UPSC Mains General Studies Solved Paper (2014) - "Paper-3 : Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations"

UPSC Mains General Studies Solved Paper (2014) - "Paper-3 : Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations"

Q1. Starting from inventing the 'basic structure' doctrine, the judiciary has played a highly proactive role in ensuring that India develops into a thriving democracy. In light of the statement, evaluate the role played by judicial activism in achieving the ideals of democracy. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)

Q2. Though the federal principle is dominant in our Constitution and that principle is one of its basic features, but it is equally true that federalism under the Indian Constitution leans in favor of a strong Centre, a feature that militates against the concept of strong federalism. Discuss. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)

Q.3. The 'Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and its Members' as envisaged in Article 105 of the Constitution leave room for a large number of un-codified and un-enumerated privileges to continue. Assess the reasons for the absence of legal codification of the 'parliamentary privileges'. How can this problem be addressed?


The Indian Constitution provides for the privileges and rights of the Member of Parliaments in Article 105. However, most of these rights and privileges have not been codified and enumerated legally. The reasons for the absence of legal codification of these rights and privileges are:

(1) For an effective functioning of democracy, it is essential that the people's representatives are given the maximum amount of freedom of speech and expression, so as to communicate the opinion and demands of the various sections of the society.
(2) To protect the "separation of powers" as envisaged in the constitution between judiciary and the legislature. In case the privileges are codified then such codification would invite undue judicial interference.
However, absence of codification has led to misuse of many of these rights and privileges leading to hateful speeches, derogating remarks, unnecessary stalling of the houses, etc.

This problem can be addressed by one or more of the following initiatives:-

(1) The chairperson of the house can be obliged to submit a report to the president about sanctions that should be put against members.
(2) An independent body can be formed to scrutinize the proceedings of the house on regular basis and submit a report before the president.
(3) Appropriate provisions can be made to empower the president to take independent action against the unruly members.
(4) More visitors from among common people can be allowed. It will lead to public scrutiny of behavior of the members in the house.

4. What do you understand by the concept "freedom of speech and expression"? Does it cover hate speech also? Why do the films in India stand on a slightly different plane from other forms of expression? Discuss. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)

Q.5. Instances of President's delay in commuting death sentences has come under public debate as denial of justice. Should there be a time limit specified for the President to accept/reject such petitions? Analyse.


Article 72 of the Indian Constitution empower the President to pardon, suspend remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence including the case of death sentence. However, in many cases there is inordinate delay in commuting death sentence. Such delays raise several important issues.

It is said that justice delayed is justice denied. So, delay in death commutation is considered as denial of justice by many. Even in Shatrughan Chauhan v. Union of India case, the Supreme Court held that inordinate delay in deciding a petition of a convict sentenced to death by the president can be considered torture and inhuman punishment to the convict.

The court also held that a convict sentenced to death has a constitutional right to petition the president for relief against his sentence and the consideration of his petition is not an act of grace or mercy by the president but a necessary relief provided by the Constitution.

Such delays not only deprive a convict of his constitutional rights but also create adverse physical conditions and psychological stresses on him and his family.

Considering the high status of the office of the president, stipulating any time limit for disposing the mercy petitions will not be a good idea. However, there should not be any inexplicable delay while considering the mercy petitions.

6. The size of the cabinet should be as big a governmental work justifies and as big as the Prime Minister can manage as a team. How far the efficacy of a government then is inversely related to the size of the cabinet? Discuss. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)

7. Though 100 percent FDI is already allowed in non-news media like a trade publication and general entertainment channel, the Government is mulling over the proposal for increased FDI in news media for quite some time. What difference would an increase in FDI make? Critically evaluate the pros and cons. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)

Q.8. The setting up of a Rail Tariff Authority to regulate fares will subject the cash strapped Indian Railways to demand subsidy for obligation to operate non-profitable routes and services. Taking into account the experience in the power sector, discuss if the proposed reform is expected to benefit the consumers, the Indian Railways or the private container operators.


Rail Tariff Authority has been formed as an independent body to advise the government on fixing of freight and passenger fares.

At present, Indian Railways face chronic financial crunch. The annual rate of increase in cost has overtaken that of revenues during the last few years. This is because of several factors important among which are cross-subsidization over the years and not raising fares due to populist reasons. In this context rationalization of fares has become imperative.

Setting up a Rail Tariff Authority to regulate fares is expected to lead on era of rationalization of fares and freight structures for improving the fare-freight ratio and gradually bringing down cross subsidization between different segments.

Similar problems in power sector were solved with such an approach. The power distribution companies were incurring heavy losses due to low rates which were not being revised upwards due to populist reasons. Setting up of Electricity Regulating Commission aimed of rationalizing rate solved the financial problem to a considerable extent.

The proposed reform will, to some extent, burden the consumers financially, but financially sound Indian Railways will be able to provide them a much better service. It will also lead to reduction in rails for freight leading to increase in freight as preferred mode of transport. Finally, it will go a long way towards improving the financial health of the national transporter.

9. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in India can be most effective when its tasks are adequately supported by other mechanisms that ensure the accountability of a government. In light of the above observation assess the role of NHRC as an effective complement to the judiciary and other institutions in promoting and protecting human rights standards. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)

Q.10. The penetration of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in rural areas in promoting participation in development programmes is facing socio-cultural hurdles. Examine.


The mushrooming of SHGs in the countryside is fast changing the development landscape. They are fast becoming a catalyst of inclusive development. But these SHGs face several challenges including socio-cultural ones. These challenges are as follows.

(1) Male domination:- Traditional role of women has been related to domestic works. Now, their participation in economic activities outside home is being challenged by patriarchal values and gender discrimination.
(2) Lack of social mobility:- Division of society into castes has become a hurdle in functioning of SHGs as teams.
(3) Lack of motivation from family members:- Family members generally do not allow women to be part of any activity outside home. In many places, this women working outside is related, with lower social status
(4) Backlash from dominant and affluent section of society:- SHGs generally bring about empowerment of people from under privileged section of society. So, they are facing backlash from dominant and affluent section of society.
(5) Lack of cooperation:- Lack of cooperation among members due to suspicious and mistrust is another major concern.

Training programmes and management skills, if provided can solve many of these problems.

Q.11. Do government's schemes for up-lifting vulnerable and backward communities by protecting required social resources for them, lead to their exclusion in establishing businesses in urban economies?


To do away the discrimination and provide equal footing, government executes various schemes for their upliftment and by reserving required social resources such as quota in educational institutions and government jobs.
At one hand, these welfare schemes have played a positive role in the upliftment of vulnerable communities, on the other hand these schemes have also inhibited the entrepreneurial ability in these communities.

Incentives like reservation are considered to be panacea by many in backward communities. So, going after these incentives has eluded the backward communities from reaping the benefits from plenty of opportunities available in urban economies.

Protecting social resource for backward communities has kept them away from competition leading to stagnation in the improvement of their skills, literacy and other abilities required for coming into business.

However, these vulnerable and backward communities should not be entirely left on the mercy of markets. Rather, support from government is required but such support should not keep them aloof from having the ability to set up and run businesses in urban economies.

Q.12. An athlete participates in Olympics for personal triumph and nation's glory; victors are showered with cash incentives by various agencies, on their return. Discuss the merit of state sponsored talent hunt and its cultivation as against the rationale of a reward mechanism as encouragement.


The policy of Indian sport authorities to reward the successful players with large amount of cash and other incentives is not as productive as the policy of state-sponsored talent hunt. This can be evidenced by examples from many countries like China and US where the primary focus is to search for talent in sports and to provide them the required sports infrastructure.

States sponsored talent hunt and its cultivation has several merits as compared to the policy of rewarding successful players. These are:-

(1) It enables sport agencies to find suitable talents and nurture them into world class players.
(2) The talented players are not left on their own to become successful. Thus those players who are financially weak also get the opportunity to motivate their talents and become successful.
(3) It brings transparency and predictability in selection mechanism thus giving equal opportunities to all.
(4) Future uncertainties do not derail the confidence of talented sportsperson.
(5) It also leads to capacity building in sports sector along with development of sports infrastructure.

While rewarding victors with cash incentives in not bad, but it cannot substitute the tried and tested policy of state sponsored talent hunt.

13. Should the premier institutes like IITs/IIMs be allowed to retain premier status, allowed more academic independence in designing courses and also decide mode/criteria of selection of students. Discuss in light of the growing challenges. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)

14. Has the Cadre based Civil Services Organization been the cause of slow change in India? Critically examine. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)

Q.15. Two parallel run schemes of the Government, viz the Adhaar Card and NPR, one as voluntary and the other as compulsory, have led to debates at national levels and also litigations. On merits, discuss whether or not both schemes need run concurrently. Analyse the potential of the schemes to achieve developmental benefits and equitable growth.


The Aadhaar Card (UID) and National Population Register (NPR) are both government schemes that aggregate personal data including biometric data. The differences between them exist in terms of collection of data, authorities involved and the purpose.

The Aadhaar Scheme of UIDAI aims to provide each person a unique identification number that will serve as a proof of identity of every resident Indians and is expected to be used by identity based application like ration card, passport etc. NPR is aimed at collecting data for creation of a National citizen Register. It is intended to assist in improving security by checking for illegal migration besides checking for identity frauds and providing services to Indian citizens.

Inspite of these differences the underlying objective of both the schemes is same i.e. providing identity. So, while they can be allowed to run currently, it will be better if they are merged. The government has already suggested that the two schemes be merged in such a way that enrolment is done entirely by NPR while the UIDAI, which runs Aadhaar, caries out deduplication ahead of generating the unique number.

These schemes are expected to play an important role in achieving developmental objectives. The database collected will be used by government departments for selection and targeting of beneficiaries thus bringing in efficiency and speed and reducing leakage.

They will be used in enhancing financial inclusion through linking UID number with banks and enabling direct transfer of subsidies, credit and other entitlements.

However, issues like the privacy of data collected, misuse of biometric data, sheer magnitude of the scheme, and technological complexities pose challenges in realising the potential of these schemes.

16. With respect to the South China Sea, maritime territorial disputes and rising tension affirm the need for safeguarding maritime security to ensure freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region. In this context, discuss the bilateral issues between India and China. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)

17. The aim of Information Technology Agreements (ITAs) is to lower all taxes and tariffs on information technology products by signatories to zero. What impact would such agreements have on India's interests? (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)

18. Some of International funding agencies have special terms for economic participation stipulating a substantial component of the aid to be used for sourcing equipment from the leading countries. Discuss on merits of such terms and if, there exists a strong case not to accept such conditions in the Indian context. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)

19. India has recently signed to become founding member of New Development Bank (NDB) and also the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). How will the role of the two Banks be different? Discuss the strategic significance of these two Banks for India. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)

20. WTO is an important international institution where decisions taken affect countries in a profound manner. What is the mandate of WTO and how binding are their decisions? Critically analyse India's stand on the latest round of talks on food security. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)

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