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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 March 2017


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 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) What are the salient features of Carnatic and Hindustani classic music? Discuss. (200 Words)

CCRT Performing Arts


Indian classical music is a genre of South Asian music. It has two major traditions. The North Indian classical music tradition is called Hindustani, while the South Indian expression is called Carnatic. It is generally believed that the music of India was more or less uniform before the 13th century. Later it bifurcated into the two musical systems. However, the two systems continue to have more common features than differences.

The Indian classical music has two foundational elements, raga and tala. The raga forms the fabric of a melodic structure, the tala measures the time cycle. The raga gives an artist the ingredients palette to build the melody from sounds, while the tala provides him with a creative framework for rhythmic improvisation using time. Dhrupads are among the oldest classical Indian music compositions, with heroic, laudatory and spiritual themes. They are the basis for many subgenre of Indian music.

Salient features of Carnatic music-

  • Carnatic music is practiced mainly in the southern states of India like Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • Ingeniously evolved without any external influence.
  • Carnatic music is traditionally taught according to the system formulated by Purandara Dasa. This involves swaravalis , alankaras , Geethams or simple songs, and Swarajatis.
  • Carnatic music is melody based and not harmony based. In simple terms, this means that by and large, stress is placed on rendering one note at a time. Counterpoints or chords (where more than one note is heard at a time) are generally not used.
  • The system gives equal importance to melody and rhythm.
  • There is an even balance between re-creativity (soulful interpretation of the compositions of great masters) and creativity (on the spot improvisations).
  • One of the important components of the music is the vocal performance of one or more singers.
  • Most Carnatic music is improvisation based on the melody and rhythm templates of raga and tala (melody and rhythm)

Salient features of the Hindustani music-

  • It is mainly practiced in the Northern part of India.
  • It has Persian and Islamic influence and is a cultural synthesis of vedic chanting and folk music.
  • It has religious/philosophic roots.
  • It has a highly formalized grammar, dictated by textual as well as oral tradition.
  • It has different genres (Vocal genres like Alap, Dhrupad/Dhamar, Khayal, Sadra, Thumri, Bhajan, Geet etc and Instrumental genres like Alap, Masidkhani, Rajakhani, Firozkhani, Amirkhani Gat etc. These genres do not include purely percussive elements like Peshkar, Paran, kayda, Tukra, Rela etc used in recitals of solo percussion performance).
  • It has different styles (called Geeti, Bani or Baaj).
  • It has regional schools of presentation like Jodhpur Gharana, Gwalior Gharana etc. (previously known as Sampradaya and currently called Gharana).
  • It has regional variations in choice of Ragas, Talas, etc.


Indian classical music is treasure preserved since ancient ages. However in recent times it is facing tough conditions in terms of its spread and followers. Nonetheless Indian classical music would always remain the kernel of Indian culture.


TopicIndian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2) Discuss the Lasya dance as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions. (200 Words)

CCRT Performing Arts

Dance in India has a rich and vital tradition dating back to the vedas. It always had a significant place in our religious and social life. According to the ancient classification, two styles of dances are recognized – Tandav and Lasya. Tandava the masculine is heroic, bold and vigorous while Lasya the feminine is soft, lyrical and graceful.

According to Natyashastra, the ancient treatise of music dance and drama, Lasya was the dance performed by Goddess Parvati in response to the male energy of the cosmic dance of Tandava performed by Lord Shiva. The dance is extremely soft in movements and shringarik in expressions and this is performed more effectively by female dancers. The Raas Nritya of Mathura, Halisak of South India, Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri, Oddissi, Mohiniattam, Kuchipudi etc, which are performed today in various regions owe their origin to ‘Lasya’.

Three types of Lasya Nritya are practised today:

  • ‘Vikat Lasya’: The dance form in which Laya, Taal, Bhavas are exhibited while performing, is called ‘Vikat Lasya’.
  • ‘Visham Lasya’ : By using ‘Bhramari’ through horizontal, circular and slanted movements, special footwork in Laya based dance, ‘Visham Lasya’ is performed.
  • ‘Laghu Lasya’: By producing sound on earth through anklets and through Anchit Kunchit Padvinyas, ‘Laghu Lasya’ is performed.

In this dance, instruments with soft sound, high bass are used such as ‘Manjira’, ‘Flute’, ‘Ghunghroo’ (anklets), ‘Madal, ‘Khol, ‘Tabla’, ‘Tumburu’ etc.

The costumes used are extremely shringarik and attractive. The female dancers use Chunnatdar Dhoti, broad Waist Bandh and Patka. They also wear garlands of flowers in their hairs and Chunnis of bright and dark colours. The hands and neck are adorned with pearls and flowers.


General Studies – 2

Topic:  Basic structure; Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries

3) What are the merits and demerits of presidential system? Do you think India should adopt presidential system? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Modern democratic governments are classified into parliamentary and presidential on the basis of nature of relations between the executive and the legislative organs of the government. The parliamentary system of government is the one in which the executive is responsible to the legislature for its policies and acts. This type of model is prevalent in Britain, Canada, India and Japan. The presidential system of government on the other hand is one in which the executive is not responsible to the legislature for its policies and acts, and is constitutionally independent of the legislature in respect of its term of office. USA, Brazil and Russia are examples of this type of model of government.

Features of presidential system-

  • President is both the head of the state and the head of the government. As the head of the state he/she occupies a ceremonial position and as the head of the government he/she leads the executive organ of the government.
  • The President is elected by an electoral college for a fixed tenure. He/she cannot be removed by the legislature except by the impeachment for the grave constitutional act.
  • The President governs with the help of a cabinet or smaller body called ‘Kitchen Cabinet’. It is only an advisory body and consists of non-elected departmental secretaries. They are selected and appointed by him/her, are responsible only to him/her and can be removed by him/her any time.
  • The President and his/her secretaries are not responsible to the congress for their acts. They neither possess membership in the legislature nor attend its session.
  • The President cannot dissolve the legislature.
  • The doctrine of separation of power is the basis of Presidential system. The legislature, executive and judicial powers of the government are separated and vested in the three independent organs of the government.

Merits of presidential system-

  • Stable government- The Presidential system provides a stable government. There is surety that government would survive for its tenure unless the President commits grave constitutional act and is impeached.
  • Definiteness in policies- The Presidential system is conducive for the formulation and implementation of long-term policies due certainty of the tenure of the government.
  • Based on separation of powers- There is complete and rigid separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial organs of the state. This prevents the despotic tendencies of any one organ and balances the distribution of power.
  • Government by experts- The Presidential system is conducive to the administrative efficiency as ministers or secretaries are the experts in their fields. The President is free to choose his/her secretaries from the wide range of candidates and experts in their respective fields.

Demerits of Presidential system-

  • Conflict between Legislature and Executive- It is biggest drawback of the Presidential system as conflict between legislature and executive can arose due to rigid separation of powers. This may stall the functioning of government and defeat the very purpose of governance.
  • Non-responsible government- In Presidential system executives are not responsible to the legislature for their acts and policies. Thus it is difficult for elected representatives or legislative organ to exercise control over executives.
  • Autocratic tendencies- In this system executive authority is vested in single person that is President and when President enjoys support in legislature, could lead to dictatorial tendencies.
  • Narrow representation- In Presidential system secretaries are not elected members of the legislature but they are appointed by President. This restricts the scope of the wide representation and is limited to President’s favor.

Should India adopt the Presidential system?

A presidential system centralizes power in one individual unlike the parliamentary system, where the Prime Minister is the first among equals. The surrender to the authority of one individual, as in the presidential system, is dangerous for democracy. The over-centralization of power in one individual is something we have to guard against. Those who argue in favor of a presidential system often state that the safeguards and checks are in place: that a powerful President can be stalled by a powerful legislature. But if the legislature is dominated by the same party to which the President belongs, a charismatic President or a “strong President” may prevent any move from the legislature. On the other hand, if the legislature is dominated by a party opposed to the President’s party and decides to checkmate him, it could lead to a stalemate in governance because both the President and the legislature would have democratic legitimacy.

A diverse country like India cannot function without consensus-building. This “winner takes it all” approach, which is a necessary consequence of the presidential system, is likely to lead to a situation where the views of an individual can ride roughshod over the interests of different segments. Thus India is performing well on the scale of Parliamentary system and needs to strengthen it.


India’s constitutional makers adopted the Parliamentary system due to factors like familiarity of the system, preference to more responsibility, need to avoid Legislative-Executive conflict and nature of Indian society. These factors still stands relevant at present for Indian polity. In fact the matter whether to change for Presidential system was considered in detail by Swaran Singh Committee appointed by the congress government in 1975. The committee opined that the parliamentary system has been doing well and there is no need to replace with Presidential system.


Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests 

4) Compare and contrast nature and significance of India’s and China’s engagement with the nations of Middle Eastern region. (200 Words)

The Hindu


The West Asia region has become key issue in the foreign policies of global superpowers. While USA and Russia are at loggerheads over different issues, China and India are poised to play greater role in this region.


  • Historically, India’s West Asia policy has been multi-directional. During the Cold War years, India maintained close economic cooperation with both Saudi Arabia and Iran, the rival poles in regional geopolitics. Even when New Delhi warmed up to Israel in the 1990s as part of the country’s efforts to diversify its diplomatic engagement in the post-Soviet world, it was careful not to jeopardize the traditional relations with Muslim countries. The bi-directional approach has been expanded to a tri-directional foreign policy to accommodate the three key pillars of West Asia — Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel. On the other side, there appears to be a complete lack of interest on India’s part to reboot ties with Iran even after international sanctions on the country were removed following the nuclear deal.
  • China has ended its political isolation with the West Asia and is engaging actively with the nations in the region. Recently China hosted the leaders of both Saudi Arabia and Israel indicating its willingness to engage with rival partners at the same time. China may follow India’s footsteps in balancing the diplomatic relations with the regional rivals like Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iran. However India enjoys goodwill of West Asian nations on account of its non-alignment policy during cold war and huge diaspora.

Economic (Trade, Investment and Infrastructure)-

  • Beijing’s Middle East Policy can be characterized as a strong willingness for economic cooperation, while at the same time seeking to adhere to its longstanding policy of non-intervention and respect for sovereignty. China’s growing international activities, specifically those attached to the Middle East are part and parcel to a new era of “internationalization” for China. Over the years China has built strong economic ties with countries in West Asia, while staying clear of the region’s several crises and hostilities. It is one of the top buyers of oil from Saudi Arabia and a key trading partner of Israel. For Iran, Beijing remained a trusted ally even during the time of sanctions. China was one of the few countries that continued to buy oil from Iran when most others, including India, either halted trade or implemented massive cuts in imports under American pressure. China’s economic ties with West Asia assumed greater significance after Mr. Xi unveiled the One Belt, One Road initiative. West Asia plays a major role in this Silk Road revival plan, which the Chinese believe will fortify their global standing.
  • India too has strong economic interests in West Asia on account of its energy needs. India is dependent on West Asia for 70% of its oil requirement, that itself makes West Asia a vital partner in India’s quest for energy security. Besides, India is the largest recipient of foreign remittances from the West Asia. Around 11 million Indian workers are living in this region. Therefore, stability in the region is high on India’s core agenda. However India’s efforts in economic spheres do not match to that of China. India needs to invest in infrastructure building, technology and innovation and services sector to counter China’s aggressive walk.

Strategic and military-

  • Of late, China has shown a greater interest in expanding its engagement with the region beyond the economic sphere. Its relationship with Iran has already acquired strategic dimensions. It is one of the supporters of the Bashar al-Assad regime in civil war-stricken Syria. In the UN Security Council, China, along with Russia, has consistently vetoed U.S.-backed resolutions on Syria, while at the same time offering to broker peace between rival factions. China has also recognized Palestine as a state and offered support for the Palestinians. The Chinese have also urged Saudi Arabia and Israel to work together to attain peace. All this indicates that China is ready to end its strategic reluctance in dealing with West Asia and to adopt a gradualist proactive policy that suits its profile as a fast-rising global power. Also recently China conducted its first joint counterterrorism drills with Saudi Arabia in the southern Chinese city of Chongqing. It’s been doing the same with other Muslim-majority Asian nations — mostly members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization — over the past few years.
  • India has remained strictly neutral when it comes to geo-political tensions and conflicts in the region. India did not enter in Syrian crisis or in Yemen war on either side. While USA seems to retreating from its policies of active interventions after the election of Trump, the empty field may be occupied by China and Russia. Although India does not support external intervention and respects nation’s sovereignty, it may have to start participating in West Asian politics to stabilize the region thereby maintaining its own interests. India too regularly conducts military exercises with West Asian countries. With rise of Islamic state, India can help in providing expertise and best practices in counter-terrorism activities.

Cultural ties-

  • India enjoys good cultural relations with most of the West Asian nations on account of historical background and religious proximity something which China lacks. To strengthen this India has launched project Mausam which would bind countries bordering Indian Ocean. Also huge Indian diaspora numbering around 11 million is key factor in strengthening these ties. This cultural factor could play most important role in securing other dimensions of diplomacy like political, economic and strategic.
  • However China is aggressively pursuing cultural and religious relations with West Asia in its quest to dominate this region. China used state funds to build an elaborate mosque complex in Guangzhou to welcome Arab and other Muslim-majority Asian nationals to its 2010 Asian Games Event. China continues to spend a mint building halal restaurants, hotels, mosques, and Muslim cultural venues to welcome neighbors from Central Asia and the Middle East.


West Asian region is ridden with Shia-Sunni conflict, GCC-Iran rivalry, external interventions in the region and fear of rising Islamic radicalism. Both India and China have huge stakes in this region. Thus hostilities between these two Asian giants would only aggravate the exiting problems. Therefore India and China would have to device policy of mutual help and understanding and can make good use of regional platforms like BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization.


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

5) Recently, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation told restaurant owners in its jurisdiction that they should let the general public use the toilets in their restaurants and the Karnataka government has decided to cap the price of multiplex tickets. What are the merits and demerits of these two decisions, especially with respect to public policy formulation. Critically examine. Critically examine. (200 Words)



In recent years many government regulations and laws have created debate over the authority of government and its extent in public and private sphere. The recent two legislations of South Delhi Municipal Corporation and Karnataka government have brought this debate to surface.

Merits of such policies-

  • It could serve as a check on excessive profitability of the business owners at the cost of consumers. This may help in bringing level playing field for different players.
  • Certain basic facilities like toilets and wash room are rights of citizens. Thus in area where public facilities are not available or are insufficient, private parties could be helpful. It could improve health and hygienic conditions in the cities.
  • Private sector could contribute in making public places clean, neat and accessible to large sections of population.

Demerits of such policies-

  • It is an intrusion on freedom of citizens involved in private professions. The owners of business should have liberty to decide how to charge for its services without any discrimination among citizens.
  • It distorts the market forces and principle of Laissez faire as government dictates the basic tenets of business. For Eg the revolution of multiplexes in India was primarily due to policy of non-intervention by government.
  • In the absence of proper monitoring mechanisms, it could give impetus for bribery to government officials.
  • This could trigger the chain reaction and may spread to other businesses which are under private sector and where government intervention could prove detrimental.
  • This may increase the litigation for government as private businesses would resist any attempt of interference in basic market principles.

Lack of public toilet facilities and infrastructure could have forced the government to take such steps. Although such legislations seem benefiting large citizens, this is not the solutions for India’s precarious situations of providing affordable toilets to all citizens. Government cannot delegate its responsibility of creating affordable toilet facilities. Further capping prices of multiplexes would harm the growing entertainment market. The competition among different players would automatically off-set the high prices. Instead of using force of law, government could persuade private businesses by giving incentives and allow them to participate voluntarily into such noble initiatives like providing affordable toilet facilities.


General Studies – 3

Topic: Issues relating to intellectual property rights.

6) In the light of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) decision to close down CSIR-Tech, critically examine the issues involved in filing patents using public money in India. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Recently Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) had to shut down CSIR Tech, its commercial arm for lack of funds. CSIR-Tech has filed over 13,000 patents at cost of 50cr of public money over past 3 years, but has failed to show any revenue earned from its licenses till now which has made the whole public-funding model unsustainable.

Why public funding of research is prominent in India?

  • Help in conducting research in certain areas that may not be commercially attractive, but serve a greater social cause Eg- research related to forest soil, environmental conservation etc. 
  • Provides a platform to researches in public institutions to participate in nation-building, and enhance their knowledge base.
  • Helps to invigorate the R&D in the country through dissemination of new technology and involvement of private firms.

Issues involved in filing patents using public money in India-

  • Moral Hazard – Reckless filing of patents using public funds may be explained by the economic concept of moral hazard. According to economist Paul Krugman, it happens in “any situation in which one person makes the decision about how much risk to take, while someone else bears the cost if things go badly”. In the case of public-funded research, the reckless filings of patents without due diligence results from the moral hazard of the government bearing the risk of patents that don’t generate revenue. Since government bears the risk of non-revenue generating patents, high patents without proper techno-commercial and legal evaluation get filed.
  • Against Public Interests- the IPR policy of some publicly-funded research institutions allows for 30-70% of the income generated through the commercialization of the patent to be shared with the creators of the invention, i.e., scientists and professors on the payroll of the government. Such a policy could promote private aggrandizement and may work against public interest. In contrast, the IPR policy of private companies does not allow for a payback on the share of royalties earned by patents.
  • Unethical use- Often individual scientists make unethical use of publicly funded research to get promotions and appointments. Most of CSIR’s patents were “bio-data patents”, filed solely to enhance the value of a scientist’s resume and that the extensive expenditure of public funds spent in filing and maintaining patents was unviable.
  • No Clarity in royalty- Sharing agreements between private-public institutions, and currently is highly skewed in favor of private firms as commercialized patents are sold to public again
    (Research funded by Public, but benefits accrue to Private firms and scientists but not government; Eg- Health drugs)

Way forward-

  • To preserve the objective of publicly funded research is to devise an IPR policy wherein patents are initially offered on an open royalty-free license to start-ups. Once start-ups commercialize the inventions successfully, the royalty-free license could be converted into a revenue-sharing model.
  • Conducting the procedure with due-diligence and reforming the patent board to include private experts to verify the commercial validity at initial stage itself.
  • Laying out terms of contract in transparent and well-defined manner

Closing of CSIR-Tech won’t solve the issue of dismal performance of India in filing patents. The current public-funded system is plagued with multiple administrative, technical issues. But, it does have its share of advantages if managed properly. There is need of a clear-cut policy to streamline the use of public funds in enhancing India’s R&D capabilities.


Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas

7) Do you think induction of aircraft carriers as a naval modernisation strategy is imprudent for India? Critically comment. (200 Words)



Recently Indian Navy inducted INS Vikramaditya, purchased from Russia. This has initiated the debate whether India needs heavy aircraft carriers and is it prudent to keep these carriers in force.


An aircraft carrier is a warship that serves as a seagoing airbase, equipped with a full-length flight deck and facilities for carrying, arming, deploying, and recovering aircraft. Typically, it is the capital ship of a fleet, as it allows a naval force to project air power worldwide without depending on local bases for staging aircraft operations.

Merits in having Aircraft carrier-

  • Aircraft carriers have played key role during wartime in providing ‘Sea control’ to nation and ‘Sea denial’ to the enemy. Sea control is the strategy of choice for an ascendant force but entails a higher operational commitment in dictating the tempo of operations in littoral spaces over prolonged durations. In contrast, a weaker force focuses all its combat efforts in denying the adversary the use of the near-seas—a strategy called “sea denial”.
  • Aircraft carriers can provide continuous access to littoral spaces thoroughly and emphatically during both peace and war time.
  • Not only does Aircraft carrier allow a superior maritime force to establish effective sea command, it ensures a continuous and visible presence that influences the cost-benefit calculus of the enemy commander and his political masters.
  • An Aircraft carrier is potent symbol of nation’s power and pride and demonstrative impact of projecting strength.
  • Aircraft carrier provides unmatched ability for surveillance and strike littoral targets and enables crucial tactical air cover, an operational imperative in littoral conflicts.

Demerits of having Aircraft carrier-

  • Modern Navies are dominated by tactical and long range missiles like ICBM, submarine based platform launch capabilities, precision missiles and drones make need of having Aircraft carrier unnecessary.
  • Aircraft carriers are highly expensive to build or buy and operate. The requirements of huge funds increases fiscal burden on the state and keep other modernization and diversification programs with insufficient funds.
  • During peacetime, the best way to police the Indian Ocean is a fleet of cheap offshore patrol vessels.
  • During wartime, the lack of littoral aircraft carriers means frigates with an excellent anti-submarine (ASW) component and air defence missiles are more than qualified to do the job.
  • India needs to expand the fleet of submarines, anti-submarines and anti-submarine helicopters which would prove important in destroying enemy ships and Aircraft carriers.

The real dilemma for India’s maritime planners is that their mission set of raising fighting efficiency and interdiction potential in the near-littorals is constantly in competition with the broader strategic objective of expanding regional political influence. The navy’s deployment plans must deter adversaries, but also establish a visible footprint in the far seas to project ambition and influence through presence operations. If particular aspects of the maritime blueprint are found to be lacking—as indeed is the case with the limited success of the MiG-29K aircraft—the navy cannot discard its broader strategy in favor of an ad-hoc plan built around particular assets of relative operational superiority. Indian naval power in the Indian Ocean region would be robbed of its vitality if the aircraft carrier is replaced with a few more destroyers, corvettes and shore-based air power—regardless of the latter’s perceived tactical advantages in battle. India indeed needs tactical destroyers but not at the cost of Aircraft carrier. Thus having an Aircraft carrier has become a strategic necessity in Indian context.