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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 13, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 13, 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;


TopicSalient features of Indian Society;

1) One of the key strategies of the racist, discriminating communities is to make us believe that discrimination is natural, that it is part of nature, and that you have to accept it. This applies to India where caste-based discrimination is made to believe as crude reality that one has to live with.  In your opinion, how this notion can be deconstructed? How India can be made caste-free society? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Caste system is deeply engraved in Indian society, to deconstruct or unlearn the learnt is a difficult social challenge.

How can India be made casteless?

  • Strict Legislations

Constitutional backing advocating that everyone is equal irrespective of the caste, with immediate actions against those who violate it. For instance, Law against untouchability is housed in the Indian constitution since its birth, but due to failed effective implementation, untouchability still is a sad truth of our society. Strict enforcement of laws like the protection of human right, prevention of atrocities on SC/ST which would set an example that perpetuators of crimes especially of upper castes can`t get away from the law.

  • De-Casting the Caste

A strong constitutional backing that everyone is equal irrespective of the caste. There needs to be a choice category named ‘casteless’ for people who are vexed with the caste system and who do not want to be identified with any caste.

  • Rationalizing reservation

Making social and economic backwardness as the sole criteria for reservation and doing away with any kind of caste based reservation. It only superimposes the system and is seen to create resentment amongst higher caste against lower caste when they fail to acquire a seat despite of good score.

  • Checking caste as a Political tool
  • Caste based politics has become a feature of Indian society. This also superimposes the Varna system, which is then followed by continued discrimination and differentiation. Caste system per say was never bad as it brought in interdependence and strong community life within the society.
  • Education/ Awareness

Empowerment via education is a credible long-term solution. For instance, historically in rural India Jajmani system was followed where there were some occupational roles assigned to each caste and there was a system of interdependence. With education, there was mobilization leading to breakdown of traditional roles and this is seen especially in urban areas where caste system is not directly correlated to occupational roles.

  • Legal Backing

Legal backing to inter-caste marriages and strict actions against honor killing and Khap panchayats can be stepping stones towards building a casteless society.

  • Intellectual Backing

Rational debates and strong intellectual backing is needed to make people understand the original basis of caste system and benefits of being a casteless society

Changes that can be seen

  • Due to increased western influences and also due to access to education, the lower castes got mobilized and started imitating the upper castes in terms of lifestyle, rituals and practices, i.e. they underwent Sanskritization.
  • After independence many castes which were earlier discriminated as lower castes gained enormous benefits like the toddy tappers in Orissa. Economic opportunities gave an impetus to the social status of various lower castes.
  • Purity and pollution is not adhered to very strictly these days especially in urban areas, however in rural areas it depends on the dominant caste. If dominant caste is lower caste there might be discrimination against the upper caste. (Note: A dominant caste is one which has economic power, numerical strength and political influence. It need not be an upper caste).
  • Also there is an increasing tendency of Varnisation of the upper castes and casteisation of lower castes. The Sudra in the Varna system got divided further in to Sudra and untouchables. In Tamil Nadu the Sudra castes that have gained political power for e.g. the Vanniyar caste is in frequent communal riots between Dalits and Vanniyars.
  • Backward castes like Yadav, Kamma, Reddy gained political clout because of their agricultural proficiency and discrimination towards these castes is not often visible.
  • Also, reservation policies showed India the irony of castes wanting to be made lower castes to receive benefits.

One can see the trace of Babasaheb’s radiant vision in the SDGs adopted by the UN General Assembly to eliminate poverty, hunger and socio-economic inequality by 2030. However in a country like India where caste has such history and is highly entrenched in the societal mindset making it a casteless society seems to be a utopic idea. Experts suggest the shift from “caste rigid” to “caste less” cannot be the only way. The more practical approach therefore would be to remove inequalities within the caste system and not eradication of caste altogether.

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

2) Why was the Komagatu Maru tragedy a significant event in India’s fight against colonialism? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Komagata Maru incident was a very significant event in the history of Indian revolutionary movement. This was the voyage of Komagata Maru, which though inspired by the doctrine of the Ghadar party indirectly gave a fillip to the Indian struggle for freedom. 

  • Strong international collaboration and support:
    • It included sending emissaries from its headquarters to Southeast Asia to pass on the ‘true story’ about the British rule in India and secondly to incite people to join the rebellion and also by supplying arms and ammunition to the revolutionaries.
    • It meant the first contact between the Japanese people and the Indian Nationalists which paved the way later for the formation of Indian National Army.
  • The Komagata Maru incident and the Ghadar movement is the first revolutionary movement of modern India after the mutiny of 1857. It marks one of the ‘golden achievements’ in India’s fight for freedom.
  • This movement made Ghadar Party proclaim war on Britain and inspired thousands of Indian immigrants to come back and organize an armed rebellion against BritishFor instance, Kartar Singh Saraba, returned to India and urged Indian soldiers to revolt.
  • The noted revolutionary, Bhagat Singh, was himself motivated strongly by the Ghadar Party’s revolutionary struggles.
  • Komagata Maru incident violated at least three human rights, even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights wasn’t put into effect until December 1948
  • It left a deep impression in the minds of Indian diaspora in Canada and the people of India as well regarding the importance of demanding freedom.
  • The most striking aspect of the 376 Indians who were part of the Komagata Maru adventure was the bravery they exhibited, their unwavering commitment in keeping afloat the pride of their country.
  • The story of the Komagata Maru resonates beyond 1914, linking to freedom movement in India and the right to vote for South Asians in Canada. The importance of this incident can be seen from the apologies of Canadian leaders to Indians most recently by the Canadian PM.

General Studies – 2

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

3) Recently, India and USA announced an in principle agreement to conclude a logistics exchange memorandum of agreement (LEMOA). Discuss the significance of this agreement and also throw light on importance of ongoing defence talks for India. (200 Words)

Business Standard


The Indian Express

Significance of this agreement:

Logistics exchange memorandum of agreement /Logistics support agreement (LSA):

  • Facilitates mundane reciprocal uses of each other’s facilities but does not, in any way, commit India to provide logistical or base support.
  • However India has provided logistic assistance to US earlier in a case by case basis during operation Enduring Freedom, refueling of American aircraft in Mumbai, escorting US vessels in Malacca Strait, etc.
  • The two sides can access supplies, spare parts and services from each other’s land facilities, air bases and ports which can be reimbursed.
  • It can increase the reach of Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean and even to the Asia Pacific region where it has no base facilities.
  • Concerns of LSA:
    • Pushes India to unwittingly provide support to the US in conflicts.
    • If the US were to militarily get involved in the middle-east and India was bound to provide logistics support to the US military it would jeopardize the lives of the large number of Indians working and residing there.
    • Operational deployment in Asia Pacific regions already exists and thus there is no urgency to implement LSA currently.

Importance of ongoing defence talks:

  • Bilateral Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), which ties in with Make in India and seeks to elevate the Defence relationship to co-development and co-production.
  • The US government approved the transfer of BAE systems M777 155 mm/39 calibre light weight Howitzers entire assembly line from Mississippi to India and this will make India the global assembly, integration and test centre for it in line with the policy of sourcing material indigenously.
  • US help is needed to remove the technological restraints arising from Wassenaar arrangement and also to pitch for India’s permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
  • US considers India a regional power and an ally in its pivot of Asia policy which is visible from the discussions on joint patrols in the South China sea. It gives rise to new challenges to India on how it would balance relationship between USA and China and not support any alliances as this is one of the fundamental pivots of its foreign policy.
  • Setting up a new bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue, enhancing ongoing Navy-to-Navy discussions to cover submarine-related issues, besides deepening cooperation in Maritime Domain Awareness by finalizing a White Shipping Agreement shows the growing importance India is giving to maritime security.
  • By developing Gwadar port in Pakistan and setting a base in Djibouti, the Chinese strengthened its base in the Indian ocean region. Thus India needs strong cooperation from significant maritime powers like US which opened its 5th base in Bahrain to be able to counter Chinese influence.

TopicEffect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

4) Why is securing its interests in Indian Ocean important for India? How can India make use of its strategic advantage in Indian Ocean to counter possible threats by the rise of China? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Reasons for securing india’s interests in Indian ocean:

  • Economic and Geopolitical:
    • Sea lanes in the Indian Ocean are considered among the most strategically important in the world.
    • More than 80 percent of the world’s seaborne trade in oil transits through Indian Ocean choke points.
    • Considerable reserves of strategic raw materials pass through the Indian Ocean region.
    • Greater than half of worlds exports share.
    • 70% of world’s disasters occur in this region.
  • Security:
    • More than half the world’s armed conflicts are presently located in the Indian Ocean region.
    • Home to continually evolving strategic developments including the competing rises of China and India.
    • Growing incidence of piracy in and around the Horn of Africa.
    • Defacto hotspot of global terrorism.
    • Almost all the world’s major powers have deployed substantial military forces in the Indian Ocean region.(US 5th Fleet is headquartered in Bahrain, and uses the island of Diego Garcia as a major air-naval base and logistics hub for its Indian Ocean operations.)

India’s strategic position and domination of entire Northern region of Indian ocean gives it many advantages which also help it to counter China:-

They are:

  • India has short lines of communication to its own bases and resources.
  • Indian ocean has few entry points and vast distances; it creates a strategic premium to those powers that are able to control the choke points and deny their rivals access to key ports. China currently has no ability to exact control over any of these chokepoints nor it has any regular presence in any of the ports between.
  • Scarcity over land transport connections to Indian ocean makes the Chinese situation vulnerable.
  • Long distance from Chinese ports and air bases added to the lack of support facilities weaken the efforts made by China and work to India’s advantage.
  • India is strategically aligning its defence cooperation with US and the signing of White Shipping Agreement along with the maritime dialogue shows the seriousness it has accorded to maritime security.
  • Indian government is trying to gain support from the islands in the Indian ocean as seen in the recent visits to Seychelles and Srilanka.
  • It is trying to enhance defence capabilities, build and install marine infrastructure like port development through Sagarmala programme.
  • Indigenisation of marine equipment is being given impetus by the Make in India scheme.
  • Project Mausam Transnational Initiative meant to revive its ancient maritime routes and cultural linkages with the countries in the region is being implemented.
  • India is trying to negotiate with Mauritius over the leasing of Agalega islands and setting up of a Naval listening post in northern Madagascar and small posts in Mozambique and Comoros.
  • Gaining tripartite dialogues with Indian ocean countries for example the one with Maldives and Srilanka.
  • Indian Ocean Rim association – This is world’s largest energy lifeline with over 1 billion tonnes of oil transiting from the region.
  • Indian ocean zone of peace proposal by India is supposed to ensure naval stability and reduce maritime tensions among regional countries.
  • Indian ocean naval symposium for professional engages and exchanges to promote maritime security.

However there are concerns about India’s maritime strength and China’s domination because of the following reasons:

  • India had neglected maritime security in the past and its land frontier compulsions had instilled a land locked mindset.
  • China’s string of pearls, maritime silk road are designed to redraw Asia’s geopolitical map by making it the pre-eminent power and counter India’s rising influence.
  • It is countering strategic advantage of india by :
    • Building capabilities to project naval and air power into the Indian Ocean.
    • Through gaining greater access for its naval vessels to Indian ocean ports.
    • By developing closer and political relationships with key states in the region like concessions given in Africa.
    • New overland connections to the ocean through Myanmar and Pakistan (BCIM,development of Kyapkyu port,China Pak Economic Corridor).

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

5) In India as the number of elite institutions such as IITs and IIMs has increased, the budgetary requirements for supporting them is proving to be a challenge. Why do these institutions need more funds? What alternative ways are there to fund these institutions? Examine. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Need for more funds:

  • As these institutions are the epitome of Indian education it is government’s responsibility to make them competent with the best institutions in the world in terms of the quality, infrastructure.
  • Indian institutions are still featured low in the world best because of various factors viz., low research and development, deteriorating quality of teaching etc. So more funding can ensure that these deficiencies are looked into and research is promoted.
  • The students in these premier institutions are of high merit. Training these innovative minds would benefit the country in the future in many ways ranging from contribution to human capital, technological progress or in terms of the remittances they send.
  • It gives an impetus to the students to be entrepreneurs and take risks in the future without being burdened by the fee payment etc.
  • Developing these institutions can help to rope in foreign collaboration with overseas students coming and studying here helping in making India an attractive education hub.


Alternate ways to fund these institutions are:

  • Alumni associations have to be roped in to fund the institutions.
  • Collaboration with corporate sector as a initiative of corporate social responsibility.
  • Performance based grants can be given to the institutions based on the predesigned parameters by the government so that competition is induced and quality is improved.
  • International support for starting new IIT’s and IIM’s will ease burden on the government. (E.g – Indian Institute of Technology Madras was established with West Germany).
  • Similarly World Bank uses the mechanism of innovative funds to help countries in higher education for increasing quality of education, develop creative thinking among teachers etc.
  • Students can be given a chance to pay the fees after graduation with long gestation periods so that they do not have to force themselves into jobs to pay tuition loans.
  • Donations can be made for the institutions and tax incentives to these donors can be made.
  • Proportional fee structure similar to proportional tax can be designed students pay fee based on their financial status.

TopicImportant International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate; Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

6) Recently, the World Health Organization made a strong argument for greater investment in mental health services in countries of all income levels. Examine why. (200 Words)


Economic reasons:

  • Depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy over $1 trillion each year .
  • Mental disorders leads to decrease in labour productivity and economic growth along with high rates of unemployment and under performance at work.
  • According to World Economic Forum-Cumulative global impact of mental disorders in terms of lost economic output is going to be $16 trillion dollars over the next 20 years.
  • Overall economic costs of mental health are very high. In India half of the out of pocket expenditures made by households for psychiatric disorders come from loans and further 40% from savings.
  • Counselling for mental disorders is also extremely costly.

Social reasons:

  • Mental health is a core element of individual welfare. Humanitarian emergencies and ongoing conflicts add further to the need to scale up treatment options. One in five people have depression during emergencies.
  • Scaling up mental services will contribute to achievement of one of the targets of sustainable development goals which seeks to reduce one third premature mortality from non communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and wellbeing. Brazil and South Africa have been successful in scaling up mental health care.
  • Individuals with mental disorders are treated with indifference or prejudice by communities . 1 in 10 persons in low income countries is treated for serious mental disorders like Schrizophrenia.
  • Human right violations are meted on the patients.
  • Independent thought and action, less community and social life, breakdown of joint family system, extreme stress are all the reasons which lead to intense alienation and suicidal mentality.

Health and psychological reasons:

  • Mental disorders account for 30% of the global non-fatal disease burden and the current investment in mental health services is far lower than what is needed. About 3% of health budgets are allocated to mental health.
  • Number of people suffering from depression and /or anxiety between 1990 and 2013 has increased by nearly 50%.
  • There is a strong relation between mental health and disability as well – nine out of twenty leading causes for disability are related to mental health.
  • For universal health coverage, tackling mental health is very important and is an integral part of it.

The Indian government has been proactive in forming a mental health policy and a national programme which however are not enough. Other measures like taxation of alcoholic beverages (as it is a leading risk factor for mental health disease globally), better awareness among people with social and financial protection for the mentally ill people need to be done.

General Studies – 3

Topic: Conservation

7) Despite increase in their numbers, it is said that in future tigers will face many threats to their existence. What measures need to be taken by India and other countries to preserve tigers and other endangered species? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Hindu

According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), over 600 tigers have been added to the global number of some 3200 tigers in 2010 out of which 2226 tigers are in India itself(2014 data).

Measures needed for tiger preservation:

  • Maintain inviolate core habitats for breeding population.
  • Ensure habitat connectivity for genetic exchange.
  • Crack down on poaching of tigers.
  • Improve conditions for tiger breeding in the reserves and breeding programmes to save the species from extinction.
  • Political will to remove industrial pressures on forests.
  • Environmental ministry must also view independent scientific organisations as partners and stop putting up bureaucratic hurdles to research in protected areas.
  • Continue tiger census regularly.
  • Ecological corridors on highways like transnational highway in Canada would help to avoid man -animal conflicts.
  • Pollution control, since pollution is one of the primary reasons for the illness of animals, death of amphibians, fishes etc.
  • Reintroducing the endangered animals into the wild once their numbers increase. This method has been successful in preserving the species under natural conditions.
  • Conservation through biosphere reserves, protection under CITES, IUCN and involvement of multiple stakeholders need to be done.
  • Animal tracking in biosphere reserves and national parks.
  • Cleaning up of rivers.
  • Subramanyam committee.

Topic: Awareness in S&T

8) Why is potassium chlorate banned for use in fireworks? Also examine why it’s called beautiful, but dangerous. (150 Words)

The Hindu

It is dangerous and is banned for use in fireworks because:

  • When used in fireworks, the oxidising property of potassium chlorate tends to be a big disadvantage.
  • It is used in banned explosives where it acts as an oxidiser to fuel the power of the explosion. In the First World War mixtures of potassium chlorate and plasticizer like wax were the most used plastic explosives.
  • It is highly reactive especially when mixed with Sulphur. Their mixture becomes dangerously sensitive to friction and may ignite spontaneously.
  • This came to light for its usage in the recent Puttingal Devi Temple incident in Kerala which led to the death of 109 people.

The reason it is beautiful is because of its use in Pyrotechnics where beautiful colours are produced. Its low cost and easy availability make it highly preferable.

General Studies – 4

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

9) Is it ethical to protect whistleblowers? Justify. (150 Words)