[Official Review] 7 Aug 2017 | Target Mains: GS Questions With Official Answers

GS Paper 1: World Geography 

Q.1)  Major hot deserts in northern hemisphere are located between 20-30 degree north and on the western side of the continents. Why?


There are four major reasons responsible for why the major hot deserts of the world are located between 20°-30° N on the west of the continents:-

  1. Offshore trade winds in the region and location in rain shadow zone:- Trade winds that blow in the region, shed their moisture on the eastern part and by the time they reach the western margin, they become dry.
  2. Anticyclonic conditions:- Areas between 20–30 degree latitudes on western margins of continents are the regions of descending air. It means the air gets compressed and warm as it descends and thus the moisture holding capacity keeps decreasing.
  3. Leeward sides of mountains/Parallel mountain ranges:- In the case of few deserts, mountains are situated as a barrier which prevents orographic rainfall. For example:- presence of Rockies on the western coast of North America does not let moisture bearing winds do rainfall in leeward sides. In the case of Thar desert in India, Aravallis are situated parallel to the region. Therefore the moisture holding winds pass away from the region because there is absence of mountain barriers.
  4. Presence of cold ocean currents along the western coast of continents tend to stabilise the air over the coast. This prevents cloud formation and rainfall.

GS Paper 2: Polity and Governance 

Q.2) Government move to scrap no-detention policy shows inability to analyse what went wrong. In the light of above statement critically discuss whether no detention policy should be scrapped?


Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/right-to-education-act-no-detention-policy-ndp-school-students-4785429/


The No Detention Policy (NPD) under the section 16 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 stipulates that ‘No child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education’. The policy to promote students automatically to higher classes every year till Class VIII was instituted to check the high number of dropouts, especially among the socially and economically disadvantaged sections.

However, there have been objections against the NDP by both States and Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) citing the following reasons:

  • There has been a rise in high failures and drop-outs in Classes IX and X.
  • The NDP has been wrongly interpreted and implemented in a standalone manner in which the learning outcomes of the child are undermined. ( ASER report has substantiated that 8th class students struggle to read comprehend 3rd and 4th class text)
  • Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE), that aimed to assess the child’s understanding at periodic intervals, proved to be a non-starter in most schools. It was rather reduced to mere ‘project work’.
  • The RTE’s provisions regarding the upgrading of school infrastructure and increase in the teacher-student ratio, did not take off for NPD to be successful.

The decision of the government recently to scrap the no-detention policy at the elementary level, and introduce detention of students, who fail a designated test in Class 5 or 6, is fraught with few dangers as follows:

  • It will create situations of going back to a regime of early dropouts.
  • Given the notorious record of the school education system, cheap child labour may flourish under the guise of family enterprises.
  • Under the pressure to perform and stress, only the privileged who can afford teaching aids outside the school will be at advantage.
  • The ‘Scrapping’ of NDP would stymie the effectiveness of Right to Education Act (2010) that pitches for ‘inclusive education’
  • Lack of a no detention mechanism leads to ‘stress, pressure and depression’ in lower classes before VIII
  • Absence of NDP may lead to schools ‘intentionally failing’ students to recollect fees

Way forward:

NPD should shed its standalone approach and work in tandem with other complementary pillars like improving the school education infrastructure, raising the quality of classroom teaching, ensuring adequate teacher student ratio system, teacher education and training, good recruitment policies, continuous monitoring of teacher attendance and free vocational and industrial skills training (akin to German model)after elementary schooling. TSR Subramanian panel recommendations can be considered besides recent digital India initiatives (like SWAYAM, SWAYAM Prabha).

Today’s children are India’s future tomorrow. The government should rethink the move and create enabling conditions for the no-detention policy to succeed.


GS Paper 3: Indian Economy 

Q.3) In the context of Universal Basic income discuss whether income supplements should be ‘universal’ or limited to certain easily identifiable groups. Also comment on  the financial feasibility of the UBI scheme.

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/lets-talk-about-a-supplemental-income/article19439977.ece


Universal Basic Income (UBI) is periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without any work requirement. In simple word UBI is a form of social security in which all residents of a country receive an unconditional sum of money from the government or any other public institution in addition to any income obtained from elsewhere. Ideally this payment is regardless of any differences in social or economic positions that would allow all Indians at least a basic acceptable standard of living.

In discussing the applicability of the concept to India, two questions arise. First, whether it should be universal or restricted; Second, financing mechanism for implementing such a scheme.

When implemented universally, the following repercussions it would bring:

In support of:

  • Would reduce poverty, Citizens will have more choice on spending, Better targeting of aid
  • Insurance against shocks, Boost to Financial Inclusion, Psychological aid to people
  • More administrative efficiency


  • Gender disparity induced by cash, Fiscal cost given political economy of exit, Conspicuous spending.
  • Could put stress on banking system, Political opposition to transfer to rich people, Exposure to market risks (cash v/s food), Reduction in labour supply etc.

However, the Universal implementation, the budget requirement would be enormous. It is contemplated that it might cost upto 4-5% our GDP. So the other option with this is limiting to Easily Identifiable groups.

  • Would limit the expenditure of government exchequer.
  • However, identification will be challenge. First we need to identify the real poor through PIP because majority of the needy people don’t have BPL cards and many fake people even Mayors in India possess the same. Then we have to target by eliminating inclusion of exclusion errors in SECC list which is again a kind of hell of affairs.
  • Many people would sit idle at home and will not do any work.

We will not be able to support and maintain the scheme due to huge involvement of cost-benefits issues the GDP is surely going to get affected because we are transferring cash for free and the cash will not float in the market.

We can adopt supplemental income to fill the poverty gap. Schemes like MGNREGA, Fertilizer Subsidies, Electricity subsidies etc. can be phased out to fund the schemes. Tax avoidance should be tackled effectively.

Considering the above facts, we can say that UBI can be implemented in phased manner or it can also be supplemented with other social security schemes. Universal allocation will be difficult at present circumstances, so some targeted groups should be initiated with by taking sufficient measures. Aadhar, BPL and some other measures should be implemented to identify the groups.

GS Paper 4: Ethics & Integrity

Q.4) Discuss the role played by society in value formation. It is said that societal values are degenerating. Comment with examples.


The society plays an essential role in affecting the moral values of a person. Moral values such as truthfulness, happiness, peace, justice are inculcated in children’s thoughts, feelings and actions by the society around him and they function as ideals and standards that govern their actions in their life. The value system practised in the society becomes automatic to the children if they are taught moral values thoroughly. The society has a great responsibility to pass on to the children many truths and values, and competencies to accomplish their place in life.

The eternal values of Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love and Non-Violence are transmitted on first through the societal environment. The society, and helps in mental development in the child and supports his desires and values. Delightful and joyful atmosphere in the society will develop the love, affection, tolerance, and generosity. A child learns his behaviour by demonstrating what he sees around him.

It is the individuals who make the society, because society is the later formation. Good individuals make good society whereas bad result into a bad society. Thus individuals are cause and society is the effect. The society degenerates when individuals start practicing D.V. (Disvalue) of greed, lust, intolerance, anger, dishonesty etc.

Whenever we try to reform the society, we take help of tightening the system, procedure, laws etc, i.e. we target the ‘effect’ ignoring the ‘Cause’ i.e. individuals. Thus it is treatment of symptoms, rather than targeting the disease. No doubt systemic measure are necessary but in the process we should not forget the cause i.e. individuals.

For example when we target corruption, which is deep-rooted in the system and society, we want to make tougher laws, speedy trials and good investigating machinery etc. No doubt they serve some limited purpose but solution lies in targeting the individuals i.e., part of state machinery by making the work force ‘ethical’, ‘value rich’ etc.

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