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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 March 2017

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 March 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 : Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1) Write a short note on the features and significance of important festivals and dances of the people of India’s northeastern region. (200 Words)

The Hindu

North East India, commonly known as the “Seven Sisters” comprises of seven states- Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.  Each state is unique and culturally rich in its own way. A traveller’s paradise, with picturesque hills and green meadows, the states provide a vast scope for angling, boating, river rafting, trekking and hiking. All the above states are scarcely populated and are mainly full of tribal population. The people of these states are always on a celebration spree. The festivals are celebrated round the year with lots of dance and music. Some festivals celebrate the harvesting season and some are celebrated for worshipping the god.


  • Most of their festivals are associated with thanking the nature for the bounty that it had offered and mostly are offered for the sun god.
  • All their festivals are associated with joyous dancing with agile movements and blowing trumpets and other instruments made of local material.
  • No inequality is observed in celebrations, and every sect of the society participates. Women also are involved in dancing with their counterparts.
  • Their festivals are manipulated with only what they harvest and there are no grand extravaganzas in these states which makes them more inclusive.
  • The festivals are community based and enhance the relation between the tribal communities.
  • These festivals are transferred from one generation to other oral transition as many languages have no written script.
  • Dominant Woman participation is one of the remarkable features of north eastern festivals.
  • Many festivals are linked with Agricultural practices and other livelihood practices such as flower export and wine distribution.


Their importance for nature in every festival is significant, given the savage caused to ecology by festivals in other part of the country. eg Art of living in Yamuna banks.

The less cost associated with festivals and its inclusive nature are a giveaway advice, to all cultures in India.

Significance of north eastern festivals can be elaborated as per the name of the festivals given below:

Hornbill Festival in Nagaland

Nagaland has found its place in the international and national cultural tourism circuit in a big way by popularizing the Hornbill festival. The Hornbill is one of the most popular birds of Nagaland as it is exclusively found there. Using the mating season of this bird as a backdrop the festival shows the lives and passions of the tribes.

Losar in Arunachal Pradesh

Many tribes of Arunachal like Sherdukpens, Nah, Memba, Khamba follow the Mahanaya sect of Buddhism and for them this is a wonderful and joyous occasion. The Losar happens every year on the eleventh of February and the first day begins with the junior priests offering the Dharmapala obeisance.

Moatsu Mong Nagaland

Moatsu Mong is a festival that is celebrated by the Ao tribes in Nagaland. This is one festival which is all about celebrating the sensual pleasures of drinking, feasting and dancing. Every year between 1st of May-3rd of May the festivities begin in Mokokochung district and all the wells are cleaned while locals prepare themselves to brew beer.

Lui Ngai Ni

The quain festival of Lui Ngai Ni is held every year in the month of February on 15th. This festival marks the beginning of the seed sowing season. The tribes of Manipur are very closely knit and Lui Ni being a community festival is celebrated with a lot of warmth. The spirit of this festival is all about community harmony and love.

Saga Dawa in Sikkim

Saga Dawa is one of the biggest festivals in Sikkim and it’s held in the lunar Tibetan month. The night of the full moon signifies an auspicious day for the Buddhists and they call the entire month Saga Dawa. This time is known as the month of Merit and it symbolizes the various phases of Buddha’s life like birth, enlightenment attainment and demise.

Anthurium in Mizoram

The festival is named after the beautiful flower of Anthurium that blooms during autumn and summer. This red and vibrant crimson floral hue paints the tiny village of Reiek in Mizoram and locals derive their entire livelihood from this flower.

Bihu in Assam

Bihu festival in Assam celebrates the advent of the New Year. The Assamese celebrate this festival thrice every year; Bohag/ Rongali Bihu, Kaati or Kongali Bihu and Maagh or Bhogali Bihu. Every year on 14th April there is a huge celebration on account of Bohag Bihu.

Lossong in Sikkim

Lossong in Sikkim is celebrated with a lot of pomp in the month of December. This festival marks the beginning of the harvesting season in Sikkim. The Bhutia and Lepcha tribes are the primary proponents of this festival though now it is celebrated by almost all locals of Sikkim. The black hat dance of Sikkim where dancers put on huge black masks and engage in mock fights with each other is very famous.


Topic:  History of the world 

2) Examine how the world has ensured that since the end of the World War II nuclear weapons have not been used, especially despite major events such as the Cold War. Is this stability of seven decades under threat now? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


The United States dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively, during the final stage of World War II. The two bombings, which killed at least 129,000 people, remain the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in history. Despite of continuous tension between two superpowers at world level during cold war era, nuclear weapon was not used. The reasons for this deterrence can be cited as

  • The destructive nature of nuclear bombing on Japan was an eye opener for all nations. International community criticized this American step for longer period of time.
  • Post world war cooperation in order to reconstruct the destroyed socioeconomic conditions led to the consensus on no use of nuclear weaponry.
  • Establishment of United Nations and International Atomic Energy Agency avoided the escalation of conflicts that may lead to use of nuclear weapons. The continuous efforts to keep open dialogue channel avoided extreme steps by countries.
  • Framing and enforcement of treaties such as NPT, and CTBT.
  • Display of pragmatism by the two superpowers, in defusing crises such as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In contemporary scenario the possibility of nuclear warfare is at international discourse due to following aspects.

  • Rise in right winged populism in America and European countries mainly after the economic crash of 2008.
  • Nuclear weapon has reached to many countries due to state and non-state actors’ involvement in illicit trade of arms, ammunition and nuclear technology.
  • Continuous acts of provocation by countries like North Korea, in clear violation of international sanctions has led to application Brinkmanship theory.
  • A perceptible change in the attitude of the leaders of the West, such as in USA and UK, where populism and radicalism, is attempting to trump the liberal world order that has been crafted so carefully for close to seven decades.
  • Anti-immigrant policies along with the rise of ambitious China (in view of South China Sea) and a rising terrorism gives a clear perception of destabilizing world.
  • Social media growing influence & spread of fake news embolden the instability feelings.


Even though the threats are increasing there is existence of world level institutions that simultaneously tries to maintain peace and stability. Achieving Prosperity, stability, peace is long distant dreams untill all the countries came together on a common platform keeping the goal of benefits of mankind. Stockpiling of weapons based on arguments of Deterrence will lead us nowhere. Need of the hour is to strengthen the multilateral institutions by including the voice of developing & LDCs, being ethical in decisions & thus inching closer towards a Peaceful & prosperous world.


 General Studies – 2

Topic:  Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act. 

3) Do you think disqualifying someone from running for elections but allowing messages and welfare assistance to flow in their name is against the spirit of the law? Discuss critically with suitable examples. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Places and programmes are named after individuals to honour their memories, often because they had a special association with the place or programme’s founding. However questions get raised when public places or programs are named after dented politicians.

Using name of politicians having criminal record for welfare programs and projects goes against spirit of law because-

  • The resources used by states or government are collected from citizens and tax-payers. The government is a institution through which these resources are put to judicious use for the benefit of public. However recent some trends shows that politicians use this money for their personal elevation. Eg Bihar, Tamil Nadu etc.
  • The objective of government program is to achieve constitutional values like justice, equality, equitable distribution of resources. But using names of disqualified or dented politicians promotes adverse distinction and is direct antithesis to democracy.
  • Government message and schemes must be completely a apolitical and devoid of any party preference. The use of tax payer money to fund “personality cults” would defeat the very purpose of government objective.
  • Indian political system is witnessing criminalization of politics and politicization of criminals. Over a third of Lok Sabha MPs in 2014 had criminal cases against them and over a fifth were serious cases, according to data from the Association for Democratic Reforms, a think tank. It would be travesty of public trust if taxpayer’s money is used for glorifying criminal politicians. Criminality in politics is not just commonplace, it is becoming the new normal and the use of imagery and names is part of the glue that seals this state of affairs in place.
  • Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, says that MPs or MLAs convicted of certain offences, including for corruption, are disqualified from the time they are convicted until six years have passed after their prison sentence is completed. Disqualifying someone from running for elections but allowing messages and welfare assistance to flow in their name is counter-intuitive to the spirit of the law and the consequences it seeks to impose upon those who run afoul of it.

Way forward-

According to guidelines laid down by Supreme Court photographs of only three dignitaries should be allowed on government ads and programs—the President, Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and chief minister and governor in case of state. Further any of these person’s name should be dropped if they found to be indulging into criminal activities or disqualified for elections.


Topic:  Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate. 

4) In the light of the recent ruling of the European Union’s top court giving member-states the right to grant or deny asylum to refugees, critically comment on the implications of this ruling and on the larger issue of Europe’s responsibility to protect refugees. (200 Words)

The Hindu


In a defining verdict this week on the immigration crisis, of a magnitude not seen since World War II, the final judgment of the European Court of Justice of the 28-nation bloc overturned the opinion of its prosecutor, which is rather unusual for the institution.

According to the International Organization for Migration, over 430,000 asylum seekers and migrants reached the EU so far this year, with over 2,700 dead or missing in the attempt.



  • Each country will be able to allow or deny refugees as per their own convineance and capability This will create a practical targets and possible mechanisms.
  • The European countries are already crisis driven like unemployment, poverty, sovereign debt crisis hence they will now be able to divert the resources for their own purposes.
  • These countries will be able to stop the influx of possible terrorists and will be able to curb future attacks
  • Maintenance of cultural homogeneity and prevention of clash of ideas will also be done


  • It will boost far right parties demanding ban on migrants
  • European union will be painted as shunning from its responsibility of handling refugee crisis. It will also abdicate its responsibility under 1951 Refugee Convention.
  • It will be a immoral and unethical decision on part of EU to celebrate such step

The EU continues to emphasize preventing departures and combating smuggling over a coordinated approach based on access to protection and respect for human rights, including through problematic cooperation with Turkey and other transit countries.The EU should sustain robust search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean and expand safe and legal channels into the EU. Increased direct resettlement from the countries bordering Syria, notably Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, and other refugee-producing countries would benefit people seeking asylum and allow for better screening and vetting thereby protecting national security. EU countries should ensure more equitable responsibility sharing for asylum seekers, and implement common EU standards on reception conditions and asylum procedures.


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

5) Discuss the merits and demerits of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act of 2012. (200 Words)

The Hindu

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill, 2011
Protects children from sexual abuse and exploitation, and establishes special courts to exclusively deal with cases of child abuse and exploitation. 
  • The Bill seeks to protect children from offences such as sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography. India is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child since 1992. The parties to the Convention are required to take measures to prevent children from being coerced into any unlawful sexual activity.
  • Any person below the age of 18 years is defined as a “child”. The Bill seeks to penalise any person who commits offences such as “sexual harassment”, “sexual assault”, “penetrative sexual assault”, and “aggravated penetrative sexual assault”.
  • A person shall be guilty of using a child for pornographic purposes if he uses a child in any form of media for the purpose of sexual gratification through representation of sexual organs of a child or using a child in sexual acts or other types of obscene representation. The penalty is rigorous imprisonment for upto five years and a fine. On subsequent convictions, the term of imprisonment is upto 7 years and fine.
  • The Bill also includes penalties for storage of pornographic material and abetment of an offence.
  • An offence committed under this Act shall be reported to either the local police or the Special Juvenile Police Unit who has to report the matter to the Special Court within 24 hours. The police also have to make special arrangement for the care of the child. In case a person fails to report a case, he shall be penalised. Also, the Bill includes penalties for making false complaints.
  • Each district shall designate a Sessions Court to be a Special Court. It shall be established by the state government in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court. The state government shall appoint a Special Public Prosecutor for every Special Court. The Court shall, as far as possible, complete the trial within one year. The trial shall be held in camera and in the presence of the child’s parents or any person trusted by the child.
  • The guardian of the child has the right to take assistance from a legal counsel of his choice, subject to the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  • If an offence has been committed by a child, it shall be dealt with under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.


1 CHILD FRIENDLY PROCESS:-A child’s statement can be recorded with child permission n in simple language even at the child’s residence or a place of his choice n done by a female police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector.
– Protect children under age of 18 from sexual crimes.
2 PUNISHMENT:-Punishes those involve in child traffics
-Punishes those who not report or have knowledge that an offence has been committed i.e. media personnel, staff of hotel/ lodges, hospitals, clubs.
– It is now mandatory for police to register an FIR in all cases of child abuse. 
Medical facilities to be available within 24 hours of crime.
information should be given CWC (Child welfare committee) n child can be taken out from his house if any threat is being used.
State gov. Should give compensation within 30 days of judgement.

1 CONSENT: If the child refuses to undergo medical examination but the family member or investigating officer insting the POCSO Act is silent and does not give clear direction.
2 MEDICAL EXAMINATION: conflicting legal position arises when female doctor is not available n Criminal law says anybody on duty can do examination.
3 TREATMENT COST: the hospital and establishment has to provide free medical care to the survivors or the State should take responsibility of reimbursing the cost otherwise hospital may provide substandard medical treatment.
4 CONSENTED SEXUAL INTIMACY: Sexual contact between two adolescents or between an adolescent and an adult are considered illegal under the POCSO act.
5 CHILD MARRIAGES: Child marriage are considered illegal under the POCSO Act, 2012 but it enjoys sanction under certain Personal Law thus complicating matters.
6 REPORTING: It is well known that the cases of child sexual abuse are usually not reported. Both survivors and family members feel embarrassed and ashamed bearing the guilt, anger, frustration.
-does not take MENTAL age as parameter thus injustice to those suffering from them.


Topic: Powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies

6) Critically analyse the pivotal role being played by the Election Commission and the UPSC in strengthening India’s democracy. (200 Words)

Laxmikanth – Indian Polity, Constitutional Bodies

Dr. Ambedkar had said, “constitution and its values’ working is dependent on people who are working on it and not on the constitution and values themselves”. Value like democracy can survive only when govt is people-centric , policies are favourable to people and people are sovereign. To achieve this, good politicians and bureaucrats are necessary


Election commission by conducting free, fair and transparent elections makes sure right people occupy power. If regular elections are conducted, there are more chances that extreme forces will join democratic system. Many north east states shed their violence and participated in the elections. Fair elections give more legitimacy to govt. which can implement schemes effectively. Only fair elections give chance to honest people to reach highest level of politics and for middle class to social progress.

 A Pakistani journalist has said “I am not afraid of India by size but afraid of India because of its gigantic election process.

However, there are some problems – use of money and liquor, paid news, criminals entering into politics makes election commission’s role less effective. Those issues must be addressed by giving more powers to election commission.

Further ECI has taken many steps to make election process truly democratic :

  • political empowerment of society through ensuring art 226 and 227 (adult suffrage and electoral rolls)
  • creating checks and balances in our political arena through various means like MCC.
  • check on undemocratic practices like use of money and muscle power through means of repolling and cancellation 
  • making democracy strong and vibrant through constant research and advisory to govt and judiciary of India e.g. EVM, state funding of elections, NOTA ,etc.
  • persuading political parties to uphold high standards of moral values and fairness in election process; declaration of property as well as criminal record .


UPSC is bulwark of meritocracy. Role of UPSC in selecting candidates by merit is essential to strengthen democratic values ; as good administrators will implement good policies, good implementation, low corruption, compassion towards poor people. Mostly poor and middle class people depend on education for social and economic upliftment. When govt does not provide equal and fair opportunities, these people are at disadvantage . When integrity and meritocracy is maintained in employment ,justice is done. Bureaucrats selected through such process truly represent society.

However , some concerns are there – UPSC has no control or regulatory role in state service commissions which has become a den of corruption, and more transparency and reforms in examination are required.


  • uphold values of merit and caliber through rigorous selection process to Indian bureaucracy 
  • provide vital data and information about functioning of Indian civil services to govt and other agencies 
  • advisory functions towards govt in order to ensure high standards of civil services in terms of education , moral values
  • provide key inputs toward reforms in civil services to match current trends and needs 
  • play vital role in overall development of sensitive,ethical ,efficient civil services in India


 Role of these institutions has been of great significance in functioning and strength of Indian democracy. However, such institutions has proven insignificant in bringing radical positive changes with change of time. To make these institutions true bulwarks of vibrant and dynamic democracy , they should be given more autonomy and powers according to demands of changing times.


TopicPowers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies

7) What are the important functions of Finance Commission? Do you think Finance Commission is functioning as an arbitrator between the Union and State governments? Critically examine. (200 Words)

Laxmikanth – Indian Polity, Constitutional Bodies

The Hindu

Article 280 of the constitution mandates President to constitute a Finance commission every fifth year. The constitutional intent behind Finance commission is to uphold principle of Federalism in financial matters.

  1. To recommend a formula for distribution of Net proceeds of Central Taxes between Centre and States
  2. To recommend a formula for distribution of State’s share of Central Taxes among themselves.
  3. To make recommendations regarding Grants-in -aid to States in need under Article 275.
  4. To make recommendations on matters referred to it by the centre in the interests of Sound Finance.
  5. To make recommendations to States to augment their respective constitutional funds in the interest of Local government resources.


  • Constitutional obligation is, to act as arbitrator between center and state because of its QUASI-JUDICIAL nature.
  • It tries to devolve funds according to the needs of the state and not on basis of one-size-fits-to-all :- income distance; Population; area; demographic changes; forest cover. But, at the same time, many states have complained that the formula used for devolution treats the states on unequal grounds.
  • 14th FC also increased %age under disbursal i.e 42% [highest leap ever]. No doubt FC recommendation of 42 percent of unconditional devolution has enhanced the fiscal space of state but few recommendation have become bone of contention such as –
    -Reduction of the horizontal devolution percentage, significantly affecting states like TN ,Odisha, etc.
    -Additional burden of funding priority sectors such as health and education fall on the state where central support has been lessened
    -devolution of performance-based funds to local bodies(10pc for PRIs n 20pc for ULBs) will be discretion of centre now
    -focus on development of backward regions without resolving the reduction of debt burden.
  • At the same time, while the Planning Commission was in existence, it was perceived as overshadowing the role of the Finance Commission when it came to determining the share of resources between the Union and the states by way of allocation, despite it being a non-constitutional and non-statutory body.
  • However, the finance commission is constitutionally lopsided towards union for the fact that only Central Government can decide it’s Term of reference. Hence centre always put forth its own view of States fiscal situation in giving terms of reference to Finance commission, which is a leverage to union over states in fiscal matters. But States also needed a voice along with centre in deciding on terms of reference.

Conclusion – 

With the Planning Commission being replaced by the NITI Aayog now, the Finance Commission’s mandate should be revisited. The suggestions concerning to make it a permanent body, can be taken into account, as it will further strengthen its position in the sphere of financial federalism.


General Studies – 3

Topic:  Indian economy  – growth and development

8) How is India becoming digital? What are the challenges and potentials? Examine. (200 Words)


The term ‘digital’ is now quite synonymous with the daily lives of a number of people across the world. The very concept of being digital, or a way of carrying out various activities without a physical interface is receiving a strong boost today, more so in countries like India.

India is becoming digital in the following ways :

  1. Various policies and programmes of the government, such as the ‘Digital India’ initiative, ‘Bharatnet’ programme to connect gram panchayats and the promotion of the concept of digital governance, is quickly gaining ground among the policy-makers.
  1. Increased usage of mobile phones in the last decade, and the continuously increasing access to smartphones in particular.
  1. A great impetus for e-commerce over the years, with companies like ‘Flipkart’ and ‘Amazon’ changing the very way in which business is carried out.
  1. Digitization of services – JAM -TRINITY, digital economy initiative ,etc. Google has so far made 120 railway stations Internet-enabled, through a partnership with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp. (IRCTC).
  1. Tremendous rise in users of social media – Facebook, twitter, etc.

Various initiatives taken by government in digitization of India in various streams include –


  1. PRAGATI- makes governance in India more effective and responsible addressing common man’s grievance and monitoring the functions of state and centre.
  2. online faciltiy to get PAN CARD , e Registration of voter id, income tax return filings etc
  3. digital boost to MGNREGA – helps the implementation agencies with live data from the worksites, an online and real-time updating of data base, real-time visibility of the data for complete transparency, and location of assets with geo-tagging for easy verification.
  4. TWITTER Samvad- facilitates communication of leaders with public making them aware of all happenings of government

The Digital India- this initiative aims to integrate government departments and the people of India by ensuring the government services are made available to citizens electronically by reducing paperwork.



1.e-money order, instant money order , mobile money transaction system(MMTS) by department of posts ensuring quick and secure transfer of money
2.CASHLESS transactions and payment wallets 
3. promotion of JAM trinity


1.SMS Based cyclone warning system and satellite warning for disaster management
2. MADAD portal- where Indians living abroad can register consular grievances and get redressal
3. Jeevan pramaan scheme – pensioners can provide digital life certificates .
4. DIGITAL LOCKER: has the digital certificates of academics and personal data which could be shared when necessary other than carrying hard copies of certificates.

The government has launched a National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) that has penetrated rural areas.


“There is a World Bank report which says that a 10% increase in broadband penetration (in India) can lead to a 1.4% increase in GDP (gross domestic product), making Internet important for enhancing the growth of the economy.”

IT sector contributes largest to the India ‘s GDP. Digital India can further contribute to the growth of IT sector.

 It would ensure efficient working of the Govt organizations, faster delivery of services and thus improve ease of doing business. Corruption is major problem, so resources are not reaching targeted, remote, destinations and no effective utilization. All these problems can be solved through digitization. Ex- chattisgarh PDS reforms, e-seva in andhra. Black money is another problem that can be addressed through digital economy and tax evasion can also be reduced to certain extent.

It can also help in providing digital health solutions by connecting patients with doctors digitally.

JAM – it has potential to change the lives of people. Example- the impact of M-pesa in kenya in transforming lives.

  • Digital Literacy remains low.
  • Cyber-security -Lack of adequate infrastructure to protect data. E.g Security Details of cardholders of some leading banks were compromised recently.
  • Rural penetration – Many rural areas remains isolated from internet and cellular services.
  • Infrastructure –

-Digital service set ups are not robust enough to cater needs of large customer-base  at a time.

-proper and efficient access to connectivity in geo -strategic areas with challenging physical features like seven sister states, border states etc.

  • effective database management, skilled professionals , inclusive development with equal opportunities.
  • management of e-waste, as more digitization more electronic waste.


Becoming digital is indeed the way forward for India, due to a number of attendant benefits, such as ease of access and operation, and also because of the spill-over effects in the domain of curbing corruption and maladministration. But, at the same time, the importance of becoming digital with the necessary security in place, coupled with ensuring greater awareness and access for the deprived populace is also a priority that should not be ignored. This can be addressed through steps like increasing digital awareness, literacy ,PPP partnership, etc. to unleash the true potential of a digital India.