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Title: Of Shells, companies and GDP

Issue: GDP computation

Syllabus: General Studies-III - Indian Economy - Economic Development - Growth, Development, Poverty, Employment and Unemployment

Context: There has been a lot of distrust that has been generated with some of the data estimates released by Central Statistical Organization (CSO) and also methodology adopted by it in recent times


  1. The background of the issue: Central statistical organization (CSO) had evolved a new methodology to estimate the Gross Domestic product (GDP), in this regard few changes were made. Prominent among them were
  • Base year: CSO adopted 2011-12 year as the base year from 2004-05
  • CSO switched over from using the database of Reserve Bank of India to the database prepared by Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). This database was relating to estimate the value addition due to smaller enterprises and services activities in India
  1. Arguments made by the government in favor the new methodology:
  • Government has contended that MCA-21 better represents smaller enterprises and services activities than the earlier ideology
  • Government has also argued that it is following the global National Account 2008 standards to compute new GDP series in India
  1. Issues with changes made by CSO:
  • Normally the revision in the base year leads to an expansion in the absolute GDP (this was expected). However, after the revision, the absolute GDP size went down and at the same time leading to an expansion in the growth rates. This was unnatural
  • Furthermore, in a recent survey conducted by National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), it was found out that in the MCA database, 45% of the companies to be non-responsive
  1. The issues raised by some about the GDP numbers and methodology is serious and it needs addressing. Failing to do so will lead to losing of trust of the common people on the whole computation process in India
  2. What needs to be done? Review the methodology in light of the issues raised by some. Improve public scrutiny in the process

Takeaway point: Bringing transparency and dispelling the issues associated with the new MCA-21 database must be carried out with due diligence by the government rather than sweeping the criticism without any consideration given to it

Keywords: Shell companies GDP MCA-21 National Account standards

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 “Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is the sine qua non to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.Comment on the progress made in India in this regard. (150 Words, 10 Marks) 10 2018
2 How would the recent phenomena of protectionism and currency manipulations in world trade affect macroeconomic stability of India? (250 Words, 15 Marks) 15 2018
3 Among several factors for India’s potential growth, savings rate is the most effective one. Do you agree? What are the other factors available for growth potential? (Answer in 150 words) 10 2017
4 One of the intended objectives of Union Budget 2017-18 is to ‘transform, energize and clean India’. Analyse the measures proposed in the Budget 2017-18 to achieve the objective. 15 2017
5 What are the salient features of ‘inclusive growth’? Has India been experiencing such a growth process? Analyze and suggest measures for inclusive growth. 15 2017
6 Among several factors for India’s potential growth, savings rate is the most effective one. Do you agree? What are the other factors available for growth potential? 13 2016
7 What are the salient features of ‘inclusive growth’? Has India been experiencing such a growth process? Analyze and suggest measures for inclusive growth. 13 2016
8 The nature of economic growth in India in described as jobless growth. Do you agree with this view? Give arguments in favour of your answer. (200 words) 13 2015
9 Craze for gold in Indians have led to a surge in import of gold in recent years and put pressure on balance of payments and external value of rupee. In view of this, examine the merits of Gold Monetization Scheme. (200 words) 13 2015
10 “While we flaunt India’s demographic dividend, we ignore the dropping rates of employability.” What are we missing while doing so? Where will the jobs that India desperately needs come from? Explain. (200 words) 13 2014
11 Capitalism has guided the world economy to unprecedented prosperity. However, it often encourages short-sightedness and contributes to wide disparities between the rich and the poor. In this light, would it be correct to believe and adopt capitalism for bringing inclusive growth in India? Discuss. (200 words) 13 2014
12 With a consideration towards the strategy of inclusive growth, the new Companies Bill, 2013 has indirectly made CSR a mandatory obligation. Discuss the challenges expected in its implementation in right earnest. Also discuss other provisions in the Bill and their implications. (200 words) 10 marks 10 2013
13 Keeping in view the informal sector’s share in the total workforce in the country, critically examine the relevant inclusive measures initiated by the Government of India and their effectiveness. (250 words) 15 marks 30 2012
14 Critically review the international concern in achieving the targets set for the Millennium Development Goals. 30 2012
15 Why is international trade perceived to have failed to act as an “engine of growth” in many developing countries including India? 30 2012
16 Assess the significance of coastal regions in the economic development of India. (150 words) 15 marks. 30 2009
17 Examine the status of urbanization among the states in India and bring out spatial inequalities. (150 words) 15 marks. 30 2009
18 Describe the main sources of Industrial finance in India. How could India be benefitted from recent developments in International finance? (250 words) 2006
19 How has the Indian State tackled the trade-off between environment and development? (150 words) 2005
20 What is PURA? Discuss the major objectives. (150 words) 2004
21 What is the incidence of poverty in India? How should poverty alleviation programmes to constructed (250 words) 2001
22 Control over growth of population in India is an essential condition for the country's rapid economic development. Discuss. (250 words) 2000
23 Name the mega cities of India and mention their specific problems. (150 words) 30 1999
24 What are the geo-economic causes of underdevelopment of various regions in India? (150 words) 1998
25 How is absolute poverty line measured? What are the important measures taken by the Government to eradicate rural poverty in India (About 250 words)? 1998
26 Infrastructure bottlenecks continue to stifle the economic growth in India. Comment. (150 words) 1998
27 Comment on the view that Monetary Policy in India is used more as a stabilisation device rather than as a development tool. (150 words) 1998
28 What has been the role of NRIs in the economic development of India in the recent past? (150 words) 1998
29 What are the geo-economic causes of underdevelopment of various regions in India? (150 words) 1998
30 Describe the changes that have taken place in the direction of international trade of India since independence. (150 words) 1998
31 What measures has the Government of India taken for the development of Tribal areas in India? (150 words) 1997
32 Discuss the steps taken by the government in recent years to control inflation. (150 words) 1997
33 What measures has the government taken to make women economically independent and self-reliant during the last decade? (150 words) 1997
34 What measures has the Government of India taken for the development of Tribal areas in India? (150 words) 1997
35 Briefly comment on the purpose and type of changes made in our tax structure in the context of liberalisation and structural reforms during the first half of the 1990s. (150 words) 1996
36 How is poverty-line defined in India? Briefly enumerate the measures undertaken by the Government in recent years to alleviate poverty (150 words) 1996
37 What have been the recent recommendations of the World Bank on India's Family Welfare programme? How do these recommendations compare with those which emerged from the Cairo Conference on Population and Development in 1994? (About 250 words) 1995
38 Do you agree with the view that, in a country like India, a tax on wealth would be a useful supplement to the income tax? Argue the case in the light of Raja Chelliah Tax Reform Committee Report (About 250 words) 1995
39 Does reduction in fiscal deficit necessarily assure reduction in inflation? (150 words) 1995
40 Do you think that income tax reduces economic incentives? Give your reasons. (150 words) 1995
41 It is being suggested that the commercial banks in India should reduce their holdings of nonperforming assets. Does it mean that the former should abandon social priorities (About 250 words)? 1994
42 What was the rationale of the Mahalanobis Strategy of economic growth? (150 words) 1994
43 Indicate briefly the tax reforms that have been introduced in India after the coming in of the New Economic Policy (150 words) 1994
44 What is exclusive economic zone of a country. Discuss its relevance to India. (150 words) 1994
45 . It is claimed that the price situation in India improved considerably in 1992 − 93 with a gradual decline in the annual rate of inflation in the course of the year. What are the factors that moderated the inflationary pressures? (150 words) 1993
46 In a developing country like ours what according to you, should be the basis of taxationincome or consumption? Spell out your arguments clearly. (150 words) 1993
47 Explain the term Integrated Rural Development Bringing out its strategic importance. (150 words) 1992
48 Analyze the main defects of Indian Trade Union Movement. (150 words) 1991
49 Bring out the main features of India's Trade Policy (150 words) 1991
50 What, according to you, are the remedies to the problem of rural indebtedness in India? (150 words) 1991
51 What usually is meant by the expression an underdeveloped economy? What, according to you, are the basic causes of underdevelopment in India (About 250 words)? 1991
52 Discuss the measures taken in the Five-Year Plans to mitigate rural poverty (About 250 words). (40) 1991
53 What is the economic rationale behind the establishment of growth centers? Explain briefly the criteria for selecting three growth centers. (150 words) 1990
54 State and explain briefly the economic implications of the Right to Work. (150 words) 1990
55 Discuss the factors that have led to the recent increase in the general price level and the measures taken by the Government to Combat it. (150 words) 1990
56 What measures have been taken under the Five Year Plans increase employment opportunities in rural areas? (150 words) 1990
57 Despite having high saving and investment rates. India is experiencing a low growth rate. Why is it so? (150 words) 1989
58 What is the economic rationale for undertaking the Backward Area Development Programme? Discuss the specific measures taken by the Government in this direction. (150 words) 1989
59 What is meant by a high cost economy? Has India developed into a high cost economy and if so, how? (150 words) 1989
60 What are the salient features of the hill economy of Northern India, and how do these account for its relative backwardness? (150 words) 1989
61 Discuss the problem of rural unemployment in India. What specific schemes have been launched by the Government to generate employment opportunities in rural areas (About 250 words)? 1987
62 In course of planned economic development India’s actual growth has mostly been lower than the projected growth. How would you explain this shortfall? 1986
63 What are the principle components of economic infrastructure? Inadequacy of infrastructure as well as the poor utilization have been the principle bottleneck in economic development. comment 1984
64 Inflation has been one of the major and persistent cause of poverty and inequality in India’ Analyse. 1983
65 In their emphasis policy planners on the primacy of the rate of economic growth, some attention has been paid to structural and ideological objective of planning in India. critically examine the satement. (About in 150 words ) 1982
66 Describe the various types of unemployment in India What are the measures devised in the Sixth Plan to deal with the unemployment? 1982
67 The phenomenon of rising prices has been largely responsible for Indian economy and planning cut of welfare; it also causes hardship to the people. What are the basic reasons for continuous inflation in India and what has been the government strategy to control it? What specific measure have been taken by the Government of India for controlling inflation (Not more than 200 words)? 30 1981
68 Unemployment in India is of many types and therefore a complex issue. describe the nature if the problem and the measures adopted to deal with it particularly in rural areas (about 150 words) 1981

Title: The War on Terror is in peril

Issue: Terrorism

Syllabus: General Studies-III - Internal Security - Terrorism, external state, non-state actors

Context: In spite of the all talk in the world about war on terror, the issue of global terrorism still persists, the recent attacks in Sri Lanka has showcased how the global efforts in this regard have fallen short


  1. 9/11 attacks in USA was a turning point on how countries viewed the issue of terrorism. Since that unfortunate, many countries have called for a global ‘war on terror’.
  2. USA and other countries effort in rooting out terrorism in countries such as Afghanistan (‘Operation Enduring Freedom’), Syria, Iraq, Libya etc, signifies the commitment of these countries on this issue
  3. However, these efforts have fallen short of achieving a terror free world. Some of the examples for it are:
  • Efforts made in Afghanistan haven’t achieved the objective of rooting out terrorism. In fact, the recent gains made by Taliban is a worrying fact
  • The rise of Islamic State in Middle east, particularly in Iraq and Syria and the inability of the countries to stop it is also a worrying fact
  1. What are the reasons for the failure on ‘war on terror’?
  • It has been found that ‘war on terror’ is being used as a propaganda by the terror organizations to recruit volunteers into the organization
  • Islamophobia (fear of Muslims), has risen in recent times. Even this phenomenon is used by some to radicalize youths in society to carry out terror attacks.
  • Even after so many years, there has not appeared a common global stand on terrorism. Some countries covertly support terrorism to achieve its state objectives. Example: Pakistan in Afghanistan and India. Even the reluctance of some countries such as China to pressurize Pakistan to stop it is also not helping.
  • Intelligence sharing between countries has not been up to the standards. Example: India’s input to Sri Lanka on the recent terror attacks
  • There has not evolved a common strategy among the countries to fight terrorism. Some countries adopt a hard-line approach. Example: China in Xinjiang province.
  1. What could be done? De-radicalization of the youths should be accorded maximum priority. In Bangladesh, community is involved in ensuring youths are not allowed to be attracted to propaganda of terror groups. Example: Maulvis are involved in the effort. Even Telangana has shown positive effect in this regard.
  2. Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism can be adopted by the UN so that there is global consensus on the terrorism strategy

Takeaway point: ‘War on terror’ can only be won when the world is united on this issue and also effort is made to resolve any such contradictions that might eventually arise

Keywords: Terrorism Radicalization Islamophobia

Currently there are no previous questions available.

Title: Deal in danger: on Iran and nuclear deal

Issue: Iran nuclear deal

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

Context: European countries should explore ways to salvage ways to keep Iran in the nuclear deal even though USA has opted out of the agreement


  1. Background: Iran had signed a nuclear deal in 2015 with other countries such as- USA, UK, France, Russia, China + Germany (popularly known as P5+1). Iran had accepted to roll back on nuclear weapons in return the crippling sanctions imposed on the country since decades would be relaxed
  2. What’s the current scenario? USA under President Trump has unilaterally opted out of the agreement citing alleged violations of the agreement by Iran. However, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has given a report about Iran’s compliance
  3. USA-Iran’s actions: USA has again imposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran targeting its oil and mineral sector. Iran in response to US sanctions has rolled back on some of its commitments under the nuclear deal, such as shipping out excess enriched uranium and heavy water
  4. Consequence of Iran’s action: It would enable the country to develop nuclear weapons again; this would not be in the interest of peace in Middle East.
  5. Role of European countries: Iran has given 60 days time to European countries to find a solution for the present issue, failing to meet that would force Iran to take a more aggressive stand. European countries should now take the lead putting place mechanisms to ensure Iran is shielded from US sanctions, such as- To trade with Iran through a barter system avoiding the dollar and circumventing sanctions, pressurize USA to rollback its unilateral sanctions

Takeaway point: The leadership void created by USA should be filled by European countries in ensuring it plays its part according to the treaty it signed with Iran in 2015

Keywords: Iran nuclear deal European countries unilateral sanctions

Currently there are no previous questions available.

Currently there are no previous questions available.

Title: Protecting the forest fringes

Issue: Eco-sensitive zones

Syllabus: General Studies-III - Environment - Biodiversity and conservation

Context: The growth of Indian cities is creating an existential crisis for some of the national parks located near to these cities.


  1. Forests in and around cities have been bearing the brunt of encroachments due to reasons such as: roadways and highways, housing, agriculture etc.
  2. This encroachments has led to local extinction of wildlife, contamination of water bodies, and disturbances originating from the urban neighborhood, Man-Animal conflict
  3. Ecosystem services provided by forests are: provide green cover, shield them from the effects of climate change, and aid in urban issues such as air pollution, scarcity of drinking water, flood control and ‘heat islands’.
  4. In light of the ecosystem services provided by the forest it is important to conserve them better, in this regard Eco-sensitive zone can play a prominent part
  5. What is an Eco-sensitive zone? These zones are strips of land outside national parks and wildlife sanctuaries earmarked by the Ministry of Environment for sustainable management
  6. Under ESZ what could be done?
  • Forests will have to be soft-fenced from unscrupulous development
  • urban master plans should  recognize land use at forest fringes
  • Securing wildlife corridors and ‘green belts’ that connect urban forests with a wider natural landscape.

Takeaway point: Integrating forests with urban planning and governance is the need of the hour to ensure sustainable management of forest in our country

Keywords: Eco-sensitive zones Biodiversity conservation City development enroachment

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 Sikkim is the first ‘Organic State’ in India. What are the ecological and economical benefits of Organic State? (150 Words, 10 Marks) 10 2018
2 How does biodiversity vary in India? How is the Biological Diversity Act,2002 helpful in conservation of flora and fauna? (250 Words, 15 Marks) 15 2018
3 What are the consequences of Illegal mining? Discuss the Ministry of Environment and Forest’s concept of GO AND NO GO zones for coal mining sector. (200 words) 10 marks 10 2013
4 The issue of tourism in core areas of tiger reserve forests in the country is a subject matter of debate. Critically examine various aspects of this issue, keeping in view relevant recent judicial pronouncements. 30 2012
5 Analyse critically the interlinkages between the Convention on Biological Diversity and FAO Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. 30 2012
6 What is Permaculture? Give at least three common examples where permaculture concepts are being put to use. 2012
7 The human population is abated to grew to 9 billion by 2050. In this context, many scientist predict that plant genomes would play critical role in keeping out hunger and preserving the environment. Explain. (250 words) 15 marks 2012
8 what do you understanding by the term ‘biodiversity’? Examine the cause and consequence of degeneration of biodiversity? (250 words) 2007
9 Describe the salient features of Project Tiger. How far has it helped in saving the tiger from extinction? (150 words) 1994
10 What is biodiversity? Why should it be preserved (About 250 words)? 1991
11 Possessing a tremendous diversity of climate and physical conditions, India has a great variation of fauna. What are main categories/species of Indian fauna? Name any three, which are unique in the world. What steps are being taken to preserve them? Have those efforts been successful? (Not more than 1 50 words) 1982
12 What do you understand by ecology? What measures are being taken to preserve the wild flora and fauna and protect the endangered species of animals in India? Name three species for which special measures have been taken to preserve. What are the main objectives of Government science policy? What steps are being taken for the optimum utilisation of manpower, and improvement in the quality of life and technical education? 1981
13 What is the scope of the Silent Valley Project and what are the issues which have been raised in relation to it? Having regard to the different views expressed. How should the Central Government proceed further in regard to this project? 1980

Title: Substantive Equality

Issue: Reservations in Promotions

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

Context: The Supreme Court of India recently upheld the High Court of Karnataka’s verdict of upholding reservations for SC/ST’s in government jobs


  1. Nagaraj Case and reservations: In this judgment the court had put up some norms particularly for providing reservations in promotions to SC and ST’s. The norms laid out where:
  • Backwardness of the committee should be established
  • Data on their inadequate representation should be compiled
  • Merit shall not be compromised by any such reservation
  1. However in Jarnail Singh (2018), where reservation for SC/ST candidates is concerned, there is no need to demonstrate the ‘backwardness’ of the community
  2. What has Karnataka done? Karnataka has enacted a law based on the committee report which had compiled verifiable data on the need for reservation in promotions for SC/STs in government jobs
  3. Observation made by the court in this regard: ‘merit lies not only in performance but also in achieving goals such as promotion of equality, and that India’s transformative Constitution envisages not just a formal equality of opportunity but the achievement of substantive equality’
  4. Significance of this decision: Supreme Court has recognized for the first time of quantifiable data being used to justify reservation. A law which provided reservation in promotions was stuck down by the court in 2002 for lack of quantifiable data

Takeaway point: The Supreme Court judgment would enable further the idea of promoting social justice in the society for SC/STs in Karnataka

Keywords: Reservations in Promotions Substantive Equality Nagaraj case Fundamental Rights

# 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

Currently there are no previous questions available.