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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 30, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 30, 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: World geography; Critical changes to geographical features and their effect on flora and fauna, and on society

1) A recent United Nations report by Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES) has warned that the wild pollinators are declining, and their loss will imperil world’s food supply. Discuss the importance of wild pollinators, causes for their decline, their importance for India and measures to be taken to restore the integrity of pollinators. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Importance of Wild pollinators

Wild pollinators play a very important role in the production crops such as some pulses, sunflower seeds, cardamom, coffee, cashew nuts, oranges, mangoes and apples (more than 20,000 species of pollinators including birds, bats and insects are involved in pollination activities)

India is the major exporter of spices (Cardamom), Plantation crops (Coffee, Cashewnut) hence, these wild pollinators are playing an important role in ensuring prosperity of the country

The annual economic value of the crops pollinated by animals worldwide is estimated to be between $235 billion and $577 billion (in 2015).

Wild pollinators perform better than honeybees because they deploy a wider range of pollinating techniques, such as buzz pollination; they also visit more plants resulting in effective pollination

Causes for their decline

  1. Indiscriminate use of non selective pesticides – Adversely affect the biology of the pollinators and even cause the death of whole colony of pollinators
  2. Fragmentation of habitats, loss of habitat and lack of access to food
  3. Pollution – Air pollution reduces the ability of the pollinators to trace the target plants
  4. Global warming and fluctuation in the seasonal temperature are affecting sensitive pollinators like Bats, Wasps, butterflies and honey bees etc.
  5. Food security, nutrition security and ecological sustainability

Importance for India

  1. India is the major exporter of spices (Cardamom), Plantation crops (Coffee, Cashewnut) hence, these wild pollinators are playing an important role in ensuring prosperity of the country
  2. India has more than 20% of its area in the form of forests and substantial tribal population (8% of population) are dependent on minor forest produce for their livelihood which were serviced by wild pollinators — Hence, it is very important from the perspective of tribal development and normal ecological balance
  3. India need to increase pulse production and oil seeds production to reduce the dependence on Imports —— Can be achieved only through protection of wild pollinators
  4. Ecological balance and sustainability
  5. Food security, nutrition security and ecological sustainability

Measures to be taken to restore the integrity of pollinators

  1. Improvements in the science of pollination,
  2. Better land management,
  3. Strong regulations underlying pesticide use, and
  4. Restoration and protection of habitats for wild pollinators.
  5. Need for monitoring wild pollinators, and
  6. Need for strengthening the governance of natural assets.

Monitoring of wild pollinators as part of monitoring ecosystem through — Indian Long Term Ecological Observatories (I-LTEO)


General Studies – 2

Topic:Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests,

2) “The most solid of the BRIC countries just a few years ago, Brazil has become an object lesson for emerging economies on how dangerous it is to avoid tough structural reform when the going is good.” Throw light on causes of ongoing crisis in Brazil and lessons for India from this crisis. (200 Words)

Business Standard

Causes for ongoing crisis in Brazil

  1. Export oriented economy – Main ravenue source is through exploitation of natural resources like Minerals, Agriculture and other primary industries — Dependent on raw material imports from outside the world – Recent slowdown in the world economy in general and Chinease economy and its reduced demand for raw materials in particular, hardly hit Brazilian economy.
  2. Corruption especially collusive corruption, nepotism and economic mismanagement especially during World cup Foot Ball event management affected the ecnomy adversely.
  3. Neglect of need for structural reforms – Manufacturing sector largely remain uncompetitive. Also need to transform economy from export oriented towards domestic demand driven economy
  4. Higher Debt to GDP ratio – Close to 70% — Fiscal mismanagement – Unsustainable financial management and service of debts

Lessons for India

  1. Structural reforms need to be implemented like Labor reforms, Ease of Doing business, Promotion of Manufacturing industries, increased investment in agriculture infrastructure like Irrigation, warehousing, food processing, creation of independent regulatory agencies, promotion of MSME, bank consolidation
  2. Efforts to encourage domestic consumption, ie. Domestic demand driven economy rather than export oriented economy
  3. Increasing transparency, accountability at all levels and reduced corruption especially collusive corruption at higher offices
  4. Political rivalry and blame game must not stall the reforms —- GST, Bankruptcy law, GAAR, National agriculture market must be promoted to increase resilience in the economy
  5. Strict adherence to FRBM act and moving towards the path of fiscal consolidation and fiscal prudence
  6. Moving away from Agriculture based economy (largest employer) toward skill dependent manufacturing and service sector economy


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

3) Discuss terrorism related challenges faced by EU and India, and joint measures taken by both in countering terrorism. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Challenges faced by EU and India related to Terrorism

  1. Threat from ISIS – ISIS has been been a major threat to the world, India and EU is not an exception

Tactics of ISIS to radicalize the youth and to secure recruitment for its terrorist operations are equally threatening India and EU, these include,

  1. Carefully calibrated social media propaganda. Use of social media to spred religious extremism, terrorist ideology ——– Difficult to regulate the internet to prevent such moves
  2. Use videos, free gifts, sympathetic mails to targets to increase enlistment
  3. Radicalization of the society using societal divide like communalization, exploitation of discontent among the minorities etc

India’s neighborhood is extremely volatile and hotbeds of Terrorism and religious fundamentalism – Pakistan is pushing cross border terrorism and sponsoring terrorist acts with in India, Afghanistan since, unstable also posing threats.

Whereas, Europe, due to its proximity to volatile West Asia and North Africa, open meditarranean sea, especially Syria and refugee crisis on the one side and marginalization of minorities, youth radicalization, ISIS propaganda, refugee influx are all creating threats to European security.

Joint measures taken by India and EU


India and EU resolved to step up

  • cooperation to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalisation,
  • disrupt recruitment, terrorist movements and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters,
  • stop sources of terrorist financing,
  • dismantle terrorist infrastructure and prevent supply of arms to terrorists.

To meet this end, India and EU committed to further enhance exchanges in the fields of finance, justice and police and is now looking forward to the EU-India Counterterrorism Dialogue.

  1. Support to UN convention on Terrorism
  2. FATF and GCTF (Global Counter Terrorism Forum) for international cooperation to prevent funding to terrorist activities
  3. Intelligence sharing and cooperation with respect to terrorist related aspects


TopicWelfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes

4) Critically comment on the challenges faced by MGNREGA scheme in recent months and their impact on rural distress. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Challenges faced by MGNREGA in recent months

  1. Reduced flow of financial (budgetary) resources —10,588 crore is currently pending in payment delays(nine crore workers in 25 states are facing delays in wage payments)
  2. Unfulfilled objectives — Lack of accessibility to sufficient funds sets off a vicious cycle — delayed payments leading to lesser demand and still fewer payments — resulting in helplessness and distress migration.
  3. State governments and local administrators are in a dilemma, on the one side, law requires them to provide work but on the other side, they don’t have enough money to pay the wages —– Causing delay in issuing Job cards and non provision of unemployment allowance in most of the states.
  4. Employment at 150 days per family are not realized. Only 5% households gained this benefit
  5. Works are performed according to the discretion of the authorities – Scheme no longer attaches the tag of demand driven initiative since widespread violation of this provision
  6. Poor quality of asset creation – Only adhoc structures are creating making it vulnerable to destruction in the long run ——- Long term durable assets need to be created
  7. Collusion between officials, panchayat leaders and contractors – Increased corruption, employment of work through machineries – Whole purpose of the scheme is lost
  8. Lack of planning – Rational planning at grassroots level is still lacking. Panchayat leaders, official lacks expertise to formulate integrated plan for effective implementation of the scheme
  9. Need revolutionary overhaul – At present main objective is to provide Unskilled manual work to adult member — Focus must be on Skilling of the people, since unskilled employment provision is unsustainable and dangerous in the longrun on the health of the economy

Impact on Rural distress

  • Due to delayed payment and fund shortages
  1. Distress migration to urban areas are increasing – Increases the vulnerability of the wage earners

a) Earlier, MGNERGA wages served as Minimum wage and set the floor price for agriculture wages in villages. But, due to b) delayed payment, normal wages are paid at low rates —— Exploitation of the landless laborers

  1. Reduced work due to shortage of funds — Sustainable development works like Watershed development, percolation pits, reclamation of lakes are delayed – Stress on ecosystem and reduced ecosystem services to the villages — Increased distress
  2. Reduced employment — Villagers are forced to approach local money lenders for loans at higher interest rates – Indebtedness —- Land alienation in extreme cases farmer suicide


TopicIndia and its neighborhood- relations. 

5) Comment on Myanmar’s Rohingya problem and examine why this community is alienated. What is India’s response to Rohingya problem? (200 Words)

The Indian Express


Rohingya Problem :-
  • The Rohingyas are the ethnic Muslim minority in the majority Buddhist Myanmar.
  • They are the people with no home or citizenship,face violence and lack basic rights such as access to healthcare, education and employment.
  • While the Myanmar Government dispute the Rohingya people’s status as Burmese citizens, it’s indisputable that Rohingya people have been living in Burma for generations.
  • Their displacement spreads across the Asia-Pacific and  human rights abuse and exploitation is still ongoing. According to the UN, they are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.They are rejected everywhere and hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people are now living in limbo across Southeast Asia.
  • In 2012, an estimated 140,000 people were internally displaced within Burma, and almost 86,000 made the hazardous journey into neighbouring countries.
Why are they alienated?
The reasons for alienation have historic connotations:-
  • Majority in Burma do not consider Rohingyas as a ethnically distinct group but Bengalis who illegally migrated to Myanmar.During British rule because of lax immigration laws Bengali muslims flooded north west Burma and with installation of Chettiyars as administrators Burmese buddhist peasants got displaced..This started the hatred towards Rohingyas too.
  • A failed Rohingya secessionist uprising between 1948 and 1961 led to rise of persistent fears of Islamic encroachment on Buddhists and a 1982 citizenship law essentially legitimized discrimination against the Rohingya.
  • Over the decades [the Rohingya], without legal or any other sort of protection, have been the victims of  discrimination and violence by both the virulently anti-Muslim Rakhines, a Buddhist ethnic group, and agents of the central government.
  • The 969 movement, where a group of Buddhist monks  employed  moral justification for a wave of anti-Muslim bloodshed massacred thousands of Rohingyas and displaced them.
  • Now that the democratic government is going to come to power in Myanmar south east asian countries which were abode for Rohingyas want them to return to Myanmar too.But the elected democratic government has been quiet on this issue.this adds to further complications.
India’s response to Rohingyas Problem:-
  • According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees India has maintained an open door policy for all. It has opened its borders to the Rohingyas and granted them the same status as it has to the other refugees.However there is no official statement made by the Indian leadership in the context of the Rohingya crisis with the myanmar government.
  • There are an estimated 36000 rohingya muslims in India today out of which only 9000 are registered and both UNHCR and india are striving hard to facilitate better facilities .Even Rohingyas feel safer in India and have the confidence of leading a quality life in India than in Myanmar.
  • However there is no legal recognition to the asylum seekers which makes it difficult for them to access basic services like hospitals,education etc..Also some are jailed for illegal entry.
What can India do?(extra)
  • First, it can contribute to the rescue efforts of the International Organization for Migration, which has already collected $I million for rescue efforts.
  • Second, it can express displeasure against the atrocities on the Rohingya community, especially since it believes in democracy, liberalism and pluralism.

General Studies – 3

Topic: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology

6) “Any further increase in FDI limit in the defence sector may not be in the long-term national interest and surely will be a disaster for the country’s attempt to build self-reliance.” Comment. Also examine how India can become self-reliant in military hardware. (200 Words)


The Hindu

Reasons why FDI cant be increased further:
  • India is too big a market to be ignored. Global companies that are serious about maintaining leadership position in defence will have to tap into the Indian market.
  • Companies now have cutting edge technologies and have competed with the world’s best and won orders. Allowing higher FDI than 49% will kill Indian R&D especially as the foreign companies will target such budding capabilities.
  •  The new policy places the highest preference to a newly incorporated procurement class called ‘Buy Indian-IDDM’, with IDDM denoting Indigenous Designed Developed and Manufactured. This category refers to procurement from an Indian vendor, products that are indigenously designed, developed and manufactured
  • The policy lays stress on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and on “Make in India” which will further boost indian production.
  • Even companies that have been doing outsourcing work for defence will find it worthwhile to start developing products for the Indian market where the margins will be healthier and purchase process much improved. 
  • dependence on foreign companies makes India vulnerable to policies of their countries of origin in the field of defence on the long-term basis.Also especially during emergencies these companies can lock their facilities in India and go back choking the supply for armed forces.
  • National security is compromised when there is excessive dependence on foreign companies.
  • Imported weapons were expensive and India spends huge sums of money for the purpose 
Reasons why more FDI should be allowed in defence are:-
  • As the performance of DRDO over the last five decades has been highly unsatisfactory belying all hopes of development of indigenous competence, it will be unrealistic to expect DRDO to change overnight and make India self-reliant.
  • Between 2012 and 2020, India is expected to spend $150 billion to replace its outdated equipment and expand its military. By capping the limit the government is not only preventing foreign companies from sharing technologies with local partners but also allowing PSU defence companies an advantage over private players
  • FDI in defence will not only bring capital, but also technology, skilled manpower, and employment since it will allow the transfer of resources that are required to kick start indigenous green field research, design and development projects.
  • Without increase in FDI foreign companies will not show much interest in establishing supply bases in India like the Airbus demanded recently.
How can India become self reliant in military hardware?
  • Recent increase in FDI limit to 49% is the first step.
  • Make in India’ campaign  :-
    • has the clear objective to accelerate arms exports and make India self-sufficient in the area of military hardware. Under this campaign, India will focus on domestic development of aircraft, missiles, helicopters, armoured vehicles and other military equipment.
    • expected to boost the Indian defence manufacturing sector through increased investment and a greater number of technology transfer agreements
  • Laying the foundation stone for a Rs 5,000 crore greenfield helicopter project of HAL gives boost to the country’s aviation capability in the helicopter segment as it will produce three to 10 tonnes class helicopters.
  • encouraging companies like Zen Technology which emerged as a key partner for the defence sector by providing land/water/air based simulators to defence forces and other security agencies. (It is one of those rare Indian entities which have developed more than 30 product simulators completely based on indigenous research and design.)
  • The Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP), with a 15-year horizon should be based on the National Security Strategy to make clear the technologies required to be developed/ acquired, within the period
  • India needs is a legislation as an Act of Parliament, on the lines of the Goldwater-Nichols Act of USA or other similar decrees that have transformed militaries and defence ministries in various nations
  • a complete review of the functioning and capabilities of DRDO, DPSUs  is also necessary. The review should specify the development of technology/product either through joint ventures, exclusively indigenous or with a foreign partner. Such an exercise would cut out the podginess that some of these organisations carry and would make them accountable to the nation for their non-performance.
  • providing fiscal incentives  for the defence industry. The GoI should grant ‘Industry’ status to the aerospace sector and ‘Infrastructure Industry’ status to defence industry along with tax incentives.


Topic:Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth

7) Recently, the union government allowed 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in e-commerce marketplaces. Examine its significance and possible impact on Indian economy. (200 Words)

Business Standard

Significance and impact on indian economy:-
  • brings about the long overdue clarity on FDI policy, specifically the much debated marketplace model.
  • gives good guidance and clarity to the business model. This is the foundation for all other regulations and laws. It provides an indirect clarity on tax provisions for the sector
  • offline retailers are happy as the clause will restrict the freedom of the e-commerce companies to offer deep discounts to buyers like Flipkart have been wooing customers with discounts that offline retailers are finding difficult to match.
  • The cap of 25% on sales by a vendor on marketplace will ensure a broadbasing of vendors for a true marketplace. This may require some of the operators to alter their structures (flipkart and amazon)to comply with the conditions 
  • Enabling the marketplace operator to provide value add services like warehousing, delivery, payment processing etc will improve customer experience and market outreach for small and medium size suppliers
  • the government has clarified that the responsibility for products sold will rest solely on the seller, thereby clarifying the intermediary status of such marketplaces.
  • look to correct the shoddy structuring of the e-commerce industry as a whole, while also laying out methods in which e-commerce marketplaces should interact with their customers
  • government’s move will bring in greater foreign investment into a sector that is set to grow from $16 billion to $70 billion by 2020 (excluding travel).
  • new 25% rule will allow online retail companies to widen their seller base
  • Unnecessary restrictions on the number of sellers and sole responsibility on them for warranty and guarantee will throttle the growth of the industry.cap of 25 per cent on sales by a single vendor in a marketplace may prove to be restrictive, more so if the vendor sells high value items
  • Indian shoppers used to get huge discounts from these websites which might not be possible now.
  • guidelines view e-commerce marketplaces strictly as a technological mediator and absolve them of legal liability. If a customer receives a bar of soap instead of a smartphone, they will find it difficult to hold Flipkart or Snapdeal liable.

General Studies – 4

Topic: Ethical issues in international relations

8) Recently, the U.S. had taken to the WTO its case against India’s policy of favouring domestic inputs in solar cells and solar modules, arguing that it amounted to a discriminatory trade practice and distorted the game. What are the ethical issues that this episode between India and US gives rise to? Is it fair to India? Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu