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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A May 06, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A May 06, 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: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country

1) Why did Mahatma Gandhi make non-violence a non-negotiable requirement of the mass movement that won India its freedom? Examine. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

  • Gandhi objects to violence because it perpetuates hatred. When it appears to do ‘good’, the good is only temporary and cannot do any good in the long run.
  • According to Gandhi the use of non violence consists of anger, selfishness, hatred and enmity. According to him violence cannot do anything good to human beings.
  • Gandhi’s concern was both based on theological as well as more pragmatic considerations
    • India was in no position to get into an armed conflict with the British, having been robbed of all economic and moral strength.
    • Gandhi had the option of reinvigorating a nation that has lost all confidence in its power and inner strength. After these practical considerations,
    • Gandhi found that the only alternative was to fall back upon what was integral to India’s cultural and historical psyche, the principle of non-violence. This non-violence was used in conjunction with the philosophy of non-attachment.
  • Gandhi declared the two goals of his life to be ensuring India’s freedom and to achieve it through non-violence. One without the other would be unacceptable and weakening. Violence, Gandhi believed, breded violence, and can never be a solution to India’s problem
  • Non-violence played a very important role in defining the course of Indian national movement, from the 1920s to the final achievement of the freedom.
    • It formed the basis of the methods of Satyagraha that became closely associated with the Gandhian whirlwind in Indian politics. Gandhi understood economic profit to be the guiding force of the imperialist project and attacked the British government at where it hurt most, which was financial gain.
    • Picketing, non-cooperation and organised resistance to British modes of oppression were the main modes of the non-violent political movements in India. It shaped the course of the Civil Disobedience Movement as well.
    • Even at a later time, during theQuit India Movement, Gandhi’s theory of non-violence held strong in the face of the new and radical waves in the world of Indian politics like communism and armed revolution.
    • Even at the dawn of independence, as Nehru was getting ready to eloquently unleash his ‘tryst with destiny’, Gandhi was busy on the troubled roads of Bengal, preaching non-violence to mad rioters
  • behind the seeming docility of the “meek Indian” caricature and much-derided stupor a streak of latent violence that would rip Indians apart along the fissures of caste, creed and gender long before it became a threat to any empire

General Studies – 2

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

2) It is said that India’s pharmaceutical sector which makes the finest medicine in the world, sells sub-standard stuff to Indians. Discuss the reasons and measures taken by government to address this problem. (200 Words)

Business Standard

Why does India produce and distribute substandard drugs:-

  • European companieswere selling medicines in India that had not been approved in their home countries, or in any developed country and failure of health ministry  to investigate the officials who granted such ‘illegal’ approvals.
  • consistent pattern of the government ignoring recommendationsby its own experts is mirrored in the enforcement of India’s existing, already weak, drug regulations
  • bigger players often blame the smaller ones – the long tail of pharmaceutical companies – for the mess. The smaller companies cannot have production units of a high standard and they resist all demand for stricter regulation because it will put them out of business.
  • pharmaceutical companies argue that India has become an impossible place to work in, because the ever-expanding price controls, which leaves them with no money to upgrade their processes and machines.
  • Weak punishments:
  • judiciary wilfully ignored the mandatory sentencing provisions of at least one year of imprisonment This allowed the convicted person to walk free as soon as the judge rose for the day.
  • Monetary fines were in a lenient five-digit range for products worth lakhs or crores.
  • Investigations conducted by drug inspectorsin individual States were mostly a sham since they lacked the necessary resources to coordinate their activities across different States.
  • No centralised licensing system:
  • only the governments in the respective States can cancel the licences of the erring drug manufacturers located there.
  • Further, two legislative efforts in 2007 and 2013 to centralise such regulations failed because of sabotage by the Indian pharmaceutical industry.
  • Indian regulation is lax:Indian companies regularly do drug recalls in the United States and the European Union but never in India.Indian drug regulatory law does not have a legal framework mandating such recalls.
  • Easy available of these drugs at the counter:
    • the effects of such substandard drugs include growing antibiotic resistance and the birth of deathly superbugs like New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1(NDM-1) which made bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
  • To make the grade, a tablet must contain between 90% and 110% of the active ingredient named on the label However, the Central Drug Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO)offers a 5% grace marginon that lower limit.CDSCO is still ill-equipped
  • There is no consolidated national list of manufacturers or total number of licenses granted, which makes it difficult to devise any concrete national or state policy for the regulation of this sector.This makes annual sampling,inspections by the CDSCO too limited and unstructured.
  • In a tropical country like India, even high-quality medicines will become sub-standard if a chemist doesn’t take proper care. Inappropriate storage after the tablet leaves the factory caused the lack of uniformity of weight of the sample.
  • India is home to the biggest fake-drug market.In some reports, more than 25% of medicines available in India have been declared spurious or fake.
  • Often, the manufacturer would be located in Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand and the substandard drug would be sold in States like Karnataka or Maharashtra. Only a minority of such cases resulted in a prosecution.

Government’s efforts:

  • Amendment of Drug and Cosmetic act, 1940 in 2008 for making penal provisions and reset certain offences as perceptible and non bailable. When adulterated or spurious drug cause death then imprisonment imposed for not less than ten years or for lifetime.
  • Jan Aushdhi’ generic drug stores in the Government hospitals and supply of generic medicine through Central Pharma Public Sector Undertaking.
  • Since 2008, on various levels 216 additional posts generated to strengthen the regulatory mechanism. In 2008, there were 111 sanctioned posts and 64 officers in position while in 2012 there were 310 posts and 121 officers in position, which included 65 drug inspectors.
  • For trial of offences related to adulterated and spurious drugs product, Drug and Cosmetic (Amendment) Act, 2008 accredited establishment of special designated courts, and nationally 14 states/Union territories already introduced such courts.
  • For effective regulatory surveillance throughout the country, Hyderabad and Ahmadabad have upgraded from sub zone to full zone while Bangalore, Chandigarh and Jammu have established as new sub zones under the direction of CDSCO.
  • CDSCO publishes monthly a list of drugs, medical devices and cosmetics that are evaluated and declared as not of standard quality/spurious/adulterated/misbranded.
  • Enhancement of Central Drug Laboratories with new sophisticated testing equipment set up and creation of a new testing laboratory at Hyderabad.
  • To ensure proper traceability of those manufacturing units, which are situated abroad, from where drugs product are imported in India, new scheme for regular overseas inspection has been introduced. For instance, two such inspections have formerly done in China.
  • Banning Fixed Drug Combination (FDC)
  • To encourage attentive public participation in exploring the detection of spurious drug product, a ‘Whistle Blower’ scheme is initiated. Under this scheme, if accurate information on the movement of spurious drugs product provided to the regulatory authorities, informers is suitably rewarded and
  • At state level, Tamil Nadu and Kerala Government undertake drug quality evaluation services by Tamil Nadu Medical Service Corporation Limited and Kerala Medical Service Corporation Limited.

Need for better regulation:

  • Implementation of recommendations Ranjit Roy Choudary committeeto have mandatory basic quality testing such as bioequivalence studies for all generic drugs.
  • centralised licensing systemis very much needed
  • Easy availibility of drugs need to be restricted and people need to be aware about the consequences of increase antibiotics.
  • The CDSCO need to be equippedand recently in a bid to access quality it has upped  the ante to scan drug samples across the country.
  • Storage and trackinghas to be improved with the first step being anti-counterfeit primary level packaging in the drug industry and Every tertiary and secondary product has a 2D barcode, to allow for easy storage and tracking
  • India need to learn from American experienceto take strong measures against the most egregious offenders like Ranbaxy.
  • Fostering access to good quality pharmaceuticals is critical to attain India’s goal of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and thus, coordinated action is needed by the policy makers, relevant actors in health systems and other agencies, including WHO
  • Good-quality Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs)-( refers to a substance or substance combination used in manufacturinga drug product.) need to be encouraged for the production of good-quality medicines. Ensuring the quality of the API greatly contributes to achieving the objective of building the quality, safety and efficacy into the product.


  • The CAG’s audit report of the Armed forces medical stores Depots(AFMSD), which serves our Armed Forces Personnel and their families, showed the percentage of locally procured substandard drugs at a high 32 per cent in one year.
  • About 4.5% of the drugs in the Indian market are substandard, according to surveys by the  (CDSCO), the official regulatory authority.

TopicIssues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to education

3) In India’s education sector, it is said that it is important for state administrations to realize that improving infrastructure and resources should be accompanied by commensurate learning levels of students. Why such suggestion is made? How state can help improve learning levels of children in schools? Examine. (200 Words)


For the past six years now, enrolment in the country has been around 96%, which may seem a great feat. However, an assessment of the actual learning levels reveals the flip side of the coin

Reasons why learning levels of students are bad :

  • The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2014 indicates how this linear approach hasn’t reaped the benefits it should have; learning levels of students are still a huge concern.
    • According to the survey, almost 50% of Class V students were not able to read basic sentences, and more than 70% were unable to perform simple division.
    • According to Pratham’s Annual Status of Education 2013 report, close to 78 percent of children in Standard III and about 50 percent of children in Standard V cannot yet read Standard II texts.
  • Teacher attendance is just 85 percent in primary and middle schools and raising the amount of time teachers spend on-task and increasing their responsibility for student learning also needs improvement.
  • The vast expansion of the number of elementary schools in the country in the past decade, with no concurrent expansion in school management systems.
    • The XV Joint Review Mission conducted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (2012) highlighted that there were 25% vacancies in programme management personnel for elementary education at the state level, and this figure was 46% at the block level.
    • The focus of Indian government schemes has largely been on improving school facilities, infrastructure and teacher recruitment, while effective school monitoring and mentoring have remained sorely neglected.
  • Despite increasing pupil-to-teacher ratios and teacher recruitment, 8.3 percent of elementary schools are reported to be single teacher schools in 2013-14.
  • Furthermore, the ‘no detention’ policy adopted by Indian government that prohibits failing children in elementary grades has, in the absence of robust regulatory frameworks, led in many cases to ‘no learning’.
  • Inadequate Teacher Qualification and Support:
    • Teachers working in primary schools across rural India have a difficult job. the average school teacher in India does not get adequate pre-service or in-service education.
  • Low Teacher Motivation and High Absenteeism:
    • A key factor affecting the quality of primary education appears to be low levels of teacher motivation.
    • In 2002-2003, 25% of primary-school teachers in rural India were absent on any given day.
  • Remuneration — does not appear to be a driver.
  • primary school teachers employed by the government, particularly in rural India, are required to perform a wide range of duties completely unrelated to imparting education.
    • One study found that less than one-third of the teachers’ time in classroom was spent on student-centred activities, and students’ time spent on active learning gradually declined from 26.4% in Class II to 22% in Class VI. Conventional ‘chalk and talk’ methods of teaching continue to prevail in Indian classrooms.
  • Another disheartening factor has been a highly bureaucratic administrative system that discourages bold decision making and makes implementation difficult
  • Primary school teachers in rural India often try to educate students by making them repeat sections of text over and over again. They do not explain the meaning of the text, which results in stunted reading comprehension skills over the course of the children’s education
  • Linguistic Diversity:
    • Finally, India’s linguistic diversity creates unique challenges for the nation’s education system.
    • The country’s 22 official languages and hundreds of spoken dialects often differ considerably from the official language of the state or region.
    • the teacher not only has to account for varying learning abilities within the classroom, but also dialectic nuances which affect students’ comprehension of the subject matter.


How state can help improve learning levels of children in schools ?

  • A more officially driven effort is required to evaluate digital content
  • even more importantly to develop cost effective methods of making these available to teachers and students in areas where resources are scarce. Government has been mentioning the need for ‘digital classrooms’ several times
  • Teacher education:
    • The lack of learning in India’s schools call for changes to teacher education.
    • Need for availability of qualified and trained teachers who have acquired the knowledge and pedagogical skills to improve student retention, attainment and achievement is necessary.
  • Building good assessment systems:
    • Good assessments are useful at the classroom level for teachers to gauge their students’ understanding and also to inform policy. The need for regular and useful assessments in India is something that Indian departments of education are focusing on at the central and state level.
  • Gender studies education:-
    • The state of women in India has recently drawn a lot of attention and promoting gender equality through education has an important role to play.
  • Resources: Currently spending on education is low in India, and stands at 3.4 percent of the GDP.
  • Real progress in education requires a meaningful curriculum, human resource management systems
  • Educational inputs need to be converted into outputs. This can help provide an objective way for states to get feedback on their education delivery process and do away with the practice of judging the performance of states based solely on their inputs, or outputs.
  • The objective therefore, is to develop a methodology to measure the relative efficiency of the education delivery process and provide insights on what states can learn from peer-to-peer exchanges

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

4) The government plans to limit airfares for hour-long flights to Rs 2,500.  Should such administered fares be imposed? Discuss. (200 Words)

Business Standard


  • The logic of an administered price for short-haul flights is not immediately clear.
  • For one, the assumption that it is only fares of flights of less than one hour that jump during emergencies is flawed.
  • For another, the logic of such government intervention is unclear as air fares can be kept under check on a case-by-case basis when crises demand it — especially when airlines have shown themselves willing to cooperate in the past.
  • Capping air fares as a market-building tool betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the price-demand equation. dynamic fares offers consumers a wide choice and promotes healthy competition.
  • a fare cap is unlikely to encourage private airlines, which dominate the aviation business now, to ply these routes.
  • Administered fares also have a discriminatory impact in two respects:
    • it diminishes business for the railways, which should arguably be the transport solution of choice
    • ends up subsidising classes of consumers – the rich and middle class – who don’t need price protection in ;the first place.
  • This proposal underlines a general philosophical shift in the political discourse away from market principles and back to the kind of policy that yields selective benefits.The proposal to fix some tariffs for the airline industry, which has manifestly been a beneficiary of economic liberalisation and a job creator too, is part of this trend.



  • would help strengthen regional air connectivity. This is an unexceptionable objective but achieving it demands enhancing aviation infrastructure and safety standards.
  • Has the potential to spread traffic beyond the metros to smaller towns and cities
  • During emergencies like the recent Chennai floods the airlines charged exorbitantly.These kind of malpractices can be checked. As of now, last minute fares can sometimes be over 10 times the lowest average.
  • India can emerge as the world’s third-largest aviation market if the country enables its 300 million middle class people to travel by plane “at least once a year” by initiating the above measures
  • It will lessen congestion on roads and railways

Suggestions for reforms in aviation sector:

  • bringing jet fuel prices down to international levels
  • abolishing the route dispersal guidelines (RDG), the 5/20 Rule.
  • An Essential Air Services Fund (EASF) needs to be set up to provide direct subsidies for loss making routes and taxes for aircraft maintenance need to be zero-rated.
  • Dwell time for cargo handling has to be reduced from three days to three hours and helicopters and small aircraft have to be promoted for last mile regional connectivity

TopicFunctioning of judiciary; Bilateral relations; International institutions

5) It is said that an unfortunate impression has been created that India’s legal and judicial system is under-equipped to handle cases such as the Italian Marines case. Examine why such an impression has been created and what lessons India should learn from handling of this case. (200 Words)

The Hindu

The Hindu

Why such an impression created ?

  • Delay:In 2013 the Supreme Court held that it was the Centre that had the jurisdiction. The National Investigation Agency took over the probe, but its insistence on invoking an anti-piracy law — the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002 — led to further delay.
  • Given this basic divergence over which jurisdiction would be applicable in prosecuting the marines, an anomalous situation developed, wherein the marines were moved from detention in Kerala to the premises of the Italian Embassy in Delhi — and the already extended legal stasis continued.
    • Over the years there were further unprecedented interim provisions that allowed the marines to return to Italy .
  • Given that rank political opportunism and stoking ‘nationalist’ sentiment has become the higher Delhi priority — the objective pursuit of justice and a restoration of normalcy in India-Italy bilateral relations will remain elusive over the short term.
  • UN arbitration tribunal decision to release the Italian marine as Interim order has been a set back to Govt and made the case more complex.
  • including most Indians, and the only people who say they do are the accused who have no option.

What lessons India can learn ?

  • The process should have been sustainable and credible from the beginning, instead of being marked by doubt and uncertainty.
  • Nationalist sentiment and the constraints of domestic politics played an excessive role in influencing the manner the case was dealt with. India and Italy should cooperate, without further delay or diplomatic wrangling, in the interests of justice.
  • The case must be settled on purely legal grounds, and without the kind of political one-upmanship that has contributed to the delay over the past four years.

General Studies – 3

Topic: Resource mobilization

6) Global crude oil prices slumped about 65 per cent in the 21 months from July 2014 through March 2016. In this period, the pump prices of both petrol and diesel dropped only about 15 per cent in India. Discuss what is causing retail fuel prices from moving in lock-step with the international trend in oil and the effect of this policy on consumers. (200 Words)

The Hindu


  • The high imposition of Central and State duties and taxes has prevented retail fuel prices from moving in lock-step with the international trend in oil. 
    • the Centre and state governments steadily increaseexcise duties and value-added tax, shoring up their revenues and keeping fuel prices high for retail consumers
    • The excise duty on petrol and diesel has been hiked five times over the last three months, increasing the excise duty on petrol by 34%. On diesel, excise duty has increased by 140%.
  • Indian prices stay high because oil marketing companies (OMCs), such as Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Reliance Industries Ltd., add their margins, the central government adds excise, state governments add their own (value-added) taxes, and the dealers (petrol pumps) get their commission.
  • hinting that higher fuel taxation is a conscious ‘strategy’ to protect the people from the shock of paying more as and when crude oil trends reverse. 
  • the past one-and-a-half decades have seen successive governments struggle to find the right balance in dealing with the twin challenges of reining in the subsidies on products — kerosene, LPG and diesel, the price of which was completely decontrolled in 2014 — and ensuring that fuel prices don’t face too much volatility.


  • This has helped shore up the government’s finances as it bets on public investment to spur the economy, even if this fiscal elbow room has been created at the consumer’s cost. 
  • Inflation:
    • Oil price affects the entire economy, especially because of its use in transportation of goods and services. A rise in oil price leads to an increase in prices of all goods and services.
    • It also affects us all directly as petrol and diesel prices rise. As a result, inflation rises. A high inflation is bad for an economy.
    • It also affects companies – directly because of a rise in input costs and indirectly through a fall in consumer demand. This is why the fall in global crude prices comes as a boon to India.
    • Every $10 per barrel fall in crude oil price helps reduce retail inflation by 0.2% and wholesale price inflation by 0.5%, according to a Moneycontrol report.
  • Oil subsidy and fiscal deficit:
  • The government fixes the price of fuel at a subsidised rate. It then compensates companies for any loss from selling fuel products at lower rates. These losses are called under-recoveries. This adds to the government’s total expenditure and leads to a rise in fiscal deficit – the amount it borrows from the markets.
  • A fall in oil prices reduces companies’ losses, oil subsidies and thus helps narrow fiscal deficit. However, since diesel was recently deregulated, the fall in oil prices will likely have less effect on the government’s fiscal deficit. Moreover, the government still has to pay for previous under-recoveries. Any benefit from the fall will be offset by payments for the past under-recoveries.
  • Rupee exchange rate:
  • The value of a free currency like Rupee depends on its demand in the currency market. This is why it depends to a great extent on the current account deficit. A high deficit means the country has to sell rupees and buy dollars to pay its bills. This reduces the value of the rupee.
  • A fall in oil prices is, thus, good for the rupee. However, the downside is that the dollar strengthens every time the value of oil falls. This negates any benefits from a fall in current account deficit.

Consumers generally need to pay less due to fall in petrol prices,diesel prices leading to 15% fall in air ticket prices,low tyre and paint prices.

General Studies – 4

Topic:Challenges of corruption

7) It is proposed that amendment would be made to the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) to make all actual and potential bribe-givers offenders under this Act? Comment. (150 Words)

 The Hindu