The IAS Main(Written) Exam 2014 ended on 20 December 2014 and the candidates are wondering about the model or ideal answers. There cannot be an ideal answer to the questions of IAS Main General Studies Questions as such but we can deduce some important points which can not be missed from a good answer.
So we took three aspects of the IAS Main General Studies Questions and try to explain the ingredients of a good answer. The candidates can see and learn about the approach towards the IAS Main General Studies Questions and try to frame a good answer. We are giving here the demand of the questions, approach to the answers and the required keywords for a good answer.
IAS Main (written) Exam 2014 General Studies I Paper with apporach and Keywords
Q.1 To what extent has the urban planning and culture of the Indus Valley Civilization provided inputs to the present day urbanization? Discuss
Demand: There are two aspects of this question. Firstly the candidates should know about the urban planning and the culture of the Indus Valley Civilization and the Second aspect is to the candidate should be able to co-relate and compare it with the present day Urban Settings.
Approach: The question needs the comparative analysis of the Urban Planning during the Indus Valley Civilization and the present day. Thinking during studies is the real key to solve these types of questions because the time limit for each question is very less. The candidates should also know the inputs which can be attributed to the Indus valley civilization. Such as the habit of the Bathing, the rectangular cross streets in the planned areas and the likes
Keywords: Road Network, Bathing Establishments, Sewage System, The Vastu Shastra Consultation, The Green Buildings
Q.2 Gandhara sculpture owed as much to the Romans as to the Greeks. Explain.
Demand: The question demands the explanation of Gandhara sculpture’s features. These features need to be shown in reference to its inheritance as well as association with culture of both the Romans and the Greeks.
Approach: It is implicit in the question that Gandhara sculpture’s association to the Greeks is a known fact. Hence, the features of Gandhara Sculpture in allegiance with that of the Greeks need to be explained first. Thereafter, features of Gandhara Sculpture depicting the association and influence of Romans need to be elaborated. In the question, the obligation towards the Romans need more emphasis than towards the Greeks.
Keywords: First concept of “man-god”, wavy hair, Buddha under the protection of Herakles Vine scrolls, Roman imperial statue like garments, Buddha’s face as that of Youth Apollo.
Q.3 Taxila University was one of the oldest universities of the world with which were associated a number of renowned learned personalities of different disciplines. Its strategic location caused its fame to flourish, but unlike Nalanda, it is not considered as a university in the modern sense. Discuss.
Demand: The question contains two parts. In the first, students need to glorify the importance, scope, strategic location and influence of Taxila University. Whereas, in second, its non-consideration as modern university should be explained relative to Nalanda university.
Approach: The students should start with the time period of the university, its association with kingdom and empire of those days and highlighting the association of learned personalities with Taxila University. Its strategic location in terms of passes, gateways, confluence of Empires, geography needs to be explained. The factor that a modern university needs permanent and proper set up and Taxila, unlike Nalanda lacked in this need to be handled.
Keywords: 10th century BCE to 5th century BCE, Achaemenian Empire, Alexander, Ashoka, Kushan, Chanakya, Chandragupta, Charaka, No permanency in terms of built in structure, teachers, at crossroads of three ancient trade routes.
Q.4: The Third Battle of Panipat was fought in 1761. Why were so many empire-shaking battles fought at Panipat?
Demand: The question should contain the participants of Third Battle of Panipat and the mention of other major battles fought at Panipat. Major portion of the answer should explain the reason of numerous intense fights breaking at Panipat.
Approach: In the smaller first paragraph, different battles fought at Panipat should be covered. The reasons pertaining basically to the Geography, History, Politics and diplomacy need to be provided thereafter.
Keywords: closer to traditional Capital of Delhi, major open plain area after crossing Indus, at the intersection of India and Central Asia, near rich cultivation of Punjab
Q.5 Sufis and Medieval mystic Saints failed to modify either the religious ideas and practices or the outward structure of Hindu/ Muslim Societies to any appreciable extent. Comment
Demand: In this question, the students need to highlight the failure of medieval mystic saints in modifying religious ideas and practices and were also unable to change any considerable outward structure of Hindu/Muslim Societies. However, positives of those saints need to be mentioned with the fact that these were not their prime aim and target.
Approach: Quoting examples, the students need to show the status quo in various mal practices, superstitions and religious fanaticism of Hindus and Muslims. Outward structures such as Casteism, sectarianism, Sati etc should also be shown to have maintained its draconian hold. The last paragraph should emphasise the positive outcomes of medieval Bhakti movements and modifying the religion as not its aim.
Keywords: Sati, idol worship, superstitions, personal devotion to god, concept of god and regular recitation, amelioration of the common men.
Q.6 Examine critically the various facets of economic policies of the British in India from mid-eighteenth century till independence.
Demand: The answer needs to show the start, evolution and dominance of British Economic Policies. It needs to be discussed from Battle of Plassey till independence. It should reflect the transition of British from trading company to colonial master.
Approach: The answer should start with the economic rights, British got after Battle of Plassey and Battle of Buxar. It should be followed by various types of land settlements they introduced across India. In the next paragraph, the transition and monopoly of trading rights should be discussed. Thereafter, policies in agriculture, industries, taxes, excise, foreign trade and economic drain need to be mentioned.
Keywords: Diwani rights, Permanent Settlement, Plantation agriculture, home charges, foreign investment, raw materials.
Q. 7 In what ways did the naval mutiny prove to be the last nail in the coffin of British colonial aspirations in India?
Demand: The answer demands to show the naval mutiny as the final hammer to already demising British Empire. The minor aspect in this is depicting the continuously weakening British hold followed by consequences of naval mutiny acting as the catalyst to expedite the end of British rule.
Approach: The first paragraph need to show the gradual erosion of British Authority and its direct reasons. Thereafter, how the naval mutiny made British nervous as the masses supported those rebellious mutineers openly. It ultimately brought British on the table for discussing independence.
Keywords: Second World War, Quit India Movement, Naval Ratings, three flags – Congress, Muslim League, CPI; Mass Strikes, Cabinet Missions
Q.8 What were the major political, economic and social developments in the world which motivated the anti-national struggles in India
Demand: The answer needs to be compartmentalised under the parameters given in the question. The motivation for national freedom struggle, individual bravery, awareness and demand for rights need to be incorporated.
Approach: Under Political heading, inspiration from various revolutions, win by smaller and Asian countries over established power need to be discussed. Industrial revolution, Communist policy, planning etc should be accommodated in economic heading. Marxism, Luddite movement, equality etc would come under social motivation
Keywords: American revolution, French revolution, Russian revolution, defeat of USSR by Japan, NEP, Fundamental Rights, Irish Movements, Comintern
Q. 9 What were the events that led to the Suez Crisis in 1956 ? How did it deal a final blow to Britain’s self image as a world power?
Demand: The question needs to be handled in two aspects. First, the series of events resulting into Suez crisis and second, how did it result in the erosion of Britain’s image as a world power.
Approach: The discussion should start with Egyptian independence and gradual difference of Egypt with Britain. This needs to be followed by the Arab-Israel conflict and assassination of many Egyptian top leaders. Mentioning of Britain, France and Israel threatened to use force to gain control of Suez Canal and help of USSR to Egypt to ward of western powers. Invasion from west gets ended by UN pressure. Britain’s erosion need to be shown by its inability to assert control, its open opposition across the world and criticisms
Keywords: Cold war, civil war in Egypt, Gaza Strip, President Nasser, Aran-Israel conflict, non –aligned country
Q.10 The New Economic Policy – 1921 of Lenin had influenced the policies adopted by India soon after independence. Evaluate.
Demand: This needs to be elaborated under two parts. The first being mentioning of salient features of NEP-1921 and the second, the features of policies adopted by independent India. These two should be compared and the latter need to be shown as influenced by the former.
Approach: New Economic Policy -1921 of Lenin should be elaborated in terms of communism, socialism and Soviets. State Control, Planning and nationalisation need to be emphasised. In the second paragraph, economic policies having been influenced by New Economic Policy -1922 should be emphasised, which will include aspects like induced planning, five year plans, state control etc. The relation between two, needs to be shown in terms of Socialism and planning.
Keywords: Control of Industries, Five Year Plan, Perspective Plan, Socialism, State Control, Nationalisation
Q.11: How does patriarchy impact the position of a middle class working woman in India?
Demand: This answer again needs to explain two things and discuss the impact of one thing over the other. The answer should emphasis the negativity of Patriarchy and the problems and sufferings meted out to middle class working woman in India
Approach: The answer should start with the explanation of Patriarchy and position of middle class working woman should be given along with the impact of former over the latter. Majority of the answer should reflect the coercion by male dominated society and the huge expectation from female members resulting into latter’s evolution in submissiveness, and weakening authority.
Keywords: Inequality in payment, stereotypes, dual responsibility, subordination of women’s career
Q.12: Why do some of the most prosperous regions of India have an adverse sex ratio for women? Give your arguments.
Demand: This answer expects the innovative and creative reasons. Identification of the problem in definite areas needs to be revealed and their possible causes should be put across.
Approach: Introductory paragraph should give spatial distribution of adverse sex ratio. This should be followed by all the direct and indirect causes ranging from economic, patriarchy, superstition, societal and cultural (some of which can even be local).
Keywords: Discrimination, male migration, Khap Panchayats, female infanticide, land as asset can be lost as females are married off, use of technology in sex revealing, corruption
Q.13: The life cycle of a joint family depends on economic factors rather than social values. Discuss.
Demand: The answer demands the explanation of reasons for life cycle of joint family as economic factors instead of social values. Economic factors as the central reason need to be emphasised.
Approach: The answer should start with “Joint family as the prominent Indian society’s feature and its life cycle’s perceived reason as the social values.” The majority of the answer would cover the economic factors as the most prominent reason for life cycle of a joint family. The reasons should include agriculture, services, transfer, postings, trade and retirement as the important factors responsible for its life cycle.
Keywords: Rural-urban transition, migration, scale of economies, business, societal set up, culture
Q. 14: Discuss the various economic and socio-cultural forces that are driving increasing feminisation of agriculture in India.
Demand: This question demands the various factors responsible for gradual increase in the female participation in agriculture sector. These reasons need to be discussed under two subheadings, i.e. economic and socio-cultural factors.
Approach: Introductory note should include the meaning of increasing feminisation of agriculture in India. Under economic subheading; small land holding, poverty, inadequate income etc need to be accommodated. Whereas, under socio-cultural forces; migration, primitive agriculture, patriarchy, inability of women to engage with market etc should be explained.
Keywords: Subsistence agriculture, rural to urban migration, allied activities, sole way of contribution for uneducated and unskilled women
Q.15: How do the Indian debates on secularism differ from the debates in the west?
Demand: The answer demands the explanation of secularism in Indian perspective and that of the west. These two need to be compared resulting into depicting their difference.
Approach: Introductory note need to define the meaning of secularism. This should be followed with outlining the features of secularism for India as well as for the west in few lines. Comparison between the two can be made in terms of state’s involvement, influence of religion on state and citizens, stature of religions, interaction of religion with the culture and society of the nation’s people.
Keywords: separation, fundamental rights (article 27), Universalism, Position of church or religious organisation, religious rights,
Q.16: Most of the unusual climatic happenings are explained as an outcome of the El-Nino effect. Do you agree?
Demand: This question need be covered under two aspects. First, the explanation of El-Nino and its effect and second, the various unusual climatic happenings across the world. This question demands the establishing the linkages to make El-Nino effect as the responsible factor for those unusual climatic happenings.
Approach: The first paragraph should describe El-Nino and its various effects ranging from Western Indian Ocean to western coast of South America. Some of the various unusual climatic events of Indian subcontinent, Australia, Africa and Americas should be listed down. Thereafter various effects should be linked one by one to these unusual happenings.
Keywords: Warming of pacific ocean, Breaks in Monsoon, Droughts in Australia, Polar Vortex, Flood in Atacama, Forest fires, extremities of weather, alteration of storm tracks.
Q.17: Why are the world’s fold mountain systems located along the margins of continents? Bring out the association between the global distribution of fold mountains and the earthquakes and volcanoes.
Demand: This question demands multiple points as follows:
1. Reasons for the presence of fold mountain systems along the margins of continents.
2. Global distribution of fold mountains.
3. Association of fold mountains with the earth quakes.
4. Association of fold mountains with the volcanoes.
Approach: Giving the examples of various fold mountains, the reasons for their existence along the margins need to be explained in terms of plate tectonics, convergent boundaries and so on. This should be followed with a rough sketch depicting such of the fold mountains across the world. The association of fold mountains and zone of vulnerabilities of earthquake need to be explained. Giving famous examples of plateaus formed by such volcanic eruption, a link should be established between the convergent plate boundaries, volcanoes, earthquakes and formation of fold mountains.
Keywords: Ring of fire, Andes, Himalayas, Altiplano Plateau, subduction of oceanic plates, Accretionary wedges, folding and bending of continents
Q.18: Explain the formation of thousands of islands in Indonesian and Philippines archipelagos.
Demand: The question demands the processes, reasons, events and locational significance of so many islands in Indonesian and Philippines archipelagos.
Approach: The approach of the question basically demands the explanation of formation of small islands due to oceanic-oceanic plate convergence in oceans. With the help of plate tectonics, island formation need to be explained by the plates collision, plate subduction and volcanic eruption. Significance of such location should also be explained in terms of the region lying amidst the interactive area of major plates, i.e. Pacific plate and Indo Australian Plate and minor plates like Philipino plate.
Keywords: island arcs, convergent boundaries, magma eruption, metamorphism of oceanic sediments.
Q.19: Tropical cyclones are largely confined to South China Sea, Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mexico. Why?
Demand: The question basically wants to elaborate the conditions necessary for the existence and origin of Tropical cyclones. All these conditions are features of the oceans given in the question statement.
Approach: The approach should be the reverse engineering of the question. The altitude, surface temperatures and relative position with respect to the landmass of these oceans should be explained. These conditions need to be depicted as necessary for the formation of tropical cyclones. Moreover, presence of different warm ocean currents, air pressure, moisture etc should also be elaborated with respect to those oceans.
Keywords : Between 6 and 20 degree north of equator, free from any cold currents, sea surface temperature close to 26 degrees celcius, high level humidity, low vertical wind shear.
Q.20 Bring out the relationship between the shrinking Himalayan glaciers and the symptoms of climate change in the Indian sub-continent.
Demand: The question demands to establish climate change in the Indian sub-continent as the driving reason for gradual shrinking of Himalaya glacier. Moreover, the word relationship indicates the demand of mentioning shrinking Himalayan glaciers as also the reason for gradual climate change.
Approach: The answer need to be started with ¬¬the evidences supporting Himalayan glacier shrinkage and the symptoms of climate change like flash floods in foothills of Himalayas. Moreover, the majority emphasis should be on the effect of the climate change on shrinking of Himalayas. Periodic El-Nino, Irregularity in Monsoon, global warming has resulted in the shrinking Himalayan glaciers.
Keywords: intense floods, irregular rainfall, droughts, Erosion and disturbance in Himalayan biodiversity, cloud bursts, increase in sea level.
Q.21 Whereas the British planters had developed tea gardens all along the Shivaliks and Lesser Himalayas from Assam to Himachal Pradesh, in effect they did not succeed beyond the Darjeeling area. Explain.
Demand: The question basically asks for the reasons responsible for absence of tea cultivation by British beyond Himalayas. Natural and anthropogenic factors necessary for plantation of tea needs to be discussed which can’t be found beyond Darjeeling.
Approach: The answer need to be started with explaining desirable conditions for tea cultivation all along the Himalayas. Thereafter, the slope, rainfall adequacy, accessibility, vegetation density, numerous river channels, high prevalence of tribals, poor accessibility should be elaborated to depict the non-supportive conditions for tea cultivation.
Keywords: steep slope, very high rainfall, poor connectivity, tribal isolation, frontier regions
Q.22 Why did the Green Revolution in India virtually by-pass the eastern region despite fertile soil and good availability of water?
Demand: The prominent demand of the question is to list down the factors responsible for the failure of green revolution in eastern India. Some points also must touch down the proportional relevance of fertile soil and good availability of water for the success of Green Revolution in India.
Approach: The answer need to be started with the factors, which can help the Green Revolution to succeed. In the next paragraph, the absence of some of these factors should be shown with other disturbing scenarios, backwardness, population pressure, illiteracy and so on. The importance of fertile soil and good availability of water as the necessary factor also need to be discussed.
Keywords: small land holdings, primitive agriculture, lack of capital, frequent floods, HYV seeds, poor technologies
Q.23 Account for the change in the spatial pattern of the Iron and Steel industry in the world.
Demand: The question needs to be answered in two aspects. First, the actual change in the spatial pattern need to be discussed and Second, the probable reasons for those changes should also be brought into consideration.
Approach: With the help of a map, the current scenario of Iron and Steel industry and its shifting in the world need to be shown across the world. This should be followed with the causes which led to these changes in terms of economic might, market localization and availability of raw materials. The emergence of new players, status quo and erosion of some nations’ capability needs to be highlighted as well.
Keywords: Market demand, industrialisation, colonialism and imperialism, emerging economies, import of iron ore, infrastructure expansion in developing countries.
Q.24: Critically evaluate the various resources of the oceans which can be harnessed to meet the resource crisis in the world.
Demand: The question demands the elaboration of various resources of the ocean under various headings and their capability and the processes to fulfil the resource crisis. The word ‘critically’ implies the discussion of prospects of these, obstructions to these and future challenges to facilitate the harnessing of these resources.
Approach: The answer need to be started from listing down various resources of the oceans under headings such as energy, food, minerals, salts and so on. This should be discussed as to how these resources can be harnessed to meet the fuel crisis, food crisis etc. Possibility, challenges and optimistic solution need to be included in the concluding statements.
Keywords: Offshore oil, Poly metallic nodules, sea food, sea water, fisheries, nuclear ores, pearls, oil spills, Coral bleaching
Q.25: How does India see its place in the economic space of rising natural resource rich Africa?
Demand: Two aspects need to be handled in this question. First, the account of natural resources present and rising in Africa. Second, how India can be accommodated to gain from these resources. The problems and challenges against these opportunities for India should also be reflected.
Approach: The answer need to be started from region or natural resources wise classification in Africa under various subheadings such as minerals, oils, forest resources etc. This should be followed by India’s aspirations and need of these natural resources. India’s diplomacy, bilateral relations, competitions and negotiations as an important player for India’s aspiration need to be handled as well.
Keywords: Gold, Diamond, Bauxite, Crude oil, flora and fauna, land, nuclear fuel, agriculture, IBSA, BRICS, competition from China and US.