Civil Services 2021

UPSC Mains GS-II Model Answer Pointers

Q1. ‘Constitutional Morality’ is rooted in the Constitution itself and is founded on its essential facets. Explain the doctrine of ‘Constitutional Morality’ with the help of relevant judicial decisions. (Answer in 150 words) 10 Marks.

In News/Importance:

Need of the Question:

  • Define/explain constitutional morality focusing on few important judgments, which focuses on various areas of constitutional morality.


  • History: Term existed in Indian constitutional scheme since 1950 and also had passing reference in Keshavnanda Bharti and SP Gupta judgements, but first used in 2014 by SC in detailed judgement and defining it more widely.
  • Define (Broadly: As its meaning is further evolving with time and judgements.)
  • Talk about judgments and their interpretation of Constitutional Morality
  • Sabarimala judgement: Morality under Article 25(1) is constitutional morality. 4 key tests also mention (doctrine of essentiality)
  • NCT Delhi vs Union of India: Constitutional morality is not just the forms and procedures of the constitution, but also provides an enabling framework that allows the society the possibilities of self renewal.
  • Navtej singh Johar case: Constitutional Morality cannot be martyred at the altar of social morality.
  • Puttuswamy case: Right to privacy

Important takeaways:

  • Level: Moderate to Tough
  • UPSC focuses on evolving processes, not a strict timeline based current affairs. In this question, judgements are from 2014 to 2021.

Supplementary reads:

Q2. Discuss the desirability of greater representation to women in the higher judiciary to ensure diversity, equity and inclusiveness. (Answer in  150 words)

In News:


  • Talk about Low representation of Women judges in SC and HC’s with data. (80 women judges out of 1113 sanctioned strength of SC and HC’s)
  • With every point focus on these 3 i.e diversity, equity and inclusiveness
  • Desirability:
  • Enhances legitimacy of higher courts
  • Quality of adjudication is enhanced by the presence of the women
  • SDG 5 and SDG 16: Will improve India commitments in the same: Inclusiveness
  • Representation as per India’s demography: Equity
  • Different way of Decision Making: Diversity

Important takeaways:

  • Level Easy to Moderate
  • Current Based question on expected lines


Q3. How have the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission of India enabled the states to improve their fiscal position? (Answer in 150 words)

In News:

  • News Related to 15th Finance commission was in news as its final report was tabled in 2021, hence it makes preceding finance commission reports important to understand.

Demand of the question:

Don’t discuss the details of 14th finance commission report, but only those aspects of the report which had direct impact on state’s fiscal position.

Approach and Answer:

  • The 14th Finance Commission had radically enhanced the share of the states in the central divisible pool from the current 32 percent to 42 per cent which was the biggest ever increase in vertical tax devolution. This improved the fiscal situation of states drastically.
  • Grants were distributed to states for local bodies on the basis of the 2011 population data and divided into two broad categories on the basis of rural and urban population — constituting gram panchayats, and constituting municipal bodies respectively. Helped state govt. to improve that fiscal position as fewer resources were diverted at local level.
  • Asked Centre to reduce conditional grant-in –aids to states;
  • Recommend eight centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) to be delinked from support from the Centre, thus, states sharing a higher fiscal responsibility and autonomy to implement development initiatives.
  • States got much autonomy in deciding their expenditure priority; this is in the spirit of “balancing wheel of fiscal federalism”
  • Given due consideration to the fiscal federalism framework in India by devolving a larger amount to local governments.

Q4. To what extent, in your view, the Parliament is able to ensure accountability of the executive in India? (Answer in 150 words)


  • Easy Question, focus on static portion.


Ways of Parliamentary control over the Executive:

  1. to consider the annual reports of the Ministries/Departments and report thereon
  2. Question-hour, zero-hour,half-an-hour discussion, short duration discussion, calling attention motion, adjournment motion, no-confidence motion, censure motion, and other discussions.
  3. General Discussion, Voting on policy/law;censure motion; no-confidence motion.
  4. Budgetary control– appropriation of grants and post-budgetary control through financial committees like Public Accounts Committee, etc.
  5. Walkouts, abstain from voting, use of live-streaming to put pressure on the executive.
  6. Parliamentary Committees and JPC

Parliament unable to ensure accountability of the executive: 

  • Money bill
  • Voice voting
  • Ordinances
  • lesser bills referred to parliamentary committees;
  • low productivity of question-hour.
  • Pandemic – a complete session [Winter session] was missed.
  •  Lack of discipline/decorum

Q5. “Pressure groups play a vital role in influencing public policy making in India.” Explain how the business associations contribute to public policies. (Answer in  150 words)

Pressure Groups are a group of people organized actively to promote and defend their common interests and influence public policy. They act as the liaison between government and its members.

Role of Pressure Groups –

  1. Promote opportunities for political participation without political party
  2. Provide expertise and information to government;
  3. Help in expressing views and needs of minority groups which remain unheard
  4. Attract the attention of government on important issues
  5. Act as safety valve in the democracy to vent out the pressure of people.

Role of Business Associations:

  1. Engaging with the policy makers, government and civil society, influencing policies by way of articulating the views and suggestions of industry. (e.g. – FICCI, CII)
  2. Communicate the grievances and demands of various sectors and industries to the government.
  3. Conduct workshops, seminars, business meets and conferences to discuss, debate various upcoming and existed policies of the government.
  4. Provides a platform for consensus-building and networking on key issues
  5. Provide useful and credible research on existing and newer developments in areas such as industrial operations, infrastructure and technology.
  6. Provide valuable information on potentials and new developments in foreign trade by studying the trade environment and imports regulations of many foreign countries.

Q6. “Besides being a moral imperative of Welfare State, primary health structure is a necessary pre-condition for sustainable development.” Analyze. (Answer in  150 words)


  • Moderate to tough question as it takes time to understand the question
  • Focus on how it moral imperative and then discuss how it is a pre condition for sustainable development


Primary health structure is moral imperative of a welfare state due to following reasons:

  1. Vicious cycle of poverty is created due to high out-of-pocket health expenditure, low productivity, low skills and low income.
  2. Primary health structure is necessary for a citizen to exercise the right to livelihood and dignity as emphasized under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for free development of her personality.
  3. Historical marginalization of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, women in society create moral imperative on state to provide corrective action for improvement of their health and wellbeing.
  4. DPSPs such as Article 47 to raise level of nutrition and public health, and Article 42 for maternity relief create constitutional obligation on state to provide accessible primary health structures.

Primary health structure is necessary precondition for sustainable development due to following reasons:  

  1. Without an effective primary health structure, the sustainable development goal of ‘Ensuring Healthy Lives and Promotion of Wellbeing for all’ is not possible.
  2. Goal of universal health coverage requires robust primary health structure to address issues of inequities in public health.
  3. Due to climate change, range of tropical and vector-borne diseases is expected to expand, making more people vulnerable to health issues.
  4. Development is creating lifestyle diseases at rapid scale. Their management requires working ground-level functionaries in primary health structures.

Q7. “‘Earn while you learn’ scheme needs to be strengthened to make vocational education and skill training meaningful.” Comment. (Answer in  150 words)


  • Tough question as scheme has not been discussed in CA and is a 2012 scheme
  • Even if you are unaware to describe general features of any skill development scheme. It will surely fetch you marks.


The Ministry of Tourism is implementing a Scheme titled ‘Earn While You Learn’. It envisages to inculcate appropriate tourism travel traits and knowledge amongst trainees to enable them to work as ‘student volunteers’.

This scheme provides short term training, dedicated to travel industry, to college-going students pursuing graduation courses or graduates in the age group of 18 to 25 years.

Benefits of ‘Earn While You Learn’ Program 

  1. Provides opportunities to students to earn while learning to meet their expenses.
  2. Exposes the students to the world of work before actual employment.
  3. Gives students hands on experience and confidence thereby prepares them better for taking up jobs in future.
  4. Enables the students to explore their subject preferences and develop them into a career.
  5. Helps inculcate in the students values of hard work and dignity of labour.
  6. Helps to channelize the in exhaustive energy of the young students in positive activities.

Making vocational training meaningful 

  • The government has come up with certain schemes that encourages the skill enhancement of the youth and encourages the labour productivity and enhances the employment opportunities and the quality of life.
  • The vocational training is provided by the Kaushal Bharat Kushal Bharat and improve the expertise of the people from the minority community.
  • USTAAD Scheme, Skill India mission is an accreditation too in this direction.
  • The schemes like SETU and AIM fosters growth and innovation and entrepreneurship. The Start Up Stand UpIndia strives towards developing the entrepreneurial qualities of the people.
  • The aim must also be to maintain higher educational standards and align them with the industrial setup.
  • Focus must also be on the regions that have a low income base and also the industrial regions of the country.
  • Schemes like Nai Roshni that instil in the leadership qualities in the women too must be enhanced.

Q8. Can the vicious cycle of gender inequality, poverty and malnutrition be broken through microfinancing of women SHGs? Explain with examples. (Answer in  150 words)


  • Moderate question, as examples can be tough to remember.

Microfinancing of women SHGs can target women sitting at the bottom of the poverty pyramid with higher socio-economic inequalities, in the following manner:

  1. Nutritional indicators: Microfinancing of the women SHGs is linked to better nutritional outcomes for the whole family. It is important in breaking inter-generational poverty. For example, Self Employed Women’s Association, works towards nutrition security amongst women.
  2. Community involvement: Microfinancing of women SHGs, help break the barriers of social conventions and gender ideology, with enhanced community engagement. For example, Kudumbshree, initiative in Kerala started as a SHG.
  3. Decision making ability: Microfinancing of women SHGs improves the decision-making ability of its members. With greater say in the matters of resource utilization, family planning etc. For example, Indira Kranti Patham enhanced human resource capacity of its women members.
  4. Socio-economic empowerment:Mission Shakti initiative of Orissa government have led to better socio-economic indicators among tribal women.
  5. Credit availability: Microfinancing of women SHGs is linked to increased credit worthiness of the members. Access to credit provides resilience against falling into poverty trap. For example, Jay Ambe SHG, in Rajasthan facilitates credit availability for its poor members.
  6. Provide for non-farm employment is crucial in supporting the primary occupation of agriculture during times of agricultural distress.

Q9. “If the last few decades were of Asia’s growth story, the next few are expected to be of Africa’s.” In the light of this statement, examine India’s influence in Africa in recent years.


  • Easy Question, current developments and India’s influence especially in last 10 years need to be understood and written with facts.


The last few decades saw the exponential rise of Asia driven by countries like China, Vietnam, India, etc. However, Asian growth is slowing down and is now being overshadowed by the growth of countries in Africa. Currently, the rate of return on foreign investment is higher in Africa than in any other developing region.

India’s influence in Africa

  • India is now Africa’s third-largest trading partner, accounting for 6.4 percent of African total trade for a total value of $62.6 billion in 2017-18.
  • India’s private sector companies are making inroads in Africa and exploiting these emerging markets. Eg.: Airtel
  • Under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) initiative, India is investing in capacity building by offering more than $1 billion in technical assistance and training to professionals.
  • India, as a full member of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), has pledged $1 million to ACBF’s sustainable development, poverty reduction, and capacity building initiatives.
  • India has invested $100 million in the Pan-African E-Network to bridge Africa’s digital gap, leveraging its information technology strengths
  • Military commanders from a number of African countries are trained in Indian military academies
  • Apart from that India and African Nations are effectively cooperating on the issue of Climate change. On the question of WTO negotiations both India and African Nations have convergences.

Problems faced by students

  • Remebering facts, if u mention important ones 4 to 6 in no. are good enough.

Q10. “The USA is facing an existential threat in the form of a China, that is much more challenging than the erstwhile Soviet Union.” Explain. (Answer in  150 words)


  • Question is applied Current Affairs, but on expected lines.


Challenges faced by the USA from China compared to the erstwhile Soviet Union

  • Soviet gave Ideological and Military threat but China competes on level of economic, industrial, and technological goals that provides a competitive advantage.
  • China has a global world view, which reflects in the projects like Belt and road initiatives. Also there is no match to China’s economic power; USSR was nowhere close to China’s economic hegemony. These 2 phenomena are apparently more challenging for USA.
  • China also has a hug skilled manpower: That is the reason why china is the manufacturing hub of the world. This is also one of the reason why USA has huge trade deficit with China.
  • China has not aimed to foster revolution and regime change—as the Soviet Union did—but worked with ruling elites, offering trade and investment opportunities without criticizing them for violations of human rights, corruption, or authoritarianism, as the US does. This has gained many allies for China in the developing world.
  • Contemporary global economy is more integrated, especially with China being the top trading partner of many countries, thus an indispensable unit of global trade.
  • USA of cold war era was different. A lot has changed in the last 2 decades. USA has utilized abundant resources in wars at foreign soils, without getting much success. Afghanistan is the classic example of that. USA has also faced worst economic crisis in the year 2008. All these events have led China to slowly and steadily surpass USA at various domains
  • China has huge foreign reserves especially Dollars and hence can destabilize US economy.
  • China is also one of the biggest market for US products unlike USSR, hence if it stops consuming US products, US economy will go into recession.

Common Mistakes Made by students

  • Mentioning issues between two countries, which is not the thing asked in this question

Q11. The jurisdiction of the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) regarding lodging an FIR and conducting probe within a particular state is being questioned by various States. However, the power of States to withhold consent to the CBI is not absolute. Explain with special reference to the federal character of India. (Answer in  250 words)


  • A lot of Controversy w.r.t appointment of CBI Director to giving of general consent by states was seen in news through the year, hence question is on expected lines and easy to approach.

Withdrawal of Consent: Eight states have refused to allow the CBI to conduct investigations on their soil.

West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram have all refused to allow the CBI to conduct investigations in their respective states.


CBI and Federalism:

  1. The Police are under List II, i.e., it is exclusively a state subject. So only the state can make law regarding the same. However, the establishment of CBI under the DPSE act as police encroaches upon state jurisdiction.
  2. Although, CBI is required to have “general consent” from the state government before beginning an investigation in the state. But these consents only lead to Red-tapism thereby delaying justice delivery.
  3. The jurisdiction of CBI often comes into direct confrontation with state police which causes federal issues recurrently.
  4. However, a weak central authority could be injurious to national unity. Thus, it is imperative to have some agencies that have jurisdiction over the entire country.
  5. The confrontation between state and center over CBI is often more prominent when there exist different political parties at the state and center level.
  6. The absence of a neutral body to manage or diffuse the confrontation between state and center further aggravates the issue.
  7. The Supreme court and the high court can order CBI to investigate any crime anywhere in the country without the consent of the state.
  8. Moreover, under article 131, states can drag center in case if they feel CBI violates their right. Thus, further complicating the confrontation.

Q12. Though the Human Rights Commissions have contributed immensely to the protection of human rights in India, yet they have failed to assert themselves against the mighty and powerful. Analyzing their structural and practical limitations, suggest remedial measures. (Answer in  250 words)


  • Easy question, discuss issues and remedial measures.


HRCs unable to assert their mandate and power:

  • The NHRC has been labeled as a toothless tiger because it is swamped with cases but has few resources to address them.
  • Much of the complaints that come to the commission are dismissed even before a preliminary hearing, critics argue that the NHRC shies away from contentious cases with political implications.
  • Its recommendations are non-binding on the government and thus ignored.
  • Limited jurisdiction into Human rights violation by armed forces and private parties.
  • The inability of NHRC to initiate cases beyond 1 year.
  • The officers conducting investigations are usually on deputation from the same forces that have been accused of violations and which creates a conflict of interest.

Remedial measures

  • More powers
  • Independent Staff
  • Amending Laws
  • Abiding by UNHRC guidelines
  • Diversifying Commission’s membership

Q13. Analyze the distinguishing features of the notion of Equality in the Constitutions of the USA and India. (Answer in  250 words)


  • Straightforward question from topic comparisons of Indian constitution with other constitutions.
  • Article 14 to 17 of Indian Constitution compared with US rights based on equality

While both India and the USA are culturally pluralistic societies which have a democratic form of government and similar judicial systems, they have different interpretation of the notion of Right to Equality.

Right to Equality in USA

  • United States had derived this right from Declaration of Rights and most importantly, from the Bill of Rights. It was inserted in the Bill of Rights through fourteenth Amendment in year 1868.
  • Concept of ‘Equal protection of law’ – equal treatment under equal circumstances.
  • Emphasis on civil and legal equality
  • Equality in procedural sense; focus on equality of opportunity.
  • Original constitution did not prevent discrimination. E.g., Segregation against African-Americans before the Civil Rights Act, 1964.

Right to Equality in India

  • In India, the Constituent assembly had the intent to inculcate this right in the constitution at the initial level. Assembly did the same by inserting them in Chapter III named as “Fundamental Right”.
  • Follows both – British model of ‘Equality before Law’ and American model of ‘Equal protection of law’ [Article 14]
  • Both civil-legal as well as socio-economic equality.
  • Substantive equality. Provides expressly for Affirmative action to ensure equality [Art 16]; Focus on ensuring Equality of outcomes along with equality of opportunity. [e.g., reservation in promotions]
  • Prevents discrimination and abolishes untouchability since its inception and adoption. [Art. 15, 17]

Q14. Explain the constitutional provisions under which Legislative Councils are established. Review the working and current status of Legislative Councils with suitable illustrations. (Answer in  250 words)


  • Easy and direct question


The Parliament, under Article 169, can abolish or create a legislative council by a simple majority, that is, a majority of the members of each House present and voting, if the legislative assembly of the concerned state, by a special majority, passes a resolution to that effect. Article 171 provides for the Composition of council.

Significance of State legislative councils 

  1. Bringing diverse opinion on policy making ; Functional representation of various groups [e.g., teachers, graduates, local representatives], thus enable non-elected persons to contribute to the legislative process.
  2. Check hasty legislations by Legislative assemblies + prevent them from exercising too much legislation or executive authority
  3. Nominated members who are apolitical background bring extra wisdom and provides forum for intellectuals and academicians who are not suited for electoral politics.
  4. Brings pressure on Legislative assembly for policy making.

Issues/Concerns with Legislative Councils  

  1. They can be created and abolished by Union parliament by a simple majority.
  2. Their recommendations are not binding on assembly + became back door for failed politicians
  3. Burden on public exchequer.
  4. Representing graduates in the house has outlived its utility
  5. Politicization in selecting nominated members
  6. Can create delay in policy making.

Important examples

  • Andhra SLC, mired in controversy over resolution being passed to abolish because of political reasons.
  • Bypassing people mandate without undergoing elections, examples of Bihar, Maharashtra and UP can be discussed.

Q15. Do Department -related Parliamentary Standing Committees keep the administration on its toes and inspire reverence for parliamentary control? Evaluate the working of such committees with suitable examples. (Answer in  250 words)


  • Easy Question, firstly you should be aware of functions of Parliamentary Standing committees
  • Then depending on the arguments you have can take stand and discuss.


  • Introduction about what are Parliamentary standing committees

No, DSC’s are mostly unable to keep administration on toes and inspire reverence for parliamentary control because of following reasons:

  • Meetings happen behind closed doors of which the minutes are never published creating the issue of transparency in the working of the committee.
  • The committee’s recommendations are not binding in nature. This leads to bypassing the result of detailed scrutiny of the bill.
  • Lack of standing research support. There is an absence of dedicated researchers associated.
  • All the bills are not referred to the departmental standing committees.
  • One year tenure leads very little time for specialization
  • Attendance of MPs at the committee meetings is weak. Also, one committee had to deal with too many ministries

Thereafter the focus should be on examples of such committees and further evaluate its working. Examples like Recent committees on Personal Data protection etc. can be discussed.

Q16. Has digital illiteracy, particularly in rural areas, coupled with lack of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) accessibility hindered socio-economic development? Examine with justification. (Answer in 250 words)


  • Easy Question
  • Lots of articles on this in newspaper


Digital illiteracy as a factor hindering socio-economic development:  

  • E-banking services access is limited
  • Children are not able to access quality education or attend virtual classroom. This divide was further enlarged during the lockdown impose due to the pandemic creating an imbalance between urban and rural education.
  • Acts as an impediment to access to tele-medicine. This becomes a challenge especially given the poor brick and mortar health infrastructure in rural areas.
  • Prevents rural youth from capitalizing on myriad of employment and income generation opportunities available through effective use of internet. E.g., e-commerce.
  • Digital illiteracy prevents effective e-governance and service delivery of government schemes to beneficiaries.
  • Digital illiteracy especially among women and girl-child has increased the gender imbalance in the rural areas.
  • Emphasis on digitization and computerization, while ignoring digital literacy has led the elderly population especially vulnerable to inaccessibility of government benefits and schemes.

Sources: Various Newspaper Articles

Q17. “Though women in post-Independent India have excelled in various fields, the social attitude towards women and feminist movement has been patriarchal.” Apart from women education and women empowerment schemes, what interventions can help change this milieu? (Answer in  250 words)


  • UPSC have continued to focus on women and women based issues.
  • Question on expected lines and is moderate. Knowledge of govt. schemes which empower women should be discussed first and then discussed what further interventions are required.


During post-independence India, improvements were made in terms of various areas that led to well-being of women within the society. There was formulation of many programs and schemes that had the main objective of bringing about progressive among women. Encouraging them towards acquisition of education and participation in the employment settings are the main aspects that promote women empowerment.

Women empowerment schemes and initiates since Independent of India:

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme
  • One-Stop Centre Scheme
  • Women Helpline Scheme
  • Working Women Hostel
  • Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP)
  • Nari Shakti Puraskar
  • Mahila Shakti Kendras (MSK)
  • Sukanya Samridhi Yojna
  • Mahila E-Haat
  • Mahila Police Volunteers

So, in order to achieve a complete sense of women empowerment and gender equality and enshrined in the constitution of India, furthers measures need to be taken like:

  1. More opportunities for women in more diverse sectors.
  2. Taking Action against Unpaid Labour Work.
  3. Micro-financing women SHGs have really helped women empowerment.
  4. More leadership opportunities to women.
  5. Identify hurdles in career growth and education of women and systematic dismantling of those hurdles need to be achieved.
  6. Raising marriage age to 21 for girls a good step but it’s to be seen how effective this step will be.


Q18. Can Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations present an alternative model of public service delivery to benefit the common citizen. Discuss the challenges of this alternative model. (Answer in  250 words)


  • A question from a syllabus topic of GS 4 – ‘Quality of Public Service Delivery’and GS 2 topic Pressure Groups, civil society, NGOs, and SHG.


Civil Society refers to refers to a wide array of organizations, community groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labour unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations and foundations

Role of Civil Society as alternative model of public service delivery

Challenges of this alternative model

  • Economical: The dependency on donations tied to specific projects makes it difficult for many NGOs.
  • Social: Lack of awareness among the masses about existence and functioning of the civil society organisations.
  • Political: In 2015, the centre increased e-filing requirements. NGOs had to make quarterly filings of foreign grants received. .
  • Security: Intelligence Bureau (IB) inputs have shown that foreign funds entering India were used to fund activities that destabilise national peace and security. The inputs even indicated that the money was used to train naxals.
  • Technological: Majority of Indian citizens lack digital literacy

Q19. Critically examine the aims and objectives of SCO. what importance does it hold for India. (Answer in  250 words)


  • Easy  and direct Question from IR and Current Affairs.


  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organization comprising Eurasian nations, with a secretariat in Beijing.
  • They account for 40% of the global population, nearly 20% of global GDP, and around 22% of global landmass. It is a political, economic, and military organization whose mission is to keep the region at peace, secure, and stable.
  • SCO comprises of 4 central Asian Nations (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan), India, China, Pakistan, Russia and Iran.

SCO’s Importance for India

  • Geo-political and Geo-Strategic Angle: Central Asia is considered to be part of India’s Extended Neighborhood. In addition, the SCO allows India to pursue its “Connect Central Asian Policy.” It will also assist India in curbing China’s ever-increasing dominance in Eurasia.
  • Current Afghanistan issue and Terrorism: Taliban’s revival in Afghanistan is apparently against India’s strategic interests. This Taliban, Pakistan and China nexus is posing threat to India’s already fragile Kashmir. India can effectively utilize RATS (Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure), which is under the aegis of SCO to maintain peace in the region.
  • Connectivity: The SCO can aid in regional integration by promoting connectivity and cross-border stability. Furthermore, it enables India to engage in multilateral discussions with both friends like Russia and foes like China and Pakistan. It can bolster INSTC (International North South Trade corridor)
  • Natural Resources: Central Asian region is abundant in natural resources such as petroleum, natural gas, antimony, aluminum, gold, silver, coal, and uranium, all of which can be used to meet India’s energy needs. SCO can play a pivotal role in this.
  • Central Asia has vast cultivable areas that are unused and unproductive, providing an enormous opportunity for pulses cultivation. Commercial agro-industrial complexes can be established in Central Asia by Indian agribusiness firms by using the SCO platform.

Challenges for India in SCO

  • Growing Cooperation between China and Russia: One of the main reasons Russia pushed for India’s SCO membership was to balance China’s power. However, today’s challenge for India is the growing closeness of Russia and China, despite India’s efforts to improve relations with the US. No Direct Land Connectivity: Pakistan’s strategic denial of direct land connectivity between India and Afghanistan and beyond remains a major impediment to India’s expanded engagement with Eurasia.
  •  Endorsement of China’s BRI: Except India, all countries in SCO have endorsed Belt and Road Inititaive (BRI) by China
  • Lack of Connectivity with Central Asia: Pakistan has not provided direct road link to Afghanistan and central Asia and even connect through Chabahar port couldn’t materialize due to American sanctions against Iran and overtaking of Afghanistan by Taliban.
  • Growing Proximity among Russia, China and Pakistan


Q 20) The newly formed tri-nation partnership AUKUS is aimed at countering China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region. Is it going to supersede the existing partnerships in the region? Discuss the strength and impact of AUKUS in the present scenario. Analyze. UPSC 2021, 15 Marks.


  • Current affairs based question from a contemporary theme.
  • UPSC has asked on various angles about the threats from China and measures to curb it like in 2020, they asked about QUAD.


  • AUKUSis a trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, announced on 15 September 2021 for the Indo-Pacific region. Under the pact, the US and the UK will help Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
  • The pact also includes cooperation on “cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and additional undersea capabilities”. The pact will focus on military capability, separating it from the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance that also includes New Zealand and Canada.

Will AUKUS dilute the other similar groupings/ Mechanism?

  • No, AUKUS will not undermine QUAD or The Five Eyes, since there are structural differences in the aim, objective and nature of all grouping. Countering China is just one common aim of all the groupings.

Strength of AUKUS in present scenario

  • Will create another grouping to counter Chinese threat in Indo-Pacific. Strengthen the Quad’s agenda to keep the Indo-Pacific region free.
  • Will Provide Nuclear capability in Submarines to Australia, which will provide balance of power in the region.
  • Counter Chinese growing capability in Cyber, AI and Quantum research.

Impact of AUKUS in present scenario

  • India: provides leverage to India with France in diplomatic and defense trade domains.
  • US: US have engaged itself with three different groupings in the region showing its seriousness for its Indo-Pacific policy. US wants to counter China both directly and Indirectly through such measures
  • China: China has been vocal about such groupings and shown serious concern against AUKUS, hence, it can lead to negative impact with its relations with Australia and Britain which are its major Trade partners.
  • South China region can again become hotbed of geopolitical issues.


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Ethics Infographics

A visual mind maps based notes on ethics completing whole syllabus in 15 infographics