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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 28, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 28, 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: Urbanization – problems and remedies 

1) Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB has found that apart from India’s large metro cities, 41 tier-II cities also are facing high air and water pollution. Examine the magnitude of the problem and effectiveness of measures taken by the government to address pollution problem in these cities. (200 Words)


Magnitude  of the problem :

  • 41 cities exceed the ambient air quality standard .In addition these cities are also facing problem of water pollution due to discharges of untreated sewage 
  • Sewage generation from the tier 2 cities is 2696.7 million litres per day but their treatment capacity is not even 10% of the total sewage generated 
  • Rivers are polluted in downstream of major urban centres due to large scale water abstraction and discharge of untreated / partially treated waste water and not meeting the criteria 
  • With the existing infrastructure municipal corporations are largely unable to handle the entire sewage generated
  • Emission from automobiles , suspended dust , industrial emissions, construction activities, disposal of untreated / partially treated sewage are the main sources of the huge air and water pollution problem.
  • According to WHO 13 of 20 most Air polluted cities are in India 
  • One in 3 people in India live in critically polluted areas that have noxious levels of NO2,SO2 and PM 10
  • Of the 180 cities monitored by central pollution control board in 2012 only two towns in Kerala meet the criteria of low air pollution
  • Outdoor air pollution caused 6.2 lakh premature deaths in India in 2010 which is a six fold jump from 1 lakh deaths in 2000.
  • Barely 20 Indian cities follow euro 4 emission standards for new vehicles


Government measures :

  • Setting up of monitoring network for the assessment of ambient air and water quality
  • Moving directly from BS IV to BS VI fuel standards by 1 St April 2020
  • Introduction of cleaner fuel such as CNG
  • Action plan for sewage management and restoration of water quality in aquatic resources 
  • New solid waste management rules 2016
  • Ban on burning leaves
  • Promotion of public transport network such as e- rickshaws ,metro , buses etc
  • Promotion of car pooling
  • Smart cities , AMRUT for proper planning of cities




  • Awareness need be enhanced
    • for instance in Beijing if someone talks about PM 10 people know it’s about air pollution,however in India even in New Delhi people think the early morning smog as fog
    • buy air purifiers , check smartphones for air quality updates , they wear masks etc which is not the case in India 
  • Efficient use of electricity by using CFL,LED bulbs that consume less power.
  • Use public transport
  • Never use open fires to dispose of waste especially chemicals and plastic
  • Resident welfare associations have to deal with collection, segregation of waste from houses and societies
  • Use composting biomethanation for treating waste.

Government :

  • Strict policies for dealing with air and water pollution 
  • Effective garbage disposal mechanism needed.Lessons can be learnt from the experiences of Lonavala,Sangoli in Maharashtra which were successful in sewage and waste management
  • Setting up of air quality stations all over
  • Strict implementation of Polluter pays principle  
  • Start ups in waste management need to be promoted .

Topic: Role of women; Salient features of Indian society

2) Why women fare badly on nutritional health indicators in India when an average girl child aged less than 5 years is healthier than her male peers? Explain the causes of these gender gaps in nutritional status and significance of these causes. (200 Words)


  • Gap in dietary diversity in favour of boys for all age groups is visible except for 12 years old and the gap is largest in 15 year age group
  • In India where meals are usually shared from the same pot parents may be able to discriminate between siblings by providing an egg , a piece of fruit/ glass of milk to the preferred child at a given age.
  • Girls drop out and do household chores like fetching water so they need more nutrition supplements which are not met.
  • Adolescent girls  are not as well fed as boys of their age
  • Patriarchal mindset where in most families women are supposed to eat after men. This leaves them insufficient food to eat 
  • Till government schemes provide support they are cared for like ICDS, Mother tracking system after that preferential treatment at home discriminates women.
  • Early marriages lead to abortion leading to the vicious cycle of malnutrition and anaemia 
  • Lack of education and awareness of women
  • Abysmal hygiene standards with open defecation around 75% in bihar , 64% in MP
  • Numerous studies have found that the rates of admission to hospitals vary dramatically with gender, with men visiting hospitals more frequently than women.
  • Differential access to healthcare occurs because women typically are entitled to a lower share of household resources and thus utilise healthcare resources to a lesser degree than men.
  • It has also been found that Indian women frequently underreport illnesses. The underreporting of illness may be contributed to these cultural norms and gender expectations within the household


Significance of the causes:-

  • Children may survive due to better health and vaccines but may not reach their full potential as productive citizens 
  • Demographic dividend advantage cannot be utilized as India has inefficient workforce marred with health problems.
  • The high incidence of breast lumps among Adivasi women of Adilabad in Telangana has created apprehension of more serious health impacts for this remote population.Leave alone breast cancer or any other type of carcinoma, even routine mammarian infections were unknown among indigenous people belonging to the Gond, Pardhan, Kolam and Thotti.
  • Maternal malnutrition has been associated with an increased risk of maternal mortality and also child birth defects
  • Nutrition plays a major role in and individual’s overall health; psychologicaland physical health status is often dramatically impacted by the presence of malnutrition.
  • The lack of maternal healthcontributes to future economic disparities for mothers and their children. Poor maternal health often affects a child’s health in adverse ways and also decreases a woman’s ability to participate in economic activities.
  • Indian women who are faced with greater degrees of poverty and gender disadvantage show a higher rate of depression.

General Studies – 2

Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein

3) The formation of three small States in 2000, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand nourished hopes that democracy would be deepened. Do you think democracy has deepened in these states and these states have fulfilled the objectives behind their formation? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

No,they have not fulfilled their objectives:

Social indicators:

  • Chattisgarh:
    • According to 2011 HD report the incidence of poverty among SC, ST household in Chattisgarh is much higher than in other social groups in the state and country.
    • Malnourishment in women , underweight children , illiterate people especially in left wing extremist areas of Dantewada, Bastar are greater than the national average 
  • Jharkhand-
    • Poverty figures in SC and ST are much higher than corresponding figures at all India level
  • Uttarakhand:
    • Even uttarakhand is low in HD INDEX

Political problems:


  • political uncertainty and is forced to have president rule frequently 
  • The demand for justice which focussed on direct delivery of justice was utilized to exploit tribal communities in the mineral rich areas
  • demand of control over resources of tribes was put at back burner after formation of the state
  • Hardly any agenda of development worth mentioning was followed the state turned into a mining hell of predatory growth eventually resulting in a series of scams and criminal proceedings being imitated against the first tribal CM OF THE STATE.


  • The aspect of justice and that aspect of democracy that gives to people dignity and control over their lives was missing when Chattisgarh was carved out of MP
  • Political vaccum created by systemic injustice in both Jharkhand and Chattisgarh have stepped the Maoists with their ideology of a new world geared towards the interest of poor and oppressed. Small size of states and inadequate administrative manpower rendered them more dependent upon CRPF to tackle the activities


  • In UK the inhabitants of the hill districts eke out a bare living . They survive because of remittances from the rest of the country
  • With the formation of 3 small states the two paths the fight against injustice and the drive to hoard the power in the name of identity have diverged. The claims of representative democracy have been replaced by aspirations to political power and distasteful compromises made in pursuit of profit.All the three states played in the hands of the central government.
  • Even here there is callousness in dealing with the 2014 floods focussing solely on how to make it more tourist friendly state rather than planning for the rehabilitation of displaced residents

Economic reasons:-

  • Lack of industry,agrarian crisis and a low level of infrastructure facilities push such states into adopting a model of development where growth can be achieved inspire of these handicaps.But from the states examples it shows that it results in a unprecedented exploitation of raw materials such as the mining of minerals instead of the creation of industry, wanton land deals, a boost to construction industry and the conversion of fertile agricultural land into speculative real estate transaction


  • It accounted for 70% of GDP of Bihar before 2000 yet it remains one of the economically backward states of the country.
  • Irrigation potential of jharkhand dipped drastically after separation . It has created mere 15, 520 hectares of irrigation potential but utilised only 10,710 hectares of it.


  • largest displacement of tribals in recent times . There have been sustained attempts to dispossess them of their land which they have inhabited for centuries in order to extract mineral wealth. There were even attempts to invoke the clause of eminent domain in the name of national interest for PESA Which tried to empower the tribal panchayats.. .

Forest conservation:

  • These were the states with highest forest cover. Now forest cover has hardly shown any improvement. On the other hand large tracts of forest have been diverted in all three states to non forestry purpose.

Yes,they have fulfilled their objectives:

  • Residents lives improved dramatically with massive jumps in per capita income and economic growth
  • All 3 states beat their mother states in industrial growth . The new states also achieved greater progress in terms of social indicators compared to mother states of Bihar , UP and MP
  • Uttarakhand stepped up its average growth rate to 12.3% since 2004-05 which is way better than the figure of UP at 6.8% . Similarly Chattisgarh outstripped Madhya Pradesh over the same period .Jharkhand failed to match Bihar performance since 2000
  • Industrial growth:
    • In the period of 2004-09
      • Uttarakhand registered a growth of 11.8 % compared to UP which grew at 6.5%.
      • While Jharkhand grew at 11.5% Bihar grew at 5.8% and
      • Chattisgarh grew at 13% when Madhya Pradesh grew at 6.7%
    • New states reduce poverty better.Since 2004-09 Uttarakhand and Jharkhand have done a better job in reduction of poverty than their mother states reducing the poverty rates by 14.7% and 6.2%
    • Better literacy rates : In both 2001 and 2011 the newly formed states had a more educated population than their mother states
    • Better IMR ratio :In 2006 all the newly formed states were better in infant mortality when compared to the mother states..
    • Household access to drinking water has improved significantly
    • PDS- successful model in Chattisgarh has endured proper distribution of food to the below poverty line people.

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

4) Five years ago, the Planning Commission’s High Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage had recommended moving a Bill requiring doctors to prescribe generic medicines in place of costly, branded ones. Should such Bill be moved? Examine the merits and demerits. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Yes,the bill should be passed:

  • It will reform the way essential medicines are distributed to patients
  • Given the large size of India’s pharmacy market and vested interests in favour of the status quo on price and distribution this is a good move
  • Lancet study– out of pocket expenditure – 58% of total spending in which two thirds is on drugs 
  • Even for relatively better off patients who can afford commercial health insurance risk cover is generally confined to part payment of hospitalisation bills but not prescription medicines
  • Poor are impoverished further by drug costs
  • This move will Promote generics industry 


  • Anti microbial resistance because of easy availability 
  • Investment might reduce as R & D can decrease and can lead to stagnation 
  • Convincing people and the sellers that these medicines are good is a difficult issue as they are not branded and cheap
  • Quality issue : episode of Ranbaxy pleading guilty to felony charges in the U.S. three years ago for adulteration of its products and failure to meet standard manufacturing practices highlights the need for close regulatory oversight
  • Recent reports show that the generic drugs have been substandard in India
  • Moreover, the performance so far has been uninspiring. Barring a few States like Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Kerala that have a creditable record of public provision through hospitals, the target for opening generic drug pharmacies, first announced in 2008, has never been met
  • Problems regarding patents,evergreening might arise


It is vital, therefore, that governments act on multiple fronts

  • Making listed essential medicines available free or nearly free to all in hospitals through higher public spending
  • Widening access to generics through Jan Aushadhi outlets. Scaling up the number of Jan Aushadhi outlets quickly to a few thousand
  • Closely monitoring professional practice to eliminate prescription of irrational, non-essential drugs that have no curative effect.
  • Only with a guarantee of efficacy can the plan for mandatory prescription of generics succeed. To achieve this, the government should proactively help all manufacturers — public and private to meet the internationally recognised Good Manufacturing Practice standards..
  • Co-opting private pharmacists is one way ahead.
  • Again, one of the persistent problems with low-cost access systems is non-availability of specific drugs. A transparent supply chain managed by state-run procurement agencies can help overcome such bottlenecks.

Topic: Functions of Judiciary

5) The Supreme Court of India was meant to be a Constitutional Court, and this function has impaired thank to various problems faced by it. Analyse these problems and possible solutions. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Problems faced by Supreme Court :-

  • Backlog of cases leaves the court little time for its primal functions .59,468 cases backlog in Feb 2016 
  • Because of unreasonable work load the average is now fewer than eight constitutional benches a year
  • Geographical proximity especially for litigants from South India For example,of all the cases filed in Supreme Court highest numbers are from high courts of Northern states
  • Problem of backlog may be a convenient handle for the other organs of the state to seek drastic curtailment of the courts powers. For Example ,in US Prez Roosevelt attempted to reorganise US Supreme Court
  • Enormous burden in the form of civil and criminal appeals.
  • Dealing with mundane disputes like quarrels between land lords and tenants which have little bearing on the larger public interest.
  • Court’s inability to devote itself substantially to the determination of important public questions
  • Number of cases decided by constitutional benches has steadily declined from the time of the court’s inception. From 1950-1954-15% cases were handled by constitutional benches but in 2005-2009 -only 0.12% cases.
  • Two judges benches are vested with enormous power of ruling on significant matters of public importance like section 66 A, Suresh Kumar Koushal vs Naz foundation in the section 377 ban. 
  • Supreme court using the pliability of its power to grant special leave  to often intervene in mundane disputes
  • Judicial activism by dealing with PIL’s.


  • According to 229 th law commission report establishment of cassation benches of Supreme Court in 4 regions at New Delhi, Chennai/ Hyderabad , Kolkata and Mumbai . This model has worked very successfully in countries such as Italy , U.S, Denmark etc.
  • Establish national court of appeal:
  • It can act as an intermediate forum between supreme court and various high courts.
    • Can relieve supreme court of the weight of hearing regular civil and criminal appeals allowing supreme court to only concentrate on questions of constitutional importance.
    • Also regional branches of national court of appeal would allow greater access to litigants from remote areas of the country.
    • But based on India’s constitutional structure there is little scope for establishing this court of appeal.
  • Strengthening lower judiciary:
    • greater vigour needed to choose judges
    • socially conscious and meritorious if selected as judges at lower courts and then High Court, Supreme court ‘s role as court of appeal can be renounced altogether and reduce the burden to correct simple errors.
  • Atleast two constitutional benches can be designated to hear cases in the weekthere by solving problems concerning the inability of supreme court to devote itself to its most important duty.
  • Lokadalats need to be strengthened
  • Creating specialised benches and greater involvement of experts like adhoc appointments of retired judgescan be made.
  • To reduce experimental special leave petitions
  • .E-court project of supreme courtneeds to be implemented soon to increase technological advancements for justice dispensation and improve accessibility
  • Transfer petitions which consume lot of court time can be handled over to a single chamber judgeas it does not contain substantial question of law.

General Studies – 3

TopicInfrastructure – Railways

6) The government of India recently decided to build a high-speed rail (HSR) corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad at a cost of Rs 97,636 crore with Japanese financial and technical assistance.  Does India need projects such as this at such a high cost? Comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Yes,India needs projects like High speed rail:

These kind of projects have the following benefits:

  • It involves transfer of technology and a make in India component which will have long term benefits for Indian manufacturing
  • Finance from bilateral / multilateral agencies at a very profitable way for India. For example for this project rate of interest is of 0.1% per annum and tenure of 50 years with 15 years grace is the best till now.
  • Constructing these kind of projects should be seen as nation building exercise
  • This particular project is financed under concessional funding so it makes sense to pump in funds in the economy which is looking forward to such big investments in times of global slump.
  • India has the fourth largest rail network in the world .Any investments in railways will have multiplier effects and enhances economic growth and transport capacity
  • The high cost of the project is offset by much higher utilisation rates of the network and rolling stock per km than convention rail as seen in Wuhan Guangzhou high speed rail
  • These kind of projects give impetus to improved construction technologies and equipment and innovations can be done in IT and electronics as China experienced.
  • It can be an heads up to Indian construction companies before the implementation of metro, dedicated freight corridor 
  • Environmental benefits:
    • Reduce road congestion leading to less pollution
    • Better energy efficiency
  • provide convenient transport solutions, enhanced benefits to real estate and the service sector and facilitated balanced urbanization
  • Around these kind of projects new economic centres will emerge , balanced distribution of resources take place with better land usage 
  • Complement airline hubs – in India consumers from vadodara, Surat will have better access to the Mumbai airport as journey time reduces
  • Reduce external costs– According to figures of international Union of railways while the external cost of trains in 15 euros/ 1000 km it is 57 euros for airlines
  • Would decongest metros , bring down cost of living and spread economic development around
  • Also boost domestic manufacturing of railway equipment 
  • There would be lot more demand for engines,coaches and communication and signalling equipment which would spur the make in India campaign .


No,India doesnot need them right now:

  • India adds a million young people to its workforce every month revamping entire rail network would entail creation of many more new jobs than a single capital and import intensive projects
  • Intricate problems like huge cost of projects like HSR which Indian railway can’t pay as it is cash stripped
  • Eliminating man level crossings , Modernisation and safety need to be dealt first, strengthening bridges to sustain higher loads at higher speeds , upgradation of existing routes to semi high speed
  • If India invites HSR technology holding nations to setup shop in India , the loan repayment liability and lack of control on high prices of rolling stock , signalling equipment and spares will adversely impact HSR ‘s operational success in India
  • High cost of the project will be dealt by high passenger fares so will it be affordable to common man?
  • No state consultation and no proper groundwork will lead to public resistance
  • Though Japanese financial terms seem fetching they may not actually be so as yen is the most volatile at 9.5% annually.


  • Create a independent regulatory authority to plan as HSR diamond corridor network which will draft a policy and also set standards
  • Government should start sourcing funding within India with various innovation methods as technology that has been transferred might not be superior.

General Studies – 4

Topic:Corporate governance; Accountability and ethical governance

7) In India, certain spiritual gurus are running big businesses which are directly competing with established multinational brands. What are the ethical and governance related issues involved in such businesses? Critically examine. (150 Words)

Business Standard