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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 15, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 15, 2016


This is a new feature. As feedback from our side on your answers is missing, we thought of providing detailed synopsis of important Secure questions on daily basis so that you could revise our synopsis and compare it with your answers. We intend to post synopsis of Secure questions every next day of posting questions on website. 

You must write answers on your own and compare them with these synopses. If you depend on these synopses blindly, be sure of facing disaster in Mains. Until and unless you practice answer writing on your own, you will not improve in speed, content and writing skills. Keep separate notebooks for all GS papers and write your answers in them regularly. Now and then keep posting your answer on website too (Optional).  Some people have the tendency of copying content from others answers and pasting them in a document for each and every question. This might help in revision, but if you do not write on your own,  you can’t write a good answer in real exam. This is our experience at offline classes. We have seen many students who think they were regularly following Secure, yet fail to clear Mains. So, never give up writing. 

Also never give up reviewing others answers. You should review others answers to know different perspectives put forth by them, especially to opinion based questions. This effort by us should not lead to dependency on these synopses. This effort should be treated as complimentary to your ongoing writing practice and answer reviewing process. 

These synopses will be exhaustive – covering all the points demanded by question. We will not stick to word limit. You need to identify most important points and make sure these points are covered in your answer. Please remember that these are not ‘Model Answers’. These are just pointers for you to add extra points and to stick to demand of the question – which you might have missed while answering. 

As you might be aware of, this exercise requires lots of time and energy (10 Hours), that to do it on daily basis! Your cooperation is needed to sustain this feature.

Please provide your valuable feedback in the comment section to improve and sustain this initiative successfully. 

General Studies – 1;


Topic: Urbanization – problems and remedies

1) What are the components of an Intelligent Transport System (ITS)? Discuss the potential and challenges of adopting ITS in Indian cities. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Components of Intelligent Transport System (ITS)

An Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) improves transportation safety and mobility and enhances productivity through the use of advanced communications technologies.
The system include wide range of wireless and wire line communications based information and electronic technologies.

  1. traffic signal control – Smoother flow of traffic, Shorter waiting period is achieved – Algorithm based traffic light
  2. transit management – Automatic vehicle tracking system, computer aided bus dispatch system to maintain correct timings
  3. e- fare payment –
  4. e – toll payment – Using RFID and other tags, reduces waiting period. Reduces vehicular emission
  5. incident management – Dynamic message signboards (intimate slow progress, accidents on the way, etc)
  6. traveler information services – through various platforms like TV, internet, social media to plan the trip etc
  7. emergency management services
  8. Railway crossing system

Potentials of ITS

  1. Can be integrated into Smart city mission and AMRUT
  2. Reduces vehicular pollution, saves fossil fuel due to shorter distance, less traffic jams, time management
  3. Women safety – Through GPS tracking, CCTV monitoring and online surveillance through integrated monitoring system
  4. Improves quality of life – Reduces wastage of time in traffic jams, unavoidable routes, waiting in bus stations.
  5. Spillover effect – Smart phones, safety apps for women, travel planner —Boost tourism in India
  6. Reduces road accidents, better compliance of traffic rules, better fine collection and reduction of corruption in fine collection with the aid of CCTV cameras (Photo proof for traffic violation through CCTV)


  1. Shortage of funds – Extensive IT and electronic network needed for ITS
  2. Haphazardous growth of Indian cities, with mazes of roads without proper planning – Difficult to implement
  3. Under developed road network without last mile connectivity – Difficult to track vehicle time
  4. Digital divide – Majority of the people are not tech savvy, specially in semi urban areas
  5. Lack of coordination between department and stake holders – Difficult to achieve integration
  6. Pressure for maintaining status quo – Increased scrutiny of work after implementation of ITS, discourages the vested interests to promote and use them
  7. Upgradation of IT infrastructure is necessary. Qualified personnel to manage is also lacking. Need training of personnel to implement ITS successfully.

General Studies – 2

Topic:Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

2) Critically analyse the merits and demerits of Section 7 and 57 of the Aadhaar Bill. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Under Section 7, the Bill gives the government sweeping powers to make Aadhaar mandatory for a wide range of facilities and services. 

Section 57 enables the government to impose Aadhaar identification in virtually any other context, subject to the same safeguards as those applying to Section 7.

Merits of Section 7

  1. ADHAAR as the universal mode to deliver services is efficient. Multiple identification cards breeds ambiguity, difficult to manage and track and may lead to leakages due to loopholes – All these can be eliminated by using ADHAAR.
  2. Helps in integrated approach in service delivery with better inter ministerial coordination – with the use of ADHAAR as the universal id proof for service delivery
  3. If it is universally adopted (after integrated with JAM trinity) lead to Cashless society — Reduction in fake currency, reduced corruption, reduced interface between Govt.official and citizens, increased speed in service delivery

Merits of section 57

  1. Better survellainace against terrorist activities
  2. Better intelligence gathering through tracking the user services
  3. Effective implementation of programs with less leakages, less diversion and targeted service delivery
  4. Effective implementation of CCTNS — Helps in crime control, prevention of terrorist threats, abortion of terrorist operations, effective intelligence gathering

Demerits of section 7 and 57

  1. Biometrics are not always reliable, specially among manual laborers due to error in identification of fingerprints
  2. Mass surveillance, misuse of other provision by the government for silencing of dissenters, political opponents.
  3. Loss of privacy – Every move can be tracked, security threat
  4. Cyber security and issue of safety of biometric and personal information
  5. If biometrics are landed in unsafe hands. May lead to mass forgery, misrepresentation and other associated frauds
  6. Accessing personal information without consent is violation of fundamental rights.
  7. Weak cyber security, corruption and other anomalies put the personal date of citizen under threat
  8. Good governance based administration must provide Choice and Voice to citizens, but, here both are denied due to compulsory provision

General Studies – 3

Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

3) It is argued that 1991 economic liberalization resulted in deindustrialisation and adversely affected manufacturing sector in India. Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Liberalization resulted in deindustrialization and adversely affected manufacturing sector, because,

  1. Measures like Rolling back of the state (radical deregulation, marketisation and privatisation of the industrial, technological and financial sectors) and liberalized FDI and FII norms weakened the position of the nascent domestic industry in competition against Multinational companies.
  2. Reduced custom duty on imports of finished products supplied cheap goods into the market – Flooding of highly subsidized goods – Domestic industry affected due to less subsidy support from government and also due to its inherent problems
  3. Inverted duty structure after liberalization for most of the raw materials affected domestic manufacturing industries
  4. Large import of cheaper goods – Dumping in the domestic market. It affected MSME sector adversely.
  5. Liberalization of the economy with reduced import duties, privatization, moreFDI without improving infrastructure (Roads, railways, Port, waterways) lead to suppression of manufacturing sector which provided the space and resource for the growth of service sector especially IT and BPO sector (Because service sector is less depended on Roads, railways, port etc. compared to manufacturing sector

            But, liberalization is not the reason for all the ills associated deindustrialization in India. Liberalization also promoted strengthened manufacturing in some other respects like, technology infusion, infusion of managerial skills due to FDI, privatization of PSU infuseed efficiency and technology up gradation.

Moreover, sectors like Pharmaceuticals and automobiles grew rapidly due to FDI, acquisitions, JVs (benefitted due to infusion of capital, technology and managerial expertise)


TopicIndian economy – growth

4) What do you understand by “the Goldilocks rate”? Why is it said that the Indian Rupee might be moving towards the Goldilocks rate? Examine. (200 Words)


Goldilocks rate is the rate at which the currency is neither too overvalued nor undervalued, but, optimally valued.

Rupee might be moving towards the Goldilocks rate because,

  1. Flat REER, Low crude oil prices (we import >80% of crude oil for consumption), less CAD —- Less stress on the currency
  2. Stabilization of rupee due to rational monetary and fiscal policy – RBI anchored CPI based on the recommendation of Urjit Patel committee, for deciding policy rates (effective control of inflation), fiscal policy within limits due to commitments to FRBM act and falling crude oil prices ——- Stable rupee
  3. India is the fastest growing economy in the world, with growth at higher rate and continued inflow of FDI — Provides room to RBI to effectively regulate the value of Rupee and to manage external shocks like QE, protectionism etc.
  4. Growth at present is not too high to cause inflation and not too low to cause recession that we witnessed in 2008 world over.
  5. Exports and imports are falling at the same pace — No pressure on forex reserves, stable currency
  6. GDP growing at a decent rate even the world GDP is in below expected mark

But uncertainties like, unpredictable monsoon and associated reduction in agricultural productivity and weak rural demand, delayed reforms like GST, APMC reforms, increased social expenditure (fiscal deficit??), proposed interest rate hike in USA and associated rupee volatility, slow down in EU and reduced export from India are the uncertainties that India is facing now.


Topic: Employment

5) It is known that India has experienced jobless growth during past two decades. Which sector is to blame? What explains jobless growth in India?  Examine. (200 Words)


India’s remarkable economic growth rate of 8.7 per cent per annum between 2004-05 and 2009-10 has had little impact on job generation.Between 2005 and 2010, only one million jobs were created for almost 60 million new entrants to the labour market.Jobless growth means same amount of output growth creates fewer jobs than it used to.
The story of jobless growth is equally contributed by all sectors.
Agriculture whose contribution has been hovering around 15% GDP has continued to harbour more than 50%of workforce whereas the tertiary sector which contributes more than 50% gdp has not been able to generate employment proportionately.Even though manufacturing has the highest employment elasticity, its overall impact has been muted because of slow increase in employment share and low relative growth
  • AGRICULTURE:- Unfinished agenda of land reforms, huge dependence on rain fed agriculture lack of affordable inputs,institutional credit,extension services,exploitation by middlemen hence affecting growth of sector.Other sectors have not been able to assist agriculture from getting rid of disguised unemployment.
  • MANUFACTURING:- Liberalisation has lead to decline of MSME sector,labour laws,regulatory environment make indian goods less competitive ,hence manufacturing sector has sluggish growth and lack of skills,unemployability has not allowed this sector realise its fullest employment generation potential.Resultant focus of the US and the EU to revive their domestic manufacturing might make this task even more difficult.
  • SERVICE:-This sector emerged as the biggest gainer from economic reforms recording high growth but the growth has been skewed interms of growth of few ,less labour intensive services at the cost of those areas which could have generated much more employment.
  • Reforms in the education sector too are required to launch schemes to improve workforce skills. Addressing skill shortages by revisiting policies on apprenticeships and creating more retraining opportunities can reduce skill deficits.
  • Reforms in labour laws, provision of infrastructure, encouragement of small scale industries and promotion of export-oriented light industries that are manpower intensive are some of the policy initiatives that are required.
  • Programmes such as Make in India to tackle India’s employment challenge. 


Topic: Cropping patterns

6) In the past one decade alone, horticultural output has surged by nearly 70 per cent – from around 167 million tonnes in 2004-05 to over 283 million tonnes in 2014-15. Discuss the reasons behind this success. It is also said that several challenges exist in realizing full potential of this sector. Examine these challenges. (200 Words)

Business Standard

India is second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in world after China.Recently Horticulture has been performing brilliantly and the output of 283 million tonnes in 2014-15 is significantly higher than the foodgrains output of 252.68 million tonnes for 2014-15.
Reasons behind the success:-
  • The technology-led gains in the productivity of horticultural crops have given the farmers an opportunity to diversify from food and other crops to horticulture.
  • The small and marginal farmers have taken a lead in this direction as horticulture is labour intensive and suits small cultivators who can manage it largely with family labour.
  • A sizable chunk of land that has been brought under horticultural crops is irrigated.
  • better agronomic practices and improved varieties
  • The acreage under horticulture has also grown by around two per cent a year.
  • less susceptibility to bad monsoon – Uncertain conditions for cereals crop- unpredictable rain, plant deceases are making farmers to move toward horticulture.
  • Govt and economy has taken interest in horticulture due to increased demand of organic produce like the national horticulture mission,Indo dutch cooperation for setting up gardens in Maharashtra and Kerala
  • lack of market support and paucity of post-harvest produce management chain from farm to fork 
  • most growers do not get reasonable returns for their produce though consumer prices remain high due to multiplicity of intermediaries in horticultural marketing.
  • Distress sales and mass destruction of the produce in a bid to contain losses.
  • Storage problems: producers do not turn up to reclaim their stocks kept in cold stores because the charges to be paid would exceed the realisation from the sale of the stocks.
  • a sizable part of horticultural output is wasted due to improper post-harvest handling and want of processing facilities.
  • Government’s Policy biasness in MSP and procurement toward cereal has increased cultivation, while such policies are missing for horticulture.
  • Absence of contact farming is restricting investment in horticulture
  • Poor enactment of APMC Acts in States which has prevented farmers from accruing full benefits 
  • Poor infrastructural facilities in NE India which is primarily focused on horticulture crops
  • access to cheap institutional finance and adequate marketing support is necessary
  • Expansion of the fruits and vegetable processing industry with backwards linkages with farmers can help in value-addition and waste reduction of the horticultural produce, thus, ensuring higher returns to growers.
  • The recently created price stabilisation fund  should be used to prevent wide price fluctuations which often hurt both producers and consumers.
  • Development of cold storage and modern markets through suitable PPP model.
  • Use of satellite technology, mobile based Apps, and digital auctioning (e-market) etc.
  • Funding for R&D and Micro-irrigation,and green house projects.
  • APMC reforms are needed
 If these aspects are taken care of, the horticultural sector would be in a better position to meet the fast growing and rapidly changing needs and preferences of the consumers.

Topic: Energy

7) Differentiate between energy security and energy independence. In your opinion, should India strive for energy independence or security? Substantiate. (200 Words)

Business Standard

Between now and 2030, India’s energy demand will grow faster than that of any other country in the G-20. The Indian government is deeply concerned about the rising share of crude oil imports,rising Coal and natural gas imports.This makes the debate of energy security and energy independence imperative.
Energy Independence:-
  • aims to reduce rather than increase the share of imported oil, gas and coal.
  • to buy acreages in oil and gas fields and in coalmines beyond India’s shores. The assumption is that such overseas assets will deliver energy resources to India’s shores in times of crisis.
Roadblocks for Energy Independence :-
1.The technological backwardness and fund crunch is major roadblock to exploit the overseas fields efficiently.
2. Naval capacity and lack of oil tankers to transport .
3. Widespread piracy off the somalian coast is still not checked.
4. The south china sea issue is still a conundrum and proves to be hinderance for ONGC videsh Ltd. for efficient exploration in south china sea.
5. Our territorial and off shore reserves are not sufficient to fullfill our demand.
Energy security: mean the availability of adequate quantities of critical resources, at prices that are affordable and predictable, with minimum risk of supply disruptions, to ensure sustainability for the environment and future generations. Such security will require meeting four imperatives: assured supply, safe passage, secure storage, and a seat at one or more international forums involved in international energy trade and governance.
In the short term energy security seems to be a better option:
  • Recent upliftment of sanctions from Iran, Healthy relations with Gulf countries and MoU for Oil Aid by UAE could open more avenues for check mating the supply gap.
  • India can explore new Oil suppliers from Latin america’s (esp. Venezuella) and Africa (Nigeria,Ethiopia etc).
  • The ambitious Solar Power Mission and new delhi’s leadership in creating ISA could be a boon for our energy security and our compliance for SDGs.
Energy security can be improved by
  • Diversify the energy co-operation with multiple countries rather than sole dependence on Middle east which is constantly growing through a turmoil .
  • A quadrilateral relationship with India -US-japan and Australia will help India reap the benefits of Australia’s rich Coal and LNG resources accompanied by technology transfer and co-operation on renewable energy
  • The new exploration licensing policy encourages domestic oil exploration by incentivizing exploration in difficult terrains and ensuring free pricing policy , which will to decreasing the share of imports.
  • Efforts to improve renewable energy sources will also help meet part of energy requirements in the coming years
  • Safe Passage :
    • Construction of Oil passage pipelines between India and other countries such as middle east . negotiations for pipeline construction between Russia and India and TAPI are such efforts.
    • Improved naval capacities and naval connectivity .
    • Co-operation with other nations for a combined effort on protecting maritime security is needed
  • Safe storage :
  • development of infrastructure for storage of sustainable oil reserves is vital , the recent steps such as development of petroleum reserves amounting to about 5 mmt and plan to add additional capacity are welcome , however the available storage is low compared to OECD countries and the requirements of India . Thus a regulatory body for proper planning and co-ordination will help.
global cooperation on energy security to ensure transparency in energy markets, security of maritime ways etc are the need of the time and calls attention of India to direct its foreign policy to ensure energy security.However energy independence can be viewed as a long term solution.

General Studies – 4

Topic:Attitude; Moral  persuasion

8) What do you understand by nudging concept – which is used in economics, political theory and behavioural science? Discuss the ethical issues arising out of nudging. (200 Words)


The Economist

Nudging is a concept of using some tactics and ways to direct a person to make a choice, which he otherwise might not have made. Nudging might be in the interest of the person being nudged, or might just be a marketing tactic to trick the person. As an example, pricing something at 100 by showing that it was originally of 200 will attract more people than a simple price depiction of 100.
ethical Issues:
(a) economics – of an advertisement which do not convey the actual intent of the product .
(b) political theory – certain statements made by politicians during election campaigns can be out of vague reasoning .
(c) behavioral science- the basic facial expression in humans in replying for a query do not convey the actual intention .
(a) economics -financial companies luring the customer by attractive offers which is followed by asking personal details which can be misapplied .
(b) political theory – AADHAAR card which is promoted by the government rigorously as can be misused by agencies without proper checks on its misuse .
(c) behavioral science – The subjugation of our body and mind of a person to a GOD MAN due to misplaced offers can transgress the privacy of the individual .
Emotional Distress:
(a) economics – the loss of money in share market due to nudge by lucrative offers of a company can ruin the person emotionally
(b) political theory – not giving due recognition by the high command to the work rendered by party workers for their efforts in bringing party to the power can make the workers downhearted due to the non fulfillment of the promise.
(c) behavioral science – Giving hope to a person as a nudge and non fulfillment leads to mental agony in the person.
Against the principles of transparency : Nudging often conceals the actual information from the person.
However, some acts of nudging which are for the public welfare raise no ethical issues. Eg: Genuine surveys and reports actually enable a person to make a better choice, without which he might have been tricked. Some nudging acts like mandated disclosure of income, funds of parties raise no valid ethical issues. Moreover, most forms of nudging leave the choice on the user, in which he is the final decision maker.
Hence, nudging cannot always be considered an unethical act. In some cases, it is inevitable and even furthers the public interest. The only issue is to how to devise measures to safeguard one from being vulnerable to ill conceived nudges.