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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 19, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 19, 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;



1) In recent months, criticism against globalization is increasing from many quarters. Analyse these criticisms. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Limitation on growth – It has been described “uneven process” in Africa due to the global integration of some groups happening alongside the marginalization or exclusion of others. One example being conflict in Niger delta

(conflict in the Niger Delta arose in the early 1990s over tensions between foreign oil corporations and a number of the Niger Delta minorit ethnic groups who feel they are being exploited, particularly the Ogoni and the Ijaw)

Power of transnational corporations – It reached a stage where they can now rival many nation state. They are influencing policies to suit their needs, destroying domestic industries with their deep pockets

They on one side securing land grants, electricity, water supply etc. from the government at very low prices in the name of FDI, but, on the other side, evading taxes through various means like investment from tax havens, round tripping, tax avoidance planning.

(But, on the other side, they have improved the business models in developing countries with the infusion of new technology, administrative skills, marketing strategies, infrastructure facilities – For example, Indian domestic industry gained prominently from MNCs experience after 1991 liberalization. They also infused sense of completion in the market, which promoted choice and increased efficiency)

            Damage from MNCs

  1. Environmental effects – Unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, expansion of industries by destroying forests, flood plains. Pollution of rivers, air, ocean, soil (eg., Unilever Kodaikanal Mercury plant)
  2. Occupational diseases – Due to poor labor regulation, poor safety workers are subjected to occupational diseases.

(These are common to domestic industries as well, moreover, some MNCs follow best practices when it comes to the matter of Environment and Worker protection)

Spread of invasive species

  1. Contagious diseases like Sars, Ebola, Flu spread from one part of the world to another due to global trade, tourism
  2. Invasive organisms – like weeds, exotic species are causing disturbance in the ecological balance.

Social effects like,

Growing inequality – Debate is between 99% (poor) and 1% elite class due to transnational corporations, exploitation of labor class due to poor regulations, monopolies, influence on government policies

(On the other side, India and China could life millions out of poverty due to FDI, FII and liberal policies, which could not have been possible without globalization. Now, there is less poor, Malnutrition, incidence of diseases when compared to 1980s India, thanks to Globalization)

Loss of traditional and local culture – Western food habit, dress style, houses are replacing fast the local culture. Many languages, customs have been vanishing due to the effects of Globalization

(But, Globalization also promotes culture of other countries through cultural fests (Pandit,Ravishankar, Zakir Hussain), Indian cuisines are famous in western countries which helps to build soft power)

Transfer of Pollution and environment degradation from developed countries to developing countries – Due to globalization and outsourcing of pollution intensive manufacturing industries from US, EU to China, India, Indonesia etc.

(International cooperation is also there to promote renewable energy, MNCs in solar industry is making the renewable energy cheap in developing countries like India and China with their cutting edge technologies)

Compromise on sovereignty – Due to globalization, supranational institutions like WTO, UN, IMF, WB are dictating terms to national governments to adopt policies that they found suitable.

(They also brought reforms in the domestic polity Eg. Moving away from License, permit raj by India after 1991 due to IMF conditionality – India benefited)

Moreover, bilateral investment protection treaties are taking away judicial powers of legitimate courts of the country.

In totality, we have both negative and positive effect of Globalization.


Topic: Role of women; Social empowerment

2) It is said that the Mahila Samakhya Programme that began in 1989 has made significant contributions to women’s empowerment in a little over 25 years. Critically evaluate the programme’s success and comment whether it’s time to scrap it or merge it with other schemes. (200 Words)


Programme’s successes

Beneficiaries mainly -women belonging to the most marginalised communities, such as Dalits or Adivasis. – helped in building self-confidence , broke gender stereotypes, increased their autonomy,  involvement in decision making at various levels,i.e, family, community and panchayat level.

Focus was mainly on process rather than target.

SHG were empowered to initiate their own agenda and begin the process

It achieved success in creating suitable structures to issues related to Nari Adalats, counselling centres, Sanjeevani Kendras and Mahila Shikshan Kendras.

Strong educational identity among the weaker sections are established

Training capability for social and gender awareness has been created

It created large number of leaders from the most disadvantaged sections of the society since the past 25 years

It is a volunteer driven programme. Hence, the contribution of volunteers has been most significant.

All these empowered women to work outside home, engage in small business activities and groups contractual work – Lead to empowerment of women

Also empowered women to fight against Patriarchal mindset like, Child marriages, Devadasi system and other gender discrimination issues.

Shortcoming of the course,

  1. Limited ability in technical expertise and raising funds of the Sanghas
  2. Federations are limited in capacity to work out a financially sustainable plan
  3. Throughout its history, it has been seen as a small program
  4. Resource mobilization and revolving fund generation are limited
  5. The scheme faced opposition from Patriarchal elements of the society – Hence, participation has been low.

Whether, the scheme be scrapped or continued?

It should be subsumed into the existing women empowerment schemes,

It has a great role in catalyzing the empowerment of women especially from disadvantaged sections. Hence, its experience must be utilized to add value to the existing schemes

It also has 25 years of experience in functioning and can provide valuable insights into the working of the voluntary driven schemes.

Moreover, instead of designing multiplicity of schemes for women empowerment, an integrated schemes, by taking experience from the schemes like this must be designed and promoted.

General Studies – 2

TopicFunctions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure,

3) Recently the Punjab government passed the Punjab Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal Land (Transfer of Property Rights) Bill, 2016 (SYL Bill). The Bill has given rise to several issues related to inter-state relations and the role of Centre and Supreme Court in matters like dealing with water disputes. Critically comment on these issues with reference to SYL Bill. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

The Hindu

Interstate relations,

Satlej Yamuna link canal was expected to share river waters of Ravi and Beas with Haryana from Punjab. But, the bill, Punjab Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal Land (Transfer of Property Rights) Bill, 2016 (SYL Bill) seeking to return land acquired for the canal’s construction to the original owners free of cost, and thereby completely destroy the work (still incomplete after more than three decades) to channel to Haryana its duly allotted share of the waters of the Ravi and the Beas.

Role of centre

Regulation and development of Interstate river waters comes under the control of Union List. But, centre has to maintain the redlines and must not cross the limit while dealing with interstate water disputes to fulfill the commitment for cooperative federalism. Centre must play only a facilitation role

But, canal comes under the jurisdiction of Bakra Beas Management Board and was constituted under the Punjab reorganisation act, 1966, which is a central legislation.

But, the issue here is , Punjab is denying the due share in water to lower riparian state, which is against the cooperative federalism and against the principle of natural justice.

Moreover, Punjab is unilaterally destroying the project site owned by Centre leading to loss to the corpus. Hence, Centre, must intervene at this juncture as a mediator, facilitator to solve the issue amicably and to uphold the spirit of cooperative federalism

Lack of initative of the centre to expedite the construction of the project and to benefit the lower riparian state is evident. (act was passed in 2004, but still the construction has been going on a slow pace)

Role of Court

This is the issue of Contempt of court – Five judge constitution bench of SC orderedstatus quo on land marked for the construction of the Satlej Yamuna link canal, despite this Punjab Assembly passed Punjab Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal Land (Transfer of Property Rights) Bill, 2016 (SYL Bill) seeking to return land acquired for the canal’s construction to the original owners free of cost, and thereby completely destroy the work (still incomplete after more than three decades) to channel to Haryana its duly allotted share of the waters of the Ravi and the Beas. 

Such kind of adventuring must not be encouraged. The onus is on the court to set a precedent and to issue contempt of proceedings against the Punjab government. There by maintaining the supremacy of law of the land.


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

4) The Rapid Survey on Children shows a new trend of an increased access to healthcare by marginalised communities like Dalits, Adivasis and Other Backward Classes which have made substantial gains in the last decade. However much needs to be achieved in the realm of nutrition and sanitation where these communities remain acutely deprived. Discuss. (200 Words)


Rapid Survey on Children (RSOC) 2013-14 was conducted to assess the accessibility of healthcare and nutritional status of marginalized communities.

  1. Substantial increased in the institutional deliveries
  2. Successful implementation of Janani suraksha yojana and expansion of role of Anganawadi workers and ASHA – Infact, one of the reason for success of improvement in health indicators is due to effective work of ASHA and anganawadi workers
  3. Child immunization – Mass coverage including weaker section resulted in egalitarian trend in immunization


But, the survey showed regressive trend or no improvement in Nutrition and sanitation aspects of marginalized section

Children under the age of 5 years showed increased stunted growth since 2005

Awareness about breast feeding is low in marginal sections, but higher in normal population. But, is good among ST population

In sanitation – there seems to have been little progress with 50% of India’s population defecating in the open. consistently over the last two decades the SCs and STs have had the least access to toilet facilities

Open defecation, unhygienic practices are on the rise among the marginal sections which adversely affected their well being. It reduced the nutrient absorption ability of the children leading to stunted growth and under nutrition.

Need for improvement in Health and sanitation

  • Effective implementation of Swacch Bharath Abhiyaan – Awareness creation is the key. Encouragement of toilet construction to curb open defecation
  • Budgetary allocations for ICDS (reduced in this budget by 7%), Mid-day Meal schemes should be increased
    • Strengthening the institutional networks for effective PDS (eg: Aadhar bill) – Provision of Pulses, vegetable oils, if possible availability of fruits and vegetables at subsidized rates and encouragement of backyard/kitchen vegetable gardening improves nutrition and fights against child malnutrition and stunted growth.

General Studies – 3

Topic: Basics of cybersecurity

5) It is said that despite having a national cybersecurity policy, risks to our critical infrastructure remain. What are the main cyber threats that India is likely to face? What are the weaknesses of cybersecurity policy? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Cyber security is the protection of information systems from theft or damage to the hardware, the software, and to the information on them, as well as from disruption or misdirection of the services they provide. In the year 2014 and 2015 (upto May), the total number of security incidents includes the websites hacked by various hacker groups as 32,323 and 9,057, respectively .Due to 2nd largest number of online users & week cyber security Infrastructure India is much vulnerable to cyber attacks ,
Main cyber threats in India are :
  • Hacking: hack the bank databases & personal e-mail accountand obtain sensitive info & misuse them. In 2015 official state government website was suspected to hacked by pakisatan based hackers
  • Spamming:Cyber pornography,Phishing and Software piracy.Increased access to Jihadi-websites, online drug-peddlers etc. through software like Tor browser
  • Sensationalization of false news which may hurt religious or cultural sentiments leading to riots
  • Cyberespionage:the use of computer networks to gain illicit access to confidential information, corporate espionage-like money laundering etc are also a concern.Espionage upon important political targets as was observed in the NSA spying-scandal
  • Cybercrime:These are conducted by individual or organisation, to extract money, data, or causing disruption in operation of websites. e.g- Recent loot in Bangladesh Bank
  • cyber terrorism: internet-based terrorist attack causing large-scale disruption of computer Isis attacks on pentagon .
Weaknesses of cybersecurity policy:-
  • In spite of instituting a National Cyber Security Coordinator (2014), internal rivalries between the National Technical Research Organisation (the nodal agency for cybersecurity) and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology impede cooperation.
  • Unwillingness on the part of defence and intelligence agencies to integrate their own cyber defence and cybersecurity strategies with the national strategy acts as a roadblock.
  • 0.97 per cent of Indian IT students reportedly have basic skills in information security, and only 13 per cent have an understanding of concepts necessary for being trained.this brings the concern that 5 lakh professionals need to be trained in the near future.
  • No separate policy for protection of critical infrastructure like defense, space, etc.
  • Technological expertise and legal compliance is lacking in India.
  • Lack of coordination & synergy b/w various ministries involved.
  • Cyber Security policy lack privacy provisions, lack of civil liberties, absence of cyber security breach disclosure etc.
  • No specific framework for the citizen private data(Big data) which give rise the conflict between right to privacy versus national security 
Implement Gulshan Rai recommendations, Ground Zero Summit, National Critical Infrastructure protection, attract manpower from colleges to train experts, incentivise doemstic production, incnetivise companies to upgrade their cyber security infrastructure, declare cyberspace as global commons, upgrade and strengthen Talin Manual, learn from china on how to take active measures regarding cyber security.

Topic: Resource mobilization

6) Foreign banks in developing countries are often found to indulge in “cream skimming.” What do you understand by ‘cream skimming’? Is it happening in India? Examine. (200 Words)


 Cream Skimming:-
“cream skimming,” is a lending strategy that involves extending credit to only wealthy and transparent segments of the credit market, while excluding segments that comprise poor and marginal borrowers. Such cream skimming may induce serious distortion in the credit market and may adversely affect the supply of aggregate bank credit
The evidence of such practice in India can be observed from the following – 
1.Foreign banks are primarily located in urban-areas of high income States because of low risk factor.
2. Foreign banks target high-income States as they have greater workforce in the formal sector whose compliance with their norms will be higher
3. Credit rationalization of domestic banks in areas with Foreign bank presence due to availability of only Low income groups
4. Public sector norms for foreign banks with less than 20 branches are not sectoral allowing them to park credit in RIDF, NHB etc. diminishing direct-lending to Low income groups.
This scenario has led to the following:-
1. Credit contraction in urban areas due to decreased lending by domestic banks.As foreign banks cream skim the best credit risks, the quality of local borrowers’ pool falls and domestic banks cut short their lending activities, thus leading to decline in firms’ access to credit and fall in growth of their business.
2. While foreign banks target the segments of the credit market with minimal information asymmetry, the segments with greater information asymmetry are left for domestic lenders.Segmentation of this kind may create an imbalance in the fl ow of bank credit across different borrower categories.
3. Unavailability of sophisticated banking services in poorer States, NE etc. which in turn affects investments.foreign banks have negligible presence in rural and semi-urban regions of India.
4. Vicious cycle of poverty and low financial inclusion.
Domestic banks constitute the bulk of the banking sector in India, and hence their role is more important in providing credit availability. Steps like formalizing more sectors to ensure less asymmetric information, monitoring of cream skimming by creating an independent body, improving quality of borrowers to domestic banks is needed.

General Studies – 4

Topic:Ethical issues in international relations 

7) It was reported in the media that the Government of India has privately reassured US–India Business Council (USIBC) that it would not use Compulsory Licenses for commercial purposes. This reassurances has been labelled as unethical. Critically comment why. (150 Words)


Compulsory licensing is a mechanism where a  government allows or give licenses to some firms to manufacture patent products without the consent of patent owner.
Recently it was reported that government of India has privately assured US-India Business council about not using compulsory licensing for commercial purposes.However there were concerns that this was unethical.
The reasons are:
  • “private reassurance” by Government of India to USIBC is against the spirit of “Transparency” and “opennesss” as the act of privately giving assurance would feed the “culture of secrecy”.
  • Secondly, it would send a wrong signal to the public in the sense that government is making national interest secondary to the interests of foreign MNCs. Moreover, the private assurance without considering the concerns of those affected by India is not in line of its aspiration of establishing “good governance“.
  • Thirdly, denial of Compulsory licensing to any Indian company even on genuine grounds will be misconstrued by the public that government is not concerned with the needs of nation. Such mistrust does not augur well for democracy.
  • As a consequence to aforesaid move, those who are driving the benefits of cheap and efficient services/products manufactured under Compulsory Licensing would be rendered helpless.
However the act of government can be justified by following arguments:
1.if the interests of drug companies are not attended , it might lead to economic sanctions against India by US Trade representative thus badly affecting our exports.
2.India has used the compulsory licence only once so their seems to be no harm in reassuring its no fruther use as that is already least likely.
So the action by the government should be looked with holistic perspective and in line with india’s aspirations both domestic and global.