Q.1) Falling crude production and rising crude oil import dependence depicts that India’s exploration and production policies failed to achieve its objectives. Discuss (15 marks - 250 words)

Why this question? - Annual crude oil production has fallen at a compounded annual rate of 2.1% since 2012. 

Intro - One can start with highlighting the state of India’s exploration and production(E&P). Mention that production is decreasing and imports are increasing.

Body - 

  1. Reasons for the decrease in production of crude in India.
  2. Impact of decrease in production of crude in India.
  3. Discuss India’s exploration and production policies and their shortcomings.

Way ahead - How the above mentioned shortcomings can be addressed.

Conclusion - The policy framework needs to incentivise more investment in exploration and production.


Q.2) Examine the impact of money laundering and recent measures taken by the government to tackle the problem of Money laundering.

Why in news:

  • According to reports in Pakistan, the Financial Action Task Force, the global watchdog group, has decided to grant Pakistan and other countries on its watch list a three-month extension on fulfilling commitments, in view of the pandemic. 


  • Define money laundering and also connect it with  organised crimes.
  • The money from the illicit activity is considered dirty, and the process “launders” the money to make it look clean and legitimate.


  • Briefly explain the impact of money laundering on the economy and other impacts.
  • Then discuss the steps taken by the government: India is member of FATF, PMLA and role of FInancial Intelligence Unit etc.


Conclude with the way ahead to combat money laundering.


Q.3) Indo-Russia military-technical cooperation has evolved from a simple buyer-seller framework to one involving joint research, development, and production of advanced defense technologies and systems. Discuss. (15M, 250 Words)

Why this question?

  • India’s Defence Minister has requested Russia to speed up deliveries of the S-400 long range air defence system along with spares and support for military hardware.

Introduction to the answer

  • Brief info about India-Russia defence relations: Both countries hold exchanges and training exercises between their armed forces annually. 
    • The first-ever TriServices exercise – ‘INDRA 2017’ took place in Vladivostok in 2017. Joint India-Russia Air force exercise ‘Avia Indra’ took place in Lipetsk in 2018.
  • Major Joint Military Programme:
    • BrahMos cruise missile programme
    • 5th generation fighter jet programme
    • Sukhoi Su-30MKI programme (230+ to be built by Hindustan Aeronautics)
    • Ilyushin/HAL Tactical Transport Aircraft
    • India entered into a joint venture with Russia to manufacture the legendary Kalashnikov assault rifles in India
  • In 2018, Russia sold the S-400 advanced air defence system to India


  • Joint  Development  of  Weapons: Not  being  in  a  position  to  finance  the  production  of  weapons  on  a large  scale,  Russia  has  offered  to  conduct  “joint  development  and production”  of  weapon  systems.44  From  the  mid-1990s  onwards,  it  has become the leit motif in Indo-Russian dialogue.
  • Challenges:  
  • Spare parts: Although the import of  Russian  weapon  systems  has  been  of  immense  benefit,  there  have  been persistent problems of maintenance and support.
  • Delay  in  Supply:   For Instance,  the  deadlines  set  for  the  supply  of  Su-30  MKI  were  not  met.

Conclusion: In view  of  the  increased  competition  for  the  Indian  defence  market  and  the technological  demands  of  India’s  defence  sector,  joint  development  and production  of  new  weapon  systems  could  become  crucial  for  sustaining Indo-Russian  co-operation  in  the  coming  years.


Q.4) The statist paradigm creates a roadblock in solving border disputes, explain with reference to the India-Nepal border dispute. 10 marks (150 words)

Why this question:

  • A road has been built by India around Lipulekh pass which has created tensions between India and Nepal. 


Start by defining the statist paradigm which believes states are the only actors in International Relations.


How it creates a roadblock:

  • The state is the sole arbitrator of national interest which considers the land more valuable rather than livelihoods, well being and lives of people living at the edge of the border.
  • Myopic hostility is used as the governing principle in the arbitration of territorial disputes which further deteriorates relations between the countries.
  • The term ‘region’ is not respected and understood by the states, their sole focus is on individual interest rather than growing region as a whole.
  • States seldom recognize the Fluidity across the borders, their concern is towards determining how much area has been encroached, what is the territorial extent, etc.
    • They seldom respect the way of living of border people and how their lifestyle belongs to both the border countries rather than to a singular state.

Way Ahead:

  • South Asia needs to be rethought, not as a region of states, but as a region of regions that needs to be cultivated out of contact zones that exist beyond the limits of territorial boundaries shared by the member-states.
  • Issues need to be looked at from people’s point of view rather than from a statist paradigm which portrays it merely from a spatial point of view.
    • In the Kalapani Dispute, both countries must acknowledge the cultural and historic ties ratchet than merely focusing on the Porous Indo-Nepal border. 
  • If not solved, then border disputes can endanger the success of other regional initiatives like BIMSTEC ( Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) or BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal).
  • South Asian states need to realize the difference between “regional cooperation” merely as advocacy and as an issue that demands self-approval and self-promotion. The latter demands recognizing differences and following a policy of mutual tolerance.


Region and regional identity are not just issues of “realpolitik” in South Asia; rather, the need is to “officially” accommodate this rather naturally drafted way of doing politics, if we are genuinely concerned about South Asian geopolitics. 


Q.5) Decriminalisation of adultery law is a great step on a path towards achieving gender equality. Discuss (250 words)

Why this question?

A five-judge Review Bench led by Chief Justice of India upheld a September 2018 Constitution Bench which had struck adultery out of the penal statute book.


Mention section 497 of IPC 


  • Provisions of Section 497
  • Gender bias in the provisions
    • Mention how this doctrine holds that a woman loses her identity and legal right with marriage.
    • Treating women as a commodity of her husband
    • Reflection of the social dominance of men
  • SC observations of 2018 judgments
    • Cannot “command” married couples to remain loyal to each other for the fear of penal punishment
    • Attaching criminality to infidelity is going too far
    • Doctrine of Coverture
    • Violation of Article 21 (Right to life and personal liberty) and Article 14 (Right to equality) etc
  • Discuss how this is good for gender equality 
  • Why it is a small victory in ensuring gender equality and what more needs to be done


Achieving the goal of an egalitarian society.