[Official Review] 4 Aug 2017 | Target Mains: GS Questions With Official Answers

GS Paper 1 Modern History


Q.1) The Ilbert Bill controversy was not an isolated phenomenon from British Racist approach. In fact it was the culmination of that. Comment.

Source: NCERT


Answer structure:

  • The Ilbert Bill was framed by Justice C.P Ilbert in 1883 on the instructions of Governor General Lord Rippon to provide the judicial equality to Indians in criminal Justice system.
  • Till now the European citizens were enjoying the privilege that their criminal cases could only be tried by European judges.This provision was inspired by the concept of white racial superiority being followed by the British in India. Lord Ripon being a liberal & progressive Governor General tried to end this injustice being done through Ilbert Bill.
  • The Ilbert Bill provided that the criminal cases involving European citizens could be tried by the Indian Judges as well but this bill was opposed by the European both in India & Britain severely Because inspired  by the concept  of white racism, the Europeans wanted to retain the Judicial privileges enjoyed by them.
  • This Ilbert bill controversy was not an isolated expression of white racism because the policy of racial discrimination had been an integral feature of the British rule in India. Ever since the establishment of British rule, the concept of white supremacy was being followed in Pol-admin,military & socio-cultural matters. All the higher offices of state were under the monopoly of Europeans and the Indians were appointed only in inferior posts. The Indian culture was being insulted at every opportunity by the British but the Ilbert Bill controversy carried the racial discrimination at its climax because now the Europeans opposed even the natural right of the impartial justice Indian Citizens.

GS PAPER 2 Polity and Governance


Q.2) Many experts believe that significance of Parliament has diminished over the years? Discuss the reason behind this phenomenon. Also suggest What can be done to reverse the phenomenon?


Source: http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/Bcy9Eg4aDIqGY8Kw7dKKMK/Vibrant-democracy-dormant-Parliament.html


Parliament is considered as a temple of democracy comprising of Lower House, Upper House and President is an apex law making body for the welfare of its citizens. However, since decades after the Indian republic’s founding, it should have been at the heart of people but has diminished in stature rather than evolving and maturing.

“Nehruvian Era” is known as Golden era due to its performance and outcome. However the recent phenomenon has witnessed slow and lagged process of legislation.

The reasons behind this phenomenon:

  • The laws often passed are in rush manner through loud voice or majority support without and debate and discussions.
  • There is little scrutiny of draft legislation and no follow up rules when laws are put in place to pass.
  • The debate and discussion are often biased and partisan. Question asked by MPs, many of which are pandemic, unclear or on behest.
  • The answers furnished by executive have very few points related to the question raised. Starred and unstarred questions answered contain vague points.
  • Sometimes variation of opinions lead to walk outs or rushing to the well of the house compels the presiding officer to adjourn the house(s) leads towards reduced inclusivity.
  • The ruling party’s ordinance route for passing laws and implementing it by by-passing the floor test leads to weakening of democracy.
  • The difference of opinion within the party members are being suppressed, the individual member is punished for going against their party whip under Anti-defection law.
  • Difference in time allocation to justify opinions between ruling and opposition party members does not allow the healthy discussion suppressing democratic process.

Way Forward:

  • There is a need to bring reform in electoral process and public funding of election.
  • Political reforms are also mandatory. Political parties should disclose their source of financing for bringing transparency in party functioning.
  • Rules for election and day to day conduct should be set within political parties to foster intra party democracy.
  • Reforms in parliamentary rules and regulations are need of the hour.
  • Individual members should be allowed to keep their opinion by amending Anti-defection law.
  • Time to present their opinion on the floor of the house should be increased.
  • Absenteeism should be punished; ordinance should be issued for urgent need only.
  • Number of working days should be increased to recognize the true potential of world’s largest democracy.


Hence, it is essential to recognize the complexity of this problem and work accordingly as soon as possible to make the days of parliament more productive. The individual MPs should recognize their real job, responsibilities as a representative of people for what they have been elected.

GS PAPER 3 Indian Economy


Q.3) What do You understand by Tax avoidance ? Critically discuss how GAAR will act as a Deterrent to Tax Avoidance?

Source: http://www.epw.in/journal/2017/27/web-exclusives/gaar-deterrent-tax-avoidance.html

Source: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/tax_avoidance.asp

Tax avoidance is the use of legal methods to modify an individual’s financial situation to lower the amount of income tax owed. This is generally accomplished by claiming the permissible deductions and exemptions to lower the tax payable.

Most taxpayers use some form of tax avoidance. For example, individuals who contribute to employer-sponsored retirement plans with pre-tax funds are engaging in tax avoidance because the taxes at the time of withdrawal is usually less than the individual would owe.

The expanding use of tax avoidance in the tax code has led to it becoming one of the most complex tax codes in the world. Tax avoidance is at the core of most proposals seeking to reform the tax code.
The general anti-avoidance rules (GAAR) was enacted by India in line with the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project of OECD as a measure to curb tax avoidance.

How GAAR acts as deterrent?

  • It defines an arrangement designed with the objective to avoid tax and reduces the propensity of  abuse of the tax law
  • It can override all other provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961, including laws like SAAR.
  • The procedural safeguards have been provided in the form of a three-tier mechanism in GAAR to remove arbitrariness.
  • GAAR may compel cleaner business practices and help in minimizing the creation of shell companies abroad.
  • It will certainly influence the internal functioning of companies.


  • The Indian context of GAAR has much wider scope of application thus creating apprehensions over interplay between DTAAs and GAAR.
  • The aggressive application of transfer pricing provisions in the past by the taxman has increased litigations which is a concern for the industry.
  • There is huge pressure on the taxman to augment the revenue collection which often results in inappropriate use of discretionary powers.
  • Some experts fear that GAAR could end up choking efficient tax planning.
  • The thin line difference between tax planning and tax avoidance can be subjectively interpreted increasing conflicts.
  • The functioning of the approving panel is also filled with apprehensions.

While it would be naive to presume that GAAR can wipe out tax avoidance completely, but the time is appropriate for this progressive step towards transparency in taxation. Without it creating hurdles to ‘ease of doing business’, GAAR must be operationalised in letter and spirit.


GS Paper 4 (Ethics & Integrity)


Q.4)  What do you mean by international ethics? Why it has become so relevant in present times?

(150 Words) (10 marks)

International ethics is an area of international relations theory which concerns the extent and scope of ethical obligations between states in an epoch of globalization. It is bases on the broader concept that international interactions, exchanges, relations can bring good to all life forms and these exchanges and interactions can be harmed by unfriendly, hostile, uncooperative behaviours.

International ethics enable the countries to participate more actively in shaping and building good international community. It also monitors international relations and tenacity of international conflicts.In the present era of a globalised world and the inter-dependency among various nations and the need to have good relations with all nations, the concept of international ethics has gained wide importance. These offer understandings into how nations and other entities treat other nations and its people. Good acquaintance of international ethics provides people with insights to assess the good and harms, the rights and wrongs, which can occur in the international space. For example, the UN has been encouraging various principles of friendly and cooperative and peace related humanitarian international actions by all the member countries in order to have good relations between various countries.

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