Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 22, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 22, 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:- Role of women; Social empowerment

1) It is argued that the practice of Talaq and Halala in India is unconstitutional and violates human rights of women. Do you agree? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

(Validity of Talaq in Quran – it is not based on the Koran and the authentic pronouncements of the Prophet. It has been deduced from medieval treatises such as theHidaya and Radd al Muhtar which state that if liquor consumed has reached the prohibited level of intoxication (a purely subjective issue) then talaq uttered in such a state shall be held valid – Hence, there is a room for reform within the boundary of religion itself)

Triple Talaq and Nikah Halala are Unconstitutional,

It violates,

Article 14 – Equality before law and Equal protection of law – Differential treatment between Men and Women in matters of marriage and divorce

Article 15 – Prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of Sex in matters of family affairs

Article 21 – Right to life and personal liberty.

  1. Right to live with human dignity,
  2. Right to livelihood
  3. Right of women to be treated with decency and dignity

fundamental duty Art 51A that provides for “renunciation practices derogatory to women.”

Article 13 reads that laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights can be declared null and void.

            But, our constitution provides ,

Article 25, Freedom of Conscience, free profession, practice and propagation of Religion

Hence, several orthodox Muslim clerics resent any changes to Muslim personal even at the expense of gender equality and dignity of women by taking shelter under Article 25. Moreover, Article 44, which provides for Uniform civil code is under DPSP which cannot be enforced in a court of law (Unlike fundamental rights).

These constitutional entanglement, provides room for multiple interpretation of constitutional provisions.

The victim at the end is the hapless Woman is who subjected to all kinds of moral, emotional and social exploitation which must be rectified with the liberal interpretation of Islam and with the passing of Uniform civil code (with wider consensus and broad consultation) which is gender equal, which uphold right to life and dignity for all women.


General Studies – 2

TopicIndia and its neighborhood- relations

2) What are the natural strategic advantages that India has in Nepal? Do you think a rising China and the anti-India resentments of Kathmandu’s hill elite have the potential to neutralise these advantages? Critically analyse. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

India’s strategic advantage

  1. Nepal shares a long boundary with India
  2. Strong historical cultural (Hindu majority) and social ties
  3. Nepal is a land locked country, access to the outer world is only through India apart from China through Tibet. Moreover, Terai region of Nepal and India has similar ethnic group with strong kinship bond
  4. Large number of Gurkha soldiers from Nepal contribute selflessly for Indian military
  5. Exporting electricity to India rather than China is easier because its rivers flow south off the Himalayas toward India’s most populous states, while China’s biggest cities and industries are far to the east.
  6. As our Prime Minister quotes, Nepal can become a rich country , by selling electricity alone to India. It can meet one third India’s electricity demands (80 GW of electricity potential through hydro power)
  7. Open border, Indo Nepal peace and friendship treaty promoted people to people contact, trade and mutual dependence

India is the natural partner to Nepal development. Destiny of both countries are tied due to geographic, cultural and strategic compulsions. Hence, Nepal may take help of China to play it against India in diplomacy and negotiations, but, China cannot nullify India’s importance.

For instance,

  1. China may provide economic assistance, invest in infrastructure and industry on equal footing with India, but, when it comes to matter of obligation of spiritual and religious fulfillment, it must turn towards India (Hindu majority, Kinship bondage, Ethnic links)
  2. In natural disasters – like Earthquakes, floods first respondent will be India naturally. We have empathy towards our neighbor rather than commercial and strategic calculations (as we seen in China)
  3. Gurkha regiment promotes Indian national interest when it comes to choice between India or China
  4. As mentioned earlier, Exporting electricity to India rather than China is easier because its rivers flow south off the Himalayas toward India’s most populous states, while China’s biggest cities and industries are far to the east.
  5. Dependence on China is unsustainable, give the China’s track record of treating other nations (In South and East China sea). It is always exploitative (as we see in Africa), dominating. Hence, benevolent India is better choice for Nepal, even Nepal knows it
  6. India is the largest democracy and Nepal with new constitution and democratic set up needs India for assistance, rather than Communist China in laying strong foundation for democratic polity

But, increasing Chinese presence is evident from the fact that,

  1. China in 2015 overtook India as Nepal’s biggest foreign investor, funding power plants, noodle factories and meat-processing units
  2. India accounted for 53 percent of Nepal’s trade in 2015, down from 60 percent in 2006, when a Maoist insurgency ended. China’s share of Nepal’s commerce has risen to 31 percent from 3 percent
  3. New trade horizons and the cheap pricing of Chinese goods, Chinese trade vis-a-vis Nepal is growing
  4. Incorporation of Nepal by China into OBOR strategy
  5. New agreement with China to reduce the essential commodities dependence on India

All these shows that, India’s strategic influence will be at stake if India does not take proactive measures to build confidence and strengthen India Nepal relations


Topic:Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

3) Critically comment on the agreement that the European Union (EU) has struck with Turkey to stem the flow of thousands of mostly Syrian migrants and refugees on to its shores. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Main features of the agreement are as follows

  • Returns of Syrian immigrants:All “irregular migrants” crossing from Turkey into Greece from 20 March will be sent back. Each arrival will be individually assessed by the Greek authorities.
  • One-for-one:For each Syrian returned to Turkey, a Syrian migrant will be resettled in the EU. Total number is capped at 72000.
  • Visa restrictions:Access to Turkish nationals to the Schengen passport-free zone by June. But, non applicable to non-Schengen countries like Britain.
  • Financial aid:The EU is to speed up the allocation of €3bn in aid to Turkey to help migrants.
  • Turkey EU membership:Both sides agreed to “re-energise” Turkey’s bid to join the European bloc

But, it seen as illegal and unethical due to following reasons,

It breaks both EU law and the UN refugee convention, The convention says signatories cannot expel asylum seekers without examining their claims individually.

Turkey is not fully signed up to the UN refugee convention; has broken international law by sending back refugees to Syria; and, does not in practice offer most Syrians genuine access to legal work. As a result, many Syrians send their children to work to lead their life. It will lead to violation of Child rights

Turkey’s record on human rights under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, dominated by the systematic suppression of freedom of expression and ill-treatment of the country’s Kurdish minorities, has drawn strong condemnation from EU leaders.

Now the EU has promised once again to revive negotiations in return for the admission of Syrian refugees from Greece ——- This is an opportunism from both the sides, this may lead to violation of agreement due to shallow interest from both the sides


Topic:Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

4) It is said that there is need for India to upgrade its relationship with Saudi Arabia considering its national and regional interests. How can both countries elevate their relations? What challenges does India face in this regard? Analyse. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Elevation of relationship

Through upgrading three key agreements (on the agenda of the government)

  • The energy security partnership of 2008,
  • The strategic partnership of 2010 (which has included robust anti-terror cooperation), and the
  • Defence partnership of 2014

Further, improving the trade and investment relationship. Bilateral trade at about $40 billion must be built beyond its current oil dependence,

Investment from Saudi Arabia in Make in India initiative on the lines of commitment made by UAE

Saudi Arabia upcoming mega project, the King Abdullah Economic City, with a deep-sea port as a connector between the East and the West – Great opportunities for India

Creation of new jobs (Dignified, with fair terms) for Indian immigrants in Saudi —- Win win situation. Inward remittances for India, peace loving workforce for Saudi Arabia (Half of the India’s 7 million Gulf diaspora works in Saudi Arabia))

Strategic reserves for Oil in India – Saudi Arabia’s assistance in creating strategic oil reserves in India for protection against market and geopolitical risks

Labor welfare and increasing the share of white collar jobs and improving the living conditions on blue collar employees, protection of their interests.

Coordination to fight against the influence of ISIS, cooperation in fight against terrorism


  1. ISRAEL and IRAN – Both are strategic in India’s interests, but, balancing Iran and Saudi Arabia is tough balancing act for India
  2. Pakistan factor – Has more leverage than India
  3. Deeper engagements may be an indication of giving legitimacy to Dictatorial government, since, India promotes democratic setup, it is in India’s interest to promote democratic polity rather than dictatorial political setup.
  4. Saudi Arabia’s covert support to extreme Salafist Jihadism and funding of various Sunni based terrorist organizations (Afghan Taliban, Al Qaeda, LeT, Al nusra front) —- Goes against the grain of India’s liberal Islamic ideology


TopicImportant International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

5) Do you think the Commonwealth is relevant today? Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

The Commonwealth is an intergovernmental organization of 53 member countries that were earlier territories of the British Empire. It was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949. It was formed of countries that shared a common history and fostered growth by mutual cooperation and integration. Its principle values are peace, democracy and egalitarianism.The Commonwealth encompasses almost a third of the world’s population, bringing together people of many faiths, races, languages and incomes.
How is it relevant?
  •  Because of its composition, if the Commonwealth can agree on something important, it is already a prototype of a global idea. The organisation has become an incubator for big-ticket ideas such as the Multilateral Debt Swap for Climate Action
  • it represents a political carte blanche from 53 member states to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which is tasked with assessing and dealing with serious or persistent violations of the core values represented in the charter.
  • makes it incumbent on member states to hold free, fair and credible elections; ensure the separation of the powers of the executive, legislature and judiciary; ensure the independence of the judiciary; provide space for an opposition and civil society to function freely; and give the media a level playing field to function in.
  • digitisation made it possible for the Commonwealth make programmes called Commonwealth Connects. Several programmes have grown exponentially. One of them is Common Health, a dedicated Web platform to advance public health and the leading health hub after the World Health Organisation.
  • Commonwealth provide leadership on issues such as international debt, non-communicable diseases and young people’s participation.
  • Commonwealth gets a lot of credit for helping end military rule in Pakistan in 2007 and it played a pivotal role in championing the boycott of Apartheid in South Africa.
  • It would be wrong to caricature the Commonwealth as a relic, given that countries with no historic connection with the “British Empire” (Mozambique and Rwanda) have decided to join. these countries can see the value of a global voluntary association of equal member states cooperating with each other in pursuit of commonly held goals.
  • While there is no formal trade agreement ,the commonwealth enables prime ministers and trade ministers to meet informally,which provides positive side effects for trade.
  • The Commonwealth provides an international platform for small states in particular. Of  53 member states, 31 are classified as small states and 25 are small island developing states. In many other global arenas these voices are often not heard.Not only does this enable them to participate fully in international affairs, but it also gives them access to the wealth of experience and expertise from across the globe. 
  • commonwealth games held once every four years is a popular event and is looked forward by all the world.
However many experts question its relevance because of the following reasons:-
  • Commonwealth has hardly any geopolitical role or relevance. It is a large and somewhat anomalous club, which devotes most of its energies to maintaining its strange existence.
  • Many citizens of Commonwealth countries don’t really know what it does or who its members are. A quarter of Jamaicans, when asked, said they thought Barack Obama was head of the Commonwealth.
  • no executive authority and no sensible budget to play a global role.
  • negative record on enforcing its members’ commitment to human rights and the rule of law, for example, when Sri Lanka’s abusive regime was permitted to host last year’s biennial Commonwealth leaders meeting.
Despite the criticism in the world being more of a network system, relationships of the kind that the commonwealth promotes really matter as the foundation relies on friendship and understanding and not army.

General Studies – 3

Topic:Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems; Conservation

6) It is said that short-sighted political tactics and agricultural inefficiencies are worsening the water crisis in India. Do you agree? What are the other causes of this crisis? Discuss. (200 Words)


Business Standard

Recently,a study published by water resource group has revealed that Forty percent of India’s population may not have drinking water by 2030. This is substantiated by NASA’s findings that water table in india is dropping at the rate of 0.3metre every year.So water crisis is looming in India.The main reasons are:-
Agricultural inefficiencies:
  • Agriculture accounts for 85 per cent of the total water use.
  • Groundwater depletion has become a serious problem, with aquifers across the country moving into the over-exploited zone. no exact estimates on the number of groundwater extraction units in the country and the number of observation wells is far too less.
  • Deteriorating groundwater quality has also been an area of concern. This makes a large section of our population, depending on groundwater as their major source of drinking water, vulnerable.
Political tactics:
  • Water Resources has been working for the past four years to set up a National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency and has still not succeeded.
  • The National Water Mission had a target of improving water-use efficiency by 20 per cent by March 2017. However, little headway appears to have been made in these areas .
  • Maharashtra’s sugar belt declared record production of the crop in 2014-15, a year in which it also faced a second drought after 2012-13.  Despite only 4% farming land sugarcane cultivation is exploited to its peak.This discrepancy hasn’t stopped successive state governments from bailing out the sugar industry time and again with subsidies and loan waivers, short-circuiting market dynamics and incentivizing sugarcane production.
  • the problem ties into a political ecosystem that is entangled in calculations of patronage and electoral viability. Massive agricultural subsidies, a mainstay of every administration, have incentivized indiscriminate water usage and inefficient cultivation patterns
  • Pricing of water has always been a politically sensitive issue.political tactics like giving free electricity leads to water being wasted in the pumps in the fields.
  • the central government proposed the idea of having a National Water Framework Law. This was opposed by the state governments because they saw it as an infringement of Constitutional provisions that mention water to be a state subject, giving rights to the state to frame legislations on water.
Other causes of the crisis:
  •  Growing scarcity; increasing pollution; enhanced competition, conflicts and trans-boundary water sharing issues have dominated the national discourse in current times.
  • complexities associated with the management and governance of water resources, an effective framework on how we can better manage and use our water resources appears challenging
  • there is no comprehensive assessment of water resources in India. The last time a comprehensive assessment of water resources for the entire country was done was in 1999-2000.
  • groundwater—the latter accounts for some 55%. It also accounts for about 60% of irrigation needs, which take up 80% of India’s total water usage. That skewed pattern is in direct and growing conflict with growing urbanization levels, given that urban water demand per capita daily is thrice as high as rural demand
  • Climate change, according to multiple studies, will hit Asia’s coastal regions among the hardest; large parts of India are already highly stressed. 
  • planning of water resources needs to be based on updated data and it is time that a complete assessment on water availability, use and future demand is carried out.
  • the management options have to look at a complete profiling of aquifers, conjunctive use of surface and groundwater and programmes for rainwater harvesting and aquifer recharge.
  • Improving water-use efficiency is the need of the hour and is crucial for reducing the dependence on freshwater sources.
  • Budget allocation of Rs 6,000 crore for undertaking a major programme for sustainable management of groundwater resources in 2016 need to be implemented properly.Also, one must address the fundamental problem of limiting groundwater extraction.
  • Water-use efficiency in agriculture can be brought about by the adoption of low-cost technologies. It is also important that measures for bringing efficiency in the urban and industrial sector are implemented through better demand management and effective recycling and reuse.
  • Initiative of setting up a Bureau of Water Use Efficiency is an innovative step.
  • set standards for water pricing according to the ability to pay.
Given the fact that water is a resource that has a strong inter-relationship between natural and anthropogenic activities and given the urgency that our interventions on managing water needs to be synchronised across users, departments, states and government, a framework law with basic principles for alignment of legislations sounds rational.

General Studies – 4


Topic:Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators;

7) “Political tyranny is nothing compared to social tyranny and a reformer, who defies society, is a much more courageous man than a politician who defies government.” Critically comment. (150 Words)

The Hindu

(This questions expects you to objectively interpret the statement and examine its relevance to present scenario without sounding too critical or too balanced in your interpretation. However, for this question, as it’s difficult to argue against the statement, try to defend it with strong arguments in its favour through proper current examples)

Under social tyranny, the collective voice of the majority drowns an individual voice; this individual voice, if it’s being raised against unethical and immoral activities supported by the social tyranny, is indeed a courageous act.

Like Ambedkar, John Stuart Mill also Mill contended that social tyranny is more dangerous than government tyranny because “it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the souls itself.”

It takes immense fortitude and moral conviction to protest against social tyranny. History gives us numerous examples of successful overthrowing of political tyrannies, but we seldom find examples of overthrowing social tyranny.

Certain individuals defy society when they see injustices meted out to innocent people in the name of majoritarianism. In recent years, across the world and in India, such individuals have paid with their lives thanks to standing against social tyranny. For examples, individuals have lost lives for standing against rising tide of communalism, deepening caste system, increasing discrimination based on caste, gender, region, religion, race, sexual orientation, skin colour and economic status. (You can give 2-3 specific examples here)

Honesty and morality breed courage. Reformers who see society as an enabler of human development and means for an individual to excel culturally and intellectually strive to correct injustices prevalent in a society. Such reformers are always in minority and are targeted by the majority. One can not expect all reformers to be ethical; instances of fake reformers, especially godmen they themselves becoming the voice of social tyranny is not uncommon in Indian society.

Social tyranny, which is more visible on social media these days, tries to silence such voices through authoritarian means. A vicious environment is created both online and offline where individuals fighting social tyranny are threatened with the covert support of organizations and institutions that represent social tyranny (quote examples depending on your political/religious attitude)

Social tyranny violates individual rights; it strives to bring change in the name of ‘common good’, but it violates rights of certain sections of people who possess equal rights under the Constitution. Individuals who question such tyranny are ostracized and pushed towards death (Give examples)

A politician who defies a political tyrant can be rehabilitated in another political party, whereas a social reformer or an activist defying social tyranny will be alienated by his/her own society. For them salvation lies either in death or in educating the masses about the dangers of social tyranny. This, as aptly said by Mill and Ambedkar, takes immense courage.