Q.1) Machine Learning as a concept is gaining popularity world over owing to its multiple uses. Comment. 15 marks ( 250 words)

Why this question:

 The U.S. Labor Department said that the economy unexpectedly added 2.5 million jobs in May which surprised many economists and analysts who had forecast millions more losing their jobs based on their Machine Learning (ML) models.


Define Machine Learning

Rationale behind its popularity in recent years:

  • Massive computational power - It is now available at low cost and can be provisioned in the cloud very quickly. 
    • Improvements in Graphics Processing Units design (now with thousands of cores therefore ideally suited to parallel workloads) have increased the training speed of deep learning algorithms.
  • Big Data – There has been an explosion in the amount of data we all create, coupled with near limitless storage capacity. 
    • Large and diverse data sets provide better training material for the algorithms.
  • Algorithms - They are now better at finding patterns in the mountains of data, and AI and machine learning platforms from players such as Google, IBM, and Microsoft are making it much easier to develop applications. 
  • Investment – This is also growing fast especially with respect to machine learning and deep learning .

Utilities of Machine Learning:

  • Load forecasting : It could be used to forecast supply and demand in real time and optimize economic load dispatch. 
    • In the UK, Google’s DeepMind has teamed up with National Grid to predict supply and demand peaks and hopes to reduce national energy usage by 10%.
  • Predictive maintenance: It can be bolstered with drones for asset inspections, replacing time intensive and risky manual inspections. 
    • The drones are trained using deep learning algorithms to automatically identify defects and predict failures without interrupting operations.
  • Virtual Personal Assistants: Machine learning is an important part of these personal assistants as they collect and refine the information on the basis of your previous involvement with them. 
    • Later, this set of data is utilized to render results that are tailored to your preferences.
    • Siri, Alexa, Google Now are some of the popular examples of virtual personal assistants. 
  • Predictions while Commuting: We all have been using GPS navigation services, although correct estimation of congestion data requires GPS installation on every car however this is not the case. 
    • In such a scenario Machine learning helps to estimate the regions where congestion can be found on the basis of daily experiences.
  • Social Media Services :From personalizing your news feed to better ads targeting, social media platforms are utilizing machine learning for their own and user benefits.
    • People you may know suggestions and Face Recognition are some of the examples.
  • Online Fraud Detection - Machine learning is proving its potential to make cyberspace a secure place and tracking monetary frauds online is one of its examples. 
    • For example: Paypal is using ML for protection against money laundering. 
    • The company uses a set of tools that helps them to compare millions of transactions taking place and distinguish between legitimate or illegitimate transactions taking place between the buyers and sellers.


By giving a current example of ML’s failure to compute trends amidst Covid 19 indicating human touch needs to be complimented with ML for quite sometime in near future.


Q.2) Discuss the major differences between urban and rural governance and suggest some measures to reform urban governance.

Why in news: 

  • A comparative analysis of the emerging coronavirus cases across India clearly shows that rural areas have fared extremely well in comparison to urban areas in enforcing the various Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines related to the lockdowns and, consequently, in containing the overall spread of COVID-19.


  • Discuss the current scenario during  pandemic regarding urban governance.


  • Highlight the major differences between governance of urban and rural areas.
    • Rural populace and habitation is comparatively more “permanent” with their various records being maintained centrally at the DM’s office or one of its extended arms; it is not the case in cities.
    • Another contrast between the rural and urban areas lies in the level of public participation in decision-making spaces. In the villages, the holding of chaupals, and gram sabhas and gram panchayat meetings at the local panchayat bhawan are frequent.
  • Suggest measures to reform governance such as easy grievance redressal.


Conclude with self reliant urban areas and good governance.


Q.3) The total number of Indian institutions in the top 1,000 global list has also fallen from 24 to 21, despite the Centre's flagship Institutes of Eminence scheme. Analyse the issues and challenges before the higher educational sector in India.

Why this question?

The top five Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science have all dropped in this year's QS World University rankings. Only the newer IITs in Guwahati and Hyderabad were able to show improvement.


  • Quacquarelli Symonds and Times Higher Education rankings of global universities
  • NIRF India Ranking


  • Government Initiatives
  • Issues and challenges: 
    • Shortage of resources:  Nearly 65% of the University Grants Commission (UGC) budget is utilised by the central universities and their colleges while state universities and their affiliated colleges get only the remaining 35%.   
    • Teacher vacancies:  According to UGC, out of the total sanctioned teaching posts, 5,925 (35%) professor posts, 2,183 (46%) associate professor posts and 2,459 (26%) assistant professor posts are vacant.
    • Accountability and performance of teachers:  At present, there is no mechanism for ensuring the accountability and performance of professors in universities and colleges.  
    • Lack of employable skills:  Lack of employable skills in students of technical education has been observed.
    • Nonperformance of UGC:UGC is overregulation in areas where it needed to back off such as admissions and funding but was under regulating where its interventions were most needed such as ensuring if the quality standards were being met.   

Conclusion: Provide a way forward by incorporating following keywords.

  • Tenure track system, Kakodkar committee recommendations, ‘Prime Ministers Research Fellowship’


Q.4)It is the responsibility of nations to act on the looming climate crisis with the same alacrity they have shown on COVID-19. Discuss the above statement by utilizing the climate change curves concept (250 words)

Why this question? 

The frequent occurrence of extreme weather events.


Mention the occurrence of recent extreme weather events eg cyclones, bush fires, heatwaves, etc, and their association with climate change.


  • About climate change curves
    • CO2 curve
    • Temperature curve
  • Background of these curves
  • Impact of climate change
  • COVID-19 and climate change
  • Suggestions
    • International cooperation
      • Climate finance agreements
    • Reducing emissions itself
    • Technological interventions


Plan for a sustainable planet based on the principles of equity and climate justice within and across nations.


Q.5) Forced reverse migration is a threat to both the rural and urban economy and society. Discuss (250 words - 15 marks)

Why this question? - Reverse migration can be witnessed in India, as millions of migrant workers going back to their homes in the lockdown and aftermath imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. 

Intro - One can start by defining Forced reverse migration.

Body - Mention why it is triggered by a pandemic that is informal labour force more vulnerable. Then, mention how it will impact urban and rural society and economy. Mention the government initiatives taken to reduce the reverse migration impacts.

Way ahead - Tell it's an opportunity to make the rural economy self reliant by strengthening the MSME sector, at the same time attempting towards formalization of the labour force in urban areas.

Conclusion - Summarize your answer based on the above discussion.