Displaying 5 of 5 records

Title: A vote for the sake of Parliament

Issue: Quality of legislature in India

Syllabus: General Studies-II - Indian Polity and Constitution - Parliament and State Legislatures

Context: The dignity of legislature in India has suffered in recent times. Restoring this dignity is essential for the proper working of Indian democracy


  1. Indian constitutional makers decided to adopt parliamentary system of governance rather than President Form of governance.
  2. The reasons for such a decision was primarily because:
  • Parliamentary form of governance brings in accountability. Government is held accountable to the legislature
  • Opposition party strives to hold the party in power responsible to the people
  • It prevent too much power vested in one individual only
  • It is highly suited for a diverse countries such as India
  1. Issue with Indian parliamentary process in recent times:
  • Significance of opposition parties has been constantly being undermined
  • Parliament has become a den of chaos and confusion rather than a platform for rational debates
  • Quality of representation in the Parliament is decreasing. Example: Many with serious criminal charges are being elected to the parliament of India
  • Parliament accountability through question hour, zero hour has also suffered in recent times. example: Frequent adjournment due to protest by some parties
  • Parliamentary procedure has also been subverted in certain cases. Example: passing frequent ordinances, passing certain bills as money bill to bypass debates in upper house of Indian parliament
  1. Consequences of such an action: Dignity of the institution is affected. Undermining the opposition might lead to a situation where it leads to one party rule with dictatorial tendencies
  2. What should be done?
  • Civil society should play an active role in educating the citizens on the above issues and involve them in finding solutions for it. example: create awareness among the quality of people they are electing to parliament
  • Some innovative procedure could be used to improve parliamentary proceeding. Example: adopt procedure where Prime Minister is himself accountable to certain questions posed in the parliament. (this system is prevalent in UK)
  • Political parties too should play their party in ensuring good quality representation for citizens. They should desist from fielding candidates with serious crimes.

Takeaway point: The efficacy of constitution lies among the level of participation of citizens in democracy also. Citizens should be educated in this regard. Civil society can play a pivotal role in ensuring that

Keywords: 'parliamentary system' 'significance of opposition' 'role of civil society'

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 Why do you think the committees are considered to be useful for parliamentary work? Discuss, in this context, the role of the Estimates Committee. (10) 2018
2 ‘Simultaneous election to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies will limit the amount of time and money spent in electioneering but it will reduce the government’s accountability to the people’ Discuss. (150 words) 2017
3 Discuss the role of Public Accounts Committee in establishing accountability of the government to the people. (150 words) 2017
4 The Indian Constitution has provisions for holding joint session of the two houses of the Parliament. Enumerate the occasions when this would normally happen and also the occasions when it cannot, with reasons thereof. (250 words) 2017
5 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 the legal codification of the parliamentary privileges. How can this problem be addressed? (200 words) 10 marks 2014
6 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 is the efficacy of a government then inversely related to the size of the cabinet? Discuss. (200 words) 10 marks 2014
7 The role of individual MPs (Members of Parliament) has diminished over the years and as a result healthy constructive debates on policy issues are not usually witnessed. How far can this be attributed to the anti-defection law which was legislated but with a different intention? (200 words) 10 marks 2013
8 What are the grounds of disqualification of a Member of Parliament from either House? Quote relevant provisions in your answer. (150 words) 15 marks. 20 2010
9 What is pro tem Speaker? (150 words) 2007
10 Under what circumstances, Parliament may legislate on State subjects? (150 words) 2007
11 On What grounds can a member be disqualified from either House of Parliament? (250 words) 2006
12 How would you differentiate between the passage of a Constitution Amendment Bill and of an Ordinary Legislative Bill? (150 words) 2006
13 Discuss the meaning of ''breakdown of constitutional machinery''. What are its effects. (250 words) 2004
14 Define money-bill.Discuss how it is passed in the Parliament. (150 words) 2004
15 Explain the relevance of Rajya Sabha as a second chamber in the federal set up of Indian Parliamentary System. (150 words) 2003
16 Explain the role of the Public Accounts Committee. (150 words) 2002
17 What are the main differences between the passage of a Constitution Amendment Bill and other Legislative Bills? (250 words) 2001
18 Examine the role of Estimates Committee. (150 words) 2000
19 In what ways is the RAJYA SABHA expected to play a special role in today's changing political scenario? (150 words) 1999
20 Assess the importance of the role played by the Public Accounts Committee. (150 words) 1999
21 Explain the concept of ‘Ministerial Government’ and account for its decline in recent times in India (About 250 words) 1998
22 Describe the salient features of Anti-Defection Law 150 words 1995
23 Explain the meaning of ex post-facto legislation (150 Words) 1994
24 Distinguish between preventive detention and punitive detention (150 Words) 1993
25 Discuss the powers, privileges and immunities of the Indian Parliament (About 250 words) 1989
26 Examine the powers and functions of the speaker of the Lok Sabha (150 Words) 1989
27 Explain the relevance of Rajya Sabha as a second chamber in the Federal set-up of the Indian Parliamentary System. (150 Words) 1989
28 Discuss the relationship between the Executive and the legislative wings with reference to India. (150 Words) 1989
29 . Describe the organization and functions of the committee system in Indian Parliament. (150 Words) 1989
30 What is meant by a Cut Motion in Parliament? Mention its different kinds. (150 Words) 1989
31 Discuss the value of the consultative committees attached to the different Ministries of the Government of India? (150 Words) 1989
32 How is breach of Parliament Privilege different from Contempt of the House? (150 Words) 1989
33 .There are certain spheres where the Rajya Sabha alone has the authority. What are they? (150 Words) 1989
34 Explain what is a point of order? When can it be raised? (150 Words) 1989
35 Discuss the methods by which Parliament controls public expenditure in India (About 250 words). (40) 1988
36 Identify the nature and methods of parliamentary control over the executive in Indian polity (About 250 words). 1987
37 What is meant by the sovereignty of the parliament? Consider whether the Indian parliament is a soverign body? 1982
38 What is Parliamentary Democracy? How does the Indian Parliament exercise control over the Union? Can the Parliament have any control over the State Executives/Assess Standing Committees of the Parliament in the exercise (About 400 words) 1981

Title: Are farm loan waivers a political gimmick?

Issue: Politics of Farm loan waiver

Syllabus: General Studies-II - Governance - Government Policies - Issues in governance related to design and implementation of government policies

Context: The method of alleviating distress in agriculture by providing farm loan waivers is felt by some as a short term solution which would not be beneficial for farmers as it does not address the core problems of farmers in India


  1. What is a farm loan waiver? A loan waiver is usually a decision to waive off loans of a particular section of the community owing to some reasons. Example: Farmer loan waiver due to high rural distress in India
  2. Issue highlighted in this step of the government:
  • It disturbs the credit culture in the country. Farmers in lieu of debt relief neglect to pay the debt sincerely
  • Decision of debt relief is often based on political necessities rather than economic logic.
  • It has often been found out that large farmers are major beneficiaries of debt relief rather than small and marginal farmers.
  • Even after rolling out farm waiver, it was found out there were many issues in its implementation. Example: identification of beneficiaries
  • Banks become reluctant to advance loans to farmers in future.
  1. What should be done?
  • On the supply side: efforts should be made to consolidate landholdings among farmers in India, improve rural infrastructure  such as road, cold storages, warehouses etc
  • On the demand side: Market reforms should be introduced such as amending APMC act, implementing E-National Agriculture Market (ENAM) more robustly across India
  1. Minimum Support Price (MSP): The system of MSP has distorted the prices of crops in the market, which are also responsible for the rural distress in the country. Public investment in this area has also been affected because of this. The mechanism of Price deficiency payment (PDP) can be adopted in place of MSP

Further reading:

  1. What is MSP? The minimum support prices are a guarantee price for their produce from the Government. The major objectives are to support the farmers from distress sales and to procure food grains for public distribution.  
  2. What is Price deficiency payment (PDP)? ‘Price Deficiency Payment’ system to address the gaps in Minimum Support Price (MSP) based procurement of crops. The key benefit from the price deficiency payment is that it will reduce the need for the government to actually procure food crops, transport and store them and then dispose of them under PDS. The difference between the support and market prices can instead simply be paid in cash to the farmer.

Takeaway point: Debt waiver for farmers is borne out of political necessity rather than on sound principles of economy. Such waivers hinder the growth public investment in these areas. More permanent and long-term solutions are needed to address the rural distress in India

Keywords: 'Farm loan waiver' 'Public investment' 'Rural distress'

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 Explain the salient features of the constitution(One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016. Do you think it is efficacious enough ‘to remove cascading effect of taxes and provide for common national market for goods and services’? (250 words) 2017
2 Has the Indian governmental system responded adequately to the demands of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization started in 1991? What can the government do to be responsive to this important change? 2016
3 Examine the main provisions of the National Child Policy and throw light on the status of its implementation. 2016
4 The basis of providing urban amenities in rural areas (PURA) is rooted in establishing connectivity Comment. (200 words) 10 marks 2013
5 ‘A national Lokpal, however strong it may be, cannot resolve the problems of immorality in public affairs.’ Discuss. (200 words) 10 marks 2013
6 What are the salient features of the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2011 introduced in the Lok Sabha in December 2011? 20 2012
7 What is the Prime Minister’s Five-Point agenda for India’s development as a Knowledge Society? (125 words) 2003
8 Describe the various measures taken under the Ganga Action Plan and their impact on the water quality of the river (About 250 words). (40) 1994
9 What is ISO 9000? Why is it much in demand these days? (150 Words ) 1993
10 One of the priority objectives of the Eighth Five Year Plan is the generation of adequate employment to achieve near full employment level by the turn of the century (Eighth Five Year Plan). (About 250 words). 1993
11 When and why was the National Literacy Mission founded? (150 Words) 1993
12 Scarcity of safe drinking water is an acute problem in a large number of villages in India. Point out the factors which make even the available water unfit for drinking by the rural population. What steps would you recommend to make such water potable (About 250 words)? (40) 1987
13 Asian and Common wealth games have revealed that standard of sports and games are far below the international standard .India did not get a single medal in ninth Asiad in eight sports discipline including gymnastics.What steps have been taken or are being taken to encourage ssports and improve the standard in the country ? 1983
14 In many non-communist countries in Europe and America professionalism has become specific features of important branches of sports. Do you think that the introduction or official recognition of professionalism will attract more boys and girls to sports and will lead to an improvement in the national starndard of sports in India? Given reasons for your answer (Not more than 125 words). 15 1981
15 In many democratic countries radio and televisions are not under the control of the State. Do you think that the same policy shoudl be adopted in India? Mention briefly in favour of and against such a step (Not more than 200 words). 25 1980

Title: Endless war

Issue: Afghanistan peace process

Syllabus: General Studies-II - International Relations - Important events around the World

Context: Ensuring a faster resolution of Afghanistan peace process should be ensured by all the participating actors including USA


  1. What is the Afghanistan issue about? Taliban and Afghan government are negotiating since a past few months in ensuring resolution of 17 year old war. USA has also appointed a special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad to ensure successful negotiation.
  2.  Issue in the negotiation process: Loya Jirga (assembly of Afghanistan) has endorsed a proposal for ceasefire between government forces and Afghanistan. However, the Taliban has shot down its offer.
  3. Reason for Taliban’s stand: It wants to prolong the conflict, hoping that it can weaken the government’s morale and reduce its military strength
  4. What needs to be done? The Taliban will change its stand if it is forced to do so militarily or through pressure by USA or international community.

Takeaway point: Pressure should be applied on Taliban to ensure that it respects the proposals of the government and is committed for a faster resolution of peace

Keywords: 'Afghanistan-Taliban peace process' 'US Special envoy'

Currently there are no previous questions available.

Currently there are no previous questions available.

Title: Loud and clear: on India-US discord on market access

Issue: India-US bilateral relationship

Syllabus: General Studies-II - International Relations - India's Strategic Choices - Economic diplomacy

Context: India can no longer afford to let the economic aggression shown by USA in recent times to go unheeded


  1. After President Trump took office several measures were introduced by the regime in trade arena to ensure beneficial of USA’s interests. Example: USA calling for renegotiation of North-Atlantic Free Trade agreement (NAFTA), USA pulling out of Trans-pacific trade agreement, summary tariffs imposed on its trade partners contrary to WTO rules. Even India has been targeted by the regime in recent times
  2. USA actions or policies on India’s trade interest in recent times:
  • Forcing India to cut its oil import from Iran
  • Deciding to stop extending Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits to India
  • Summary tariffs imposed on Indian steel, aluminum
  • Issues of labeling of dairy products
  • Norms concerning data localization, E-commerce
  • India’s price caps on coronary stents and other medical devices has also been a thorn in the trade relations between India and USA
  • Issues concerning the rise in H1B visa
  1. India’s stand so far: India has so far imposed duties on American motorcycles, and liquor
  2. What needs to be done? India should constructively engage with USA to resolve some of the trade issues. On a long-term basis, India along with other countries should evolve an alternative financial structure to the American system to ensure India is not affected by summary sanctions like in the case of Iran

Takeaway point: Indian policymakers have so far adopted an approach of wait and watch when it comes to dealing with trade issues with USA. However, India cannot adopt such an approach going forward.

Keywords: 'India-USA trade issue' 'GSP benefits' 'H1B visa hike' 'Tariffs and duties'

Currently there are no previous questions available.

Title: By established law and procedure

Issue: Charges against Chief Justice of India (CJI)

Syllabus: General Studies-II - Indian Polity and Constitution - Judiciary

Context: Some section of constitutional scholars argue that no principles of nature justice were violated by the committee which was setup to investigate the charges against Chief Justice of India (CJI)


  1. What is the case about? A complaint was made against the Chief Justice of India (CJI) on charges of sexual harassment. The complaint was referred to an in-house panel which cleared the CJI of all charges
  2. Concerns with committee’s judgment: It has been accused of violating principles of natural justice and not following procedure established by law on account of inadequate representation, denying the complainant to use the services of lawyer and finally, denying the complainant a copy of the report
  3. However, some constitutional scholars believe neither principles of natural justice nor procedure established by law were violated. Arguments made for this include:
    1. The procedure established by full house of the Supreme Court in 1999 was adopted to investigate the charges against the CJI
    2. The committee was not judicial in character but rather a fact-finding committee. In this regard, right of legal representation is not inherent
    3. A claim for a copy of the inquiry report has been turned down going by the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court of India & Anr. According to the judgment any such report was confidential and discreet, only for the purpose of his information and not for disclosure to any other person.

Takeaway point: The in-house panel setup to investigate the charges on CJI and its subsequent report was made on the norms established for the purpose. The committee was rather a fact-finding committee rather than a judicial committee

Keywords: 'Due process of law' 'procedure established by law' 'principles of natural justice'

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 How far do you agree with the view that tribunals curtail the jurisdiction of ordinary courts? In view of the above, discuss the constitutional validity and competency of the tribunals in India. (15) 2018
2 Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgement on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014’ with reference to appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India. (150 words) 2017
3 What is meant by Judicial Activism? Evaluate its role in the context of the functioning of Indian Polity. (250 words) 15 marks 2008
4 Is the High Courts’ power to issue ‘writs’ wider than that of the Supreme Court of India? (150 words) 2006
5 Is it possible to distinguish between judicial review and judicial activism in India? Does the recent behavior of the Indian judiciary partake more of judicial activism? Argue with suitable example. (250 words) 2005
6 What is the position of the Supreme Court under the Constitution of India? How far does it play its role as guardian of the Constitution? (150 words) 2002
7 Explain Public Interest Litigation. Who can file it and on what basis can it be rejected by the Court of Law? (150 words) 2000
8 Present your views for and against the creation of an All India Judicial Service 150 words 1997
9 What is meant by ‘Judicial Activism’ Evaluate its role in reducing corruption in public life. 150 Words 1996
10 What is the position of the Supreme Court under the Constitution of India? Discuss its role as a guardian of the Constitution (About 250 words) 1995
11 Explain the significance of the April 1994 Supreme Court judgement on the proclamation of President's rule. (150 Words) 1994
12 What was the magnitude of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy and what were the salient features of the Supreme Court verdict on the Bhopal as Tragedy? (150 Words) 1991