UPSC CSE Topper Mains Answer [Part 2]

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UPSC CSE Topper Mains Answer [Part 2]


  1. The below answers have been reproduced purely from my memory of what I wrote. They may not be accurate. All discussions are welcome 🙂
  2. All answers were written more or less in the same sub-heading wise and point wise format. But the exact content may not be the same and I may be putting some additional points here or missing out some points written in the exam due to the gap between writing this and writing the exam.

Instructions: Answer each question in not more than the word limit specified. Content of the answer is more important than its length.

Q 1. 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)


Anti-defection law and original intent

  1. The anti defection law was enacted with the intention to check horse trading, defection of stray legislators.
  2. Such a defection amounted to violation of people’s mandate because in a parliamentary democracy like India, lot of people vote because of the party irrespective of the candidate, hence the law sought to check it.
  3. The law mandated that a legislator would be disqualified from the membership of the house if he/she violated the party whip or voted against it, except when more than one-third of members do so together.

Decline in parliamentary debates

  1. The parliamentary debates have witnessed a fall in diverse opinions recently. Members just toe the party line instead of voicing their own opinion fearlessly. 
  2. Certainly anti defection law has a significant role to play in that. But it is not the only major factor. 
  3. Other major factors are:
  4. Centralization in political parties and high command culture.
  5. Lack of intra party democracy.
  6. Proliferation of regional parties: Powerful regional leaders now form their own regional parties instead of remaining in the main party and voicing their own opinion.
  7. Disconnect between political leaders and electorate.
  8. Nepotism, dynasty culture etc.

Q 2. Discuss Section 66A of IT Act, with reference to its alleged violation of Art 19 of the Constitution. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Article 19 of the Constitution gives us freedom of speech and expression. However, the same article restricts this freedom on grounds of:

 – defamation

 – incitement to crime

 – contempt of court

 – public order

 – decency

 – morality

 – friendly relations with neighbors

 – national security

Sec 66A

  1. However, Section 66A which restricts freedom of speech and expression over internet and other electronic mediums, prima facie goes much beyond the restrictions mentioned. 
  2. For example, it criminalizes sending messages which “cause annoyance” or “hurt” sentiments or are “knowing wrong” or even “blasphemous”!
  3. The irony is that many of these actions are perfectly valid over other forms of media like print. So while an article may be entirely legal when a newspaper prints it, if one sends it over internet one can be arrested!
  4. One also wonders how can blasphemy be a crime in a plural and secular country like India!

Supreme Court’s intervention

  1. After a series of controversial arrests like Jadhavpur professor, Thane facebook girls, the supreme court intervened and mandated that arrest orders under the Act be only given by an officer not inferior to rank of SP.
  2. But such arrests continue indicating the inefficacy of such order to check the abuse. Now the court is looking into the legality of the law.

Q 3. Recent directives from Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas are perceived by the Nagas as a threat to override the exceptional status enjoyed by the state. Discuss in light of the Article 371A of the Indian Constitution. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Note: Straight from Vision IAS notes.

Art 371A gives special status to Nagaland and confers restricted sovereignty over the Naga legislative assembly in matters regarding their social customs, traditions, culture, civil and criminal justice, land and natural gtg. Any law passed by the Parliament in these matters can be applicable in Nagaland only with the assent of the Assembly.


  1. The centre had passed the Miners and Minerals Regualtion and Development Act (MMRDA) for major minerals including oil and gas which gives vast powers to centre in their allocation. 
  2. The Naga assembly felt that it encroached upon its restricted sovereignty given under Art 371A as ‘land and natural resources’ also include natural gas. So it canceled all gas exploration licenses awarded by centre in Nagaland and passed its own law and conducted own auctions.
  3. The centre and the ministry didn’t like it and said that Art 371A only gives a ‘negative power’ to the Naga Assembly to negate applicability of central laws to the state in these areas and not a ‘positive power’ to create its own laws.
  4. The centre opposed the auctions conducted under the Nagaland’s law.

Way Out

  1. The issue needs to be resolved politically in a statesman like manner and not by resorting to narrow readings of law.
  2. Even legally, the intent of 371A could never have been to create a power vacuum in Nagaland in these areas. So Naga assembly has the powers to conduct own auctions.

Q 4. “The Supreme Court of India keeps a check on arbitrary power of the Parliament in amending the Constitution.” Discuss critically. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Note: Straight from initial chapters of DD Basu.

The Constitution itself gives the Parliament the power to amend the constitution under Art 368 without any explicit restrictions other than procedural. This power has been exercised many times in over a hundred amendments so far, including some major ones like 42nd (which was called a mini constitution in itself), 44th, 73rd and 74th.

The courts have, however, exercised judicial review time and again to prevent arbitrary amendments.

  1. Talked about issue surrounding compensation to be paid for land acquisition: how courts initially frustrated parliamentary amendments to read that full compensation should be paid or it should be formula based and not token.
  2. Talked about Kesvanand Bharti case: Doctrine of basic features of constitution. Amending basic features would amount to ‘re-writing constitution’.

However, courts have not stood excessively in the way of parliament in amending the constitution as well.

  1. Many major amendments like 42nd, 44th, 9th schedule (protecting laws from judicial review) have been passed successfully.
  2. Amendments to fundamental rights: The court refused to restrict parliament from amending fundamental rights. It held that the word ‘law’ under Art 13 doesn’t include constitutional amendments and merely includes ordinary laws. So parliament can amend FRs. In fact, Art 31 or right to property was taken out of fundamental rights altogether.

Q 5. Many state governments further bifurcate geographical administrative areas like Districts and Talukas for better governance. In the light of the above, can it also be justified that more number of smaller states would bring in effective governance at State level? Discuss. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Creating a smaller state is not the same as creating smaller districts and talukas. State creation is a very strong expression of the regional sentiments.

Advantages of smaller states on governance

  1. Administration can be more focused.
  2. Regional aspirations can be satisfied and state needs will get priority.
  3. Exploitation of a region can be ended.
  4. Some large states like UP may be too large to manage effectively.

Governance issues related to smaller states

  1. Our experience so far has not necessarily proved that smaller states have better governance.
  2. For example, in the 68th round of NSSO figures, Jharkhand (8.5%) and Chattisgarh (9.5%) ranked at bottom among all states in reducing poverty between 2004-05 and 2011-12 compared to all India average of 15%.
  3. Smaller states like those created in North East are also not financially sustainable and are always dependent upon the centre for financial aid. This affects the governance because it is the central priorities which get funded and not the state ones thus defeating the whole argument of satisfying regional aspirations.
  4. Smaller states lead to multiple issues like sharing of waters of inter state rivers affecting governance.
  5. Smaller states also reduce the power of states vis a vis centre in the federal setup.
  6. Missed out on the point that more states mean more boundaries on inter-state commerce affecting whole nation and governance 🙁

Q 6. Constitutional mechanisms to resolve the inter-state water disputes have failed to address and solve the problems. Is the failure due to structural or process inadequacy or both? (200 words)  (10 marks)


Note: Straight from Puncchi Commission report.

Our country has over the decades faced many inter state water disputes over major rivers such as Ravi, Krishna, Cauveri.

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Structural inadequacies

  1. Some people say that water is a state subject and so resolving inter-state water disputes is difficult. But this is not true for following reasons:
  2. Entry 56 of Union List: Inter state river basins are explicitly mentioned in this entry of union list. The parliament has passed the River Boards Act also for inter state river basin management. But no such boards have been notified so far.
  3. Art 262 of constitution: This explicitly provides for constituting water tribunals to settle the disputes the orders of which can’t be challenged even in supreme court. Parliament has passed the Inter State Water Disputes Tribunals Act. But the experience with the tribunals has highlighted many problems so far.
  4. The orders of these tribunals have the force of supreme court decree only after they are notified by centre. There is no time limit to notify and centre has taken advantage of these loopholes.
  5. Many states have passed ordinances and legislations to nullify the awards of these tribunals.
  6. Issues such as displacement of people, environmental costs have come to surface in recent years. There is no provision for the tribunals dealing with these issues and they are taken to supreme court. This leads to multiple delays.
  7. Even though the tribunal awards can’t be challenged in the court, each interim award is challenged, clarificatory orders sought, and sometimes even final award challenged under Art 136.

Procedural inadequacies

  1. The tribunals were supposed to work in conciliatory fashion rather than legal. However, most have given primacy to legal procedures.
  2. The tribunals were supposed to give primacy to technical issues. But they have been caught in legal issues mostly.
  3. Many states refuse to cooperate and provide data to these tribunals.

Other issues

  1. The main issue remains lack of political commitment. 
  2. Parties often take extreme positions and play politics over water which makes any mutually beneficial solution non-acceptable.
  3. Without political commitment, hurdles will keep coming up in implementation. 

Q 7. Discuss the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission which have been a departure from the previous commissions for strengthening the local governance finances. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Note: Straight from Puncchi Commission report.

The 13th FC gave more than Rs. 80,000 crores grant to local governance bodies compared to ~ Rs. 25,000 crores of 12th FC. Some of its other path breaking measures were:

  1. Share in central pool: Grants are non buoyant while taxes are buoyant. 13th FC wanted to give the local bodies a share in the buoyant tax pool. But constitutionally it can only recommend grants to them. So it converted 1.5% of pool into basic grant and another 1% into performance grant and gave the equivalent as grants to local bodies.
  2. The states were encouraged to carry out PRI reforms by the means of performance grants. These reforms included
  3. Local body ombudsman.
  4. Presenting amount to be devolved to local bodies as a supplement to annual budget of the state.
  5. Providing for certain qualifications for selection as members of state finance commissions.
  6. Standardizing the reports of state finance commissions and their tenure.
  7. Audit system for local bodies.
  8. Giving them power to levy property tax.
  9. These funds should be devolved based on the following criteria whose weightage were changed by the 13th FC:
  10. Population.
  11. Area.
  12. Index of devolution.
  13. SC/ST population.
  14. Utilization of past funds.
  15. Income distance.

Q 8. The product diversification of financial institutions and insurance companies, resulting in overlapping of products and services strengthens the case for the merger of the 2 regulatory agencies, namely SEBI and IRDA. Justify. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Note: Straight from any good discussion on FSLRC recommendations.

The financial innovation has resulted into companies offering many hybrid products which are difficult to classify exclusively into one of the product categories. eg. Saradha, Sahara. The SEBI and IRDA spat over Unit Linked Insurance Policies (ULIPs) should be seen in this light only.

Need for merger

  1. Regulatory arbitrage.
  2. Consumer protection.
  3. FSLRC’s recommendation of Unified Financial Agency.

Wrote a couple of sentences on each point.

Other suggestions

  1. Need for a principle based financial law as suggested by FSLRC and not sector based, rigidly defined laws.

Q 9. The concept of Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme is almost a century old in India with early beginnings in Madras Presidency in pre-independent India. The scheme has again been given impetus in most states in the last two decades. Critically examine its twin objectives, latest mandates and success. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Note: Straight from Planning Commission working group on 12th Plan report.

Mentioned the recent tragedy in Bihar as intro.


  1. To encourage students to come to schools, increase attendance, provide them nutrition and improve learning outcomes.
  2. To promote equity and reduce class and caste differences.


  1. According to Planning Commission’s recent report, over 40% students are OBC, 22% SCs and 13% STs, thus fulfilling the equity objective.
  2. According to Planning Commission’s recent report, most of the students are children of landless agriculture labor and micro enterprise owners, thus fulfilling equity objective.
  3. The near 100% student enrollment ratio in primary schools almost fulfills the first objective as well.


  1. CAG and Planning Commission reports highlight lack of sufficient infrastructure like utensils, cooks, hygiene etc. 
  2. Teachers have to spend on an average 2 hours daily on the scheme thus diverting valuable study time. Students have to wash the utensils.
  3. Cooks paid very little honorarium.
  4. No doorstep delivery to schools from PDS, thus large leakages.
  5. Last mile authority for quality check like Village Education Committee or Parents Association to be constituted by Gram Panchayat not working in many states including Bihar.
  6. No accountability of the state, district, taluk level nodal officers as recent tragedy highlights.

New mandate

  1. Centre will set up IVRS based MIS system to get details from school principals directly.
  2. Social audit mechanism would be put in place to ensure accountability and quality.
  3. Scheme would be extended to pre primary children as well and also poor children in private unaided schools.

Q 10. 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)


Defined pressure groups first: They are groups which exist to pressurize the government on specific policy decisions in their favor, but they don’t seek to capture political power themselves.

Listed various types of pressure groups:

  1. Profession specific. eg. bar council, medical council.
  2. Industry lobbying. eg. ficci, cii, individual industry / sector specific.
  3. Activist groups. eg. sardar sarovar.
  4. Survey groups. eg. hungama, acer which conduct studies and try to build pressure on the government to act via their results.
  5. Informal citizen groups: like delhi rape which are highly issue specific and leaderless.

Wrote a couple of sentences each on above types. In industry lobbying, also highlighted dangers of crony capitalism, bribing etc. eg. Nira Radia tapes.

One small paragraph on: Some people say pressure groups, specially the last ones, are bad for democracy as they undermine parliament. But no, they are good as they take people’s voice to the parliament which may have grown distant from the people due to dynasty politics, criminalization etc.

Q 11. The legitimacy and accountability of Self Help Groups (SHGs) ad their patrons, the micro-finance outfits, need systematic assessment and scrutiny for the sustained success of the concept. Discuss. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Note: This was straight from ARC report.

Intro: Mentioned Andhra Pradesh controversy.

Benefits of SHGs

  1. Gender empowerment.
  2. Weaker castes and minority empowerment.
  3. Poor people empowerment.

Issues with SHGs and microfinance

  1. Multiple lending: 1 SHG borrows from multiple MFIs.
  2. High rate of interest charged: Sometimes over 50% thus leading SHG into default.
  3. Coercive practices used to recover loan.
  4. Unsustainable nature of SHGs: Even in SHG federations. SHGs remain dependent upon their sponsor NGO or govt.
  5. Low productivity and low skill set: SHGs indulge only in subsistence wage activities. Skills required are only rudimentary.
  6. Concentration in rural and southern areas.
  7. Increasing politicization: This may defeat the participatory nature of SHG and its entire concept. So governments should only create an enabling framework and not interfere too much.


  1. NABARD’s mandate to support SHGs should be extended to peri-urban areas and urban as well to capture the migrants.
  2. Skill development, technological progress encouraged.
  3. Malegam Committee recommendations: 24% cap on interest charged, 12% cap on margin, only 1 MFI lend to 1 SHG, transparent fees.

Q 12. The central government frequently complains on the poor performance of the state governments in eradicating suffering of the vulnerable sections of the society. Restructuring of centrally sponsored schemes across the sectors for ameliorating the cause of vulnerable sections of population aims at providing flexibility to the states in better implementation. Critically examine. (200 words)  (10 marks)

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Note: 1. This was straight from ARC report and any good discussion on recent CSS restructuring.

         2. This answer had a somewhat unstructured beginning. I was very tired by now.

Intro: Gave some brief intro – don’t remember.

Then a couple of sentences about accountability deficit: how CSS create parallel structures at each level and no one is ever held responsible for any failure. centre puts blame on states and states on centre.

(Now remembered that the answer should talk about recent restructuring first).

Recent restructuring of CSS

  1. Restructuring: 10% flexi funds to fund state needs. State specific guidelines for the schemes also possible.
  2. This will enable CSS to get rid of one size fit all syndrome. 
  3. It will also make them flexible, ensure state needs are better satisfied, ensure more ownership from states.
  4. Restructuring: Assistance to state to be routed only via consolidated funds of states.
  5. Presently parallel bodies are created at state level and central funds transferred directly to them. 
  6. But there is no accountability, audit and monitoring mechanism of these funds and these bodies park large amount of money simply in bank deposits.
  7. Routing through states will lead to better audit and monitoring and also ensure accountability of these bodies to state government.
  8. Restructuring: Reduction in number of CSS.
  9. Presently literally every new minister starts his/her own CSS. 
  10. Since CSS encroaches upon the states’ subjects mostly, it hampers state autonomy. So limiting their number and consolidation is a welcome step.

Other issues remaining

Even after this restructuring, many other issues remain.

  1. Accountability deficit as mentioned earlier.
  2. Creation of parastatals which hamper the growth of PRIs. These parastatals should be brought under the control of PRIs.
  3. States are often arbitrarily asked to match central contributions. The ratio is decided unilaterally by the centre without any consultation with states. Finance Commission should recommend grants to states for their part of contribution to the CSS.

Q 13. Electronic cash transfer system for the welfare schemes is an ambitious project to minimize corruption, eliminate wastage and facilitate reforms. Comment. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Note: I wondered what the hell electronic cash transfer system was! Then remembered it was Direct Benefits Transfer.

Intro: Brief description of DBT and mentioned it is already being implemented for LPG cylinders.

Positives of DBT

  1. It will help in eliminating ghost beneficiaries when integrated with aadhar.
  2. Many schemes like PDS, kerosene suffer from massive corruption because commodities are provided at much below market rates. This creates incentives for dealers to divert them to market and earn high profits.
  3. But once DBT comes, all commodities will be delivered at market rates only. So incentive for diversion, corruption will end. Subsidy will directly reach the bank account without any human interference.
  4. It will help migrant workers.
  5. Economic theory suggests commodity specific subsidies reduce economic efficiency as they distort the prices. DBT will not reduce economic inefficiency.

Limitations of DBT

  1. For the scheme to work, people should have at least a bank account. With the scale of financial exclusion in India, such a goal is still distant.
  2. Amartya Sen has highlighted its dangers on gender equality, nutrition and health.
  3. Banks may become the source of corruption.
  4. Illiteracy, and specially financial illiteracy, in India makes it difficult to implement it.
  5. Inflation may erode the value of the cash subsidy.

Way forward

  1. The benefits of scheme are too large to ignore. Suitable inclusion activities must be carried out to prepare the ground for the scheme’s implementation.

Q 14. The basis for providing urban amenities in rural areas (PURA) is rooted in establishing connectivity. Comment. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Intro: PURA model was suggested by former president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. It envisioned development of villages by:

  1. Physical connectivity.
  2. Knowledge connectivity.
  3. Electronic connectivity.
  4. Market connectivity.

Wrote a couple of sentences on each highlighting what they are and how they will benefit development.

PURA 2.0

Recently, PURA was amended to PURA 2.0 by Jairam Ramesh which will focus more on 

  1. Census towns. 
  2. PPP model. 

Q 15. Identify the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that are related to health. Discuss the success of the actions taken by the government for achieving the same. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Note: UPSC asked a question on MDG last year also. Last year too I sucked at that question. This year I thought UPSC won’t repeat it. I sucked again.

MDGs related to health

  1. Infant mortality: Reduce IMR to 30 per 1000 live births.
  2. Maternal mortality: Reduce MMR to 150 per 100000 births from 600.
  3. Universal immunization.

Success evaluation.

Infant Mortality

  1. Achieved 47 by 2012. 
  2. Some southern states like Kerala, TN, Andhra already achieved it, but northern states lie Bihar, UP, Rajasthan lagging behind.

Maternal Mortality

  1. Achieved 212 but UN report places India ‘behind’ on achieving the goal. 
  2. Again southern states like Kerala, TN, Andhra already achieved it, but northern states lie Bihar, UP, Rajasthan lagging behind.
  3. Institutional deliveries have increased significantly due to schemes such as Janani Suraksha Yojana, Indiria Matritva Sahyog Yojana.

Universal Immunization

  1. Lagging behind in this as achieved is only 61%. 
  2. Again southern states like Kerala, TN, Andhra already achieved it, but northern states lie Bihar, UP, Rajasthan lagging behind.

Q 16. Though citizen charters have been formulated by many public service delivery organizations, there is no corresponding improvement in the level of citizens’ satisfactions and quality of services being provided. Analyze. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Note: This is straight from ARC report.

Some small intro I don’t remember.

Issues with Citizen Charters

  1. They contain either broad mission statements or immeasurable goals.
  2. They don’t have statutory backing.
  3. They don’t have strong grievance redressal mechanism.
  4. They are not in simple and local language. 
  5. They are not adequately publicized.
  6. They have not been preceded by Business Process Restructuring (BPR). 
  7. No mechanism exists to capture citizen feedback and review them periodically.

Needed Reforms

  1. They should be in simple clear local language.
  2. They should not contain mission statements but contain measurable services provided by the organization with clear timelines.
  3. Displayed prominently, adequate funding for creating public awareness.
  4. Strong statutory backing and grievance redressal mechanism. The Right to Public Service Delivery Bill is a welcome bill.
  5. BPR and activity mapping should be done while preparing them.
  6. Citizen feedback should be captured and they should be reviewed periodically.

Q 17. ‘A national Lokpal, however strong it may be, cannot resolve the problems of immorality in public affairs.’ Discuss. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Note: This was totally unexpected since UPSC doesn’t generally ask questions on such controversial, anti-government topics. So I couldn’t do justice to the question.

Why a Lokpal is needed

  1. International experience of Hong Kong, Singapore, Scandinavian countries suggest effective Lokpal can significantly curb public corruption.
  2. CBI is not independent and was even called ‘caged parrot’ by the supreme court. So an independent body is needed to investigate government corruption without any conflict of interests.
  3. CVC was setup earlier, but it has proved to be largely ineffective. So a strong body is needed.
  4. If a strong Lokpal is there, it will have a strong deterrence effect on corrupt officials and politicians.

But a Lokpal alone is not enough

  1. In a society where values and morality are falling, what can a Lokpal alone do?
  2. Public service involves may situations where laws, rules are not clearly defined. Multiple interpretations can be made and discretions are required. How will a Lokpal punish in such situations?
  3. Lokpal is just like another bureaucracy. India already has too much of bureaucracy but it hasn’t solved problems.
  4. Who will control the Lokpal?
  5. It can undermine democratic process itself.

Q 18. The proposed withdrawal of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan in 2014 is fraught with major security implications for the countries of the region. Examine in light of the fact that India is faced with a plethora of challenges and needs to safeguard its own strategic interests. (200 words)  (10 marks)


India’s strategic interests in the region

  1. Terrorism and implications on internal security.
  2. Access to Central Asian hydrocarbons and other resources.
  3. Limiting Pakistan’s influence in the region.
  4. Protecting our investments and bilateral aid there.

Wrote 1-2 sentences on each point with some specific issues.

Challenges posed by ISAF withdrawal

  1. The Karzai government is weak. There is a real danger terrorists will come back.
  2. Pakistan is supporting the terrorists and when they come back, it will increase its influence and strategic depth. 
  3. Pakistan is opposed to any Indian role post 2014 in Afghanistan.
  4. China’s influence will increase too.
  5. US is already negotiating with terrorists. It has also reportedly dropped the red lines for the peace talks that Taliban must give up violence and express faith in democracy and constitution.
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Way forward for India

  1. India has already signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement. But needs to back it up with more assistance, including weapons and training, to Afghanistan.
  2. India needs to continue engagement with Afghanistan despite Pak’s opposition.
  3. India needs to continue press US that it should ensure Taliban gives up weapons and Islamic orthodoxy and accepts democracy.

Q 19. What do you understand by “the string of pearls”? How does it impact India? Briefly outline the steps taken by India to counter this. (200 words)  (10 marks)


String of pearls is the theory that China is trying to increase its naval influence in Indian Ocean and counter India’s by surrounding it. It is developing a string of ports around India for this purpose. These ports include:

  1. Kyaukpyu in Myanmar.
  2. Chittagong in Bangladesh.
  3. Hambanthota in Sri Lanka.
  4. Maldives, Seychelles.
  5. Gwadar in Pakistan.

Impact on India

  1. Over 90% of our trade flows through Indian ocean. If we lose influence to Chinese, it will seriously hamper our security.
  2. China has the upper hand in Himalayan borders. But its weakness is that most of its oil flows through Indian Ocean. Indian control over Indian Ocean is needed to balance Chinese advantage in Himalayas.

Steps taken by India

  1. Sri Lanka: India is developing the Kakesathurai port but needs to step up its engagement with SL.
  2. Andaman and Nicobar Islands: A&N islands can act as the ‘iron choke’ to Chinese string of pearls. This is because most of Chinese oil and large part of its trade flows through narrow Malacca Straights overlooked by A&N islands. India is stepping up its eastern naval command and also established an air-naval station in A&N islands called Baaz.
  3. Myanmar: After the opening of Myanmar, India has stepped up its engagement with the nation.
  4. Maldives, Seychelles: India has tacitly expressed its strong disapproval for their acts of letting Chinese ships refuel.
  5. Gwadar port: India is developing Chahbahar port in Iran which can counter Gwadar’s influence.

Q 20. Economic ties between India and Japan while growing in the recent years are still far below their potential. Elucidate the policy constraints which are inhibiting this growth. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Indian trade with Japan is merely $12.5 billion with the target of $25 billion by 2015. This is despite having a CEPA. Investments are also there, but considering the sizes of these multi-trillion economies, trade and investment is still far below potential.

Policy constraints

  1. Sectors exempted in CEPA: Automobiles and agriculture which have great trade and investment potential have been excluded from CEPA and continue to face high tariffs and NTTBs.
  2. Nuclear trade: It has suffered post Fukishama but Shinzo Abe’s coming has changed the scenario and now negotiations are progressing.
  3. Depressed Japanese economy: Japan failed to pursue policies to lift it out of depression. This has had adverse impact on the economic ties. But Abenomics is changing it.
  4. Labor laws issues: The issue with the Maruti plant in Gurgaon doesn’t bid well for more Japanes investment.
  5. Land acquisition, numerous clearances required, delays in environmental clearances, poor infrastructure in India: This is constraining more Japanese investment in India.
  6. Defence cooperation: Japan doesn’t sell weapons to any country as a matter of policy. But this is changing now with the offer of Shinwaya dual use amphibious aircraft.

Q 21. The protests in Shahbagh Square in Dhaka in Bangladesh reveal a fundamental split in society between the nationalists and Islamic forces. What is the significance for India? (200 words)  (10 marks)


Intro: Talked about Jamat-i-Islami (backed by BNP), and the secular bloggers (backed by Awami League) whose blogs led to the beginning of protests. Gave a brief of what the protests were.


  1. Rise of Islamic extremism in our vicinity.
  2. Jamat and BNP have been traditionally anti-India while Awami League and liberals pro-India.
  3. The resulting violence and strikes may complicate the situation for Awami League and hence India in the upcoming elections there.
  4. Protests show that secular forces are still strong in Bangladesh.
  5. Bangladesh holds the transit key to north east and also is India’s largest trading partner in the sub-continent.

Wrote a sentence or two for each point.

What should India do?

  1. Strengthen secular and liberal forces in Bangladesh without any apparent domestic intervention.
  2. Pass land boundary agreement in the Parliament.
  3. Speed up the resolution of Teesta issues.

Q 22. Discuss the political developments in Maldives in the last 2 years. Should they be of any cause of concern to India? (200 words)  (10 marks)


Gave point wise development of whole Nasheed-Waheed saga from his ouster to present election results.

Concerns for India

  1. Rise of Islamic extremism in vicinity.
  2. Growing proximity of Waheed and Gayoom with Pakistan and China. On the other hand, Nasheed was pro-India.
  3. GMR’s contract canceled. Other Indian investments may also come in jeopardy.
  4. Preservation of nascent democracy in Maldives.
  5. Maldives holds strategic position in Indian Ocean.

Q 23. In respect of India- Sri Lanka relations, discuss how domestic factors influence foreign policy. (200 words)  (10 marks)


India’s stand is that SL should implement 13th Amendment (with full land and police powers to provinces) and adopt LLRC recommendations.

Domestic factors influencing Sri Lanka’s policy

  1. The war was long and bloody. Led to heightened enmity feelings against the other community.
  2. Rajpakasa paying attention to these extremist sentiments of majority community instead of acting statesmanlike and pushing for a lasting solution.

Domestic factors influencing India’s foreign policy

  1. Competitive populism in Tamil Nadu. 
  2. Led to India breaking its long term policy stand of not voting in favor of country specific resolutions in UNHRC. India voted against SL twice.
  3. PM had to skip CHOGM meet.
  4. India’s aid also directed to Tamil areas mainly due to TN political compulsions. This has reduced the goodwill in SL.
  5. India’s own human rights record in Kashmir is complicating the policy and preventing India from taking an all out stand against Sri Lanka’s human rights violation.

Q 24. What is meant by Gujaral doctrine? Does it have any relevance today? Discuss. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Gujaral doctrine was given by IK Gujaral, former PM of India. It meant making unilateral concessions towards our neighbors without expecting them to match it. These concessions better our economic and political relations and given Indian eminence in the sub-continent are essential.

Relevance today

  1. Yes very much relevant. Indian sub-continent is more divided and violence prone than in 90s.
  2. India’s neighbors can compliment India’s growth. India is more confident and prosperous now than in 90s, so can afford to make such concessions.
  3. We can invest in these countries to make use of cheap labor in say automobile parts in SL and cotton textiles in Bangladesh and import the intermediary products to manufacture final goods here and export to the world. Like China does with ASEAN nations.
  4. Unilateral reduction in tariffs will lead to cheaper raw material imports from these countries which will make our export sector more competitive.

Q 25. The World Bank and the IMF, collectively known as the Bretton Woods Institutions, are the 2 inter-governmental pillars supporting the structure of the world’s economic and financial order. Superficially, the World Bank and the IMF exhibit many common characteristics, yet their role, functions and mandate are distinctly different. Elucidate. (200 words)  (10 marks)


Note: Very little time left for this question.


  1. Both carry out economic research.
  2. Both advise developing countries.
  3. Both advance loans to developing countries.


  1. IMF loans are used to overcome temporary balance of payments problems only. World Bank loans are used to finance long term developmental projects in the developing countries.
  2. IMF loans come with very strict conditionalities. World Bank loans don’t have such strict conditionalities.
  3. World Bank loans don’t have any stigma attached with them while IMF loans mean country is in a severe crisis.
  4. IMF loans size are tied to the quotas of each nation.