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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 14, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 14, 2016


This is a new feature. As feedback from our side on your answers is missing, we thought of providing detailed synopsis of important Secure questions on daily basis so that you could revise our synopsis and compare it with your answers. We intend to post synopsis of Secure questions every next day of posting questions on website. 

You must write answers on your own and compare them with these synopses. If you depend on these synopses blindly, be sure of facing disaster in Mains. Until and unless you practice answer writing on your own, you will not improve in speed, content and writing skills. Keep separate notebooks for all GS papers and write your answers in them regularly. Now and then keep posting your answer on website too (Optional).  Some people have the tendency of copying content from others answers and pasting them in a document for each and every question. This might help in revision, but if you do not write on your own,  you can’t write a good answer in real exam. This is our experience at offline classes. We have seen many students who think they were regularly following Secure, yet fail to clear Mains. So, never give up writing. 

Also never give up reviewing others answers. You should review others answers to know different perspectives put forth by them, especially to opinion based questions. This effort by us should not lead to dependency on these synopses. This effort should be treated as complimentary to your ongoing writing practice and answer reviewing process. 

These synopses will be exhaustive – covering all the points demanded by question. We will not stick to word limit. You need to identify most important points and make sure these points are covered in your answer. Please remember that these are not ‘Model Answers’. These are just pointers for you to add extra points and to stick to demand of the question – which you might have missed while answering. 

As you might be aware of, this exercise requires lots of time and energy (10 Hours), that to do it on daily basis! Your cooperation is needed to sustain this feature.

Please provide your valuable feedback in the comment section to improve and sustain this initiative successfully. 

General Studies – 1;


Topic:  Population and associated issues

1) A crucial yet sometimes overlooked driver of economic growth is said to be growth in the working-age population. Analyse the trends in growth of working-age population in India and importance of this population for India’s economy. (200 Words)


The working-age population is defined as those aged 15 to 64 years. It is the basic indicator for employment.

Trends of India’s working age population:

  • India is home to 18 % of the world’s working-age population,has not grown fast since 2006 and is steadily falling;in 2027 annual increase is projected to drop below 1%.
  • Over next decade India is expected to be the leader in working age population among the world’s 10 biggest economies.
  • Labour force participation of working age women is only at meager 27% and is showing the incapability of bringing women into the labour force. It is expected to rise to 67% in 2020.

Importance to economy:-

  • Huge young force has high innovative minds and can better leverage technology with high efficiency.This can help to reap benefits of the demographic dividend.
  • Median age population of India as a whole is 28 %.It is lower than china and japan with 37.6 and 44.This show India has less ageing population,leading to less dependency ratio  with duration of employment being longer and availability of cheap labour.
  • It acts as a source of funding for investment which will be beneficial for country’s competitiveness.
  • Adds 2% to country’s annual growth rate over the next two decades according to IMF.
  • Manufacturing and service sectors get huge impetus with low cost pressures in wages and abundant labour leading cheap manufacturing costs. This gives push to make in India.
  • Increase in disposable incomes leading to increase in household savings and growth of huge Indian middle class driven by domestic consumption.
  • Huge opportunities for marketers as constant demand is available because of this group of population.
  • Will lead to increase in remittances.

However, benefits of this age group can be reaped only when the basic services like health, education etc. are given. Along with this right training should be given and skills should be developed, so that workforce can find productive employment not only in India, but also abroad.

TopicThe Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country. 

2) Critically comment on Dr B. R. Ambedkar’s views on nationalism. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

The Hindu

  • Nationality is a social feeling of oneness which makes those charged with it feel that they are kith and kin. Nationalism should be based on a strong will to live as a nation and deep feeling to make a state a cultural home with definite territory.
  • Ambedkar’s view on Nationalism stems from idea of spirit of dignity both for the people and for the country.
  • It is providing equality and civil rights for those who are deprived.
  • In absence of complete freedom of people nationalism becomes a conduit of internal slavery organised tyranny for the poor and depressed classes and  it is not different to freedom from British rule.
  • Nationalism is a spiritual phenomena rooted in humanism having ideals of equality, liberty and fraternity with expression of inner unity of people and is a process of social assimilation, negation of caste spirit.
  • It creates a strong sense of social brother hood in doing justice to the needy,feeling of oneness, and firm determination to improve the lives of the needy.
  • Emphasized on one common language which would strengthen unity and spirit of nationalism and is not just the blind worship of the motherland.
  • Composite Indian nationalism brings communal harmony amongst the Hindus and Muslims.
  • During the freedom movement with respect to Indian commercial community he observed their profit seeking orientation at the cost of people’s interest and disapproved their predatory economic pursuits under the garb of nationalism.
  • This can be looked in the present context with architecture of economy dominated by corporate and  finance capital in allowance with political formations championing the cause of so called nationalism.
  • Bourgeoisie and brahminism are twin enemies of the people so annihilation of caste,negation of capitalism are imperatives  for change and taking India forward.
  • Democracy is attitude of respect and reverence towards fellow men and his expression of this moves democracy into social and economic realm providing dignity to all.
  • “It is a divine right of majority to rule minorities according to the wishes of majority” is anti-national.

However he was often been criticized for being anti-national because of the following reasons:

  • Due to his attitude towards freedom movement for welcoming British as the deliverers from age cold tyranny and oppression by the orthodox Hindustan being regardless of any nationalistic sentiments.
  • Questioned India as a nation with so many castes present.

Ambedkar was a humanist first and he strongly believed that freedom of India will establish hindu domination. His view of nationalism helped to widen the scope of the freedom and laid a broad social foundation on which the present Indian state stands.

General Studies – 2

TopicIssues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

3) Compare the data of NFHS-4 with NFHS-3 of India’s poor and rich states, and analyse its achievement in improving important health indicators. (200 Words)

Business Standard

Comparison with achievements in health indicators:-

  • Under five mortality has significantly declined in all states though India could not achieve the MDG goal.
  • Stunting and underweight parameters among children has also dropped.
    • The public distribution system (PDS) for food grains or targeted child nutrition programs such as the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) have still not played a major role in fighting child malnutrition as link between poverty reduction and improvements in nutrition is at best a weak one. 
    • States with low rates of open defecation seem to have better nutritional outcomes, while states with high rates of open defecation seem to have worse nutritional outcomes, In the absence of sanitation facilities, children face a hostile environment and frequently fall prey to common infectious diseases which reduce their ability to absorb nutrients.
    • High incidence of low birth weight babies is a reflection of the low social status of women, who do not receive adequate nourishment or care prior to childbirth. It does not appear to be a coincidence that most states with low ratios of low birth weight babies are also states with relatively higher sex ratios.


  • Total fertility has continued to fall in all states with rates below replacement rate of 2.1 except Bihar which is over 3.
    • Nearly 40% of people who want to use birth control do not have access to it.
    • Lack of education is a major reason.
  • Proportion of births assisted by health personnel has increased in all states.
    • Due to the successful implementation of Janani Suraksha yojana.
    • Southern states fare better because of high political will,high awareness combined with good infrastructure.
  • % of women literacy and women’s access to bank accounts has increased significantly.
  • Household access to electricity has increased.


Lagging areas:

  • Sex ratio at birth has fallen a little from fairly high levels in Karnataka West bengal etc.
  • Full Immunization:
    • Had a declining trend in the developed states of Maharashtra and Haryana may be due to government’s complacency that they are developed states.
  • The coverage of full immunization of children has increased significantly showing the successful implementation of universal immunization scheme and now Indradhanush mission is a welcome step.
  • Parameter of anaemic women is very high:
    • In anaemic children Haryana tops. This may be due to eating habits and not necessarily due to economic condition of people. These cultural factors play a crucial role and focusing on a particular type of diet and other nutrients can lead to the deficiency.
    • The states where women get married early and the repeated child bearing leads to recurrence in iron loss. The neglect of women’s health complicates the problem further.
  • Spousal violence against married women in developed states like Haryana,Tamil nadu has increased.

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

4) India is contemplating the merger of two bodies that handle anti-dumping and import safeguard actions – the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) and the Directorate General of Safeguards. Examine the present responsibilities of these two bodies and the reason why government wants to merge both. (200 Words)


Seeking to counter protectionist measures imposed by developed economies at a time when world trade has shrunk because of tepid demand. India is contemplating the merger of two bodies that handle anti-dumping and import safeguard actions.

Anti-dumping and countervailing measures in India are administered by

1) Directorate general of anti dumping and allied duties:

  • Deals with anti dumping and countervailing duties.
  • Comes under commerce ministry.
  • Recommends an imposition of anti dumping measures to the government.

2) Director general of safeguards:

  • Deals with safeguard actions such as temporary restrictions on the import of a product or higher duties.
  • Comes under finance ministry.

At present:

  • Commerce ministry recommends anti dumping duty but finance ministry levies such duty.
  • Standing board of safeguards chaired by commerce secretary considers the recommendations of DG(S) and then recommends the imposition of a safeguard duty to finance ministry that levies such a duty.

There is lot of confusion and duplication created by this. To make things simpler commerce ministry put forward the idea of merging.

Need for merging:

  • Seeking to counter protectionist measures imposed by developed countries.
  • To build up expertise so that trade remedy option can be made under one umbrella.
  • Bring them under one roof can lead to better coordination.
  • To handle issues like US imposing countervailing duty on import of hot rolled carbon steel flat product. Despite using WTO platform India got mixed responses. 
  • To address complaints from industry that India takes the longest time (18 months) to finalize such complaints.

General Studies – 3

Topic: Energy; Economic growth; 

5) Discuss the relationship between water scarcity, power generation and economic growth in India. (200 Words)


Water scarcity and power generation:

  • Water and power have a strong relation. Without water power generation is going to be adversely affected. In a country like India where power generation is dominated by thermal and hydro-electric energy water becomes even more important.
  • India’s thermal power plants already guzzle 2.2 billion cubic metres of water a year, use of sewage water for power generation in Maharashtra affects power generation.
  • Due to water scarcity the power plants are turned off which leads to spiking of electricity prices. The recent shut down of NTPC Farakka plant shows this case.

Power generation and economic growth:

  • Power is significant for all sectors of the economy. Without it farm production and industrial output gets hurt leading to inflationary trends in the economy, falling investments.
  • If a big chunk of the country’s power capacity has to be idle for lack of water the economy might get a bigger stagflationary supply-shock.

Water scarcity and economic growth:

  • Poor monsoons lead to increase in droughts affecting food security of the country.
  • Water scarcity is caused by the excessive exploitation of the ground water, irrigation systems etc. All these lead to decline in crop productivity, food inflation, dependency in food imports,increase in farmers suicides, poverty and disguised employment affecting economic growth ultimately
  • Water scarcity leads to deterioration of health leading to less competitive work force. When India’s drinking water is of unsafe standard,the advantage of democratic dividend gets diminished soon.

So all the three parameters are interconnected. By effectively implementing water conservation strategies like drip irrigation, rain water harvesting, using scientific methods in farming for greater output, shifting to renewable energies, using water not as free but as a part of common property resources India can have greater economic benefits with minimum water availability.

Topic: Storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers

6) Write a note on National Agriculture Market (NAM) portal and measures needed to enable smooth inter-state movement of farm goods through NAM. (200 Words)


Business Standard

e-NAM – the e-trading platform for the National Agriculture Market that will usher in transparency which will greatly benefit the farmers. 

National agriculture market portal

  • Is an electronic trading platform for farmers in its efforts to build a national market and double farm incomes by 2022.
  • It will connect 21 mandis from 8 states in the first phase and 585 mandis across India on this platform by 2018.
  • It is significant in the light of drought in rural India and collapse in commodity prices.
  • Provides farmer with wider choice and better prices, enhances transparency.
  • It marks the beginning of centre’s outreach campaign for rural India called “Gram Uday se Bharat Uday Abhiyan.”

Measures needed for smooth interstate trade are:-

  • Tax issues:
    • Punjab earns 5000 crore from inter state trade. The complex varied and multiple tax structures in different states create a huge problem. Good and sevices tax(GST) needs to be brought in as uniform tax all over the country that will make inter state trade easy.
  • Similarly laws and regulations differ across the country this increases the compliance costs. These need to be checked.
  • APMC reforms are needed to make it successful. Some states like Kerala ,Bihar do not have the acts itself and some states have with varied provisions so APMC act amendment with single trading platform is needed.
  • For a better inter state trade, good road connectivity for quicker delivery along with quality infrastructure of storage facilities are needed. Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak yojana needs to be implemented efficiently.
  • Dispute settlement mechanisms to look into the issues of inter state trade are needed.
  • A central monitoring agency needs to be there to look into the functioning of NAM.
  • Farmers producer organizations and cooperatives need to be strengthened as they can aggregate farmer’s produce in bulk and reach local mandis by passing local aggregators.
  • To make farmers get access to the portal there is need for training in digital literacy.


General Studies – 4

Topic:Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions;

7) Discuss the relationship between wealth, liberty and happiness. (150 Words)