19 Nov 2017 | Target Mains | 13th Weekly Test with Official Answers

Attempt the questions individually by clicking on them.

Q.1) How do you justify the view that the level of excellence of the Gupta numismatic art is not at all noticeable in later times?

Source: https://www.civilsdaily.com/india-coinage/


  • The Gupta period of Indian History is known by several scholars as the ‘Golden Period’ of Indian History which was marked by the rise of renowned architecture, sculpture and paintings and had witnessed extensive inventions and discoveries in various fields. This dynasty is also known for the issuance of first ever featured coinage system in India.
  • The Gupta gold coin is known as Dinaras. The gold coins of the Gupta rulers are the extraordinary examples of artistic excellence. The coins depicted the ruling monarch on the obverse and carried legends with the figure of a goddess on the reverse. The artistry shown on coins was excellent example of engineering, art and architecture.
  • In the mid 6th century, the Gupta dynasty started to fall and the period between the fall of Gupta and commencement of the Muslim Sultanate rule in Delhi in the 13th century marked the emergence of several smaller states. The big cities of earlier age were all in decline. With them declined the trade and commerce. The prosperous days of Indo-Roman trade were gone. Under these circumstances, the economy of India became more agrarian and land centric. The scarcity of money, in the form of coins of course, was another major feature of this age.
  • With the decline of coins, gold coins became very rare as they were not essential for an economy based on declining trade and people started using ‘cowrie shells’ as the medium of exchange. However, the foreign merchants refused to accept the ‘cowrie shells’ in exchange of their products, thus the states was compelled to issue some debased and devalued copper and silver coins.
  • These devalued and debased coins were no match with the coins of the Gupta’s. The coins of this period also lacked the aesthetic quality and precision of the earlier period. They remained mere imitation of the earlier age.
  • The value of coins declined as trade declined and people needed very little amount of hard cash for their sustenance. Moreover, the circulation of cowrie shells solved their problem of acquiring metal coins as there was a scarcity of silver supply in early medieval India. This shortage of silver came to known as the ‘Silver famine’.
  • Thus, with the decline of Gupta period, the excellence of Gupta numismatic had become un-noticeable in later times.

Q.2) What characteristics can be assigned to monsoon climate that succeeds in feeding more than 50 percent of the world population residing in Monsoon Asia?





  • A monsoon is a seasonal shift in the prevailing wind direction that usually brings with it a different kind of weather. It almost always refers to the Asian monsoon, a large region extending from India to Southeast Asia where monsoon conditions prevail.
  • Monsoon plays a vital role in the food production for millions of people around the world, particularly in India and Southeast Asia. Roughly, 80% of annual rainfall in India occurs during the monsoon. More than 235 million people in India alone rely on agriculture, and 60% use no irrigation, so they must rely on rainfall to grow crops for food.
  • The monsoon occurs in sub Saharan Africa, South Asia, China, Korea, Japan, North-East India and Bengal, Indo China, the Philippines, Part of Australia and to a much lesser extent in Europe where it is called the Return of the Westerlies. In these regions the people more or less rely on monsoon to grow their crops and thus rightly said that the monsoon feeds more than 50% of the world population. Moreover, the regions of Asia especially India and China are the largest producer of food grains in the world and also are most populated and hence feed more number of people.

Characteristics of the Monsoon climate:

  • Tropical monsoon type of climate has high annual temperature (approx 26 ° Centigrade).
  • In tropical monsoon type of climate, there are two dry seasons with low rainfall. For example in India, summers and winters are dry with only little rainfall. While northern parts of the country receive little rainfall during the summer season due to cyclonic depression, Tamil Nadu receives rainfall during winters. Rest of the country experiences hot and dry summers and cool and dry winters.
  • There is a distinct rainy season with very high rainfall. During the monsoon season in India, many parts of the country receive rainfall as high as 200cm. However, some parts of the country like western Rajasthan, western Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana receive very little rainfall due to relief features.
  • Rainfall in the tropical monsoon climate is seasonal in nature and is often irregular and uneven.

Monsoon type of climate has various advantages:

  • Rain water infiltrates in to the ground and hence the ground water table rises that is very useful for irrigation and drinking purposes. Around 90 % of the world’s drinking water supply depends on the rain water.
  • Rain is very helpful in keeping the dew balance in the atmosphere which balances the temperature on our Earth.
  • In country like India, monsoon season has its own importance because crops, animals and the whole population are completely dependent on rain water.

Q.3) Distinguish between religiousness/religiosity and communalism giving one example of how the former has got transformed into the latter in independent India.

Source: https://www.civilsdaily.com/communalism/


  • Religiousness/religiosity is an individual’s conviction, devotion and veneration towards a divinity. However, in its most comprehensive use, religiosity can encapsulate all dimensions of religion.
  • The concept can also be used in a narrow sense to denote an extreme view and over dedication to religious rituals and traditions. This rigid form of religiosity in essence is often viewed as a negative side of the religious experience and can be typified by an over involvement in religious practices which are deemed to be beyond the social norms of one’s faith.
  • On the other hand, Communalism refers to aggressive chauvinism based on religious identity. It is an attitude which depicts legitimacy of one’s own group with other groups. Any incident of other groups are being seen as inferior, illegitimate, downgrading one’s group’s culture or image and are opposed.
  • Excessive religion marred with political ideology can also be termed as Communalism. One of the characteristic features of communalism is its claim that religious identity overrides everything else. Whether one is poor or rich, whatever one’s occupation, caste or political beliefs, it is religion alone that counts.


  • Religion is one’s own faith based on the ideology and community behaviour whereas communalism is mainly a political ideology linked to religious.
  • Rigid form of religiosity in essence is often viewed as a negative side of the religious experience but there is broader view which shows positive side too, but communalism has a strictly negative connotation.

How religiousness got converted into communalism?

  • After independence, despite predominantly Hindu population, scars of partition especially in Northern states, consequences of divide and rule policy of British, political representatives taking advantage of these sensitive attitudes for vote banks converted the religiousness nature of people in to communalism and communal riots.
  • With respect to the Ram Mandir issue believing in Ram and following his principles shows the
    religiousness of a person, but when the person believes that Ram Mandir was where Babri Masjid was built and mosque has to be demolished leads to communalistic attitude.
  • Similarly, Hindus consider cow as a holy animal which is religiousness but trying to punish and
    kill people who make livelihood with the skin of this animal and taking law into own hands is communalistic tendencies.
  • In the later part of post independent India, religiousness is relegated to backseat and communalism emerged as the main force for electoral gains across many States. Communalism thrives on frenzied emotions raked up by vested interests for immediate gains.

Q.4) In what way can floods be converted into a sustainable source of irrigation and all-weather inland navigation in India?


  • Floods cause extremely large numbers of fatalities in every country, but due to India’s extremely high population density and often under-enforced development standards, a large amount of damages and many deaths which could be otherwise avoided, are allowed to happen.
  • India witnesses flood due to excessive rain which then results in overflow of rivers, lakes and dams, which adds to cause large amounts of damage to people’s lives and property. In the past, India has witnessed many of the largest, most catastrophic floods, causing irreparable damage to people’s livelihood, property, and crucial infrastructure.
  • Through the use of modern mechanisms and expertise, these overflowing waters can be converted into possible boon for our population in both by providing the water to water scarce region and by converting water from the over flooded regions.

Floods as sustainable source of irrigation: with storing and infiltration of flood water, it can effectively be utilized for irrigation apart from other uses.


  • Reducing Run-off:


  • Infiltration method through Afforestation
  • Storing flood water through digging wells and ponds
  • Biopore infiltration method


  • Reducing flood peaks by volume reduction with the help of:


  • Constructing dams and detention basins where water can be stored. Marshy areas, old quarries and mines can act as detention basins.


  • Reducing flood level through:


  • Stream channelization (close network of canals reduces flood hazard)
  • Flood diversion which includes diverting flood water in marshes, depressions and spreading it thinly over paddy fields and dry lands for example Ghaggar Reversion Scheme.

Flood as all weather inland navigation:

  • Constructing inundation canal by creating diversion weirs out of it as well: The network of canals constructed will divert the flooded water to other regions and will keep the water stored in canals, lakes which will help in navigation throughout years.
  • Interlinking of rivers with the help of canals will also provide all weather inland navigation facilities.
  • The distribution of water of streams into channels that run along railway lines, roadsides and even along other manmade channels means they not only distribute the flood waters, but also they do accumulate water derived from floods for irrigation and at the same time, they can be made to work like navigation channels throughout the whole year. These channels can function very well from October to June and up till the next monsoons.

Q.5) In spite of adverse environmental impact, coal mining is still inevitable for development”. Discuss

Source: https://www.civilsdaily.com/2017/08/18/


  • Coal is the major fossil fuel used for power generation in India. For producing more and more coal, mining activities are increasing day by day. Coal mining activities lead to environmental changes to a large extent such as degradation in quality of air, water, soil, changes in landform, land use/land cover and vegetation distribution. 
  • In addition to atmospheric pollution, coal burning produces hundreds of millions of tons of solid waste products annually, including fly-ash, bottom-ash, and flue-gas desulfurization sludge that contain mercury, uranium, thorium, arsenic, and other heavy metals causing air and  water pollution and ultimately resulting into hazardous health impact.

However, despite numerous ill impacts, coal is inevitable for India’s development which is also emphasized by SC of India.

  • In India, coal is the most important indigenous energy resource and remains the dominant fuel for power generation and many industrial applications.
  • Coal can help significant economic growth. India’s energy future and prosperity are integrally dependent upon mining and using its most abundant, affordable and dependant energy supply, which is coal.
  • It is by far cheaper than nuclear, natural gas and oil. Hydro usually will be slightly cheaper. However, problems with hydro include peak demand time problems and public outcry when river valleys are dammed.
  • Coal also provides a stable source of energy with its plentiful supply throughout the world.
  • Increase in demands involves huge number of labourers from coal extraction to sell to dumping of ashes and thus provides many jobs.
  • With huge technological development, even today, the alternative sources of energy such as solar, nuclear, hydro etc. is not sufficient enough and are not cost effective to replace coal as source of energy.
  • Coal also often subsidizes the cost of other freight, making it possible for cargoes of other commodities to get to market, which might not occur in the absence of a dynamic logistical railroad.
  • Hence, despite many of its ill environmental impacts, coal is still the king and paramount lord of our Industries and thus can be explained as necessary evil. With ever growing population and increasing energy demand and lack of other alternatives, coal remains the only source of energy for the development of world economy.

Q.6) Examine how the decline of traditional artisanal industry in colonial India crippled the rural economy.


  • Till the middle of eighteenth century Indian handicraft products were greatly demanded in the markets all over the world. Specifically European markets needed constant supply of Indian handicraft-products. The European traders and trading organizations made huge profits by selling Indian products. Indian textile products had no equals and those products were the symbol of craftsmanship and artistry. Indian cotton textiles became a house hold name in England.

Industrial Revolution:

  • The Industrial Revolution in England and the economic policy of the East India Company in India jointly closed the markets for Indian handicrafts. 
  • In England, machines went for large scale productions and those machine products were cheap and colourful. Not only markets but also the British Government as well as manufactures encouraged the supply of their machine products to European markets. As a result, Indian products had to compete with the machine made cheaper products. This led to lowering the demand of traditional artisans’ products which in turn ruined Indian traditional arts and crafts.

Trade policies of Britishers:

  • Further, the British trade policy proved extremely fatal for Indian handicrafts. In 1813, trade monopoly was abolished and one way free trade policy was imposed on India. By this policy the British machine products were imported to India freely and the export of Indian goods to England was discouraged by imposition of heavy duties on those products.
  • This resulted into the closing of foreign markets for Indian goods and Britishers trade policy closed domestic market for Indian products. Once the markets were closed demand for Indian products declined suddenly and production stopped. It resulted in making the artisans and craftsmen jobless with closing down handicraft industries. Many

Introduction of Railways:

  • Further, the introduction of railways, replaced the Indian handicrafts in village markets. As a result the artisans and the craftsman who adopted caste-based occupation were compelled to give upon the same. This ruined the rural artisan industries and the artisans lost their occupations.

Other Reasons:

  • Added to this, modernization of India increased fascination for the machine-products which were cheaper, colorful and attractive. The use of Goods ‘Made in England’ was considered status symbol and sign of modernity.
  • More on the prices of Indian goods were determined by the Company which was not profitable for the craftsmen and forced them to abandon traditional practices and do other work at very low wages. This affected traditional artisans badly leaving them jobless. For example: closing of Bengal textile industry.
  • As the Indian rulers lost their states; their courts and courtiers disappeared. The rulers and their courts were the major customers of the handicraft products. Moreover, urban handicrafts could not find the patrons like those rulers to encourage craftsmanship. Very often the artisans pursued the crafts according to the requirements and taste of the rulers. Under the changed situation, they were left in wilderness.

Q.7) Highlight the importance of the new objectives that got added to the vision of Indian Independence since the twenties of the last century.


  • The objectives of India’s independence have been to have self rule based on the democratic principles. There have been various developments in this regards such as involvement of politicize and politically educated people, Development and propagation of an anti-nationalist ideology among masses, formulation and presentation of different demands before the government with a view to unify the people over a common economic and political programme and carefully promoting and nurturing the feeling of Indian nationhood.
  • However, there are many new developments which got added up since the twenties of last centuries regarding the vision of Independence which impacted India even in post independence period.

New Objectives got added to India’s freedom movement:

  • With the coming of Gandhi jee in India and in active freedom movement, congress adopted his policy of nonviolence and civil resistance. Whereas, the extremists were still preaching armed revolution to achieve self rule. The rift between Congress and Muslim League widened which resulted into the formation of Pakistan in 1947.
  • With Nehru’s open declaration of Purna Swaraj, the face of the movement took strong socialist orientation.
  • The non-cooperation movement launched by Gandhi jee made Indian people strive even more towards self rule. The movement allowed the Indian community to revive their inner confidence and strength against the British Government.
  • Many women participated in the movement including Kasturba Gandhi, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Aruna Asaf Ali and many more.
  • Lower castes under the leadership of B. R. Ambedkar were recognized as worst sufferers who were affected by both British and Upper Caste Brahmins.
  • The peasant movements in 1920’s and 1930’s like Kisan Sabha movement, Eka movement, got
    integrated at national stage and also within congress framework, All India Kisan Sabha brought
    peasants together and made congress actively involved in peasant issues which helped while resolving land reforms post-independence.
  • The leader recognized Fundamental Rights, land issues etc. which were widely discussed and larger societal problems were acknowledged which provided a framework for India to move on even after independence as well.
  • The emergence of both moderate and militant parties, such as the Swaraj Party, Hindu Mahasabha, Communist Party, Swayamsevak sangh etc. made the Indian political system even more stronger leading independence movement in different forms.


  • The objectives of Indian freedom movement was strong enough, however, the new objectives changed the movement’s face and involved more number of masses making the demand for independence even more stronger. However, these new objectives are as important even today’s India.

Q.8) 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.

Source: https://www.civilsdaily.com/self-help-groups/


  • Self-Help Groups are informal associations of people who choose to come together to find ways to improve their living conditions. They help to build Social Capital among the poor, especially women.
  • Such groups work as a collective guarantee system for members who propose to borrow from organised sources. Consequently, Self-Help Groups have emerged as the most effective mechanism for delivery of micro-finance services to the poor. The range of financial services may include products such as deposits, loans, money transfer and insurance.
  • With effective participation of masses, their willingness and deeper penetration helps them to have grassroots development at all levels. This involves peoples’ participations which are the best way to develop in any democratic country.
  • With positive experience gained from the above programmes there has been the emergence of very strong consensus like small group organisation and self management as a potent tool for economic and social empowerment of the people.
  • This has led the government to sideline itself slowly reducing administrative burden from the developmental activities and giving hand to these groups to come and develop themselves.

Role of SHGs in developmental activities:

  • They help the poor to transform economically as well as socially. The govt is using them to implement various education, sanitation programs etc.
  • SHG acts as saving, credit and insurance institution.It increases the credit worthiness of poor by extending microfinance to them.
  • They help the women to focus on productive expenditure, bringing financial discipline and increase efficiency.
  • It enables the govt. to focus in its programs etc. while minimizing its administrative and other costs.
  • Increases the financial inclusion in the nation.

Measures taken by Govt. of India in order to promote SHGs:

  • The government provides training to the members regarding book keeping, basic literacy etc.
  • Their skills are groomed in reading, writing, livelihood options etc. by the govt.
  • SHG- Bank linkage program is the major initiative by NABARD and RBI for making SHG viable.
  • SIDBI, HUDCO and Rashtriya Mahila Kosh set by govt. also provide credit to SHGs.
  • Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana aims to eradicate poverty by providing income generating assets to rural people via SHGs.

Q.9) Conflict of interest in the public sector arises when

(a) official duties,

(b) public interest, and

(c) personal interest

are taking priority one above the other.

How can this conflict in administration be resolved? Describe with an example.


  • Conflict of interest is both a straightforward and a complex matter: in principle easy to define – in the public sector a conflict of interest arises “when a public official has private-capacity interests which could improperly influence the performance of their official duties and responsibilities.” This arises when personal interest takes advantage over public interest and official duties.
  • Establishing effective policy frameworks to control conflicts can be a complex task. To resolve a specific conflict, it is necessary to establish relevant facts, apply the relevant law and policy, and distinguish between “actual”, “apparent”, “real”, and “potential” conflict situations. This requires technical skill and an understanding of the many issues which are usually involved.

There are two approaches in resolving the Conflict of Interest in administration:

  1. Prohibition Model where person prohibits himself/herself from taking part in the process which involves conflict of interest. For Example: Justice Kapadia had stepped down as a judge while there was hearing against his daughter. Such decision set an example to follow to deal with the Conflict of Interest in a non-partisan manner.
  2. Disclosure and Peer Review Model: This involves open declaration of interests in public/to seniors/corresponding authorities. This also involves that the decision given should be reviewed by others (Public, Auditor or other team) in the same manner to avoid any sort of conflict of interests. For example: Justice Anil R. Dave rescued himself from being part of 5 judges bench because he was the member of the Commission which constituted NJAC with government. This shows his impartiality and public service value in dealing with the Conflict of Interests.
  • All India Services Conduct Rules, 1964 in India provide a detailed elaboration on such COI situations a public servant may face and suggests basic and time-tested remedies like Either Recusal or Open Declaration of interests in public/ to seniors/ corresponding authorities. Other guiding lamps during such situations may be Self-Conscience, Faith in own values like neutrality / impartiality / objectivity / transparency etc. which are cornerstone of Public Services Ethics.
  • There is a good Old saying “Ceaser’s wife should be beyond all suspicion”. This implies that the people who hold public office should be the most upright with high integrity.

Q.10) Examine the relevance of the following in the context of civil service:

(a) Transparency

(b) Accountability

(c) Fairness and justice

(d) Courage of conviction

(e) Spirit of service



  • It means sharing information and acting in an open manner. It represents that decisions taken and their enforcement are done in a way that follows rules and regulations. Civil Servants are considered to be the repository of funds, functions and functionaries. Their decision impacts masses in quick time. Involving transparency in decision making and its implementation will represent them to be the follower of rules and regulations and being impartial.
  • Transparency leads to peoples’ participation, consensus building, grievance redressal, and efficient, effective and equitable governance. The Government’s directions in this are Right to Information Act, Citizen Charter Act, Redressal of Grievance Bill, Freedom of Information Act, Administrative Procedure Act etc.


  • It is a value, which can be described as being concerned with holding an individual or an organization as accountable, leading to the fixation of responsibility. It is important because it promotes discipline, among public servants, especially with regard to completing their assigned task responsibly.
  • It promotes honesty in public service making public servants responsible towards their action. This promotes service delivery and efficient utilization of resources by bringing transparency into services. In India, laws and regulations such as citizen charter and others help in maintaining accountability.

Fairness and Justice:

  • Fairness is the quality of making judgments that are free from discrimination. Justice is an action that is morally right and fair. Fairness is about having a proper perspective and justice is about having the right thing done. When we talk fairness in the context of justice, it means treating people according to what they deserve with disclosure.
  • The principles are, however, intended as a single, comprehensive conception of justice—‘Justice as Fairness’—and not to function individually. These principles are always applied so as to ensure that the “least advantaged” are benefitted and not hurt or forgotten.
  • These are important values to be adhered by Public Servants as they are equipped with decision making and implementing decisions. Fairness and justice will help them to take decision in unbiased manner without compromising public interest and natural justice and thus serving the needy.

Courage of conviction:

  • Having courage of conviction is important for public service because its helps one to take bold decisions that can have effect on millions of people in one stroke. Having courage to do what one believes is best for the community requires awful lot of mental strength. This courage of conviction also helps in taking further decisions in the same line. For example: Demonetization move by the PM required a lot of courage of conviction and was able to pull it off because of that conviction and intent.

Spirit of Service:

  • This quality in public service makes the foundation of such job requirement. Spirit of service towards the nation and its people is the cornerstone of public service and requires readiness to serve in all and every condition. Service to human is service to God – said by Swami Vivekananda gives more strength to this spirit as it calls on the public servant to observe public service as having its own sanctity and must find his satisfaction in service of the people.

 Q.11) You are an honest and responsible civil servant. You often observe the following:

(a) There is a general perception that adhering to ethical conduct one may face difficulties to oneself and cause problems for the family, whereas unfair practices may help to reach the career goals.

(b) When the number of people adopting unfair means is large, a small minority having a penchant towards ethical means makes no difference.

(c) Sticking to ethical means is detrimental to the larger developmental goals

(d) While one may not involve oneself in large unethical practices, but giving and accepting small gifts makes the system more efficient.

Examine the above statements with their merits and demerits.

 Q.12) You are aspiring to become an IAS officer and you have cleared various stages and now you have been selected for the personal interview. On the day of the interview, on the way to the venue you saw an accident where a mother and child who happen to be your relatives were badly injured. They needed immediate help.

What would you have done in such a situation? Justify your action


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