SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [20th November 2017]- Day 1

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  • November 21, 2017
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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [20th November 2017]- Day 1


1. The Government of India Act, 1935 is a watershed in India’s constitutional history. Elucidate.


With the building pressure of Indian political organizations and parties like congress, the British Government was constantly pressurized to make new reforms in the governance. For this many Indian Councils Act of 1892, 1909 and 1919 were enacted. But the most important act which shaped the contemporary as well as the later polity of India was the Government of India Act 1935. It can be seen as a watershed in India’s constitutional History.


The Act derived material from four key sources viz. Report of the Simon Commission, discussions at the Third Round Table Conference, the White Paper of 1933 and the reports of the Joint select committees.

Its salient features were:

  • Abolition of provincial dyarchy and introduction of dyarchy at centre.
  • Abolition of Indian Council and introduction of an advisory body in its place.
  • Provision for an All India Federation with British India territories and princely states.*
  • Elaborate safeguards and protective instruments for minorities.
  • Supremacy of British Parliament.
  • Increase in size of legislatures, extension of franchise, division of subjects into three lists and retention of communal electorate.

*Note: A federation did not come into being as the princely states did not agree for it.

Some parts of the GOI Act 1935 came into force for example : the Federal Bank (The Reserve Bank of India) and the Federal Court were established in 1935 and 1937 respectively. The other parts of the Act, particularly provincial Autonomy, came into force on 1st April 1937. The first elections under the Act were also held in 1937.

The Act had far reaching repercussions:

One of the reason was for which it was important was that some provincial autonomy was granted. This was the first time that this had been allowed and was seen as an important step forward. Ministers in the provinces could have control over all departments, except when governors choose to intervene in cases of public order or to veto a bill they disliked. This was a draw back since it meant that the real power was in the hand of the governors.

Another reason was that it granted more voting rights to the people of India i-e 25% of the population of India was now having the right to vote which was 5 times larger than that in 1909. The act also recommended a federal form of govt. for India which enables the princes to participate in the political affairs of India.

The final and the most important reason was that although it suited no-one, the act was an important point in the move towards independence. It proved the basis for the negotiations which finally resulted in the British leaving India.

Parliamentary systems had been set up in which the Indians people were to gain increasing representation. The same procedures and process of Parliament was carrying forward in independent India.

Note: In this question, the focus is the ‘Watershed’. Most of you have written about the features of the Act while the focus should have been on the facts as to how it was different from previous Acts and how it shaped future political procedures of India. The quality of an answer is not decided by the number of facts you have mentioned in an answer but the relevance of the facts.

Connecting the dots:

Similar question can be asked on the significance of the other Acts. Now when significance is asked, apart from the details and facts of the provisions of the act, you need to mention what type of change it brought in the mind set of the British authorities and its impact on India politicians and citizens in general. If you are able to think like that, you will be able to answer any other related question from the topic.

Best Answer 1 : Pratik Kumar


Best Answer 2 : Mr Crap Bag



Q.2) The Indian Constitution promises not only political but also social democracy. Examine.

Background: On November 25, 1949, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in his last constituent assembly speech, he spoke of the need to give up the grammar of anarchy, to avoid hero-worship, and to work towards a social – not just a political – democracy. At the time of freedom struggle and aftermath the leaders of India’s freedom struggle had some vision of what democracy was supposed to achieve: freedom, equality, dignity and justice.


Our constitution guarantees every citizen to enjoy the right without any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, color, gender, Religious intolerance or education. The word ‘democratic’ not only refer to political but also to social & economic democracy.

Political democracy:

  • Political Democracy is a means for the people to choose their leaders and to hold their leaders accountable for their policies and their conduct in office.
  • The people decide who will represent them in parliament, and who will head the government at the national and local levels.

Social democracy:

  • Social democracy on the other hand is a political, social and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote socialism within a democratic framework.
  • Social democracy thus aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic, egalitarian outcomes.
  • Here the government takes responsibility of providing social services without eliminating the role of market.

In practice, social democrats have historically settled for large government social welfare programs, like universal health care, free education, pension plans, unemployment insurance, guaranteed minimum income, etc. In India, government is working towards the social democracy by making basic needs as rights like: Right to work (MGNREGA), Right to food, Right to Information and Right to education.

Constitution provisions to achieve political and social democracy: Constitution of India has provided mainly through Preamble, Fundamental rights and DPSP. On the one hand political democracy is promoted through FR’s such as:

  • Equality before law,
  • Abolition of untouchability,
  • Prohibition of discrimination establishes equality of all Indians irrespective of caste, religion or sex, which is most important to establish political democracy in India, similarly
  • Right to freedom,
  • Right against exploitation and cultural and religious freedom

Which ensures the liberty of Individual which is another important pillar to establish political democracy to its citizens.

On the other hand, social democracy through DPSPs by promoting:

  • Equal justice,
  • Organisation of village panchyats,
  • Promoting interest of schedule castes, schedule tribes, OBCs and workers participation it tries to secure social order for the promotion of welfare of the people, also promoting
  • Right to work, living wage, organising agriculture and animal husbandry and cottage industries it tries to secure economic interest of the people to establish social democracy.

To achieve the ideals of social and economic welfare the state is required to involve in different social welfare schemes as like reservation for SC/ST/OBCs, MGREGA, Mid-Day Meal Scheme, Sarva Sikha Abhiyan, 73rd and 74th Amendment acts, etc.


All these provisions in the constitution as well as the government policies are right steps towards the Dr. B. R. Ambedker’s and many more leaders dream of achieving not only political democracy but also social democracy in which giving voice to the voiceless society.

Note: Kindly write the answers by synchronizing the government policies along with the constitutional provisions for the promotion of social democracy and political democracy.

Best answer: Abhishek Vasant Naik


Q.3 Liberty should be coupled with social restraint and subordinated to the liberty of the greatest number for common happiness. Discuss. 


There has been various instances recently where individual liberty has supposedly come into question. Examples:

  • Collection of data for Aadhaar and making it mandatory far availing public services at the cost of right to privacy.
  • The issue of LGBT rights/liberty coming in conflict with morality imposed by society.
  • Ban on liquor sale to counter the problem of law and order in some of the states.
  • Liberty to say whatever one feels like may hurt reputation of others. Thus, the need of criminal defamation as underlined by the Supreme Court in Subramaniam Swamy case, 2016.

In this light a debate arises as to the limits on liberty in the name of social order and common happiness.


The answer can be divided in following parts:

  • Definition of liberty in 1-2 lines.
  • Explaining the importance of liberty for an individual.
  • The necessity of coupling social restraint with social restraint and liberty of greatest number.
  • In conclusion a balanced approach has to be adopted. Limits on liberty are required but it should not be unjustified.

Constitutional dimension- Word liberty mentioned in preamble, FRs guaranteeing liberty have to be mentioned.

Examples- Should be quoted explaining the importance of putting limits of individual liberty.


The term liberty means the absence of restraints on the activities of individuals and at the same time providing opportunities for the development of individual personalities.
The preamble secures to all the citizens of India liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship through fundamental rights especially Article 21, which guarantees right to life and Article 19(right to freedom).

Importance of liberty:

Democracy in any sense cannot be established unless certain minimal rights which are essential for a free and civilised existence, are assured to every member of the community. It is required for one’s development and as said by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, liberty ensures equality and fraternity.

Not absolute:

Liberty does not mean license to do what one likes. It has to be enjoyed within the limitations mentioned in the constitution itself. Liberty as conceived by the preamble or the fundamental rights is not absolute but qualified.

An analysis:

Our constitution attempts to strike a balance between individual liberty and social equality. The balance is required as-

  • Freedom cannot last longer unless it is coupled with order.
  • Unrestricted liberty makes life too easy for criminals and too difficult for law-abiding citizens.
  • Liberty without restraint become intolerable.
  • Unless restraint is imposed, the liberty of some may become oppression of others.


Liberty of individuals is promoted and safeguarded by the constitution but it cannot be kept above social order and common happiness. Thus, liberty should always be coupled with the virtues like -justice, morality, law and common good. Also any restraint being imposed must be just as absolute restraint brings authoritarianism.

Best answer 1: Cool Monk

Liberty in general terms can be defined as the absence of restraints and freedom to act according to one’s will. Preamble of the indian constitution has envisioned to confer citizens liberty of thought , expression and belief. Same has been enhanced through article 21 which provides for right to life and personal liberty.

Liberty is crucial part of life to enjoy a meaningful life and hence article 21 coverage has been widening over the years such as right to clean environment, right to privacy , right to education Thus liberty is an alienable part of a human life. But absolute liberty can come in conflict with other fundamental rights, can result in exploitation of other citizens , absolute ,liberty can create the conditions of lawlessness in the society, breed separatism & antinational activities.

For the same purpose liberty can not be absolute and there are limitations provided in following cases:

Security of the state, sovereignty of the state, friendly relations with other nations, contempt of court, defamation , public order, decency and morality etc . In Subramanian Swamy case , Supreme court judgement ensures the same as it criminalizes defamation as it was in conflict with right to reputation of others.

In Justice Karnan case , Justice karnan has been guilty of Contempt of court case as it resulted in demeaning the judiciary .

Sometimes liberty can come in conflict with greater good of masses such as bonded labor, liberty to discriminate, exploitation , creating ruckus in society Hence liberty should be subordinated in such conditions . Article 17, 23 , 24 & various DPSP provisions such as 38, 39, 41,46 aims to achieve the greater good over personal liberty .

Thus there should be balance between individual liberty and greatest number for common happiness to achieve an society which follow rule of law, lesser inequality and exploitation & promotes fraternity.

Best answer 2: Invincible



4. What is ‘ease of doing business’? Can improving the business environment fuel overall economic growth? Will such growth be inclusive? Critically examine.


For the first time, India jumped a record 30 places to 100 in the Ease of Doing Business report for 2018, which is an influential 190-country barometer of competitiveness that many businesses likely consider for investment decisions.


This question requires clear understanding of ‘Ease of doing Business’.You need to correlate ease of doing business with economic growth while exploring its various components,Your focus should be on business establishment, investment, job growth, improved manufacturing practices and other such dimensions. Subsequently you should also link this to  the concept of inclusive growth.You should be able to provide sufficient arguments arguing ease of doing business does not necessarily translate into inclusive growth.


Ease of doing business refers to the conducive business environment that makes it easier for people to do business in a region. The Ease of Doing Business (EODB) index is a ranking system established by the World Bank Group. In the EODB index, ‘higher rankings’ indicate better, usually simpler, regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property rights.

Can improving the business environment fuel overall economic growth?

In order to boost economic growth, each state tries to improve business environment by overhauling various labor laws, single window clearance (eg. E-BIZ portal, Labor law unification) , Setup of arbitration and commercial courts, being part of multilateral treaties, strong Intellectual Property protection framework. And these measures boost growth as,

  1. Investment can be sourced from within the country and through foreign investors.
  2. Bring about stability in capital market.
  3. Helps in establishing creditworthiness
  4. Creates positive environment to start new business , research and development
  5. Creates opportunity for job growth
  6. Helps in improving export import regime ie balance of trade and thus balance of parameters.
  7.  Increased productivity as the time and energy lost in bureaucratic formalities is reduced.

Though improving business climate has several advantages as have been enumerated above, Inclusive growth cannot be ensured

  1. Relaxation norms in land acquisition, simplification of labor laws sometimes resulted in favoring corporates and neglecting labor welfare measures
  2. Various reports such as Global Wage gap report, Gender Gap report indicates that offering low wages and exploitation have caused widening inequality
  3. Environment degradation & pollution causing diseases such as asthma, cancer etc thus pushing poor towards more poverty
  4. Ever greening of Patents in the garb of IPR policies thus making medicines costlier.
  5. Also results in Monopolistic tendencies in the market. ex. Monsanto GM crop seeds
  6. Only skilled personnel gets the job leaving behind unskilled persons,
  7. Corporates involved in tax avoidance measures, various disputes such as Vodafone case

Apart from ease of doing business It is also imperative to focus on other aspects of economic growth like domestic consumption, investments, exports, employment, domestic savings, agricultural and infrastructural efficiency to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth

Note: Most of the question failed to either comprehend this part or to provide satisfactory arguments,Here critical evaluation of both parts on Growth and inclusiveness can be done separately or at one place as shown above.


As we can see, that improved business environment is necessary but not sufficient condition for inclusive growth. Thus Indian government should ensure that while it tries to further improve India’s rank, it should not turn blind eye to other necessary measures to bring economic growth to all. The measures such as Stand Up India, focus on textiles and leather industry to create jobs, Skill India etc. are some efforts in the direction.

Connecting the dots:

Ease of doing business can be asked in correlation with specific sector of the economy like Manufacturing sector, Small and medium enterprise ,exports ,investment and Unorganized sector etc. Here one should be able to explore similar dimensions and bring about effective arguments to satisfy demand of the question.

Best Answer 1:  Nana



Q.5) Has identity politics pervaded the psyche of Indian voters? Has development become a non-issue in electoral discourse? Comment.


Identity politics, refers to political positions based on the interests and perspectives of social groups with which people identify. In Indian context, it refers to identification with religion, race, caste, community or language. It has been a part of Indian politics since historic times and as was evident in revolt of 1857 (identifying against foreign entities), formation of Muslim league, separate electorate and carving out of Pakistan (identifying on religious basis) , state re-organization (identifying with language) and affirmative actions (identifying with caste and community like tribals).


It has to be divided into two main parts one for Identity politics and other for Developmental issue: (Minimum 10 points)

Points to be covered:

This kind of politics has pervaded psyche of Indian voters:

  • Identity based political parties: BSP (caste based), Akali dal(religion based), AIDMK,DMK,TRS,TDP (language and ethnicity based).
  • Voting patterns: Votes on Gender based, eg. Promises made based on identities like curbing alcohol in Bihar to lure women voters.
  • Separatist demands: Khalistan, Gorkhaland, Tamil nadu and kerala.
  • Agitations: Groups like Jats, Patidar based solely on their castes to gain political advantage.
  • Pressure groups: All India Muslim Personal Law Board on various muslim related issues like triple talaq in Shah bano case.


  • Development: States like Tamil Nadu, Kerala have far more developed due to identity politics like regionalism, language etc.
  • Empowerment: Marginalized sections of society have come up the economic ladder due to caste politics. Eg: Dalits, OBC, women etc.

Development has become a non-issue in electoral discourse:

  • Freebies distribution: States like U.P and Tamil Nadu have directed election campaigning based on freebies instead of developmental agenda.
  • Religious domination: Seen in state elections where candidates belonging to a particular religion are favored in constituency dominated by that religion.
  • Merging ideologies across various left and right parties and similar manifestoes sidetrack development agenda and increase focus on identity and winning ability of candidate.

Development is favoured:

  • Economic development: BJP winning 2014 Lok sabha election based on anti-corruption and developmental agenda.
  • Social development: Identity politics provides collective power to marginalized sections of society eg. Delimitation of constituencies for SC/ST.
  • Voting across identities: Winning of Nitish kumar in Bihar based on development agenda despite strong presence of identity politics.


Identity politics, while providing power to marginalized sections has also furthered social stratification. Recent Supreme Court judgment declaring use of religion, race, caste, community or language in electoral process under corrupt practices, will tow the line between beneficial use of identity and vote bank politics and is thus a step long needed.

Connecting the dots:

  • Evolution of Identity politics in India
  • Separatist tendencies of states
  • Election malpractices and RPA
  • Regional party domination in certain states

Best Answer: LIGO




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