1. Prologue
  2. Brainstorming & Padding up
  3. Intro: Definition / Origin
    1. Body#1: Atrocities Act
    2. Body#2: Forest Rights Act (FRA)
  4. Conclusion
  5. Afterthoughts / Pitfalls


  • Now that the idiocy regarding Prelim-2018 Answerkey is over, time to move on and revive the Article series for Art of Answer-writing & Model Answers for UPSC Mains. You can access those articles at mrunal.org/mains
  • Till now, I had solved the first nine questions of UPSC Mains GSM1 (2017).. Here I’ll solve the 10th:

Q10. What are the two major legal initiatives by the State since Independence, addressing discrimination against Scheduled Tribes (STs) (150 words, 10marks, asked in UPSC Mains 2017 GS1)?

स्वतंत्रता के बाद अनुसूचित जनजातियो (एस.टी) के प्रति भेदभाव को दूर करने के लिए, राज्य द्वारा की गयी दो मुख्य विधिक पहेलें क्या है?

Brainstorming & Padding up the answer

  • It’s a difficult question because if you had to write 4-5 reforms, you could fillup 150 words by writing two lines on each. But you’ve to mention only two reforms, hence for each of them you need atleast 4 lines.
  • It’s easy for me to google acts and write elaborate the legal provisions in individual FRA / PESA act, but in real examhall, you can’t recollect that much from memory. Hence better pad-up the answer by following ways:
  1. Write lengthier introduction wherein we give both definition of ST as well as origin of the problem (i.e. why legal steps had to be taken because if there was a “Ram Rajya” already in place, then there was no need for any special laws for them.)
  2. Secondly, while describing individual law, again write a preamble / elaborate on why such law had to be made- to pad-up the answer.

UPSC Mains model Answer writing

Introduction: Definition / Origin

As such there are three primary ways to introduce an answer: 1) Define 2) Origin 3) Data. You can pad the answer by giving both Definition of ST + Origin of their problems which necessitated the enactment of laws.

  • (Definition) Scheduled Tribes (STs)(#) are social groups recognized by the Indian Constitution for their primitive traits, distinctive culture, shyness of contact with the community at large and geographical isolation. [AND / OR]
  • (Origin of the Problem) Since ancient times, Scheduled Tribes (STs)(#) resided in distinctive habitats in the hill and forest areas. But due to the commercial interests of the British empire, moneylenders and outsiders, their land rights and forest rights were alienated. Consequently, majority of them suffer from the problems of health, nutrition, education and income.
  • After independence, Government of India undertook following legal initiatives to address aforementioned problems:

(#) When mentioning the abbreviation for the first time, you should give its full form, as I’ve done with the ST.

Body#1: Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 (अत्याचार निरोधक अधिनियम )

The STs in particular, face following atrocities namely- denial of forest rights, preventing candidates from filing of nomination in election, accusation of witchcraft, disrobing of women and sexual harassment, defiling their sacred places and forest deities, imposing social or economic boycott, abusing them through words, acts or gesture. (SEE? I again padded up the answer by providing ‘preamble / motive’ behind this act, instead of directly writing the salient features.)

This act aims to prevent and punish all such atrocities against the SCs and STs by persons other than the SCs and STs. Notable features are:

  1. Special court has to finish the trial within two months.
  2. Presumption to the offences i.e. If the accused knew the victim, then court will presume that the accused was aware of victim’s tribal identity unless proved otherwise. [गुनाहों के बारे में अनुमान]
  3. Willful negligence of public servants also punishable. [जानबूझकर लापरवाही]
  4. Protection to the victim and witnesses;
  5. Stringent punishment for the convict. Relief and rehabilitation for victim and his/her family.

Body#2: Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006 [वन अधिकार अधिनियम]

This act provides 1) individual rights and 2) community rights to the forest dwellers.

#1 individual rights (व्यक्तिगत अधिकार)

Under this act, Land titles (Pattas) are given to the forest dwellers, if they have been cultivating for generations (75 years to be precise) The benefits are as following:

  1. Forest / revenue officials can neither evict them nor destroy their crop from that particular area.
  2. Possession of land title makes the STs eligible for agricultural credit with interest subvention, Kisan Credit card. This saves them from the clutches of moneylenders. They also become eligible for various government schemes for seeds, fertilizers, farm inputs, crop insurance and MSP. (#)
  3. With help of such land titles and agriculture schemes- the STs become less inclined to practice Shifting cultivation (“Jhumming”). They settle down at one place, and thereby further encroachment inside the forest area is prevented. Thus, the act indirectly protects environment and biodiversity.

(#) Here often candidates enthusiastically name all the specific Government schemes to padup the answer but it leaves poor impression on the evaluator that “candidate has deviated from the original question, and writing things as if it’s a question about agriculture schemes”. So, just narrate the schemes in generic name.

#2: community rights (सामुदायिक अधिकार)

  • FRA act also provides community rights over the minor forest produce (लघु वन-उपज), pastoral land, fisheries in ponds and other water bodies. This prevents the coaching Forest contractor mafia and feudal elements from exploiting the resources in connivance with local officials.
  • Under FRA, Gram Sabha and its forest rights committee has the decision making power to identify the beneficiaries for aforementioned (1) individual land rights (2) community rights.
  • This also reduces discretion and bribery by Patwari / Tehsildar / Range Forest officer etc. in the implementation of this act.

As such FRA act can be summed up in single line: 1) land titles and 2) community rights. But for padding the answer till 150-250 words, you’ve to elaborate like above- by connecting the dots with land title to agro-schemes and how it helps tribal people.


  • Since independence number of constitutional, legal and administrative initiatives have been taken for the protection and betterment of STs.
  • Among them, the prevention of atrocities act and FRA act can be hailed as the two biggest legal initiatives since the former protects STs from harassment and the latter promotes their advancement by giving them rights over their jal-jangal-zameen (water-forest-land).

Mind the spelling– when you connect ideas: A with X and B with Y then its formerlatter (not later or letter)

Afterthoughts / Pitfalls in Answer Writing

  • Conclusion ends at positive note. Don’t insert random thought that ’but these legal initiatives have to be backed with Administrative will of local officials…etc.” UPSC asked you only to enumerate the acts / benefits. UPSC didnot ask you here “to critically examine” to what extent have they improved the lives of STs and what else needs to be done!
  • Above content is ~400 words. But in real exam, you cannot recall that much so automatically it’ll compress down to 150 words. Besides for such small question (150 words), a conclusion is rather unnecessary, IF you’ve covered the matter in sufficient manner in the body itself.
  • I could have used PESA Act [ Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996]. But PESA only benefits the STs living in the fifth scheduled areas, whereas FRA benefits the ST living in any forest areas (except J&K). So, in terms of “Major-ness” : FRA > PESA. Besides, here examiner asked about “acts against discrimination”, so PESA is poor fitting option in that context as well. FRA fits because STs residing in forest areas were denied land rights unlike the people living in revenue villages, so there is discrimination angle.
  • Ofcourse, FRA is not free of criticism. The act is not implemented in letter and spirit, due to lack of political connivance with mining-mafia and apathy of local bureaucracy. But as said earlier, we’ve to enumerate only theoretical benefits / significance. We are not asked to ‘examine critically’.
  • For UPSC you should prepare current affairs upto 1 calendar year i.e. for CSE-2017, you should prepare WEF 1/1/2016. Atrocity act was made in ’89 but amendment in 2015 and those new features came into effect from 26th January 2016. So, not a random question falling from sky per se. It was in news.
  • But, this particular question is more suitable for Mains GS Paper-II which has explicit syllabus point “Mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for protection of vulnerable sections”. Whereas in GS Paper-I, syllabus point is “Social Empowerment”- so For paper-1, they should have asked about tribal welfare in a grander and more abstract way. But anyways, both the papers were on the same days so you can’t say “ये चीज पढने के लिए टाइम नही मिला था!”