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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 19, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 19, 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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Please provide your valuable feedback in the comment section to improve and sustain this initiative successfully. 

General Studies – 1;


Topic:Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc

1) What is ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’? Examine its relevance to recent natural disasters in Japan and Ecuador. (200 Words)

The Hindu

The Hindu

Pacific ring of fire is an arc in the Pacific Ocean basin where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. About three quarters of the world’s dormant volcanoes and active volcanoes are here. There are 452 volcanoes in the ring which is 40,000 km long. About 90% of the world’s earthquakes and 80% of the world’s largest earthquakes occur along the ring of fire. It is a direct result of plate tectonics and the movement and collision of crustal plates.

Both Japan and Ecuador are on the seismically active “ring of fire” around the Pacific Ocean


Ecuador forms the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates. These plates are continuously grinding against each other at a rate of up to 80mm per year. The Nazca plate, which makes up the Pacific Ocean floor in this region, is being pulled down and under the South American coast. This is the reason for earthquake in the region. Recent earthquake in Ecuador of magnitude-7.8 quake., most likely preceded with a tectonic friction.

pacific ring of fire


Japans stretch of the ring of fire is where the North American, Pacific, Eurasian and Philippine plates come together. Northern Japan is largely on top of the western tip of the North American plate. Southern Japan sits mostly above the Eurasian plate.

The pacific plate is quite large and thus it borders with number of large and small plates. The interactions between the pacific plate and its surrounding tectonic plates creates a tremendous amount of energy which in turn easily melts rocks into magma. This magma rises to the surfaces as lava and forms volcanoes. These volcanoes can make a chain of islands called an “island arc”. Japanese islands are part of these island arc and therefore experience regular tremors.

General Studies – 2

Topic:Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests,

2) Critically discuss the magnitude of nuclear stockpile around the world, the challenges of making world nuclear-free and the role of international community in nuclear disarmament. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Magnitude of stockpile in the world:-

  • In global fissile material report 2015 it was estimated that there is about 1370 tons of high enriched uranium in the world enough for more than 76000 simple first generation fission implosion weapons. With about 99% of this material held by nuclear weapon states mostly Russia and US.
  • Global stockpile separated plutonium is 505 tons enough for about 1,30,000 nuclear weapons. Again 98% of this is in nuclear weapon states. Even a small amount of plutonium mishandling can have huge ramifications and can trigger a global crisis.


Challenges of making world nuclear free:

Nuclear weapon states are in no mood to cut down on nuclear weapons making the situation grim.

  • Countries that in 2010 were producing plutonium and highly enriched uranium continue to do so and dangers from nuclear weapons have been neglected.
  • Political willingness to settle for easy options. Nuclear summits narrow their focus to civilian holdings in non nuclear weapon states. This is already monitored by IAEA and is only a fraction of global nuclear stockpile.
  • There are nuclear weapons in over 40 countries. Some secured by nothing more than a link fence, it will be several decades before this material is adequately secured/eliminated.
  • Know how and expertise to build nuclear weapons is far more available today.
  • With growing interest in nuclear energy countries are considering developing the capacity of enriched uranium ostensibly to use as a fuel for nuclear energy but this would also give them the capacity to move quickly to a nuclear weapons program.
  • The treaties which were brought into to make nuclear free world have been on international disarmament agenda for years but lack the final commitment from key states and are often neglected like nonproliferation treaty, comprehensive test ban treaty still not ratified by major countries like US, neglect of fissile material cutoff treaty.
  • On the issue of nuclear warning and decision time a significant number of nuclear weapons still remain at high states of alert.
  • Nuclear weapons modernization program of US government comprising of span of the next 30 years, fast breeder technology used in India, developing of nuclear triads by China, Israel, India; Pakistan arsenal already doubled it size and is the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world are a cause of concern
  • Tactical nuclear weapons that are designed for use in battle field are a source of concern as they are susceptible to theft due to their size and mode of employment. There gets an increase in risk of terrorists getting hold of these.
  • Also no concrete work is done under the NEW START treaty between Russia and US is also another concern.
  • Mutual distrust being one of the main reasons for failure of disarmament. Russia and US have failed to significantly reduce their vertical stock pile for the same reason. Similarly, India can’t disarm its nuclear arsenal until Pakistan is free of nuclear arms. High hostility, several breach of trust makes it impossible for any nation to become a leader in nuclear disarmament.
  • Recent demonstrations and claims of North Korea, pose a further challenge to the worlds nuclear disarmament dream.


  • Now removed/secured all the highly enriched uranium and plutonium from more than 50 facilities in 30 countries which is more than enough to cater 150 nuclear weapons.
  • USA has reduced its stockpile by 84% from cold war time.
  • Bilateral:
    • The United States and Russia remain on track to meetNew START Treaty obligations so that by 2018 the number of deployed American and Russian nuclear warheads will be at their lowest levels since the 1950s. 
    • There is an extensive precedent for bilateral U.S.-USSR/Russiaarms control. Since 1969, the United States and Russia have been limiting/reducing their strategic nuclear arsenals through bilateral treaties. These arrangements began modestly with SALT I
    • SALT I also produced theAnti ballistic missile treaty in 1972, which banned nationwide strategic missile defenses.
    • the United States and Russia negotiated theStrategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) in 2002.
  • Multilateral:
    • strengthening the global regime — including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty — that prevents the spread of nuclear weapons. The international community is united against the spread of nuclear weapons, notably in Iran.
    • a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation so countries that meet their responsibilities can have access to peaceful nuclear energy. Theinternational fuel bank  is now being built in Kazakhstan. With it, countries will be able to realize the energy they seek without enriching uranium, which could be at risk of diversion or theft.
    • Additional sanctions recently imposed on Pyongyang by the United Nations Security Council show that violations have consequences.
    • a large number of Non nuclear weapon states are parties to nuclear weapon-free zones (NWFZs), and have thereby accepted additional legal obligations not to develop, manufacture, stockpile, acquire, possess, or control any nuclear explosive devices on their territories. Today, more than 110 countries belong to NWFZ treaties.
    • Attempts at negotiating legally bindingmultilateral nuclear disarmament treaties have proven challenging. The United Nations established the Conference on Disarmament (CD) as the sole multilateral disarmament-negotiating forum in 1979
  • Civil society:
    • A progressive approach to promote nuclear disarmament was taken by theNew Agenda Coalition (NAC). The NAC played an instrumental role in convincing the NWS to agree to the thirteen practical steps towards nuclear disarmament in the final document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference.
    • the Middle Powers Initiative was established in support of non-nuclear weapon states’ efforts to reduce and eliminate worldwide nuclear weapons arsenals.
    • Global Zerois an international non-partisan group of 300 world leaders dedicated to achieving the elimination of nuclear weapons

Building up trust between nations and setting of examples by nuclear states viz US and Russia, will accelerate the process of nuclear disarmament.

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

3) Recently, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) issued statement on Kashmir urged India to implement the UN Security Council’s resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. Should India take it seriously? Substantiate. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

No, India need not bother:

  • It is the second largest global organization after the UN and has members spanning 4 continents. But it does not have the ability to solve problems that its charter was supposed to address.
  • Lack of its firm and resolute actions in many crises like the ongoing Syrian crisis, rise of ISIS, Rohingya problem in Myanmar despite them pleading for OIC help, Israel Palestine and other issues shows it as a toothless tiger.
  • Kashmir is an integral part of India and Art 370 has envisaged rights to the state within the Indian constitution.
  • India has never endorsed the third party intervention in any internal matter of the country and the same goes with the Kashmir issue as well. OIC does not have the locus standi on any internal matter of India.
  • OIC is a Muslim dominated organization so it tends to give decisions on the grounds of religion favoritism and not any proper system of discussion.
  • The crisis in OIC is already visible in the rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia pulling it apart and making it dysfunctional.
  • India is not part of OIC so it is not obligated to listen to it.
  • It does not hold much value in the international arena with only 2% of world’s GDP to its credit.
  • On the issue of OIC making a point that Kashmir is being mistreated and tortured by the Indian government, the government worked for the regular governance and administration present in the state. It has regular elections, schemes like UDAAN have been implemented to provide skill training for the Kashmiri youth etc.

But there are some concerns India needs to look into:

  1. Pakistan taking up the Kashmir issue to the global arena again and again is a concern to India. So India and Pakistan need to solve the issue amicably.
  2. The countries like Bangladesh, Maldives who are part of OIC have remained silent on Kashmir issue during the OIC decision. This is a concern too.
  3. Schemes similar to UDAAN, must be launched in Kashmir and there has to be revived focus on development and employment so that regular disturbances can be reduced. This will also make India’s stand stronger over Kashmir in the international arena.

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

4) “The prevailing water crisis in Maharashtra is not about the unavailability of water resources. It’s all about criminal mismanagement of available resources. The drought is a man-made disaster.” Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Yes it is a man made disaster

  • Complete apathy towards water issues – No government of the state has attached importance to issues such as conservative drip irrigation or rejuvenating groundwater. There were scams in the irrigation projects which shows the least preference given to water conservation by the government.
  • Influence of sugar industry over the government- led to seemingly unstoppable increase in the number of sugar cooperatives in Maharashtra. There are over 205 sugar cooperatives in the state.
  • Sugarcane is a water intensive crop- Maharashtra is the second largest producer of sugar. But unlike UP it does not have a huge river network, its sugarcane cultivation is in zones where water is extremely scarce. 4% of land under sugarcane cultivation uses as much as 71.5% of irrigated water.
  • Excessive exploitation led to dwindling groundwater and even agricultural land has become useless. Water from already depleted reservoirs in Maharashtra have been drawn at a faster pace than any other part of the country. 17 big reservoirs have water barely 14% of their total capacity.
  • Water situation is alarming even though it has the largest number of large dams in the country(1845)
  • Governments have mulled over making drip irrigation mandatory for sugarcane cultivation but has not been enforced.
  • Use of rudimentary techniques for supplying water, flood irrigation where an entire farm is flooded with water, leads to extensive wastage of the resource.
  • State allots 70-75% of water in reservoir for agricultural use and maximum wastage of water is also in this sector itself.
  • Lack of water harvesting techniques to conserve water and recharge water table in times of good monsoon.

However, man has played a larger part in making drought a disaster in this region but the nature took its course as well:

  • Two consecutive years of very less rainfall led to water depletion as groundwater was not recharged.
  • Central India had virtually no winter rains complicating the issue further.

General Studies – 3

Topic: Employment; Basics of cyber security

5) Recently, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) said that the next big wave for the Indian information technology (IT) sector would be cyber security.  Examine why. (200 Words)

Business Standard


  • The internet is growing at an alarming speed and cybersecurity is necessary to put some protection in the transparent and vulnerable system.
  • The sector has projected revenues of $35 billion and create an employment opportunity of a million new jobs. With skill training engineers can be employed in the cyber security sector.
  • cybersecurity is about $2.5-3 billion or about two per cent of the close-to-$150-billion Indian IT sector. With the IT sector on track to reach $350 billion by 2025, the estimate 10 per cent of this to be cybersecurity.
  • Another important aspect will be start-ups. About 1,000 start-ups are going to come up in this area. This is because these smaller companies are light-footed and yet have the best of technologies. Also, there has been a lot of investor interest in this area as enterprises look to stay secured against rising incidents of cyber-attacks
  • The IT security market to be about $77 billion in 2015 and growing at over eight per cent annually, and demand for security workforce to rise globally to six million by 2019, up from 4 million in 2015, with projected shortfall of 1.5 million. So India can take advantage of this situation.
  • Building the next generation of cyber professionals is key to securing India’s critical information infrastructure, battling cybercrime and making the Digital India initiative successful
  • India’s National Cyber Security Policy aims to create a cyberspace for citizens, businesses and the government that is not only guarded but also extremely expansive. It also anticipates constructing a workforce of 5 lakh experienced professionals in the cybersecurity in the coming 5 years.
  • Government schemes-digital India, e-governance initiatives, union budget emphasizing on modernization of land records, unified payment interface launch, ministries are online all these make it ineveitable to have enhanced cyberseurity structure.
  • India is a country with enhanced mobile reach even in rural areas and e-payments are made which makes it vulnerable with regarding cybersecurity.
  • India keeps importing cybersecurity tools which is a security threat to the country. With growing importance of this field in IT sector this dependence can be curbed by enhancing PPP in big data analytics.
  • With terrorist organizations like ISIS being so technologically advanced it makes it imperative for a country to enhance its cyber security structure especially when India is in the top 5 countries who are cyber attacked.
  • Nuclear power plants are digitally operated by nuclear codes.

Topic: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

6) “The Unified Payment Interface (UPI), which was launched last week, is a radical step forward that could help take financial inclusion to a new level.” Examine. (200 Words)

Business Standard

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organization for all retail payment system in India, has designed “Unified Payment Interface” to simplify and provide a single interface across all systems. The new interface is designed to enable all account holders to send and receive money from their smartphones with a single identifier – Aadhaar number, mobile number, virtual payments address – without entering any bank account information.


  • expected to further propeleasy instant paymentsvia mobile, web, and other applications.
  • India has good mobile reach even in rural areas so this acts as a great platform for financial inclusion
  • It is an act of critical financial inclusion as it gives the possibility to integrate global identifiers like Aadhar number to collect payments. This holds the potential of transforming how the weaker sections of the society transact and receive government benefits.
  • In the present system, IFSC code that reveals bank account details is needed for making transactions but using UPI, allone needs is a virtual address which is unique to the personand 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 deliverysupporting the growth of e-commerce by reducing cash on delivery and wallets
  • Speeds up the transfers involving accounts in two different banks.
  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its Payment System Vision Document (2012-2015) had mentioned the use of UPI forachieving its goal of a lower cash-intensive society reducing counterfeiting of currencies and financial inclusionusing the latest technology.
  • important for implementation of the JAM (Jhan Dhan Yojana, Aadhar and Mobile) trinity 
  • will alsofacilitate 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.
  • Benefits tax authorities as data will accrue from many small transactions
  • Makes the reduced need for cash in the economy reality.
  • UPI takes the IMPS platformon which about Rs.2.4 trillion of transactions are conducted annuallya 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

Concerns and suggestions:

  • Without end to end encryption messages can be read during data security even from data service providers is a must with proper authentication system on hand
  • Cell phone if lost can create a huge problem for the customers as UPI can be misused. So UPI accounts need to be prevented from being misused.
  • It is easier to hack the systems where the database has all details at one place. So database must be effectively defended from data theft or cracking and cybersecurity measures need to put in place.
  • There is a need for secure and robust encryption standards.

Topic: Economic growth

7) It is a fact that  the world economy is experiencing a long phase of weak economic growth. What are the solutions and their limitations put forth to address this weak growth? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Hindu

The Hindu

IMF world economic outlook in the recent forecast downgraded the growth of world economy from 3.6% last year to 3.2% now in purchasing power parity terms.

So there are some measures urged by the international experts to overcome the present scenario: –

1.loose monetary policies:


  • once interest rates come close to zero they have little effect on the aggregate demand. As a result, the U.S resorted to quantitative easing in 2008. This meant the central bank buying long term securities and it was intended to lower the long term interest rate. Europe, Japan moved policy rates into the negative territory.
  • As depositors have little incentive to put money in banks, banks end up passing on negative rates on the borrower. This undermines bank profits.
  • Negative interest rates may lead not to surge in productive investment but to asset bubbles and another financial crisis.
  1. fiscal policies
  • government spending on infrastructure
    • limitation: governments are unwilling to boost spending. The U.S has concerns over large burdens of social security and would not like to add to its debt burden.
    • More fiscal deficit is detrimental to economy. Indian budget puts forward this notion that as it gave more importance to curtailing fiscal deficit even though growth gets sacrificed.
  • tax incentives:
    • limitation: tax incentives will reduce government revenue and this will add the burden on the government and social spending might get affected leading to dissatisfaction among the citizens.
  • promote a higher minimum wage
    • limitation: there is a risk that inflation can get out of control because of increasing the wages and wages cannot be lowered if the inflation goes out of hand.

3.Structural reforms:

  • includes things like cutting unemployment benefits making it easier to hire and fire ,reducing barriers to entry etc
    • limitation: effect can be seen only in the long term
  • population growth leads to productive growth, at least until saturation point it gives impetus to growth. Therefore, giving way to migrants by easy immigration laws in population deficient Europe as notion goes population increases demand.
    • Limitation: rising inequalities, ethnic conflicts are not sustainable trend. To cater to the needs of the refugees, government spending will have to be increased which will add to the burden.

4.Helicopter money: Central bank monetizing government deficit.

Limitation: Potential to create runaway inflation.

General Studies – 4

Topic:Attitude: moral attitudes

8) What do you understand by moral attitude? Discuss any four moral attitudes. (200 Words)