Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 25, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 25, 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:- Socialism; World history

1) Why did relations between Cuba and USA strain in 1950s and 60s? To which factors you owe recent normalization of relations between these two countries? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Business Standard

Why strained relations?

Before Castro assuming power (till 1959),

There was a long standing resentment among the Cubans at the amount of American influence in the country,

  1. American troops were stationed there for stability
  2. American aid was used as bargaining chip
  3. American companies held share in all Cuban Industries, Sugar, Tobacco, Textile, Iron, Nickel, Copper, Manganese, Paper etc. and owned half of land, 3/4th of railways, all the electricity and telephone system ——- Exploited Cuban resources to the fullest extent,
  4. US was the main trading partner.

Later, Fiedel Catro seized power from Batista in 1959,

Castro, with communistic leanings, immediately nationalized all the American owned factories and estates with much resentment from America’s business fraternity, despite threats from USA.

USA applied sanctions, later, Cuba entered into trade agreement with Russia and nationalized all the US owned enterprises.

US cut off all the diplomatic relations in 1961, which further strained relations.

Here after, Cuba moved closer to USSR led communist block of cold war era.

later, bay of pigs invasion and Cuban missile crisis  (which was a 13-day (October 16–28, 1962) confrontation between theUnited States and the Soviet Union concerning Soviet ballistic missiles deployment in Cuba) further led to strain in the relations.

Cold war hostility, ideological (Communist and Capitalist) clashes further strained relations

Factor for normalization of relations

  1. Collapse of the Sovient Union in 1991 and subsequent end of ideological clash between Communist block led by USSR and Capitalist block led by USA ———– Resulted in preference for economic issues rather than ideological issues in promoting diplomatic relations
  2. Cautious opening up of Cuban economy for foreign investment
  3. Obama doctrine, which seeks to resolve the problems through consensus, negotiations, compromise rather than violence, coercion, conflict provided further scope
  4. Confidence building measures from US like removal of Cuba from the list of “States sponsoring terrorism” further infused trust in the relations
  5. USA big farming sector needed access to Cuban market, similarly, Cuba wanted FDI to improve its economy – Provided impetus for normalizing relations
  6. Both Cuba and USA are neighbors, mutual benefit in economic, cultural and political stability can be achieved through cooperation rather than conflict.
  7. Cuba and the United States officially resumed full diplomatic relations on July 20, 2015, which reduced mutual suspicion

General Studies – 2

TopicBilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

2) “In any case, as it reinforces its European flank through the powerful attraction of the OBOR initiative, China’s grand strategy of cooperative dominance over Eurasia faces its toughest test in Asia.” Discuss why and how China is building its influence in the Eurasian region but facing hurdles in the Asia Pacific region. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Why China is building its influence in the Eurasian region

  1. Eurasia is trade link network between Europe and Asia,
  2. Eurasia is one of the wealthiest regions in terms of natural resources with 31% of proven natural gas reserves and 17% of oil reserves. has significant reserves of iron ore (23%), gold (14%) and copper (7%).
  3. China’s high demand of energy has reached 16 billion cubic feet per day with more than 31% of its consumption fulfilled through imports. For this Eurasia is an important source
  4. To extend the Chinese market for its exports and to establish stable market source for its manufacturing industries.

How China is building its influence in the Eurasian region

  1. Investment in the region in natural resource extraction
  2. As part of OBOR , strategy to create cross border Special economic zones to boost the Industrial activities in the region
  3. Providing funding facilities for infrastructure and industrial corridor through funding from AIIB, sovereign grants and lines of credit
  4. Promotion of the regional prosperity through proposed industrial corridors, multimodal transport network, special economic zones as part of OBOR strategy
  5. Eurasian region is rich in natural resources, China is providing technology, financial assistance and ground support to extract the same

Hurdles in Asia Pacific region – Reasons

  1. Territorial disputes over islands in South China sea with countries like Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam – Act of coercion and aggression in resolving issues created trust deficit among the countries and they doubt China’s peaceful rise principle.
  2. In East China sea dispute with Japan over ownership of Senkaku island – Created tension and are increasingly dragging world powers like US into this theatre —- Big hurdle
  3. India’s support to Vietnam in oil exploration in Vietnam’s territorial waters, China’s resentment over it – Complicating the situation
  4. China’s unilateral move to construct dams across transboundary rivers like Mekong and Brahmaputra created lack of trust and suspicion – Another hurdle
  5. Regional trade forums like RCEP, Transpacific partnership reduces the importance of OBOR strategy to certain extent
  6. India’s territorial disputes with China, competition for resources, diplomacy, market and in every field due to similar interest and stakes may find non cooperation for this initiative from Indian side
  7. US pivot to Asia, increased involvement in Navy patrolling to protect the interests of Japan and South Korea against Chinese aggression ——- Security hurdle for OBOR
  8. Threats from ISIS through its terrorist operations and radicalization of the youth —- Threatening the stability of Eurasia


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

3) In the light of recent incidences of death of patients in medical camps after undergoing sterilization surgeries, critically comment on India’s family planning programme. (200 Words)

The Hindu

India instituted the National Family Welfare Programme (NFWP) in 1952 as part of its first Five Year Plan (1951-56).

Programme adopted approaches like clinic, extension, camps (temporary clinic) to carry out sterilization drives for both men and women and promotion of contraceptives like IUD, Condoms, and Contraceptive pills as an integrated strategy, along with campaign for wider spacing of children, delayed marriage, elimination of child and early marriages. Through these measures the programme reasonably achieved its objectives to limit the population growth rate to certain extent.

  1. But, the programme is highly skewed towards sterilization, particularly sterilization of women. Use of a modern method among married women in India is 49 percent and female sterilization accounts for 77 percent of this group.
  2. The number of women with unmet need for contraceptive methods is higher in India compared to other developing countries.
  3. More over for sterilization drives, women are unduly targeted (of the total sterilization, Vasectomy for men accounts for only 2%, remaining covered by Tubectomy)
  4. Mass sterilization camps are conducted with a view to meet the target, but safety measures like sterilization of equipments, proper medication, and standard operation procedures are not followed due to negligence, lack of monitoring, lack of infrastructure and facilities and poor monitoring.

This results in death in several cases. For instance, the example of mass sterilization camp conducted by the government of Chhattisgarh resulted in 13 deaths and 65 injuries is testimony to this fact (evidence indicates that the surgical staff had used the same hand gloves, injections, syringes, sutures on all the 83 women, resulting in life-threatening infections).

  1. Lack of coordination between Central and State government and poor communication between different levels of administration in implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the programme is another glaring point.

For transforming the family planning programme to achieve better results, we need to focus on,

  1. Promoting vasectomies along with tubectomies, to reduce the burden on women and also to provide sense of security and confidence in women
  2. Promotion of non intrusive programmes like, Wider spacing between pregnancies, encouragement of decision making power to women in matters of family planning, discouragement of early and child marriages, promotion of women education and empowerment through SHG
  3. Supply of sufficient contraceptive to meet the unmet demands.
  4. Use of ASHA, ANM to spread the message of family welfare and to create awareness.
  5. Safety measures during mass sterilization drives with qualified doctors, proper infrastructures, medication to prevent health complications


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

4) “For India, nuclear security is not a new objective, but has always been a priority along with nuclear safety.” Differentiate between nuclear security and safety. To ensure both, what measures has India taken both domestically and internationally? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

According to IAEA, nuclear safety is “The achievement of proper operating conditions, prevention of accidents or mitigation of accident consequences, resulting in protection of workers, the public and the environment from undue radiation hazards”. 

 Nuclear Security is defined as “The prevention and detection of and response to, theft, sabotage, unauthorized access, illegal transfer or other malicious acts involving nuclear material, other radioactive substances or their associated facilities”.

In simple terms, Nuclear safety refers to the measures taken to ensure the well-being of power reactors and other civilian uses of nuclear energy. Where as nuclear security refers to measures taken to prevent the misuse of nuclear/radiological materials/weapons including physical protection of sources, among others.

Measures taken by India in Nuclear safety,

AERB reviews regularly the regulatory requirement for power plants, The new codes issued by AERB incorporate the requirements arising out of the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident.

The safety measures implemented by India include

  1. Three layers of power backups,
  2. Water supply from off-site locations,
  3. Elevated water towers and
  4. Implementing options to inject nitrogen to prevent explosions.

Regulatory measures are adjusted to meet the obligations of Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety.

Establishment of India has established Global Center of Excellence for Nuclear Energy partnership to conduct research, design and development of nuclear systems that are intrinsically safe, secure, proliferation resistant and sustainable.

Scientific disposal of nuclear spent fuel for safety

Measures for Nuclear security

  1. Nuclear power plants and installations are guarded by CISF round the clock
  2. Active partner of Nuclear Security Summit for enhancing institutional mechanism and statutes for enhanced nuclear safety and securing assets — International collaboration can be achieved
  3. Self imposed Doctrine of no first use of nuclear weapons policy
  4. India has been campaigning for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group; as well as three other counter-proliferation regimes – the Missile Technology Control Regime, Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.

General Studies – 3

TopicEconomic growth; Awareness in S&T

5) It is said that rising antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat to economic growth. Examine why. (200 Words)

The Hindu

When a microbe shows its resistance to medication which was successful earlier in preventing  infections caused by microbes is called antimicrobial resistance.ex: MDR tuberculosis. The reasons for this might be easy availability of antibiotics over the counter so there is excessive use and untimely usage.Rising anti-microbiotic resistance is a serious threat to economy in the following ways:-
  • Low income countries:
    • TB, Malaria and HIV are amongst the leading causes of death in the world, with resistance to treatments of these diseases adding to the complexity of handling these diseases especially in low and middle income countries like India. Average impact on GDP is expected to vary significantly across income groups, with low income countries projected to bear the biggest decline in output
  • Healthcare expenditure per capita increases leading to increased out of pocket expenditure so savings are hurt which could have been used for other productive means.
  • The governments have to spend more money in containing the diseases with new strains developing each day.So research and development expenditure has to expenditure on poverty alleviation programmes will be affected.Also fiscal consolidation takes a toll with chances of rising fiscal deficit.
  • With rise in drug resistant diseases like TB,Diarrhea etc,the work force in the country takes a hit as the productivity and efficiency of the people is below par which leads to underutilization of their potential like in India’s case demographic dividend which is supposed to be the largst individual contibutor of workforce in the near future.
  • New innovation of drugs for treating the diseases with antimicrobial resistance like XDR-TB may lead to increased price of drugs.The cost to treat infection caused by MRSA (Methicillin Resistant staphyloccus aureas) is twice that of the sensitive strain i.e MSSA.
  • poor sanitation and open defecation are another problem in the case of India as it makes it even more vulnerable for antimicrobial resistance like NDM-1 enzyme .
  • Foreign investment,tourism and even exports can be adversely effected as the world may be doubtful with the products of the country from the increased microbial resistance.
  • insurance sector might be adversely affected as it will be under immense stress to provide the claims which go beyond its capacity as many people demand at once.
Therefore to avoid complications by antimicrobial resistance measures like more focus should be on improving water and sanitation as it can effectively reduce the use of antibiotics by at least 60%,Hygiene should be taught to children from the young age like washing hands regularly and rational usage of antibiotics by the people need to be done.

General Studies – 4

Topic: laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance;

6) In October 2014 the Supreme Court directed the Union government to frame guidelines for the protection of ‘Good Samaritans’, or helpful bystanders, and a Standard Operating Procedure to make them work. What was the intention behind this directive? Is there a need for statutory backing to  these guidelines? Also discuss the significance of such a law, especially for India. (200 Words)

The Hindu

‘Good Samaritan ’ or helpful bystander is a person who offers assistance to the accident victim without fear of any criminal or civil liability .The guidelines by the Supreme court and recent standard operating procedure are framed to ensure this.The other intentions behind this directive are
  • to avoid bystanders being forced to be a witness or harassing them
  • to make people listen to one’s conscience and act with compassion towards the victims
  • to make people to  come forward and save lives of victims especially during the first few hours which can save lot of lives .For instance in M.P recently a youth was fatally hit by a bus and bystanders just stared at his body for an hour without taking an action .Any action in that golden hour would have saved his life.
As the matter concerns the police, hospitals and road transport officials, besides the magistracy, it may be more effective if the State governments frame their own Acts. The need for statutory backing to guidelines and operational procedures is quite obvious. Studies have shown that a large majority of citizens are deterred from responding to an accident victim’s distress for fear of getting into legal tangles. 
Significance to India:
  • India saw over 1,41,000 fatalities on its roads in 2014.
  • to avoid cases like the Nirbhaya where the victim and her friend were lying in the pool of blood on the road for so many hours with onlookers just watching them and even denying help
  • To actually act upon constitutional values like fraternity and taking fundamental duties seriously.
  • To increase Responsibility in the citizens of the nation
  • It will only reiterate India as a welfare state
So India can emulate experiences from other countries which have framed Good Samaritan laws that do not impose any positive obligation on bystanders but afford protection to acts done in good faith by volunteers in an emergency without looking for recognition or reward and India must do everything possible to encourage more citizens to get involved in the rescue of accident victims, especially during the ‘golden hour’ that can make the difference between life and death.

TopicEssence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions;

7) Is it unethical to keep animals in zoos? Justify. (150 Words)

The Hindu 

(Answer is sourced from BBC –

Humanity needs to treat everyone including animals with compassion and respect. Earth has enough space to be shared by every species but humans tend to go one step ahead trying to prove they are the superior species .Here is where the debate of animal ethics comes.
keeping animals in Zoos is unethical because of many arguements like:-
  • it treats the animal as a means to achieve some human end
  • it fails to treat animals with the respect they deserve
  • the animal is deprived of its natural habitat and is forced into close proximity with other species and human beings which may be unnatural for it.Sometimes, barren concrete and metal bars are all a tiger or bear will know for their entire lives
  • the animal is deprived of its natural social structure and companionship.Intergenerational bonds are broken when individuals get sold or traded to other zoos
  • the animal may become bored, depressed and institutionalised.Inadequate space may be indicated by evidence of malnutrition, poor condition, debility, stress, or abnormal behavior patterns
  • animals bred in zoos may become imprinted on human beings rather than members of their own species – this prevents them fully experiencing their true identity
  • although animals may live longer lives in zoos than in the wild, they may experience a lower quality of life
  • where animals are rare and hard to breed in captivity, removing specimens from the wild to zoos may result in the population falling.Also the remaining individuals will be less genetically diverse and will have more difficulty finding mates. Humans do not have right to breed, capture and confine other animals
  • breeding leads to surplus population and most of the zoos sell them to circuses or just outrightly kill the excess.captive breeding programs do not release animals back into the wild. The offspring are forever part of the chain of zoos, circuses, petting zoos, and exotic pet trade that buy, sell and barter animals among themselves and exploit animals. Ned the Asian elephant was born at an accredited zoo, but later confiscated from an abusive circus trainer
  • If zoos are teaching children anything, it’s that imprisoning animals for our own entertainment is acceptable.
But where a zoo is keeping animals in order to preserve a species that is under threat in the wild, and treats its animals in an appropriate way, then this is morally acceptable from the welfare point of view.
  • zoos educate the public and foster an appreciation of the animals. This exposure and education motivates people to protect the animals.
  • Zoos save endangered species by bringing them into a safe environment, where they are protected from poachers, habitat loss, starvation and predators.
  • With breeding programs for endangered species it makes it easy for these animals to find mates and breeding.
  • Zoos help rehabilitate wildlife and take in exotic pets that people no longer want or are no longer able to care for. 
 The issue is not how well the animals are treated, but whether we have a right to confine them for our amusement or “education.”