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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 23, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 23, 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;


TopicPopulation and associated issues; Urbanization – problems and remedies; 

1) Inefficient waste management has become a norm in most Indian cities. What are the practical measures that can help mobilize citizens to participate in cleanliness drive? Discuss. (200 Words)


Practical measures:


  • Segregation at source – Residents can separate wet and dry garbage at the house itself making waste management very easy. And also segregating E-waste, as batteries, chargers, etc are common components of regular household waste.
  • Tracking Regular Garbage Collection– Residents can actively track and complain about the vehicle if they have do not show up on a particular day so that the contractors is not given the payment
  • Banning plastic bags – retailers and sellers need to be fined as problem is solved at the source itself. Moreover, citizens can be encouraged to carry cloth bags while they go for shopping.
  • Volunteering- For cleaning dumping grounds with community participation. where part of it was for public use like parks. Other parts were for composting and green zone established with planted trees. Eg. SWaCH Cooperative Society, Pune
  • Energy- By generating biogas from waste, e.g. deolali pravara, Maharashtra; or by putting a vermicomposting plant in their society and building. Also hotels/restaurants can start composting their own garbage through bio-methanation as mentioned in the solid waste management rules 2016
  • Education/Awareness– School level education programs to make children aware along with school recycling waste on its own via composting.

Administrative measures:

  • Specific collection times when vehicles would come around and collect waste, e.g. As in Bengaluru City
  • Mandating Garbage segregation by using garbage bags with different color codes, as it is done in western countries.
  • Toll free lines and complaint numbers need to be setup. Also complaints can be addressed via WhatsApp as done in Lonavala, Maharashtra.
  • GPS tracking of collecting vehicles to see if they reached the spot on time.
  • Open defecation control by public shaming either by printing offender’s names in the posters and filing FIR. In Sangola Maharashtra 200 FIR’s under Bombay police act were filed for open defecation detaining people at police station for a few hours. This changed the attitude of the people immediately
  • Public toilets were cleaned regularly with adequate water supply. Also mobile public toilets were set up
  • Handling better equipment for staff and offering medical insurance / medical checkup along with payment of salaries on time 
  • Plastic waste is crushed and can be integrated into road development as a material
  • Unique solutions like directing all waste from hotels for pig feeding helps link the business with the owners and reducing wares in a friendly way
  • Strong political support and contractual clauses can be modified in such a manner as to disqualify the errant contractors

Forward backward linkage is needed for waste management is needed for most Indian cities. Besides many cities are spilling out way beyond their capacities. There is an urgent need for alternative dumping grounds.

Topic: Changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes. 

2) A recent study has shown that a global warming of 2°C will be substantially more devastating for the planet’s climate than 1.5°C by 2100. How will a rise in 2 degree celsius rise would affect the world, especially South Asia? Is fixing target at 1.5 degree celsius practical? Examine. (200 Words)

Down to Earth

How would rise of 2-degree Celsius affect world especially South Asia.

Increase in Sea Level

  • Higher sea level rises will submerge all the littoral lands and small island states like Maldives, Asian pacific islands etc.
  • Increased melting of Himalayan glaciers will lead to increase in water supply to rivers and eventually threatening the lower densely populated regions of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh.
  • Sea level rise will slow down during the 21 St century only if we manage to keep the rise in global average temperature under 1.5-degree Celsius scenario

Threat to food security in over populated South Asia

  • Longer heat waves, especially in tropical regions will last upto 50% longer in a two degree Celsius. This indicates a substantial increase in risk of heat extremes in a region that is highly vulnerable to extreme heat.
  • Lower crop yields – twice as much lower in west Africa cent America than in 1.5 degree Celsius. Also yields of crops like maize, soy, rice, wheat is going to reduce
  • Freshwater availability in Mediterranean region would be 17% lower. The region is known to supply fruits and figs around the globe, which will be affected.
  • Intensified and erratic monsoon rainfall giving rise to uncertainty in monsoon dependent agriculture. Climate change can affect El Niño southern oscillation and lead to more extreme ENSO events

Threat to Biodiversity

  • All coral reefs being virtually obliterated due to coral bleaching 
  • Increase the risk of forest fires
  • While warming oceans may not produce more tropical storms and hurricanes they may even produce fewer but those storms will be more intense with longer dry spells between them.

Is fixing target at 1.5 degree practical


  • There is an agreement that 1.5 degree Celsius would be an ideal but the Paris Agreement fails to highlight the elements that are needed to achieve the target. Climate scientists have been saying that, to meet the target, the world must completely de-carbonize well before 2050. This means that we have to stop using all fossil fuels by 2035 and achieve net zero emissions of other greenhouse gases by 2050. This is impossible to achieve.
  • In order to increase the certainty of achieving this temperature goal to 66 per cent, then the carbon budget is a mere 400 Gt CO2, according to the Fifth Assessment report of IPCC (AR5). But comparing the INDCs of countries, it becomes clear that the available carbon budget will be exhausted well before 2100 and the US and the EU alone would consume 128 Gt CO2 between 2011 and 2030. This again paints a gloomy picture for achieving 1.5-degree Celsius target.
  • Carbon space for 1.5-degree Celsius target is so limited that developed countries will have to reach net zero emissions in the next 5 to 20 years. This is not a possibility. Even for 2 degree Celsius INDC ‘s of developed countries fall well short of their fair shares in carbon space.
  • If the current trends of emissions continue a 4 degree rise by the end of this century looks likely


  • Physically and economically feasible with a strong political will and cooperation of developed countries.
  • Limiting warming to below 1.5 degree Celsius by 2100 requires similar transformations in the energy system technology specially for developing nations and also by bringing de-carbonization of energy at faster rate.
  • Abiding to the Paris agreement in letter and spirit is the first step.

General Studies – 2

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

3) “The water crisis is not just the result of two consecutive failed monsoons, it is a direct outcome of the inability of the governments over decades to manage sensibly, sensitively and sustainably India’s water resources.” Discuss. (200 Words)


Yes it is a result of failure of government over decades:


  • In Maharashtra there are 1845 dams, largest in any state yet only 18% of its farmlands are irrigated. Dam scam shows how public funds have been used to build dams without yielding irrigation benefits.
  • Of the 70000 minor irrigation projects in the state only 12% work now. Sugar lobby dictated the allocation of surface water for irrigation. 
  • Despite failure of monsoon in the state area under sugarcane cultivation has increased. 
  • Madhav Chitale committee report on irrigation revealed a massive diversion of public funds in the name of providing irrigation. Despite an expenditure of 70000 crore increase in irrigated area is only 0.1%.



  • Most of the state of Maharashtra is rain fed. The willful overuse of groundwater combined with absence of measures like Rain water harvesting to replenish these resources has led to state being in a constant state of crisis.
  • Vote Bank Politics providing free electricity to farmers so that they in can easily draw underground water has led to over use and wastage of groundwater. This is evident in Green Revolution Belt, viz Punjab Haryana. Reckless exploitation of groundwater has led to water level falling even in Ganges.
  • According to Central water commission 85% of country’s drinking water comes from aquifers but their levels have drastically fallen.

3.Failure of government schemes:

  • Failure of employment guarantee scheme which with many interventions like replenish underground aquifers, desilting ponds and tanks, contour bunding, percolation of tanks, recharging shallow wells etc could not imbibe water conservation in Maharashtra.
  • Government is also holding back funds for MNREGA when states are struggling to cope with drought conditions.
  • 90% of water related schemes in Rajasthan are dependent on groundwater for their supply which is plummeting

4.Urban areas:

  • Erratic Urbanization.
  • Reduced percolation of water and hence reduced ground recharging.
  • They followed patterns in the industrialized North without considering the scarcity of basic resources like potable water
  • Perennial deep underground aquifers have been Permanently depleted
  • No proper sewage and waste management makes the situation worse by contaminating the available resource.
  • Surface sources such as lakes and streams are filled up with dump.
  • Pollutants in water increase rapidly, increase in industrialization and urbanization leads to usage of. Grater than 40% of India’s available surface water

5.Water abundant States:

  • Odisha:
    • Tube wells stop yielding water during summer due to a seasonal problem known on departmental parlance as draw down 
  • Kerala
    • poor water conservation and faculty planning along with mismanaging its natural resources and failing to check deforestation.

However, some natural reasons impacted the water crisis in India. They are:-

  • El Niño had a significant role in playing on the fate on the monsoon hitting it hard for two consecutive years and climate change made the situation even worse
  • Melting of snow in Himalayas and their contribution up to 15% of the river flow delayed this year 

Despite measures of Water conservation through drop irrigation, reforestation, recycling of water through treatment plants, harvesting of rainwater and better infrastructure to ensure that pipes do not leak, multiple sources are tapped for water supply rather than depending only on one source until it is totally exhausted are available at hand they are still not implemented.


  • 256 districts in 12 states in India have been drought hit affecting 330 million people

Topic:Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

4) Examine why EPF is attracting so much attention and why the government is being forced to listen to EPF members. (200 Words)



1.Mandatory deductions:

  • mandatory deductions from organized sector workers salaries of about 24% outgo of basic salary to EPF as retirement savings
  • Because of mandatory savings locked in for 30-35 years, as it can be withdrawn only at 58 years of age, making EPF at a disadvantage against other long term saving products

2.Low wages:

  • The salaries of the employees in organized sector vary from 4500-15000 or so. Taking away a sizeable portion of these worker’s salary as Mandatory PF deductions thus reducing the capacity to spend has created resentment,

3.Sizeable corpus:

  • EPFO manages a retirement saving corpus of Rs.8.5 trillion and highlighting this had drawn attention to itself

4.Improved service:

  • Since adoption of technology and better user interface has improved the provident fund number portability through universal account number has helped tens of thousands of workers to consolidate their multiple EPF accounts.
  • Employees are more aware now and any attempt to restrict the access to their savings or its withdrawal is leading to backlash.

5.Political tool:

  • Both opposition political parties and trade unions have realized that if there is any change in EPF policy it becomes easy to convince workers to protest

6.Middle class influence:

  • As the salaried employees belong to this class, they have resented the government policy and government not adhering to that would mean not catering to the needs of majority of the people and they are also a huge vote bank.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

5) Recently, Delhi government said that to improve education, it wants CCTV cameras installed in classrooms and some 90 principals sent to Cambridge for a 10-day training in leadership.Do you think such measures would improve quality of education? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

No, it is not a good move:

  • CCTV`s show no co-relation with improved standards of teaching as evident from the analysis of those schools that have already installed CCTV`s.
  • Constant vigilance through CCTV will further lead reduced freedom of teachers in adopting different methods for teaching or handling students.
  • The principals who will visit Cambridge will learn that their British counterparts have greater autonomy and freedom. Not just those serving in government schools, even private school principals are constantly controlled by the Directorate in India. This will create resentment towards the local system.
  • No importance is given performance, in government schools, one becomes a principal by seniority. No special criteria are used to decide who can serve as a principal.
  • Visit to Britain can at best give exposure to a different system, but it can hardly impart training, most primarily as there is huge difference in the culture and the style of education. Moreover, there is large diversity (linguistic, cultural, economic, etc.) within each school in India which is uncommon around the globe.
  • There are other inherent weaknesses in many such schools – crumbling infrastructure, poor student-teacher ratio and underpaid teachers among others – have been glaringly apparent for many years now, few governments have displayed a sense of urgency towards improvement in one critical area. Urgent investments are needed in these areas rather than CCTV`s and overseas training.

Yes, it’s a good move:

  • Investing money on teachers so that they can learn and bring in new ideas and techniques for Indian schools. The knowledge gained would pass on to the appropriate circles and not rot as pointless reports as in the case of ministers and bureaucrats.
  • A few of the problems that London faces looking after its vast and varied population of children are somewhat similar to those we face in Delhi. Aggressive behavior is one such problem. British teachers are trained not to use physical force to contain aggression. This will surely intrigue Indian principals who use corporal punishment so often.
  • Enable professional development
  • The principals trained abroad and IIMs would form a knowledge pool and help in upgrading the skills of other in their fraternity.

General Studies – 3

Topic: Disaster management

6) In recent months, fire related disasters are causing damages to both human lives and property. Why do such disasters take place? How can such disasters be prevented and managed? Examine. (200 Words)


Why do such disasters take place?

  • Citizen irresponsibility:
    • it is not only the authorities and managements that deserve censure, it is also society at large that do not insist on the culprits facing action and the rules being enforced.
    • apathy and indifference to the need for obeying rules as seen in the fire at the Puttingal Devi temple in Kerala 
    • Contempt for the rule of law in the knowledge that no accountability will be demanded
    • Neglect of basic safety regulations for commercial advantage like in the Uphaar cinema tragedy, recent Bhiwandi hotel disaster, where the basic safety rules are not followed especially in buildings.
    • Most staff and residents of high-rises in India have no clue about fire safety and emergency measures, let alone knowledge of fire auditing.  
    • Lack of interest in regular fire drills at work place, schools, housing societies, that are necessary to create awareness and pre-program and prepare the mind for such disasters.
  • Political reasons:
    • that political overlords do their utmost to shift blame to protect their own and that the media loses interest in what happened in a short while. 
    • Kollam temple example:
      • As seen in this temple disaster Safety norms about storage of explosive materials were simply ignored
      • The makers of the firecrackers had used banned chemicals and the organizers had turned a blind eye to the precaution of keeping a 100-metre distance between the display and the viewers. Residents around the temple who have been complaining for years were threatened and neglected.
    • It is common to hear managements of commercial establishments referring to “harassment” from the authorities in the form of notices for violating safety norms. 
    • The byzantine rules are seen as opportunities to demand bribes rather than as norms which must be followed.
    • Judiciary:
      • But apart from stricter compliance of disaster prevention rules, it is also important to fast-track litigation. Judiciary’s judgement regarding Uphaar tragedy let people feel cheated by the system as the officials responsible were let free.
    • Poor design:
      • Lack of accessible emergency exits, lack of awareness, no information on the location and method to the use the extinguisher, poorly marked escape routes, most fire extinguishers do not work.
      • Also high population density, crowded streets, unplanned siting of fire stations  lead to the fire station help reaching the destination not on time.

How such disasters can be prevented and managed?


  • Strict adherence to Supreme Court ban on fireworks display between 10 pm and 6 am and also other norms like maintain minimum distance, etc.  
  • Following National Building Code of India (2005) deals exclusively with “fire and life safety” and runs into nearly 88 pages of detailed specifications.
  • Enhancing the manpower in the fire stations so that help reaches soon as well as increasing the institutional capacity and providing fire stations with latest technology.
  • Making the process of getting fire certificates easy
  • Powers to district administration and police to control the situation without political interference
  • key to success lies in the coordination of the different protection and assistance measures and the cooperation of all of the means and services involved.
  • Land Management which entails lessening the presence of potential fuels in areas by reducing the build up of combustible materials


  • Design of the building structure in adherence to the fire safety.
  • Sprinkler system. If a person is building a new home or fixing an old one, sprinkler system can be added (water sprinkles from the ceiling in a fire).
  • Enforcing the laws by the government strictly 
  • Extensive awareness and mock drills to make people understand the gravity of ignoring fire safety norms.
  • Information of the telephone numbers of the fire-fighting and civil protection services and of the police;
  • Latest smoke detecting sensors and fire extinguishers need to be installed 


The India Risk Survey 2015 by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Pinkerton has rated fire at number nine in the risk positions. Shockingly, as against the 70,868 fire stations mandated by the Standing Fire Advisory Council norms only 1,705 exist and the shortages are: 97.59% in fire stations, 96.28% in terms of firemen and 80.04% in fire tenders and rescue vehicles.

General Studies – 4

Topic: Dimensions of ethics

7) Recently, Maharashtra legislature passed the Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (Working Therein) Act, 2016. Critically analyse the ethical issues this Act has given rise to. (200 Words)