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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 01, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 01, 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;

TopicUrbanization – problems and remedies

1) It is found that most Indian cities are disabled friendly. Examine why and suggest how they can be made disabled friendly. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Why are indian cities not disabled friendly:
Infrastructure and planning deficiencies:
  • Access to public places is one of the major barriers that people with disability face in India. Be it schools, movie theatres, buses or public parks, there are no facilities to make life easy for the disabled.
  • For instance Almost none of the Uttar Pradesh State Road and Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) buses in the city have ramps for commuters on wheelchairs, because of which a majority of them cannot afford the service.
  • no ramps or lifts tailored to disabled people needs at government buildings.
  • Most modern lifts with digital keypad did not have Braille symbols
  • With increased urbanisation cities are more congested and there is no planning in expansion of cities.
  • impossible to cross roads because of the heavy traffic and non-adherence to traffic rules.
Weak law enforcement:
  • Despite the provisions of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, very few government officials are aware of what the law requires.
  • despite Right to Education (RTE) provisions, none of the cities schools seem following the rules for being disabled friendly.
  • face problems in obtaining the disability certificate, which sometimes is not considered valid in another district or state. less than half have been provided with disability certificates
  • Despite financial grant to make websites accessible for disabled they are still not disable friendly.
  • exclusion of disabled people in policy making/ decision taking.
Beliefs and attitudes of the people:
  • prejudice and the karmic belief that disabled people are at fault for their incapacity can affect their ability to lead a normal life.
 Employment neglect:
  •  in terms of providing employment to the disabled smaller cities are better at providing employment to the disabled compared to major cities.
  • With emphasis on English proficiency being higher in bigger cities, finding employment for the disabled who may be migrants from smaller towns becomes even tougher
  • unlike smaller towns  increased alienation,less community participation and busy social life in cities gives disabled less support from society which makes it hard for them to be self employed ,or work in small establishments. 
  • less institutions for training and job placements of disabled people in smaller towns especially in areas other than southern cities makes them migrate to bigger cities
  • Mental disabled people are the most sufferes in terms of employment according to census data.
  • effective implemention of UN convention of rights for persons with disabled and incheon strategy.
  • proper planning and infrastructure:
    • Ramps, handrails, exclusive parkings and sidewalks for physically challenged and auditory signals at the traffic islands for visually impaired are some of the measures to be implemented  for easy access of the disabled to all the places.
    •  All future buildings need to be made with new designs which are disabled friendly like automatic door control buttons for easier access,elevators.
    • there should also be specially designated parking spaces for differently abled people.
  • ‘Accessible India’ campaign for the disabled with the aim  to improve accessibility for the disabled in physical environment, public transportation, information and communication and knowledge need to be implemented.
  • Teach people Civic sense:
    • maintaining queue which makes it for disabled also.
    • following traffic rules effectively by people
    • no sympathetic attitude but compassion and sensitive towards disabled.
    • proper counseling can transform these attitudes.
  • Empower the disabled people like in western countries of US,UK as that creates a sense of confidence and make them aware of their rights .
  • Universal Identity Cards that are valid nationally which will have a unique number to all the Persons with Disabilities need to be implemented soon.
  • effective NGO role:
    • For instance,Anchal Charitable Trust in Delhi, supported by the NGO Handicap International, works with eight slums in the east of the city, providing disabled children and their families with rehabilitation, education, counseling and information about their rights
  • Right of persons with disability bill 2014 needs to be passed soon as it is inclusive enough to cover 19 disabilities than from the present 7 and also provide equal rights to the disabled.
  • Most of the cities in southern India witnessed the lowest gender gaps in main and marginal workforce of disabled people among the million-plus cities other cities need to learn from the example of hyderabad which topped the list.
According to 2011 census, there are over 2.68 crore disabled persons in India.

General Studies – 2

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

2) Write a critical note on the latest developments in India – EU relationship. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Business Standard

  • culmination of efforts to kick-start a relationship that has been flagging for at least four years. The very fact that they occurred made them significant.
  • progress was made in bilateral cooperation in other fields – from foreign policy to outer space.
  • the adoption of joint declarations on the India-EU Water Partnership and a Clean Energy and Climate Partnership.
  • joint declarations and Agenda for Action by EU will help in developing a solution to clean up the river as well as developing legal and governance frameworks for managing the basin in the projects of ‘Clean India’ initiative and the ‘Ganga Rejuvenation Initiative,’ 
  •  Terrorism:
    • agreed to cooperate in countering violent extremism
    • disrupt recruitment of terrorists and prevent the free passage of foreign fighters in a joint declaration on counter terrorism, which also called for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UN.
    • They have also agreed to explore the possibility of India and EUROPOL, the EU’s law enforcement agency, to share intelligence.
  • India and the European Union (EU) have endorsed the ‘EU-India Agenda for Action 2020′ as a common road map for the strategic partnership in the next five years
  • INDIA-European Investment bank:
    • The European Investment Bank (EIB) signed an agreement with India to release the first tranche of €200 million of its total €450 million loan towards the construction of the Lucknow Metro’s first line.
    • The bank, which had committed to support long-term investment in infrastructure in India, also announced that its regional office for South Asia will come up in New Delhi soon.
  • Agenda also includes the prevention of human trafficking and promoting international protection as priority areas. 
  •  the Common agendas for migration and mobility for organizing migration is a political declaration and not a legal agreement. Points of special interest to India on the agenda included easier visa procedures for skilled workers, IT professionals, and business travellers. 
  • Government-to-government and business-to-business level meetings to exchange best practices in these areas, including deadlines for setting the work programmes in some instances, have been agreed.
  • The Broadbased Trade and Investment Agreement negotiations have remained deadlocked since 2007 over growing differences regarding greater market access sought by both aides for merchandise exports.
  • India has been pushing for opening European markets for its services sector and the movement of people to deliver those services while the EU has been keen on reducing or abolishing tariffs in several sectors, including in the automobile and wine and spirits sectors.
  • issues related to facilitation of greater movement of professionals from one country to another, arising out of the Mode 4 provisions of the 1995 General Agreement on Trade in Services is another point of contention between the two sides. This also involves India’s demands to be classified a data-safe country, which will help Indian information technology and outsourcing companies gain a foothold.
  • IPR issues -EU ban on generic drugs from India created a slight friction in pharma sector and banning of alphonso mangoes from india in 2014.
  • India is no longer eligible for development assistance from the EU. However, India will still have access to concessional loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
  •  EU’s concern over human right violations in India.EU brings up issues of NGO harassment like green peace and the overlooking of rights of marginal groups in development projects in India.
  • Although two-way commerce was $98.52 billion in 2014-15, the EU’s share in India’s total trade has progressively shrunk in recent years.
  • EU leaders had complained of the slow progress in India regarding the trial of two Italian marines accused of killing Indian fishermen in 2012. 

TopicGovernment policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

3) It is argued that the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, which strives to protect consumers interest will actually harm competition in real estate sector and ultimately harm consumers’ interest. Critically examine. (200 Words)

Business Standard

It is a much needed act and benefits all stakeholders because:
  • In case of any grievance, the consumer can go to the real estate regulator for redressal as Real estate appellate tribunals are now required to adjudicate cases in 60 days which was not the case earlier because when a consumer had a complaint against a developer many rounds were to be made to the civil courts.
  • Developer will have to put 70% of the money collected from a buyer in a separate account to meet the construction cost of the project.This will put a check to the general practice by majority of the developers to divert buyer’s money for other purposes.This will ensure that construction is completed on time.
  • A developer’s liability to repair structural defects has been increased to 5 years from the earlier 2 years. Also by making registration of the project compulsory with the regulatory authority, the act aims to provide greater transparency in project marketing and execution.
  • It is likely to stabilize housing prices. The act will lead to enhanced activity in the sector, leading to more housing units supplied to the market. In the government’s opinion, the act will bring in the much-needed confidence to infuse more investment.
  • also seeks to impose strict regulations on the promoter and ensure that construction is completed on time. Its purpose is to ensure that the buyer gets the property as per the specifications that they had been promised.
  • Builders, apart from disclosing various details on architecture and engineering, cannot change designs or plans without approval from consumers.
  • encourage individual buyers and financial institutions, both domestic and international, to invest in the real estate market.
  • The builders will also benefit as it proposes to impose penalty on allottee for not paying dues on time. Also the builder will have the opportunity to approach the regulator in case there is any issue with the buyer.
However there are some provisions which are concerns for both customers and industry to invest. They are:
  •  Provisions like providing for penalty, upto 10 per cent of the total project cost or even imprisonment, if builders do not honour their commitment or fail to register themselves with the regulator can discourage the developers to invest.
  • The clause dealing with the cancellation of the registration of the real estate projects can also be misused to file false complaints against the builders.
  • each state capital will appoint one person in charge of acting as a regulator who can  act as a representative of the government and end up adding to red tape in the sector.
  • government-appointed regulators should be not be included in on-going projects, as this will only delay the progress due to registration processes.
  • the clause that requires builders to set aside 70% of the capital raised from buyers into a separate escrow account will only reduce liquidity, thereby increasing the builder’s dependency on banks which will include high interest cost. This interest amount may be ultimately be passed on to the buyers.
  • Under the Act, all necessary approvals are required to be obtained prior to project launch, instead of certain specific approvals as previously required. This may delay project initiation and restrict supply of new properties
  • The Act neither establishes a conclusive title system for land, nor addresses the issue of availability of housing stock across all income categories or the practice of using black money in real estate transactions

Topic:Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

4) It is said that India is becoming home to production and trial of substandard drugs in recent years. In your opinion, why such drugs are produced and distributed? How can they be regulated? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Why does India produce and distribute substandard drugs:-
  • European companies were selling medicines in India that had not been approved in their home countries, or in any developed country and failure of health ministry  to investigate the officials who granted such ‘illegal’ approvals.
  • consistent pattern of the government ignoring recommendations by its own experts is mirrored in the enforcement of India’s existing, already weak, drug regulations
  • Weak punishments:
    • judiciary wilfully ignored the mandatory sentencing provisions of at least one year of imprisonment This allowed the convicted person to walk free as soon as the judge rose for the day.
    • Monetary fines were in a lenient five-digit range for products worth lakhs or crores.
  • Investigations conduced by drug inspectors in individual States were mostly a sham since they lacked the necessary resources to coordinate their activities across different States.
  • No centralised licensing system:
    • only the governments in the respective States can cancel the licences of the erring drug manufacturers located there.
    • Further, two legislative efforts in 2007 and 2013 to centralise such regulations failed because of sabotage by the Indian pharmaceutical industry.
  • Easy available of these drugs at the counter:
    • the effects of such substandard drugs include growing antibiotic resistance and the birth of deathly superbugs like New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1 (NDM-1) which made bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
  • To make the grade, a tablet must contain between 90% and 110% of the active ingredient named on the label However, the Central Drug Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO)offers a 5% grace margin on that lower limit.CDSCO is still ill-equipped
  • There is no consolidated national list of manufacturers or total number of licenses granted, which makes it difficult to devise any concrete national or state policy for the regulation of this sector.This makes annual sampling,inspections by the CDSCO too limited and unstructured.
  • In a tropical country like India, even high-quality medicines will become sub-standard if a chemist doesn’t take proper care. Inappropriate storage after the tablet leaves the factory caused the lack of uniformity of weight of the sample.
  • India is home to the biggest fake-drug market.In some reports, more than 25% of medicines available in India have been declared spurious or fake.
  • Often, the manufacturer would be located in Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand and the substandard drug would be sold in States like Karnataka or Maharashtra. Only a minority of such cases resulted in a prosecution.
Need for better regulation:
  • Implementation of recommendations Ranjit Roy Choudary committee to have mandatory basic quality testing such as bioequivalence studies for all generic drugs.
  • A centralised licensing system is very much needed
  • Easy availibility of drugs need to be restricted and people need to be aware about the consequences of increase antibiotics.
  • The CDSCO need to be equipped and recently in a bid to access quality it has upped  the ante to scan drug samples across the country.
  • Storage and tracking has to be improved with the first step being anti-counterfeit primary level packaging in the drug industry and Every tertiary and secondary product has a 2D barcode, to allow for easy storage and tracking
  • India need to learn from American experience to take strong measures against the most egregious offenders like Ranbaxy.
  • Fostering access to good quality pharmaceuticals is critical to attain India’s goal of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and thus, coordinated action is needed by the policy makers, relevant actors in health systems and other agencies, including WHO
  • Good-quality Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs)-( refers to a substance or substance combination used in manufacturing a drug product.) need to be encouraged for the production of good-quality medicines. Ensuring the quality of the API greatly contributes to achieving the objective of building the quality, safety and efficacy into the product.
  • The CAG’s audit report of the Armed forces medical stores Depots(AFMSD), which serves our Armed Forces Personnel and their families, showed the percentage of locally procured substandard drugs at a high 32 per cent in one year.
  • About 4.5% of the drugs in the Indian market are substandard, according to surveys by the  (CDSCO), the official regulatory authority.

General Studies – 3

Topic: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

5) In the light of recent terrorist attacks on European cities, do you think India should be worried about possible terrorist attacks by ISIS on its cities? Analyse. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Yes India needs to be worried:-
  • India is a major target for ISIS and Al Qaeda because
    • it has a very large Muslim Diaspora
    • regular conflicts with a Muslim country and
    • experiences violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims on a regular basis.
    • This provides for a very stable breeding ground for jihadist radicalisation and recruitment
  • The competition between the Alqeada and ISIS forces Al Qaeda to be more aggressive and commit terrorist acts. India lies right at the centre of two jihadist terrorist groups fighting each other for power.
  • In 2015 IS declared its ambition to expand its jihad into India, issued a manifesto which claimed India as part of the Islamic Caliphate and released a new map that shows a portion of western India as part of a bigger ‘caliphate’ that the group calls the “Islamic state of Khorasan.”  
  • objective of ISIS was not merely to undertake an occasional terrorist strike in the country, but to wage a full-fledged attack against India, by uniting all jihadi groups in the region, under its leadership. 
  • External Support:
    • It can be supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), thereby providing it a well-established intelligence and logistic network, in a symbiotic relationship.
    • ISIS has shown strong interest in taliban as well.
  • social media:
    • The social media campaign by the ISIS is ideally placed to exploit alienated members of the society and successful recruitment of some Indians manifests this.
  • Indias liberal ideals of democracy:
    • these are antagonistic to ISIS ideals
    • striking India would magnify the Islamic State’s stature and threaten the stability of the region. 
  • US role:
    • Despite US and allies siding with India during an imminent threat from ISIS.past experiences suggest limited cooperation by the US against terrorist threats specifically aimed at the country. so India has to fight for its safety and security on the basis of its resilience and capacity.
Despite concerns India does not face any imminent threat immediately because of the following reasons:
  • ISIS does not as yet have capacity to reach out globally for a variety of reasons; the ISIS has been very successful in only parts of Iraq and Syria, primarily because of the disorganised way in which the Arab countries and West-Asian countries have been responding to the ISIS.
  • There are an estimated 20 Indians who have joined the ISIS ranks in Syria. The number is extremely low keeping in mind that India is home to the 2nd largest Muslim population in the world .
  • Indian Muslims consider IS to be a rogue group rather than a Islamic Caliphate and hence the local support does not exist
  • Union Home Ministry has decided devised a ‘blue print’ to deal with IS in India, this includes proactive surveillance and monitoring of potential recruits.
  • Also there is a plan to counter radicalization by making proactive detentions and providing counselling to some misguided youth.
  • Indian experience combating terrorism especially dealing with its own neighbors – Bangladesh and Pakistan – affording contrasting experiences shows india’s military and tactical strength.
  • The failure of Belgian governmental authorities in not coordinating with each other in exchanging intelligence was the main reason for Brussels attacks.this is not the case in India.
What can be India’s strategy:(extra)
  • to control alientation and recruitment India needs to have a sophisticated deradicalisation programme, which is essential in this regard. Working with families and family counselling is another tool to detect early radicalization and prevent it from going further.
  • a large part of the preparatory work in the fight against terrorism is done by research analysts and intelligence agents. A necessary impetus through cross platform recruitment of specialists dealing with social media, big data analysis, terrorism finance and technical intelligence are needed.
  •  the importance of decentralised and specialist counterterrorism capabilities from the lessons learnt from the Gurdaspur terrorist strike .
  • Making people aware about ISIS as a threat.
  • strong support and cooperation from different groups like NGO’s,student and social groups which can reach out easily to the population at large, as compared to state institutions. 

Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support price

6) “The indiscreet fertilizer use is attributable more to the government’s flawed fertiliser pricing policies than to the farmers’ lack of awareness.” Comment. (200 Words)

Business Standard

Problems with Government’s fertiliser policies:
  • steady increase in fertiliser subsidy, which is now close to 10 per cent of the farm sector’s gross domestic product (GDP), has further aggravated the imbalance in the nutrient use since a sizeable part of it goes to urea.
  • The prices of urea are still under government control and have been kept low but the rates of other fertilisers have gone up steadily.The huge price differential between urea,phosphatic and potassic  fertilisers, encourages farmers to use more of cheaper urea which led to reduction in marginal productivity of fertilisers.
  • The official ratio of Nitrogen,phosphate and potash in the ratio of 4:2:1 to ensure a proper balance in their application has been found to be a misconception as it cannot be generalised for the country as a whole.
  • Nutrient based subsidy, which sought to deregulate subsidy on non-urea fertilizers, was expected to reduce the subsidy burden substantially. While the NBS certainly did not lead to any decline in subsidy on fertilizer, it did lead to worsening of soil nutrient quality.
  • fertilizer prices follow the trend in international petroleum prices and india’s excessive dependence on imports and insufficient domestic production makes the situation grim.
  • New urea policy 2015 is aimed chiefly at promoting energy efficiency in urea production rather than to reduce the government’s subsidy burden and do not automatically ensure balanced and judicious use of plant nutrients.
However there are other reasons that substantiate the flaws in the policies like:
  • Indiscriminate and faulty use of fertilizers without awareness regarding the fertiliser requirement.
  • in the case of poor farmers they were being unable to apply the require dose of fertilizer.
  • Misconception that increase in productivity of areas under green revolution is becasue of increased use of fertilisers.
  • In 2015 there was shortage of urea fertiliser which panicked farmers.
  • Farmers are not still educated about the technical practices to enhance their crop productivity
So with deregulation of urea,organic farming,Paramparaagat Krishi Vikas Yojana,use of natural fertilisers in combination of NPK and organic water soluble fertilisers (WSF) can increase fertility and reduce fertiliser dependency.



7) Every year new species of frogs are discovered in the Western Ghats which indicate that key features of the rainforests are vital to the survival of less-known species. Discuss the significance of Western Ghats in the light of discovery of new species in the region and how it should be protected. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Significance of western ghats in the light of new species in the region:-
  • Such animals can complete their life cycle only if critical features of the natural landscape are preserved, and human pressure on habitats is consciously reduced which is provided perfectly by western ghats.
  • the availability of shallow streams with sandy depressions enables the laying of eggs and development of tadpoles, that then spend some time under the sand.
  • rainforest ecosystem and its fine-tuned physico-chemical conditions have led to a very high degree of endemism of the species found there.
Suggestions to protection of Western Ghats:-
  • recommendations of Gadgil Committee and  Kasturirangan Committee need to be implemented.
  • With Rainforest wildlife and smallscale farming going hand in hand of western ghat ecosystem since thousands of years there is need not to disturb it by implementing organic farming activities
  • customising economic activities according to specific local conditions and carrying them out with full participation of local communities for instance in orissa gram sabhas play a significant role in conservation of forests.Such an approach would help strike a fine balance between environmental protection and development.
  • banning illegal mining and implementing Shah commission recommendations very strictly.
  • environmental and social impact assessment is needed to be done in advance.
  • There is a need for create of authority to conserve and monitor the activities in western ghats.
  • India’s long term ecological observatory is to be implemented effectively in the light climate change affecting biodiversity and ecology of the region.

General Studies – 4

Topic: Ethics in public administration; EThical concerns in administration

8) You are working as Pre University (PU) Board Director. Since you have assumed office, you have taken strict measures such as suspending corrupt clerks and officials in the board; issuing notices to private colleges for indulging in admission malpractices; curbing the lobby of powerful private coaching centres. You have also introduced reforms in conducting fair and transparent entrance exams to professional courses. But, your measures have created more enemies for you within and outside the board. Recently, question papers of  PU exam were leaked two times and lives of students were made miserable. Despite your efforts to reform the system, it seems someone with vested interests have leaked papers to tarnish your image. After the public uproar, you are suspended from the position and shunted to a different department.

  1. Examine the ethical issues involved in this case study.
  2. After getting suspended, will you move quietly without trying to prove your innocence? What options do you have? Discuss their merits and demerits. (250 Words)

The Hindu

(Ethics Answers will be Posted as Compilation later)