Q.1) )China’s aggressive posture towards India and the boundary dispute set the right context for India to engage Taiwan meaningfully. Elucidate(15 marks-250 words)

Why this question?

The India-China border stand-off in the Galwan Valley, following China’s incursion into Indian territory, is a reminder of India’s perennial problems with China.


Mention the need for India to adopt a non-traditional approach while dealing with China.


  • Background of recent India-China tensions
    • China’s hardline approach
    • Violation of the Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC)
    • Status of traditional ways of diplomatic engagement etc.
  • India’s current relations with Taiwan
    • Vision of the Indo-Pacific
    • Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy
    • One-China policy perspective
    • Non-consistent approach by India
  • Suggestions for improving relations
    • Utilizing Taiwan’s position
      • Best practices in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic
      • Taiwan’s possible role in the emerging Indo-Pacific order
    • Moving away from the traditional approach


It is time India reviews its policy towards Taiwan and engages with it more comprehensively.


Q.2)As India emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown, the labour market policy needs to reverse the pandemic’s gender-differentiated impact. Discuss (15marks-250words)

Why this question?

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on women’s work.


Mention a survey by Azim Premji University among rural casual workers, 71% of women lost their jobs after the lockdown; the figure was 59% for men.


  • Vulnerability of women to the crisis situation
  • Impact of COVID-19 on women’s employment in rural India
    • Limited employment available in the agriculture sector
    • Scenario in allied activities
    • Non-agricultural jobs
    • No proper benefits of government schemes etc
  • Suggest a new roadmap to improve women’s employment
    • Recognizing the contribution of women
    • Generate women-specific employment with proper conditions
    • Reduce the drudgery of care work etc


It is time for women to be seen as equal partners in the task of transforming the rural economy.


Q.3) Indian Railways has been the lifeline of India’s growth story. Analyse the challenges faced by the railways in India and steps taken to address these challenges. (15 marks - 250 words)

Why this question? -  The Indian Railways has announced that it achieved 100 percent punctuality of its passenger trains recently, a never-before feat. 

Intro - Highlight the contribution of railways in Indian growth story.

Body - 

  1. Mention the challenges faced by Indian railways and how it is impacting Indian economy as a whole.
  2. Then, analyze the steps taken by the government to address above challenges - Capacity building, railway safety, modernization etc.

Way forward - Here, mention what more needs to be done.

Conclusion - Summarize your answer based on the above discussion.


Q.4) An international arbitration court has ruled that the Italian Marines accused of killing two fishermen off the coast of Kerala are outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts. The takeaway for India should be the lessons, in the legal and diplomatic domains, that can be drawn from the experience. Discuss. (10M, 250 words)

Why this question

  • The Centre informed the Supreme Court that it has decided to “accept and abide” by an international tribunal’s rulingIndia is bound by the award of the arbitral tribunal formed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Introduction to the answer:

Key takeaways of the judgement

  • The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague admitted that both India and Italy had concurrent jurisdiction in the matter but concluded that the marines’ immunity precluded India’s jurisdiction. 
  • In India’s favour, the PCA found that the Italian vessel had violated the right and freedom of navigation of the Indian fishing vessel under UNCLOS, and that the action, which caused loss of lives, property and harm, merited compensation. 


Lessons for India:

  • Legal and diplomatic delays: The Union government should have taken over the prosecution and ensured a quick trial. Due to legal tangles and the diplomatic fallout, the marines managed to obtain orders to leave the country. 
    • Legal jurisdiction issue: The Supreme Court ruled that only the Centre, and not Kerala, can prosecute the marines after parallel legal action by center and state governments.
    • Diplomatic hurdle: The National Investigation Agency invoked the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002. This caused a diplomatic furore as it provides for the death penalty. 

Conclusion:The verdict is an invasion into the rights and dignity of fishers, as this will set a bad precedence since the shooting happened on the fringes of the territorial waters. The takeaway for India should be the lessons, in the legal and diplomatic domains, that can be drawn from the experience.


Q.5) Although India is trying to boycott chinese goods but as per some experts it might not be practically possible. Comment. 15 marks (250 words)

Why this question:

The government recently banned 59 apps, most of them being owned and operated by Chinese companies.


Government is trying to reduce its dependence on China especially after escalated border tensions.


Steps by Government:

  • 59 apps banned
  • Chinese companies not allowed to participate for road construction projects
  • Huewai unable to conduct 5G trials
  • Boycott China slogans everywhere

Reasons behind the move:

  • Border Dispute in Ladakh
  • China accused of Spreading Covid-19
  • Violation of privacy and national security 

Why not very effective:

  • China’s exports to India account for less than 3% of its overall exports. 
  • On the flip side , small indian manufacturers are highly dependent on china
  • Chinese economy is 5 times bigger than India and hence a better position to sustain such restrictions
  • China too can adversely impact as the majority of APIs used in Indian Pharma industry are imported from it.
  • India will also lose some revenue if China starts reducing imports from India.
  • India is dependent on Chinese Investment for promoting its startups who have taken significant funding from Chinese companies. 


Efficacy depends upon how China perceives the territorial gains along the border viz a viz India as a market which it would lose if the territories are not returned.