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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 07 January 2017


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 07 January 2017

NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.

General Studies – 1;

Topic: Urbanization – problems and remedies

1) “The new Indian urban landscape is being designed around grand concepts such as smart cities and export-oriented industrial corridors. In our desire to be global, we are emulating outdated models of urbanisation and economic progress borrowed from nations that have grown rich through questionable means.” In your opinion, what model of urban growth should Indian cities emulate? In the light of the statement, critically analyse. (200 Words)



 Urbanization in India began to accelerate after independence, due to the country’s adoption of a mixed economy, which gave rise to the development of the private sector. Urbanisation is taking place at a faster rate in India. Population residing in urban areas in India, according to 1901 census, was 11.4%. This count increased to 28.53% according to 2001 census, and crossing 30% as per 2011 census, standing at 31.16%. According to a survey by UN State of the World Population report in 2007, by 2030, 40.76% of country’s population is expected to reside in urban areas. As per World Bank, India, along with ChinaIndonesiaNigeria, and the United States, will lead the world’s urban population surge by 2050.

India is adapting the western models of urbanizations for maximizing and efficiently developing the urban space to accommodate the large chunk of population. However the western models we emulate in smart cities and export oriented industrial corridors have the advantages of giving a Ready (and already tested) planning of physical and social infrastructure -Water and waste management, public spaces, connectivity, ICT in law and order. However these 20th century models have the following drawbacks-

  • Climate resilience – the cities do not cater for environmental disasters as well as damage which the cities themselves cause- Paris floods, Beijing smog.
  • Inclusion- The poor though have a social security net but cities fail to cater for their sustainable development.
  • Monotonous urban landscape without due respect to local topography.
  • Artificial concretization which leads to urban heat islands.
  • Cities built mostly on economic terms without considering or less importance to cultural and recreational aspects of human beings.
  • The current models does not take into consideration the growth and inclusion at micro-levels, but at the grand macro-levels only.
  • The growth models are highly centralized, like the Industrial Corridor and the Smart City Mission, which encourage rapid migration towards some few urban belts and areas.

India needs to adapt a customized model of urbanization which maximizes benefits from the old model and goes a step ahead in addressing its drawbacks- –

  • Urbanization supported by industrialization- catering for future footfall in the city prevents slum growth and better inclusion. Raising cities without employment opportunities doesn’t solve long term agendas.
  • Urban local bodies revamp, seamless connectivity with suburban areas/ farms.
  • Inclusion for the elderly and the disabled, Safety of women and children. India doesn’t yet agree to the “right to the city” in Urban Habitat III agenda.
  • Climate mitigation- to avoid situations like Chennai floods.
  • A decentralized growth model creating fractal habitation with self-governance, self-sustaining democratized cities, which has the same as the nation as a whole.
  • Addressing the employment issues of the migrants by focusing more on urban industrialization.
  • Rurban Planning, which creates growth at micro-level and impedes rural-to-urban migration
  • Equity oriented citizen welfare program to minimise poverty, this can be done by employment generation, housing, better education and skill development, improving health facilities with better sanitation and drinking water facilities.
  • Availability of cheaper and environment friendly fuel for cooking and transport, cheaper and environment friendly mode of public transport, using environment friendly technologies such as rain water harvesting, solar devices
  • State being catalyst for social transformation and modernisation of economy and society.


 It is not absolutely correct to say that we are emulating outdated concepts of urbanisation which has been copied from the nations which have become rich by questionable means since we are not applying absolute method of industrialisation which took place in Europe neither our democratic socialist liberal country is pro rich and anti-poor as was true with Europe in the past. With respect to our demography and our national values we have customised concepts of urbanisation. Export oriented industrial corridor cannot be called best model of urban growth since it holds only economic factor but by no means smart city concept is outdated or questionable in approach, smart city itself is characterised by “efficient use of physical infrastructure through artificial intelligence and data analytics to support a strong and healthy economic, social, cultural development and it include concepts like e-governance, sustainable development”. Our present schemes like AMRUT, HRIDAY, PRASAD, HOUSING FOR ALL, SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN – URBAN are actively moving in the direction of urban growth.


Topic:  Role of women; Social empowerment

2) It is found that the choice of energy source is closely linked with women’s participation in the management of energy resources, their opportunities to earn incomes, and their ability to negotiate the cultural and social norms of their communities. Discuss the significance of this finding for women empowerment. (200 Words)



Schemes like Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana(PMUY) to provide energy access to poor women are aimed to empower women by eliminating their need to walk long distances to procure firewood and as well as improve their health through usage of cleaner fuel. It is assumed that subsidizing LPG connections and providing electricity connections will automatically ensure women empowerment. However, the finding suggests that choice of energy sources (eg: choice of shifting to LPG from firewood) depends on factors like women’s opportunities to earn income. i.e., in the absence of economic alternatives to utilize the time saved from stopping firewood procurement, there is a reluctance to change energy source.

  • Mitigation of energy resources- is done by women in day to day life when she collects wood for cooking or for heating homes in winter. So, if she is empowered through UJJWALA scheme, pollution will be less & at the same time, she can devote her time spared from collecting woods in economic activities like joining SHG etc.
  • Opportunities to earn incomeswomen in Africa sell locally made solar lanterns – thus being economically empowered & at the same time, promoting renewable energy as well
  • Cultural & social norms- in rural homes, chullahs are a symbol of their social culture. Hence, women shold b socially empowered to have a voice in this matter. Only then, they can negotiate to bring in modern system of LPG cooking gas or to use renewable energy like solar panels. etc

Hence, women are at the helm of home energy management & their choices get reflected in energy usage. Hence if they empowered to have equal voice, they can bring a great deal of help in climate change resistance eg. towards transition to renewable energy usage for electricity, agricultural pumps, cooking gas etc


General Studies – 2

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

3) India has far higher open defecation rates than other developing regions where people are poorer, literacy rates are lower, and water is relatively more scarce. To what factors does new data attribute prevalence of open defecation in India? How should government policies be reoriented to tackle this problem? Critically discuss. (200 Words)



Open defecation is the practice of people defecating outside and not into a designated toilet. The term is widely used in literature about water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) issues in developing countries. Open defecation causes public health problems in areas where people defecate in fields, urban parks, rivers, and open trenches in close proximity to the living space of others.

About one billion people, or 15 percent of the global population, practice open defecation. India has the highest number of people practicing open defecation, around 490 million people, or nearly a third of the population.Most of it occurs in rural areas, where the prevalence is estimated at 52 percent of the population, as opposed to urban areas, where prevalence is estimated at 7.5 percent

defecation graph toilet habits

Factors responsible for the open defecation in India:- 

  • Latrines and pollution: People believe keeping latrines at home make home an unhygienic and unhealthy place to live. Moreover, belief is that kitchen and latrine cannot be placed in the same compound. These social beliefs obviously contributed towards continuing open defecation even though they can afford pit latrines.
  • Villagers reject affordable pit latrines: Latrines with small soak pits, as provided by Government is uniformly viewed with disdain. People refer to Government latrines as temporary, fake or kaccha. Better latrines with large pits and cemented underground tanks are welcomed positively but costly to afford.
  • Pit emptying and untouchability: Historically, pit emptying is considered as degraded job to be done by dalits for higher castes. This created justification for social exclusion of dalits from schools, public water sources and dignified employments. Though situations of discrimination and exclusion still exists, things are slowly changing in rural India. And today, very less people are ready to take up pit emptying job, on the other hand making it costly.
  • Women and the people who want latrines: Open defecation makes women more vulnerable and data shows if women had more decision making power, more houses in rural India would have latrines. This explicitly shows the gender aspect associated with continuing practice of open defecation.
  • Hindus and Muslims: Ideas of untouchability and caste system made significant contribution in continuing the practice. Data shows more Muslim rural houses (15%) had latrines compared to Hindu houses (4%).

Government policy requirements to tackle the problem:

  • Rural sanitation policy must address untouchability.
  • Awareness campaignto change the existing beliefs that open defecation is healthy and clean.
  • More budget allocationto provide cemented large pit latrines under Government’s ambit.
  • Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Actto be implemented in all states with strict discipline. The Act prohibits employing a “manual scavenger,” someone who cleans human faeces by hand.
  • Proper methods and workforce to carry out scavenging should be implemented at grass root level.
  • The laws and framework should have provisions toaddress villagers worries and concerns.


The Swachh Bharat Mission had given a great impetus for improving sanitation and cleanliness. Though the traditional policy frameworks provides little room to address the actual concerns of rural people, with the current level of exposure and relevance the problem is getting, better means and practices will be put in place to eradicate the practice of open defecation in very near future.


Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations

4) It is said that the nature of Sino–Indian interactions across certain issue areas highlights that Delhi and Beijing have more overlapping interests than is generally recognised. Which are these issue areas? Analyse how these issue areas could improve bilateral relationship between India and China. (200 Words)



Delhi and Beijing the two traditional rivals have more issues overlapping than their antagonistic approaches which can be the ground for improving the bilateral relations between the two countries:-

  • Regional Growth:- India and China Have been both exploited by the West for their vested interests. Today these nations have the ability to boost up regional growth on grounds of their strong economic growth where rest of the world is struggling with negative growth rates to develop the region.
  • Mutual learning:- China has lot to learn from India’s political experiments and commitment to its citizens right and civil society and India can learn from China’s economic and manufacturing success.
  • Asian Century Dream – China and India are two big giant of ASIA who can make the history repeat by restoring its lost shine. They should work in tandem rather than pulling each other’s leg to make up for better quality of living of the people along with growth in economic numbers.
  • Environment:- Climate deal-both have a common interest in disallowing western pressure on Paris deal and issue of green finance.
  • Terror:-though Chinese shield of Pakistan based terror group, both are facing the brunt of Islamist terrorism as evident from Xinziang in China.
  • Afghanistan stabilization-both can gain from a peaceful neighborhood and stable region without the terrorism.
  • Reforms in global bodies like Bretton wood reforms, WTO talks and BRICS platform to end western hold on international finance.
  • Disaster response:- As the region faces multiple types of disasters and the region being poor, developing joint coordinated action by India and China can be change maker in region like the response in Nepal earthquake.
  • Trade opportunities:- As both being the prosperous economies the mutual cooperation in trade can be in interest of both the countries.



The two giant powers of Asia must work together irrespective of the hostility in order to realize full potential of their bilateral relationship which will not only be useful for the two but for regional and global developments in long run. 


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

5) Why there exists a temptation to use the power vested in the President and the Governors under Articles 123 and 213 of the Constitution? What is the opinion of the Supreme Court on frequent use of this power? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Articles 123 and 213 deals with the ordinance making powers of the President and Governor respectively. Article 123 of the constitution empowers President to promulgate the ordinance during the recess of the parliament only when he/she is satisfied that the circumstances exist that render it necessary for him/her to take immediate action. Same is the case for Governor under article 213.

Reasons for temptation to use ordinance power-

  • To deal with any important and urgent matter that has come up during the recess of the parliament.
  • Reluctance to face the legislature on particular issues.
  • Fear of defeat in the Upper House where the government may lack the required numbers.
  • The need to overcome an impasse in the legislature caused by repeated and willful disruption by a vociferous section of the Opposition.
  • To serve any political need and exigency even for its vested interests. 

Opinion of Supreme Court on frequent use of ordinance power-

  • In Cooper case (1970), the Supreme Court held that the President’s satisfaction can be questioned in a court on the grounds of malafied.
  • The Supreme Court in a D C Wadhwa case (1987) ruled that successive repromulgation of ordinances with the same text without any attempt to get the bill passed by the legislature would amount to violation of the constitution and the ordinance so promulgated is liable to be struck down.
  • Recently in Krishna Kumar Singh v. State of Bihar case, Supreme Court goes deeper and concludes that the failure to place an ordinance before the legislature constitutes abuse of power and a fraud on the Constitution. The judgment widens the scope of judicial review of ordinances. The court can go into whether the President or Governor had any material to arrive at the satisfaction that an ordinance was necessary and to examine whether there was any oblique motive. 


The ordinance making power of the President in India is rather unusual and not found in most of the democratic constitutions of the world including that of USA and UK. In the justification of the ordinance making power of the President, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar had said that, mechanism of issuing ordinance was devised in order to enable the Executive to deal with a situation that may suddenly and immediately arise when the parliament is not in session.

However the executives have resorted to the frequent use of ordinances for the reasons mentioned above. Legislative deliberations are the base of democratic system and to issue ordinance with the sole intention of bypassing legislature defeats very purpose of parliamentary discussions. Hence the recent judgement given by SC is in spirit with the intentions of constitution makers and uphelds the dignity of parliament.


Topic: mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

6) What are the causes of farmer suicides in India? How can government prevent these suicides? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


India is an agrarian country with around 70% of its people depending directly or indirectly upon agriculture. Farmer suicides account for 11.2% of all suicides in India. Recently published data by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has given some unusual reasons of farmer’s suicide.

Causes of farmers suicide in India?

  • High indebtness and bankruptcy-

This is the most important reason for the high number of suicides in India. Earlier it was thought that private moneylenders are responsible for suicides of indebtness. But the recent data from NCRB has shown some unusual reasons. According to National Crime Records Bureau’s latest farmer-suicides data, 80 per cent of farmers killed themselves in 2015 because of bankruptcy or debts after taking loans from banks and registered microfinance institutions. Of the over 3,000 farmers who committed suicides across the country in 2015 due to debt and bankruptcy, 2,474 had taken loans from banks or microfinance institutions.

Among states, Maharashtra (1,293) reported the maximum number of suicides due to “indebtedness”, followed by Karnataka (946) and Telangana (632). With 131 deaths, Telangana reported the highest number of suicides by farmers who took loans from moneylenders, with 131 deaths, followed by Karnataka (113).

  • Drought-

As much as 79.5% of India’s farmland relies on flooding during monsoon season, so inadequate rainfall can cause droughts, making crop failure more common. In regions that have experienced droughts, crop yields have declined, and food for cattle has become scarcer. Agricultural regions that have been affected by droughts have subsequently seen their suicide rates increase

  • Uneconomic landholdings-

The ground reality in India is that majority of farmers in India are small and marginalized. Cultivation on such small landholdings is not economically feasible. Large numbers of rural people do not even own land and work as wage laborer. Such farmers have become vulnerable to the suicidal tendencies.

  • Role of middlemen and economic exploitation of farmers-

Exploitation by middlemen is one of the chief reasons for not getting best price for the produce for farmers. In some cases farmers have found difficult to meet ends of the day with the meager returns form the agriculture.

  • Left leaning economists like Utsa Patnaik, Jayati Ghosh and Prabhat Patnaik suggest that structural changes in the macro-economic policy of Indian Government that favored privatization, liberalization and globalization is the root cause of farmer suicides.

How government can prevent these suicides-

  • Need of special agricultural zones- just like Industrial zones there is urgent need of Agricultural zones where farming and farming related activities are promoted and sustained with the help from government.
  • Need of modernizing agriculture- by introducing farm techniques which guarantee definite success, an increase in youth’s participation is possible. Government should strive to pass on benefits of technological advancement to small farmers
  • Imparting scientific education to farmers-

Most of the farmers in India are unaware about best practices of agriculture, crops to be taken in particular soil types, best rotation practices, fertilizers to be used etc. It is responsibility of government to spread such awareness among farmers.

  • Insurance of crops- the increasing unpredictable nature of weather has caused havoc in agricultural sector. Thus insurance is to be provided to all types of crops and particularly to the small farmers. Recently launched Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana is step in right direction. Its reach should be increased to cover all the farmers.
  • Need of better water management- India is facing more frequent droughts than ever. It has hampered the availability of water in most of the states in India. Only 43% of the farm land in India is irrigated. Therefore Government has to take urgent steps in increasing irrigational facilities like drip irrigation. Further water management can be made more effective through inter-state cooperation on water resources. Maharashtra governments Jalyukta Shiwar Yojana is commendable in this respect.
  • Alternate income resources- farmers should not depend on the agriculture solely particularly small and marginalized farmers. There need of diversification of income resources through co-occupations like Dairy, Poultry, fishing, Horticulture etc.
  • Better prices for the produce- Farmer would be able to repay all his/her loan and live life of comfort if he/she gets best prices for his/her produce. The exploitation by middlemen should be stopped by reforming the APMC acts. Further recently launched e-NAM scheme has potential to provide good prices for the agricultural produce.


The recently emerging trend where loans taken from banks and microfinance are propelling farmers to suicide is disturbing. The government has promised to double the income of farmers by 2022. Government should take all the necessary steps as farmers would be in position to live a better life only when his/her income rises.


General Studies – 3

Topic:  Cropping pattern

7) It is argued that increasing domestic production of pulses is the only option to produce surplus pulses in India. In this regard, outline strategies which can increase domestic production of pulses. (200 Words)



India is the biggest producer, as well as the largest consumer and importer of pulses. The country has not been able to increase productivity, raising the question what ails the pulses agriculture? In 2013-14, India produced 19.25 million tonnes of pulses, which a year later came down to 17.3 million tonnes, necessitating more imports. For several decades after Independence, more or less until 2008, our production of pulses remained almost static—in the range of 14 million tonnes. It is only recently that the need to increase domestic pulses production has attracted attention, due to the sudden spurt in prices in open markets.

Reasons for shortage of pulses-

  • Pulses in India are mostly grown in rain-fed areas with unstable and uncertain rainfall conditions, which increases the risk of crop failure.
  • Poor access to storage and milling facilities causes further risk to farmers, as unshelled pulses have a low shelf life.
  • Additionally, poor market linkages cause constrains in effectively meeting market demand.
  • Compared to the prices farmers get for wheat and rice, the procurement prices for pulses are low. This becomes a disincentive for farmers to grow pulses. 
  • Stagnant production and productivity over the years, hovering around 14-17 million tonnes annually, unable to meet nations demand.
  • Not many farmers taking up pulses due to associated risks like low production, pests, diseases and price risks.
  • Area under pulses is reducing as when rain fed area becomes irrigated, farmers have a tendency to switch over to other crops which are more profitable (like paddy and wheat).

Importing pulses from outside in the longer run is not an option as global markets have uncertain supply and it is unsustainable to meet our huge demand. Thus increasing the domestic production is the only option.

Strategies to increase domestic production-

  • Better MSP prices for pulses- Government has to provide farmers with MSP that makes pulses production attractive vis-a-vis crops like wheat and rice. Merely announcing higher MSPs isn’t enough; the government should commit itself to procuring pulses at the announced MSPs, as it does for wheat.
  • Area expansion- Substantial additional area can be brought under pulses by adopting cropping systems like mung/urad beans as catch crops in summers under cereal-based cropping system, inter-cropping with short-duration pulses (mung, urad and cowpea) in sugarcane, millet, cotton, etc, and new cropping system such as pigeon pea and wheat in northern region, rice and lentil in eastern region, and urad and rice in southern peninsula.
  • Targeting large farmers will bring higher returns: Given the high price risk of growing pulses, production by large farmers who possess more than five acres of land would be prudent. They can diversify into pulses and have greater risk-absorbing capacity in case of inadvertent loss. Such progressive farmers can also be monitored and trained easily.
  • Creation of infrastructure for storage: Investment in storage needs to be achieved to ensure quality seed supply and maintaining buffer stocks. Creation of seed storage facility is more important in coastal belt or states receiving higher rainfall. Farmers can be encouraged to store seeds of pulses or grains in such stores on payment basis. Credit facilities to the farmers can be extended on the basis of seed/grain stored in such places.
  • Increasing mechanization: Mechanization would play a key role in modernization of agriculture due to its benefits of improved labour efficiency and productivity, efficient use of expensive farm inputs, reduction of human drudgery and timeliness of operations.
  • Promotion of micro-irrigation system for life saving irrigation: Pulses are largely grown under rainfed conditions and moisture stress leads to reduction in productivity. Sub-optimal moisture in the soil at the time of sowing leads to poor germination and plant stand. High emphasis should be given on water conservation so that the pulses received required irrigations. Micro-irrigation (sprinkler irrigation) needs to be promoted for pulses.
  • Integrated pest management: There is a need to promote integrated pest management (IPM) approach for managing this devastating pest. An effective pest surveillance mechanism should be put in place at district/block level and region specific advisories should be given to farmers for pest management. 
  • Creation of seed hubs: There is a need for enhancing seed availability of new varieties. Seed rolling plans should be developed for each state and followed. Up scaling of already developed models for production of quality seed at village level involving various stakeholders is needed. Ensuring supply of quality seeds of improved varieties need to addressed to achieve desired seed replacement rate.
  • Knowledge empowerment of stakeholders: Concerted efforts are needed on knowledge empowerment of farmers, extension personnel and other stakeholders. ICAR-Indian Institute of Pulses Research and NARES can play a proactive role in empowerment of stakeholders including farmers. The training programs must be organized for value addition to pulses.


Topic:  e-technology in the aid of farmers 

8) Climate change is accompanied by increasing weather uncertainty. Farmers, especially smallholder farmers, need advance warning of emergent weather conditions at a local level. Examine how agrometeorological services can be organised to make smallholder farming climate-resilient on a larger scale. (200 Words)



Climate variability, irregular rainfall behavior, and unexpected meteorological events directly impact ecosystems, water availability threatening agricultural production systems and livelihoods. The unpredictability of weather changes are increasingly undermining farmer’s confidence in their traditional knowledge and their capacity to cope with and adapt to these changes.

Agrometerology refers to utilization of climate-weather forecasting or studies for the exclusive use in agricultural field. The growing threat of climate change has resulted into increasingly unpredictable seasons and rise in natural calamities both in scale and intensity in recent years.

Agrometeorological services can be organized to make smallholder farming climate-resilient in following ways-

  • Local weather data and short-range forecasts:Need to sensitize farmers to local weather variability and how it affects crop and livestock. Key weather information enables farmers to anticipate and prepare for likely problems that can arise due to changing weather conditions.
  • Information dissemination and feedback:information is to be disseminated through mobile telecommunication networks (via SMSs) directly to individual farmers, announcements and posters.
  • Automated content management system: Dynamic system aligns forecast weather conditions and disseminates to the recipient farmer the advisory particular to his/her crop to minimize the damage.
  • On-site capacity building:Establishing relationships, providing farmers regular on-farm extension support, knowledge, technology transfer, and linkage building can help to increase productivity, reduce costs, and build capacities of farmers to cope with climate and market risks.
  • Impact, Uptake and Feedback of Agro-advisories:Yield increases and cost reductions were realized most when agrometeorological advisories were supported by on-site extension support.
  • To help in damage detection in insurancethe recently launched Fasal Bima Yojana takes help of technology like drones and satellites to determine the damage of crops thereby determining amount of insurance to be paid.
  • Increasing awareness- the latest technological advancements could be used for increasing overall awareness of farmers and other stakeholders.


The message must be holistic in nature, build on customary practices and focus not only on current needs—reducing risks, increasing productivity and higher incomes—but also with an eye on the future—addressing issues of sustainability, improving resilience and building adaptive capacities.