General Studies – II

General Studies II (Governance, constitution, polity, social justice and International relations management)

 

Syllabus – By Heart it !!

  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
  • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizen’s charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  • Role of civil services in a democracy.
  • India and its neighborhood- relations.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Reference Books:

IAS junior Notes –

Available only for mentorship program subscribers

Strategy –

Topic: Indian Polity and Governance

  • Most interesting GS Paper . It is evolving and dynamic in nature.
  • Read and revise prescribed text Indian Polity by Laxmikanth atleast 5 times
  • Have very strong basic foundation since topics and sub-topics are interconnected.
  • UPSC will never ask purely static question , nor going to ask decade old articles or amendments in detail. If you are well versed with contemporary developments, you can answer the questions very well.

Topic – Schemes and Social Issues

  • Make a note of government schemes, reports, amendments, issues, case studies and examples.
  • Connect with the syllabus wherever needed and integrate it. Focus on both the pros and cons and any suggestions for betterment of government initiatives.
  • Don’t worry, you will be able to recognise the important and relevant news from trivial news. We shall guide you on how to do it.
  • A news when completes its entirety becomes an issue. An issue has several dimensions and UPSC loves to ask a question on any one such dimension or an issue comprehensively.
  • We shall be giving mindmaps for such issues in our mentorship program

Topic: International Relations

  • IR is the most dynamic portion of the UPSC Mains syllabus. One needs to keep a tab on all the recent developments happening around the world that directly or indirectly affect India.
  • Make short notes/mindmaps on philosophy and evolution of Foreign Policy, Changes happening around the world and its impacts, our response to those changes, India’s role in regional, global and institutional level etc. Join mentorship program to cut short your work of streaming through ocean of news. We shall do it for you.
  • No matter how many sources you have referred to and how diverse your understanding is, if you are not able to produce a satisfactory response to a question, all your efforts are wasted

In Short:

  • Memorize Syllabus thoroughly
  • Go through previous year QPs
  • Read NCERTs and have a very strong basic concepts foundation
  • A tight coupling of static subject knowledge with current news needed in your preparation.
  • Finally, how you present what you have read based on what the question demands matters. It comes only through answer writing practice with right guidance.
  • Our mentorship program will take care of it. It is affordable. You have nothing to lose. We just want our experience to help future achievers. Learn from our mistakes and save your time and chances Subscribe 🙂

Previous Year Question Papers:

Yearwise:

Topicwise:

Indian Constitution

  • Examine the scope of Fundamental Rights in the light of the latest judgement of the Supreme Court on Right to Privacy. 2017
  • Discuss each adjective attached to the word ‘Republic’ in the preamble. Are they defendable in the present circumstances stances? 2016
  • Discuss the possible factors that inhibit India from enacting for its citizens a uniform civil code as provided for in the Directive Principles of State Policy. 2015
  • Khap Panchayats have been in the news for functioning as extra-constitutional authorities, often delivering pronouncements amounting to human rights violations. Discuss critically the actions taken by the legislative, executive and the judiciary to set the things right in this regard. 2015
  • Does the right to clean environment entail legal regulations on burning crackers during Diwali? Discuss in the light of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and Judgement(s) of the Apex Court in this regard. 2015
  • What do you understand by the concept “freedom of speech and expression”? Does it cover hate speech also? Why do the films in India stand on a slightly different plane from other forms of expression? Discuss. 2014
  • Discuss Section 66A of IT Act, with reference to its alleged violation of Article 19 of the Constitution. 2013
  • 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. 2017
  • 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
  • What is a quasi-judicial body? Explain with the help of concrete examples. 2016
  • 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. 2015
  • “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. 2015
  • 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. 2014
  • The setting up of a Rail Tariff Authority to regulate fares will subject the cash strapped Indian Railways to demand subsidy for obligation to operate non-profitable routes and services. Taking into account the experience in the power sector, discuss if the proposed reform is expected to benefit the consumers, the Indian Railways or the private container operators. 2014
  • Discuss the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission which have been a departure from the previous commissions for strengthening the local government finances. 2013
  • The product diversification of financial institutions and insurance companies, resulting in overlapping of products and services strengthens the case for the merger of the two regulatory agencies, namely SEBI and IRDA. Justify. 2013

Governance:

  • 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. 2017
  • What was held in the Coelho case? In this context, can you say that judicial review is of key importance amongst the basic features of the Constitution? 2016
  • Resorting to ordinances has always raised concern on violation of the spirit of separation of powers doctrine. While noting the rationales justifying the power to promulgate ordinances, analyze whether the decisions of the Supreme Court on the issue have further facilitated resorting to this power. Should the power to promulgate ordinances be repealed? 2015
  • Starting from inventing the ‘basic structure’ doctrine, the judiciary has played a highly proactive role in ensuring that India develops into a thriving democracy. In light of the statement, evaluate the role played by judicial activism in achieving the ideals of democracy. 2014
  • The Supreme Court of India keeps a check on arbitrary power of the Parliament in amending the Constitution. Discuss critically. 2013
  • “The local self-government system in India has not proved to be effective instrument of governance”. Critically examine the statement and give your views to improve the situation. 2017
  • Discuss the essentials of the 69th Constitutional Amendment Act and anomalies, if any that have led to recent reported conflicts between the elected representatives and the institution of the Lieutenant Governor in the administration of Delhi. Do you think that this will give rise to a new trend in the functioning of the Indian federal politics? 2016
  • To what extent is Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, bearing marginal note “Temporary provision with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir”, temporary? Discuss the future prospects of this provision in the context of Indian polity. 2016
  • Did the Government of India Act, 1935 lay down a federal constitution? Discuss. 2016
  • The concept of cooperative federalism has been increasingly emphasized in recent years. Highlight the drawbacks in the existing structure and the extent to which cooperative federalism would answer the shortcomings. 2015
  • In absence of a well-educated and organized local level government system, `Panchayats’ and ‘Samitis’ have remained mainly political institutions and not effective instruments of governance. Critically discuss. 2015
  • Though the federal principle is dominant in our Constitution and that principle is one of its basic features, but it is equally true that federalism under the Indian Constitution leans in favour of a strong Centre, a feature that militates against the concept of strong federalism. Discuss. 2014
  • 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 Article 371A of the Indian Constitution. 2013
  • Many State Governments further bifurcate geographical administrative areas like Districts and Talukas for better governance. In light of the above, can it also be justified that more number of smaller States would bring in effective governance at State level? Discuss. 2013
  • 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? Discuss. 2013
  • Discuss the role of Public Accounts Committee in establishing accountability of the government to the people. 2017
  • “Effectiveness of the goverment system at various levels and people’s participation in the governance system are inter-dependent.” Discuss their relationship with each other in context of India. 2016
  • In the integrity index of Transparency International, India stands very low. Discuss briefly the legal, political, economic, social and cultural factors that have caused the decline of public morality in India. 2016
  • In the light of the Satyam Scandal (2009), discuss the changes brought in corporate governance to ensure transparency, accountability. 2015
  • “If amendment bill to the Whistleblowers Act, 2011 tabled in the Parliament is passed, there may be no one left to protect.” Critically evaluate. 2015
  • Though Citizen’s charters have been formulated by many public service delivery organizations, there is no corresponding improvement in the level of citizens’ satisfaction and quality of services being provided. Analyze. 2013
  • ‘A national Lokpal, however strong it may be, cannot resolve the problems of immorality in public affairs’. Discuss. 2013
  • Initially Civil Services in India were designed to achieve the goals of neutrality and effectiveness, which seems to be lacking in the present context. Do you agree with the view that drastic reforms are required in Civil Services. Comment 2017
  • ‘The emergence of Self Help Groups(SHGs) in contemporary times points to the slow but steady withdrawal of the state from developmental activities’. Examine the role of the SHGs in developmental activities and the measures taken by the Government of India to promote the SHGs. 2017
  • How do pressure groups influence Indian political process? Do you agree with this view that informal pressure groups have emerged as powerful than formal pressure groups in recent years? 2017
  • Examine critically the recent changes in the rules governing foreign funding of NGOs under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 1976. 2015
  • The Self-Help Group (SHG) Bank Linkage Programme (SBLP), which is India’s own innovation, has proved to be one of the most effective poverty alleviation and women empowerment programmes. Elucidate. 2015
  • How can the role of NGOs be strengthened in India for development works relating to protection of the environment? Discuss throwing light on the major constraints. 2015
  • The penetration of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in rural areas in promoting participation in development programmes is facing socio-cultural hurdles. Examine. 2014
  • The legitimacy and accountability of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and their patrons, the micro-finance outfits, need systematic assessment and scrutiny for the sustained success of the concept. Discuss. 2013
  • 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. 2013
  • “In the Indian governance system, the role of non-state actors has been only marginal.” Critically examine this statement. 2016
  • Has the Cadre based Civil Services Organisation been the cause of slow change in India? Critically examine. 2014
  • “Traditional bureaucratic structure and culture have hampered the process of socio-economic development in India.” Comment. 2016

Parliament and State Legislature:

  • 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. 2014
  • The size of the cabinet should be as big as governmental work justifies and as big as the Prime Minister can manage as a team. How far the efficacy of a government then is inversely related to the size of the cabinet? Discuss. 2014
  • ‘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. 2017
  • 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? 2017
  • 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. 2017
  • The Indian party system is passing through a phase of transition which looks to be full of contradictions and paradoxes.” Discuss. 2016
  • The ‘Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and its Members’ as envisaged in Article 105 of the Constitution leave room for a large number of un-codified and un-enumerated privileges to continue. Assess the reasons for the absence of legal codification of the ‘parliamentary privileges’. How can this problem be addressed? 2014
  • 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? 2013

Indian Society and Development:

  • Does the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 ensure effective mechanism for empowerment and inclusion of the intended beneficiaries in the society? Discuss 2017
  • Two parallel run schemes of the Government viz. the Adhaar Card and NPR, one as voluntary and the other as compulsory, have led to debates at national levels and also litigations. On merits, discuss whether or not both schemes need run concurrently. Analyse the potential of the schemes to achieve developmental benefits and equitable growth. 2014
  • Do government’s schemes for up-lifting vulnerable and backward communities by protecting required social resources for them, lead to their exclusion in establishing businesses in urban economics? 2014
  • The basis of providing urban amenities in rural areas (PURA) is rooted in establishing connectivity. Comment. 2013
  • Electronic cash transfer system for the welfare schemes is an ambitious project to minimize corruption, eliminate wastage and facilitate reforms. Comment. 2013
  • Hunger and Poverty are the biggest challenges for good governance in India still today. Evaluate how far successive governments have progressed in dealing with these humongous problems. Suggest measures for improvement. 2017
  • ‘Poverty Alleviation Programmes in India remain mere show pieces until and unless they are backed by political will’. Discuss with reference to the performance of the major poverty alleviation programmes in India. 2017
  • Though there have been several different estimates of poverty in India, all indicate reduction in poverty levels over time. Do you agree? Critically examine with reference to urban and rural poverty indicators. 2015
  • 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 evaluate. 2013
  • ‘To ensure effective implementation of policies addressing water, sanitation and hygiene needs, the identification of beneficiary segments is to be synchronized with the anticipated outcomes’ Examine the statement in the context of the WASH scheme. 2017
  • Examine the main provisions of the National Child Policy and throw light on the status of its implementation. 2016
  • “Demographic Dividend in India will remain only theoretical unless our manpower becomes more educated, aware, skilled and creative.” What measures have been taken by the government to enhance the capacity of our population to be more productive and employable? 2016
  • Professor Amartya Sen has advocated important reforms in the realms of primary education and primary health care. What are your suggestions to improve their status and performance? 2016
  • The quality of higher education in India requires major improvements to make it internationally competitive. Do you think that the entry of foreign educational institutions would help improve the quality of higher and technical education in the country? Discuss. 2015
  • Public health system has limitations in providing universal health coverage. Do you think that the private sector could help in bridging the gap? What other viable alternatives would you suggest? 2015
  • An athlete participates in Olympics for personal triumph and nation’s glory; victors are showered with cash incentives by various agencies, on their return. Discuss the merit of state sponsored talent hunt and its cultivation as against the rationale of a reward mechanism as encouragement. 2014
  • Should the premier institutes like IITs/IIMs be allowed to retain premier status, allowed more academic independence in designing courses and also decide mode/criteria of selection of students. Discuss in light of the growing challenges. 2014
  • 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. 2013
  • 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. 2013
  • 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’? 2017
  • 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
  • Though 100 percent FDI is already allowed in non-news media like a trade publication and general entertainment channel, the Government is mulling over the proposal for increased FDI in news media for quite some time. What difference would an increase in FDI make? Critically evaluate the pros and cons. 2014

International Affairs:

  • ‘China is using its economic relations and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Asia’, In the light of this statement, discuss its impact on India as her neighbor. 2017
  • The question of India’s Energy Security constitutes the most important part of India’s economic progress. Analyze India’s energy policy cooperation with West Asian Countries. 2017
  • Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in South-East Asian countries’ economy and society. Appraise the role of Indian Diaspora in South- East Asia in this context 2017
  • “Increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in India and growing interference in the internal affairs of several member-states by Pakistan are not conducive for the future of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).” Explain with suitable examples. 2016
  • Project `Mausam’ is considered a unique foreign policy initiative of the Indian Government to improve relationship with its neighbors. Does the project have a strategic dimension? Discuss. 2015
  • Terrorist activities and mutual distrust have clouded India-Pakistan relations. To what extent the use of soft power like sports and cultural exchanges could help generate goodwill between the two countries? Discuss with suitable examples. 2015
  • With respect to the South China sea, maritime territorial disputes and rising tension affirm the need for safeguarding maritime security to ensure freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region. In this context, discuss the bilateral issues between India and China. 2014
  • 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. 2013
  • What do you understand by ‘The String of Pearls’? How does it impact India? Briefly outline the steps taken by India to counter this. 2013
  • The protests in Shahbag Square in Dhaka in Bangladesh reveal a fundamental split in society between the nationalists and Islamic forces. What is its significance for India? 2013
  • Discuss the political developments in Maldives in the last two years. Should they be of any cause of concern to India? 2013
  • In respect of India — Sri Lanka relations, discuss how domestic factors influence foreign policy. 2013
  • What is meant by Gujral doctrine? Does it have any relevance today? Discuss. 2013
  • Evaluate the economic and strategic dimensions of India’s Look East Policy in the context of the post-Cold War international scenario. 2016
  • Increasing interest of India in Africa has its pros and cons. Critically examine. 2015
  • 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. 2013
  • What are the main functions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)? Explain different functional commissions attached to it.  2017
  • “The broader aims and objectives of WTO are to manage and promote international trade in the era of globalization. But the Doha round of negotiations seem doomed due to differences between the developed and the developing countries.” Discuss in the Indian perspective. 2016
  • What are the aims and objectives of the McBride Commission of the UNESCO? What is India’s position on these? 2016
  • Discuss the impediments India is facing in its pursuit of a permanent seat in UN Security Council. 2015
  • The aim of Information Technology Agreements (ITAs) is to lower all taxes and tariffs on information technology products by signatories to zero. What impact should such agreements have on India’s interests? 2014
  • Some of the International funding agencies have special terms for economic participation stipulating a substantial component of the aid to be used for sourcing equipment from the leading countries. Discuss on merits of such terms and if, there exists a strong case not to accept such conditions in the Indian context.  2014

Previous Year Questions and Answers:

201320142015201620172018
2013 UPSC GS 2 SOLUTIONS2014 UPSC GS 2 SOLUTIONS2015 UPSC GS 2 SOLUTIONS2016 UPSC GS 2 SOLUTIONS2017 UPSC GS 2 SOLUTIONS2018 UPSC GS 2 SOLUTIONS

Sample Topper Answers:

Anudeep Durishetty – Rank 1, CSE 2017 – GS2

Sachin Gupta – Rank 3, CSE 2017 – GS2

Atul Prakash – Rank 4 , CSE 2017 – GS Sample

ANMOL SHER SINGH BEDI – Rank 2, CSE 2016 – General Studies

Artika Shukla – Rank 4, CSE 2016 – General Studies Sample answers 2

Athar Aamir Ul Shafi Khan – Rank 2, CSE 2015 – General Studies Sample answers

Tina Dabi – Rank 1, CSE 2015 – Sample GS 2 Answers

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