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GENERAL STUDIES II

SOCIAL JUSTICE
PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS (MAINS)
1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
2. Development processes and the development industry - the role of NGOs,
SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other
stakeholders.
3. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and
States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions
and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable
sections.
4. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector /
Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
5. Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS &


WHY UPSC ASKED THESE QUESTIONS
2016
1. Professor Amartya Sen has advocated important reforms in the realms of
primary education and primary health care. What are your suggestions to
improve their status and performance? (12.5)
1) NDA has failed on reforms, says Amartya Sen (08/01/2016-The Hindu)
Q. Schemes like Skill India, Jan Dhan Yojana and the various insurance
schemes which are linked to making the lives of the individuals better, how
would you rate those?
The basic thing that ails the Indian people is lack of education, lack of healthcare and
lack of social security. And no matter how extraordinarily innovative-sounding, and I
say innovative-sounding rather than innovative, these new schemes may be, of this
kind of insurance or that kind of insurance, it is not going to take away from the fact
that with an unhealthy, uneducated labour force, it is very difficult to generate income
from them and very difficult for solidly-shared development growth at a high level to
continue.
The reforms process has been lopsided with the government failing to address
basic social issues like education and health care. This may prove a roadblock
to the globalisation process
2) Why not a right to primary healthcare? (12/08/2016-Business Line)

2. Examine the main provisions of the National Child Policy and throw light on
the status of its implementation. (12.5)

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The National Policy for Children 2013 was adopted by the Government of India on
26th April 2013. It adheres to the Constitutional mandate and guiding principles of UN
CRC and identifies rights of children under 4 key priority areas, namely, Survival,
Health and Nutrition; Education and Development, Protection and Participation. The
Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India has recently drafted
the National Plan of Action for Children 2016, which provides a roadmap that links the
Policy objectives to actionable strategies under the 4 key priority areas. It aims at
establishing effective coordination and convergence among all stakeholders, including
Ministries and Departments of Government of India and civil society organisations to
address key issues pertaining to rights of children.

3. Demographic Dividend in India will remain only theoretical unless our


manpower becomes more educated, aware, skilled and creative. What
measures have been taken by the government to enhance the capacity of our
population to be more productive and employable? (12.5)
1) Can India garner the demographic dividend? (10/12/2010-The Hindu)
2) India poised to reaping demographic dividends (30/04/2016-The Hindu)
3) Demographic dividend hinges on quality elementary education (01/05/2016-
The Hindu)

2015
1. Examine critically the recent changes in the rules governing foreign funding of
NGOs under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 1976.(12.5)
Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2015 - Key Changes
A new revamped website has also been launched to offer applicants seamless
services under FCRA with adequate ease and facilitation. With the launch of new
website, all services will be offered online reducing human interface to the minimum.
All applications under FCRA can now be filled online; documents can also be
uploaded online including payment of fee etc. All queries and replies to the applicants
will be made through emails and digitally signed registration certificates, prior
permission sanctions, etc. will be issued to the applicants through emails.
Foreign Contribution Regulation Act: New crackdown on NGO foreign funds
In the most important change, government plans to equate economic security for
NGOs under FCRA with the definition provided in Section 2 of the Unlawful Activities
Prevention Act (UAPA). (15/06/2015-Indian Express)

2. The Self-Help Group (SHG) Bank Linkage Programme (SBLP), which is


Indias own innovation, has proved to be one of the most effective poverty
alleviation and women empowerment programmes. Elucidate. (12.5)
Self Help Group-Bank Linkage Programme (SBLP) aims to deliver financial products &
services to the section of Indian population that lacks access to formal banking.
1) Self Help Groups making rural women self-reliant (04/05/2015-The Hindu)
2) Is SHG model better than microfinance? (10/11/2015-Bussiness Line)

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3. How can the role of NGOs be strengthened in India for development works
relating to protection of the environment? Discuss throwing light on the major
constraints. (12.5)
The role of NGOs has a very important to protection of environment through social
services. The NGOs from past five decades have witnessed the difficult problems
encountered in providing health care services to our poor people; spread the
awareness to public protection of wildlife, forest, human right, Women and Children
etc. Non-governmental organizations, including those non-profit organizations
representing groups addressed in the present section of Agenda 21, possess well-
established and diverse experience, expertise and capacity in fields which will be of
particular importance to the implementation and review of environmentally
sound and socially responsible sustainable development, as envisaged
throughout Agenda 21.
1) Govt. targets climate groups (02/01/2015-The Hindu)
2) NGOs oppose panel report (10/01/2015-The Hindu)
3) Leaving people out of development (04/02/2015-The Hindu)
4) Indian NGO criticises U.S. climate action plans (08/10/2015-The Hindu)

4. The quality of higher education in India requires major improvements to


make it internationally competitive. Do you think that the entry of foreign
educational institutions would help improve the quality of higher and technical
education in the country? Discuss. (12.5)

India, an aspiring knowledge economy ready to unleash its huge demographic


dividend, should address this situation in earnest. To realise the dream of establishing
India as the human resource capital of the world, we need to take radical steps in sync
with emerging trends and technologies in education.

1) The quality of India's higher education (09/12/2006-The Hindu)


2) 'No compromise on quality of higher education'(06/02/2015-The Hindu)
3) When accountability is not institutional (08/01/2015-The Hindu)
4) Decline by degrees (17/04/2015-The Hindu)
5) No acche din for higher education (20/05/2015-The Hindu)
6) We dont want no education... (27/06/2015-The Hindu)
7) A blueprint for higher education (11/08/2015-The Hindu)
8) Higher education needs practical strategies (12/08/2015-Business Line)

5. Public health system has limitations in providing universal health coverage.


Do you think that the private sector could help in bridging the gap? What other
viable alternatives would you suggest? (12.5)
The public health sector in India as inefficient and hailed the development of private
health sector. We cannot expand and improve our public health institutions and started
facilitating the growth of the private sector.

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1) Placing Wealth over Health (17/03/2015-The Hindu)
2) The comprehensive healthcare alternative (15/09/2015-The Hindu)
3) Public healthcare in the sickbed (23/10/2015-Business Line)

6. Though there have been several different estimates of poverty in India, all
indicate reduction in poverty levels over time. Do you agree? Critically
examine with reference to urban and rural poverty indicators. (12.5)
1) Why poverty is developments best friend (13/07/2015-The Hindu)
2) Poverty is falling fast in India, but we still measure it terribly (27/10/2015-The
Hindu)
3) World Bank estimates show fall in Indias poverty rate (06/10/2015-The Hindu)
4) MDG report: India on track in reducing poverty (08/01/2015-The Hindu)
5) Odds of escaping poverty in India, U.S. same: World Bank (20/01/2015-The
Hindu)
6) Indias poverty rate lowest among nations with poor population (05/10/2015-
Business Line)
7) India has cut poverty by half, but progress is uneven: UN (07/07/2015-
Business Line)
8) India's poverty rate falls to 12.4%, electricity plays big role: World Bank says
better infra, specifically rural electrification, has had far-ranging effects,
changed earnings, consumption and encouraged girls' schooling
(10/10/2015-Business Standard)
9) 'MGNREGS reduced poverty, empowered women' (12/04/2015-The Hindu)
10) Gap widening between rural and urban India (21/10/2015-The Hindu)
11) SECC not irrelevant just yet (06/07/2015-The Hindu)
12) Surging tides of inequality (11/07/2015-The Hindu)
13) The measure of poverty (20/07/2015-Indian Express)

2014
1. The penetration of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in rural areas in promoting
participation in development programmes is facing socio-cultural hurdles.
Examine. (200 words) (12.5)
1) Empowering women, empowering India (22/08/2014-Business Line)
2) Parties tapping self-help groups in Mysore (11/04/2014-The Hindu)
3) Ethiopia studying Indian self-help groups to empower women (26/10/2014-
Business Standard)
4) Govt subsidises loans for women self-help groups (04/02/2014- Business
Standard)
5) Low-cost napkins suffers low market penetration (28/03/2014-The Hindu)
6) Women self-help group to manage mid-day meal in Chhattisgarh (17/12/2013-
Business Standard)
7) Bad loans for self-help groups at alarming levels: Nabard (27/11/2013-
Business Standard)

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2. Do governments schemes for uplifting vulnerable and backward
communities by protecting required social resources for them, lead to their
exclusion in establishing businesses in urban economies? (200 words) (12.5)
1) Govt. schemes to give priority to women (26/10/2014- The Hindu)
2) Govt launches insurance + pension scheme for senior citizens (14/08/2014-
Business Standard)
3) Fewer poor among SC, ST, OBC (14/03/2014- Business Standard)
4) What minority status will mean for Jains (22/01/2014- Business Standard)
5) UP govt scraps one more scheme (27/10/2014- Indian Express)
6) Modi launches 11 welfare schemes for poor (18/09/2014- Times of India)
7) OBCs to get 27% of govt petrol pumps (10/12/2014- Times of India)
8) Supreme Court recognizes transgenders as 'third gender' (15/04/2014- Times
of India)

3. An athlete participates in Olympics for personal triumph and nations glory;


victors and 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. (200 words) (12.5)
Three athletes represented India at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia from
7 to 23 February 2014. They initially entered the competition as Independent Olympic
participants, competing under the Olympic flag, as the Indian Olympic Association had
been suspended by the IOC since 2012.
1) India complete Olympic return with Sochi flag raising (16/02/2014- Times of
India)
2) GAIL launches sports talent hunt (22/09/2014- Business Standard)
3) Juhu shanty boy sprints to gold at state talent hunt, barefoot (27/11/2014-
Indian Express)
4) 'Talent Hunt' by Kerala Cricket Association from Apr 4 (26/04/2014- Business
Standard)
5) Talent hunt to find India's best young driver (13/06/2014- Business Standard)

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 or criteria of selection of students. Discuss in light of the growing
challenges. (200 words) (12.5)
Budget 2014: In a major boost to the education sector, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
proposed setting up of five new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian
Institutes of Management (IIMs). He proposed setting up of 12 new medical colleges,
5 new IITs, 5 new IIMs and 4 new AIIMS (July/2014)
1) IITs, IIMs everywhere (11/06/2014- The Hindu)
2) A malfunctioning system in need of repair (14/09/2014- The Hindu)
3) Good governance: bid to rope in IITs, IIMs too (16/12/2014- The Hindu)

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4) Fresh ideas, not more institutions (16/06/2014- The Hindu)
5) To infuse nation first attitude, ABVP forum targets IIM, IITs (15/10/2014-
Indian Express)

2013
1. The concept of Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme is almost a country old in India
with early beginnings in Madras Presidency in pre-independent India. The
scheme has again been given impetus in most state in the last two decades.
Critically examine its twin objectives, latest mandates and success.[200 words]
(10)
Twenty-three children died in Dharma Sati village in Saran District (Bihar) on 16 July
2013 after eating pesticide-contaminated Mid-Day Meals.[25] On 31 July 2013, 55
students at a government middle school fell ill at Kalyuga village in Jamui district
(Bihar) after their Mid-Day Meal provided by an NGO. On the same day, 95 students
at Chamandi primary school in Arwal district (Bihar) were ill after their meal.
1) New panel to monitor mid-day meal scheme (19/07/2013- The Hindu)
2) Poor utilization of funds under Mid-Day Meal in NE (17/11/2013- Business
Standard)
3) Mid-day meal fiasco: Mismanagement feeds into key programme (19/07/2013-
Business Standard)
4) Food for thought in a mid-day meal tragedy (22/07/2013- Business Standard)
5) Fresh ideas, not more institutions (16/06/2013- The Hindu)
6) The free lunch that works (24/07/2013- Indian Express)
7) Mid-day meals in Delhi schools do not meet nutritional norms: Govt to HC
(05/09/2013- Indian Express)
8) Expert panel to keep eye on mid-day meals (21/08/2013- Indian Express)
9) Fighting Classroom Hunger- Achievements of Mid-Day Meal Scheme
(01/09/2013- Yojana)

2. The legitimacy and accountability of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and their
patrons, the micro-finance outfits, need systematic assessment and scrutiny
for the sustained success of the concept. Discuss.[200 words] (10)
1) Cabinet gives approval for Women Self Help Groups to get low interest loans
(07/05/2013- The Hindu)
2) Jairam wants financial institution for self-help groups (29/03/2013- The Hindu)
3) Make the best of interest-free loan scheme, self-help groups told (20/06/2013-
The Hindu)
4) SHGs help woman develop her personality' (06/11/2013- The Hindu)
5) Bad loans for self-help groups at alarming levels: Nabard (27/11/2013-
Business Standard)
6) Financial inclusion can be better achieved through self-help groups: Nabard
(18/10/2013- Business Line)

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3. The Central Government frequently complains on the poor performance of the
State Governments in eradicating suffering of the vulnerable sections of the
society. Restructuring of Centrally sponsored schemes across the sectors for
ameliorating the cause of vulnerable sections of population aims at providing
flexibility to the states in better implementation. Critically evaluate.[200 words]
(10)
1) Low awareness on breastfeeding not restricted to poor: Montek (10/12/2013-
Business Standard)
2) Competing to empower the poor (15/08/2013- Business Standard)
3) 'Women, kids most vulnerable sections in displaced population' (21/05/2013-
Business Standard)
4) Insightful and path-breaking (28/01/2013- The Hindu)
5) Addressing Indias external vulnerability (10/09/2013- The Hindu)
6) India most vulnerable to capital outflows: Moodys (18/10/2013- The Hindu)
7) Between mass hunger and bursting granaries (08/05/2013- The Hindu)
8) Strong provisions, weak implementation (18/12/2013- The Hindu)

4. Electronic cash transfer system for the welfare schemes is an ambitious


project to minimize corruption, eliminate wastage and facilitate reforms.
Comment.[200 words] (10)
Direct Benefit Transfer or DBT is an attempt to change the mechanism of
transferring subsidies launched by Government of India on 1 January 2013. This
program aims to transfer subsidies directly to the people through their bank accounts.
It is hoped that crediting subsidies into bank accounts will reduce leakages, delays,
etc.
1) Cash transfer scheme rolls out in 20 districts from today (31/12/2012-
Business Line)
2) Is UID-linked cash transferring a good idea? (10/01/2013- Business Standard)
3) Cash transfers can help make India less unequal, but are not a magic bullet
(10/01/2013- The Hindu)
4) Cash transfer scheme no magic wand: Ramesh (06/01/2013- The Hindu)
5) Cash transfers are bad for food security (11/05/2013- The Hindu)
6) SEWA model shows cash transfers work (02/01/2013- The Hindu)
7) Direct cash transfers: The previous system was so much more convenient
(04/10/2013- Indian Express)
8) Direct cash transfers: The scheme that blocked kerosene (04/10/2013- Indian
Express)
9) India: Cash transfer scheme aims to slash subsidies to Indias poor
(15/02/2013- International Committee of the Fourth International)

5. The basis of providing urban amenities in rural areas (PURA) is rooted in


establishing connectivity. Comment [200 words]. (10)
Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA)
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Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA) is a strategy for rural
development in India. This concept was given by former president Dr. A.P.J. Abdul
Kalam. On the eve of Indias 54th Republic Day, in 2003, Dr. Kalam addressed the
nation explaining them his vision for a new India. He visualised providing four
elements of connectivity: physical connectivity, electronic connectivity, knowledge
connectivity leading to economic connectivity of rural areas and where there would be
a lesser urban-rural divide.
1) Urban amenities for rural India (22/03/2010- Business Line)
2) Implement PURA to fight downturn: Kalam (20/08/2013- Business Standard)
3) Kalam focus on SME and rural India for economic stability (20/08/2013-
Business Standard)
4) 4,000 towns to be brought under 'Urban Amenities in Rural Areas': Jairam
Ramesh (05/05/2013- Economic Times)
5) Kalam for special Parliament session to revive economy (04/09/2013- The
Hindu)
6) Kalams PURA panacea to beat economic blues (21/08/2013- Indian Express)

6. Identify the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that are related to health.
Discuss the success of the actions taken by the Government for achieving the
same. [200 words]. (10)
1) India may not fully achieve the MDGs by 2015: Report (13/10/2013- Business
Standard)
2) India needs to improve healthcare as part of global MDGs: WHO (05/05/2013-
Economic Times)
3) MDGs: India wont give up on achieving targets (29/05/2013- The Hindu)

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