Q.1) As the growth of digital payments in India is going to be phenomenal, several opportunities and challenges are waiting ahead. Comment (15 marks - 250 words)

Why this question? - In Budget 2020-21, the government prescribed zero Merchant Discount Rate (MDR), the rate merchants pay to scheme providers, for RuPay and UPI, to popularise digital payments benefiting both customers and merchants. 

Introduction - A brief about digital payment infrastructure in India and its components.

Body - 

  • Overview of digital payments in India and steps taken by RBI and govt to promote it.
  • Opportunities
  • Challenges

Way ahead and conclusion - 

  • Rational structure of pricing: The ideal pricing for digital payments products should be based on an analysis of producer surplus, consumer surplus (i.e. gain or loss of utility due to pricing) and social welfare for which we need cost-volume-price data. 
  • Supporting NPCI:
    • Like the RBI is providing free use of the RTGS and other products, the strategy should be to assist the NPCI financially, to provide retail payment services at reduced price in certain priority areas. 
    • This may also help support expansion of the payment system network and infrastructure in rural and semi-urban areas in partnership with Fin-Tech companies and banks.


Q.2) Without building world class supercomputing facilities, India can not dream to become a technology and innovation hub. In this context, critically analyze the National Supercomputing Mission launched by India.

Why this question? - The National SuperComputing Mission (NSM) is rapidly boosting high power computing in the country through its various phases to meet the increasing computational demands of academia, researchers, MSMEs, and startups.

Introduction - Recently, India unveiled Param Shivay, Param Shakti and Param Brahma supercomputers under NSM.

Body - About NSM - its objectives, significance, challenges.

Way ahead - How to overcome these challenges.

Conclusion - Moving forward, India has to indigenously design and manufacture supercomputers,  to become a technology and innovation hub in coming days.



Q.3) Even in 2020, the Indian government and our civil society continue to grapple with the inhuman nature of manual scavenging. Discuss

Why this question?

Various incidences of deaths in manual scavenging are reported in India 


Mention a few stats related to the inhuman nature of manual scavenging


  • Existing legislation in India
  • Loopholes in legislation and their implementation
  • Problems faced by civil societies
  • Mention a few suggestions 


Mention the need for the introduction of mechanization for handling waste.

Q.4) Critically analyze the idea of increasing the poll expenditure limits for state and Parliament elections. (150 words)

Why this question?

  • Election Commission has constituted a committee to examine the issues concerning expenditure limit for a candidate in view of increase in number of electors and rise in Cost Inflation Index and other factors. Thus the question.

Introduction: Write a few lines about poll expenditure in India


  • Significance of cap: E.g a cap on poll expenditure helps in controlling the money power used by political parties and their allies.
  • Current scenario
  • Need for increasing the cap: E.g increase in the number of electorates
  • EC view on party spends
  • The 255th Report of the Law Commission on electoral reforms

Conclusion: Summarize and suggest a way forward.