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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 29, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 29, 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: Secularism; Communalism

1) “Personal laws in India actually harm rather than preserve religious freedom.” Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Yes, they harm religious freedom:

  • In the context of smaller religious groups, such as Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, they are miscategorised by the personal law system and force-fitted into a religious identity they don’t themselves recognise.
  • Groups such as Baha’is are worse off, as they are simply ignored by the personal law system they are deemed too insignificant to even be misrecognised, and have to contend with non-recognition.
  • Other miscategorised group are atheists, rationalists and agnostics. According to the last census, that is 2.87 million Indians. The personal law system, except in some areas, doesn’t have an exit option for non-believers. A religious identity is forced upon them, whether they like it or not. Thus the personal law system stands in the way of the enjoyment of freedom from religion.
  • The personal law system also violates the religious autonomy of believers of those faiths which it does recognise. When people get married, divorced, inherit property, make gifts, bequeath property, etc, they often have to do so in accordance with their state determined personal law. But religious people are likely to have a wide range of mutually incompatible views about what their religion requires. The personal law system cannot possibly accommodate all these diverse viewpoints.
  • The heterodox believer is forced to act according to religious beliefs not her own. The system simultaneously injures and insults her religious freedom: It forces her to follow practices inimical to her faith because the state claims that her faith requires them.
  • Muslim personal law
    • is considered as a symbol of a distinct Indian Muslim identity and an area of law with divine sanction and, therefore, beyond the purview of temporal government. It uses the constitutional guarantee of the “right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion”.Between these intransigent outposts stands the baffled liberal citizen.
    • Muslim women are not able to adhere to their fundamental rights especially art 15 and 14 as the Ulemas declare that Sharia law governs the Muslim women .Even polygamy , entitlements after divorce in Shah Bano case, Muslim adoption laws not allowing Muslim woman to adopt are all examples of restricting religious freedom.
  • Some personal laws have not covered the instances that instigate violence on women like prohibition of liquor which is prohibited under the Muslim law.Despite dowry being a crime, personal law doesn’t ensure justice to women as they are still victimised by it.

No,it doesn’t harm religious freedom:

  • Hindu code bills protected the fundamental rights of Hindu women way back in 1955 itself.Even property rights have been granted to them which was not the case with other communities especially Muslims.
  • Similarly they give a sense of identity especially to the religious minotities in a majoritarian country like India .


  • Instead to a contractual system that allows persons to elect their norms, choose religious arbitration or mediation if they wish, restrained by threshold legal protections against oppression, as a possible way forward.
  • Also Uniform civil code needs to be made a reality in the Indian system to reduce the confusion with different personal laws.

Topic: Role of women; Poverty and developmental issues

2) Recent data from the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) shows, there is a lot of work to be done in improving women’s access to healthcare and more women are reporting being ill compared to men in India. Discuss the causes and remedial measures. (200 Words)



  • One reason seems nutritional deficiency 
  • lack of exercise
  • Increase in stress levels
  • Rise in women’s life span:
    • In the developed world, women bear a higher burden of morbidity (or a higher rate of illness, especially from the age of 30 onwards) but live longer than men.Same is the case in India too.
    • women fall ill more often with diseases that are not life-threatening, men have a higher mortality rate because they experience higher incidence of severe illness and also indulge in greater risk behavior
    • Older women above 60 years of age are less mobile than men in the same group, says an NSSO report on the elderly in India. 
  • Most government health schemes, such as the National Rural Health Mission, are overwhelmingly centred around women’s reproductive health, and neglect other aspects of women’s health.
  • However, data shows that average medical expenses on men are typically higher than for women because “men have higher financial means, and hence can spend more on outpatient and hospitalisation expenses
  • Gender discrimination can’t be ruled out either where men are given preferential treatment over women.
    • Study of rural cancer patients in a public tertiary health centre in Odisha: They found that women patients faced disadvantages in the treatment of cancer due to social factors. Gender discrimination accounted for 73% of the difference in cumulative total expenditure on cancer patients. They also found that women were 20 percentage points less likely to get treatment for cancer before coming to the tertiary centre.


  • Awareness by education will ensure they get proper nutrition and demand their rights.
  • Nutrition to school kids through government programmes like Sabla,WIFA etc..,
  • Including women as a stakeholder in health policy making
  • Pre and post natal maternal healthinitiatives through Janani Suraksha Yojana,Mother and Child tracking system,ICDS etc..,
  • Introducing Fitness into the lifestyle
  • Strengthening rural health through proper hygiene by eradicating open defecation, strengthening Anganwadi and ASHA
  • Community involvement like civil society to teach women to stay healthy.
  • Unless women have greater autonomy and control over their lives, they will continue to have limited access to medical treatment.

General Studies – 2

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies 

3) The government is planning to set up an independent tribunal for faster resolution of disputes relating to private sector partnerships and public procurement. What is the procedure to set up such a tribunal? In this case, examine the significance of this tribunal. (200 Words)

Business Standard


A tribunal is set up through an enactment of a law under Article 323B of the Constitution of India .The article empowers Parliament or state legislatures to set up tribunals for adjudication.

Vijay Kelkar committee had earlier recommended the creation of the Infrastructure PPP Project Review Committee (IPRC) and the Infrastructure PPP Adjudication Tribunal (IPAT) to resolve disputes quickly.


  • Some 1,300 public-private partnership (PPP) projects costing about Rs 7 lakh crore have been undertaken under the PPP mode. Problems in PPP range from land acquisition and other government clearances to companies finding it tough to operate projects at rates quoted by them.
  • PPP contracts should have clearly articulated dispute resolution structures that demonstrate commitment of all stakeholders and provide flexibility to restructure within the commercial and financial boundaries of the project, 
  • Besides, private investment in infrastructure was projected to rise substantially from 37 per cent in the Eleventh Plan to approximately 48 per cent in the Twelfth Plan. 
  • To promote ease of doing business
  • The stalled projects are not only worsening infrastructure bottlenecks in Asia’s third-biggest economy but have also saddled the banking sector, especially state-controlled banks, with a large burden of bad loans.
  • Reduce burden on judiciary
  • It will bring back confidence of private investors in the government and the concept of PPP
  • Given the long-term nature of PPPs, a perfect contract is rare, as the situation may change during a project’s lifetime. The emergence of risks not foreseen at the time of signing the agreement exposes such projects to potential distress, making them unviable for the developers and prompting demands for a renegotiation of the original terms. To avoid this tribunals are needed.
  • PPPs in infrastructure represent a valuable instrument to speed up infrastructure development in India. This speeding up is urgently required for India to grow rapidly and generate a demographic dividend for itself and also to tap into the large pool of pension and institutional funds from aging populations in the developed countries.

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

4) What do you understand by the Triffin dilemma? It is said that with the US, the issuer of the world’s preeminent reserve currency, unwilling or unable to provide the liquidity needed, a new supplementary reserve currency should be instituted – one whose issuer does not have to confront the Triffin dilemma. What alternative does world have? Discuss. (200 Words)

Business Standard

Triffin dilemma:

  • is the conflict of economic interests that arises between short-term domestic and long-term international objectives for countries whose currencies serve as global reserve currencies.
  • Triffin’s dilemma is the key to understanding the future of the international monetary system.
  • Explanation:
    • If the dollar was the lead reserve currency, then the entire world needed dollars to finance world trade. In order to supply these dollars, the US had to run trade deficits.
    • So the US ran trade deficits, the world got dollars and global trade flourished. But if you run deficits long enough, you go broke. That was Triffin’s dilemma.
    • Any system based on dollars would eventually cause the dollar to collapse because there would either be too many dollars or not enough gold at fixed prices to keep the game going. This paradox between dollar deficits and dollar confidence was unsustainable.

 Alternatives for the world:

  • The International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Right:-
    • The SDR currently functions only as a reserve asset, with an issuance size ($285 billion) that is small relative to global official reserves of $10.5 trillion (excluding gold).
    • But an incremental expansion of the SDR’s role in the new global financial architecture, aimed at making the monetary-policy transmission mechanism more effective, can be achieved without major disagreement.
    • Central banks, in order to generate resources, would expand their balance sheets by investing through the IMF in the form of increased SDRs. Because SDRs comprise voting rights they can be invested as such in the World Bank and other multilateral development banks, which can decide which global public goods deserve the resources. The drawdown of SDR allocations can be fine-tuned to avoid causing too much inflation.
    • In recent years, However, unconventional monetary policy has shown that liquidity and credit can be created against global savings, with relatively little impact on inflation, provided there is excess capacity in production and insufficient effective aggregate demand.
    • The IMF and the major central banks should take advantage of this newfound knowledge, and provide equity and liquidity against long-term lending for infrastructure investments. In this way, global public goods can be not only funded; they can also propel global recovery.
    • According to the theory reserve currency issuer has to run trade deficits, but if you run deficits long enough, you go broke. But SDRs are issued by the IMF. The IMF is not a country and does not have a trade deficit.
  • A new gold standard might be one way to solve the problem, but it would require a gold price of $10,000 an ounce in order to be non-deflationary. No central banker in the world wants that, because it limits their ability to print money and be central economic planners.

Problem :

  • Citizens of the IMF member countries might be affected adversely because they are the ones who will suffer local currency inflation.
  • This SDR system is so little understood that people won’t know where the inflation is coming from. Elected officials will blame the IMF, but the IMF is unaccountable. That’s the beauty of SDRs — Triffin’s dilemma is solved, debt problems are inflated away and no one is accountable.

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

5) In the light of the fact that India not being member of either Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) where 60 percent of world’s trade is going to take place, what alternatives does it have to access more markets to offset discriminatory trade practices of developed economies?  Analyse. (200 Words)

Business Standard

Alternatives India have:

  • India needs to expand its destination markets significantly to offset at least some loss because of trade diversion in favour of TPP members.
  • European union:
    • First, we need to conclude the long overdue India-EU trade agreement.India’s traditional sectors will benefit significantly from this.
  • Latin America :
    • Among the TPP members, India must open its negotiations with Peru This will give India the benefit of accessing Latin America’s most promising area, the Pacific Alliance, besides a foothold in the TPP region. 
  • South East Asia:
    • The Indian initiative of promoting investment in the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam) has been languishing.
    • It’s important for India’s textile sector to integrate with its Vietnamese counterpart to draw advantage of the “yarn forward” regime.
    • The likelihood of other CLMV countries joining the TPP makes it necessary for us to integrate our economy with them.
    • India’s effort should be to canvass South Asia as a regional production network.
  • Africa:
    • deserves much greater attention. At least 13 African nations are good targets for institutionalising trading arrangements.
    • India must be prepared to take asymmetric responsibilities in this region too. These countries have been growing steadily and offer a promising market and opportunities of integrating along value chains.
  • Iran
    • offers a very promising market opportunity.
    • Both countries decided to have a preferential trade arrangement but that has not moved much.
    • Iran also offers the central point for connecting Russia and India through the International North-South Corridor (INSTC).
  • Russia:
    • A trade agreement with Eurasian economies, including Russia, is overdue. This will not only help in sourcing raw material but will also open up other central Asian economies for India.
  • Other International steps:
    • Strengthening BRICS ,IBSA , SAARC, BIMSTEC
    • Joining RCEP, APEC 
  • Domestic steps:
    • Strengthening Indian infrastructure and industry to reduce external dependence 


  • In the long run, no major economy can remain uninfluenced by them because the discriminatory rules regime will have consequences on trade with even non-member economies.
  • With EU data security issue for any meaningful market access to its IT sector is a concern , Brexit uncertainty looming EU is another problem .
  • Extremely slow progress on the Asian highway has neutralised a potential advantage to the Asian region.
  • However, the attitudes of personnel posted at the borders and the lackadaisical state of infrastructure need to improve. The relative lack of motivation of Indian industry to make investments in these countries demands greater attention.

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations

6) Experts argue that India now needs to move beyond the binary of economic cooperation and military engagement and evolve a comprehensive policy which involves all dimensions of power in Afghanistan. Discuss why. (200 Words)


Comprehensive policy that involves all dimensions of power in Afghanistan are needed because of the following reasons:

1.Geopolitical location of Afghanistan:-

  • Afghanistan is at the heart of Asia with a very important strategic location which connects India to central Asia and to Chabahar port.
  • Heart of Asia conference saw participation by 14 states—Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates shows the importance of it

2.Pakistan factor:

  • A Pakistan-supported Taliban takeover of Afghanistan could have serious repercussions on India’s strategic interests, not only in Afghanistan but on the western borders in the future. 
  • The CASA 1000 is a parallel initiative, linking Central Asia and South Asia, especially Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the electricity grid in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

3.Economic reasons:

  • India has also funded the construction of other projects, including a Rs 1,500-crore damin the Herat province in western Afghanistan.
  • The parliament building – partof a $2 billion (Rs 12,800 crore) aid package – is symbolic of India’s support for strife-torn Afghanistan, 
  • Afghanistan is crucial to India’s energy security, as a pipeline from Turkmenistan to India, the TAPIproject, will pass through the country (and Pakistan). Afghanistan also represents investment potential for Indian companies in several sectors.
  1. Afghan internal dynamics threaten security to Indian establishments as well :
  • The government of President Ghani is struggling to hold key districts in Helmand province in the south amid a renewed Taliban offensive there. The government in Kabul is also struggling to hold overdue parliamentary elections this fall amid the worsening security situation
  • deadly attacks in Afghanistan have increased as the Taliban carries out its spring offensive.
  • an Afghan Taliban-claimed attack against a security agency responsible for protecting senior government officials 
  • The attack on the Indian consulate in Jalalabad

5.China Factor:

  • China is stepping up its military role as well. Beijing is making it clear that it wants to have deeper security ties with Afghanistan and there are plans to strengthen counter-terror and intelligence cooperation along with enhancing China’s role in the training of Afghan military and civilian personnel

6.US and NATO withdrawing their soldiers with only around 9000 US soldiers present in Afghanistan increases the importance of regional players role which India should take advantage of as well 

7.Strengthening SAARC Afghanistan is needed

8.Afghanistan is a tough country. Only those who are willing to fight on multiple fronts will be able to preserve their leverage.

General Studies – 3

TopicAchievements of Indians in science & technology;

7) Discuss the salient features and applications of IRNSS. (200 Words)

Business Standard

The Hindu

India entered an exclusive club of five nations that have their own satellite navigation and positioning system with the launch of IRNSS-1G recently known as Navic, the country’s seventh navigation satellite.

Features of IRNSS:

  • IRNSS is similar to the global positioning system (GPS) of the US (24 satellites), Glonass of Russia, and Galileo of Europe, as well as China’s Beidou.
  • It is a Constellation of seven satellites (3 in geostationary and 4 in geosynchronous orbit) will provide navigational services to South Asia
  • An area of 1,500 km from Indian boundaries will be covered under the navigational system. 
  • Highly precise position, velocity and time information in real time for authorized users on a variety of vehicles. The proof of concept of an independent regional navigation satellite system over India has been demonstrated for the targeted position accuracy of better than 20 metres over 24 hours of the day.
  • IRNSS will offer two services:
    • Standard Positioning Service: that will be accessible to anyone
    • Restricted Service:Will be available only to the military and other government-authorized users.
  • All seven IRNSS satellites will be at a height of about 36,000 km, taking a whole day to circle the Earth.
  • Launched by PSLV
  • Provides data with good accuracy for a single frequency user with the help of Ionospheric corrections. 

Applications :

  • It has both commercial and strategic applications. It caters to the needs of civil aviation and for positioning, navigation and timing
  • With this, the country will not have to depend on a foreign power for military navigation. With the complete system in place, the armed forces will be able to find their position accurately in the battleground and direct ammunition and missiles deep into enemy territory
  • Will provide time-location coordinates on land, sea and air.
  • Cell phone apps- for mapping, driving, hiking in jungle and remote areas.
  • Forest department: Putting out wildfire, tracking endangered animals.
  • Fleet Managementg. taxi or truck company can monitor whether their driver is on right path or not.
  • Disaster Management.
  • During war: naval fleet Management, missile navigation etc.
  • The system can also be used for civilian navigation — aircraft, ships, railways and others.
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers
  • Along with visual and voice navigation for drivers.
  • It can also be integrated into phones. Other civilian applications include mapping and vehicle and fleet management

Topic: Employment

8) For past many years India has been experiencing jobless growth and in recent years it’s been reported that India has created very few jobs. How can you explain the jobless growth? Examine the impact of jobless growth on India’s demographic dividend and measures needed to halt this trend. (200 Words)

The Indian Express 

Jobless growth :-

  • jobless recovery or jobless growth is an economic phenomenon in which a macroeconomy experiences growth while maintaining or decreasing its level of employment. 
  • In other words, growth is not employment-intensive enough, as evidenced by the fact that the state government of Uttar Pradesh recently received 2.3 million applications for 368 job openings as peons.

Impact of jobless growth on demographic dividend :-

  • Expectations of the youth:
    • Educated youth prefer to wait for better opportunities. Supply-side factors like population and labour force growth also ensure that the share of the youth cohort is bound to be high among the fresh entrants.
    • With rising enrolment in institutions of higher education, most of the new entrants are also educated. Higher unemployment among the youth and among the educated thus are two sides of the same coin.
  • Currently, there are only two million jobs being created annually, which are inadequate to absorb the 12 million young people who seek work every year.
  • Disguised employment in Agriculture has made the utilization of demographic dividend advantage difficult as the people involved in it are not skillful elsewhere.
  • The Indian economy today needs to generate 115 million non-farm jobs over the next decade to gainfully employ its workforce and reap its demographic dividend.That is not the direction in which India is going
  • According to Census 2011, the average growth rate of the economy was 7.7 per cent per annum, when it was only 1.8 per cent for employment.
  • Agitation:
    • It is largely responsible for demonstrations by young Patels of Gujarat and Jats of Haryana in the name of reservations. Since they can’t get jobs in the private sector, they fall back on government jobs. 
  • Not only are jobs fewer than before but those that are created are precarious and badly paid because of the informalisation of the economy
  • Employability problem:
    • While the services can rather easily recruit skilled white-collar workers,the industry cannot transform peasants into factory workers so quickly. Such a transition requires basic training, which is missing.
    • The 2015 Economic Survey assessed that 6.8 per cent persons aged 15 years and above are reported to have received/ be receiving vocational training.
    • These data reflect a larger problem: Primary and secondary education, where the dropout rate remains very high, provides a poor education.
    • In this context, the minuscule increase in the share of education in the 2015-16 budget, from 3 to 3.1 per cent, will hardly make any significant difference.
    • The fact that the government seems to rely on private initiatives in this domain also stands in stark contrast to an obvious reality: No country has developed without a robust public education system.
  • In fact, the Make in India programme is revealing of the jobless growth syndrome:
    • Highly capitalistic multinationals will start factories in India to sell their products to the white-collar middle class but will not create the manufacturing workforce the country is longing for.
  • Raising credit continues to be difficult in India. Poor banking coverage in rural areas, in addition to bureaucratic procedures for loan approvals and limited discretionary authority of branch managers add to the problem. Angel investors and venture capital funds are still at a nascent stage.
  • Advances in 3D printing and robotics will further take away India’s comparative advantage derived from possessing cheap labour.
  • In fact, India’s rigid and often confusing labour laws enforced by a myriad agencies have done irreparable damage to the cause of labour by creating two classes of workers — contractual workers comprising 90 per cent who’re paid low wages and have no job security, and well-paid workers with secure jobs comprising 10 per cent of the total. Roughly half the workers in India’s corporate sector are contractual.

Measures needed to halt this:

  • It is not only about labour reform. It is not possible to address the problem without developing skills that industry wants.
  • stepping up enrolment in industrial training, vocational institutes and public-funded institutions of higher learning.
  • Promoting start up 
  • Skill development through Skill India 
  • Make in India to generate meaningful employment opportunities
  • labour-intensive manufacturing like textiles has to be re-vitalised.
  • Greenfield investments to set up factories in other industries like automobiles also must be incentivised.
  • Realistic interest rates reflecting the scarcity value of capital along with a prudent macroeconomic policy will bring in more FDI that will aid job creation if major concerns on the demand and supply sides are addressed.
  • Encourage SMEs:
    • which employ 40 per cent of the workforce of the country and which represent about 45 per cent of India’s manufacturing output and 40 per cent of India’s total exports, are in a better position to do so
    • A vibrant corporate bond market is possibly the quickest way to free up space for MSME’s loans, as large firms will be able to access bond financing, for say infrastructure projects, over long-term.


  • The last quarterly survey by the Labour Bureau showed that India has never created so few jobs, since the survey started in 2009, as in 2015: Only 1.35 lakh jobs compared to more than nine lakh in 2011 and 4.19 lakh in 2013 in eight labour-intensive industries (the only ones that are surveyed).These figures are particularly alarming since almost one million new people enter the job market every month.

General Studies – 4

Topic:Rules; Duties; Ethical dimensions

9) Differentiate between the following (200 words)  

  1. Duty and Responsibility
  2. Distributive Justice  and Procedural Justice
  3. Justice and Beneficence
  4. Rule and Principle