Discuss the important aspects of Bismarck’s foreign policy. (10 marks)

Discuss the important aspects of Bismarck’s foreign policy. (10 marks)


  • Write briefly about Bismarck in the introduction
  • List out important aspects of his foreign policy like Military alliances, national interest, pragmatism etc.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Model Answer:

Bismarck was not only a great statesman, he was also a great diplomat. By using his diplomatic skills, Bismarck maintained German dominance in Europe till the time he remained German chancellor. Bismarck’s foreign policy had left a lasting influence on European history.

Important aspects of Bismarck’s foreign policy:

  • Guided by German national Interest:Bismarck tried to protect and promote his national interest both in immediate sense and long term. He wanted to ensure continuation of German dominance in European politics.
  • Opportunistic in nature:He did not follow any particular ideology. He did whatever German national interest required in a particular situation. To this end, he created various alliances like League of three Emperors, Dual alliance, Triple alliance etc.
  • Militaristic outlook:Military alliance forms the crux of Bismarck’s foreign policy. Every dimension of foreign policy revolved around military strength. He developed a system of peace time military alliance. He not only raised a large number of soldiers but also imparted them training in the use of new weapons.
  • Approach of Blood & Iron:There was no sentiment involved in his aggressive foreign policy. Bismarck often used his diplomatic skill not to win an ally but to isolate his target to attack.
  • Pragmatic in nature:Bismarck understood the dynamics of European politics very well. He was aware of convergence and divergence among major European powers. He manipulated political issues such as the Schleswig-Holstein Question and the Hohenzollern candidature to antagonize other countries and cause wars if necessary to attain his goals. Such policies are characteristic of Bismarck, demonstrating a pragmatic view of the real political world.
  • Secretive in nature:His foreign policy was secretive in nature because alliances created by him were never announced publicly. It gradually came into public domain much later. The secret defensive alliance became the very corner stone of Bismarck foreign policy.

Thus Bismarck’s foreign policy was characterized by well defined aims and objectives. Bismarck knew what he was trying to achieve through his foreign policy and because of this, he could implement his design effectively. Through his foreign policy, he maintained German dominance in Europe for more than two decades. No power could challenge German prestige till the time Bismarck was in the office of German chancellor.

Subjects : History – World

Explain with examples the reformative impact of the age of enlightenment in Europe on the despotic rulers of that period. (15 marks)

Explain with examples the reformative impact of the age of enlightenment in Europe on the despotic rulers of that period. (15 marks)


  • Introduce with what is referred to as the Age of Enlightenment in Europe
  • Explain how the rulers were influenced by the philosophy of Enlightenment – like Frederick the Great of Prussia, Catherine the Great of Russia and Joseph II of Austria etc.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Model Answer:

Due to the growing emphasis on reason, the period of the 18th century of European history is called as the age of reason or the age of Enlightenment. In the 18th century, there were many kings and rulers who endeavored to adopt new ideas in the political, economic and social systems of their countries. Thegeneral impact of enlightenment can be seen clearly in the administrative reforms carried out by some of the rulers.

Rulers who were greatly influenced are as follows:

Emperor of Austria: 

  • One of the rulers of Europe who was influenced by the great ideas of Enlightenment philosophers was Emperor Joseph II of Austria.
  • The impact of enlightenment was felt in evolving his administrative system.
  • He was a great admirer of Voltaire and Rousseau. He declared, “I have made philosophy the legislator of my empire; its logical principles shall transform Austria”.
  • His religious reforms were based on his secular attitude. Jews and Protestants were accorded equal rights with Catholics.
  • He removed all privileges enjoyed by the nobles and the clergy, and compelled them to share the burden of taxes like the rest in the society.
  • His greatest act was abolition of serfdomin his empire.

Empress of Russia:

  • Catherinethe Great of Russia was also influenced by the ideas of enlightenment. She considered herself as an enlightened despot.
  • She declared that she was a student of the works of Montesquieu and Blackstone.
  • She was influenced by the writings of Voltaire. She invited Diderot, the famous author of French Encyclopedia, to visit her court.
  • During her time, Russia witnessed the birth of an intellectual class. She founded the famous Smolny Institute in St Petersburg.

The king of Prussia

  • The influence of enlightenment also was felt upon Frederick II the Great of Prussia.
  • He earned fame not only as a great ruler but also as a great intellectual. He was fond of poets, artists and philosophers, and some of these men visited his court.
  • He was immensely influenced by Voltaire and French literature.
  • Frederick restored the glory of the Berlin Academy of Science.
  • He extended religious tolerance despite being a protestant.

Other rulers of Europe:

The Spanish king, Charles III and the Portuguese ruler Joseph I were also influenced by the new trends. Among the other progressive kings of Europe in that period, the remarkable names are Gustav III the king of Sweden and Charles Emmanuel III the king of Tuscany. Those kings were also influenced by the new wave of Enlightenment.

These rulers strove hard for reforms and the establishment of good government. However, they did not propose reforms that would undermine their sovereignty or disrupt the social order.


Subjects : History – World

U.S. ends waiver for India on Iran oil

Headline : U.S. ends waiver for India on Iran oil

Details :

The News

  • Recently, the United States has decided not to issue any additional Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs) to existing importers of Iranian oil.



  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed between Iran and the P5, plus Germany and the EU in 2015, which aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear programme.
  • Under the deal:
    • most of Iran’s enriched uranium was shipped out of the country
    • a heavy water facility was rendered inoperable
    • operational nuclear facilities were brought under international inspection
  • In return, the deal involved lifting of international sanctions on Iran.
  • In May 2018, the United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, citing the below reasons:
    • The deal did not target Iran’s ballistic missile programme.
    • It does not focus on Iran’s nuclear activities beyond 2025.
    • It also leaves Iran’s role in conflicts in Yemen and Syria.
    • According to US, the ‘one-sided deal’ did not bring calm and peace to the region.
  • Later in June 2018, Iran notified IAEA of it’s nuclear enrichment plans.
  • In reaction to this, US announced sanctions on Iran again in November 2018.

Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs)

  • In November 2018, Eight countries (India, China, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, Greece and Taiwan) were given exemptions from US sanctions for importing oil from Iran for a 180-day period, which is due to expire on May 2.
  • Now, the U.S. has clarified that it will not renew exemptions from its sanctions for importing oil from Iran.


Impact of non-renewal of waiver

  • Oil exports from Iran hit a low of 1.0 million bpd in March 2019, down from 2.5 million bpd in April 2018 and is expected to further reduce after the end of waiver.
  • India, China, Japan, South Korea and Turkey will be the most impacted by the non-renewal of waivers.
  • However, the other three currently exempted countries Italy, Greece and Taiwan have already reduced their imports from Iran to zero.
  • Also, the sanctions have provided the U.S. an opportunity to put more of its own crude on the market.


Impact on India

  • The re-imposition of sanctions will impact India’s oil imports and may also surge oil prices in India.
  • It may also impact the development of the Chabahar port (Iran), which has a strategic value for India allowing access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.


Way ahead for India and Iran:

  • Options like the Rupee-Rial trading mechanism can be explored.
  • Opening of Iranian banks in India and Indian banks in Iran could also be considered. This would facilitate movement of money and income between the two countries.





Section : International Relation

Briefly discuss about the different agricultural regions of India. (10 marks)

Briefly discuss about the different agricultural regions of India. (10 marks)


  • Introduce with what agricultural regions represent
  • List out the major agriculture regions of India – subheadings either by region name or crop name
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Agricultural region is an area which represents the quality of agricultural land use and its cropping pattern. It generally depicts similarities in the nature of crops grown, their combination pattern, method of cultivation, average quantum of inputs and orientation of farming activities. Factors like temperature, altitude, rainfall, soils are taken into consideration in determining agricultural regions.

Agricultural regions of India can majorly be categorized as:

  • Temperate Himalayan region: Due to climate and accompanying variation in crop this region is further divided in two sub regions.
    • The Eastern Himalayan Region: This region is wet and the rainfall here is more than 250 cm including Upper Assam, Sikkim and Mishmi hills. It is largely covered with forests. Tea plantationon hill slopes and paddy cultivation in low lands are the major agricultural activities.

  • The Western Himalayan Region– This region is climatically dry and this includes Kullu, Kangra and Kashmir valleys and Garhwal, Kumaon and Shimla hills. Horticulture cropsof apples, almonds and apricots are important in the high land areas. In relatively lower parts and on gentler slopes are cultivated the crops such as potato, maize and paddy.
  • Northern Dry or Wheat region:This region receives a rainfall of less than 75 cm and the soils are alluvial and sandy. Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, UP and western MP are included in this region. Wheat, maize and cotton are the chief crops. Sugarcane and rice are grown in irrigated area.
  • Eastern Wet (or rice) region:This area receives more than 150 cm rainfall. The soil is alluvial in some parts and deltaic in others. It region includes West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, AP, TN, Chhattisgarh and the states of the northeast including Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram. Rice is the staple crop of this region. Other crops include tea, jute and sugarcane.
  • Western Wet Region or Malabar Region:This region includes Kerala, Karnataka and adjoining parts with more than 200 cm rainfall. It is the region of laterite soil. Plantation crops and rice are dominant crops. It produces coconut, cashew nuts, Areca Nut, rubber, pepper and Cardamom. Rice is the dominant food crop of this region also.
  • Southern region or the Millet region: It receives an annual rainfall of 50 to 100 cm and includes parts of MP, AP, western TN, eastern Maharashtra, south Gujarat and parts of Karnataka. The south extreme part of Uttar Pradesh also comes under this region. Soils in this part are partly black and partly laterite and red soil. Jowar, Bajra, Cotton, Ragi, Groundnut and tobaccoare the chief crops of this region. Much of the production of citrus fruits also comes from this region. Coarse grains are the staple food of the large majority of the people of this region.

India is a vast country and is endowed with diverse geographical conditions, and seen above, it enjoys much variety and regional variations in agriculture.


Subjects : Geography

Give an account of the distribution of different types of soils found in India. (15 marks)

Give an account of the distribution of different types of soils found in India. (15 marks)


  • Introduce with some information on formation of soil
  • Mentioning the factors of classification, enumerate various types of soils and give brief description and distribution of each
  • A map of the distribution of soils is a must
  • Conclude appropriately – say talking of the importance of protecting from degradation
Model Answer :

The major factors affecting the formation of soil are relief, parent material, climate, vegetation and other life-forms and time. India has varied relief features, landforms, climatic realms and vegetation types contributing to the development of various types of soil.

On the basis of genesis, colour, composition and location, the soils of India have been classified into various types:

  • Alluvial Soils- These are the depositional soils transported by rivers and streams. They are the predominant type of soil in the northern plains of the country, widespread in the Ganga plains and the river valleys as well as in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat. In the Peninsular region, they are found in deltas of the east coast such as Mahanadi, Godavari and Krishna.
  • Black Soils- These soils are also known as the ‘Regur Soil’ or the ‘Black Cotton Soil’.  This soil is of volcanic origin. Most of the Deccan plateau, including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and some parts of Tamil Nadu, has black soil.
  • Red and Yellow Soils- On the eastern and southern parts of the Deccan Plateau, the Red soil develops on crystalline igneous rocks. These soils are abundant along the eastern slopes of Western Ghats, Telangana, Jharkhand, Odisha,  Chhattisgarh and in the southern parts of the middle Ganga plain.


  • Laterite Soils- The Laterite soils develop in areas with high temperature and high rainfall and are common in the high altitude areas of Peninsular plateau. Laterite soil and is mainly found on the summits of the Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, Rajmahal Hills, Vindhyas, Satpuras and Malwa plateau, thus abundant in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and the hilly areas of Odisha and Assam.
  • Arid Soils- Arid soil, which is sandy and saline, is abundant in arid regions of western Rajasthan.
  • Saline Soils- Saline soils or Usara soils are infertile and have more salts, largely because of dry climate and poor drainage. They occur in arid and semi-arid regions, and in waterlogged and swampy areas. Saline soils are more widespread in western Gujarat, deltas of the eastern coast and in Sunderban areas of West Bengal.
  • Peaty Soils-Peaty soils are found in the areas of heavy rainfall and high humidity, where there is a good growth of vegetation. These soils occur widely in the northern part of Bihar, southern part of Uttaranchal and the coastal areas of West Bengal, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.
  • Forest Soils- Forest soils are formed in the forest areas where sufficient rainfall is available. The soils vary in structure and texture depending on the mountain environment where they are formed.

Soils, their texture, quality and nature are vital for the germination and growth of plant and vegetation including crops. That is why soil is a precious resource and must be preserved from degradation for the sustainability of the planet.


Subjects : Geography

Download Hindi VISION IAS October 2018 Monthly Current Affairs:

Download VISION IAS October 2018 Monthly Current Affairs:


What do you understand by Good Governance? Discuss the main characteristics of good governance. (15 marks)



  • Introduce with the meaning of the term Good Governance.
  • Discuss the key characteristics of good governance.
  • Conclude by pointing out some initiatives taken by the government in this regard.
Model Answer :

The World Bank popularised the concept of Good Governance in the 1990s. It deals with improving both qualitative and quantitative aspect of the governance framework in which the people can achieve their true potential and maximum welfare of the people is realised.

The XII five year plan (2012-2017) defines Good Governance as an essential element of any well-functioning society. It ensures effective use of resources and deliverance of services to citizens and also provides social legitimacy to the system.

As per the UNESCAP, the characteristics of Good Governance are as follows:

  1. Participation: Participation by people of all race, caste, creed, and gender in governance ensures that the rights of citizens are respected and citizens feel obligated towards their duties at the same time.
  2. Rule of Law: This provides a suitable framework for good governance and ensures that human rights are protected and weaker sections feel safe.
  3. Transparency: It is important that the citizens are aware of the functioning of the government. The access to information and its free availability ensures fairness in decision making and implementation.
  4. Responsiveness: The institutions of the government ensure that the citizens are served in a reasonable time frame by removing unnecessary delays in decision making and implementation.
  5. Consensus-Oriented: The diverged interests are reconciled and the consensus is reached for maximum welfare of the society accounting for both short-term and long-term interests.
  6. Equity and Inclusiveness: The government takes care of interests of all its citizens and special care is given for most vulnerable groups such as minorities, SC/STs, women, etc. so that they don’t feel sidelined from the mainstream.
  7. Effectiveness and Efficiency: Good governance calls of optimal utilisation of resources at disposal. The wastage is minimised and sustainable development is encouraged.
  8. Accountability: It is crucial that both public and private institutions are accountable to their stakeholders and uphold the interest of the public at large.

The concept of Good Governance goes beyond the concept of Governance. Over the time the government has taken steps like Constitutionalising Panchayati Raj, formulating Citizens’ Charters, promoting Cooperative Federalism and even celebrating December 25th as “Good Governance Day” each year. The mechanisms and institutions promoting the Good Governance must be strengthened over the time.

Subjects : Governance

India will launch electronic intelligence satellite Emisat on April 1

India will launch electronic intelligence satellite Emisat on April 1

India will launch electronic intelligence satellite Emisat on April 1

Details :

News Summary

  • ISRO will soon launch EMISAT, an electronic intelligence satellite on board PSLV (PSLV-C45).
  • EMISAT will be launched into low earth orbit at the height of 749 km above the surface of the earth.


In focus: EMISAT

  • EMISAT is an electronic intelligence satellite developed by ISRO and DRDO.
  • The 435-kg EMISAT was developed under project KAUTILYA of Defence Electronics Research Laboratory of DRDO.
  • It is basically designed to intercept signals from enemy radars in order to develop effective jamming techniques to counter the enemy radar.
  • Satellite-based electronic intelligence will augment the armed forces to counter radars.
  • It will be launched in a highly elliptical orbit to maximize the dwell time over specific signal recording area.



In brief: Electronic intelligence (ELINT)

  • Electronic Intelligence basically involves interception of signals from radars.
  • Once the signal is intercepted, the ELINT system collects data related to radar signals including its bandwidth, intensity, location from where it is emitted etc creating what is called a RF signature. (Radio frequency)
  • Once the RF signature is created it can be used for locating and identifying the radar in subsequent encounters.
  • It can also help in developing appropriate jamming techniques to counter the radar.
Section : Science & Tech

For a civil servant, which is more important – Technical expertise or Moral values? Give logical arguments in support of your view.

For a civil servant, which is more important – Technical expertise or Moral values? Give logical arguments in support of your view.


  • Introduce with the role of civil services towards serving the society
  • Explain the importance of Technical expertise and Values for a civil servant
  • Evaluate the significance of one vs the other and comment on how both are ideally needed
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Civil servants have special obligations because they are responsible for managing resources entrusted to them by the society, because they deliver services and take important decisions that affect all aspects of society. The society has a right to expect that the civil service functions fairly, impartially and efficiently.

Technical expertise and Values:

To fulfil their obligations in the right spirit and serve the people, civil servants are required to have certain skills, technical expertise, and values.

  • The technical expertise comes with the professional qualification, training, and experience.
  • The values facilitating the subordination of the self to a larger, societal good, and engendering a spirit of empathy for those in need of ameliorative state interventions are inculcated over individual life-times – the ‘right’ ethos takes long to evolve.

Technical expertise vs Values:

  • Technical expertise without moral values is dangerous as civil servants are qualified enough to manipulate things in their favour and hide their wrong doings.
  • A civil servant with good values but low technical expertise will be less efficient but will work in right spirit and will strive to acquire expertise or take help as necessary from the experts.

So, a civil servant with good moral values and low technical expertise is more preferable than one with great technical expertise but poor moral values. However, to fulfil the ethos of public service, a civil servant is required to work efficiently as well empathetically. For this, he is required to have both technical expertise and the right values.

In India, technical expertise of civil servants is at par with developed nations. This comes due to the competition and prioritization of education and training in Indian society. What is required to inculcate ethical values in administration through ethical training and implementing proper code of ethics.


Subjects : Ethics – Administrative

Present an account of the various forms of diversity seen in India. (10 marks)

Present an account of the various forms of diversity seen in India. (10 marks)


  • Introduce by highlighting diversity as a characteristic of India
  • Highlight the major forms of diversity, including religion, race, language etc.
  • Conclude with emphasising on unity in diversity.
Model Answer :

India is considered to be the hotspot of world in terms of diversity. The reason for such diversity could be attributed to the accommodative hospitability of India, culture of tolerance, favourable topography, and our tendency to absorb and synthesize different cultural view points. Since historical times, numerous groups have immigrated from different parts of the world making India their home. For ex- Zoroastrians, Christians, Islam, etc.

There are various elements of diversity in India such as:

  1. Religious Diversity: It is characterised by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. India is the birthplace of four of the world’s major religions i.e. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, while also being home to people of many religions of the world, including a huge population of Muslims and Christians along with Jews, Parsis etc.
  2. Linguistic Diversity: More than 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken in India as mother tongue. There are 121 languages which are spoken by 10,000 or more people in India.
  3. Racial Diversity: India is a place of diverse races, and V. A. Smith rightly called it as “an ethnological museum”. Anthropological Survey of India classified India into 6 racial groups namely Negrito, Proto-Australoids, Mongoloids, Mediterranean, Nordic, etc.
  4. Diversity in Social Life: Indian society is greatly heterogeneous with customs, manners, food, cloth etc. of various regions and sub-regions differing from one another.

While its rich diversity has characterised India and added to its unique status in the world, it has also given rise to various social tensions due to negative forces exploiting the differences leading to communalism, regionalism etc. We should stay guarded against such forces to safeguard our unique practice of “unity in diversity”.

Subjects : Society