Displaying 6 of 6 records

Title: Why an Industrial policy is crucial?

Issue: Manufacturing sector growth

Syllabus: General Studies-III - Indian Economy - Industries - Manufacturing Sector

Context: India’s manufacturing sector growth has stagnated in recent times. Even while some of our peer countries have drastically increased manufacturing sector share in their economy


  1. The share of manufacturing sector in India’s GDP is only 17% even after reforms were introduced since 1991. On the other hand countries such as- Malaysia roughly tripled its share of manufacturing in GDP to 24%, Thailand’s share increased from 13% to 33% (1960-2014)
  2. Significance of manufacturing growth in a nation’s economy.
  • It is core to the growth of a nation’s economy
  • Productivity levels in manufacturing are much higher than in either agriculture or services.
  • It offers economies of scale, embodies technological progress and generates forward and backward linkages. All of which have a positive effect on a nation’s economy
  1. Recent times: After 2008, many countries across the world, are trying to revive their industrial sectors. By focusing on few sector-specific industries. (Example: European Union with its automobile sector)
  2. While in India, marquee programmes such as ‘Make in India’ are being propped up for increasing manufacturing growth. Other measures are directed towards improving ease of doing business, improving infrastructure etc
  3. However, many have pointed out the lack of a coherent manufacturing policy in India which would reflect the broad objectives
  4. Why we need such an industrial policy then?
  • To coordinate complementary investments when there are significant economies of scale and capital market imperfections
  • Industrial policies can bring back focus on industrial training
  • Domestic firms can benefit if the state can play the role of organizer of domestic firms into cartels in their negotiations with foreign firms or governments. Example: Like China has done with its domestic firms such as Lenovo, Haier, Huawei
  • Industrial policy can avoid competing investments in a capital-scarce environment. (Example: Telecom sector, Aviation sector)
  • Industrial policy can ensure that capacity installed is as close to the minimum efficient scale as possible. (Example: In small scale industries. More incentivization to this sector has led to this sector not expanding to take on a bigger role in the economy)
  • Industrial policy can facilitate structural changes in the economy. (Example: prevent losing firms in the economy to consumer anymore of the scarce and precious resources (Air India)
  1. East Asian success story: It was built upon export-oriented manufacturing, employ surplus labour released by agriculture, thus raising wages and reducing poverty rapidly.
  2. What we can learn from IT sector growth in India? Government took keen interest and invested in the success of this sector by requisite policies, infrastructure for it. (example: investing in education, IT parks, high speed internet, duty free on import, allowing IT companies for establishment under Shops and Establishment Act (low labour regulations) etc)

Takeaway point: If India has to keep up the growth trajectory, then manufacturing sector should be given due importance by formulating policy which takes into account all the factors mentioned before

Keywords: 'manufacturing sector' 'industrial policy' 'East Asia countries' 'IT sector growth in India'.

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 Account for the failure of manufacturing sector in achieving the goal of labour-intensive exports rather than capital-intensive exports. Suggest measures for more labour-intensive rather than capital-intensive exports. 10 2017

Title: Is the future of Indian democracy secure?

Issue: Democracy

Syllabus: General Studies-II - Indian Polity and Constitution - Elections, Representation of Peoples Act

Context: Indian democracy like other democracies around the world seem to be showing disconnectedness between different section of the society


  1. Concerns showcased by the elite section in the society
  • Denigration of the core value of the institutions that has been observed in India in recent times. Example: Supreme Court, the Election Commission of India and the Central Bureau of Investigation
  • plural and inclusive polity is core idea of Indian democracy but this has been challenged by rising majoritarian ideology in the society (example: Hindutva)
  • Rise in populist and authoritarian tendencies in the country. (example: NDA government has often been accused of being run by just few members)
  1. Significance of the issues raised by elite section in the society: Democracy in India would be reduced to only of procedural democratic importance rather than a substantive democracy.
  2. Concerns of the masses: jobs and livelihood; caste and communal considerations; and demonstration of Indian strength
  3. ‘Hyper-nationalism’: this has become a prominent feature of Indian elections. This has led to populism in political discourse. A desire for strong leader who see themselves as bigger than the institutions in the country

Takeaway point: Indian democracy should not only be defined by periodic elections (procedural democracy) but rather by a liberal spirit where there is substantial respect for the rights of citizens and institutions in the country (substantive democracy)

Keywords: 'Democracy' 'procedural and substantive democracy' 'Elections'

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 In the light of recent controversy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India? (10) 2018
2 To enhance the quality of democracy in India the Election Commission of India has proposed electoral reforms in 2016. What are the suggested reforms and how far are they significant to make democracy successful? (250 words) 2017
3 Examine the impact of Regional Political Parties in Indian politics. (150 words) 15 marks. 2008
4 what are the Main determination of voting behavior in India? (250 words) 2007
5 Identify the major electoral reforms which are necessary in the Indian Political System. (150 words) 2000
6 Is it correct to describe the party system in India as One party Dominant system ?give reasons for your answer. 1985
7 Why was it considered necessary to pass the anti-defection bill ? In what ways is it likely to improve the political health of the country? 1984
8 Despite all talk of an effective opposition why has it not been possible to develop an effective opposition in India? Enumerate the principle impediments to the achievements if the much desired political objective 1983
9 The Phenomenon of Political defection in India assumed large proportions in recent years. Bring out the factor responsible for the growth of this phenomenon. Is it right to say than ban on defection will amount to suppression of thought and action? 45 1981

Title: Is coalition government worse than single-party rule?

Issue: Coalition government versus Single-party rule

Syllabus: General Studies-II - Indian Polity and Constitution - Executive, Pressure Groups

Editorial: Is coalition government worse than single-party rule?

Context: Coalition government are often considered to be unstable and accused of being not in the spirit of nation’s long-term interests. However, such arguments are made from a narrow perspective


  1. What is a coalition? A coalition is a group of parties who come together to collectively run the government
  2. Various types of coalition:
  • Surplus coalition: government featuring a party that already has the strength to form a government but has taken on board other coalition partners
  • Coalition of convenience: based on short-term needs of the parties
  • Coalition of ideology: parties with similar ideologies. examples: a coalition of rightist parties or leftist parties
  • Governance conditions: A coalition that comes to together to achieve a set of governance objectives or agendas
  • Pre-poll and post-poll alliance
  1.   In India, most of the coalitions are post-poll alliances
  2. Features of Indian coalitions observed so far after independence:
  • Initially, coalition was thought to be unstable but India has learnt to tackle this challenge by providing stable coalition government
  • coalition bring pluralism in decision-making process
  • fiscal discipline are found to fiscally indiscipline
  • National interests are subservient to regional interests. (Example: DMK dictating foreign policy during UPA regime)
  • Coalitions in India are based on limited ideological similarities. Differences in such ideologies at times can make the coalition unstable and also not preferable. Example: Some scams during previous coalition governments in India

Takeaway point: In India, coalition government occur more because of convenience rather than any concrete ideology between the partners.

Keywords: 'Coalition government' 'Governance' 'Diversity and plurality'

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 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. (200 words) 10 marks 2014
2 Pressure group politics is sometimes seen as the informal face of politics. With regards to the above, assess the structure and functioning of pressure groups in India. (200 words) 10 marks 2013
3 The exercise of executive clemency is not a privilege but is based on several principles, and discretion has to be exercised in public considerations. Analyze this statement in the context of the judicial powers of the President of India. (250 words) 15 marks. 20 2011
4 Pressure group are an anonymous empire and are an unofficial Government. Do you agree with above statement. Substantiate with reasons? 20 2009
5 Pressure groups and political parties share an intimate and inconclusive relationship. They work closely and are not the same. Analyse how political parties and pressure groups are different from each other? 20 2009
6 Pressure groups mushroomed in India but quality of work did not improve. Discuss the reasons for the rise in pressure groups and their failure to make impact in India. 20 2009
7 Pressure groups in India are not matured but they are too diverse. Analyse the characteristics of pressure groups in India? 20 2009
8 Functioning of pressure groups differ widely in India and western countries. Analyse 20 2009
9 Bring out the aberrations of the parliamentary system of government in India. (250 words) 2001
10 The office of the president of India was designed in the British mode, With this background consider the modification of the executive powers of the president by the 42 nd amendment, 1976 and the 44th amendment 1979 to the constitution of India. Comment on the changes. 1982
11 Describe briefly the legislative and executive powers of the President of India. Have there been any changes during the last decade? Offer your comments. 1981

Currently there are no previous questions available.

Title: Editorial: West Bengal tango: on Election Commission of India

Issue: Article 324 of Indian constitution

Syllabus: General Studies-II - Indian Polity and Constitution - Constitutional, Statutory, Executive, Regulatory, Quasi Judicial Bodies

Context: The recent action of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to curtail the campaigning in West Bengal has caused some to question the neutrality of the institution


  1. What is the issue about? West Bengal has been subjected to violence due to the clashes between activists of political parties in this election. On Tuesday there was large scale violence where a bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was destroyed by some miscreants.
  2. The EC acted by curtailing the campaigning time in West Bengal for the last phase of Lok Sabha elections in the state. It also quoted the ‘fear psychosis’ which was prevalent in the minds of people.
  3. Article 324: The recent action in this matter was taken by ECI under article 324 which empowers ECI to ensure free and fair elections in India
  4. Issue with the recent action: Many parties have accused ECI acting in a partisan manner. By not immediately enforcing the ban rather than waiting for the PM rally to go on, the ECI has invited criticism. The gradual decline of violence in West Bengal also showcases the failure to prevent ‘fear psychosis’ in the state

Takeaway point: ECI has an institutional is facing crisis to with regards to its neutrality. The latest action as caused much to be desired in that regard

Keywords: 'Neutrality' 'Election Commission of India' 'Article 324'

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 Whether National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) can enforce the implementation of constitutional reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the religious minority institutions? Examine. (10) 2018
2 “The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has a very vital role to play.” Explain how this is reflected in the method and terms of his appointment as well as the range of powers he can exercise. (10) 2018
3 How is the Finance Commission of India constituted? What do you know about the terms of reference of the recently constituted Finance Commission? Discuss. (15) 2018
4 Is the National Commission for Women able to strategize and tackle the problems that women face at both public and private spheres? Give reasons in support of your answer. (250 words) 2017
5 Exercise of CAC’s powers in relation to the accounts of the Union and the States is derived from Article 149 of the Indian Constitution. Discuss whether audit of the Government’s Policy implementation could amount to overstepping its own (CAG) jurisdiction. 2016
6 What is a quasi-judicial body? Explain with the help of concrete examples. 2016
7 What are the major changes brought in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 through the recent Ordinance promulgated by the President? How far will it improve India’s dispute resolution mechanism? Discuss. (200 words) 15 marks 2015
8 “If amendment bill to the Whistleblowers Act, 2011 tabled in the Parliament is passed, there may be no one left to protect.” Critically evaluate. (200 words) 15 marks 2015
9 “For achieving the desired objectives, it is necessary to ensure that the regulatory institutions remain independent and autonomous.” Discuss in the light of the experiences in recent past. (200 words) 15 marks 2015
10 The setting up of a Rail Tarif Authority to regulate fares will subject the cash strapped Indian Railways to demand subsidy for obligation to operate nonprofitable 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. (200 words) 10 marks 2014
11 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. (200 words) 10 marks 2014
12 Discuss the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission which have been a departure from the previous commissions for strengthening the local government finances. (200 words) 10 marks 2013
13 Discuss the composition and functions of Union Public Service Commission. (150 words) 15 marks. 20 2008
14 How does the Inter- State Council establish co-ordination between States? (150 words) 2006
15 What are the steps that the Election Commission may take if a recalcitrant State Government wants to put off Assembly Elections? (150 words) 2005
16 How does the Indian Constitution Seek to maintain independence of the Public Service Commission? (250 words) 2004
17 What is a Finance Commission? Discuss the main functions of the State Finance Commission. (150 words) 2004
18 What is a Finance Commission? (150 words) 2003
19 Describe the methods of delimiting constituencies for parliamentary elections in India. (150 words) 2002
20 Differentiate and state the significance of general election, mid-term election and by-election. (150 words) 1998
21 How are the President and the Vice President of India elected? What are the constitutional issues involved in their election (About 250 words)? 1997
22 What is the stand of the Election Commission on the residential qualification of the members of the Rajya Sabha? 150 Words 1994
23 n India, though the Governor is the constitutional head of a state just as the President of the country, the former may be enjoying more powers than the latter. Do you agree? Give reasons (About 250 words). 1994
24 Explain the role of the Planning Commission and the National Development Council in the formulation of public policy in India (About 250 words). 1994
25 Explain the position of the Election Commission with regard to the residential qualification of the members of the Council of States. What do you think about it? (150 Words) 1994
26 Describe the composition and functions of the Election Commission of India (150 Words) 1993
27 Describe the composition and functions of the National Development Council. (150 Words) 1993
28 What is National Integration Council? Is there a need for it? What was the major outcome of the recent meeting of the National Integration Council? (150 Words) 1991
29 Examine the constitutional relation between the President and the Prime Minister of India (About 250 words). 1991
30 Discuss the powers of the President of India regarding the scheduled areas (150 Words ) 1991
31 What are the constitutional provisions that ensure the independence of the Public Service Commissions in India? (150 Words ) 1991
32 Discuss the secular nature of Indian polity and the position of minorities in India. (150 Words ) 1991
33 Review the present Electoral System in India and suggest modifications to ensure better and healthier Policy (In about 250 words). 1990
34 Explain the nature and extent of discretionary powers and special responsibilities of the Governor in the Indian Constitution? 1990
35 Define the duties and powers of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India in regard to Audit and show how the Constitution provides for his independence from Executive Control (About 250 words). 1989
36 Explain the Constitutional responsibilities of the Election Commission of India. 1988
37 How is the governor of a state appointed in India? Does the manner of his appointments ensure his independent functioning? 1984
38 Panchayati Raj has been designed in function as the grass root of democracy in India. Describe its organisational setup. What is the present position? Assess the performances of Panchayati System (Answer to each question on should be in about 150 words). 1981

Currently there are no previous questions available.

Title: Slippery slope: on India and Iran development

Issue: Iran nuclear deal

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

Context: India should play a more active role in the ongoing West Asian crisis rather than being a passive spectator


  1. What is the issue about? USA has recently escalated tensions in the region with Iran. Its unilateral sanctions after walking out off the Iran nuclear deal coupled with sending bombers and aircraft carrier can have disastrous effect in the region which would affect India too
  2. India’s position so far: Officially India has conveyed it would deal with the matter after the elections. However, there has been a considerable decline in India buying oil from Iran. Projects for Chabahar port though are not part of the sanctions but they have also been indirectly affected by USA’s position
  3. What can India do? It should work more closely with European countries in ensuring that Iran does not walk out off the deal completely. To work towards building a sanctions-immune financial infrastructure to facilitate Iranian trade. Work towards de-escalating tension in the region

Takeaway point: The recent actions of USA can impact India’s economic and strategic interests in the region. India should actively find a solution to this rather than accept the dictum of USA

Keywords: 'Iran nuclear deal' 'USA unilateral sanctions' 'India's stand'

Currently there are no previous questions available.

Currently there are no previous questions available.

Title: Editorial: Encourage citizen science.

Issue: Citizen scientists

Syllabus: General Studies-III - Science and Technology - IT & Computers

Context: Any advancement in science holds key to progress of the country. More progress can be achieved if the this advancement can enable the common people participation


  1. Testing of theories and coming up with inventions is often viewed from traditional method. Traditional method implies a method in which most scientists in academic settings are trained to achieve results
  2. However, such notions do not hold true in the present 21st century.
  3. New technologies of Big Data, crowd-sourcing and synthetic biology are changing the paradigm of traditional method of science.
  4. Citizen scientists: new technology has enabled informally trained individuals who are just as able to contribute to our knowledge of the world as those with formal academic training
  5. Barriers faced by citizen scientists such as:
  • External barriers need to be lifted
  • Research happens in isolation. A more collaborative approach should be adopted
  1. Some of the examples where citizen scientist have played an important part:
  • Galaxy Zoo, online citizen science project
  • Earthwatch Institute India: involved in biodiversity conservation
  • Citizen Science Alliance: deals with data engineering to oceanography

Takeaway point: Scientific institutions should take the lead in this matter. They should help in establishing a collaborative learning and knowledge production environment for citizen scientists for everyone who is interested.

Keywords: 'Big Data' 'Citizen Scientists' 'Earthwatch institute India'

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 Discuss the advantage and security implications of cloud hosting of servers vis-a-vis in-house machine-based hosting for government businesses. (200 words) 13 2015
2 Use of Information technology in health management in India (125 words) 2005
3 What is digital convergence? Examine its implications for modern society. (150 words) 2005
4 India is rapidly emerging as an Information Technology (IT) Superpower. Discuss some aspects of the growth of this Sector in the Indian economy. What role can public policy play in further enhancing growth prospects in this Sector? (250 words) 2000
5 Describe the development of Super-computers in India (150 words) 1998
6 What is a supercomputer? Give an account of super-computer development in India (About 250 words). 1993
7 . What is a CD-ROM? Describe its main advantages as a vehicle for information dissemination (150 words) 1993
8 What is RDX made of? Why has it been in the news lately? (150 words) 1993

Currently there are no previous questions available.