UPSC CIVIL SERVICES MAINS EXAM 2017: General Studies Paper – 2 (Part - 1) (Download PDF)


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1. “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. (150 words)

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IAS Mains 2017 GS Paper 2 Discussion (Part 1)

Dr. Manishika Jain explains IAS Mains 2017 GS Paper 1 Discussion (Part 2)

  • Indirect elections
  • Insufficient funds percolating
  • No proper distribution of powers
  • Lack of transparency
  • Lack of accountability
  • Audit issues (digitization a way forward)
  • Regionalism
  • Failure to address national issues
  • MGNEGRA and other Skill development programs

2. Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgement on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014’ with reference to appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India. (150 words)

Refer - (The Hindu article)

National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) is a constitutional body proposed to replace the present Collegium system of appointing judges

Collegium system has created an empire within empire within Supreme Court

NJAC will consist of six people — the Chief Justice of India, the two most senior judges of the Supreme Court, the Law Minister, and two ‘eminent persons’.

Procedure for Selection of Supreme Court judges

  • Chief Justice of India: The NJAC shall recommend the senior most judge of the Supreme Court for appointment as Chief Justice of India. This is provided he is considered fit to hold the office.

  • SC judges: The NJAC shall recommend names of persons based on their ability, merit and other criteria specified in the regulations.

  • Veto power of members: The NJAC shall not recommend a person for appointment if any two of its members do not agree to such recommendation.

Procedure for Selection of High Courts judges

  • Chief Justices of HCs: The NJAC is to recommend a Judge of a High Court to be the Chief Justice of a High Court based on seniority across High Court judges. The ability, merit and other criteria of suitability would also be considered.

Appointment of other HC Judges:

  • Nominations: Nominations shall be sought from Chief Justice of the concerned High Court for appointments of HC judges.

  • Eliciting views: The Commission shall nominate names for appointment of HC judges and forward such names to the Chief Justice of the concerned HCs for his views.

  • In both cases, the Chief Justice of the HC shall consult two senior most judges of that HC and any other judges and advocates as specified in the regulations.

  • Views of the Governor and CM: The NJAC shall elicit the views of the Governor and Chief Minister of the state before making recommendations.

  • Veto power of members: The NJAC shall not recommend a person for appointment if any two members of the Commission do not agree to such recommendation.

Transfer of Chief Justices and High Court judges: NJAC is to make recommendations for transfer of Chief Justices and other judges of the High Courts. Procedure to be followed will be specified in the regulations.

3. ‘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. (150 words)

  • Campaigning leaves government functioning in way
  • Moral code of conduct restricts economic activities
  • Expense for multiple elections to be nullified
  • Presidential election imposed in weak grounds and so can be avoided
  • More time for developmental work
  • Reduce government and party expenditure
  • Better use of security forces
  • Transparency
  • Reduction in time

A law commission report in 1999 had recommended a solution that could be used - took a cue from German Constitution. In German parliament, when a no-confidence motion is moved against a chancellor, a confidence motion has to be moved as well. So if both motions pass, then the new chancellor is appointed by the German President.

4. How do pressure groups influence Indian political process? Do you agree with this view that informal pressure groups have emerged more powerful than formal pressure groups in recent years? (150 words)

Refer Video for - (NCERT class 10 Political Science Chapter 5)

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NCERT Class 10 Political Science/Polity/Civics Chapter 5: Popular Struggle and Movements

Dr. Manishika Jain explains NCERT Class 10 Political Science Chapter 5: Popular Struggle and Movements

  • Pressure groups are the interest groups, which work to secure certain interest by influencing the public policy.
  • Pressure groups can be indirect and not aligned to party, pressurize executive and legislative, can be conventional or non-conventional, and aimed at self-interest
  • Lobbying, propaganda and fundraising

5. Discuss the role of Public Accounts Committee in establishing accountability of the government to the people. (150 words)

  • Committee on Public Accounts scrutinizes Appropriation Accounts of GoI & reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India thereon.
  • Report of account of Union Government
  • Brings in unauthorized expenditures and expenditures to be sanctioned
  • Scrutinize audit reports of public corporations
  • Examine the statement of accounts showing the income and expenditure of state corporations, trading and manufacturing schemes
  • Examine the statement of accounts showing the income and expenditure of autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies

6. ‘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. (150 words)

  • Why? Worldwide, 663 million people lack access to safe water and 2.4 billion people lack access to improved sanitation. In India, 128 million lack safe water services and about 840 million people don’t have sanitation services.
  • Because of limited access to functioning, safe toilets, 40 % of the population defecates in the open. This contaminates water and leads to India having the world’s highest number of diarrhea-related deaths in children under five. To address these problems, including to end open defecation in India by 2019, the GoI launched the five-year Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission to end open defecation.
  • UNICEF: WASH is the collective term for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Due to their interdependent nature, these three core issues are grouped together to represent a growing sector. While each a separate field of work, each is dependent on the presence of the other. For example, without toilets, water sources become contaminated; without clean water, basic hygiene practices are not possible.
  • More beneficiary-centric approach - segment the beneficiaries based on geographical and social context (GSS) while later segmenting the beneficiaries based on the human life cycle (LCS)
  • Beneficiaries are thus segmented as children, adolescents, adults, senior citizens
  • Contemporary thinking is that adoption of LCS can significantly help in improving the access to WASH services

Indian Partners

  • Centre for Environment Education (CEE)

  • Sulabh International

  • TERI

  • Global Rainwater Harvesting Collective (GRWHC)

  • International Federation of Environmental Journalists (IFEJ)

USAID partners develop methods to make clean water available at a low cost. Partners establish clean water kiosks and train community members in how to turn the kiosks into a profitable business.

7. Does the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 ensure effective mechanism for empowerment and inclusion of the intended beneficiaries in the society? Discuss (150 words)

  • The Lok Sabha today passed “The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill - 2016”. The Bill will replace the existing PwD Act, 1995, which was enacted 21 years back. Includes 21 types of disabilities.


  • The appropriate Government shall ensure that the PWD enjoy the right to equality, life with dignity, and respect for his or her own integrity equally with others
  • The Bill provides for the access to inclusive education, vocational training, and self-employment of disabled persons without discrimination and buildings, campuses, and various facilities are to be made accessible to the PWD and their special needs are to be addressed.
  • Private establishments has been included which made private firms also to be disabled friendly.
  • Guardianship will be for all persons with disabilities and not only to the existing mentally ill person and the court will decide abouth the kind of guardianship.


  • The state and national commission provision has been deleted. They fought for the welfare of disabilities, which will increase discrimination.
  • Reduces the reservation quota to 4 % in place of existing 5%
  • Jail imprisonment has been exempted for violation of the bill.

8. 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. (150 words)

NCERT Economics Class 9 Chapter 3 Poverty:

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NCERT Class 9 Economics Chapter 3: Poverty as a Challenge

Dr. Manishika Jain in this lecture talks about NCERT Class 9 Economics Chapter 3: Poverty as a Challenge

NCERT Economics Chapter 4 Food Security in India:

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NCERT Class 9 Economics Chapter 4: Food Security in India

Dr. Manishika Jain in this lecture talks about NCERT Class 9 Economics Chapter 4; Food Security in India

NCERT Class 11 Economics Chapter 4 - Poverty:

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NCERT Class 11 Economics Chapter 4: Poverty

Dr. Manishika Jain in this lecture NCERT Class 11 Economics Chapter 4: Poverty

9. ‘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. (150 words)

  • China professes a policy of peace and friendliness toward India. However, it has been creating a ring of anti-Indian influences aimed at the strategic marginalization of India.
  • China has been equally busy signing agreements with ASEAN, New Zealand and Pakistan, while negotiations are ongoing with Australia and South Korea.
  • China’s relations with the United States are marked by competition over influence in Asia-Pacific region. However, its strong economic linkages with the United States are likely to cushion adverse impact of irritants in their relations. China is also improving its relations with Russia with a view to obtain technology, arms and perhaps, strategic support against US hegemony.

One Belt One Road

  • Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
  • India-Japanese relations can give China a tough call
  • India’s Look East policy
  • China still has unresolved border disputes with several nations in the region, including Bhutan, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia and sizeable chunk of Arunachal Pradesh. Tibet remains a sore cause of disagreement in Sino-Indian relations.
  • Recently – Nepal’s military exercise with China

10. What are the main functions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)? Explain different functional commissions attached to it. (150 words)

  • One of the six principal organs of the United Nations, responsible for coordinating the economic, social, and related work of 15 UN specialized agencies, their functional commissions and five regional commissions. The ECOSOC has 54 members.


  • Serve central forum for discussions on international economic and social issues

  • Promote higher standards of living, full employment and economic and social progress

  • Find solutions of international economic, social, health and related problems, and international cultural and educational cooperation

  • Encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms

  • Assist the organization of major international conferences in the field of economic and social and related fields

  • Make or initiate studies and reports with respect to international economic and social matters

  • Prepare draft conventions for submission to the General Assembly

  • Coordinate the work of the specialized agencies and programmes and their functional commissions and five regional commissions.

  • Make arrangements for consultations with non-governmental organizations

  • Manage the transition from MDGs to SDGs.

Functional commissions

  • UN Commission for Social Development

  • UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR): disbanded 2006, replaced by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) , a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly

  • Commission on Narcotic Drugs

  • Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

  • Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD)

  • Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) – Disbanded 2013, replaced with High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development a joint subsidiary body of the General Assembly and ECOSOC

  • UN Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW)

These are all to be explained in detailed:

Image of Economic and Social Council

Image of Economic and Social Council

Image of Economic and Social Council

- Published/Last Modified on: September 25, 2018

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