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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 28, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 28, 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: Critical changes to geographical features and their effect on flora and fauna

1) How do scientists attribute if an event, such as floods or cyclones,  is induced by climate change? With suitable examples, illustrate. (200 Words)

The Hindu

In order to determine attribution,

  1. Scientists run climate models to simulate an event or
  2. They rely on the observational record from which they may estimate the statistical chance and magnitude of an extreme event.
  3. They study statistical relationship between different parameters which are related to each other


Effect of Global warming on tropical cycle or Hurricane activity

  1. Statistical relationships between SSTs and Atlantic hurricanes

Observed records of Atlantic hurricane activity show a correlation, on multi-year time-scales, between local tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and the Power Dissipation Index (PDI). PDI is an aggregate measure of Atlantic hurricane activity, combining frequency, intensity, and duration of hurricanes in a single index. Both Atlantic SSTs and PDI have risen sharply since the 1970s, and there is some evidence that PDI levels in recent years are higher than in the previous active Atlantic hurricane era in the 1950s and 60s.

  1. Analysis of century-scale Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane records

Existing records of past Atlantic tropical storm or hurricane numbers (1878 to present) show a pronounced upward trend, which is also correlated with rising SSTs.It can be correlated with climate change

  1. Model simulations of greenhouse warming influence on Atlantic hurricanes

Developing a regional dynamical downscaling model for Atlantic hurricanes and testing it by comparing with observed hurricane activity since 1980. This model, when forced with observed sea surface temperatures and atmospheric conditions, can reproduce the observed rise in hurricane counts between 1980 and 2012, along with much of the interannual variability

Other examples include,

  1. El Nino events and its effect on Monsoon patterns and other weather Changes in North America, South America and Australia
  2. Melting Glaciers – Resulting in rise in sea level
  3. IPCC findings – Increased heat waves and decreased cold days since 1950

General Studies – 2

Topic:India and its neighborhood- relations.

2) In recent months, Nepal’s proximity to China is growing. it also signed many agreements with China to improve its connectivity and security. Do you think India should press panic button? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

India should not press panic button, because,

  1. Recent Madheshi protests and economic blockage prompted Nepal to search for alternative in the form of China.
  2. This has been a regular exercise by ruling regime in Nepal for securing India’s support and to caution India – we had witnessed similar move by King Mahendra in 1960s and by King Gnanendra and Birendra in 1990s and 2005, when they faced popular struggle, they moved closer to China to solicit India’s support and intiative.
  3. Despite Nepal signing 10 agreement and MoU with China encompassing all the major sectors, which appear strategic, they in reality higher in symbolism. For instance, agreement to provide transit facility through Tianjin seaport in actual is only for Nepali goods imported from third countries.

Moreover, The viability of this option may however be debated as Tianjin is located at a distance of 3,000 km from Nepal, as against 1,000 km from the Haldia port in India being currently used by Nepal.

  1. Nepal’s infrastructure in its northern region to connect with the proposed Tianjin transit facility is still not in place —– Need more time to put in place.
  2. Assistance from OBOR initiative comes at a cost, since, Nepal’s infrastructure and investment need to be integrated into OBOR objective. It reduces Nepal’s autonomy
  3. Financial assistance from China – Mainly in the form of loan, of which only 25 per cent will be interest free. Nepal is also aware of the unease and discomfort that countries like Sri Lanka and Myanmar experienced in their deepening economic engagement with China.

Hence, China cannot replace India as strategic partner of Nepal due to India’s geopolitical and socio cultural advantage, moreover, India is not opportunistic country like China (As we are witnessing in Africa and in South America for resources), Nepal;’s interest will be served if it strengthen its relationship with India.

But, this recent move should be a wake up call for India to take the stock of the situation and to avert any diplomatic disasters due to lethargy and lack of initative.


  1. China could use Nepal to expand its presence (even Militarily at a later stage) — Strategic disadvantage for India
  2. It provides scope for China in making inroads into South Asia, (with similar agreements with other countries) India’s own backyard
  3. Increased connectivity with China (Nepal – Tibet railroad etc) will alienate India’s presence
  4. OBOR and integration of Nepal into this initiative – Strategic disadvantage for India
  5. More economic cooperation with Nepal and other countries may strengthen the case for the entry of China into SAARC (with Pakistan’s support) —- India’s clout in the region will be diminished
  6. India’s claim for UNSC seat may be under threat if Nepal moves closer to China (another negative vote)


Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

3) Recently, the government passed the Aadhaar Bill giving statutory rights for the Aadhaar programme, but this still leaves privacy as a specific challenge. How can this challenge be addressed? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

How to address the privacy challenge in Aadhaar,

  1. Removal of ambiguity in invoking the National security provision for interception of biometric and demographic data. Term National security should be clearly defined to remove misuse of this provision
  1. Independent regulator need to be set up for addressing the privacy issues
  1. Encryption of personal data to prevent data breach
  1. Effective Cyber security provision to prevent Hacking into database
  1. Only trusted players with good long term record must be involved to function as part of adhaar project —— To prevent leakage of strategic information
  1. Training of personnel to handle the sensitive personal information
  1. Public grievance redressal cell with required power must be established to deal with problems related to privacy issues
  1. Present privacy provision is not a deterrent in high profile cases, hence, stringent provisions with fine and imprisonment must be in place
  1. Biometric data collectors during enrollment must be verified
  1. Background information of biometric data collector must be checked, only agencies with strong credential must be allowed to collect sensitive biometric data.
  • The government estimates show a steep decline in poverty from 37.2% in 2004-05 to 21.9% in 2011-12. To which factors do you attribute this reduction? How can India continue to reduce poverty? Discuss. (200 Words)


Topic:Poverty and hunger

4) The government estimates show a steep decline in poverty from 37.2% in 2004-05 to 21.9% in 2011-12. To which factors do you attribute this reduction? How can India continue to reduce poverty? Discuss. (200 Words)


Reduction in poverty is attributed to,

  1. Increase in employment in non agriculture sector – Construction sector absorbed the landless laborers, wage earners from villages, reduced dependence of entire family on agriculture reduced the risks associated with monsoon fluctuations, rain fed farming.
  2. Schemes like MGNREGA, National rural livelihood mission reduced the stress during lean season, created employment opportunities during non agricultural seasons also.
  3. India’s demographic bulge provided more working population compare to dependents (Children and elders) – More working hands, reduced employment
  4. Social welfare schemes like PDS, AAY, MGNREGA, NRLM, Pension schemes and others provided safety net to the poor – Reduced poverty
  5. Inward remittances – Large emigration of citizen to greener pastures like US, EU etc. and to west Asian destinations like UAE, Saudi, Qatar etc. generated huge inward remittances for India, which directly benefited dependents in India
  6. Quality jobs in Service sector like BPO, Hospitality, Retail chain, E – commerce supply chain provided heavy wages
  7. Rapid growth of the economy during this period except 2008 recession , provided better opportunities to come out of poverty through better employment opportunities, increased demand for services etc.

How can India continue reduce poverty,

Agriculture sector

  1. Extension of irrigation facilities – Assured irrigation and adoption of modern technologies, like Drip, sprinkler irrigation increases efficiency, reduces risk and increases the farm income substantially.
  2. Value addition through food processing – Processing and value addition of agriculture and horticulture produce, increases the value, fetch more prices, reduces storage and transportation loss — Poverty reduces
  3. Organic farming – Low input and optimum output (yield), increases the income and reduces the dependence of farmers on money lenders.
  4. Cooperation farming, milk cooperatives and farmer produces organization – Assured market, removal of middle men, no scope for exploitation in Agriculture – Reduced exploitation, increased earnings.
  5. Successful implementation of PM fasal bima yojana – to protect the farmers from various risks
  6. Technology adoption – Mechanization of agriculture, promotion of modern technologies like Vermicomposting, Fertigaiton, plastic mulches, polyhouse cultivation – Thease should be promoted through provision of subsidies, grants and credit facilities

Manufacturing sector

  1. Skill development – of unemployed youth, citizens to meet the industrial requirements
  2. Promotion and expansion of labor intensive industries like Textiles, Automobiles, Construction, Jems and Jewellary, food processing industries to crate quality employment opportunities.
  3. Flagship schemes like MGNREGA need to be better targeted with the aim to create skilled workforce along with ensuring job during lean season
  4. Make in India initiative

Service sector

  1. Creation of quality jobs in BPO, IT, ITES for youth – Workers dependents benefited
  2. Promotion of tourism – Creates local jobs, multiplier effect on development in rural and semi urban areas
  3. Promotion of higher job creation in E commerce, supply chain, Hospitality and construction sector
  4. Promotion of startups, entrepreneurships among Weaker, depressed sections – Sense of belongingness – Class action to life


  1. Effective implementation of JAM trinity for targeting beneficiaries, reducing corruption — Subsidies reach the poor
  2. Universal health insurance to reduce out of pocket expenditure to health care
  3. Skill development, financial inclusion, Digital literacy – Empowerment
  4. Up gradation, market support to MSME sector, cottage industries and village based industries
  5. Expansion of welfare scheme like Pension scheme for farmers and workers in unorganized sector


TopicIssues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources.

5) The debate on using public money to fund higher education is linked to the question of how beneficial it is in the creation of a developed and egalitarian society. Do you support continuation of subsidy for higher education in India? Comment. (200 Words)


Educated citizenry extends benefits to the society at large like direct economic gains, such as research leading to the invention of vaccines and new technology, as well as indirect gains, such as an increase in tax collection, a more flexible workforce that can adapt to the changing demands of the market and greater appreciation of social diversity, leading to greater harmony. But with appalling 21% enrollment in Indian higher education the debate of public funding of higher education need to be discussed.
Yes, subsidy is needed:
  • Public provisioning of higher education can also serve as an important tool in reducing inequality. In a society where higher education is free, students born in both poor and rich families have an equal chance of augmenting their future earnings.Also egalitarianism can be promoted with students not discriminating 
  • reflecting on the experience of China, which has massively ramped up spending on higher education over the past two decades which led to the impressive growth in the number of graduates: 30% per year since 1999 and a quadrupling in their number in the last six years. Chinese universities have also been using funds generated from profits of university-owned companies.
  • Without government funding,students have to pay for most of the costs involved, often by taking loans. As many students in the US are discovering today, a bleak macroeconomic outlook may mean that it takes a long time for students to pay back the debt they are forced to take to fund their education.
  • growing debt burden on account of a sharp increase in higher education cost and lack of growth in employment due to the recession has led to a huge increase in outstanding student loans in the US.
  • Public funding ensures subjects which have historic significance and which might not be commercial be part of higher education curriculum.
No,subsidy is not needed:
  • rich stood to gain more than the poor from public provision of services such as healthcare and education due to various factors. Despite free provisioning, availing of services entails private costs which the rich found easier to pay.These could include cost of transport to a school/university or hospital or opportunity cost of time spent in availing the service.
  • A poor student might not gain from higher education as much as his/her rich counterpart because the latter’s family might use its clout to find a better job.
  • education contributed much less to growth than would be expected in standard economic models.
  • Surplus supply of educated labour in the wake of sluggish demand leading to diminishing returns to an educated workforce and poor-quality education not generating any benefits were given as the other reasons for the low economic returns from education.
  • Many students get involved in campus politics and take long time to earn degrees and stay in the hostels even without studying in those colleges draining taxpayer’s money.
  • despite public funding only the best land up in lucrative jobs as India is a job driven economy.Also most of the graduates from public funded institutions go abroad and probably settle there wasting Indian resources.
  • various measures like differential fee structures based on income levels and levying a graduate tax on employers hiring graduates.
  • China has been devoting the bulk of its resources to what have been termed “elite universities”. China’s higher education sector also saw a wave of mergers of small institutes and universities into larger universities and faculties.India can learn from this experience.
  • Institutional reforms like financial autonomy,implementation of lyngdoh commission report on higher education governance can be done.
Given the scale of India’s higher education sector, an effective policy would require that the ongoing debates and experiences of various models of higher education functioning are critically examined.

General Studies – 3

TopicEnvironmental pollution

6) Discuss India’s limitations of urban solid waste management policy and suggest how it can overcome these limitations, especially keeping in mind consumers’ interest. (200 Words)

The Hindu

  • India generates about eight lakh tonnes of e-waste annually which is too much to handle for the  registered recycling facilities as only half of it can be recycled. So not adequate recycling infrastructure.
  • Producers and consumers of electronic goods have a responsibility under the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2011 to ensure proper disposal, but progress has been slow for various reasons
  • concentrated acids are used in an open-air environment to remove copper from printed circuit boards; the corrosive chemicals are then discharged into surrounding lands. Several cities are similarly polluted.
  • Urban solid waste management policy has focussed on cleaning streets and transferring garbage to landfills, ignoring the legal obligation to segregate and recycle. segregration of dry and wet waste which can be done at home itself is not taken seriously.
  • Hazardous materials, including heavy metals, are dumped in garbage yards, polluting soil and water so no sustainable way to dispose the solid waste without environmental impact
  • lack of awareness by people of the need for their involvement.
  • Lack of expertise and exposure to city waste management using modern techniques /best practices.Age­old practices (Dhalaos) are used for storage of waste which are  posing serious problems and not acceptable in the present scenario.There are no systematic studies on India’s waste generation
  • excessive exploitation of landfills leads to land degradation,toxic substances present in the surface which can make the land uninhabitable.
  • Lack of proper institutional set up for waste management, planning and designing in  urban local bodies
What needs to be done?
  • The new rules have positive measures in this regard: they classify mercury-laden light bulbs as e-waste, which will keep them out of municipal landfills. Bulk consumers have to file annual returns, another welcome move. An awareness campaign on e-waste will make it easier to implement the rules.
  • Developing countries like Brasil,Egypt have mechanisms which look into the problem of Solid waste India needs to learn some economic modelling.
  • Rag pickers who are affected need to be properly trained in handling solid waste and need to be  integrated in to the system as mentioned in the new rules.
  • Several Indian households also stock e-waste items. The success of the new rules will depend on incentivising such consumers to enter the formal recycling channel using the producer-operated buy-back scheme. They will come on board when the repurchase offer is better than that of the unorganised sector and a collection mechanism is available. 
  • New ways to disposing solid waste need to be encouraged as urban solid waste is mostly noncombustilble and thermal technologies like incineration is not going to help.
  • Polluter pays principle need to be the guideline from now on as it implements a sense of responsibility to handle solid waste and not degrade environment further.
  • Local bodies need to be prepared to handle the solid waste with technological innovations like bagasse co- generation,rice husk power etc viability to be looked into.
  • Biomedical waste has different methods to handling it and hospitals need to be very careful when they dispose it of.
  • Instances from public sector stakeholders like railways implementing bio-toilets,green curtains can be emulated by other governmental agencies too.
In light of the changing dynamics in climate, things can be complicated with respect to solid waste handling .With enhanced research and learning from the experiences of the developed countries a quality healthy environment is the ultimate goal and it  demands that the targets get more ambitious.

Topic: Indian economy – growth; Employment; Resource mobilization

7) Examine the impact falling oil prices on Indian economy and on Indian expatriates. (200 Words)


The Indian Express

With 75% of its imports from crude oil India is significantly impacted with any changes in the oil prices across the world.With widening unrest in middle east,there has been a declining trend in the oil prices which is a boon to India.
Impact on Indian Economy:
  • huge savings on imports and  this helps narrow India’s current account deficit .India’s current account deficit has narrowed to $22 billion in April-December 2015.
  • besides benefiting industries that use oil and its derivatives. These include oil, auto, paint, aviation, cosmetic and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies. For instance, lower crude oil prices will reduce input costs for paint companies as they use titanium dioxide, a crude oil derivative, as a raw material. Similarly, the cosmetic industry is a heavy user of paraffin, again a crude oil derivative.
  • foreign exchange reserves have hit an all-time-high of $356 bn
  • Every $10 per barrel fall in crude oil price helps reduce retail inflation by 0.2% and wholesale price inflation by 0.5%, according to a Moneycontrol report.
  • A fall in oil prices reduces companies’ losses, oil subsidies and thus helps narrow fiscal deficit.
  • The fall will have a positive impact on  oil marketing companies by lowering their subsidy burden.These companies have been bearing the burden of under-recoveries-money lost by selling fuels at prices set by the government.
  • Falling oil prices will lower the cost of running automobiles and encourage people to buy.
  • Rise in auto sales means higher demand for tyres as well. Plus, one of the inputs for tyres, synthetic rubber, is a byproduct of crude oil. So, a fall in crude oil prices will be an additional advantage for tyre companies.
  • fall in crude oil prices is positive for the aviation sector.there might be a significant 15% fall in air ticket prices in India
  • Bulk of savings goes to the government as excise duty is also raised which can be used for infrastructure spending.
  • Investments in Shale gas exploration may become NPAs in US and thus, cause more FDI’s and FIIs to India.
  • A fall in oil prices is, thus, good for the rupee. However, the downside is that the dollar strengthens every time the value of oil falls. This negates any benefits from a fall in current account deficit.
  • Higher weight of commodities in India’s export basket has hurt earnings.
  • The cost of India’s fuel subsidies could fall by $2.5bn this year – but only if oil prices stay low.
Impact on Indian expatriates:
India was the largest remittance receiving country, with an estimated $72 billion in 2015. according to aWorld Bank report. Remittances to India from West Asia are the highest, forming nearly half of the total flows
  • remittances from expatriates is showing signs of slowing down, reflecting the flip side of the sharp fall in global crude oil prices. In the absence of a meaningful rebound in oil prices, these could taper off further.
  • Indians remitted $15.8 billion during the third quarter of fiscal 2016, the lowest in 18 quarters
  • Inflows into non-resident Indian (NRI) deposits of banks, which in a way also form part of the remittance money, have slowed as well.
  • middle eastern governments are not just undertaking spending cuts but also restrict employment opportunities for million foreign workers may have to leave Saudi Arabia by this year-end.the consequences would be severe for Kerala as nearly 90 per cent of the estimated two million Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) are working in the Gulf region and unemployment can rise in India.
  • companies are not granting increments.
  • Water and electricity and other utility charges have also increased, making it tough for Indian expatriates to maintain the quality of life as before.
Therefore with global connectedness any significant change anywhere can impact India as well.India needs to reduce its crude oil dependency by moving towards sustainable renewable sources to meet its energy demands which in turn can save a lot for its exchequer.

General Studies – 4

Topic: Ethics in human actions

8) Philosophers, writers and reformers have spent years exploring the true nature of revenge and resentment and whether forgiveness is the right response. Do you think,  in the light of recent terrorist strike on European cities, should Western powers take revenge on terrorists? Justify on ethical grounds. (150 Words)

The Indian Express

Will be posted tomorrow