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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 18, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 18, 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;

TopicArt and culture

1) What are the basic attributes of Sufism? Discuss its influence on Islam and other cultures in India. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Attributes of Sufism

  1. Believe that love and devotion are the means to god – Union with god through the path of perfect love (instead of fear of the wrath of God
  2. Great importance to Murshid or Pir (Guru) along with Prophet Muhammad
  3. No belief in caste system – Treats every one equally
  4. Importance is given to Devotion, more than Roza and Namaz (Fasting and Prayer)
  5. Emphasis on simple life
  6. Divided into 12 silsilas each under a mystic saint
  7. Final goal is union with God
  8. Recognize the value of Chanting God’s names
  9. ethical and ascetic disciplines of Sufism”. – believe that we can proceed to the divine through stages. Stages include repentance, followed by abstinence, renunciation, ‘poverty’, patience and trust in God.
  10. Believe in service to humanity

Influence of Sufism on Islam

  1. It helped reduction of religious orthodoxy in Islam.
  2. Social welfare, services of Humanity of Sufism – Inspired Islamic groups to establishment of Charitable institutions, Orphanages and Generous donation to community
  3. Liberalized Islam, Provided new means to connect with God – Through Love, Devotion and Music (Music is forbidden in Orthodox Islam)
  4. New type of Architecture on the lines of Rest houses, Sacred places of Sufi saints – Helped infusion of new style into Islamic architecture
  5. Helped the rapid spread of Islam throughout the country —- Since, close contact with common masses
  6. Inspired simple life in the community
  7. It helped Indianization of Islam
  8. Contributed Devotional songs, Poems, Gazals – Enriched the Islamic culture
  9. Helped in reducing the tension of Muslim community with other groups —- Through social service, devotion, simple life without harm to others

Influence on Hinduism and Indian society

  1. It helped to liberalize the caste norms – Advocated equality of all the people irrespective of castes
  2. Inspired Bhakti movement based on devotion to God through love, compassion
  3. Source of worship for Hinuds – Sacred places of Kwaja Moinuddin Chisti, Nizamuddin Aulia are still visited by Hindus
  4. Reduced the intercommunal tension by projecting its Humane face
  5. Devotional songs composed in Urdu and Hindi – Promotion and enrichment of these languages

General Studies – 2

TopicIssues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

2) Is the introduction of pictorial warnings covering 85 per cent of the principal display area on both sides of all tobacco products ineffectual in India? Critically  comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Claim of ineffectuality of 85% pictorial warning on packets is based on survey conducted by an agency associated with Cigarette industry. Hence, reliability of the findings can be disputed.

However, an Independent research shows that 85% size pictoral warning resulting in – 58 per cent of smokers in Canada and nearly 54 per cent in Brazil and Thailand changed their opinion about the health consequences of smoking on seeing the large pictoral warnings.

Study in tobacco control shows that California on the one side spent millions of dollars to increase the health awareness, but, Canada achieved the same goal through pictorial warnings at little or no cost to the government – This reiterates the effectuality of pictorial warning in reducing the cigarette consumption.

Moreover, a picture speaks thousand words – It helps to spread the message to even illiterate masses effectively


  1. Behavioral addiction to cigarette,
  2. peer pressure,
  3. trend in the youth as status and prestige symbol,
  4. glorification of cigarette usage in movies albums,
  5. easy availability of cigarettes in public places,
  6. lack of awareness, sale of loose cigarettes (without packets)
  7. Raising materialism, work pressure, means to relieve depression and loneliness

may render pictorial warning ineffectual.


TopicIssues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

3) Recently, the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on the need to reform the Medical Council of India (MCI) submitted its report. Critically comment on its recommendations. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Recommendations of the report

  1. Systemic change – To provide a new architecture that is more in tune with current needs of the country
  2. to replace the principle of election with nomination
  3. More attention – Recommended immediate bifurcation of medical education and the ethical conduct of the medical professionals for dedicated full time attention to each of them individually
  4. to revamp the curriculum to be in line with the disease profile of the country ,
  5. to train MBBS students in district hospitals for more rural experience
  6. to include research work in PG to promote the R&D in the country

(Does nomination ensure efficiency? or transparency and accountability)

  1. To replace the present council (MCI) with an architecture consisting of four independent boards to deal with

a)curriculum development,

  1. b) teacher training, and

c)standard setting for UG and PG education accreditation and assessment processes of colleges and courses for ensuring uniformity in standards;

d)the registration of doctors, licensing and overseeing adherence to ethical standards.


  1. No clear director for upgrading district hospitals to government medical colleges was proposed to provide for 300 bed hospitals for a new college and utilizing existing specialists for teaching
  2. No mention about the rigorous assessment of medical colleges by high level committee
  3. Role of private hospitals and colleges in meeting the health care need of villages are not discussed
  4. NO recommendation of new authority to regulate the fee (it recommended that power to MoHFW)


Topic: Indian constitution – basic features; Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 

4) Discuss the legal and constitutional status of the right to privacy in India. It is said that the new Aadhaar Bill has the potential to abuse right to privacy. Do you agree? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Legal and constitutional status of right to privacy in India

Article 21 – Right to life. Protection of life and personal liberty also include right to privacy among other rights

Important cases related to Right to privacy – People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. UoI, Kharak Singh v. State of UP — Court held that the right to privacy is a part of right to protection of life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the constitution

Now the matter is in the realm of Constitutional bench. Judgment is awaiting

Potential to abuse the right to privacy stems from clauses 7 and 57 of the act and other controversial provisions

  1. Access to the database disclosure of information through District Judge orders——– Scope for misuse due to lack of information to judges most of the time, Inexperienced judges in the areas of IT and ITES, Biometric details are potential for misuse
  1. Section 7, of 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)

These two sections, if misused by the Government for targeting political opponents, rights activists, whistleblowers – Can severely compromise the privacy issues of the citizen.

At the same time, these provision are essential to improve efficiency, bring uniformity , integration of service delivery and to weed out the duplicate beneficiaries, hence balance must be maintained

  1. Most of the “Aadhaar-enabled” databases will be accessible to the government even without invoking the special powers available under the Bill, such as the blanket “national security” clause (Section 29(4) and Section 33)— In the name of national security, it is easy for the Intelligence agencies to track the citizens, their movements and transactions and other activities.

{ Section 29(4), by which no Aadhaar number or biometric information will be made public “except for the purposes as may be specified by regulations”

Section(33), under which the inbuilt confidentiality clauses will not stand when it concerns national security}

(But, these provisions must be in place to face the asymmetric warfare like Terrorism, Lone wolf attacks, Drug smuggling, counter feting which need robust intelligence support ——– Again balance must be maintained to protect privacy and to promote national interest.

As Mr. Nandan Nilakeni mentions,

“We do need a larger privacy bill, not just for Aadhaar but also for many other things like privacy in telephone tapping and in other online systems

He also mentioned that Huge multinationals are taking data about millions of Indians abroad and nobody and there is no issue raised about this in the public forum.

There are a lot of issues about privacy

Hence, we need to look into larger picture of Right to privacy and not just from the Adhaar perspective.

General Studies – 3

Topic: Economic growth & Development; Inclusive growth and issues arising from it

5) How does monetary policy affect income and wealth distribution? What is its effect on inequality? Discuss. (200 Words)


Monetary policy includes steps taken by the Central Bank to increase or decrease money supply in the market. It can affect income and wealth in the following manner:
An expansionary monetary policy (decreasing SLR, CRR, bank rate) leads to more money supply in the market. More money supply entails inflation and in expectation of this higher wages will be demanded. Also since credit becomes cheaper, income of companies will also increase and leads to more investment. A contractionary monetary policy will have the opposite effect.
Loans are generally used to invest in assets. Assets generate income if properly utilised. Therefore, during expansionary monetary policy, the interest rates being low, can help in borrowing loans for investing in profitable ventures.
An expansionary monetary policy means that there is more money supply, and return on domestic bonds decreases. This makes assets relatively more profitable . Thus people begin investing more on assets, thus driving up demand and pushing up asset prices.
Positive effect:
  • monetary policy, if properly managed, promotes greater economic stability and prosperity for the economy as a whole, by mitigating the effects of recessions on the labor market and keeping inflation low and stable.
  • easier monetary policies promote job creation as well as increases in asset prices. A stronger labor market—more jobs at better wages—obviously benefits the middle class, and it is the best weapon we have against poverty.
  • debtors tend to benefit (and creditors lose) from higher inflation, which reduces the real value of debts. Debtors are generally poorer than creditors, so on this count easier monetary policy again reduces inequality.
Negative effect:
  • An expansionary MP increases asset prices, and since majority of assets are owned by the rich it increases their wealth thus increasing inequality(in the short run). The poor generally keep currency and hence do not benefit as much.
  • One of the objectives of the unconventional monetary policy has been to push asset prices up, in order to create the so-called wealth effect which is expected to boost consumption and economic activity. Since rich households own more assets, especially financial, it is often argued that only they benefit from such policies.
  • if expansionary monetary policy leads to higher growth in profits than wages, income for those with ownership of businesses will rise faster than people dependent on wages.
  • increase in money supply is likely to benefit those who are more connected to financial markets. Rich households with their holdings in financial assets would fall in this category.
  • Contractionary monetary policy shocks appear to have significant long-run effects on inequality, leading to higher levels of income, labour earnings, consumption and total expenditures inequality across households.
  • The aggressive use of unconventional monetary policy, for instance, has resulted in accumulation of debt stock in several developing and emerging market economies and is a risk to financial stability in case of sharp reversal.
The issue is far more complicated and there are probably no clear answers.Inequality is a long-term trend and is the result of a number of structural changes occurring in the economy over decades—the role of monetary policy is transient and modest.

Topic:Economic growth & Development; Resource mobilization

6) What do you understand by “Pigouvian taxes”? Explain its significance, especially for Indian economy. (200 Words)



Pigouvian tax is a tax imposed on a party creating negative externalities( increasing the cost of some other firm or any socially detrimental effects like pollution, speculative trading etc). Other Examples are taxes on tobacco products, etc.
  • can be used to contain negative externalities like pollution, etc by imposing taxes on pollution like carbon tax, recent cess on coal,diesel vehicles, etc.  The recent proposal in the budget to increase tax on large vehicles (like SUVs) can be considered Pigovian.
  • It will encourage firms to adopt eco-friendly methods to reduce their taxes.
  • Taxes on products like tobacco, liquor may reduce their consumption thus reducing their ill social and health effects,
  • Source of revenue for the Indian government. It will also ease the 1 lakh crore burden on government for treating diseases caused by tobacco usage.
  • By disincentivizing a potential harmful market behaviour, they protect interests of the economy and society.
  • Recently the FM has increased SECURITIES TARNSACTION TAX on equity options triple-fold from 0.017% to 0.050%. This will bring parity in STT on INVESTING IN EQUITIES. Thus it would bring down speculation and deepen investment in equities.
  • It can help reduce excessive speculative trading which is necessary in a country like India where people store most of their wealth in form of currency to promote share market investments)
However, while it can have various beneficial outcomes, it should be taken care that such taxes discourage manufacturers away from our market. This would specially be detrimental as we are also rooting for ‘Make in India’ and indigenization. A clear objective for levying such tax is very necessary but simply levying tax will have little impact unless the activity causing the negative externalities is itself discouraged and consumption of such products actually decreases.

Topic: Environmental pollution; Conservation; Resource mobilization

7) What is carbon tax? Should India impose it? Discuss the merits and demerits of imposing carbon tax. (200 Words)


Carbon tax is tax levied on green houses gases (Carbon content) emitted by burning fossil fuels.This is kind of green tax which aims to reduce carbon emission for combating global warming and clean & healthy environment by hiking the price of fossil fuels to discourage people to use it.
In 2015 Budget India has accepted that it has a defacto carbon tax. India has moved from a carbon subsidisation regime to one of significant carbon taxation regimes – from a negative price to a positive price on carbon emissions.The need for imposing this tax is:-
  • Carbon emission is one of the major reason for global warming and climatic change. According to IPCC report south west Asian countries and asia pacific including India are worst hit by climate change due to their geographical position in up coming years
  • India is at 3rd place in terms of carbon emission by any individual country.Also India is signatory to the climate changes agreements which makes it obligatory to follow the tax regime.
  • in the recent paris summit India own INDC target that requires it to bring down carbon emission upto 33-35% by 2030 .
  • 20 cities in India has recorded worst air qualities which puts lives of average citizen at risk
  • Carbon tax generates revenue for the government which can be used for research and development of possible
  • It will make people of India to go for eco friendly alternatives in terms of transport like cycling and using public transport 
  • it will help in checking per capita green house gas emissions and help in improving the environment.
  • carbon tax will increase the prices of production from the fuel. This will incentivize producer to see other alternatives like solar energy, tidal energy for electricity generation with discouraging the use of coal. This will become more environmental friendly.India has raised the cess on coal from 100 per tonne to 400 per tonne.
But at same time there are some demerits when carbon tax is imposed:-
  • India being one of the fastest growing economies has high energy demands and most of india’s energy requirements are still met by the non-renewable sources. carbon taxes alone will be insufficient to reduce emissions as income levels rise. The price inelasticity is mainly due to the absence of alternative energy sources and, in the past, fuel subsidies. 
  • Indian techniques are still struggling to keep pace with the decarbonizing rates of the developed world. Capping carbon without alternatives can thus compromise development.
  • average Indian’s carbon footprint is below the average per capita emission of many other countries.
  • Carbon tax is indirect in nature which economically affects disadvantaged section of society so inclusive growth might be affected.
  • It might affect businesses as they can choose low carbon tax countries or tax havens for operations,which would also mean that it hurts FDI and ease of doing business .
  • The automobile market is price inelastic as Little increase in the cost will not  discourage the purchase of vehicles like cars and bikes. 
  • The International Solar Alliance and Make in India for low-cost renewable technologies are good policy initiatives in the right direction; they must be given greater impetus.
  • other areas to concentrate are Decarbonizing production of electricity to research and development aimed at improving energy and resource efficiency; from reducing waste to preserving and increasing carbon sinks.
If New Delhi has to achieve its INDC target reduction by 33-35% of the 2005 levels by 2030 and hook itself into the international carbon market, a long-term strategy with the variable carbon tax at its core is a must.

General Studies – 4

Topic:Role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values

8) Large scale rigging of exam process, cheating and using unfair means to score good marks in exams to get entrance to professional courses or to pass board exams is increasing in many parts of India. Why do you think this trend is on rise? How can it be curbed? Discuss. (150 Words)

Business Standard

The quote by Mr.Roosevelt “To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society” suits aptly to the present Indian context where education has become a commodity rather than a social need. Moreover, it is marred by incidents of resorting to unfair means to score good marks in exams and rigging of exam process by concerned authorities. 
Recently there have been instances like in Bihar board exams where parents were sending chits to their children and the suspicion of large scale rigging in medical entrance of Delhi University. These are only a few and many incidents have not come to light.
Reasons for the rise of this trend:-
  • Today’s society equates a person’s prestige either to one’s educational qualifications, or to his financial status, rather than to moral character of a person.
  • Only Degrees or the salary have come to define the success of a modern person, rather than overall  development of a child (mental and physical) and his sensitization towards social, cultural, economical and political realities of the country. Parents, schools, and the education system share the blame for this. Unscientific teaching modules, strict schedules curb child’s freedom to think freely, and coupled with rising trend of nuclearization of families they reduce child-parent interaction time, thereby giving less chance for parents to inculcate values in children at young age.
  • Under parental pressure, or to overdo peers, children resort to such illegitimate ways.
  • In the cut throat competition among educational institutions and the need to survive, they encourage this kind of unethical behaviour
  • Inadequate safeguards , poor teacher training, lesser educational opportunities all contribute to such events.
  • Due to limited capabilities and infra support, educational institutions are incapable of stopping children from using technological advancements to cheat in exams
  • Weak or corrupt regulatory mechanism ensure that institutions vested with responsibility to conduct exams resort to unfair means to make quick money
  • Education for jobs has created an environment where children want to excel in studies even by unfair means to land a job later
However India has to follow certain ways to curb this trend:
  • Teachers and parents should strive to inculcate values such as honesty and integrity in children at very young age by rewarding them with good grades, prizes such as books and educational games.
  • Children should be encouraged to go after knowledge rather than going after good results in exams
  • Stringent rules and regulations must be enforced during exams. Erring school/colleges/boards must be quickly punished as per law
  • Parents should spend more time with their children and motivate them to become better, responsible and useful citizens for the country
  • Boards that conduct exams must be forced to  use latest technology to conduct exams fairly and transparently
  • In educational curriculum should include stories of people who achieved greatness through hard work and honesty. Children who emulate such honest behaviour should be rewarded with leadership roles. 
  • Schools should counsel both parents and children, vice versa schools should be held accountable by regular parents – teacher meetings to conduct exams fairly
Purpose of education is to enable the child to walk into darkness and act as light in it. Society should ask itself if it will go on placing its interests in the hands of incompetent doctors, pilots, engineers, scientists or architects who can prove fatal to the future of the citizens and to the country itself.