General Studies Model Test Paper for IAS Mains Exam - 2013
1. 'The permanent solution to the poverty problem in India
lies in improving the performance of the agricultural sector.' Elucidate the
statement with special reference to MGNREGA and argue whether recent changes in
the programme are capable of strengthening the above linkages. (10 marks, 200
Indian poverty is primarily rural in character and
is largely dependent onagriculture.
Urban poverty is an outgrowth of rural poverty to a
Programmes like MGNREGA can help in reducing rural
poverty and hence check its spread to urban sector also.
Recent changes can both be beneficial and
Linking MGNREGA to agriculture can be good as it
would both create employment and develop agriculture.
But, its limitation to the most backward districts
may only worsen the earlier benefits of the scheme as it goes against self
selecting features of the scheme.
2. 'The Indian economic growth till 2008 was primarily
because of significant increase in foreign capital inflows and its reversal
after 2008 can be blamed on the outflows of foreign capital'. Do you agree?
Comment with reference to the supply side constraints being seen in the Indian
economy recently. (10 marks, 200 words)
While the statement is generally regarded to be
true, it can be debated on some counts.
Foreign capital inflows had an important role in
growth till 2008, but growth was also due to better fiscal discipline and
increase in Savings and Investment rate.
Post- 2008 situation is even less related to
foreign capital movement.
The initial slowdown coincides with foreign capital
outflows but continuation of slowdown despite enough foreign capital in the
country has been seen.
Role of supply side constraints important as growth
went together with higher inflation. Some such constraints are higher prices
of crucial inputs like coal, higher food grains prices which has kept cost
of production higher in economy thereby impacting growth.2
3. 'Employment growth in India in the post 1991 period has
been dismal both in quantitative and qualitative terms.' Do you agree? Give
arguments with reference to increasing informal sector and gender bias in
employment distribution in India.
(10 marks, 200 words)
1990s has been a decade of jobless growth as GDP
growth rate far exceeded the employment growth rate.
Situation improved in the first half of 2000s but
from 2004 to 2009 employment growth has been even more dismal.
Most of the employment that has been generated has
gone in Informal sector. Construction sector, which mainly employs informal
labour has contributed mainly to employment creation. NSSO claims that more
significant fall has taken place in Female Labour force and Male Labour
force has either remained the same or declined marginally.
4. 'Land reforms have become obsolete in the context of
contemporary agricultural development in India.' Comment and argue about the
relative importance of land, labour and capital related reforms in the Indian
agricultural sector. (10 marks, 200 words)
Land reforms not obsolete as relation between the
farmers and land still important for agricultural growth.
Labour related reforms closely related to land
reforms as once labour given rights over land, automatically the problem of
agricultural labour gets solved to an extent.
But these reforms must be complemented with other
reforms to make it work.
Labour needs to be skilled. Farmers should know
about proper use of fertilizers, water etc. and should have information
about price changes.
Capital reforms should be in Irrigation
infrastructure, but merely building capital is not important. Farmers should
have working knowledge of using capital through programmes like agricultural
5. 'Crude oil price deregulation policy in India after 1991
has been designed to suit the government's priorities and not as a comprehensive
focus on the market mechanism.' Elucidate the statement with some arguments on
how a balance between crude oil pricing and welfare can be achieved in India.
(10 marks, 200 words)
Deregulation has taken place when crude oil prices
have been declining as consumers face lower market prices. But when market
prices go up the government faces criticism and tends to bring down prices.3
Petrol prices deregulated in 1990s when market
price was lower but later with higher market prices, it brought criticism.
Similarly diesel price getting deregulated now as
lower market prices.
We need a long term strategy and a transparent way
to determine price of these products and also ensure welfare.
Once deregulated, oil marketing companies should be
charging less mark up rather comparing it with import parity price.
Also, the price of substitutes in certain sectors
like electricity in agriculture should be priced properly so that there
should be level playing field.
6. 'India's stand on food security in WTO is
counter-productive to both Indian free trade policy and sustainable agricultural
growth.' Do you agree? Give arguments to support your answer. (10 marks, 200
Free Trade Policy argues for lower subsidy to
agriculture as it impacts the welfare of the farmers of other countries.
Domestically, it is biased in favour of the farmers
who are getting subsidy compared to those who are not.
Higher subsidies like MSP encourage farmers to
cultivate crops not suited to the geographical conditions.
It also depletes the precious resources like water
and costly inputs like electricity. This goes against sustainable
However, an argument against the above statement is
that poor farmers in India need support when such support is available in
other ways to the farmers of developed countries.
7. Financial Inclusion is necessary for inclusive growth.
Discuss. (10 marks, 200 words)
Inclusive growth implies participation as well as
sharing the benefits from the growth process. In this way inclusive growth
is both an outcome and a process. Financial Inclusion is considered to be an
important determinant for social inclusion of poor and vulnerable. It is one
of the essential conditions for reduction of poverty and socio-economic
inequalities in the society.
Financial Inclusion is perceived as a public good
in most of the developing countries. A public good is non-rival in
consumption and non-excludable.
The positive externalities associated with
financial inclusion are
1. The value of the entire national financial system increases it.4
2. The fuller participation by all in the financial system makes monetary
more effective and thus enhances the prospects of non-inflationary growth.
Discuss measures taken by RBI and GOI for Financial
Financial inclusion in India can be facilitated by
1. Restructuring financial architecture fitting to the needs of inclusive
2. Usage of Mobile Banking
3. More use of Business Facilitator and Business Correspondent
4. Micro Finance Institutions
5. Active role of educational institutes for furthering financial inclusion
8. Bring out the importance of food processing industries in
India. What measures have been adopted in recent years to promote this sector?
(10 marks, 200 words)
Vital linkages and synergies that it promotes
between the two pillars of our economy, industry and agriculture
Improvement in the value addition chain
Diversity in Cropping Pattern
Elimination of post-harvest losses
Improve the income levels of the farmers
Impetus to Economy and creation of jobs
Controlling Inflation - Indirect Effect Steps taken
by the government:
In line with this policy the Department of Food
Processing Industries has launched concessional finance schemes. The schemes
cover the entire spectrum of activities involved with food processing such
as post-harvest infrastructure including cold chain, food quality and
safety, packaging, research and development and promotion of processed food.
Export-oriented units are permitted to import raw
materials and capital goods free of duty. Zero duty import is also
permitted, for capital goods. Export earnings are exempted from corporate
Automatic approval for foreign investment up to 51
per cent is allowed. Even where investment is more than 51 per cent,
approval is given on a case-to-case basis by the Foreign Investment
Promotion Board (FIPB)
Deregulation of the sector and No need of any
licenses except in the case of alcoholic beverages5
FDI limits have been relaxed, Excise duties have
been reduced, export subsidies given
National mission on food processing, Vision2015 for
New schemes for mega food parks, cold chain etc.
Many states have reformed their outdated APMC laws.
9. What is meant by monetary stimulus? What has been the
impact of expansionary monetary policy adopted by advanced nations on the
emerging market economies like India? (10 marks, 200 words)
Monetary Stimulus - An attempt by a government to make the
faster by increasing the money supply (the amount of money in the economy).
Impact of Expansionary Monetary Policy on Emerging market economies like
10. Explain the concept of all-India Goods and Services tax
(GST). How will it benefit the economy at large? (10 marks, 200 words)
GST is a value added tax to be levied on both goods
and services (except for a list of exempted goods and services), at both the
centre and state level (Central GST and State GST respectively). This is a
single tax which will be levied on the product or service which is sold.
The system allows the set-off of GST paid on the
procurement of goods and services against the GST which is payable on the
supply of goods or services. However, the end consumer bears this tax as he
is the last person in the supply chain.
Experts say that GST is likely to improve tax
collections and boost India's economic development by breaking tax barriers
between States and integrating India through a uniform tax rate.
GST is expected to be a critical reform in spurring
growth in the economy. When introduced, GST will not only make the tax
system simpler, but will also help in 6 increased compliance, boost tax
revenues, reduce the tax outflow in the hands of the consumers and make
exports competitive. Simpler tax structure
Increased tax revenues
Boost to exports
11. What is meant by inflation targeting? Discuss the
feasibility of adopting this as a major objective of RBI’s monetary policy. (10
marks, 200 words)
Inflation targeting is an economic policy in which
a central bank estimates and makes public a projected, or "target",
inflation rate and then attempts to steer actual inflation towards the
target through the use of interest rate changes and other monetary tools.
Discuss the need for Inflation targeting as a major
objective of RBI to analyse its feasibility.
Cite the recommendations of Urijit Patel committee
on inflation targeting and its recommendation like CPI as the main anchor
for inflation and not WPI as was being done, Repo rate to be higher than
CPI, Main objective of RBI to control inflation, Role of monetary policy
12. Why are NPAs of banks rising? What measures can be
adopted to address this problem? (10 marks, 200 words)
As per the economic survey, Increase in NPAs of
banks is mainly accounted for by switchover to system-based identification
of NPAs by PSBs (public sector banks), and aggressive lending by banks in
the past, especially during good times
Increase was sharp in case of infrastructure;
Infrastructure, iron and steel, textiles, aviation and mining are five main
sector that are stressed and the reasons are different for all the five
sectors. Policy initiatives, Litigation, Scams(Coal Scam), pricing of raw
materials, Land Acquisition issues etc…
Slowing economic growth and high interest rates
have crimped the ability of many borrowers to repay their debts, causing bad
loans to pile up at banks. Priority Sector lending: One of the main causes
of NPAs in the banking sector is the Directed loans system under which
commercial banks are required to supply 40% percentage of their credit to
Measures to overcome:7
Various steps have been taken by the government and RBI to recover and
reduce NPAs. The strategies that the banks can take are –
1. Preventive management – To avoid a situation that an asset turns into NPA
using Early Warning Signals; Financial warning signals; Management related
warning signals; Banking related signals; Creating a list of Willful
2. Curative management – These are steps that can be taken once a loan has
turned into NPA - One Time Settlement Schemes; Lok Adalats; Debt Recovery
Tribunals (DRTs); Securitization and SARFAESI Act
The government can bring about policy reforms for bringing in growth in the
five sectors which account for the major share of NPAs. Sector specific
reforms to boost growth, lowering tariffs, Tax reforms etc could be some.
Revival of economy is very vital for the recovery of NPAs. Also on the cards
is recapitalization by disinvesting its stakes in the public sector banks.
13. Write short notes on
(10 marks, 200 words)
(a) APMC Act The APMC have been made specifically responsible
(a) ensuring complete transparency in pricing system and transactions taking
place in market area;
(b) providing market-led extension services to farmers;
(c) ensuring payment for agricultural produce sold by farmers on the same day;
(d) promoting agricultural processing including activities for value addition in
agricultural produce; and
(e) publicizing data on arrivals and rates of agricultural produce brought into
the market area for sale.
(f) Setup and promote public private partnership in the management of
(g) Provision made for the appointment of Chief Executive Officer of the Market
Committee from among the professionals drawn from open market.
(b) India Food Park
Union Government has approved 17 food parks across
the country over the next few months with each park estimated to attract a
minimum investment of about Rs 125 crore. Two have already become
operational - one at Haridwar in Uttarakhand and another at Chittoor in
Four more parks, one each at Tumkur in Karnataka,
Fazilka in Punjab,
Murshidabad in West Bengal and Khargone in Madhya Pradesh will be
completed by the end of 2014.
The Mega Food Park Scheme is based on cluster
approach and are based on hub and spoke model. It aims at facilitating the
establishment of a strong food processing industry backed by an efficient
supply chain, which includes 8 collection centres, central processing center
(CPC) and cold chain infrastructure.
(c) RuPay RuPay provides a platform for e- transactions and offers enhanced
security measures in addition to the RBI mandated 2-Factor authentication
viz. registration, OTP, image based authentication and anti-phishing
Highly secure with unique anti-phishing properties
User friendly and smooth adaptability
Simplified architecture & transaction flow reduces
transaction time, resulting in faster transaction processing and reduction
Customer Experience: During the online payment the
cardholder’s authentication data is collected in a secured manner. Further,
with help of a bank themed
(Looks exactly similar to the card that the customer is holding) PIN pad the
cardholder has to enter the PIN number while making the payment. The pad
shuffles each time a digit is entered as an additional security measure.
14. What do you understand by superbugs in public health?
List out the superbugs found in India. Suggest a roadmap to tackle the
challenges of emergence of such superbugs. (10 marks, 200 words)
Superbugs are resistant bacteria, virus and fungus which are
able to withstand attack by antimicrobial medicines such as antibiotics,
antivirals and antifungals. Superbugs in India
MDR – TB (Multidrug resistant TB) and XDR – TB (Extensively drug resistant)
MRSA – Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus.
NDM – 1: New Delhi Metallo Beta Lactamase enzyme producing bacteria like
Prevent irrational use of antimicrobial medicine both in humans and animal.
Monitoring system and creation of surveillance system for antibiotic resistance.
15. Discuss the features and significance of Zero Liquid
Discharge (ZLD). (10 marks, 200 words)
Zero Liquid Discharge is a process that is beneficial to
industrial and municipal organizations as well as the environment because it
saves money and no effluent, or discharge, is left over. ZLD systems employ the
most advanced wastewater treatment technologies to purify and recycle virtually
all of the wastewater produced. Also Zero liquid discharge technologies help
plants meet 9 discharge and water reuse requirements, enabling businesses to
treat and recover valuable products from waste streams.
The goal of any well – designed ZLD system is to minimize the volume of
wastewater at source that requires treatment and practice wastewater recycling
and reuse it in an economically – feasible manner. The technologies include
reverse – osmosis, multiple effective crystallization or solvent stripping. A
cheaper alternative can be engineered, tailor-made for industries producing a
particular type and concentration of effluent waste.
Benefits of ZLD Installing ZLD technology is beneficial for the plant’s
water management; encouraging close monitoring of water usage, avoiding wastage
and promotes recycling by conventional and far less expensive solutions.
High operating costs can be justified by high recovery of water (>90-95%) and
recovering of several by-products from the salt. A more sustainable growth of
the industry while meeting most stringent regulatory norms. Possibility of use
of sewage for recovery of water, for industrial and municipaluse, using ZLD
technologies. Reduction in water demand from the industry frees up water for
Agriculture and Domestic demands.
16. What is the key ingredient of blue LED? How white LED
light is produced? Discuss the role of LED lamps in combating climate change.
(10 marks, 200 words)
The key ingredient is Gallium Nitride. Red, Green and Blue
coloured LED mixed together produce white LED. Nobel Prize in Physics for 2014
was awarded to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for the invention
of efficient blue LED With 20 percent of world’s electricity used for lighting,
it has been calculated that optimal use of LED lighting cam reduce this to 4
percent. Energy efficient LED lamps form an important part of the effort to help
slow carbon dioxide emission worldwide.
17. Nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionize the
field of agricultural sector. Elucidate. (10 marks, 200 words)
Nanosensors linked to precision farming help detect soil
moisture condition, crop growth, pest infestation in crops.10 Nanoscale
fertilizer and pesticides are absorbed at a faster rate by plant roots. Increase
in surface area to volume ratio reduces wastage and enhances their utilization
efficiency reducing the input cost and increases crop yield. GPS linked
nanosensors will increase quality of decision making enabling weed control, pest
control and fertilizer application site specific, precise and effective.
18. What do you understand by Net Zero Building? Enumerate
the steps taken by India to ensure Net Zero Building. (10 marks, 200 words)
The concept of a Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB), one which
produces as much energy as it uses over the course of a year, recently has been
evolving from research to reality. Currently, there are only a small number of
highly efficient buildings that meet the criteria to be called “Net Zero”. As a
result of advances in construction technologies, renewable energy systems, and
academic research, creating Net Zero Energy building is becoming more and more
The Indira Paryavaran Bhavan It is India’s first net zero energy building
that has been constructed with adoption of solar passive design and
energy-efficient building materials. The Indira Paryavaran Bhavan is one of the
first buildings in India to have deployed energy efficiency and renewable energy
technologies at a large scale. It is one of the exemplary projects to be rated
under Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) and has set
standards that can be emulated by upcoming buildings in the region.
The building boasts an earthquake – resistant structure with a total
plinth area of 31,488 sq.m. It covers only 30 percent of the total area, while
more than 50 percent area outside the building is a soft area with plantation
and grass. The building has a robotic parking system in the basement that can
accommodate 330 cars. Thin – client networking system has been provided instead
of conventional desktop computers to minimise energy consumption. “Buildings
have an enormous impact on environment, human health and economy. The energy
used to heat and power our buildings leads to consumption of large amounts of
energy, mainly from burning of fossil fuels, oil, natural gases and coal, which
generate significant amounts of carbon dioxide, the most widespread greenhouse
gas. The successful adoption of green building strategies can maximise both the
economic and environmental performances of buildings”.
The building has received GRIHA 5-star (provisional) rating
for the following features: The design allows for 75 percent of natural daylight
to be utilised to reduce energy consumption.
The entire building has an access friendly design for
differently – abled persons.11 With an installed capacity of 930 kW peak power,
the building has the largest rooftop solar system among multi- storied buildings
The building is fully compliant with requirements of the
Energy Conservation Building Code of Indian (ECBC). Total energy savings of
about 40 percent have achieved through the adoption of energy efficient chilled
beam system of air – conditioning. As per this, air – conditioning is done by
convection currents rather than airflow through air handling units, and chilled
water is circulated right up to the diffuser points unlike the conventional
Green materials like fly ash bricks, regional building
materials, materials with high recyclable content, high reflectance terrace
tiles and rock wool insulation of outer walls have been used.
Use of renewable bamboo jute composite material for
doorframes and shutters. UPVC windows with hermetically sealed double glass.
Calcium Silicate ceiling tiles with high recyclable content and grass paver
blocks on pavements and roads.
Reduction in water consumption has been achieved by use of low-discharge water
fixtures, recycling of waste water through sewage treatment plant, use of plants
with low water demand in landscaping, use of geothermal cooling for HVAC system,
rainwater harvesting and use of curing compounds during construction.
19. What is Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT)? Discuss the
significance of TMT and contributions of Indian scientists to TMT. (10 marks,
First ground based astronomical telescope designed with
adaptive optics. As the name of the instruments suggest, it has 30 meter
diameter primary mirror. Adaptive optics help to make fine adjustments to its
focus to account for the blurring effects of the earth’s thick atmosphere. USA,
Canada, India, Japan and China are participating this project at Mount Kea,
Hawai in U.S.A. TMT will be used to collect data on stars, planets and galaxies
including evolution of universe. India is providing sophisticated components
like actuators, edge sensors and segment support assembly for active optics.
20. What do you understand by gene patent? Discuss the
judgement of US Supreme Court for myriad genetics for BRCA gene patent. (10
marks, 200 words)
GENE PATENTS A gene patent is a patent on a specific isolated
gene sequence, its chemical composition, the processes for obtaining or using
it, or a combination of such claims.12 The U.S Supreme Court ruled that
“naturally occurring” human genes cannot be patented because they are a “product
of nature” meaning that they cannot be claimed as a human invention.
But it also permitted patents based on laboratory reconstructions of human
DNA, known as complementary DNAs, or cDNAs. “Myriad did not create anything, and
it found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its
surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention.” And “groundbreaking,
innovative, or even brilliant discovery does not by itself satisfy” the
requirements for winning a patent. Overall, the ruling is a victory for two New
York City advocacy groups that have waged a long campaign to get the patents
knocked down: the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the smaller Public
Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), which initiated the effort.
It was a defeat for the diagnostics firm Myriad Genetics of Salt Lake City. Five
of its many patent claims on the human genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 have been gutted,
although other claims remain intact. Myriad was using its patents to sue clinics
and wrongly prevent them from doing independent diagnostic tests. Backed by many
geneticists and medical groups, the advocates sought to have Myriad’s patents
invalidated so that any lab could test without fear of a lawsuit for BRCA genes
linked to breast and ovarian cancer.
The impact of the decision on other companies may depend on exactly how gene
patent claims are worded. While the court ruled out “natural” DNA patents, it
also permitted cDNA patents. Although” cDNA retains the naturally occurring
exons of DNA ... it is distinct from the DNA from which it was derived and as a
result, DNA is not a ‘product of nature’ and is patent eligible.
21. In light of Santosh Hegde Commission’s recommendations,
established on the issue of Manipur encounter deaths due to imposition of AFSPA,
examine the broader suggestions made to make AFSPA more humane and accountable.
(10 marks, 200 words)
Commission was constituted to probe six encounter
deaths in Manipur
Commission has suggested a three month timeframe to
the government to decide whether to prosecute security personnel engaged in
extra-judicial killings in insurgency hit areas.
Commission noted AFSPA was an impediment to
establishment of peace in places like Kashmir.
Commission recommended review of the laws after
every six months to see whether its implementation is actually necessary in
that area or not.\
22. “The problem of Left Wing Extremism can only be tackled
through the policy of balanced regional development”. – Examine. (10 marks, 200
Problem of Naxalism was accentuated due to
imbalanced regional development13
Failure of land reforms led to further
disenchantment in the minds of the people
The government since 2003 Chief Minister’s
conference has tried to bring development as a policy
Today development of physical infrastructure is
coupled with investments in human development
A comprehensive national policy on Naxalism is
needed where focus should be le-link security & development.
23. “The financial inclusion programmes have increased money
laundering in the country.” Analyse the relationship with potential solutions.
(10 marks, 200 words)
Under financial inclusion drive, people are
encouraged to open bank accounts
Zero balance accounts are encouraged under the
latest initiative of the government
These accounts further reduce the threshold for a
launderer to do placement of her illegitimate wealth
Wealth placed in the bank is now integrated in the
economy as part of integration
Mandatory PAN cards for all transactions of cash
deposits in a bank and
Customer Due Diligence will help curb the menace
24. The Assam – Nagaland border dispute, instigated by
insurgent groups, is an instance of oil rivalry. Examine the dispute and suggest
policy interventions for prevention. (10 marks, 200 words)
Border dispute originated since creation of
Nagaland in 1963
In the last two decades geological studies have
proven presence of oil in the Disturbed Area Belt
The recent conflict in Golaghat has re-ignited the
issue and was instigated by insurgent groups.
Preventive strategy is First, fast-track and
resolve the disputed Assam-Nagaland border.
Second, create specific list of land records and
strengthen local administrative mechanisms that deal with land disputes.
Third, involve local social and tribal councils;
the significance of tribal councils acting as facilitators and disabling
violent response was starkly visible in the role played by the Ao Senden in
Fourth, disarm armed groups on both sides of the
border. So long the state fails to enjoy monopoly over organized violence in
these vulnerable areas; violence will continue to raise its ugly head.
25. To prevent terrorism, the access of financing to terror
groups needs to be curbed. Suggest strategies that can be adopted to curb the
menace of terrorism. (10 marks, 200 words)
Ratification and implementation of UN instruments
Criminalizing the financing of terrorism and
associated money laundering
Freezing and confiscating terrorist assets
Reporting suspicious transactions related to
International cooperation amongst countries
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