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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A August 11, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A August 11, 2016


As we are not giving feedback on your answers, we thought of providing detailed synopsis of important Secure questions on daily basis so that you could revise them and compare with your answers. 

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: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

1) “That Hindutva is less virulent in India than Islamism is in many Muslim nations might have much to do with the fact that, at least in India, some of our leading anti-colonial leaders also aimed their criticism inwards at Hindu society.” Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Why hindutva is less virulent in India than Islamism is in other countries ?

  • Right from the early 19 th century Socio religious reform movements by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and others have targeted the ills of Hinduism like sati and paved the way for widow remarriage , women education etc .
  • This was given further impetus by the nationalist leaders like 
    • Gandhiji with his caste-based reformist position and strict stand against untouchability
    • Jawaharlal Nehru from a universalist-socialist one
    • R. Ambedkar from a more located and hence angrier anti-caste Dalit perspective.
  • This kind of self-analysis of such Indian leaders and intellectuals was seldom the case in most Muslim countries, and when it happened as in Turkey it was from a position of authoritarian elitism and in Iran, from that of an undemocratic monarchy.
  • Among the several factors that slowed down Hindutva politics in India, caste identity has been prominent.
    • Politically empowered sections of the backwards and Dalits viewed the Sangh project of a unified Hindu society with suspicion, as its insistence on traditions implied sustenance of the hierarchical social structure that disadvantaged them.
    • Also the movements demanding the rights of the lower castes like the temple entry movement opposed the orthodox approach of Hinduism 
  • Also the progressive and secular nature of India’s constitution did not let hindutva take superiority in India .

However Hindutva is slowly gaining a strong hold in India in recent times :-

  • Even during freedom struggle when Ganesh festival was popularised to call for the support of Indians it was looked upon as a Hindu overtone even though it was not the intention of the nationalist leaders like tilak.So the seeds of communalism were sown .
  • Over the past 25 years an increasingly aggressive movement has grown and started flexing its muscles.
    • The list of authors who have faced ruinous lawsuits, had books banned or lives threatened in India is growing alarmingly long
  • The unfortunate incidents like Babri masjid , dadri lynching, raping of Dalit women , Gau Rakshaks and ban on beef show that it is reviving in India.

General Studies – 2

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

2) Recently, another new government was sworn in Nepal. What challenges does the new Prime Minister of Nepal face in handling domestic affairs and in its relations with India? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Challenges faced by the new PM of Nepal :

  • The new prime minister is still struggling to give shape to his Cabinet.
  • Provincial elections:
    • As per the constitution, local, provincial and federal elections must be held by next year which is only about a year and a half away.
    • For this some Election Commissionaires say that the commission needs 120 days to prepare for the election.
    • Given the tradition of obstructing the parliamentary businesses by the opposition even over minor cases, it is challenging for the government to run the session of the House smoothly and get the bills passed.
  • Redrawing of provinces:
    • There is the tough task of reaching consensus among the major parties regarding the redrawing of federal provinces. T
    • he government will have to garner the support of a two-thirds majority in Parliament to make the change. 
  • bringing the pending legal cases against the Maoist cadre going back to the decade-long insurgency (1996-2005) to a closure, which could lead to strains with the Nepali congress.
  • Short-lived governments:
    • The new government is the ninth in the past 10 years. It is also the 24th government over the last 26 years. Most have been coalition governments as squabbling over who gets to be prime minister or gets key ministerial portfolios has often ended partnerships.
  • Rehabilitation work for the earthquake victims and recovering the money from the world leaders for these efforts:
    • The international community had generously pledged $4.4 billion for the reconstruction effort last year. Yet, very little of this money has actually come in. 
    • India has pledged $1.65 billion of concessional funds during the last two years but has been able to use up only $150 million.
    • Similar is the situation with the Indian grant assistance of $250 million intended for rebuilding dwelling units in some of the worst-affected areas.
  • Ethnic clashes and accommodating the demands of different groups:
    • The Madhesi ethnic group clashed with police and imposed a general strike in the region. They also blocked border crossings, cutting off supplies that led to severe shortages of fuel and medicines.
    • Other smaller ethnic groups also demanded their own separate states.
    • Accommodating the demands of the Madhes and Janjati group, and of the Maoists concerning a truth and reconciliation process on the excesses of the insurgency period. 
      • This is a necessary step toward the implementation of Nepal’s newly adopted constitution, which caused protests in the southern part of country.
    • Hydroelectricity problem:
      • Even though Nepal has several mountain rivers that can be used to produce electricity from hydropower plants, it continues to face huge power shortages

Challenges with respect to India :

  • The new prime minister needs to repair the damage done by his predecessor to relations with India. 
    • Nepal’s inflation rate this year hit 10.5 percent, while the economy grew barely 1.5 percent. The India border blockade last year and early this year made the situation worse.This needs to be taken care of.
    • India must encourage Nepal to present a credible blue print of the aspired changed relationship in a manner that does not hurt India’s core security and developmental interests in Nepal.
  • Nepal government has the responsibility of maintaining good relations with India and China, Nepal’s two giant neighbors, in order to bring in more investment for the development of the country.So balancing the relation with the two countries is a huge challenge.


Topic:  India and its neighborhood- relations.

3) In your opinion, what does the rising number of terror attacks and the entry of new outfits into Pakistan’s jihadist map indicate? Should India be concerned? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

The rising number of terror attacks in Pakistan indicates the following:

  • It is yet another warning to the Pakistani establishment.
  • The IS connection too is worrying.
    • Pakistan actually faces a high risk of IS-linked terror. The group has already established a foothold in eastern Afghanistan, close to the border with Pakistan.
    • Also, Pakistan’s jihadist underworld, largely based in the northwestern region, is a potential recruiting ground for powerful terrorist groups.
  • Pakistan government’s action not enough:
    • This shows that whatever the army and the government have been doing in the fight against terror has simply not been enough.
    • A large part of the problem is with Pakistan’s anti-terror strategy itself.
      • Pakistan has a history of supporting groups fighting Afghanistan and India, while cracking down on those operating within the country.
      • The military’s close ties with the Afghan Taliban, for instance, have compromised its fight against the Taliban which now refuses to pipe down despite military action.
      • Pakistan’s approach of tackling this jihadist complex and categorising them as good Taliban and bad Taliban, or as good terrorists and bad terrorists does not yield the desired results.

Yes India should be concerned:

  • The recent attacks like pathankot originating from Pakistan soil show that terror outfits can strike India as well.
  • Being Pakistan’s neighbour India should be careful about the infiltration of the terror outfits into India .
  • Pakistan has nuclear weapons and with the security degrading in that country there is a threat that these facilities fall into the hands of the terror outfits.That is a cause of concern for India.
  • With ISIS taking responsibility for the recent Quetta blast it is evident that ISIS is increasing its reach and this might be great threat for India.
  • Lack of preparedness of organisations :
    • An NSG hub and a specialized anti-terror squad are functional but the first line of defence, the police constables still remain untrained and vulnerable

What has to be done ?

  • India requested for a resolution on Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy by all the nations in the form of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.
  • Government is working on strengthening the anti-terror laws and providing legal protection for under cover operations.
  • India needs to strengthen its security at the borders so that there wont be any infiltration of terrorists .


Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these

4) Do you support recent recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee on Salaries and Allowances to double the salaries of MPs? Should MPs decide their own salaries? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu


  • Based on the recommendations of the joint committee members of Parliament have recommended a hike of 100% for themselves.

Yes,there is a need for the salary hike:

  • Judging by comparative standards, the remuneration of a member of Indian Parliament is not very high compared to what is paid to a member of the national legislature in countries like the U.S. and the U.K. even going by purchasing power or similar indices. 

No the salary hike is not necessary:

  • These hikes in salaries are proposed without any justification, without any timelines, without any formula or rationale, while there is a strict timeline regarding when the salary of a government official will be revised.
  • One should also remember this is only for government employees, who constitute less than 2-3 per cent of the total workforce in India. A huge majority of people engaged in other kinds of gainful employment is left out of this process
  • When the poor are living at below fifty rupees per day the rise in the salary of the MP to 2.8 lakh per month seems insensitive

The MP’s should decide their salaries:

  • India is not an exception to this practice where MPs decide their own salaries. In Canada, a multiparty parliamentary committee called the Board of Internal Economy enjoys the right to revise salaries of MPs.

No they should not decide their salaries :

  • However, other comparative examples run contrary to this practice.
    • In other advanced democracies such as the K. and Australia, the salaries of MPs are decided by an autonomous body called the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and the Remuneration Tribunal.
    • In a young democracy such as South Africa, salaries of lawmakers are decided by an autonomous body called the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers whose recommendations are subject to the final approval of the President.
    • A newborn democracy like Bhutan also follows a similar practice according to which salaries are determined by an independent body.
    • In both France and Japan, salaries of parliamentarians are decided in relation to the salaries of the highest-paid bureaucrats.
    • Even in the S. Congress, salaries of senators are usually revised on an annual basis as part of an automatic adjustment process which reflects increase in living cost.
  • Interestingly, the Prime Minister of India had remarked that lawmakers should not decide their own salaries rather it should be linked to the salaries of some important offices in the country like the President or the Vice-President.

 It may be useful to create a mechanism of determining salaries, perks and allowances addressing the two concerns of legitimacy and accountability. This would foster higher levels of trust in our political institutions such as parties.

General Studies – 3

Topic: Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth

5) Is India’s steel industry suffering from state protectionism? What needs to be done to revive this industry? Examine. (200 Words)



  • On account of an stagnant steel demand globally, particularly in China, major producers are pushing products into the Indian market.
  • The domestic steel industry, with higher borrowing and raw material costs and lower productivity, is at a comparative disadvantage.
  • To check this, the government initiated several measures to curb surging imports and make domestic production sustainable

Yes,steel industry is suffering from state protectionism:-

  • India had imposed an Minimum import price, ranging from $341 a tonne to $752 a tonne, on 173 categories of steel products to provide relief to domestic producers against cheap imports. It topped it up with safeguard duties (penal duties to stop steep increase in imports) on hot-rolled flat steel the following month.
  • Even after India slapped anti-dumping duties on a range of imports, steelmaking stocks fell.
  • In theory, the levy offers more protection to domestic producers than the minimum import prices introduced in February.
  • The steel industry worldwide is suffering due to low global prices and countries are taking various protectionist measures to support their local industry. Despite the imposition of MIP, India’s steel imports increased 20.2 per cent to 11.21 million tonnes.


  • Experts said the MIPs were temporary and a response to a surge in steel exports by some major steel producers that have adopted predatory pricing practices.
  • The safeguard on imported hot-rolled flat steel products was adopted in conformity with WTO requirements
  • The Indian steel industry does not see MIP as a perpetual protectionist step, but as a necessary temporary measure that will allow time for recovery

Measures to revive :

  • Govt is working on a two pronged strategy to deal with it
    • One- Govt is developing long-term funding for sectors like steel (Example- NIIF)
    • Two- RBI has brought the 5/25 format, where it is recognised that industries like steel can not be expected to repay their loans in short spans of 5-7 years
  • The industry has to boost productivity and operational efficiency and follow the mature markets’ lead in innovation, development of specialised steels and products.
  • Interest-rate subvention for a specified, non-negotiable period is well worth exploring. Duties on coking coal can be temporarily suspended.
  • Mining majors like NMDC need to boost supply of ferrous ore.
  • Delayed infrastructure projects need close monitoring to revive steel demand.
  • The major steel buyers can be offered more attractive financing terms too.


Topic: Economic growth and development

6) Do you think higher economic growth guarantees more medals in Olympic Games? In your opinion, what it takes for a country to do well at the Olympic Games? Discuss. (200 Words)


Higher economic growth leads to more medals in the Olympics:

  • A country needs significant economic resources to boost health outcomes, and invest in long-term training and infrastructure
  • Top medal winning countries exhibit both high per capita incomes and a large population. Overall, higher levels of income or higher levels of development and a better environment for growth tend to be associated with more Olympic success
  • Also apart from economic resources the countries willingness to spend on sports plays a major role.India lacks in this parameter where the sports infrastructure is abysmal .

The other parameters that are needed for a country to be successful at Olympics are :

  • Wealth alone cannot bring medals, as can be seen in the case of small but rich countries such as Luxembourg or Monaco. To produce athletes, a nation also needs a large population pool from which talent can be sourced.
  • It’s been widely observed that host countries typically boost their medal haul
    • Host nations on average win 24.87 more medals than non-host nations, and that neighbours of host nations do well too.
    • They attribute this advantage to lower transportation costs and climatic advantages. 
    • Host countries typically field much larger contingents as the qualification criteria is significantly relaxed for them. For instance, it is noted that in the summer games, on average, the host country’s team fields 162.2 more athletes than in the previous summer games. This results in larger medal haul.
  • Countries at opposite ends of the spectrum on two counts, political freedom and civil liberties, tend to do the best in Olympics.
    • International sporting success is important for totalitarian regimes to boost nationalistic sentiment.
  • Strong, central government is also better able to singlemindedly channel resources towards long-term investments like sports.
  • Most countries win the bulk of their medals in a few sports. At the London Olympics, the US won close to 60% of its medals in athletics and swimming. Both also have the largest number of medals on offer. 
  • Greater a country’s income inequality, the lower its medal
    • A comparison with a selection of developing countries that have performed better than India shows that all these countries perform better than India when it comes to gender equality, particularly with respect to female labour force participation rate (LFPR) and educational attainment.
    • Another proof of importance of gender equality is the poor performance of Islamic countries, barring a few exceptions such as Iran and Turkey. 


General Studies – 4

Topic: Ethics in human actions

7) In India, debate on merits and demerits of women’s right to abort her child is going on. Critically discuss ethical and rights issues involved in abortion debate. (200 Words)

The Hindu