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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 January 2017


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 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:Distribution of key natural resources

1) It is said that the importance of water in the 21st century is comparable to that of oil in the 20th. Critically analyse  water’s strategic relevance to today’s world. (200 Words)



Oil has assumed the unprecedented importance in the 20th century on account of its use in aviation, industries, vehicles and various other uses in day to day life. Similarly water has assumed the greater importance in 21st century. In fact importance of water goes beyond that of oil because there are some alternatives to oil like natural gas, wind, solar or nuclear energy but alternative to water is only water.

Water’s strategic relevance to today’s world-

  • Terrorist organizations like Islamic State (IS) can take control of important water resources to force the resilient towns or villages into submission. Further, attacks on water infrastructure would ruin the life of people living in the vicinity of water body.
  • Water canals like Suez and Panama are critically important for the world trade. Disruption of such water links by terrorists or any other reason like civil war would hamper the world trade badly.
  • Trans-national rivers have attained the greater importance at present. Water conflicts over such rivers are increasingly rising among the riparian states. For eg conflict between India and Pakistan over river Indus and its tributaries, conflict over river Nile in North Africa etc.
  • Control over seas and water bodies have given strategic advantage to the nations controlling it. For eg areas like South China Sea, Andaman Sea, Malakka Strait, Black Sea etc have been critical in such aspects.
  • Water bodies are playing important role in supplying natural resources to the surrounding nations. For eg natural resources like oil, natural gas, poly-metallic nodules etc.
  • Oceans and Rivers are most important sources of the food through activities like fishing for coastal and inland areas.

Way forward-

  • Though the water has been issue of number of conflicts the world over, there are also hopes of using water as a medium to bring world peace. To pave the way for such an approach, however, the UN Security Council will have to declare water a “strategic resource of humanity” and adopt a resolution to protect water resources and installations, similar to Resolution 2286, adopted to protect medical facilities in armed conflicts.
  • In the longer term, countries that share riparian systems will need to establish regional security arrangements to preserve and protect their resources. With collaborative management underpinning collective protection, water, often a source of competition and conflict, could become a facilitator of peace and cooperation. Countries in the Congo basin are setting up right example. Denis Sassou-Nguesso, president of the Republic of the Congo, is at the forefront of this movement, leading a group of eight governments towards the establishment of the Blue Fund for the Congo Basin. If successful, the Fund will help to mitigate climate change, create new avenues of river-based employment, and promote collective security in an unstable region.


General Studies – 2

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

2) It is said that measles-rubella, pneumococcal conjugate and rotavirus vaccines will boost the Universal Immunisation Programme. Explain how. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


Universal Immunization Programme is a vaccination program launched by the Government of India in 1985. It became a part of Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Program in 1992 and is currently one of the key areas under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) since 2005.

The basket of vaccines in India’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) was static for many years until the entry of the Pentavalent [which protects against 5 infections — diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae Type B in one shot], and Japanese Encephalitis vaccines during the UPA regime. 

Even after addition of pentavalent vaccines, India’s UIP needs to add other vaccines to fight diseases like Congenital Rubella Syndrome, Pneumonia and Rotavirus infections. These diseases have been responsible for the large number of deaths.

How these vaccines would boost the UIP?

  • Congenital Rubella Syndrome, or CRS, is believed to affect about 25,000 children born in India every year. Symptoms can include cataracts and deafness, and the disease can also affect the heart and the brain.
  • Pneumonia and diarrhoea have long been responsible for the most child deaths in India — ballpark estimates say pneumonia is responsible for about 20% of under-5 child mortality in India, of which half are of pneumococcal origin. In 2008, the World Health Organization’s Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group reported that 5 countries in which 44% of the world’s children aged less than 5 years live (India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nigeria) contribute more than half of all new pneumonia cases annually. It estimated around 43 million pneumonia cases (23% of the global total) and an incidence of 0.37 episodes per child-year for clinical pneumonia in India.
  • Rotavirus infections are the most common cause of diarrhoea in children. Estimated 1 lakh children die every year of the disease. According to a study by researchers from AIIMS, Christian Medical College, Vellore and Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, rotavirus infections could be costing India between Rs 135 crore and Rs 261 crore annually. 

With these new vaccines, India’s UIP will now provide free vaccines against 13 life threatening diseases, to 27 million children annually. It is one of the most significant health policies in the last 30 years along with the recently introduced pentavalent vaccine. It will help prevent death in about one lakh infants and adults in the working age group, besides putting a stop to about 10 lakh hospitalizations each year.

The recommendations to introduce these new vaccines have been made after numerous scientific studies and comprehensive deliberations by the National Technical Advisory Group of India (NTAGI), the country’s apex scientific advisory body on immunisation.

The introduction of new lifesaving vaccines will play a key role in reducing the childhood and infant mortality and morbidity in the country. Many of these vaccines are already available through private practitioners to those who can afford them. The government will now ensure that the benefits of vaccination reach all sections of the society, regardless of social and economic status.


Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

3) Analyse today’s key global trends and their impact on the world and India. (200 Words)



Recently two significant reports were released on global trends and risks and how to address them. The first is the Geneva-based World Economic Forum’s annual The Global Risks Report 2017, released on the eve of the Davos jamboree, which identified five key global risks. The second is Global Trends: Paradox Of Progress, a quadrennial effort of the US National Intelligence Council, which looks at the implications of several existing trends until 2035. Both reports identify a number of common trends and factors. 

Among the key trends are: rising income and wealth disparity; the challenges of climate change; the increasing polarization of societies; the growing cyber dependency, without the attendant secure infrastructure; ageing population, especially in richer countries, but a growing working population in poorer countries; the role of rapidly growing technology, such as artificial intelligence and automation in both providing new opportunities but also causing disruptions in traditional economic models; and the changing nature of conflict, which can now be sustained at a distance on account of disruptive technologies.


Impact on the world-

  • Global Risksargues that the crisis with democracy might be on account of the dramatic changes brought about by rapid economic growth and technological innovations, which have translated into greater income inequality at the domestic level.  For instance, in the US, between 2009 and 2012, the income of the top 1% grew by more than 31% while that of the rest grew by less than 0.5%. Other democracies, such as India, which benefited from globalization, also have similar income inequality.
  • There have been several efforts to mitigate and prevent further climate changes at the global level. Initiatives like Green Climate Fund, UNFCCC, Paris and Kigali agreements etc are being explored to fight climate change. However there has been no global consensus on many environmental issues. USA has kept itself out of commitments under the international agreements like Kyoto Protocol.
  • Similarly, anti-establishment populism, local ethnic identities and cultural values have paradoxically risen on account of an interconnected world. Right wing tendencies in government have been visible in many countries including USA, UK etc. This is leading to more protectionist policies around the world. USA under new President is determined to reduce the inward migration. Most of the European countries are skeptical about giving entry to migrants from West Asia and North Africa.
  • Increasing use of digital framework has increased the cyber-attacks on digital framework. Recently USA has accused Russia of interfering in its Presidential elections. Similarly terrorists are increasingly using this weapon to dismantle the security structures in other nations.
  • Most of the industrially advanced countries in Europe, North America and Japan are facing challenge of increasing proportion of adult population. They are facing the human resource shortages. Such countries have adopted new technologies like artificial intelligence and automation to mitigate the shortages of human resource. However the majority countries in Africa and Latin America are witnessing population bubble and need huge investments in health and education to exploit the demographic dividend.
  • The traditional approach of state-based interaction in multilateral institutions like the UN to establish norms to cope with these trends is unlikely to be timely or effective. Instead, the reports make a case for multi-stakeholder multilateralism, where traditional instruments of state work along with the private sector, civil society and local governments to address challenges.

Impact on India-

  • Similarly for India policies like Globalization and Liberalization have benefited to the only minuscule percentage of population. India’s richest one per cent now holds a huge 58 per cent of the country’s total wealth. The continuation of the situation could lead to unrest among the poorer sections which could undermine the democratic credentials of the country.
  • India is facing many adverse impacts of climate changes like increasing droughts, uneven rains, floods etc. India has committed itself under the INDC to reduce the emissions of green-house gases. Further India has taken leadership in forming Global Solar Alliance for increasing the use of solar energy.
  • Though India too has witnessed right wing tendencies in government, it has been more open and liberal compared to its counterparts in Europe and North America. India is voluntarily embracing the globalized framework for trade and commerce.
  • Having been committed to digital India, India’s digital infra is rapidly increasing. At the same time India’s vulnerability to cyber-attacks have increased. Further government is facing challenges to secure its huge data-base of Aadhar.
  • Increasing youth population in India has opened the doors of demographic dividend in India provided that India is successful in improving its health and educational standards.


These global trends have redefined the traditional approach of solving global and regional issues. However unless and until major countries of the world work on their differences and come together for cooperation, these global trends would only aggravate the existing issues.


Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

4) Compare and contrast powers of Delhi Lieutenant Governor’s with that of Puducherry Lieutenant Governor’s powers. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


Articles 239 to 241 in part VIII of the constitution deal with the Union territories. Even though all the union territories belong to one category, there is no uniformity in their administrative system.

Comparing and contrasting the powers of Delhi Lt Governor with that of Puducherry-

Similarities –

  • The union territories of Puducherry (in 1963) and Delhi (in 1992) are provided with a legislative assembly and a council of ministers headed by Chief Minister.

LG can act in his/her discretion in the matter of lawmaking, even though the Council of Minister advises him/her, and LG claiming that matter is urgent can take immediate action. For eg Present Lt Governor cancelled the Puducherry Government’s circular on social media use.

  • Prior sanction of the LG is required for certain legislative proposals (Section 22, 23 of GoUT Act, 1963) in both UT’s


  • General administration-

The administrative powers of Lt Governor of Delhi are wider and broader compared to his counter-part in Puduchery. For eg LG executive domain extends over public order, police and land under consultation with CM (Art.239AA).
LG of Puduchery has not been provided with such powers.

  • Governed by different Acts-
    Delhi- It is guided by the Government of National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi Act, 1991, and the Transaction of Business of the Govt. of NCT of Delhi Rules, 1993

    Puduchery- It is guided mostly by Government of UT Act, 1963
  • Relationship with elected representatives-
    Delhi- considering the importance of Delhi, LG of Delhi is vested with higher authority over elected representatives and ministers. For eg Eg- LG of Delhi Najeeb Jung cancelled the appointment of 15 Delhi government lawyers appointed by State Government. He also cancelled the appointment of DERC Chief.

    Puducherry- compared to LG of Delhi, the LG of Puduchery does not enjoy such wide powers. However according to Rule 47 of (Rules of Business of the Government of Pondicherry, 1963), states that LG has powers to regulate the conditions of service of Govt. officials in consultation with the CM, while during difference of opinion the matter can be referred to President.


Delhi is a more sensitive area being a National Capital hence Centre indirectly exerts more control over it through LG, than Puducherry. States while being under federal system, UT prominently displays unitary features. Thus, more clarity in devolution of powers with a greater share to State Govt. (SC has reasserted this) is the need of the hour.


Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity

5) What do you understand by ‘secret ballot’? Are elections held in India secret? If not, how can elections be conducted secretly and also protect voters’ privacy? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


The secret ballot is a voting method in which a voter‘s choices in an election or a referendum is anonymous, forestalling attempts to influence the voter by intimidation, blackmailing, and potential vote buying. The system is one means of achieving the goal of political privacy.

  • The secret ballot was introduced with the first elections in 1951 along with paper ballots. In 1961, under Rule 59A of the Conduct of Elections Rules, it was decided that paper ballots from different booths would be “mixed” in large drums at counting centres before counting began. It was therefore impossible to ascertain the provenance of any single vote.
  • But with the introduction of EVMs from 2008, this kind of physical mixing was no longer possible — and booth-level data was available for the first time. The Election Commission of India has been aware of this problem; it has been developing the technology to restore the secrecy of the ballot.
  • This is now available as the “Totaliser”, a new machine that mixes up votes from the hundreds of EVMs across a constituency at the time of counting, making it impossible to trace the voting patterns of individual polling booths. The Totaliser connects EVMs via their control units through a cable which enables votes from multiple polling booths to be registered and counted together and replicates the mixing of the ballot papers.

Way forward-

  • Adopt Totaliser machines:- Mixing up votes from EVMs across a constituency at the time of counting, thus making it impossible to trace the voting patterns of individual polling booth.
  • Discontinue disclosure of booth-level data, instead can show only total constituency-related data which would make mapping by parties much difficult.
  • Use of ICT:- Monitoring of election booths via CCTV to prevent ‘political goondas’ from influencing the voters
    Art 171 (3c) :-Many teachers have turned into politicians, while Govt. schools majorly host elections so many instances of collusion between school authorities and candidate have been reported.
  • Accessible locations and machines:- For disabled person, ramps at all voting sites, tactile and Braille buttons on EVMs and making process smoother so that assistance of a companion person is not required (Assiatance violates Right to secret voting) – Mobile voting is also practiced in some countries for such class of people.
  • Involving CSO :-Taking assistance from CSO like Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and MyNeta for recording of cases of manipulation/discrimination against particular social groups Eg not allowing Dalit to vote etc, and also sensitizing CSO’s to respect privacy/secrecy of voters.
  • Last alternate resort can be:- Adopt paper ballots where traditionally mixing of constituency votes have been adopted



In a country where the conduct of elections is a rare example of efficiency and where voters, despite the odds, still cling to the notion of voting as an important civic duty, this compromise of the freedom and fairness of elections is worrying and needs to be challenged. Free and fair elections is one of the basic features of Indian Constitution and secret ballot is prerequisite for it to happen.


General Studies – 3

Topic: Employment

6) It is argued that that the advanced world is unlikely to witness any growth in factory jobs, as manufacturing companies of these countries find it profitable to combine their know-how with low-wage labour in developing nations. Analyse the statement and also examine what challenges does India face in creating more jobs. (200 Words)



According to a recently released working paper, authored by Lionel Fontagné (Paris School of Economics) and Ann Harrison (University of Pennsylvania). The advanced world is unlikely to witness any growth in factory jobs, as manufacturing companies of these countries find it profitable to combine their know-how with low-wage labour in developing nations. Of course, while the corporations of the advanced world might continue to extract substantial profits from patents and technology, the paper concedes that many of the workers in these countries could lose, especially those “caught in the shift from an industrial to a service economy”.

Relevance of statement

  • Shift of manufacturing jobs to developing nations :-Due to high Availability of low cost skilled and unskilled labor, tax benefits (increase In BEPS) and local administrative support.
  • Patent base:- Strict Intellectual Property Right laws have led MNC’s to conduct R&D in home countries, while shifting manufacturing base elsewhere in low-wage nations
    Eg Apple has no manufacturing Centres in US, but recognizes all patents from its US HQ.
  • Manufacturing to Services shift (developed):-Distinction between manufacturing and services is becoming more blurry in developed nations with a shift toward latter and decrease in the number of blue-collar jobs.
  • Cost of Shifting:-Additional costs are needed to train workers for shift from industrial – service economy in developed nations (LT investments in skill training, infrastructure is needed).
  • Protectionism :-To prevent the further job shortage (outflow of jobs to other nationals), developed nations have started adopting stringent immigration policy, and pressurizing MNC to hire local workers, but such policies won’t reap in much benefits in this globalized world (decrease cost competitiveness)

Challenges to India-

  • Domestic protectionism:-By some states with a view to reduce unemployment and petty vote-bank politics Eg Karnataka reservation for Blue-collar jobs.
  • Increasing cost :-Higher investments in education, infrastructure, and social security features are needed to bring workers at par with global standards
    Eg Transnational Skill Standards (UK Standards) for increasing employability overseas, Skill India, Revamping education sector etc
  • Labour laws:- Stringent laws has exacerbated ‘entry challenges’ for foreign firms.
  • Large informal sector:- ~85-90% workers lie in this zone, which have led to inadequate protection for workers and wide income socio-economic inequality.
  • Service-led economy:- Share of manufacturing in GDP is quite low despite being labour-intensive (Emp. share = ~13%, GDP = 15%).
  • Political will :- Delay in achieving of NMP objectives, slow EIA and local opposition have led to delay in ~1/3rd of projects, and added increase of ‘collusive corruption’ has furthered the issue.
  • No export orient approach:- industries are burdened with imports, and do not want to drown, therefore not calling for additional labour.             
  • Excessive corruption, bribery and bureaucratic hurdles lead to unnecessary delays.
  • Skill requirement:- skill requirements of industries does not matches with the youth in the country . A study found out that, about 80% engineers (graduates) passing in country do not posses required skills and hence unemployable . Similar is case for management students.


Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology

7) Explain the method used by Aryabhata to measure earth’s circumference. (200 Words)



Aryabhata or Aryabhata (476–550 CE) was the first of the major mathematicianastronomers from the classical age of Indian mathematics and Indian astronomy. His works include the Āryabhaṭīya (499 CE, when he was 23 years old) and the Arya-siddhanta.

Measurement of the earth’s circumference, especially by the astronomers and mathematicians in the past, was based on the use of a number of methods such as observing the position of the planetary bodies, using angle-measuring devices, using trigonometry, or using water clocks. But the accuracy achieved by Aryabhatta is considered to be absolutely incredible, taking into account the absence of modern day tools and techniques.

The basic steps that Aryabhatta had adopted are as follows:
1. Calculating the difference in between the lengths of the shadow of a pole for two locations in the same latitude.
2. Depending on the prior knowledge of longitude, the time difference between the two points was taken into account with the help of a water clock.
3. Both the time difference and the difference in distance between the two points were noted.
4. The time difference was found to be 4 minutes for each degree of longitude. Based on it, the difference in the lengths was easy to calculate, using trigonometry.
5. As soon as the diameter was found out in this way, it was no longer difficult to arrive at a nearly accurate value of the circumference, as the value obtained for pi by him was also nearly accurate.


Topic: Awareness in S&T

8) How does e-cigarette work? Is it safe for health? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


An electronic cigarette or e-cigarette is a handheld electronic device which vaporizes a flavored liquid. Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), the most common prototype of which are e-cigarettes, are the new-age formula for people trying to quit smoking. Market research also projects the compound annual growth rate of the Indian e-cigarette industry at 63.38 per cent in the period 2013-2018 

As e-cigarettes contain nicotine and not tobacco, they do not fall within the ambit of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA), which mandates stringent health warnings on the packaging and advertisements of tobacco products.



An e-cigarette is a battery-powered device that converts liquid nicotine into a mist, or vapor, that the user inhales. There’s no fire, no ash and no smoky smell. E-cigarettes do not contain all of the harmful chemicals associated with smoking tobacco cigarettes, such as carbon monoxide and tar.

Manufacturers and satisfied customers say the e-cigarette is a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes, which cause millions of deaths every year. Some users say e-cigs have helped reduce their “smoker’s cough,” sharpened their senses of taste and smell, and even improved their sleep.

The electronic cigarette was invented by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik, who patented the device in 2003 and introduced it to the Chinese market the following year. Numerous companies are now selling e-cigarettes to customers around the world. But as e-cigarette smoking — or “vaping” as it’s sometimes called — has grown in popularity, some have concerns about its safety, including the possibility that the vapor created by the devices contains dangerous chemicals.

Lighting a traditional cigarette causes the tobacco to burn, releasing smoke that contains nicotine. The user breathes in the smoke to deliver nicotine to the lungs. An electronic cigarette doesn’t rely on this process of combustion. Instead, it heats a nicotine liquid and converts the liquid to a vapor, or mist, that the user inhales. Depending on the e-cigarette, the user may simply inhale from the cartridge to begin the vaporization process, though some devices have a manual switch that activates the vaporizer inside.

  • a rechargeable lithium battery
  • a vaporization chamber
  • a cartridge

The lithium battery powers the e-cigarette and can be charged using a charger similar to those used for cell phone batteries. The charged battery is connected to the vaporization chamber, a hollow tube that contains electronic controls and an atomizer — the component that creates the vapor. Before the user activates the device, he or she attaches a cartridge containing nicotine liquid to the vaporization chamber. The tip of the cartridge serves as the e-cigarette’s mouthpiece.

E-cigarette users inhale the way they would with a regular cigarette. This inhalation activates the atomizer to heat the liquid in the cartridge and convert the liquid to a vapor. Inhaling this vapor through the mouthpiece delivers nicotine to the lungs, and the user exhales vapor that looks much like a cloud of cigarette smoke.

Fans of e-cigarettes say they enjoy many of the same sensations as tobacco smokers — holding the device in their hand, inhaling and exhaling. Many e-cigarettes have a light-emitting diode (LED) on the end that lights up when the user inhales, simulating flame. (Artificial flame is the only safe kind when using an e-cigarette — trying to light the device could cause the battery to ignite and explode.)

The liquid or “smoke juice” that fills the cartridges is usually propylene glycol, an additive that the FDA has approved for use in food. (Fog machines that create a smoky atmosphere at stage shows also use propylene glycol.) Consumers can buy cartridges containing different amounts of nicotine, or no nicotine at all. Manufacturers usually add flavorings to the liquid. Options range from tobacco and menthol flavor to mint, chocolate, coffee, apple, cherry and caramel.

Is it safe for health?
1. Long-term health effects are still unknown.
2. E-cigarettes usually contain nicotine, which can help people to quit smoking. But on the other hand, Nicotine, itself, is highly addictive and daily exposure can cause nicotine addiction instead.
3. It can cause throat and mouth irritation, vomiting, nausea and coughing which are considered as less serious effects.
4. E-cigarettes are considered safer than tobacco products but effects of e-cigarette on tobacco-cessation is still unknown.
5. E-cigarettes don’t fall under the ambit of COPTA, which mandates stringent health warnings on the packaging, which is necessary for consumer’s awareness.
6. There are possibilities of explosion as well.
7. Accidental consumption of liquid, inside the e-cigarette, can lead to death.