Readings for Mains

Kabir ke Dohe: 15 famous sayings from the mystic-poet

Poet Turns Saint

Kabir, or Sant Kabir as he was known, has inspired generations of people with his now popular sayings. There’s one “doha”, or couplet, from him for every life situation. His poetry was so full of spiritual insight that he ceased to be a mere poet and won the title “Sant”, for saint. Here are some of his most quoted sayings…

My All-Time Favourite kabir ka Doha

“Dukh Mein Sumiran Sab Kare, Sukh Mein Kare Na Koye, Jo Sukh Mein Simran Kare, Toh Dukh Kahe Ko Hoye.” Meaning: “During suffering, everyone prays to the Lord, but when experiencing happiness, we forget to thank God. If one were to pray to God even during the good times, can the bad times ever trouble one?”

Everyone Knows This One

“Bura Jo Dekhan Main Chala, Bura Naa Milya Koye, Jo Mann Khoja Aapna, To Mujhse Bura Naa Koye.” Meaning: “I searched for the crooked man, but failed to find one. But when I searched within myself, I realised there was none more crooked than me!”

A Quote For Today (kabir ke Dohe)

“Kaal Kare So Aaj Kar, Aaj Kare So Ab, Pal Mein Pralaya Hoyegi, Bahuri Karoge Kab.” Meaning: “Instead of doing tomorrow’s work on the morrow, do it today, and do today’s work, right now! If the moment is lost, can you get it back any way?”

Life Is Like A Grinding Stone

“Chalti Chakki Dekh Kar, Diya Kabira Roye, Dui Paatan Ke Beech Mein, Sabit Bacha Na Koye.” Meaning: “Looking at the grinding stones, Kabir laments, In the duel of wheels, nothing stays intact.”

Choose Your Words Carefully ((kabir ke Dohe)

“Aisee Vani Boliye, Mann Ka Aapa Khoye, Apna Tan Sheetal Kare, Auran Ko Sukh Hoye.” Meaning: “Speak such words, without the ego’s manipulative ways, that not only your own body remains composed, you also give your listeners joy through your words.”

In Its Own Sweet Time

“Dheere Dheere Re Mana, Dheere Sab Kuch Hoye, Mali Seenche So Ghara, Ritu Aaye Phal Hoye.” Meaning: “Slowly, slowly, O mind, everything happens at its own pace, The gardener may water with a hundred pots of water, but the fruit only arrives in its season.”

Just Enough ((kabir ke Dohe)

“Saayi Itna Deejiye, Ja Mein Kutumb Samaye, Main Bhi Bhookha Na Rahoon, Sadhu Na Bhookha Jaye.” Meaning: Give me only so much, O God, that it suffices to fulfil the needs of my clan, I should not suffer cravings, nor should my visitor go unfed.”

What Use Is It To Be Aloof?

“Bada Hua To Kya Hua, Jaise Ped Khajoor Panthi Ko Chaya Nahin, Phal Laage Atidoor.” Meaning: “Of what use is eminence, to be like a tall date tree? It neither offers shade to travellers, not is its fruit easy to reach!”

The Divine Is Inside You

“Jaise Til Mein Tel Hai, Jyon Chakmak Mein Aag, Tera Sai Tujh Mein Hai, Tu Jaag Sake To Jaag.” Meaning: “Just as a seed contains oil, fire is present in the flintstone, the Divine is inside you, realise this if you can!”

Amicable Indifference

“Kabira Khara Bazaar Mein, Mange Sabki Khair, Na Kahu Se Dosti, Na Kahu Se Bair.” Meaning: “Kabira stands in the marketplace, wishes welfare to all, Wishing neither friendship, nor enmity, with anyone!”

Love, The Biggest Teacher

“Pothi Padh Padh Kar Jag Mua, Pandit Bhayo Na Koye, Dhai Akhshar Prem Ke, Jo Padhe So Pandit Hoye.” Meaning: “Reading books hasn’t made anyone wiser. But the One who has experienced even the first flush of love, knows more about Life than a learned man.”

Love Stories Are Sweet

“Akath Kahani Prem Ki, Kuch Kahi Na Jaye, Goonge Keri Sarkara, Baithe Muskae.” Meaning: “Inexpressible is the story of love, no one can fully describe what it feels like, Similar to the dumb guy who has eaten sweet sugar, he can only smile to show his pleasure.”

Worry Tugs At Your Heart

“Chinta Aisee Dakini, Kaat Kaleja Khaye, Vaid Bichara Kya Kare, Kahan Tak Dawa Lagaye.” Meaning: “Worry is such a thief, it eats away at one’s heart. What can the poor doctor do when his medicine cannot cure this ailment?”

Why So Proud?(kabir ke Dohe)

“Kabira Garv Na Keejiye, Uncha Dekh Aavaas, Kaal Pairon Punyah Letna, Uper Jamsi Ghaas.” Meaning: “Kabir, don’t be so proud and vain, living in your high mansion. Tomorow, you’ll be lying beneath the ground, with grass growing on top that animals will chew.”

Readings for Mains

ESSAY PAPER: UPSC Civil Services Mains Examination – 2018


  1. alternative technologies for a climate change resilient India

  2. A good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge

  3. Poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere

  4. Management of Indian border disputes – a complex task


  1. Customary morality cannot be a guide to modern life

  2. “The past’ is a permanent dimension of human consciousness and values

  3. A people that values its privileges above its principles loses both

  4. Reality does not conform to the ideal, but confirms it

Readings for Mains

Sudipto Mundle committee report: Understanding the back series data on GDP growth

The NDA government won 2014 elections by highlighting low growth of the Indian economy due to policy paralysis and corruption during UPA regime and by promising the people “Achche Din.” Four years hence, the trust of the people in the NDA government has started dwindling for many reasons including whimsical economic policies, stopping publishing data on unemployment and news of 50 per cent increase in Swiss Bank deposit of Indians, apart from unabated cronyism and flight of money from the financial system further aggravating the NPA problem in the banking sector. The hounding of political opponents, vigilantism and incidents of demeaning intellectuals is too visible to ignore. Under the façade of building the economy or development policies, the thrust of government is on dismantling the old institutions instead of reforming them, take the case of the planning commission, UGC or JNU etc., the underlining objective of seeding one party’s ideology in the system is vulgarly apparent. And now the lies and slanders about the UPA government on the count of economic growth and emptiness of bravado of the claim of ‘4 years of NDA versus 70 years of Congress’ have once again been resoundingly revealed by back series data on the Indian economy, carried out first time after the new GDP measurement methodology was used since 2015.

The back series data released by the Sudipto Mundle-led committee show that GDP growth under the UPA government crossed 10 percent in 2007-08, which was only the second time in history. The back series data is essentially what the GDP growth rate and other macroeconomic indicators would have been, if computed with the present base year as the benchmark.

In addition to changing the base year, the new series adopted the system of measuring the gross value added (GVA) at basic prices in lieu of calculating the GDP at factor cost. The Indian Economic Service reckons that basic prices are less representative of the true cost as they do not take into account, the subsidies and taxes associated with the production process. The resultant numbers, arguably inflated, have often been brandished by the ruling dispensation to demonstrate the economic turnaround initiated under its watch.

What was new in the new method of GDP Measurement?

The base year was changed to 2010-11 instead of 2004-05. The base year is important in GDP calculation as factors such as purchasing power and inflation are taken as the benchmark for subsequent years. The prevalence of anomalous factors in the base year can distort calculations going forward.

Instead of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data on company finances, the new series incorporates information from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ MCA21 database. This implies that corporate data is more accurately depicted in GDP figures. The review of the services sector, which accounts for almost 60 percent of India’s GDP, is also more comprehensive than earlier.

The committee has adjusted the data going as far back as 1994. It found that under the prevailing methodology, the GDP growth rate for each of the years between 1994 and 2014 is higher by at least 0.3 percent to 0.5 percent.

The new estimates released by a government constituted committee suggest that GDP growth in the period 2004-05 to 2011-12 may have been higher than reckoned earlier. According to the report, the growth of the Indian economy is 0.3 to 0.5 percentage points higher for each year. The revised figure for 2006-07 pegs growth in that year at 10.1% against the original 9.6%. The last time the economy grew at over 10% in any fiscal year was in 1988-89, when it registered a 10.2% expansion. Ironically, the perception of a tanking economy was among the causes for the demise of the UPA in 2014.

It proves that the economy under both UPA terms (10-year average: 8.1 percent) outperformed the Modi government (average 7.3 percent). Congress said on its official Twitter handle. According to the new data, the economy grew at an average of 9.42 percentage in the first four years of UPA-I, touching double digits in 2007-08. The impact of the global recession was felt in 2008-09, as GDP plummeted to 4.15 percent. Under the old series, the figure for 2008-09 stood at 6.7 percent, 2.55 percentage points higher than the revised number. However, it is testament to the resilience of the Indian economy that the GDP rebounded to 8.84 in 2009-10, even breaching the 10 percent mark in 2010-11. Recovery took much longer in other emerging markets. Under the old series, GDP grew at 8.4 in each of the years between 2008 and 2010.

The unification of the base year for data since 1994 lends to comparisons between the performances of successive governments. The UPA-I government clocked 8.36 percent growth over a five-year period beset with high crude oil prices and the blowback from the global financial crisis of 2008. If the first four years of UPA-I are considered in isolation, the average GDP growth rate stands at 9.42 percent. In contrast, economic growth during the first four years of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government has been relatively anemic at 7.15 percent.

India overtook China to become the fastest-growing large economy in the world, a fact frequently advertised by the NDA government to highlight its achievements in micromanaging the economy. However, the GDP back series data throws up a slightly different picture.

According to the report, India’s GDP growth rate for 2010-11 was 10.78 percent, 0.17 percentage points more than the 10.61 percent achieved by China in the same year. China’s growth rate has slipped since then. This means that India outdid its neighbour in a year when the latter’s economy was at its highest point in the past eight years. More importantly, this came at a time when global oil prices were high, as was the government’s subsidy bill.

India recently overtook France to become the sixth largest economy in the world, but problems persist. Disruptive measures like the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) and the demonetisation of high-value currency notes have taken the wind out of the economy’s sails. Recovery has been subdued.

The banking sector, which is saddled with bad debt, is adding to the pressure on the economy. Credit has been drying up. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has just started delivering on resolution of bad loans but lenders will have to take a substantial haircut on large loans even if new promoters are found, or asset reconstruction companies manage to turn around sick ventures.

However, the outlook is not entirely bleak. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reckons that the adverse effects of demonetisation and the implementation of GST are fading. In its bi-annual World Economic Outlook, IMF said India is projected to grow at 7.4 percent in 2018-19, and 7.8 percent in 2019-20.

Readings for Mains

Civil Service Mains Economy Questions set – 2

Question 2: What is back series GDP data? Why such data is needed? What are the new lights thrown by Sudipto Mundle Committee’s calculation of back series data?

For hints see:

Article by Prof. Arun Kumar, Courtesy the Hindu, dated August 27, 2018

The larger picture on GDP numbers

The new data on GDP have raised a political storm, with the back series for GDP growth since 1993-94 becoming available. Its importance lies in the fact that in 2015, a new series was announced which showed India’s GDP growing faster than the earlier series had shown. This was politically advantageous to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government which came to power in 2014.

The NDA claimed that the second United Progressive Alliance (UPA II) government had messed up the economy and it had turned it around. But, in the new series, the rate of growth during the last two years of UPA II was also higher than what the old series showed so that the economic performance under the UPA also did not look so bad. What the new series also showed was that the NDA had inherited an economy with GDP growing at 8.4% in the second quarter of 2014. Most macroeconomic variables had also recovered from their lows in 2013.

Data show that after the NDA took over, the rate of growth fell and then rose to a peak of 8.65% in 2015-16 Q4. After that it fell for five consecutive quarters — to 5.57% by 2017-18 Q1. The two shocks to the economy (demonetisation and then the GST) had a big negative impact on the rate of growth. This is not even captured in the new data since a shock requires a change in methodology for calculation of GDP. The political slugfest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress is due to data showing that the average growth rate under the UPA I and II was higher than what has been achieved during the present NDA regime.

Points to the issue

There are three distinct aspects to the controversy. First, why was the back series —now the bone of contention — needed? Second, what do the data show? And, third, why was the rate of growth during the UPA regimes higher?

An economy produces a large number of goods and services and new ones are added all the time. The production of all these items has to be estimated in order to calculate the rate of growth of the economy. This requires lots of data, which is a tall order. So, a select set of items is taken to represent the entire production. The question which arises is: How accurate are the data?

Technology poses another challenge. Older items become redundant and newer ones need to be included.

So, as time passes, the earlier series of data does not represent the true growth rate of the economy and needs to be modified. That is why the old series is replaced by a new one periodically. The earlier series (from 2004-05) was replaced by a new series (from 2011-12). Another question arises: How do the data from the new series compare with those of the old series? Is it that growth was also higher earlier? Analysts have demanded a back series whenever a new series is prepared. There were problems with the new series which is why the back series was not generated automatically. This is also why the new committee (which has presented its report) was set up.

The difficulty with the new series (2011-12) was because it not only changed the bundle of items used to calculate growth but also used a more extensive data base (of companies) called MCA21. This data base was available from 2006-07. However, it kept changing every year and did not stabilise till 2010-11 — so it was not comparable across years and could not be used to generate the back series. This is also why the task of the committee was a difficult one and it could not mechanically generate the back series.

The committee had to use a new method which has its own assumptions, which are likely to be debated by experts. A bias in the results seems to be that the growth rate in the new time series for the earlier part (the 1990s) is lower than in the old series whereas it is higher for the later part (the 2000s). It is also unable to take the black economy and the changes in the unorganised sectors into account. The report has been submitted to the National Statistical Commission which will finalise it. Therefore, government functionaries are arguing that the data cited by the media are not final.

Quarrel about causes

It is interesting that the criticism is more about the causes of the higher rate of growth under the UPA than the methodology of the study. The implicit admission is that the economy did grow faster under the UPA but due to wrong policies (allowing the fiscal deficit to rise, undue expansion of bank loans, etc). The argument is that these have led to non-performing assets (the twin balance sheet problem), higher inflation and current account deficit.

But the higher growth was on the back of a 38% rate of investment and a 36% rate of savings achieved by 2007-08. These are now down to 32% and 30%, respectively. The 2007-08 crisis was a global one but the Indian economy continued to grow when many other economies were slowing down due to increase in fiscal deficit from its record low in 2007. The crisis of 2012-13 was due to the rise in petroleum prices and largely due to international factors.

However, the current slowdown is largely policy induced and less due to international factors. The twin shocks (demonetisation and the GST) have played havoc with the unorganised sector (not yet captured in the data). Household savings have declined sharply and the investment climate remains poor with large numbers of dollar millionaires leaving the country. The government might consider leaving the data debate to experts and not making it a political one.

Arun Kumar is Malcolm S. Adiseshiah Chair Professor, Institute of Social 

Question 3 : Critically analyze the new MSP announced by the government of India in July 20118.

See the following article for answer.

Authored by Banjot Kaur, Courtesy Down To Earth, July 0, 2018

New MSP: Govt fails to meet Swaminathan standards, yet again

The Narendra Modi cabinet made a big ticket announcement of increasing the minimum support price (MSP) of 14 kharif crops on Wednesday (July 4). Farmer agitations all across the country in the past few months have been focused on demanding that MSP be increased so it is at par with 1.5 times the cost of production. The government claimed that it has fulfilled this demand.

A close look at the declared prices revealed that the prices have not been fixed according to the formula recommended by Swaminathan Commission. There are two formulae to calculate cost of production. One is to include cost of seed, labour (human, animal and machine), fertiliser, manure, insecticides and other miscellaneous costs which is denoted as A2 and add to it the family labour (FL). The other formula addition of cost on imputed rent and interest on owned land to A2+FL. So the final cost of production would be C2=A2+FL+cost imputed on rent and interest on owned land. The farmers have been demanding that MSP should be 1.5 times of C2, which was what the Swaminathan Commission had also suggested, and not 1.5 times of A2+FL. While the Press Information Bureau (PIB) release claimed that rent paid for leased land has been included, the calculation done by Down To Earth shows otherwise.

Take for instance, paddy. The government announced that it has increased Rs 200 per quintal on paddy (common variety) and now the MSP would be Rs 1750/quintal. The Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP), a body working under Union ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has projected that the cost of production (CoP) of the paddy, according to C2 formula, would be Rs 1560 per quintal in 2018-19. MSP, when calculated by multiplying CoP by 1.5 as per the recommendation of Swaminathan Commission, should be Rs 2340 per quintal. Thus, the MSP declared by the government is Rs 590 per quintal short of the same

The case of Arhar is no less different. It’s CoP, according to C2 formula would be Rs 4981 per quintal for 2018-19, and, therefore, the MSP should have been Rs 7471.5 per quintal. However, the government hiked the MSP to Rs 5675 per quintal.  Thus, the MSP was Rs 1796.5 per quintal less than what should have been according to the Swaminathan formula.

DTE calculated the MSP for all the 14 crops by taking into account the C2 formula and multiplying it by 1.5 times. As startling as it may sound, not a single crop’s MSP turns out to be 1.5 times of the cost of production using the C2 formula as suggested by Swaminathan Commission. The difference between the MSP declared and the one calculated according to Swaminathan formula ranges between Rs 36  per quintal and Rs 2830.5 per quintal depending upon the crop.

Farmers across India had organised a 10-day strike earlier this month demanding MSP according to Swaminathan formula, and today’s announcement has not made them happy. Rakesh Tikait, national spokesperson of Bhartiya Kisan Union, said, “This is simply a dejection. While the government can blow the trumpet that it has hiked the MSP, it does not conform to the Swaminathan Formula. We will not be fooled by this and we would continue our agitation.” Bhartiya Kisan Union is one of the biggest farmer bodies of India.

The government, nonetheless, termed the announcement as “historic” as it increased MSP on all the 14 crops. “The decision of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs is a historic one as it redeems the promise of the pre-determined principle of fixing the MSPs at a level of at least 150 per cent of the cost of production announced by the Union Budget for 2018-19,” the release said.

The government also said while hiking the MSP, it took into account factors such as hired human labour, bullock labour/machine labour, rent paid for leased land, expenses incurred on use of material inputs like seeds, fertilisers, manures, irrigation charges, depreciation on implements and farm miscellaneous expenses, and imputed value of family labour. The government claimed that the increase in MSPs of Nigerseed at Rs 1,827 per quintal, moong by Rs 1,400 per quintal, sunflower seed by Rs 1,288 per quintal and cotton by Rs 1,130 per quintal is “unprecedented”.

Amongst cereals and nutri cereals, in terms of absolute increase, MSP of paddy (common) has been raised by Rs 200 per quintal, jowar (hybrid) by Rs 730 per quintal and ragi by Rs 997 per quintal. The highest percentage increase in MSP over the previous year is for ragi (52.47 %) followed by jowar hybrid (42.94%). For pulses, apart from moong, MSP of arhar (tur) has been raised by Rs 225 per quintal. The prices of urad and bajra have also been hiked.

Farmers’ concern is just not about MSP but its implementation. “Every crop season, the government declares MSP. But with only exceptions of wheat and paddy which the government itself procures, hardly any crop which are brought in open mandis by traders, fetches even the MSP which is minimum selling price declared by the government. So what is the point of declaration of MSP without bringing a law that it has to be mandatorily followed,” Tikait asks.


Question 4: What are the salient features of Draft Agricultural Export Policy brought forward by the Commerce Ministry?

See the following article for answer.

Courtesy: The Business Line, dated March 19, 2018

Draft Agri Export Policy seeks to end curbs to bring in stability

The Commerce Ministry has sought to put an end to any kind of export restriction — including minimum export price (MEP) and export duty — on commodities not categorised as essential in order to build a more stable trade policy regime.

A draft Agri Export Policy circulated by the Commerce Ministry on Monday proposed that consultation among stakeholders and Ministries will be initiated to identify commodities which are essential from food security perspective and barring these, the effort would be to ensure that no other produce is brought under any kind of export restrictions.

“India is seen as a source of high quality agricultural products in many developing nations and ASEAN economies and changes in export regime on ground of domestic price fluctuations, religious and social belief can have long-term repercussions. This is particularly important for commodities such as onions, rice, wheat, oilseeds, pulses and sugar,” the draft stated.

Export restrictions could be ended straight away on processed agricultural products and all kinds of organic products, and a policy assurance given that these would not be brought under the ambit of any kind of export restriction such as MEP, export duty, export ban, etc even though the primary agricultural product or non-organic agricultural product is brought under some kind of export restrictions, the draft said.

The National Agriculture Export Policy is being formulated in line with the vision to double the farmer’s income and increase the share of agricultural exports from $30 billion to $60 billion by 2022.

While the draft policy has been prepared after consultations with stakeholders, it has been put up for wider consultations and comments have been invited till April 5, 2018, following which the final policy would be drafted.

Quality issues

To minimise rejections on quality issues — sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) and technical barriers to trade (TBT) barriers — the draft proposes to develop a common portal to monitor all export rejections and provide a platform to different nodal agencies to take up a root cause analysis, take corrective action and if required, respond to the partner country regarding action taken.

It suggests creation of an institutional mechanism under the aegis of Department of Commerce with representation of relevant Ministries and Agencies to address India’s market access request, calibrate it with the trading partner’s market access request for accessing the Indian market and quickly respond to SPS/TBT barriers.

Highlighting the need to bring about reforms in APMC Act and streamlining of Mandi fee, the draft proposed using the DGFT field offices, Export Promotion Councils, Commodity Boards and Industry Associations to act as advocacy forum for reform by all the States.

The draft policy also talks about development of export-centric clusters, promoting value added exports through incentives, special focus on value added exports of organic products, developing uniform packaging for organic products, marketing and promotion of ‘produce in India’ through Geographical Indication (GI) registration and putting in place post-harvest infrastructure support for smooth logistical movement of agri produce.


Q5- What are the recommendations of Deepak Mohanty Committee on financial inclusion?

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) constituted (2015) a committee under the Chairmanship of Deepak Mohanty, RBI executive director, with the objective of working out a medium-term (five-year) measurable action plan for financial inclusion. The terms of reference  included reviewing the existing policy of financial inclusion, including supportive payment system and customer protection framework, taking into account the recommendations made by various committees set up earlier. The Committee also aimed at studying the cross-country experience in financial inclusion to identify key learnings, particularly in the area of technology-based delivery models, that could inform policies and practices. The committee will also suggest a monitorable medium-term plan for financial inclusion in terms of its various components like payments, deposit, credit, social security transfers, pension and insurance. It must be reminded that when this committee was formed, the government, in collaboration with banks, launched the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana in August 2014. Banks had opened about 167.3 million accounts till July 8, 2014. The balance in those accounts was about Rs 20,000 crore. About 51.1 per cent of these accounts were zero-balance accounts.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released the Report on Medium-term Path on Financial Inclusion submitted by 14-member committee headed by RBI Executive Director Deepak Mohanty in December 2015.

Key recommendations

  • Augment the government social cash transfer in order to increase the personal disposable income of the poor. It would put the economy on a medium-term sustainable inclusion path.
  • Sukanya Shiksha Scheme: Banks should make special efforts to step up account opening for females belonging to lower income group under this scheme for social cash transfer as a welfare measure.
  • Aadhaar linked credit account: Aadhaar should be linked to each individual credit account as a unique biometric identifier which can be shared with with Credit information bureau to enhance the stability of the credit system and improve access.
  • Mobile Technology: Bank’s traditional business model should be changed with greater reliance on mobile technology to improve ‘last mile’ service delivery.
  • Digitisation of land records: It should be implemented in order to increase formal credit supply to all agrarian segments through Aadhaar-linked mechanism for Credit Eligibility Certificates (CEC).
  • Nurturing self-help groups (SHGs): Corporates should be encouraged to nurture SHGs as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.
  • Subsidies: Government should replace current agricultural input subsidies on fertilizers, irrigation and power by a direct income transfer scheme as part of second generation reforms.
  • Agricultural interest subvention Scheme: It should be phased out.
  • Crop Insurance: Government should introduce universal crop insurance scheme covering all crops starting with small and marginal farmers with monetary ceiling of Rs. 2 lakhs.
  • Multiple Guarantee Agencies: Should be encouraged to provide credit guarantees in niche areas for micro and small enterprises (MSEs). It would also explore possibilities for counter guarantee and re-insurance.
  • Unique identification of MSME: It should be introduced for all MSME borrowers and information from it should be shared with credit bureaus.
Readings for Mains

Economics Test Paper 1 for Civil Services Mains 2018

  1. Why India has been described as the engine of economic growth for the world by the IMF in its recent report in the next three decades? What are the main problems facing Indian economy that cast doubt in realizing its potential as an engine of growth?
  2. Although the Indian economy is doing pretty well in terms of economic growth, why it needs to focus on three policy areas, namely Employment: finding good jobs for the young and burgeoning workforce, especially for women over the medium term? What are the policy initiatives of the government in this regard? Why these programmes have not given the desired results?
  3. What do you mean by Twin Balance Sheet Problem? What are the 4 Rs which would go a long way in resolving the Twin Balance Sheet Problem facing India? What progress with regard to 4 Rs has taken place in India?
  4. Why GST is said to be transformational tax in the case of the Indian economy? What are the main problems faced in the implementation of GST? Suggest reforms to make GST a more efficient tax?
  5. Why in recent past the Indian Macroeconomic developments were marked by swings?
  6. Why India did jumped 30 spots on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings? Why is it not enough for improving business environment? What needs additionally to improve India’s business environment?
  7. Facilitating “exit” has been one of India’s most intractable challenges as the last 50 years India had gone from “socialism with limited entry to marketism without exit? Explain and elucidate.
  8. What are the objectives and features of proposed Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) bill? How would it help financial firms?
  9. Do you agree that subsidies are a drag on economic growth and fiscal consolidation? Evaluate the present government policy to rationalize government resources, redirecting them away from subsidies towards public provision of essential private goods and services at low prices, especially to the poor.
  10. What are the indicators of macroeconomic stability? Why the battle for macro-economic stability is never won permanently, but needs a continuous vigil?
  11. The Indian economy’s competitiveness needs to face several challenges such as quality, variety and prices of the products on one hand and the real effective exchange rate on the other in the medium and long term. Discuss.
  12. What are the main sources of employment data in India? Why government has not brought forth employment data from traditional date sources in the last two years? Is employment data from Employees Provident Fund a reliable source to conclude about the state of unemployment in India?
  13. What is fiscal consolidation? What steps have so far been taken for fiscal consolidation in India? Why overcoming the fiscal vulnerability requires halting the steady conversion of contingent liabilities into actual ones?
  14. What is “make in India” and its main components? “Reviving manufacturing and making the sector internationally competitive have been the twin goals of the Make in India program.” Comment.
  15. What do you mean by winners’ curse in case of spectrum auction? What are its adverse consequences? Suggest how to check such a phenomenon and its consequences?
Ethics Readings for Mains

Ethics:  Knowledge of moral principles and its fundamentals  

Ethics is the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles. Ethics studies moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity. Ethics concerns itself with moral principles, values, standards of behavior, virtues, dictates of conscience,rights and wrongs etc. Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The term ethics derives from Ancient Greek “ethikos”, from “ethos”, meaning ‘habit, custom’. Ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime. As a field of intellectual enquiry, moral philosophy also is related to the fields of moral psychology, descriptive ethics, and value theory.

Three major areas of study within ethics recognized today are:

  1. Meta-ethics : It is concerned with the theoretical meaning and reference of moral propositions, and how  their truth values (if any) can be determined. Meta-ethics asks how we understand, know about, and what we mean when we talk about what is right and what is wrong. A meta-ethical question is abstract and relates to a wide range of more specific practical questions. For example, “Is it ever possible to have secure knowledge of what is right and wrong?” According to Aristotle, ethical knowledge depends on habit and acculturation in a way that makes it distinctive from other kinds of knowledge. Studies of how we know in ethics divide into cognitivism and non-cognitivism. Cognitivism may be seen as the claim that when we talk about right and wrong, we are talking about matters of fact. Non-cognitivism is the claim that when we judge something as right or wrong, this is neither true nor false. We may, for example, be only expressing our emotional feelings about these things.
  2. Normative ethics: It is ethics concerning the practical means of determining a moral course of action. Normative ethics is the study of ethical action. It is the branch of ethics that investigates the set of questions that arise when considering how one ought to act, morally speaking. Normative ethics is distinct from meta-ethicsbecause it examines standards for the rightness and wrongness of actions, while meta-ethics studies the meaning of moral language and the metaphysics of moral facts.
  •  Virtue ethics: One of the important strands of normative ethics is virtue ethics. Virtue ethics describes the character of a moral agent as a driving force for ethical behavior, and is used to describe the ethics of Socrates, Aristotle, and other early Greek philosophers.  According to Socrates, knowledge bearing on human life was placed highest, while all other knowledge was secondary. Self-knowledge was considered necessary for success and inherently an essential good. A self-aware person will act completely within his capabilities to his pinnacle, while an ignorant person will flounder and encounter difficulty. To Socrates, a person must become aware of every fact (and its context) relevant to his existence, if he wishes to attain self-knowledge. He posited that people will naturally do what is good, if they know what is right. Evil or bad actions are the results of ignorance. In Aristotle’s view, when a person acts in accordance with his nature and realizes his full potential, he will do good and be content. At birth, a baby is not a person, but a potential person. To become a “real” person, the child’s inherent potential must be realized. Unhappiness and frustration are caused by the unrealized potential of a person, leading to failed goals and a poor life.
  • Stoicism: Another Strand is stoicism. The Stoic philosopher Epictetus posited that the greatest good was contentment and serenity. Peace of mind, or Apatheia, was of the highest value; self-mastery over one’s desires and emotions leads to spiritual peace. The “unconquerable will” is central to this philosophy. The individual’s will should be independent and inviolate. Allowing a person to disturb the mental equilibrium is, in essence, offering yourself in slavery. If a person is free to anger you at will, you have no control over your internal world, and therefore no freedom. Freedom from material attachments is also necessary. If a thing breaks, the person should not be upset, but realize it was a thing that could break. Similarly, if someone should die, those close to them should hold to their serenity because the loved one was made of flesh and blood destined to death. Stoic philosophy says to accept things that cannot be changed, resigning oneself to existence and enduring in a rational fashion.
  • Consequentialism: Consequentialism is yet another example of virtue ethics. Consequentialism refers to moral theories that hold that the consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgment about that action (or create a structure for judgment, see rule consequentialism). Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right action is one that produces a good outcome, or consequence. This view is often expressed as the aphorism “The ends justify the means”. According to utilitarianism, a good action is one that results in an increase in a positive effect, and the best action is one that results in that effect for the greatest number. Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that argues the proper course of action is one that maximizes a positive effect, such as “happiness”, “welfare”, or the ability to live according to personal preferences.
  • Deontology: Deontology is a contrasting ethical principle to consequentialism. Deontological ethics or deontology is an approach to ethics that determines goodness or rightness from examining acts, or the rules and duties that the person doing the act strove to fulfill. This is in contrast to consequentialism, in which rightness is based on the consequences of an act, and not the act by itself. Immanuel Kant’s theory of ethics is considered deontological for several different reasons. First, Kant argues that to act in the morally right way, people must act from duty (deon). Second, Kant argued that it was not the consequences of actions that make them right or wrong but the motives (maxime) of the person who carries out the action. Kant’s argument that to act in the morally right way, one must act from duty, begins with an argument that the highest good must be both good in itself, and good without qualification.
  • Hedonism– Hedonism posits that the principal ethic is maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. There are several schools of Hedonist thought ranging from those advocating the indulgence of even momentary desires to those teaching a pursuit of spiritual bliss. In their consideration of consequences, they range from those advocating self-gratification regardless of the pain and expense to others, to those stating that the most ethical pursuit maximizes pleasure and happiness for the most people. Nothing in the world—indeed nothing even beyond the world—can possibly be conceived which could be called good without qualification except a good will.
  • Pragmatic Ethics: Another strand of virtue ethics is pragmatic ethics. Associated with the pragmatists, Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and especially John Dewey, pragmatic ethics holds that moral correctness evolves similarly to scientific knowledge: socially over the course of many lifetimes. Thus, we should prioritize social reform over attempts to account for consequences, individual virtue or duty (although these may be worthwhile attempts, if social reform is provided for).
  • Post Structuralist or postmodernist ethics: Post-structuralism and postmodernism argue that ethics must study the complex and relational conditions of actions. A simple alignment of ideas of right and particular acts is not possible. There will always be an ethical remainder that cannot be taken into account or often even recognized. Such theorists find narrative (or, following Nietzsche and Foucault, genealogy) to be a helpful tool for understanding ethics because narrative is always about particular lived experiences in all their complexity rather than the assignment of an idea or norm to separate and individual actions. These schools are complex in their construction, yet they offer a highly critical understanding of right or wrong. Jacques Derrida says, “there is nothing outside of the text.” Derrida suggests that no text is an island in which the author’s original intention can be counted on as an absolute basis for understanding meaning.  He later clarified the meaning of a text must be situated within a context that includes competence in the language of the text including its grammar and vocabulary as used in the epoch in which it was written, rhetorical uses of the language, the history of the language itself, and knowledge of the history of the society in which the language is/was used.  In addition, the interpreter should also have familiarity with the corpus of the author. He added, “ “A text is not a text unless it hides from the first comer, from the first glance, the law of its composition and the rules of its game. A text remains, moreover, forever imperceptible.” And  “What is called “objectivity,” scientific for instance (in which I firmly believe, in a given situation) imposes itself only within a context which is extremely vast, old, firmly established, or rooted in a network of conventions … and yet which still remains a context.” Derrida adds, “We are all mediators, translators.” Michel Foucault extends the post modernist quest by saying thus “We are in the society of the teacher-judge, the doctor-judge, the educator-judge, the ‘social-worker’-judge; it is on them that the universal reign of the normative is based; and each individual, wherever he may find himself, subjects to it his body, his gestures, his behavior, his aptitudes, his achievements.” Antihumanists such as Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault and structuralists such as Roland Barthes challenged the possibilities of individual agency and the coherence of the notion of the ‘individual’ itself. This was  on the basis that personal identity was, at least in part, a social construction. As critical theory developed in the later 20th century, post-structuralism sought to problematize human relationships to knowledge and ‘objective’ reality. Jacques Derrida argued that access to meaning and the ‘real’ was always deferred, and sought to demonstrate via recourse to the linguistic realm that “there is no outside-text/non-text”; at the same time, Jean Baudrillard theorised that signs and symbols or simulacra mask reality (and eventually the absence of reality itself), particularly in the consumer world.
  1. Applied ethics, concerning what a person is obligated (or permitted) to do in a specific situation or a particular domain of action. Applied ethics is a discipline of philosophy that attempts to apply ethical theory to real-life situations. Applied ethics is used in some aspects of determining public policy, as well as by individuals facing difficult decisions. The sort of questions addressed by applied ethics include: “Is getting an abortion immoral?” “Is euthanasia immoral?” “Is affirmative action right or wrong?” “What are human rights, and how do we determine them?” “Do animals have rights as well?” and “Do individuals have the right of self-determination?”[ The discipline has many specialized fields, such as engineering ethics, bioethics, geoethics, public service ethics and business ethics.

Fundamental Ethical Principles

An ethical theory is a theory about what makes an action or set of actions morally right or wrong.

Four fundamental ethical principles

  1. The Principle of Respect for autonomy—- Autonomy is Latin for “self-rule” We have an obligation to respect the autonomy of other persons, which is to respect the decisions made by other people concerning their own lives. This is also called the principle of human dignity. It gives us a negative duty not to interfere with the decisions of competent adults, and a positive duty to empower others for whom we’re responsible.

Corollary principles: honesty in our dealings with others & obligation to keep promises.

  1. The Principle of Beneficence—–We have an obligation to bring about good in all our actions.Corollary principle? We must take positive steps to prevent harm. However, adopting this corollary principle frequently places us in direct conflict with respecting the autonomy of other persons.
  2. The Principle of nonmaleficence—— (It is not “non-malfeasance,” which is a technical legal term, & it is not “nonmalevolence,” which means that one did not intend to harm.) . We have an obligation not to harm others: “First, do no harm.”
    (a) Corollary principle: Where harm cannot be avoided, we are obligated to minimize the harm we do.
    (b) Corollary principle: Don’t increase the risk of harm to others.
    (c) Corollary principle: It is wrong to waste resources that could be used for good
    1. (d) Combining beneficence and nonaleficence: Each action must produce more good than harm.

(4) The Principle of justice—–

    We have an obligation to provide others with whatever they are owed or deserve. In public life, we have an obligation to treat all people equally, fairly, and impartially.

(a) Corollary principle: Impose no unfair burdens.
(b) Combining beneficence and justice: We are obligated to work for the benefit of those who are unfairly treated.

Thus fundamental ethical principles that can be applied to decide good from bad are:

  • Beneficence – to do good.
  • Non-maleficence – to do no harm.
  • Respect for Autonomy.


Readings for Mains

Probable Questions on Social Issues for Mains 2017


  1. What is blue whale threat facing the children? Why children have become more vulnerable to computer or mobile games? Will promotion of sports and constructive extra-curricular activities help curb this menace? Give reasons.
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of reservations in government jobs in India on the basis of economic criteria? Do you think that in the changing scenario “economic criteria” for reservation in government jobs would be a better criterion than “social criteria” in India? Give reasons.
  3. Why growth of middle class among the minority community in India is very sluggish? What are the advantages of a rising middle class in any community? Suggest measures to increase growth of middle class among the minority community.
  4. There are rising trends of vigilantism, mob justice and majoritarian nationalist assertion in India? What are the causes responsible for this trend? Evaluate its consequences on democracy, peace and fraternity.
  5. What are the main attributes of aspirational India? What is the socio-politico and economic significance of aspirational India?
  6. Domestic violence and violence in streets against women is on increase despite increase in education? What are the reasons for the same? Suggest measures to improve the situation.
  7. India should take quick measures to reap the advantages of demographic dividend; otherwise it will fizzle out soon. Comment.
  8. What do you mean by the concept of “missing girls” in demography? How can a new and recent trend of falling child sex ratio in hitherto well acclaimed states for gender equality be explained?
  9. What are the reasons for increasing suicides in urban areas? How is it different from farmers’ suicides in rural areas? Suggest measures to enhance immunity of young generation with regard to handling setbacks and psychological break down?
  10. “The media has largely followed the post truth process rather than informing, educating and bringing out truth in front of common man.” Do you agree? Give justification for your answer.
  11. Why is there increase in Child abuse in recent times? Is it justified for the women to join jobs in their lactating and fertile age? Critically examine the proposal of paternity leave by the Indian government on people’s demand.
  12. “Slummisation is the results of an skewed growth model and haphazard urbanization.” Do you agree? What is the importance of Swachha Bharat and Smart Cities schemes in this regard?
Readings for Mains

Internal Security: Probable Questions for Mains 2017


  1. What are the main features of New Armed Forces Doctrine Of India? What are its implications for India’s security and defense strategy in future?
  2. What do you mean by hot pursuit? In view of existing international laws, can India’s recent surgical strikes be justified?
  3. Naxalism in India is byproduct of inequality and exploitation on one hand and indoctrination of innocent people on the other? Explain. Has Naxalism changed its nature and scope of protest after adoption of the new economic policy? Give reasons.
  4. What are the main channels of money laundering? The menace of black money cannot be curbed till money laundering is not halted. Comment.
  5. Enlist various forms of cyber threats. What are the main reasons of rising cyber crimes in India? What are the legal provisions to control cyber crimes in India?
  6. Apart from bitter historical and social background, communal violence today is mainly a byproduct of the method of political mobilization in India. Do you agree? What are the legal provisions India to stop hate speeches and divisive and inciting methods of political mobilization in India?
  7. What are the main problems and challenges facing the Central Armed Police Forces of India? In recent years the Central Armed Police Forces of India have seen increase in casualties. Why? Has government taken any step for the modernization of Central Armed Police Forces?
  8. Do you agree that one of the main reasons of successful terrorist strikes destroying life and property of innocent people in India is lack of preemptive intelligence and coordination among intelligence institutions? Discuss the steps taken by government to improve coordination among the Indian Intelligence Institutions?
  9. Explain why the state of policing in Indian states is in shambles? Suggest measures for police reforms to enhance their efficiency in maintaining security as well as law and order.
  10. Use of pellet guns in Kashmir came for criticism because its made many protesters blind. What are the other options for use of force to handle violent protests in Kashmir with more humane methods?
  11. Why is there a tendency in media and human rights watch agencies to dramatize human rights of violent anti establishment mobs and not to talk about human rights of soldiers and police forces working in the regions infested with naxalism and secessionist insurgency or armed rebellion? Is use of human shield to fight violent insurgent mobs justified?
  12. What is AFSA? What are the advantages and disadvantages AFSA? Should we do away with AFSA?
  13. What is the importance of BSF in maintain security in India? Enlist the variety of problems faced by the BSF in India and suggest measures to overcome these problems?
  14. What is the role of media in maintaining peace and security in the country? Critically examine the negative and positive contributions of media in maintenance or breach of peace and security by citing examples? How can media be regulated to deliver its desired role?
  15. What do you mean by lone wolf terror acts? What are the reasons of such acts, especially seen in recent times in the US aand European countries?
  16. Terrorism cannot be curbed only by internal policing because today it is an internationally connected phenomenon in terms of planning, funding and execution? What are the possible ways to combat interconnected modern day terrorism?


Readings for Mains

Economy: Probable Questions for Mains Exam

  1. What are the main findings NCRB data on farmers’ suicide? Explain how farmers’ suicide in India is outcome of institutional and economic failure both. What are the basic flaws in loan waiver schemes? Suggest alternative measures to help farmers in distress.
  2. What are the main components of the third generation of economic reforms? Enlist the government initiatives to realize the goals of third generation economic reforms. What are the challenges to third generation economic reforms?
  3. What are the major problems facing the Indian economy despite being the fastest growing G-20 economy? In assessing the medium term prospects of the Indian economy, which internal and external factors need to be reckoned with? Suggest steps through which India can achieve double digit growth in the long run.
  4. What are the determinants of competitiveness in international trade? In the past year due to fluctuating India’s exchange rate, it has lost competitiveness. Do you agree with this proposition? Give reasons?
  5. Discuss about the major inflationary trends in India? What explains current low consumer and wholesale price indices in India? Why negative WPI is not a good indicator for an economy?
  6. What are the main recommendations of Urjit Ptel Committee on Monetary policy of India? What role does Monetary Policy Committee play in inflation targeting? What are the main reasons of non-transmission of cut in REPO rate on the market interest rate in India?
  7. What are the main thrusts of the new foreign trade policy of India? What are the reasons of slack performance of exports of India? What is the near prospect of trade balance of India?
  8. What are the major determinants of FDI? Discuss the recent trends of FDI inflow in India? Why has India become one of the major destinations of global FDI? Critically examine the structure and direction of FDI in India?
  9. What do you mean by precautious and cleavage India? Chart out the desirable vision for India that is democratic, poor and unequal.
  10. What are the main reasons of twin balance sheet problem in India? What measures have been initiated by government of India to address this problem? Why is the progress very sluggish in this regard?
  11. What do you mean by Non-performing Assets of banks? Gauge the extent of NPAs in the Indian banking system. Do you think that PARA can give solace to banks from NPAs?
  12. How is Basel III different from Basel I and II? What are the implications of Basel III for the Indian banking sector? Is it advisable for India to adopt tough prudential norms for banking sector at this juncture of its development?
  13. What are the problems ailing the real estate sector of India? Discuss various measures taken by government to address the problems of the real estate sector.
  14. What is the concept of Universal Basic Income and its benefits? Explain moral hazards of Universal Basic Income. Should India adopt this? What are the major impediments in adopting such an approach?
  15. Why the method of measurement of poverty in India has evoked lots of criticism in the recent past? Explain the similarities and differences between Tendulkar and Rangarajan Committees in this regard? In your view what should be the right approach to measure poverty in India— uni-dimensional or multi-dimensional approach. Give reasons.
  16. What are the reasons behind NITI Ayog replacing the Planning Commission? Has NITI Ayog made any difference? Evaluate.
  17. Critically analyse the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission. Has it opened new doors for cooperative federalism? Is there any incentive for positive- competitive federalism in the Commission’s report?
  18. State some of the findings of big data analysis in the economic survey 2016 about movement of goods and migration in India. What are the reasons of lack of convergence in socio-economic outcomes in India despite robust figures of internal trade and movement of labour?
  19. Enumerate the problems of agricultural marketing in India and recent government initiatives in this regard? Suggest measures for improvement in agricultural marketing in India.
  20. What is the role and importance of food processing industry in India? Why has India failed to reap the potential of food processing industry? What are the problems inhibiting the progress of food parks in India?
  21. Why PPP model of infrastructure development in India has suffered from poor outcomes? Discuss the main drawbacks of PPP model in India? What is the recommendation of Kelkar Panel in this regard? What are the different service modes in the WTO? What is the recent trend of service export from India? What are the major impediments in making India a major service exporter?
  22. Find the major anomalies in the cropping pattern of India? What steps have been taken by the government of India to remove them?
  23. The social sector in India is suffering from low public expenditure and poor quality of services and outcome. Elucidate. Also critically examine the importance and constraints of introducing user charges in education and health to improve both services and outcomes of social sector.
  24. What are the major impediments in Indian cities working as dynamos for competitive federalism and economic growth? Suggest measures to remove such anomalies.
  25. There is an urgent need for India to rationalize its subsidies to free resources from wasteful consumption to investment in infrastructure and creation of durable assets. Comment. Can JAM trinity be effective in targeting of subsidies and plugging the loopholes?
  26. In the wake of increasing economic nationalism and protectionism in the advance nations, how can India and China play an important role in promotion of free trade and environmental protection? What are the main commitments of India to conform to the WTO rules and United Nations Climatic Convention?
  27. What are the difficulties of measurement of unemployment in India? Discuss suggestions of experts in this regard? Examine the recent trends of unemployment in India and give reasons. Suggest measures to increase labour absorption in India in the manufacturing in particular and industrial sector in general in India. Enlist recent measures initiated by government of India in this regard.
  28. In the wake of falling savings and investment, dwindling GDP, and sluggish global economy, should India continue strict fiscal consolidation? Give arguments.
  29. What are the main features and advantages of GST? Why the Indian format of GST is is considered to be full of anomalies and a half baked tax reform by the critics?


Essay Readings for Mains

Jayaprakash Narayan: Father of dissent and opposition who saved Indian democracy

The month of October is a very special month in the Indian history. It gave birth to three great Indians, viz, Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Jayaprakash Narayan, the first two on the same day, i.e., the October 02.  All the three leaders were great in their own rights. But Jayaprakash Narayan lived longer than the first two leaders to see the apprehensions of Mahatma Gandhi as coming true in free India’s political process. The leaders who inherited the Congress movement after independence and formed a political party with the same name started misusing the aura and association of Congress for authoritarian politics. The Congress Party of India enjoyed the trust of the people of India after independence for a very long time because of its association with the freedom movement.

In fact for an even playing political ground for all political ideologies and parties in free India, Mahatma Gandhi wanted to dismantle the Congress Party, because he apprehended disproportionate political gains to this party due to respect and faith it generates among people due to its association with great values and leaders of freedom movement. Gandhi ji had asked all the top Congress leaders to dissolve the party and form a new organisation to serve the people. He told them that the task of INC was to fight for the freedom and liberation of India from the shackles of the British which was achieved by latter handing over power to the Indians, In a note dated January 27, 1948, three days before he was assassinated, Gandhi wrote that the Congress has “outlived its use” in its present form, should be disbanded and “flower into a Lok Sevak Sangh”. This appeared as an article in Harijan on February 2, 1948, titled ‘His Last Will and Testament’, a phrase added by his associates. Some scholars of Gandhi seem to have uncritically accepted the term ‘last will and testament’. This is also supported by   political scientists Lloyd and Susan Rudolph.

Jayaprakash Narayan witnessed this fear of Mahatma Gandhi coming true, when there was a vicious fight in the Congress Party in the late 1960s and thereafter the phase of emergency when the leaders of the Congress Party tried to suppress opposition and people by use of force who protested against corruption, price rise, and unemployment. Mrs. Gandhi not only used force and police against the opposition but also against the protesting people. She also tried to change the basic structure of the Indian constitution through the 42nd Constitutional amendment. It was during these dark times that a loud voice appeared in the Indian horizon against oppression, and today we know that man as ‘loknayak’ Jayapraksah Narayan! Some short sighted and prejudiced people dub Jayaprakash as an anarchist. Bhagat Singh and Ambedkar and Lohia are also seen by many as disturbing elements. Revolutionaries may appear to some people as anarchist because they endeavour to break the staus quo and fight injustices. Jaya Praksah Narayan deserves to be called the father of “opposition” in Indian politics and also father of only anti establishment movement in post independence period in India, for reminding the establishment that it is neither any political party nor any political institution which is supreme in India, but it is in fact the people who are the sovereigns. The country belongs to people of India. The J P movement as the anti emergency movement is called   made it amply clear that nobody would be allowed to be a dictator or fascist in Indian democracy and the people of India won’t let anybody to be greater than the people and constitution of India. It was a momentous occasion for India when somebody came to guide India to its “tryst with destiny” when the ruling class led by the Congress Party had lost the values and path advocated by the freedom movement. Pakistan is still waiting for its Jayapraksh Narayan. To those who called him an anarchist, one of his popular slogans is a resounding answer- Sach Kehna agar bagawat hai, to samjho hum bhi baagi hain (If speaking the truth is being a traitor, yes then call us a traitor.)!

Born to the blessed couple of a rural area in Bihar named Harsu Dayal and Phul Rani Devi., Jayaprakash Narayan was an Indian independence activist, theorist and political leader, remembered especially for leading the mid-1970s opposition against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, for whose overthrow he called a “total revolution”. Jayprakash Narayan was born on 11 October 1902 in the village of Sitabdiara (now in Saran district of Bihar and Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, India). Sitabdiara is a large village, straddling two states and three districts—Chhapra and Arrah in Bihar and Ballia in Uttar Pradesh..His house was near the banks of the flood-prone Ghagra river in Lala Tola, Bihar. Every time the river swelled, the house would get a little bit damaged, eventually forcing the family to move a few kilometres away to a settlement which is now known as Jayaprakash Nagar and falls in Uttar Pradesh. He came from a kayastha family. In October 1920, Narayan was married to Braj Kishore Prasad’s daughter Prabhavati Devi, a freedom fighter in her own right. After their wedding, since Narayan was working in Patna and it was difficult for his wife to stay with him, on the invitation of Gandhi, Prabhavati became an inmate at the Ashram of Gandhi. Jayaprakash, along with some friends, went to listen to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad speak about the Non-co-operation movement launched by Gandhi against the passing of the Rowlatt Act of 1919. The Maulana was a brilliant orator and his call to give up English education was “like leaves before a storm: Jayaprakash was swept away and momentarily lifted up to the skies. That brief experience of soaring up with the winds of a great idea left imprints on his inner being”. Jayaprakash took the Maulana’s words to heart and left Patna College with just 20 days remaining for his examinations. Jayaprakash joined the Bihar Vidyapeeth, a college founded by Dr. Rajendra Prasad and became among the first students of Gandhian Dr. Anugraha Narayan Sinha.

Enduring adversity for higher education

Jayaprakash Narayan is remembered as a deserving son of a lower rural middle class family, who fought adversities uncomplainingly to continue highr education. He showed through his endurance and courage that no obstacle is bigger than man who is resolute and determined. After exhausting the courses at the Vidyapeeth, Jayaprakash decided to continue studies in the United States. At age 20, Jayaprakash sailed aboard the cargo ship Januswhile Prabhavati remained at Sabarmati. Jayaprakash reached California on 8 October 1922 and was admitted to Berkeley in January 1923. To pay for his education, Jayaprakash picked grapes, set them out to dry, packed fruits at a canning factory, washed dishes, worked as a mechanic at a garage and at a slaughter house, sold lotions and taught.] All these jobs gave Jayaprakash an insight into the difficulties of the working class.

Evolution of Socialist leanings

Jayaprakash was forced to transfer to The University of Iowa when fees at Berkeley were doubled. He was forced to transfer to many universities thereafter. He pursued his favourite subject, sociology, and received much help from Professor Edward Ross. In Wisconsin, Jayaprakash was introduced to Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. News of the success of the Russian revolution of 1917 made Jayaprakash conclude that Marxism was the way to alleviate the suffering of the masses. He delved into books by Indian intellectual and Communist theoretician M. N. Roy. His paper on sociology, “Social Variation”, was declared the best of the year.

Participation in India’s freedom struggle and birth of socialist party of India

Freedom Narayan returned from the US to India in late 1929 as a Marxist. He joined the Indian National Congress on the invitation of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1929; Mahatma Gandhi became his mentor in the Congress. He shared a house at Kadam Kuan in Patna with his close friend and nationalist Ganga Sharan Singh (Sinha) with whom he shared the most cordial and lasting friendship. He won particular fame during the Quit India movement.

After being jailed in 1932 for civil disobedience against British rule, Narayan was imprisoned in Nasik Jail, where he met Ram Manohar Lohia, Minoo Masani, Achyut Patwardhan, Ashok Mehta, Basawon Singh (Sinha), Yusuf Desai, C K Narayanaswami and other national leaders. After his release, the Congress Socialist Party, or (CSP), a left-wing group within the Congress, was formed with Acharya Narendra Deva as President and Narayan as General secretary.When Mahatma Gandhi launched the Quit India Movement in August 1942, Yogendra Shukla scaled the wall of Hazaribagh Central Jail along with Jayaprakash Narayan, Suraj Narayan Singh, Gulab Chand Gupta, Pandit Ramnandan Mishra, Shaligram Singh and Shyam Barthwar, with a goal to start an underground movement for freedom. As Jayaprakash Narayan was ill, Yogendra Shukla walked to Gaya with Jayaprakash Narayan on his shoulders, a distance of about 124 kilometres. He also served as the Chairman of Anugrah Smarak Nidhi (Anugrah Narayan Memorial Fund). Between 1947 and 1953, Jayaprakash Narayan was President of All India Railwaymen’s Federation, the largest labour union in the Indian Railways.

JP Movement and total revolution

Narayan returned to prominence in State politics in the late 1960s. 1974 ushered in a year of high inflation, unemployment and lack of supplies and essential commodities. Nav Nirman Andolan movement of Gujarat asked Jayaprakash to lead a peaceful agitation. On 8 April 1974, aged 72, he led a silent procession at Patna. The procession was lathi charged. On 5 June 1974, Jayaprakash addressed a large crowd at Gandhi Maidan in Patna. He declared, “This is a revolution, friends! We are not here merely to see the Vidhan Sabha dissolved. That is only one milestone on our journey. But we have a long way to go… After 27 years of freedom, people of this country are wracked by hunger, rising prices, corruption… oppressed by every kind of injustice… it is a Total Revolution we want, nothing less!” In 1974, he led the students’ movement in the state of Bihar which gradually developed into a popular people’s movement known as the J.P Movement or Bihar Movement.

It was during this movement that JP gave a call for peaceful Total Revolution. Together with V. M. Tarkunde, he found the Citizens for Democracy in 1974 and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties in 1976, both NGOs, to uphold and defend civil liberties.

Sampoorna Kranti or total revolution

Mrs Indira Gndhi, the then Prime Minster had carried out 2nd amendment of the Indian Constituion to remain in power, but was found guilty of violating electoral laws by the Allahabad High Court. Narayan called for Indira and the CMs to resign and the military and police to disregard unconstitutional and immoral orders. He advocated a program of social transformation which he termed Sampoorna kraanti, “total revolution”. Immediately afterwords, Gandhi proclaimed a national Emergency on the midnight of 25 June 1975. Narayan, opposition leaders, and dissenting members of her own party were arrested that day.

Jayaprakash Narayan attracted a gathering of 100,000 people at the Ramlila grounds and thunderously recited Rashtrakavi Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar”s wonderfully evocative poetry: Singhasan Khaali Karo Ke Janata Aaati Hai. Narayan was kept as detenu at Chandigarh even after he asked for one month parole to mobilise relief in flooded parts of Bihar. His health suddenly deteriorated on 24 October, and he was released on 12 November; diagnosis at Jaslok Hospital, Bombay, revealed kidney failure; he would be on dialysis for the rest of his life. In the UK, Surur Hoda launched the “Free JP” campaign chaired by Nobel Peace Prize winner Noel-Baker for the release of Jayaprakash Narayan. Indira Gandhi revoked the emergency on 18 January 1977 and announced elections.

Birth of opposition Party in true sense in India

Before JP movement was opposition was just for the name sake with no or negligible influence in the political process. The Janata Party, a vehicle for the broad spectrum of the opposition to Indira Gandhi, was formed under JP’s guidance. The Janata Party was voted into power and became the first non-Congress party to form a government at the Centre. On the call of Narayan, many youngsters joined the JP movement. That was really beginning of effective opposition politics in India around many impending political and social issues, which was later articulated as the third front. It is an irony that the contemporary leaders of India who were born in the JP movement,  later forgot J.P’s message of issue based politics and politics for the cause of people with active participation of people in dabate, discussions and protests. It is said that the leaders who were born in JP movement have betrayed  JP’s ideals for power, wealth and vested interests. JP was against authoritarian government, corruption and divisive politics on non-issues. He stood for value and issue based politics.

Here is a compilation of Jayaprakash Narayan’s views on different issues.

 Views on revolution, politics and power

A violent revolution has always brought forth a dictatorship of some kind or the other… . After a revolution, a new privileged class of rulers and exploiters grows up in the course of time to which the people at large is once again subject. Power comes invariably to be usurped by a handful of the most ruthless among the erstwhile revolutionaries when power comes out of the barrel of a gun and the gun is not in the hands of the common people. My interest is not in the capture of power, but in the control of power by the people. It [Communism] did not offer an answer to the question: Why should a man be good?

If you really care for freedom, liberty, There cannot be any democracy or liberal institution without politics. The only true antidote to the perversions of politics is more politics and better politics. Not negation of politics. True politics is about promotion of human happiness.

But at the same time he reminded people of the political degeneration and need for change. Those people who still believe that power and party-politics will be able to do some good are only sucking dry bones. This kind of politics is disintegrating and will continue to do so till one day the disintegration is complete. Then the foundation of a new type of politics will be laid on its ruins and this new politics will be completely different from the old. It will be ‘lokaniti’ or the people’s politics, not ‘Rajaniti’ or the elitist politics. We in the Sarvodaya movement emphasise the initiative of the people — the Lokashakti as against the Rajashakti (the power of the State).

On war, peace and democracy

If cowardly submission, moral degradation was the only alternative, I would not, with the full sense of responsibility, be sitting here and preaching the renunciation of war, the renunciation of army… There is an alternative, not only an alternative, but the only alternative… War leads us into more wars, and then into complete destruction. This alternative of nonviolence is the only answer to the situation the world is facing today. Democracy cannot be made secure and strong without peace. Peace and democracy are the two sides of a coin. Neither of them can survive without the other.

On Non violence

You will tell me that this endless insistence on peaceful means is our Gandhian fad. But let me tell you that no such thing is being foisted on you. It is the strategy of the people’s struggle that dictates this line of action. Your success depends on scrupulous adherence to peaceful means. The other side is ready to commit a hundred acts of violence if you commit one. So please get all these notions of violence out of your heads. Only those who have no faith or confidence in the people or are unable to win the people’s confidence take to violent means. Violence becomes superfluous and harmful where Lokashakti has been aroused, and in the absence of the latter violence proves to be sterile and cruel.

Our means of peaceful settlement like negotiations across the table, good offices, adjudication, arbitration, friendship march and similar methods may succeed, or may fail – but there is no failure for a people who have accepted nonviolence and have prepared themselves to resist whatever evil that might come, with nonviolence.

On materilism and morality

Non-materialism, by rejecting matter as the ultimate reality immediately elevates the individual to a moral plane and urges him to endeavor to realize his own true nature and fulfill the purpose of his being. This endeavor becomes the powerful motive force that drives him in its natural course to the good and the true.

Jayaprakash Narayan Lives on

Jayaprakash Narayan died in Patna, Bihar, on 8 October 1979, three days before his 77th birthday, due to effects of diabetes and heart ailments. But today the space for dissent, discussion and protest in India can be seen as the legacy of J P movement. If such pressures would not be generated, the democracy would lose its capacity to self analysis and course correction. It is apt to remember one of his  remarks, “ My interest is not in the capture of power, but in the control of power by the people. True politics is about promotion of human happiness.”

When today the intellectuals and youth are being silenced by use of force and isolation when they criticize the government policies and methods to tackle people’s protest, we need to remember Jayaparakash Narayan to seek courage and inspiration to break the rampant and widespread culture of silence and indifference of the aspirational middle class. JP was the savior of democracy and we as a nation would ever remain grateful! J. P lives in the heart of peasants, labourers, students and women who think and act to rise against irrationality, superstition and injustice.