misuse of government advertising by the
ruling party threatens democratic foundations.” Critically assess the
constitutional challenges due to such misuse of state advertising by the
Government advertisements seeking to gain political mileage misuse public
funds Apart from digressing government’s constitutional responsibility, these
advertisements also showcase a biased press which lead to a misinformed
Constitutional Issues – Advertising campaigns highlighting political
personalities and accomplishments of the incumbent government leads to
unnecessary glorification. There is no direct public interest served in spending
large proportions of public money on such campaigns. Consequently, the public
funds are allotted arbitrarily. A report by a NGO called common cause estimate
expenditure on print media to be around 110 crore. This would seem to a blatant
misuse of public funds. Countries like Australia and Canada have official
policies regulating advertising campaigns. The purpose of disseminating
important government information relating to employment offers, schemes,
precautions, and developments would be frustrated if the same is used as a tool
Articles 14 and 21, ensures remedy against arbitrary actions and preventing
misuse of public funds are the key constitutional challenges to governmental
publicity. As a result, a panel appointed under the leadership of Mr. Madhava
Menon by Supreme Court gave strict guidelines against these practices.
Recommendations disallowed any portrayal of political leadership figures through
photos, logos, symbols etc. It advocated ads relating to public awareness,
safety, and only displaying photos of the President/PM or Governor/CM. It also
recommended the establishment of an Ombudsman to ensure compliance.
22. “The developmental issues of minorities cannot be solved with
reservations alone.” – Comment.
Merely constitutionally assuring educational and employment opportunities
does not solve issues of emancipation plaguing the minorities in India. It is
therefore necessary to undertake the following measures for a holistic
development – Citizen’s charters should include specifically the entitlements of
citizens belonging to SCs, STs and other deprived classes. National and State
Commission for SC, ST, BC. Minorities, women, safai karamcharis should function
effectively as ombudsman-bodies.
Concomitantly, the charter of these National and State Commissions and the way
they are constituted should be such as to facilitate the role, inter alia, as
ombudsman-bodies for different deprived classes. Reservation for SCs and STs
should be brought under the purview of a statute including setting up Arakshan
Nyaya Adalats or Tribunal to adjudicate upon all cases and disputes pertaining
to reservation. These Tribunals should have the status of High Courts, appeals
lying only to the Supreme Court. It is imperative to set up residential schools
of high quality for SC, ST and BC in each district for quality education. Unless
such schools are set up for them, the goal of educational equalisation and
quality education will continue to elude them and the constitutional mandate
envisaged by Article 46 will continue to be flouted.
Time has come to build up the educational coverage of SC and ST in
technical, vocational, scientific and professional disciplines, with appropriate
incentive and support. Also, land reform measures, implementation of prohibition
of manual scavenging and child labor, and special initiatives for women
empowerment must be undertaken.
23. Indian secularism does not strictly separate faith from state.” Examine
the above statement in reference to safeguards available for protection and
promotion of religions in India.
The aftermath of the Partition leading to widespread communal violence and
the sheer diversity of the Indian society necessitates a healthy balance between
religion and state to secure secularism. Unlike western democracies, India
subscribes to absolute neutrality towards all religions groups (‘dharma
nirapekshata’), and treating all religions as the same (‘sarva dharma samabhaava’).
Constitutional Measures - Art 14 assures equality to all Indian citizens and
prohibits discrimination on an ground including religion which is further
guaranteed through Art 25(1). However, the state is permitted to regulate
secular activities associated with religious practice.
The secularity of such activities is decided on merit. Articles 29 and 30 state
that the state is prohibited from levying taxes for the promotion of any
religion and the citizens are free to not pay any religious levies of any sort.
Also, minorities are constitutionally permitted to establish their own cultural
and education institutions which are eligible for state funding and are not
bound by reservation policies.
However, schools wholly funded by the state cannot impart religious
education. Abolishing untouchability which owes its origin to Hindu cultural
practices is an astounding example of the doctrine of principled intervention.
The Fundamental duties instruct the citizens to promote communal harmony while
Directive Principles speak of the Uniform Civil Code. Interestingly, the state
respects and recognizes personal laws thereby protecting various religious
Other Legal and Institutional Measures – The SC, in Indira Gandhi v. Raj Narain
included Secularism to the part of the Basic Structure. The Indian Penal Code
identifies communal provocation as a serious offence. Election Commission is
mandated to condone vote bank politics on religious grounds through the Model
Code of Conduct. The National Commission for Minorities works tirelessly towards
securing the aspirations and addressing the grievances of minorities in the
country. The logistical facilitation of Haj, Amarnath, and Vaishno Devi
pilgrimage highlight an enlightened role of state.
Indian secularism embodies an active-passive relationship between the government
and the religion which is justified through positive checks and balances to
ensure societal order and equal opportunities for promotion to all groups.
[Alternate approach – The answer could also be divided into two parts – First,
how is religious freedom ensured? Second, in what way do the constitution,
state, and other institutions regulate religious freedom?]
24. What are the constitutional justifications for recognizing the rights of
LGBT community in India?
India has witnessed numerous social movements seeking to recognize the rights
of the LGBT community during recent times. Even the 172nd report of the Law
Commission recommends need for change. Broadly, the following constitutional
Equality – The criminalisation of consensual and private sexual relations is
advocated to be unreasonable. The positive obligation of the State under Art 14
to ensure equal protection of laws is a valid argument to provide additional
concessions to the Transgender community under OBC status.
Dignity and Life – The right to privacy and attaining full personhood are
implicitly assured under Art 21. Legal recognition of gender is a part of the
right to dignity.
Additionally, personal autonomy is an essential determinant of the right to Life
under the constitution.
Expression and Discrimination – Restrictions on gender identity through attire,
speech, mannerisms, and presentation have been constantly practised in Indian
society thereby violating Art 19. Also, denial of access to public places,
employment, and benefits to the Transgender community as they fall under
Socially-Educationally backward classes enshrined under Art 15 has caused
disappointment. While the National Legal Services Authority succeeded in
securing a third-gender status for the Transgender community, the struggle to
revoke s 377 IPC which criminalises ‘unnatural sexual relations continues even
25. Outlining the role of the Finance Commission, examine the reasons for
its lessened importance with respect to the Planning Commission.
The Finance Commission is a constitutional authority. It recommends the
following to the President,
a. Principles of tax revenue sharing between Centre and State,
b. Principles of disbursing grants-in-aid by the Centre, and
c. Measures to strengthen Panchayats and Municipalities through Consolidated
Fund of India.
On the other hand, the Planning Commission which is an executive appointed
body primarily assesses capital, material, and human resources needs of the
country and strives to formulate a plan to augment those needs.
A. Revenue v. Capital - The Finance Commission, under Art 275 is permitted to
look into revenue as well as capital expenditures. Due to the formation of the
Planning Commission, there has been a duplication of work, which led to the
Finance Commission only addressing revenue expenditure. Naturally, capital
expenditure contains more fiscal resources and as a result, the Planning
Commission becomes a more important organisation.
B. Significance of Planning – Over the years, five year plans have become
economic, political, and social focal points for the governments. Consequently,
the Assistance granted signifies greater proportions. Also, the appointments to
the Planning Commission such as the Deputy Chairperson are made with careful
political considerations as the organization involves great discretionary
powers. Both the institutions play a complimentary role in effective economic
decision making, and should work in unison for more accurate results. Even the
Ranjarajan Committee on Public Expenditure in 2012 also recommended that Finance
Commission should be consulted on Plan formulations.
Courtesy : Facebook Group