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IAS Main (Written) Exam 2014: General Studies II: Question Paper Analysis

Mar 4, 2015 17:28 IST

The IAS Main(Written) Exam 2014 ended on 20 December 2014 and the candidates are wondering about the model or ideal answers. There cannot be an ideal answer to the questions of IAS Main General Studies Questions as such but we can deduce some important points which can not be missed from a good answer.

So we took three aspects of the IAS Main General Studies Questions and try to explain the ingredients of a good answer. The candidates can see and learn about the approach towards the IAS Main General Studies Questions and try to frame a good answer. We are giving here the demand of the questions, approach to the answers and the required keywords for a good answer.

             IAS Main (written) Exam 2014 General Studies II Paper with apporach and Keywords


Q 1: 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.

Demand: The question demands three things to be discussed in flow:  Invention of Basic Structure Doctrine and its features, how the proactive approach of judiciary has helped in the thriving democracy and in the last about judicial activism and related effort to attain democratic objectives.

Approach: The answer should start with the introduction of Basic structure, its initiation with respect to Keshavnand Bharati Case. Next Para should deliberate upon the judicial activism and its various aspects. With the help of few examples related to upholding Fundamental rights, discarding laws against the provisions of judicial activism and so on.

Keywords: Basic Structure Doctrine ,Equality, freedom, self-government, self-determination, Article 32 and 226, Public Interest litigation (PIL), human rights issues, maintenance of public roads, environment pollution

Q 2: 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 favour of a strong Centre, a feature that militates against the concept of strong federalism. Discuss.

Demand: Question basically demands the balancing act between federal principle and centralizing tendencies of the Indian constitution. The question also must highlight how a strong centre can destroy the principle of federalism

Approach: The answer must start with defining federal principles, its dominance and its existence as one of the basic principle of Indian Constitution. The next paragraph must highlight various central tendencies of our constitution like power of Indian Parliament, governor, citizenship and so on. The concluding remarks must highlight the erosion of federal principles because of these inclinations towards centre.

Keywords:  Distribution of powers, schedule 7, high courts, All India Services, President Rule, Finance Commission, Election Commission, flexible constitutional amendments.

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?

Demand:  The question asks to lay down various powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and its Members’ as mentioned in Article 105 and how have they resulted in some un-codified and un-enumerated privileges at times. The core reasons and the corresponding solutions must also be given.

Approach: Initial statement must enumerate the powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and its Members’ mentioned in Article 105. What are some of the un-codified and un-enumerated privileges which are still continuing as conventions. The last paragraph must relate it to various reasons in the past and a futuristic solution to cater them.

Keywords: Freedom of speech in parliament; no member shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in parliament or any committee, parliamentary freedom, Article 122, precedents, legal codification

Q 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.

Demand: The question demands to deliberate upon the concept of “freedom of speech and expression” or Fundamental rights [(19(1)(a)]. The question also asks to define hate speech and if it is covered under Article 19. The last part of question demands to establish the films as forms of expression.

Approach: The introductory paragraph must start with enumerating Article 19(1)(a) and its related concept. In light of recent Hate Speech controversies, its limitations and relations need to be established with article 19(1)(a).
Films don’t have freedom of expression in totality as it is censored, before being released and its aspect should be compared with other forms of expressions.

Keywords: Exchange of notions or material, civil right to express one’s opinions and ideas using one’s body and property to anyone, hate speech attacks any person or a group on the basis of characteristics such as sex, cultural origin, faith, race, incapacity, or sexual orientation and is thus prohibited, censor boards

Q5: 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.

Demand: The question demands two aspects. The first aspect must reveal recent instances of commutation of death sentences based on delays. The second part asks the opinion whether there should be any threshold time for such rejections

Approach: The first half of the question must highlight recent instances of commutation of death sentences based on inordinate delay and if it is justified in the name of denial of justice. The second part must emphasize upon the need to have a fixed time for the president to decide on such mercy pleas.

Keywords: Article 72, physical stress and trauma, question of human rights, Rajiv Gandhi assassination case in, rights of the convict and the sufferings arising out of the long delays.

Q6: The size of the cabinet should be as big as 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.

Demand: The question basically demands to show the balance between bigger and smaller size of Council of Ministers. It also asks the candidates have a critical view at the inverse relations between the size of the cabinet and the efficacy of governance.

Approach: The candidates must incorporate one paragraph each for the pros and cons of bigger and smaller government’s team. Highlighting these aspects, the relations between the efficiency of governance and size of the cabinet must be discussed in light of pace of the policy making and its implementations.

Keywords: Schedule 10, 15% of the total strength of the House including Prime Minister, coalition partners, obstacle in reaching at a consensus, important portfolios

Q 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.

Demand: The question tends to ask basically for enumerating the 100% FDI structures in different domains related to media. It also demands the government’s recent proposal about FDI hike in news media. The last part asks to show the pros and cons of such hikes.

Approach: The answer should start with various media domains open for 100% FDI and the current FDI status for News media. The next part of the answer should contain the recent proposal of government of FDI in new media. The last and in fact the majority of the question must cater to effects, anticipations and situations which may exist after allowing FDI hike in new media.

Keywords: 26% FDI in news media, BBC or Al Jazeera or The Economist, sensitive, regulation, paid news, checks and balances.

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.

Demands: The question’s demand can be catered in two aspects. The minor portion asks for the practicality on non-profitable routes and services; whereas, the latter portion needs to be tackled in further three parts covering the impact of RTA on Consumers, the Indian Railways and the private container operators.

Approach:  The first part should explicitly mentioned provisions and needs of RTA and the subsidy for non-profitable routes. Next three smaller part must be devoted to the pros and cons of such provisions on the benefits to Consumers, the Indian Railways and the private container operators.

Keywords: Advisory body, suburban passenger services, concessionary travel, cross subsidization, high freight prices

Q 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.

Demands: The question demands the answer in two parts: First, How NHRC can be made sharp edged to make it more effective and role of NHRC to compliment judiciary and other institutions in promoting and protecting human rights standards.

Approach: The introductory stanza must incorporate the functions of NHRC and how it can ensure the accountability of the government. With the help of various recent supreme courts judgments, the complimentary feature of various institutions can be elaborate to make NHRC further effective.

Keywords: Liberty, equality and self-respect, to visit jail, relief for the infringement of human rights due to institutional weakness, legal aid to the people

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

Demands: The question demands a direct answer to explain the socio-cultural hurdles that the penetration of SHG in promoting participation in development programmes are facing.

Approach: Though the answer must focus on those socio-cultural hurdles in majority of the answer, but, an introduction of SHG, relevance of their participation in development programmes etc also needs to be incorporated.

Keywords: Rural based, women centric aimed at imparting entrepreneur skills, illiteracy among women in rural areas, diversity of race, religion, languages and other socio-cultural practices

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 economics?

Demands: The question straight forwardly asks to explain the veracity of the connection between exclusion of vulnerable and backward communities in establishing businesses in urban economics and government’s schemes.

Approach: The first part of the answer should mention various governments’ schemes protecting required social resources for them. The next and the major part of the answer must answer the question asked with negative or affirmative and give the explanation for the same.

Keywords: NRLM, MGNREGA, Udaan, the rural folks to migrate to urban centres, exclude the backward and vulnerable communities in establishing businesses in urban economies, need more and more entrepreneurs.

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.

Demands: The demand of the question can be split in two parts. First will emphasise upon the rewards and responses individual victors get in our country and the second will focus on merit and cultivation of state sponsored talent hunt as against the rationale of a reward mechanism as encouragement.

Approach: With the help of few examples of the recent past, the first line of the question should be explained as the real scenario in our country. The next two part respectively will analyse the merit and the cultivation of talent hunt practices pushing rewarding theories at the back side.

Keywords: Talent hunt programme, economic security to sportsperson, Start, recognition of few.

Q 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.

Demands: Basically the question pertains to demand of autonomy and independence to contemporary’s premier institutes. However, a healthy relation must be established between such debates and today’s challenges in the higher education sector.

Approach: The first part of the answer should explain the problems faced by IITs/IIMs making it necessary to have autonomy. The next part must enlist some of the growing challenges faced by higher education institutions of the day. In the last, substantial portion of the answer cover the factors and benefits of making IITs/IIMs autonomous.

Keywords: Regional imbalances, variation in quality, inappropriate resources, mismanaged regulatory mechanism, Radhakrishnan Commission, the Kothari Commission, by Acharya Ramamurthy Commission, knowledge economy.

Q 14: Has the Cadre based Civil Services Organisation been the cause of slow change in India? Critically examine.

Demands: The question simply demands to establish the relation between Cadre based Civil Services Organisation and the slow change in India. Its negative as well as positive points need to be incorporated.

Approach: The answer should start with explaining the cadre based Civil Services. Next parts of the answer should depict the gradual evolution of Civil Services from the good old days of Indian Civil Services and various relations should be established making the cadre as basic parameter and factor for slow changes

Keywords: Choice of preference, inefficiency and ineffectiveness, instrument of public service, civil servants, preserving unity, providing stability.

Q 15: Two parallel run schemes of the Government viz. the Aadhaar 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.

Demands: The question demands to analyse NPR and Aadhaar against each other and compare extensively. However, the main theme of the answer must discuss whether or not both schemes need run concurrently.

Approach: Initially, the answer contains the detailed comparison between Aadhaar and NPR on the parameters of origin, functions, relevance and so on. Making this as the background, in the next two part, their concurrent features and their potential to achieve developmental benefits and equitable growth should be elaborated.

Keywords: Identity database of Indian nationals, to eliminate duplicate and fake identities, Aadhaar enabled bank account, direct disbursal of subsidies

Q 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.

Demands: Though question demands to be discussed the bilateral issues between India and China. However, this should be done keeping in background the maritime dispute of South China Sea, maritime security and freedom of navigation.

Approach: The initial part of the answer should incorporate various issues of South China Sea mentioning China’s relations with its neighbours and its related fall out in the regional seas such as Strait of Malacca, Indian Ocean etc. In the latter half, Sino Indian relations need to be explained in maritime areas, mentioning String of Pearls, Piracy threat, pivot, containment of China etc.

Keywords: Japan, Vietnam,  Immediate neighbours, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka, Nepal among other, South China Sea, Panchsheel, maritime silk route.

Q 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 should such agreements have on India’s interests?

Demands: This question demands two aspects. The first one is to discuss ITA and the second need to be establish the impact of ITA on India.

Approach: The first half of the answer should deal with ITA, customs duty, signatories and so on. The second part will be analyzing the impact of ITAs on Indian economy on various parameters such as domestic growth, economic accessibilities to consumers, foreign trade etc.

Keywords: 97 % of world trade in information technology products, ITA-1, ITA-2, ’Make in India’, slash import duties on their products to zero, IT exports will enjoy zero tariff

Q 18:  Some of the 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.

Demands: The question demands to explain the cases whether to accept conditions imposed by donor agencies while accepting funds, but this need to emanate from the details of those conditions, aid, factors, need of such aids and so on.

Approach: The answer should start with the introduction of such types of companies and their various types of conditions for Indian companies. Keeping this in the background, their impact in Indian perspective should be discussed along the lines of CAD, domestic vulnerabilities, threat to indigenization, influence from the wealthy countries etc.

Keywords: World Bank, IMF, Ford Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation, exert enormous leverage, the interest of wealthy countries

Q 19: India has recently signed to become founding a New Development Bank (NDB) and also the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). How will the role of the two Banks be different? Discuss the significance of these two Banks for India.

Demands: The question demands to distinguish between NDB and AIIB and their roles as the single biggest parameter. Their significance in relation to India also need be discussed in detail thereafter.

Approach: The first paragraph of the answer should deliberate about these two new banks and India’s importance in them. The middle portion should differentiate between the roles of NDB and AIIB. The concluding paragraph should discuss the significance of these two new banks in Indian perspective.

Keywords: BRICS, Bretton woods institutions, infrastructure and sustainable development in member nations, counter to US-JAPAN dominated World Bank and IMF, give tough competition

Q 20: WTO is an important international institution where decisions taken affect countries in 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.

Demands: The question demands three things to be answered: 1. WTO as an important international institution, 2. Mandate and binding credentials of WTO and 3. Critical analysis of India’s stands on food subsidy and Trade facilitation.

Approach:  The introductory paragraph should explain the significance of decisions taken by WTO on the signatories of the world. The middle portion of the answer should explain the mandate of WTO and their authoritative power to bind their decisions for signatories. The last portion of the answer should be incorporating India’s point of view on Food security matters vis-à-vis Trade Facilitation.

Keywords: Legally binding, harmonization and unification of international trade, Trade Facilitation Agreement, food security programme, developing countries.

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