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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 March 2017


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 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:  Political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society

1) Do you think the Arab Spring is a failure? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu


The Arab Spring or Democracy Spring was a revolutionary wave of both violent and non-violent demonstrations, protests, riots, coups and civil wars in North Africa and the Middle East that began on 17 December 2010 in Tunisia with the Tunisian Revolution.

The Tunisian Revolution effect spread strongly to five other countries: Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Iraq, where either the regime was toppled or major uprisings or social violence occurred, including civil wars or insurgencies.

The repercussions of the 2011 uprisings have influenced Middle Eastern youth’s experiences providing impetus for questioning perennial sacred beliefs and positions, and forging ahead avant-garde views and responses to the constraints they face.


The movement is considered as a failure due to following reasons.

  • Rise of Islamist state-building where state failure has taken place—most prominently in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Islamists have found it easier than competing non-Islamists trying to fill the void of state failure, by securing external funding, weaponry and fighters – many of which have come from abroad and have rallied around a pan-Islamic identity.
  • Increasing sectarianism (primarily Sunni-Shia) at least in part from Proxy Wars. Fighters are proxies primarily for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states and for Iran.
  • In countries where Islamist did chose to lead a major challenge and did not succeed in transforming society (particularly Egypt), a disinterest in soul-searching about what went wrong, in favor of antagonism and fiery anger and a thirst for revenge has occurred.
  • Barring Tunisia none of the countries involved is a vibrant people-centric democracy today. Still to this day, in countries affected by the Arab Spring, there is great division amongst those who prefer the status quo and those who want democratic change. As these regions dive ever deeper into political conflict time will show if new ideas can be established or if old institutions will still stand strong.
  • The Arab Spring has led to horrific human rights violations in many countries where it took place. Thousands of people have been killed and many have become homeless.
  • After Arab spring movement the countries has become vulnerable economic challenges and thus dependent on foreign countries for financial support which generally comes with many conditions that hampers the sovereignty of that country.

Arab spring is clear example of evolutionary transformation that is still struggling to find its own place in current geopolitical discourse. Though it may have failed in many objectives, its main goal remains in achieving a state of affairs, conducive for future democratic movements in these states by

  • Making the voice of the Arab people heard worldwide.
  • Increasing spotlight on misdeeds of rulers in these states.
  • Reforms, albeit marginal granted to disaffected populations by many Arab states.
  • Raising the collective consciousness of Arab population.
  • It reinforced a pan Arab identity.


General Studies – 2

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

2) Discuss the important features and significance of the Mental Health Bill that was introduced in Rajya Sabha in 2013. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

The Hindu

The World Health Organisation has recently estimated that 1 in 4 persons will be affected by some form of mental illness once in their lifetime. Mental health has become a serious issue also in India ,as approximately 3 to 5% of its population has been affected in some or other manner. In this context Mental Health Care Bill, 2013, which will replace Mental Health Act 1987, is a watershed legislation.

Important features of the bill are :-

1.Right-based approach :

It makes mental health care – a right of an individual departing from ‘assurance-based approach of health care. The Act lays down that “Every person shall have a right to access mental health care and treatment from mental health services run or funded by the appropriate government. The right to access mental health care and treatment shall mean mental health services of affordable cost, of good quality, available in sufficient quantity, accessible geographically, without discrimination on the basis of gender, sex, sexual orientation, religion, culture, caste, social or political beliefs, class, disability or any other basis and provided in a manner that is acceptable to a person with mental illness and their families and care-givers.”

The range of services specified in the Act includes outpatient and inpatient services, half-way homes, sheltered accommodation, supported accommodation, and provisions for child and old-age mental health services. The Act also contains a provision for the notification of a list of essential medicines, providing which will be the obligation of the relevant government.
2.Decriminalizes suicide :

It scraps art. – 309 of IPC and considers that person suffering from extreme depression ,if not proved otherwise.
3.Advance directive : 

under it every patient shall have the right to decide how would she be treated and who would take decisions on behalf of her.
4.Mental health authority : 

both at centre and state level ,to register and train all the mental health personnel and also to address grievances against them.
5.Mental health review board :

 to review and observe the functioning of the act.
6.Annual report : 

shall be submitted in parliament regarding the progress in implementation of the act.
7.Insurance cover : 

It makes all insurers liable to provide insurance for the mental health components same as that they provide for physical health components.
8.Treatment guidelines : 

ECT shall be applied only in extreme cases and in adults , not in minors and that too under the cover of anesthesia.
9.No inhuman practices :

no isolation or seclusion shall be provided to the patient and also patient shall not be tied up in chains.
10.Punishment : 

violation of any provision of this act will attract imprisonment for 6 months or 10,000 fine or both.

Significance :-
1)Departure from assurance-based approach of health care services to RIGHT-BASED approach is very significant step which is in line with United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities , which India ratified.
2)By providing insurance , it empowered the family, who find it hard to cover the expenditure .
3)For the first time,the bill takes into account the inhuman treatment the mentally ill patients have to go through.
4)There is an emphasis on rehabilitation within the community. This is significant as mental illness is still considered taboo in our society.
5)Integration of mental healthcare services into general healthcare services at all levels – financial problems can be rectified.

Concerns :-
1)No mention of role of Counselors, though they are vital in the domain of mental health,the bill speaks of only psychiatrists.
2)The Bill does not address provisions with respect to guardianship of mentally-ill patients which was defined in the previous Act.
3)Retaining ECT in the Bill has not gone down well with many progressive doctors who don’t believe in this therapy. How will a person who has illusions, or feels that everyone is conspiring against him or her, be in the state to give such a consent, is the problem.

4)The implementation burden is put on states without any financial Support from Centre.
5) The number of mental care doctors and trained staff is another problem as only cities like Delhi have sufficient doctors. 
6) No data on Number of people Suffering which makes provision of resources difficult.


The passage of the bill reflects a positive and progressive step in the right direction in treating the individuals and protecting their rights and respecting their informed decisions.

But with the lack of capacity building it could become a half hearted move as govt needs to expand the scope of Psychiatrist Clinics so that they could cover more geographical area and increase penetration in rural areas. More number of psychiatrists, trained staff and increase in training programs for them is the need of hour.


Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

3) It is argued that the Indian democracy has strengthened communities at the cost of the rights of the individual. Do you agree? Critically comment. (200 Words)


Democracy is a system of government in which citizens exercise power directly or through elected representatives from among themselves to form a governing body, such as parliament.In a democracy with no limits, it is the majority that decides for the minority. What makes Indian democracy good for the people of India is the Indian republic.

The fundamental rights of a citizen, or the republican values in our Constitution, curb the powers of the democratically elected government. But the real effect of those rights has been gradually eroded due to various exceptions introduced to the fundamental rights both by the legislature as well as the judiciary, excesses of democracy or majority rule, inadequate state capacity, and lack of demand by the citizenry for upholding fundamental rights.

The judiciary is also part of the scheme to curb the powers of the government. And it has indeed given some very progressive judgements. In Bijoe Emmanuel v. State of Kerala (1986), the Supreme Court in a welcome judgement expanded freedom of expression to include the right to remain silent, thus allowing children belonging to a sect called Jehovah’s Witnesses the right to not sing the national anthem. But the same court has now mandated respect for the anthem. The unremitting quest for popular legitimacy, a product of democracy without curbs, has also corroded institutions that are supposed to safeguard the cherished values of the Indian republic.

A contest parallel to that of democracy and republic is one between communities and individuals. Indian democracy has strengthened the power of communities and the weak state has meant that the Indian republic has not been able to protect the rights of an individual in conflict with a community.

The “first past the post” system of electing representatives has permitted political parties to choose a select number of communities to cultivate for elections. Various tools of governance ranging from reservations in jobs to subsidies for power, water, fertilizer, etc., are employed to cultivate groups which can deliver en masse votes. Political parties have increasingly focused on pleasing the community as a whole rather than looking after the interests of an individual which in some cases are not the same as community interest.

A few minority groups tend to gain a disproportionate share in the governance agenda.

The case of triple talaq is an example : Most of the political parties have sided with the Muslim orthodoxy in the name of protecting the traditions and customs of the minority group.

When it comes to the rights of the individual—the freedom to write a book that offends a religious community, the freedom to make a film that offends the supporters of a political party, or the freedom to not sing the national anthem—the weak Indian state surrenders to the mobocracy of groups with votes.

Increasingly the trend in India has been disappointing. The Indian state has presented itself as a weak body which surrenders to the fringe element’s demand or community demand.

Democracy has two aspects:

  • Procedural i.e elections.
  • Substantive e.g rule of law, dignified life, etc

In procedural part -Democracy has strengthened communities. The votes are cast in the name of communities ,castes ,religions, etc. However, there are transformations taking place. Appeal in the name of caste, religion, etc. are considered ‘corrupt practices’ and banned by S.C.

In Substantive part – democracy strengthened communities through Caste reservations (Jat,Patidar, etc. agitations),Oligarchy, majoritarian rule and inequality emerging among communities ,etc.
But,there are changes and individuals are now seen as ‘units of analysis’ for decision making instead of communities :
-Vulnerables and marginalized such as women are empowered by reservation but not communities
-Right based approach such as RTE,RTI,MGNREGA,NFSA etc..These again focus on individuals but not community
-Fixing accountability by people through Gram Sabha,social audit,Right to service,citizen charter, etc.


India is multicultural,pluralistic and diversified society and becoming more mature democracy day by day. Worldwide no democracy has evolved over the night and Indian democracy which is almost successful against it’s contemporary nations like Pakistan, Brazil, China or African nations. But regular efforts of all stakeholders like judiciary, active civil society, neutral media and responsible political masses are must to prevent her from becoming weak Republic.


Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure

4) How does the Constitution of India define freedom of speech and expression? Why are films banned? What consequences would these bans have on our freedom of speech and expression and on the rule of law? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Films are the mirror of society. Whatever is happening in a civil society gets reflected in films and cinema. India is the largest producer of films in the world. Films have played important role in the transformation of Indian society. From the time of freedom struggle to wars with Pakistan and China, films have helped arousing the feeling of nationalism in the citizen of the country. Films have also played important role in raising several social issues time to time.

Constitution of India also safeguards the freedom of speech and expression through films in the following way :-

  1. Article 19(A) of the constitution guarantees the fundamental right of freedom of expression. Although this freedom of expression is not absolute one.
  2. Article 19(B) permits govt. to impose restrictions on the freedom of expression on several bases, like security of state, sovereignty and integrity of India, friendly relationship with foreign countries, public order, decency and morality, contempt of court and defamation.

why are films banned

The films are banned for six reasons.

  1. First, movies which supposedly depict the country in a bad light.

BBC’s documentary India’s Daughter (2015), which contains interviews with the alleged rapists of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape victim, is banned in India because it records certain views of the rapists which show the country in a poor light.

  1. Second, movies which portray the life of our leaders, but in an unfavourable manner — such as Aandhi (1975) and Kissa Kursi Ka (1977).
  2. Third, movies which depict communal violence are prone to be banned; such movies are deemed to arouse the passion of the people that can lead to problems of public order.
  3. Fourth, movies which ‘hurt’ the religious sentiments of the people — such as The Da Vinci Code (2006), which was banned in five States in India as it ‘hurt’ the sentiments of the Christian community.
  4. Fifth, movies are censored on the ground of obscenity. Mira Nair’s Kama Sutra —A Tale of Love (1996) dealt with a story of four lovers in 16th century India. Though Kama Sutra , the book, is easily available in India, the Censor Board still found the movie “too explicit”, “unethical” and “immoral”.
  5. Finally, there are those films which deal with tabooed subjects like lesbianism, and transsexuality, such as Fire (1996) and Gulabi Aaina (The Pink Mirror, 2002).

Thus, the ban on a film is legally justifiable only on the seven grounds given in the constitution , and none else.

The legal issue today is whether censoring films and protesting against the freedom of the artists are legally justified under Article 19 (2) of the Constitution or not. The ban on the ground of public order or obscenity, at times, might be justified. But the prohibition on the grounds that the film “hurts the pride of the people of the nation”, or “hurts the religious sentiments of a community”, or that “it defies Indian sensibility”, or “it is against the Indian ethos or culture”, or “it is woman-oriented” are clearly untenable. For such grounds are not covered by Article 19 (2).

Such bans have following implications on the society –

  1. Consequence on freedom of expression:
    • Violates the rights & freedoms of the film producer and the film viewers. Scuttles creative freedom, and its improvement, and established norms can never be challenged.
    • Empowers the state to control free flow of information
  2. Consequence on rule of law:
    • Such bans are unconstitutional and undermines constitutional authority
    • Promotes people to illegally watch it on the internet – which dilutes rule of law
  3. Bad effect on democracy: Such bans let state decide what is right and wrong for its people, instead of let people decide what is right or wrong for them. Allows development of chauvanistic politics .
  4. Deprivation of Rights of Majority : Bans on movies for the appeasement of the minor social groups deprives the majority of their right to see and enjoy good literature and cinema.
  5. Encouragement to Unfair Demands : If a movie is banned to appease one social group, it is likely that other groups would ask for the same in future. Thus these demands would be increasing in future endlessly.


It is said that the greatness of our country lies in accepting diverse thoughts, instead of out rightly banning them. Therefore government should not ban movies for the sake of vested interest groups and let the people decide what they want keeping faith in their wisdom.


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

5) In the light of Chinese opposition to India’s membership bid to Nuclear Suppliers Group, what should India do to woo China to get its support? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

NSG is a group of 48 countries grouped together to control nuclear proliferation by controlling export of enriched uranium , technology etc. China has opposed India’s bid to become its member. According to china it has opposed on the basis of principle i.e. India is a non- signatory to the non- proliferation treaty.

India’s bid to Nuclear supplier group again got heat and was expected to be considered during Seoul meeting.

NSG bid by India has been opposed by other nations on the below grounds:-
1) India is not a signatory of the NPT hence India’s bid to NSG is faulty at first place itself as all members are NPT signatory.
2) Members like Norway contend that membership criteria should be finalised first , before discussing the India’s membership to the NSG.
3) Italy also resisted India’s membership as it wants a third party resolution of marine issue with India and hence flashing the NSG card.
4) China is opposing to India’s membership as it sees India elevated to the level of P5 through this step and hence resisting. China also confirms that Pakistan should be added to NSG if at all India is getting that status.

India can resort to following course of action to move forward from China’s resistance:-
1) Mutual discussion with China and addressing concerns- The relations are strained due to a number of reasons like -The territorial dispute (Arunachal Pradesh , Aksai china ). This could be resolved by bilateral talks.
China considers India’s participation to OBOR and hence both can conclude through mutual discussions on both the issues in a negotiating way. This can be a game changer.

China thinks that India is taking anti-China stand deliberately e.g. the South China Sea issue , entry to Dalai lama in Arunachal Pradesh. Regular dialogue mechanism has to be established to clear the ambiguity .
2) Increase trade and commerce, Cultural integration with China.
3) India can work with all like-minded states like Africa block to put her case forward. To counter china’s interference , India should have healthy relations with Russia , who has been an old friend.
4) India can work with China through other platforms like BRICS.
5) It could emphasize its clean record with respect to the unilateral moratorium , as a responsible nuclear power and should try to build consensus with other NSG members. 


However, given the complex geopolitics of the world in general and Asia in particular, expecting any miraculous change in our neighbors’ policies would be an imprudent strategy. But tactically deploying our resources and judiciously using our diplomatic acumen might help break a few codes and enforce a compulsive shift in position, after all, China’s interests are best safeguarded in an amicable neighborhood as well.


General Studies – 3

Topic:  Economic growth and development

6) Recent annual surveys suggest a sharp drop in agricultural employment: From 52.2 per cent of total workers in 2012 to 45.7 per cent in 2015. Examine the causes for this sharp drop, its policy implications and steps that government should take to address issues arising out of this sharp decline in agricultural employment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


India has too many people cultivating too little land has been observed at least as far back as 1880, by the First Indian Famine Commission (FIFC). The very peculiar nature of Indian economy is that is pattern of transition of labour from one sector of economy to other sector. The movement of labour force from primary sector to directly tertiary sector by skipping the manufacturing sector has harmed the overall economic progress of country over a long time now.

The probable reasons for the drop can be:

  • As there is improvement in standard of living of people the current generation has an aversive approach towards agriculture practice. This one generation to other generation is part of societal transformation.
  • The erratic nature of monsoon and irrigation challenges has made agriculture as an unattractive option for living. This has led to the distress migration from agriculture sector to other sectors or many have stayed unemployed.
  • The recent government initiative towards empowering manufacturing sector has opened up many jobs. This availability of job has led to the people leaving agriculture and switching to other kind of jobs.

Its policy implications can be seen as follows:

  • Feminization of Indian agriculture has already observed and this survey clearly putforthes the rising pressure of Indian rural woman to manage the agriculture practices without the right to ownership. At policy level the issue of these women has to be taken into consideration.
  • Food shortage can increase. Recent Kerala case where food shortage occurred due to reduced interest in agriculture by state people as most of them prefer to migrate to gulf and earn well there.
  • Increased unemployment will have social implications also like increased crime, Increased stress on govt for welfare means, poverty etc.
  • The govt will get pressurized to create more jobs in the secondary and tertiary sector, to accommodate the population leaving the primary sector so that the distress migration should be checked and standard of living of people should be maintained.

To address the issues arising out of such declining agricultural employment, the govt can do the following:

  • Initiate awareness campaigns in all states to educate farmers regarding better usage of the land, to grow region specific crops which will lay lesser stress on land and ensure long term fertility.
  • Encourage youngsters to engage in agricultural activities and employ the methods used in other countries like Israel, to ensure More Crop, Per Drop, among other modern methods like adoption of BT seeds.
  • Better connectivity to the market, with e-NAM will help increasing incomes of the farmers, and encourage more people to engage in agriculture or allied activities.
  • Promotion and support to contract farming practice in order to bring international best practices in agriculture sector of India.
  • The remaining population engaged with agriculture will have to be given better seeds and irrigational facilities to maintain food security, by strengthening the R&D policy in the country. Agriculture should be made a profitable business in order to keep the talent of the country in primary sector as well.
  • Better policies to popularize secondary agriculture and value addition to crops such as post harvesting practices, storage and transport facilities etc. which will increase the farmer’s income. Pradhan mantri krishi sinchai yojana is a step in right direction.
  • Policy for Evergreen revolution in all parts of the country with the help of technological intervention and use of better human resource in this field.

Agriculture should not be seen in isolation but its allied sectors too need attention to increase participation and productivity too. Agriculture crisis is not mere economic crisis but it has larger socio politico ramification and need to be resolved earnestly.


Topic:  Employment

7) Critically discuss the adverse implications of Ola and Uber models, especially on drivers. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Globalization accompanied with technological revolution has brought the various services for human convenience at very low cost. Ola and Uber cars services have made available affordable and convenient urban transport system for middle and upper strata of the society. In present system there is hardy anytime for anyone to think compassionately on adverse implications of these models on drivers who drive these cars.

The various issues of these drivers are:

  • Driven by targets and packages, which often change and are communicated on a daily basis, and shrinking incentives and earnings, drivers of these taxis keep increasing work hours.
  • The cars have brought the new challenges in already crumbly road infrastructure and traffic management activities in crowded urban areas. India already has a huge road accident burden, with upwards of 200,000 road fatalities annually.
  • App-based cab drivers also need to juggle incoming bookings, app instructions and directions, as well as coordination with passengers for pick-up and drop. This can be mentally and physically taxing, and is only tenable for a limited number of hours every day.
  • The long working hours and night shifts create adverse effect on health of drivers. Such condition is equally threatening for the safety of the passengers as well. There is no cap on working hours for cab drivers and is not in spirit of labour rights.
  • App based car services do not check the record of the consumer before providing service. under such circumstances there is always a possibility of danger to the life of drivers , especially during night hours.

Today the state is striving to bring labour reforms in order to protect the human rights along with the vibrant labour market for economic development of the country. The app based car services has different model and not as per the traditional model of transport facilities in country. Such kind of new innovative business model provides the challenge for state machinery in term of regulation and taking care of all involved stakeholders. The state has to empower itself to deal with such kind of new challenges for creating the environment of social security and welfare state.