Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 02, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 02, 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; Critical changes to geographical features

1) In your opinion, on which factors does success of the Paris Agreement on climate change depend? Discuss. (200 Words)


Paris agreement:
The deal unites all the world’s nations in a single agreement  known as their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) on tackling climate change for the first time in history.It marks the emergence of a new form of multilaterism where state and non state actors together support a global transformation.
Success of the agreement depends on various factors:
  •  ratification of the agreement is needed for legal protection by atleast 55 countries.However the sooner ratification by US senate is done the more inspiring it will be for the world. 
  •  Achieving the target of zero emission levels especially by US and European union.
  • How China,India and other developing countries define their urban future
  •  holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levelsand to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
  • Action by fossil-fuel industry not to exhaust the fossil fuel reserves of coal, oil and gas and their ability to adapt renewable energy platforms.
  • implementing the  agreement where all countries are required to submit updated plans that would ratchet up the stringency of emissions by 2020 and every five years thereafter and  a global “stocktake” — an overall assessment of how countries are doing in cutting their emissions compared to their national plans – starting in 2023, every five years.
  •  The agreement requires rich nations to maintain a $100bn a year funding pledge beyond 2020, and to use that figure as a “floor” for further support agreed by 2025.Implementation of this aspect of the plan is very important.
  • focus on carbon budgeting.
  • How the lifestyle and behavioural changes in concerned countries affect the environment where people get increasing aware about the impact of their actions on the nature.

India’s Case:

  • India has taken many initiatives to curb climate change like swatch bharat abhiyan,National action plan on climate change with renewable energy targets of 100 GW solar energy production,Wind energy-60 GW,smart cities,implienting resilient cities initiative,AMRUT etc..,
    The agreement, when it filters down to national policies in the years to come, can force the creation of better, cleaner energy technology, as well as behavioral adaptation to increase efficiency, decrease waste, and encourage less overall consumption. This is where the substance will take place.

TopicImportant Geophysical phenomena 

2) Many newspapers have reported that pollution levels—mostly those of the particulate matter of size 2.5 microns, have not declined despite the imposition of the odd-even policy. Examine the sources of these pollutants and reasons why their levels have not declined. (200 Words)


  • 13 of the 20 cities with the worst particulate matter PM2.5 are in India.
  • The 2010 average for respirable particulate matter concentration across 180 monitored Indian cities was six times what the World Health Organization considers safe and twice India’s own national standards.
sources of particulate matter:
  • caused by emission of toxic vapours/gases and particles.
  • transport sector:
    • due to pollution include the transport sector especially as the total number of registered vehicles in major cities are continously increasing
    • .combination of rapid urbanization
    • a high density of cars and industrial emissions
  • Industry and power plants and dust, burning of leaves, etc.
  • the diesel back-up generators many Indians rely on to keep the lights on during regular power cuts also spew harmful sulphur and particulate matter into the air.
why their levels are not declining:
  • Weather Conditions:-
    • One of the reasons that particulate matter of the fine kind continues to remain in the air of Delhi, is that such particles are present in the air all over North India.
    • Due to better circulation in the summer (more sunshine and windier conditions than the winter) the pollutants are carried away from ground level to higher up in the air or by horizontal movements of air, that is, via breeze or winds.
    • So, rural areas receiving air from Delhi suffer the same effects that Delhi’s residents do—perhaps in a less severe manner.
    • A glance at any satellite image taken during the winter months of 2015 and 2016 will show a brown haze in the northindia.
  • problems with regulation:
    • India’s current command-and-control style of regulating is handicapped on both counts.
    • It mandates that industrial plants purchase expensive pollution abatement equipment and specifies common pollution standards across the board.
    • Because emissions reductions are much more costly for some plants than for others, these standards are excessively onerous for some and fail to compel the most cost-effective reductions.
    • There is a system of infrequent and unreliable monitoring by Regulators As a result, expensive pollution abatement technologies that plants are mandated to install are not used efficiently.
    • Regualtors are not authorised to impose financial sanctions on the organisation not complying with the standards like  the successful clean air act of USA which enhanced environmental protection agency’s ability to levy large fines on environmental violators. 
  • Lack of awareness:
    • widespread information linking environmental impacts from pollution to health effects is currently lacking in India.
    • Many Delhi residents are unaware of the growing body of scientific evidence that shows direct links between increasing automobile use and emissions of harmful PM2.5 emissions.
    • Also buying vehicles has become rampant because of increased quality of life everywhere people dont give much importance to public transport. 
    • There is no proper data available in public domain about the emissions released by polluters which trigger particulate matter in the environment even more.

Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues 

3) Bhagat Singh had a number of political choices before him. Which choice did he make? Discuss his ideology. (200 Words)


Political choices and political ideology:
Born as a revolutionary with ghadar fervour running in his blood and impressed by Mazzini young italy movement Bhagat singh’s political choice seems to have converted him to an abiding internationalism quite early in life besides making him a revolutionary patriot.
With jallianwala bagh massacre he became anti-imperialist and he soon outgrew the confines of theistic middle class nationalism woven around the symbols of non-cooperation and Khilafat towards a revolutionary movement but being a romantic idealist revolutionary did not satisfy him.
He became a marxist after getting influenced by the Bolshevik revolution which led to the formation of Hindustan socialist republican association in 1928.finally he became an marxist atheistic revolutionary committed to a world free of injustice and dogma. 
His idea of India was very much different than put forward by the nationalists and communalists.His India comprised of poor people who got exploited by capitalists and whose hope lay only in scientific socialism.
Ideology of bhagat singh:-
  • He critiqued nationalism,anarchism,non violence,terrorism,religion,theism and communalism relentlessly.
  • Criticism and independent thinking were dispensible qualities of a revolutionary.
  • He believed in charvaka school of philosophy who had “challenged the authority of God”but was aware of the need to use the expressions and recitals of ancient savants and thinkers in the struggle against ignorance.
  • He rejected mysticism in favour of dialectical materialism and a dialogical approach to knowledge.
  • He respected every human being for instance when europeans visited him in jail they treated them as his family members And when some European or British officer came to see him as a representative of the imperialist power he was very cold and hard towards him.
  • His fight was against the capitalist and imperialist system and not against any individuals.The same can be explained when he threw the bomb in the assembly as well.
Bhagat Singh had a number of political choices but the fact that he constantly abjured them in favour of independence evident in each word of “why  i am an atheist”needs to be introspected.

General Studies – 2

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

4) In recent years functioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI) has been controversial for many reasons. Examine what these reasons are and suggest how government should regulate such erring regulators. (200 Words)

The Hindu

The Medical Council of India (MCI) is a statutory body entrusted with the responsibility of establishing and maintaining high standards of medical education in India.But since the wake of corruption scandal 6 years ago it has been in news for all the wrong reasons..
Reasons for failure:
  • No effective curriculum:
    • Failed to create a curriculum that produces doctors suited to working in Indian context especially in the rural health services and poor urban areas.This has created disconnect between medical education system and health system.
    • Failure to oversee and guide the Continuing Medical Education in the country, leaving this important task in the hands of the commercial private industry.
    • Failure to maintain uniform standards of medical education, both at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels.
  • commercialisation of medical education:
    • There is a devaluation of merit in the medical colleges especially private due to prevalence of excessive capitation fees  which make medical education accessible to rich and not the most deserving.
  • Failure in evaluation of doctors:
    • Non-involvement of the MCI in any standardized summative evaluation of the medical graduates and post-graduates.
    • even those MBBS students who pass out from colleges that have been declared unfit to impart medical education are certified.
    • Failure to put in place a robust quality assurance mechanism when a fresh graduate enters the system and starts practicing so competency of doctors is not checked.
  • suspicious system of granting recognition:
    • Failure to create a transparent system of medical college inspections and grant of recognition or de-recognition.
    •  newly-opened institute is granted recognition after it has been inspected by MCI for the fourth time and its facilities are found up to the mark even if it failed in the first three inspections.
    • Heavy focus on nitty-gritty of infrastructure and human staff during inspections but no substantial evaluation of quality of teaching, training and imparting of skills.
  • Disparities in college establisment:
    • Failure to guide setting up of medical colleges in the country as per need, resulting in geographical mal-distribution of medical colleges with clustering in some states and absence in several other states leading to disparity in healthcare services across states.
    • More than 40 to 50 batches of students are studying medicine in colleges which have failed to get the MCI nod for admitting students for the second, third and fourth batches.
  • Medical ethics:
    • Failure to instill respect for a professional code of ethics in the medical professionals and take disciplinary action against doctors found violating the code of Ethics.
    • the MCI has been completely passive on the ethics dimension which is evident from the fact that between 1963-2009, just 109 doctors have been blacklisted by the Ethics Committee of the MCI.
  • Other reasons:
    • Acute shortage of medical teachers.
    •  abysmal doctor-population ratio. 
Measures needed to revamp the MCI:
  • Ranjit Roy chaudhary committee Recommendations:
    • creation of a National Medical Commission to oversee education and policy ,separate boards for undergraduate and postgraduate training ,assessment of institutions and medical ethics.
Parliamentary standing committee on health and family planning recommendations:
  • composition of regulatory bodies and MCI:
    • Inducting non-medical professionals of integrity and community health experts to regulatory bodies would help advance public interest.
    • Even medical professionals appointed to these bodies need to be selected by an independent and rigorous selection process and reasons for selecting them need to be made public.
  • importance of Doctor – Population ratio:
    • in India it is 1:1674 as against the WHO norm of 1:1000, so a policy in great detail to augment the capacity of production of doctors including specialists and super-specialists required to meet India’s health needs is necessary.
    • State level doctor-population ratio should guide the setting up of new medical colleges and also the increase in UG and PG seats.
  • converting district hospitals into medical colleges:
    •  it will not only be equipped with specialists of all disciplines, providing the healthcare services across the whole spectrum but will also produce some doctors in its area of operation and will thus help reduce geographical mal-distribution of doctors.
  • checks for graduates:
    • an exit test for medical graduates at the end of their course and before they start practising, as a measure of standardisation across States
    • The PG entrance exam should be held immediately after the final MBBS examination so that the graduate doctor could concentrate on practical skills during his internship.
  • medical education:
    • The MBBS syllabus has remained unchanged for 14 years, but requires to be revised every four to five years to be in step with developments in the medical profession. 
    • Soft skills (including ethics) should be made one of the cornerstones of the syllabus of medical education.
  • Physical infrastructure requirement should be pruned down in such a way that it should have just about 30 to 40 percent standing value in the total assessment of a medical college.
  • clear guidelines for a time bound probe and selection of evaluators as so far large number of inspectors in 2014 were from gujarat and Bihar 

General Studies – 3

Topic: Resource mobilization; Subsidies

5) “Direct cash transfers have the potential to improve the economic lives of the poor by transferring benefits to households quickly and directly. Achieving these benefits requires thoughtful design of schemes, and careful, rigorous analysis of ongoing programmes is an important input to the design process.” With suitable examples, illustrate. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Potential of DBT:
  • it promises to transform service delivery in India by transferring government benefits and subsidies directly into the hands of residents through a biometric based identification system named Aadhar
  • This will speed up payments,remove leakages and enhance financial inclusion.
  • DBT with aadhar by transferring money to bank accounts directly  has successfully dealt this issue of transfer of subsidies of 4.2 trillion rupees by both centre and state  via multiple intermediaries which led to problems in trickling down of benefits.
  • DBT eliminates ghost beneficiaries and duplication which would save the government upto 1.2 % of GDP over time. 
How can  change in design of schemes help DBT?
  • Financial inclusion is still a problem in India so with business correspondents and micro ATM machines along with mobile banking the reach of the benefits of the DBT with disbursements taking place at the door step of the beneficiaries.
  • With aadhar in the  DBT platform pension distribution in AP,Tripura,Maharashtra and Chandigarh,public distribution system rations in AP and MNREGA payments (and bogus job cards) in Jharkhand were paid too.
  • In Adilabad district of Telangana PDS linkage with aadhar and DBT made benefits reach faster,more targeted and reducing leakages in terms of food transfers of about 45 crores.
  • PAHAL-DBT:(LPG subsidy) led to weeding out ghost beneficiaries and reducing leakages leading to saving of fiscal resources
  • DBT for kerosene subsidy is a structural change in the design which would cut down the diversion and black marketing of the fuel and inorder for states to take interest in implementing this centre is giving them cash incentives of  75% of subsidy savings during the first two years.
  • Economic survey made a strong case for replacing various price subsidies and in kind transfers with DBT schemes through JAM trinity platform.
Concerns with just concentrating on DBT:
  • critics argue that DBT deals with how to deliver but whom to deliver to cannot be addressed by DBT because it cannot solve the problems with identification of beneficiaries and hence the problem of exclusion errors.
  • cash transfers cannot insulate poor from periodic price fluctuations.
  • digitisation of existing government databases is not yet done and connectivity problem in rural areas.
  • Lack of coordination among centre,state,banks,district officials for the success of DBT aadhar linkage.
  • Lack of financial inclusion.
  • In uttar pradesh the DBT for certified seeds launched last year has shown large scale exclusions.
So cash transfers are seen as supplements and not as substitute to public provisioning of goods and services.

Topic: Cropping pattern; Food security

6) Why is it argued that GM cultivation is not in the interest of farmers in India? Do you agree with the other view that cultivation of GM pulses would ensure food security? Comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Why is GM crops not in the interest of farmers?
  • According to greenpeace organisation
    • no GM crops designed to increase yields. The evidence that GM crops increase yields compared to conventionally bred crops remains inconclusive.
    • With false promises of increased yields and lower costs, corporations like Monsanto have swooped in and locked Indian farmers into contractual agreements that make them dependent on a centralized agriculture system giving them less choice  that, in many cases, ends up bankrupting them
  • companies monopoly:
    • GMO foods into India is part of a global campaign to force small-scale food growers out of business in favor of large-scale, industrial agriculture.In Spain ,the largest European country to adopt GM corn – farmers’ seed choices declined overall and increasingly became a choice among GM varieties
  • Seed quality:
  • debt and suicides of farmers:
    •  the destruction of alternatives, the collection of superprofits in the form of royalties, and the increasing vulnerability of monocultures has created a context for debt, suicides and agrarian distress which is driving the farmers’ suicide epidemic in India.
    • nearly 3,00,000farmers have committed suicide in Indiaas a direct result of mounting debt and crop failures associated with GMO crops,
  • Herbicide resistance:
    • After a few years, problems such as herbicide-resistant weeds and superpests emerge in response to herbicide tolerant and insect resistant GM crops, resulting in the application of additional pesticides.
  • High prices:
    • GM seed prices are protected by patents and their prices have soared over the last 20 years. The emergence of herbicide-resistant weeds and superpests increases farmers’ costs, reducing their economic profits even further.
  • Not suitable for small scale farmers:
    • GM crops do not respond to the challenge of food security. They are ill-adapted to the needs of the smallscale farming communities whose livelihoods are the key to food security especially in the countries like India.
    • . As such, GM crops have failed to stabilize, secure and improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers.
  • contamination of other crops as well:
    • Up to 40% GM contamination of white corn – one of the Philippine’s staple crops was contaminated because of Gm cultivation.
Nearly 43% of all Indians are vegetarian , pulses are an important protein source and indicator of nutritional health. 
How does gm pulses benefit food security?
  • to handle weather fluctuations:
    • states that account for about 70 per cent of the country’s total kharif production of pulses witness weather related issues that affect the output..
  • address the problems of widening demand-supply gap where india being the world’s largest producer of pulses but the output has stagnated at about 17.5 million tonnes, while demand has grown to an estimated 21.5 million tonnes
  • to address rising prices in the domestic market like Dal prices have seen a spike to even 200 per kilogram in some cities in 2015., forcing the government to import more pulses not been much success in augmenting domestic production using normal kind of agronomic procedures.
  • to address greater susceptibility of the crops to insects
  • genetically modifies crops cultivation can handle the excessive imports of pulses and impact India’s efforts to achieve selfsufficiency, ensure rural livelihood and secure nutritional security.
  • Area under pulses production has remained at the 22-25 million hectares level for the last 40 years.So productivity can be dealt with Gm pulses. 
But many agricultural experts are of a contrary opinion because of the following reasons:
  • genetically modified pulses are not in the interest of either farmers or will only benefit the companies involved in this business
  • instead of GM pulses  they demand  setting up an effective system to provide assured purchase and returns to pulses farmers as that  would motivate them to go for pulses farming, resulting in better production, lesser dependence in imports and most importantly will bring price stabilisation.If government is able to this, there’s no need for GM pulses
  • Lack of access to innovation in processing and marketing, and the resource constraints of pulses farmers who mostly hail from the underdeveloped rural areas, are proving to be major obstacles not introduction of GM pulses.
Some facts:
Global Food Security Index has ranked India at 66th position, much below China, which is at 38th position.

General Studies – 4

Topic: Ethics in public administration; Political attitudes; Ethics in international relations and funding

7) Is ethics relevant in politics? Justify with suitable illustrations. (200 Words)

Reference (Chapter 1)