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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 12, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 12, 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. 

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General Studies – 1;


TopicSalient features of Indian Society; Poverty and developmental issues

1) In 2015, the highest number of farmer suicides were recorded in what is known as ‘suicide belt’ in Maharashtra, followed by Punjab, Telangana, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh among others. It is believed that irrational and constant support seeking behaviour of farmers is the cause of this agrarian tragedy. Do you agree? Critically comment. (200 Words)


After green revolution’s success farmers from those regions gained economic and political stronghold which led to concessions provided by the government in terms of subsidies,loan waivers and subvention schemes to gain electoral support,Demand for good minimum support prices etc..,
However this largely favoured the big and medium scale farmers. Small farmers with small landholdings were the worst affected .
  • changing weather patterns:triggered by two back-to-back failures of the Indian monsoon together with a collapse in global commodity prices, including agricultural commodities.
  • growing risk apetite of the farmers to reorganize their crop mix away from traditional offerings.While this promises dramatic increase in return, it includes unhedged downside risks
  • when rural distress struck, farmers were stuck with a mounting debt burden—the core reason that prompted farmer suicides.
  • the structural factors underlying rural distress, including the inability to underwrite the emerging risks of farming using market-based instruments like insurance.
  • with introduction of genetically modified crop farmers were at the mercy of big multinational companies 
  • due to government policies there is no clarity for farmers regarding crop management.sugarcane is excessively cultivated in drought prone areas of maharashtra.
  • excessive salination of groudwater in northern india led to decrease in crop productivity which makes farmers vulnerable.
  • excessive spending on daughter’s marraige leads to more stress
  • collaboration between agricultural universities and farmers is needed to be aware of the best practices which increase the crop productivity.
  • Need for meaningful crop insurance policies:Crop insurance is must and the claim should be settled easily under the supervision of the district collectors
  • Better access to formal credit to avoid exorbitant rates charged by money lenders.
  • consolidation of landholdings is a significant land reform to be needed.
  • Model APMC act need to be implemented to enhance farmers get the right price for their produce
  • Storage facilities with proper warehouses need to be constructed.
  • scienfic fertiliser use is a very important step.
  • Multiple crops:Cultivation of multi crops such as coconut, turmeric, pine apple, banana, apple, papaya, ginger will yield profitable results to the farmers.
  • Alternate source of income for farmers by encouraging them to involve in horticulture ,animal husbandry etc..
2,806 farmers committed suicide in 2015 due to “agrarian reasons”.

General Studies – 2

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

2) Discuss recent developments and their significance in bilateral relationship between India and Maldives. (200 Words)


Recent developments:-
  • Defence pact:
    • India signed a key defence pact with Maldives with Development of ports, continuous training, capacity building, supply of equipment and maritime surveillance being its main elements.
    • It is an important component of the India-Maldives bilateral relationship and the shared strategic and security interests of the two countries in the IOR (Indian Ocean region).
  • CMAG:
    • Maldives thanked India for “protecting” it from possible punitive actions from the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which had been asking Maldives to move towards genuine democracy.
  •  India is involving in ihaven project of maldives with six main goals, including developing an airport, a harbour, bunkering services, real estate, shopping malls, and resorts in the atoll and also speed up the infrastructure projects that it had undertaken in the Maldives.
  • Maldives has states that india is an important friend and they follow “India First policy”
  • In 2014 during water crisis in maldives the humanitarian relief efforts by the Indian side was widely appreciated in Male across all sections of people
  • Agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation of income derived from International Air Transport.
  • Agreement for the Exchange of Information with respect to Taxes
    • It also includes exchange of information relevant to the assessment, determination and collection of such taxes, the recovery and enforcement of tax claims, or the investigation and prosecution of tax matters.
  • agreement  for operation of South Asian Satellite for the purpose of performing intersystem orbit-frequency coordination.
  •  MoUs for Cooperation in the area of conservation and restoration of ancient mosques in Maldives and tourism  were signed. 
  • approval for signing a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between India and Maldives in case of Criminal Matters.
Significance of the relationship:
  • Maldives sits along major sea lanes, including the East-West shipping route through which much of Middle East oil headed for East Asia is transported.  The archipelago is located just 340 km from the Indian coast.
  • Maldives is very important to India in terms of maritime security and anti piracy operations
  • Both are SAARC members so better cooperation is needed.
  • Culturally also there are about 30000 indians in maldives who contribute to Maldivian economy and society.
  • Visit comes at a time when the two countries are working towards bringing back ties on an even keel after a downslide following the Maldives seeming tilt towards China and chinese presence increased in the region.
  • In the light of the controversy of GMR  in developing male airport and handing over the project to china the recent  ihaven project is a great step forward.
  • In the light of terrorism ,The islam fundamentalism and the citizens joining ISIS from maldives holds a security concern for India.
  • With India first policy the concerns of India that china is going to create a military base can be put to rest for now.

TopicRole of civil services

3) One of the most complex tasks the Indian administration has to perform is the handling of massive religious congregations. Discuss the challenges and measures need to be taken by the district administration in ensuring safety during such occasions. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Tragedies associated with public gatherings are a regular affair in religious India. In 2011, the infamous Sabarimala stampede claimed 106 pilgrims.In 2014, a stampede broke out in Mumbai near a muslim spiritual leader residence and now kollam’s puthangal temple which claimed more than 100 lives
Challenges for district administration in handling religious congregations:
  •  crowd management:encounter devotee indiscipline of the worst order, particularly the desire to be the closest to the sanctum sanctorum.
  • Devotee exuberance is usually compounded by the lack of control over the event by the organisers for whom Public safety is often low priority and they lacked any sense of accountability like in kollam temple incident.
  • Negligence of rules formed by authorities regarding making and use of firecrackers
  • Regarding safety at our public premises and gatherings in open spaces,There is a near paralysis in the civil administration on such vital matters, attributable mainly to acute political interference. Any stern order limiting the festivities is always resisted, sometimes with the support of the local ruling party.
  • stampedes and fireworks at festivals have caused  a large number of casualties in our country. Perhaps these account for far more than what we have suffered at the hands of terrorists. 
  • proper management of security forces as more forcus is on quantity of the security staff rather than the quality.
  • concerns of the people who get affected by these religious congregations.
  • communal riots in some religious congregations are also a cause of concern.
Measures to be taken by the district administration:
  • quality of deployment of the security staff , combined with the Proper training  in handling emergencies
  • severity of adherence to the standard operating procedure which would eventually win the day.
  • prepared for contigency management and rescue mechanisms like keeping ambulances,fire engines ready  to prevent and act swiftly when a situation props up.
  • Scientific crowd management techniques and procedures must be followed.
  • There should also be a deep change in sanctioning celebrations without mortgaging freedom of worship.
  • clear guidelines on the use and storage of crackers and other fireworks. But by all accounts, the administration is unable to enforce the rules.
  • strict coordination with police and civil society to avoid mishaps like kollam.
  • A sound disaster management strategy to avoid excessive use of fireworks.

Topic:Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes;

4) Recently the Union government launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). It is said that the real test of the PMUY and its successor programmes will be in how they translate the provision of connections to sustained use of LPG or other clean fuels such as electricity or biogas. For this which issues need to be addressed? Also discuss the significance of PMUY. (200 Words)

The Hindu

In the union budget 2016-17 Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana  a Rs.8,000-crore scheme aims to provide subsidised liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections to about 60 per cent of below poverty line (BPL) households is launched.
Significance of PMUY:
  • The scale of this programme is what sets it apart. PMUY aims to provide subsidised connections to five crore households in three years.
  • PMUY has proposed payment in instalments for stoves and cylinders and  it may consider increasing LPG subsidies for the first few cylinders bought in a year by BPL households to make cooking fuel availability sustainable.
  • provides employment to rural youth in distribution of LPG
  • Save women from indoor air pollution related issues while cooking and make their health robust.
  • help promote renewable energy
1.Availibility of cooking fuel at affordable cost as each BPL household has to spend up to 5000 each year on LPG even at subsidised prices in addition to a one-time cost of Rs.1,800 for the connection The  to address this challenge, which is welcome. 
2.To meet the expected demand especially in rural areas india does not have a strong distribution system and non availability of fuel could push people back towards using solid fuels
3. many Jan-Dhan accounts have zero balance raise concerns about whether subsidy transfer to such accounts will work effectively
4.In the absence of such supporting measures, the PMUY runs the risk of failing like the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana which could not sustain its objectives.
  • Ensuring reliable, sustained, last-mile supply would require multiple steps. It requires a large extension of distribution networks, especially in rural areas
  • For zero balance concerns in Jan Dhan yojana  implementation of direct benefit transfer should be made more robust.
  • Effective monitoring and grievance redressal systems are equally important to ensure that problems in the scheme are highlighted and addressed early.
  • The scheme should be accompanied by a focussed public relations campaign, similar to the national tuberculosis or Swachh Bharat campaigns, to build awareness and create a “demand pull”, not only for clean cooking but also for good service.
  • Ensuring reliable supply is also likely to require strengthening the refining, bottling and pipeline infrastructure.

General Studies – 3

Topic: Awareness in biotechnology; Issues related to IPR

5) What do you understand by biosimilars? How are they different from generics? It is said that the market for biosimilars is an attractive one for Indian companies. Examine why. (200 Words)



  • is a biologic medical product which is almost an identical copy of an original product that is manufactured by a different company.
  • Biosimilars are officially approved versions of original “innovator” products, and can be manufactured when the original product’s patent expires.
  • Reference to the innovator product is an integral component of the approval.
  • Follow-on manufacturers do not have access to the originator’s molecular clone and original cell bank, nor to the exact fermentation and purification process, nor to the active drug substance. They do have access to the commercialized innovator product.
difference between biosimilars and generics:
  •  Biologics are 200 to 1,000 times the size of a small molecule (generic) drug
  • Molecular weight of biological similars is greater than generics.
  • biosimilars are structurally more complex than the generics whose structure is simple and defined.
  • biologics and biosimilars are manufactured in living cells, then extracted and purified, whereas small molecule drugs and generics are manufactured purely via chemical synthesis.
  • generics are relatively more stable than biosimilars as they are sensitive to handling and storage conditions
  • To get approval small clinical trials in healthy voulnteers is enough for generics against larger clinical trials required for biosimilars.
  • manufacturing quality tests for generics is way lesser than required for biosimilars.
  • there is a higher potential for adverse immune reaction in biosimilars than generics.
  • creating imitations is therefore, very difficult in biosimilars and many of those production details are highly-guarded intellectual property of the company that develops the initial drug.
Why is biosimilars attractive for indian companies?
  • Indian companies, with their already existing low-cost manufacturing capabilities and strengths in small-molecule generics, have entered the biosimilars field.
  • It is estimated that 48 biologicals — with sales of US$73 billion — will lose patent protection in the next decade, making biosimilars a lucrative market to enter.
  • cost is a major advantage for the Indian biosimilar industry. The manufacture and development of a biosimilar molecule in India requires an estimated investment of US$10 to 20 million, compared to US$50 to 100 million in developed countries. With cost reductions of around 40% this makes India a very attractive destination for biosimilar manufacture
  • It would also make biogenerics manufacturing an important part of the Make in India movement  and Indian regulators allowed companies in the country to make biologicals early on with the minimum of clinical trials. 
  • With the introduction of insulin and erythropoietin biosimilars, India has proved its capability to be a major contributor to this market.
  • Biocon Ltd has got regulatory approval to launch the biosimilar version of insulin glargine in Japan.Getting a successful biosimilar into a developed world market will be a feather in the cap for any Indian company.
  •  global biosimilars market was $1.3 billion in 2013 and is expected to reach $35 billion by 2020 driven by the patent expiration of additional ten blockbuster biologic drugs
  • biosimilars would command $10 billion in revenue in 2015, up from $500 million.
  • India, with 3% of the biosimilar market.India will have at least 20-25% market share in biosimilars market over the next five years as more than 100 major Indian pharmaceutical companies are spending largely on research pertaining to biosimilars

Topic: Developments in S&T; Awareness in the fields of IT; 

6) Recently the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) launched unified payment interface (UPI). Discuss the significance, objectives and applications of UPI. (200 Words)


Money and especially mobile banking transactions in India are going to change with the launch of unified payment interface (by national payments corporation of india) a step closer towards making India a cashless economy.
Objectives of UPI:
key objective of a unified system is
  • to offer an architecture to facilitate next generation online immediate payments leveraging trends such as increasing smartphone adoption, Indian language interfaces, and universal access to Internet and data.
  • to simplify and provide a single interface across all segments.
  • Virtual payment addresses, 1-click 2-factor authentication, Aadhaar integration, use of payer’s smartphone for secure credential capture, etc. are some of the core features.
Significance and Applications:
  • expected to further propel easy instant payments via mobile, web, and other applications.
  • In the present system, IFSC code that reveals bank account details is needed for making transactions but using UPI, all one needs is a virtual address which is unique to the person and it camouflages the bank and personal detail of the user or the receiver behind it making the system simple and secure.
  • Payments has been one of the biggest hurdles for mass adoption of online shopping in India. UPI  brings next innovation such as e-payments on delivery supporting the growth of e-commerce by reducing cash on delivery and wallets
  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its Payment System Vision Document (2012-2015) had mentioned the use of UPI for achieving its goal of a lower cash-intensive society reducing counterfeiting of currencies and financial inclusion using the latest technology.
  • important for implementation of the JAM (Jhan Dhan Yojana, Aadhar and Mobile) trinity 
  • will also facilitate micropayments and person-to-person payments.
  • improved payment infrastructure along with the launch of differentiated banking models such as payment banks are part of a“revolution” in Indian banking.
  • UPI takes the IMPS platform on which about Rs.2.4 trillion of transactions are conducted annually a step further.
    •  Though the transaction limit for IMPS is Rs.2 lakh per transaction, for UPI the limit has been set at Rs.1 lakh .
    • IMPS did not have an easy debit capability. That is being addressed by UPI
  • going to make small value payments more electronic will soon become an important payment platform for all merchants and customers.
proper grievance redressal mechanisms and effective implementation of UPI to expand access to formal financial channels can significantly transform the entire payments ecosystem in the country.
  • According to an National payments corporation of India document, the number of non-cash transactions per person stands at just 6 per year.
  • Only a fraction of the 10 million-plus retailers in India have card payment acceptance infrastructure – presently this number stands at 0.6 million, or 6%.
  • 19 banks have partnered with NPCI, an umbrella organization for all retail payments systems, to offer services based on UPI.

Topic: Land reforms in India

7) “Ill-defined property rights and high transaction costs in land market have become one of the most significant factors depressing the country’s ease of doing business.”  Examine why India’s record in land titling is poor, its impact on economy and measures needs to be taken in this regard. (200 Words)


Why india’s record in land titling is poor 
  • Colonial policies:
    • Land settlement systems during british rule led to total makeover of the previous system and led to confusion in the land rights.
    • only rural areas that had revenue potential was selectively recorded.
  • After independence:
    • huge burden of titling made the government continue the old system.
    • Absence of land records led to huge difficulties in abolition of zamindari system.
    • since land was a state subject, the onus of land titling fell upon the newly formed states.BarringWest Bengal and Kerala other states were not able to successfully initiate reforms in that direction
    • The revenue department and the registration department duplicated the function of maintaining land records.
    • The narrowing boundary between urban and rural areas created another problem.
    • Municipal corporations were reluctant to take documentation and registration of land that could not be taxed.
    • even after liberalisation there was no focus on creating accurate updated records
    • the land rights of the tribals were not considered in land acquisition act 1894.
Impact on economy:
  • complicated land market has encouraged project promoters to use the state as a medium to acquire land instead of engaging with the market directly, thereby increasing the conflict between the citizen and the state.
  • lack of land titling affect ease of doing business adversely.
  • land fragmentation led to less crop productivity and impoverishment of small scale farmers.
  • The deed registrations which placed the onus on the buyer to ensure that the seller’s rights are genuine also complicated the land market.
  • As no legal provision is there for a land owner to register his property with a notified authority,there was always a risk that a seller would not have a clear, unencumbered title to the land. This mostly depressed prices below true value.
  • loss of revenue to government.In Thailand because of land titlingthe revenue increased to 1200 million dollars in 1996 from 150 million dollars in 1985.
  • house values are not high becasue of lack of land titling.In peru 75% of the population with property titles has invested to improve their homes.
Measures needed:
  • Operational and structural lessons to be drawn from best practices elsewhere like Sweden’s new online system for registering property, Azerbaijan’s online procedure for obtaining non-encumbrance certificates for property transfers and Senegal’s elimination of requirement of authorization by the tax authority for property transfers.
  •  The centre  needs to implement Land Transformation Management System which will integrate land records with Aadhaar, digitizing them and matching the real holdings with the documents.
  • With GPS,GIS and aadhar land titlting can be made easier.
  • learning lessons from jakarta where land values significantly increased by 58% after titling.
  • property titles can be used as a collateral in accessing formal credit. 
A 2014 report by Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) shows that over 25% of districts are affected by land conflicts.

General Studies – 4

Topic:Right to information;Information sharing and transparency in government

8) Discuss the significance of right to information and its relationship to good governance and development. (200 Words)