Xaam Essay Help

by the 2 highest scorer of CSE 2013, Hemant Rohilla (160/250) and Roman Saini (145/250)

Essay writing forms an important part of many examinations conducted by UPSC. Civil Services Examination is no different. It is meant to be a subjective assessment of one’s personality, one’s reasoning and one’s line of thinking.

I believe Essay writing is both an art as well as a science. Before further discussing Essay Writing, let me first raise the most basic question.

What is expected out of an essay?

Essay is not just a disgorgement of information and facts nor is it a medium to express our attitudes and prejudices through half-baked opinions.

One purpose of an essay could be to test and assess the writing skills of the candidates. Yet equally and even more important purposes that an essay serves are to give an insight into:

  • one’s thinking
  • one’s ability to respond critically and personally to a problem or issue
  • one’s acumen to select and use information to support an argument and
  • to present this argument in a structured and impressive way.

Essay, to put it succinctly, is considered to be a reflection of one’s personality.

What UPSC expects is neither a factual or informative essay nor a highly opinionated one. What is needed is a balanced presentation of ideas related to the given topic substantiated by sound facts and reasoning.

At the same time, it should also be kept in mind that innovativeness, creativity and novelty (in presenting and structuring essay) within the limits of reasonableness is always rewarded.

This year the topic I chose to write the essay on was “Is the Colonial mentality hindering India’s Success?”.

I started off with a fictitious story of atrocities done on 2 tribals by the strongmen of their area in connivance with the Police authorities about 2 decades back and how they are still trying to pick up their lives long after those atrocities were committed.

Even the whole Criminal Justice System seemed to have failed in dispensing justice to them and the Civil Administration had failed miserably in restoring their lives and livelihoods.

Though fictitious but the story I cited was in resonance with the many incidents of caste/class dominance and evil nexus between various powerful lobbies.

After citing this small story, I moved on to explain the biases, prejudices and power structures that are still part of the Administrative structure of our country more so at the lower and middle levels where the poor and the powerless are more often than not at the receiving end of it all.

Then I moved further to a more broader level where I elucidated the dominance of Colonial Mentality in the psyche of a common citizen by citing examples across polity, administration, economics (as Mr. Raghuram Rajan also stated in his address as WEF) and across different levels of the society.

Following are some of the points that I would like to mention as my learnings/take-aways from the essay that I wrote

  1. I did answer the question unequivocally through my essay – Yes, Colonial Mentality is hindering India’s success.
  2. I paid due attention to illustrating what I understood by each and every word of the topic i.e. I did explain Colonial Mentality and how did I evaluate Success in the essay.
  3. I took a practical position by admitting the negatives associated by Colonial Mentality and its presence in modern India. But at the same, whenever I took I critical stand it was solely based on sound evidence and arguments not just opinions or emotional arguments.
  4. Even though I was critical at places, I maintained a positive attitude and tone throughout. I was optimistic and hopeful of the future and suggested ways of getting over the impediments which are hindering our progress and success.
  5. I did not use the story just in the introduction but rather weaved it throughout the entire essay. I connected back to my story in between my arguments and again connected back at the fag end in the conclusion. I gave the direction to the story and finally pointed to the ray of light that still existed at the end of the dark tunnel.
  6. I focused on a limited number of points only – about  5 or 6 in the entire essay.
  7. I took around 50-60 mins to detail out the structure, framework and broad flow of the essay. Also I left around 10 mins towards the end to revise the essay. So I could write only about 1100-1200 words. It reaffirms that quality matters not the quantity.
  8. After the examination, most people anticipated that I must have written on the topic “Science and technology is the panacea for the growth and security of the nation” given my background as a working Research Engineer and an MBA post-grad. However I took an unconventional topic since it appealed to me and I was confident that I would be able to manage it. And the gamble paid off. However I would like to state here that this is not a golden rule to choose a topic different from your area of expertise. But if you are ready to take the risk, this strategy may yield good dividends.
  9. And finally there is not a single proven and uniform formula for everybody to use. Yes, there could be some set of DOs and DON’Ts and certain advices but finally one has to work out one’s own formula based on understanding of one’s strengths and weaknesses.

In the following writeup, I have tried to mention the strategies, techniques and principles that I found useful when I prepared for and wrote essay in the 2013 Civil Services Examination. Application of these principles helped me score 160 marks in the essay paper.

Preparation for the Essay paper

Now comes the point of how to prepare oneself for essay. Frankly speaking, I did not devote much of my time towards essay preparation since I knew that my GS knowledge, my reading habits and a decent command over English would let me stand in a good stead in the Essay paper.

However I did spent time to structure and draw outlines of certain essays which appeared in the last 3 years’ papers. We all suffer from information overload and in an outright attempt to sway the examiner with our knowledge and intellectual prowess, we tend to disgorge everything we know even if it is only remotely linked to the asked theme. In this process we not just deviate from the core theme of the essay and write a number of irrelevant things and waste our precious time during the examination but also end up pestering the examiner.

Thus I realized that more than the content it is the structure, organization and closeness of the content to the asked theme that is important.

However when I look back at my essay preparation strategy I do feel the following readings helped.

  • Regular reading of newspapers – The Hindu, Hindustan Times and Mint
  • Selective reading of EPW articles
  • Selective reading of frontline articles

Then material from various coaching institutes is available which can just be glanced over while looking for something unconventional, interesting and unique. End to end reading of such material would only prove to be a waste of time. So be selective and glean through the material for other than usual information.

Before delving further into the specifics, it is equally important to keep certain qualities of a good essay in mind. A knowledge of these points helped me a lot when I was structuring and organizing my essay and was looking for relevant information closer to the theme that would make the essay a good one.

These 11 qualities act as a filter to filter out grain from the chaff.

11 qualities of a Good Essay


1. Relevance

At every point in the essay, relevance to the given topic needs to be maintained. All key points and their supporting arguments should lend corroborative support to the main argument without deviating in relevance from the core issue at hand.

2. Completeness

An essay should be muti-faceted and should present a holistic and multi-dimensional view of the given topic. The reader of the essay should feel the completeness of the arguments that have been made in the essay.

3. Cohesive

The arguments or main points of the essay should not be haphazard or randomly arranged. They should all stick together to the central theme and give a coherence, direction and purpose to the essay.

4. Sustained

The essay should be well paragraphed i.e. logically arranged in paragraphs. Sub-headings are generally not prescribed in an essay but there should be a sustained focus on the central theme through well drafted paragraphs.

5. Well-organized

Ideally, an essay should have the following three parts:

  • Introduction : provides an insight into what follows.
  • Body : organize points/ideas, arrange sub-arguments.
  • Conclusion : should have a sense of closure and leave something in the mind of reader to think about.

6. Concise

What the examiner desires is a well thought out stream of arguments systematically arranged and rationally substantiated. The arguments should be brief and concise and write only relevant things in the essay.

7. Sign posted

Unless there are suggestive and appropriate sign-posts at the relevant places, there is a danger of getting lost. Thus try to use connectors to connect a paragraph with its preceding and succeeding paragraphs.

8. Specific

Be specific to the extent possible while extending arguments in an essay. Vagueness, arbitrariness and ambiguity are disliked by the reader. While quoting specific data or general statement, understand the relevance and appropriateness of the context. Take the pain to explain

and connect the quote or statement to the main argument. Always put the quotes in inverted commas. Mis-quoting can be disastrous.

While quoting quotes in regional languages, write its English essence after it, like done by Finance Minister Chidambram in his budget speeches while quoting Thiruvalluvar.

9. Analytical/Critical thinking

Independent opinions based on sound facts and analysis and critical unbiased analyses are always appreciated by the examiner.

10. Explanatory

The arguments, though concise and relevant, should serve to explain their core point to the reader.

11. Fluently paced

Finally, the reader should not feel bored and disillusioned while reading the essay. The arguments should be so arranged and spaced out that the reader should get the thrill out of reading the essay as if he is reading some detective novel. The essay should strive to maintain an urge in him to finish reading the whole piece with heightened interest and in one go.

I would now stress on two important sections of the essay which are I consider as the most important : The Introduction and the Conclusion.

A well written and insightful introduction would lead the reader into reading the essay with much interest and heightened curiosity whereas an apt conclusion would leave a savory taste in his mouth which would lead to good scores in the Essay paper.


Some of the important characteristics that make an introduction appealing are

  • Its relevance to the given topic.
  • It should be interesting and captivating.
  • It should suggestive of the direction of the central theme of the essay.
  • If possible, it should give a hint regarding the conclusion.

There could be different ways to write an introduction. I explored the web, read a few articles, read a few essays and finally zeroed on the following suitable ways of starting an essay.

– Starting with a General Statement

A General Statement followed by specific statements is very common way of starting essay. I would say more than 70-75% candidates start their essay in this manner.

– Start with a Quote

However the Quote should be relevant and should be used in a proper context. Around 20-25% candidates use this method to write the introduction of an essay.

– Starting with an anecdote

Anecdote is short story – it may be fictitious as well. But it should be relevant, moving and interesting. This is a novel way of starting essay. I used a fictitious but real life resembling story to start my essay this year.

– Conversational Introduction

Another way to start an essay could be through  a conversation, a predicament or by raising a question. Thereafter this conversation could be carried further by explaining it or extending it further in between the arguments.

– Writing the conclusion itself in the introduction is another unique way

For example if one is to write on ‘Globalization & Indian culture’, then introduction could start by  saying – ‘Globalization has corrupted my culture.’ And in this context arguments could be extended further in the essay.

– Asking Rhetorical Questions

‘Are we Indians really hypocrites?’. This could be an interesting but difficult way to start an essay.

Conclusion of the Essay is one another extremely important area which should be given appropriate attention. Afterall it is only towards the end that the examiner would be giving marks to the essay.

A conclusion should not just give ‘a closure’ to the essay but should also impart a ‘sense of closure’ to the essay. That is one should close the discussion without closing it off totally.

sense of closure could be ensured by supporting conclusion with a quote which amplifies the argument or by giving wider implications for the argument.

Arguments should not be repeated in conclusion and the tone should not be apologetic. Rather one should demonstrate decisiveness in conclusion, be assertive and positive.

Following are some of the important points that are generally rewarded in a conclusion. Conclusion should

  1. show that you have answered the main theme
  2. show wider implications of your subject
  3. leave something in the mind of reader to think about
  4. NOT be a mere repetition of the introduction
  5. NOT be a two line statement as if there is nothing else to write
  6. NOT introduce a fresh argument

Following are the various strategies that could be used for writing a conclusion

  1. Echoing the introduction eg. If started with a story connect back to it
  2. Directing the reader (into a direction)
  3. Looking into the future (beneficial for all of us in the future)
  4. Posing questions

When I was preparing for the essay, I was told about the following 6 Ps that are crucial for a good essay. And in addition to the above specified 11 characteristics of a good essay the following 6 Ps equally serve as lampposts for writing a good essay.

1. Presentation

Neatness & Clarity straightaway appeal to the reader and can help you maximize score with the same quality of content. Margins, legibility, handwriting, indenting are all essential elements of presentation.

2. Proper selection of subject

It is generally suggested that one should select a topic that is different from one’s area of expertise/background. But this may not be the golden rule always.

The golden rule is that one should understand the context in which the theme of the essay has been set. In essay essay topic, there is a broad theme that is essentially present and needs to be understood and addressed.

3. Planning

Planning is an important part of essay writing. Planning involves structuring, arranging, writing

and revising. It is generally suggested that the last 4 pages of the answer sheet may be used for drafting and structuring the essay.

4. Proportion

Dividing one’s time between the Introduction, Main Paragraphs and Conclusion is equally important. Generally prescribed times are : 1/6th of the time to structure, 3/4th to write and 1/12thfor revising the essay.

5. Perspicuity

Clarity of expression and uninterrupted and logical flow of thoughts in paragraphs are another requirements of a good essay.

6. Persuasiveness

The tone of the essay should be assertive and generally positive. Though one can be objectively critical at times but positivity and optimism should ooze out from the essay.

Finally I would like to sum it up.

Introduction to the essay should be insightful. It should directly relate to the given topic. Content should be rich, coherent and should all point towards the desired theme. Conclusion should again be insightful. All the points in the essay should contribute towards one single theme. Paragraphs should be in continuity.

While detailing out the points in the content, expand the topic and identify the underlying issue. Reach to a more broader level without compromising on the overall focus of the essay.

Essay length could be about 1200 -1500 words. Each paragraph may contain 8-9 sentences. Introduction/conclusion could take 1-2 paragraphs each. Take the first 15 minutes to understand the topic and the last 15 minutes for revising.

Source – unacademy 

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If the rate of inflation increases from low level to moderate level in USA, which of the following consequence(s) are likely to occur?

  1. Higher policy rate by US Federal Reserve
  2. Inflow of funds to the financial markets of USA
  3. Lower rate of unemployment in USA
  4. Higher rate of employment in India
  5. Inflow of funds from USA to Indian financial markets

Answer codes:

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 4 and 5
  3. Only 1, 2 and 3
  4. Only 1, 4 and 5

HINT: Philips curve: inverse relation between rate of inflation and rate of unemployment. Higher inflation is countered by Higher policy rates = inflow of foreign investors to get better returns. Topic is in news because of Steel import duty hike by President Trump and its possible consequences on USA and Indian economy.

Q. The Economic Survey 2017-18’s cover page is designed in _ _ _ color, for highlighting the need to_ _ _ .

  1. Green: Promote sustainable development in India by
  2. Pink: Prevent neglect of girl child in India.
  3. Pink: End violence against women across continents.
  4. Green: focus on agriculture and doubling farmers’ income by 2022.

HINT: The latest economic survey observed that (1) Per capita income or development levels wise NE < Punjab & Haryana, yet NE better on Gender indices. So, development is not an ‘antidote’ to gender inequality. (2) Sex selective abortion and neglect of girl child= results in 63 million missing women(3) Son meta preference i.e couples will not stop breeding till a son is born = 21 Million “unwanted girls”- They’re neglected in food & education. So, by reading all this, you maybe tempted to tick #2 but the preface of latest survey specifically mentions that “The color of this year’s survey cover was chosen as a symbol of support for the growing movement to end violence against women, which spans continents.”

Q. Which of the following is most suitable system(s) for sending payment orders between a domestic Indian bank and an overseas bank who don’t have direct account relationship with each other?
  1. IFSC: Indian Financial System Code
  2. SFMS: Structured Financial Messaging System
  3. SWIFT: Society for worldwide interbank financial telecommunications
  4. NEFT / RTGS

Answer codes:

  1. 1 combined with 4
  2. only 2
  3. only 3
  4. None of the given

HINT: SFMS is an Indian payment messaging similar to SWIFT. Just like BHARAT stage emission standard (BS-III, IV etc.) is Indian standard similar to Euro fuel standard. To send money via NEFT / RTGS, both banks need to have installed SFMS messaging system. However in this particular question, SWIFT is a more suitable and globally accepted system. Topic is in news because PNB didnot integrate its SWIFT system with Core Banking solution (CBS) system, hence Nirav Modi could do the scam.

Q. Find correct pairs:

  1. Letter of Undertaking (LoU): Domestic bank’s guarantee for its customer to raise short term loans in foreign currency from a different bank located in a foreign country.
  2. Letter of Comfort (LoC): Domestic bank’s guarantee for its customer to raise short term loans in foreign currency from its subsidiary bank or overseas branch located in a foreign country.
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

HINT: This too is in news because of PNB scam. Both statements are right. Even if you know LoU, you couldn’t tick the right answer without knowing the absolute definition of LoC. So, the lesson here is not to push the luck unnecessarily through ‘guessmaster-giri’.

Q. What is / are the primary objective(s) behind drafting Economic Offenders Bill, 2018?

  1. Economic offenders who scam poor rural families through chit-funds, ponzy schemes and frauds in cooperative banks.
  2. Economic offenders who scam gullible urban investors through penny stocks, dabba-trading, cryptocurrency and other financial instruments.
  3. Economic offenders who flee from Indian jurisdiction.
  4. Both 1 and 2

HINT: This bill aims to deter economic offenders from fleeing India, otherwise their properties will be confiscated by special court. It covers economic offences where amount involved is 100 crore rupees or more. The amount is kept high to prevent unnecessary workload on the special courts.

Q. Which of the following country is the first to launch a sovereign cryptocurrency (in 2018, March)?

  1. Venezuela (Petro)
  2. Micronesia (Micro)
  3. Kiribati (Kiro)
  4. Marshall Islands (Sov)

HINT: It’s a Pacific Island nation, whose capital is Majuro. To learn more about Bitcoins & Cryptocurrency, watch my lecture.

Q. Which of the following Committee(s) are associated with digital payments?

  1. Sudarshan Sen (RBI Executive Director)
  2. Ratan Watal Committee (Ex-Finance Secretary)
  3. Chandrababu Naidu Committee to PM

Answer codes:

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. All of them

HINT: Ratan Watal Committee (2016): Medium term recommendations to strengthen digital payment ecosystem. C.Babu Naidu chief ministers’ Committee to PM to promote digital payment (2017). Sudrashan Sen Committee was setup by RBI to study regulatory issues relating to FinTech and Digital Banking in India (Report published in 2018, February). It’s a GK-ish question, no need to loose sleep if you can’t solve- particularly if it’s your first attempt in UPSC. To learn more about Digital Payment systems, watch my lecture.

History / Culture

Q. Find incorrect pair(s) of notable personalities from North East India.

  1. Bir Bikram Kishore Bahadur: Last king of Tripura State before its merger with India.
  2. Rani Gaidinliu: Last queen of Manipur state before its merger with India.
  3. Kanaklata Barua: Assamese girl who was shot dead while hoisting flag during Quit India Movement.
  4. None of the above.

HINT: Topic in news because the newly elected BJP government of the Tripura state wishes to install statue of Bir Bikram. Gaidinliu was not a queen, it was a title given to her by Jawaharlal Nehru for her courage despite life imprisonment by the British. So, it’s not a trivial-GK question, you’re supposed to know her as a prominent freedom fighter of North-East India, under the history portion- even if you don’t know about Bir Bikram or Kanaklata.

Q. Which of the following concepts / terms are associated with Shankaracharya’s “Advaita Vedanta”?

  1. Monoism
  2. Non-dualism
  3. God without attributes
  4. All of the above

HINT: Topic in news because Kanchi Mutt (Kerala)’s 69th Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi passed away in March 2018. All terms correctly associated, read my article for more.

Q. Which of the following has / have banned the movie “Padmavat” over concerns regarding ‘sensitivities of Islam’.

  1. Pakistan
  2. Malaysia
  3. Iran
  4. All of the above

HINT: This country organizes Sultan Azlan Shah Cup for hockey. Curiously, Pakistan censor board has approved the movie.


Q. Recently, BJP made history by unseating five-term incumbent CPM in Tripura. Find correct statement(s) related to the geography and polity of this state:

  1. Tripura’s tribal areas fall under the fifth schedule of our Constitution.
  2. Tripura shares international boundary with both Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  3. Tripura falls under the territorial jurisdiction of Guwahati High court.
  4. None of the above

HINT: This is not a trivial GK question. Itni Polity and Geography maalum honi chaahiye.

Q. Which of the following countries doesn’t / don’t have term limits on their Presidents?: (1) Russia (2) China (3) India (4) France (5) USA.

  1. only 1, 2 and 3
  2. only 2 and 3
  3. only 1, 4 and 5
  4. only 1, 2, 3 and 4

HINT: It’s a simple question but often candidate make silly mistakes in simple questions. Read carefully – whether you’re asked to identify “term-limit-walle” nations or infinite-terms-walle nations! Topic in news because 11th Jingping’s term limit is removed.

Q. In the “NGO Common Cause vs Union of India” judgement on Euthansia, Hon’ble Supreme Court has _ _ _ :

  1. Permitted Passive euthanasia of terminally-ill patient, IF he/she had prepared “Advanced directive” (Living will).
  2. Permitted Active euthanasia of terminally-ill patient, IF medical board certifies that patient is in incurable pain, and relatives are unable to bear treatment expenses.
  3. Permitted Active euthanasia of terminally-ill unconscious patient, in the absence of a “Living will”, IF relatives obtain permission from High court.

Answer codes:

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 1 and 3
  3. Only 1
  4. Only 3

HINT: Passive euthanasia means: switching off life-support machines, disconnecting a feeding tube, not carry out a life-extending operation, not giving life-extending drugs. Whereas, Active euthanasia means doctor giving lethal injection to kill the patient. Now ‘guess’ what would SC allow?


Q. Government has constituted N. Chandrashekar (Tatasons) taskforce to study the applications of Artificial intelligence (AI) in:

  1. Governance and administration
  2. Diplomacy and international relations
  3. Banking and Financial sector
  4. Defense

HINT: Department of Defence Production setup this taskforce in 2018, February. तो सोचो, कौन से विषय पे बनाया होगा?

Q. DoT (Department of Telecommunication) has issued directives for “13 digit mobile numbers”. These numbers are meant for:

  1. Inter-embassy communication
  2. Defense communication
  3. Inter-bank communication
  4. M2M (Machine to Machine) communication

HINT: M2M is a cellular network-driven remote communication between two machines for automation needs e.g. swipe machines, cars, electricity meters etc. Presently M2M communication is done via ordinary 10 digits mobiles, but DoT has ordered that M2M systems must shift to 13 digits SIM cards before July 1, 2018.

Q. “Starlink” is a project by _ _ _ to provide low-cost internet access on a global scale using constellation of 4000 satellites:

  1. Google
  2. Facebook
  3. Space-X
  4. NASA

HINT: It’s a private space company which uses FALCON-9 rockets and PAZ Satellites.

Q. What is the objective of “RISE” scheme announced in Budget-2018?

  1. Scholarship for girls pursuing higher education or vocational training courses.
  2. Subsidized loans for women-only SHGs.
  3. Grants for improving the infrastructure of centrally funded institutes for higher education.
  4. Loans for improving the infrastructure of centrally funded institutes for higher education.

HINT: Budget-2016 provided for Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) to give loans to government educational institutes for improving infrastructure. Budget-2018 provided for Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) with total target of 1 lakh crore for next four years (2022). This scheme will be implemented by HEFA, and IITs will receive the largest chunk of loans.

Environment and Agriculture

Q. Find correct statement(s) about International Solar Alliance (ISA):

  1. It’s the brainchild of India and France, launched during the sidelines of Paris Summit 2015.
  2. The first ISA-summit was held in Mahatma Mandir at Gandhinagar, Gujarat in 2018.
  3. ISA membership is open to only the countries whose entire area is between Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
  4. All of the above.

HINT: First summit held at Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi (2018). Even countries that lie partially at Cancer / Capricorn can become member- otherwise Northern part of India is outside the tropic of Cancer, toh hum khud kaise founding-member ho sakte hai!?

Q. Both at the Paris Summit 2015 and at the ISA-summit 2018, India has pledged to generate 175 gigawatts GW of electricity from renewable energy sources. What is the internal-composition of this target?

  1. 120GW Solar + 40GW Wind + 10GW Biomass + 5GW Small Hydro = 175GW
  2. 100GW Solar + 50GW Wind + 20GW Biomass + 5GW Small Hydro = 175GW
  3. 100GW Solar + 60GW Wind + 10GW Biomass + 5GW Small Hydro = 175GW
  4. 100GW Solar + 60GW Wind + 10GW Small Hydro + 5GW Biomass = 175GW

HINT: It’s beyond our ‘aukaat’ to generate more than 5GW from small hydro and more than 10 GW from Biomass.

Q. Burning of crop residues is one of the reasons for the high level of air pollution in Delhi. What did Budget-2018 provide in this regard?

  1. Funds for Haryana, Punjab, Uttarpradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and NCT of Delhi.
  2. Subsidies for purchase of machinery for in-situ and ex-situ management of crop residue.
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

HINT: Hill-states are not in purview of this scheme. Subsidy only for the ‘in-situ’ machinery. i.e. machines which can be used on the farm to manage the crop residue such as Zero Till Seed Drill, Happy Seeder, Straw Baler, Rotavator, Paddy Straw Chopper/ Mulcher, Gyro Rake, Straw Reaper, Shredder, etc.

Q. Find correct statement(s) about the cart-racing sport “Kambala”:

  1. It’s associated with the state of Kerala.
  2. Kambala cart-racing is done only with Bullocks.
  3. This animal sport is exempted from the purview of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act.
  4. All of the above.

HINT: Jallikattu (bull-taming) sport is Tamilnadu, Kambala (buffalo cart racing) is Karnataka and Anayottam race (elephants) is Kerala. President of India has given assent to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017 to exempt folk sports like Kambala buffalo cart racing from the ambit of the PCA Act, 1960. (Topic in news during 2018, February when presidential assent was given.)

Q. What is “Trait-fee” in context of Bt-Cotton in India?

  1. It’s a type of royalty that seed companies pay to the patent holder for using his technology / invention.
  2. It’s a type of ‘add-on’ fee that farmer has to pay, IF he wants seeds customized with special-properties as per his requirement.
  3. It’s the fee that GM-seed companies have to pay in government’s “environment protection fund”.
  4. It’s a fake news, there is no such thing called “Trait fee” (in other words”none of the above”)

HINT: 2002: India allowed commercial cultivation of Bt-Cotton. Monsanto has given production rights to DESHI companies for its patented Bollgard II cotton seed technology (which uses ‘cry1Ac’ and ‘cry2Ab’ Bt genes). But to use this technology, the DESHI companies have to pay royalty fee or “trait fee” to Monsanto. 2016: Government setup a 9-member Committee for deciding maximum sale price (MSP) of Bt-cotton seeds. 2018: This Committee recommended cut in the trait-fee and overall BT-cotton seed prices because: 1) to bring seed price-uniformity across states 2) Bt Cotton’s ability to resist pink bollworm pest attacks had weakened, so now it doesn’t merit a very high royalty fee or trait fee.


Q. Find correct statement(s) about Exercise “Milan-2018” which was held in 2018, March?

  1. It’s a biennial naval exercise held in Andaman & Nicobar islands.
  2. Australia, Malaysia and Maldives were among the participating countries.
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

HINT: Maldives rejected invitation this exercise. First statement is correct.

Q. Find correct pairs about the sport-persons in news during Q1-2018:

  1. Aruna Budda Reddy: First Indian to win medal (bronze) at Gymnastics World Cup-2018, Melbourne. She hails from Hyderabad.
  2. Manu Bhaker: Youngest Indian to win medal (gold) at 10m women air pistol at International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup-2018, Mexico. She hails from Haryana.
  3. Jhulan Goswami: first woman cricketer to claim 200 wickets in one-day internationals.
  4. Prakash Padukone: first person to win Lifetime Achievement Award of Badminton Association of India (BAI).
  5. Roger Federer: second oldest player to win Australian Open Grand Slam.
  6. All correct.

HINT: For faster revision, all correct. Ken Rosewall, won 1972 Australian Open at 37 years 63 days while Federer was 36 years old.

Q. Find correct pairs of books authored by national leaders

  1. The Governance of China Vol.2: Xi-Jinping
  2. Exam Warrior: Narendra Modi
  3. The Art of Deal: Donald Trump
  4. All of the above

HINT: First book published in 2017-November, Second book in 2018-February. In Exam warrior, Modi gives “25 Mantras” to students for reducing exam stress. Hence in news.

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