Q.1)  The nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has left the finances of the State governments in a precarious position. In the light of this statement, discuss the major sources of finances of states and the role of finance commision in it.

Why this Question:Centre’s finances stressed though not dependent:  The Centre has its own problems of revenue and rising demand on expenditure but at least it is its own master. 

  • State’s dependence: States have to depend on the Centre for devolution of funds under various heads.


  • Discuss about state dependency and fiscal federalism


  • Sources of state finances: like generation of own revenue, devolution by finance commission
  • Discuss the role of finance commission in vertical and horizontal fiscal balance


Way ahead to decrease the dependency of states on centre

  • Hasten the transfer of GST compensation.
  • Increase fiscal deficit limits from 3% to 4.5-5% .
  • Higher ways and means advances (WMA) limits .


Q.2) The world over Covid 19 numbers are persistently rising and India is no exception to it. In this regard the scientific and technological solutions/ steps taken against the pandemic can help in effectively tackling it. Comment. 150 words.

Why this question:

COVID KATHA”, a multimedia guide on COVID-19 was launched on the 49th Foundation Day of Department of Science and Technology.


Tell about rising numbers ( World - 35 lakh + and India 42000 +).

Steps taken:

  • Intensification of Research in High Priority Area (IRPHA) - By The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) for inviting competitive proposals having a strong interdisciplinary component to ramp up national R&D efforts for epidemiological studies, studies on immune response and immunity during respiratory viral infections, new antivirals etc.
  • Research Proposals Invited By TDB -The Technology Development Board (TDB)  has invited proposals from Indian companies and enterprises to address protection and home-based respiratory interventions for COVID 19 patients. 
  • Artificial manual breathing unit (AMBU) - Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology (SCTIMST), Trivandrum, has developed a ventilator system based on an artificial manual breathing unit (AMBU). 
  • Anti-microbial coating - The Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous institution under DST, has come up with a one-step curable anti-microbial coating. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the coating may be used to protect personal protective tools, clothes and equipment of health workers.
  • COVID KATHA: It is a project to disseminate authentic information on COVID-19 in a very simple way for the common masses using interactive multimedia technology.

Benefit of such steps :

  • New Vaccine development
  • Enhanced protection
  • Better and quick testing
  • Tracing out transmission path


Scientific steps required but awareness generation is equally relevant along with practicing Social Distancing and Good Hygiene, only then we can effectively tackle the pandemic. 


Q.3) The presence of algal blooms is a dead-indication of disruptions in the food chains. Examine (15 marks - 250 words)

Why this question? - New study, entitled Ecosystem state change in the Arabian Sea shows that Algal Blooms in the Arabian sea threatens our food chain.

Intro - Briefly the phenomena of algal bloom.

Body - First tell how they are formed i.e., favourable conditions. Then tell the effect of algal bloom on the ecosystem - Eutrophication, HAB ect. Then, establish its relation with the food chain - Since they are not a preferred food for most higher trophic organisms, they mostly attract only salps, jellyfish and turtles, thereby short-circuiting the food chain in the Arabian Sea. 

Way forward - Increased aquaculture operations leading to enrichment of coastal waters needs to be curbed. Climate change mitigation efforts need to be scaled up.


Q.4) Cooperation between the countries is the effective strategy to deal with COVID-19.While taking example of BRICS nations,explain how the platform can be utilised to tackle the pandemic.

Why this question?

In the global war against the COVID-19, emerging economies, many belonging to BRICS, have reached out to other countries affected by the pandemic.


The unprecedented threat of COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of the role of international cooperation.


  • Mention Response by BRICS countries during the pandemic
    • China’s Health Silk Road doctrine
    • ‘From Russia with love’ air mission to Italy.
    • Export of Hydroxychloroquine by India
  • Mention few problems in functioning of these initiatives such as resource mobilisation,coordination of steps etc

Way ahead:

  • Coordination of efforts to tackle the pandemic
  • Special focus on vulnerable countries
  • Adequate financial allocation through NDB 


Q.5) Agriculture provides a glimmer of hope in the midst of Economic downturns due to COVID-19 crisis. In the light of the statement, discuss the issues in the agricultural sector and also possible roadmaps for rectification.


COVID-19 Crisis and Ailing Economy

Agricultural Performance, Growth rate

Importance, Resilience of agriculture sector - Food security, Jobs

Issues -Short term, and long term

Solutions - General, Committee recommendations