Monday, December 15, 2014

UPSC 2014 Mains - General Studies Paper 02 for 250 Marks - 15 Dec 2014

UPSC 2014 Mains - General Studies Paper 02  for 250 Marks - 15 Dec 2014 Afternoon
IAS Mains 2014 - General Studies Paper 02

UPSC Mains-2014: GS2-Polity, Governance, Policies, Schemes, International Bodies, Diplomacy

  1. Analysis
  2. INSTRUCTIONS for General studies paper-2 (GS2)
    1. Constitution (50m)
    2. Governance, Administration, Bodies (30m)
    3. Policies: Economic sectors (20m)
    4. Policies: HRD /Welfare type (50m)
    5. IR/Diplomacy (50m)
  3. Question Paper: Linear Format
  4. Bogus marketing propaganda


Overall, same like GS1- wordlimit decreased but vagueness and complexity increased. But some continuity is visible from 2013.
GS3 Mains 2014 Paper Analysis
Comparison of GS3 Mains Paper : some continuity some divergence
Mains 2013Mains 2014 GS3
  • 25 questions worth 10 marks each.
  • 10 marks =200 words.
  • 20 questions worth 12.5 marks each.
  • 12.5 marks=200 words. Hence paper length decreased.
SC keeps parliament in check.SC keeps everyone in check (judicial activism).
One question about conduct of MP and anti-defection law.MP-immunity: parliamentary privileges.
IT Act section 66A and freedom of speechfilms and freedom of speech
Small states better or not?Cadre based civil service better or not?
nothing from RPANothing from Representation of people’s act (RPA) despite 2014 being an election year.
nothing from comparing ConstitutionSame.
Overall, Constitution and governance portion: mixed bag.
  • Some straightforward questions like federalism with strong centre, Judicial activism, presidential pardon
  • Vague questions like hate speech in movies.
  • Cadre based civil service- easy for Public Administration optional candidates, but vague for others.
Nothing from DiasporaNothing, despite ISIS threat to Indians working in Iraq.
Providing Urban amnesties in rural areas (PURA)Backward excluded from urban economics. Difficult because requires brainstorming for points.
India-China topic: String of pealsSouth China sea.
SHG assessmentSHG socio-cultural hurdles.
Electronic cash transferUID vs NPR.
International bodies question very Simple IMF vs. Bretton woods difference.Required better preparation – AIIB vs NDB, WTO food subsidies.
Within diplomacy: majority questions from “India vs. other countries” and just one question about “international bodies”.Reverse happened. Majority of questions about international bodies.
less number of such questionsAt least half-dozen questions required candidate to take a “Stand” e.g. should IIT/IIMs be allowed to retain premier status? Should there be Timelimit on presidential mercy-petition?
Current affairs mostly from “not in frequent lime-light” topics. e.g. petro ministry’s directive vs Naga tribe.current affairs mixed bag:
  1. Not in frequent lime light: FDI in news-media. State governments dolling out truckload of cash to sportsmen- that was criticized in some English news debates, but that’s more of an interview topic than mains.
  2. In frequent lime-light: presidential pardon, WTO, AIIB, BRICS banks.
Same but I can’t recall any specific examples at the moment, except policy paralysis.following “hot-topics” not asked despite being in news repeatedly
  1. ISIS-extremism, impact on India.
  2. Ebola public healthcare angle. Perhaps in GS3. Let’s wait and watch.
  3. MDG, mother-child mortality.
  4. Nehruvian world view, Panchsheel, NAM 2.0
  5. Make in India, Modi diplomacy.
  6. Judicial appointment commission
  7. Restructuring Lok pal selection mechanism. but then again, Lokpal was already asked in 2013.
  8. FDI in insurance. But then again Insurance related topic already asked in 2013- merging IRDA and SEBI.
Anyways, let’s check the paper:

INSTRUCTIONS for General studies paper-2 (GS2)

  1. Duration 3 hours. Total marks 250.
  2. There are TWENTY (20) questions printed both in HINDI and ENGLISH.
  3. Answer the questions in NOT MORE THAN 200 words each. Contents of the answer is more important than its length. All questions carry equal marks.
  4. All the questions are compulsory.
  5. Answers must be written in the medium authorized in the Admission Certificate which must be stated clearly on the cover of this Question-cum-Answer (QCA) Booklet in the space provided. No marks will be given for answers written in a medium other than the authorized one.
  6. Word limit in questions, wherever specified, should be adhered to.
  7. Any page or portion of the page left blank in the answer book must be clearly struck off.

Constitution (50m)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Governance, Administration, Bodies (30m)

syllabus topicQuestion asked
structure-functioning of executiveThe 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.
role of civil serviceHas the Cadre based Civil Services Organisation been the cause of slow change in India? Critically examine.
Various bodiesNational 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.

Policies: Economic sectors (20m)

Syllabus Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Policies: HRD /Welfare type (50m)

  1. The penetration of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in rural areas in promoting participation in development programmes is facing socio-cultural hurdles. Examine.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

IR/Diplomacy (50m)

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. India has recently signed to become founding a New Development Bank (NDB) and also the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) .How will the role of the two Banks be different? Discuss the significance of these two Banks for India.
  5. WTO is an important international institution where decisions taken affect countries in profound manner. What is the mandate of WTO and how binding are their decisions? Critically analyse India’s stand on the latest round of talks on Food security.

Bogus marketing propaganda

Question and proof linkUtility
AIIB vs BRICS bank, because NDB=BRICS bank. 12.5/12.5
WTO, food subsidies:
  • revision note link
  • full-fledged article link
Independence for IIT/IIM. Covered in September: UGC vs IIT link.7/12.5 Because the said article only covers IIT-portion. IIM points had to be ‘invented’.
Rail tariff authority: revision note Link. + also covered in economic survey summary Link5/12.5, because I did not talk about how it’ll help private container operators, so only filler quality answer can be assembled.
UID vs NPR. link0 because I had written it two years ago and de-indexed from economy page for superficial-shallow coverage.
Total Aukaat37/250 marks.
Thankfully, Manniram (WTO) and 11th Jinping (AIIB) have saved the day for, otherwise I might have to open a desi liquor den out of humiliation. Now let’s see who saves the day in GS3. Visit for more papers.

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