Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 07 April 2017


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 07 April 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: Salient features of Indian society

1) In the light of recent attacks on African nationals and northeast students, is it justifiable to label India as a racist country? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

The Hindu


The recent attacks on Africans and sporadic attacks on North Indian people have raised concerns about the safety of foreigners in India and an alarming trend of hate crimes and racism in the country. But to label the entire country a racist country needs through analysis.

Recent incidences:-

  • The rally was planned after the Congolese teacher Masonda Kitanda Olivier died in an attack in Delhi in May. A week later, six Africans, including two women and a priest who was on his way home with his wife and baby, were attacked by men with cricket bats.
  • Earlier this year, a female student from Tanzaniawas beaten and stripped in Bangalore by an angry mob, in response to a fatal accident caused by a Sudanese student unknown to her.
  • The mass exodus of North East population in 2013 from metropolis of India and death of Nido Taniya a student from North East in Delhi highlights the prejudicial attitude of Indians towards North East people.

Some facts:-

  • In 2007 the Indian government set up its Pan African e-Network Project, linking some African and Indian universities to exchange expertise. And in 2016 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced 50,000 scholarships for African students over the next five years.
  • In 2014 over 10,000 African students were studying in India with Sudan, Nigeria and Kenya leading the pack. In 2016, there were 42,420 foreign students in India, and Sudan and Nigeria were both in the top 5 countries of origin for those students, while the other three top spots occupied by India’s immediate neighbors.
  • An estimated 40,000 Nigerians live in India. According to government data, they make up the fifth-largest group of foreign students in India – only one place behind Sudanese students. Most of these Nigerian students choose to live in big cities and constitute a significant chunk of India’s medical tourists.

The Indian government must acknowledge there is deep-rooted prejudice:-

  • Racism is practiced in some quarters and by some Indians:- The problems faced by African nationals highlights this. They are made to wait for Visas, tortured by police, for accommodation they are rejected and seen with suspicion outlook. The problems of drug, loud music etc is viewed from racist prison.
  • Obsession of fairness and determination of social status like white Brahmins and black dalits is seen as proof for the presence of racial concepts in Indian society.

What we are witnessing is the conflict of cultures which is a law and order problem, not racism:-

  • Some sporadic incidents cannot, and should not, lead one to brand any society as racist. Of course, one cannot deny that there has been some violence against people of African origin in some parts of the country. But a majority of these incidents have not been motivated by the color of the nationalities involved. The reasons are sex, drug trafficking and behavioral patterns which unsettle the structured values cherished by locals.
  • Racism is a negative value of life which is not a part of the Indian psyche. The attitude of a country is defined by the collective consciousness of people as a whole and India’s collective consciousness is not against African community.
  • Acceptance is the norm in Indian Society. India’s history and the psychology of its masses have remained unchanged for as long as one can remember. During the anti-colonial movement, leaders of the freedom movement wisely secularized the struggle against colonial forces. Indians had no problem when two westerners, George Yule (1888) and William Wedderburn (1889) became presidents of the Indian National Congress (INC). 
  • India has always stood against racist superiority and racism. It can be seen from our struggle for independence and negating the white superiority of British. Indians leaders time and again have extended their support to the anti racist movements of the world.


Racism is based on hatred which makes conciliation between people of different groups virtually impossible. Spiritual democracy is the basis of our secularism and our multiculturalism negates perpetuation of conflicts. India is fine blend of all races and an ardent follower of principle of Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam hence can’t be labeled as a racist country.


General Studies – 2

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations. 

2) Discuss critically Bangladesh’s recent socio-political struggles and India’s role in helping Bangladesh cope up with these struggles.(200 Words)

The Hindu


Since the birth of Bangladesh to its todays evolution India has been a friend in need of Bangladesh. It has helped not only in coping up with the socio-political problems of Bangladesh but also in helped in realizing Bangladesh its true potential.

Struggle faced:-

  • Freedom from Pakistan
  • Radicalism and Islamic fundamentalism: has taken lives of thousands of Bangla people, including Bangbandhu Mujibur Rehman.
  • Bangla Refugees: Huge population pressure on limited land and resources has pushed out many Bangla people in neighboring countries, like India and Myanmar.
  • Political Violence: Bangladesh Nationalist Party, supported by fundamentalist violent groups, has not allowed the current government to work smoothly. There have been intermittent episodes of political-religious violence since long.
  • Killing of Seculars and Rationalists by fundamentalists, labeling them anti-Islamic.
  • There are evidence of strong ISIS presence in Bangladesh, however, most of them are self-inspired.
  • Threat of military rule always looms large in difficult times.
  • War trials: Fundamentalists have adopted violence to stop executive and judiciary from delivering justice to Bangla people in by punishing those who committed murders and rapes during 1971 wars and after.

Indian role becomes very important in stabilizing Bangla politics:

  • India actively helped Bangladesh in its struggle for independence. It raised and trained large army of Bangla youth called Mukti Vahini which played a crucial role in Bangladesh’s freedom.
  • India is cautiously trying to give more support and voice the secular, liberal and pro-development groups like Awami League Party under PM Sheikh Hasina. This will give strength to democratic ethos in Bangladesh.
  • Helping Bangladesh fight common problems like poverty, lack of education and health services, water scarcity, transport and communication, power, unemployment, population growth, etc.
  • Finding common ground against radicalism and violence in any form in India, Bangladesh and south Asia in general.
  • Land Border Agreement between the two countries has increased confidence of people of Bangladesh in India and democracy.
  • Peaceful development through mechanisms of SAARC, BIMSTEC and other bilateral, multilateral agreements like Motor Vehicle Act.


Mexican Nobel Laureate Octavio said ‘Friendship is a river’.  The friendship between Bangladesh and India is like a flowing river and full with generosity. This is the spirit of the people of the two neighbors. If our commitments are honest, we would be able to achieve many things that are beneficial to our people. Hence the bonhomie between two countries should enhance further.


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

3) A majority of nations, nuclear have-nots, are now negotiating a historic United Nations treaty in New York to ban atomic weapons. Do you think it’s a futile exercise? What strong arguments do these countries possess to sign a treaty to ban nuclear weapons? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


 United Nations member states have voted overwhelmingly to start negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, despite strong opposition from nuclear-armed nations and their allies.

In the vote in the UN disarmament and international security committee October 2016, 123 nations were in favour of the resolution, 38 opposed and 16 abstained.

It has no support from the nine known nuclear states – the US, China, France, Britain, Russia, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea – which includes the veto-wielding permanent five members of the security council.

Initiative to ban atomic weapons maybe a long drawn one but is worth undertaking. It is expected to bring in limited success only because –

  • Nuclear haves decided to keep out of its deliberations.Without participation of real stakeholders outcomes maybe as abortive as were of the first round table conference without Congress in 1930.
  • Many nuclear have not covered by nuclear haves such as Japan, South Korea under US nuclear protection may decide to keep out.


Nuclear weapons have major impacts which can be classified as:-

  • Instantaneous:-The heart of a nuclear explosion reaches a temperature of several million degrees centigrade. Over a wide area the resulting heat flash literally vaporizes all human tissue. At Hiroshima, within a radius of half a mile, the only remains of most of the people caught in the open were their shadows burnt into stone.
  • Near-immediate:-People inside buildings or otherwise shielded will be indirectly killed by the blast and heat effects as buildings collapse and all inflammable materials burst into flames. The immediate death rate will be over 90%.

The International Red Cross has concluded that the use of a single nuclear weapon in or near a populated area is likely to result in a humanitarian disaster that will be “difficult to address”. There is currently no international plan in place to deliver humanitarian assistance to survivors in the case of a nuclear attack. Most casualties would receive at best minimal, palliative treatment. The best they could hope for would be to die in as little pain as possible.

  • Threat to humanity – Nuclear weapons have potential to threaten survival of human species in case of nuclear war.
  • Hegemony: Nuclear weapon holding countries exercise far greater influence in global politics and cause polarization of world.
  • Environmental Effect: Nuclear weapons have inter-generational effects on flora and fauna of the society which is clearly visible in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and in testing sites.
  • Economical: Nuclear research and weapon production diverts developmental funds to security concerns. This is vital as world is striving hard to address climate change and achieve MDG goals.
  • Nuclear Proliferation: With more and more research happening and polarization occurring, the chances of terrorist organizations getting these weapons are increasing and so is their indiscriminate usage.
  • Discriminatory treatment – Nuclear conventions such as NPT and CTBT divides the world into two unequal half. It is morally and ethically incorrect to ban other nations from acquiring nuclear weapons without nuclear haves destroying theirs first.
  • Today’s world lives under a constant fear of nuclear war and a complete prohibition will give citizens much need psychological stability.
  • Future Precedent- It will set a future precedent to ban other conventional weapons of mass destructions.

At the same time, the countries possessing such weapons, may offer the following reasons for not signing the treaty:

  • Difficulty in achieving global consensus, on both legal and humanitarian aspects.
  • Emergency situations demand their use.
  • Such weapons serve as effective deterrents to ensure peace.


Therefore, by examining the contentions that might be offered by both the sides, it can be concluded that a complete ban on them might not be possible. However, what can be achieved is the framing of an internationally accepted law to regulate their use in a more stringent manner, and exploring the options for self-regulation, by means of continuous campaigns and public education.


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

4) Critically comment on Indi’a’ attitude towards depression and mental health. Do you think education system has failed to address these problems? (200 Words)

The Indian Express


Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings, and sense of well-being.

People with a depressed mood may be notably sad, anxious, or empty; they may also feel notably hopeless, helpless, dejected, or worthless. Other symptoms expressed may include senses of guilt, irritability, or anger. Further feelings expressed by these individuals may include feeling ashamed, or an expressed restlesness. These individuals may notably lose interest in activities that they once considered pleasurable to family and/or friends, or otherwise experience either a loss of appetite, or overeating. Experiencing problems concentrating, remembering general facts or details, or otherwise making decisions and/or experiencing relationship difficulties may also be notable factors in these individuals’ depression, and may also lead to their attempting, or actually committing suicide.

Depression — and suicides resulting from it — is the second leading cause of morbidity amongst 15 to 29-year-olds globally. According to WHO’s report titled ‘Preventing suicides: a global imperative’- Every year, more than 8,00,000 people die having committed suicide; many more attempt it.

Mental health refers to the symptoms and causes of mental disorders and ways to seek the appropriate professional help, while evaluation of an individual’s knowledge of these is referred to as mental health literacy.

India’s attitude towards depression and mental health-

  • It has been observed that the majority of people have negative attitudes and beliefs towards depression.
  • In our country, talking about depression is more of a taboo than talking about sex because of social stigma attached to it and people don’t understand the subject properly.
  • Existence of depression and mental stress is denied and overlooked.
  • In India depression and mental illness is misunderstand with the superstitious beleifs especially in the rural and illiterate sections.
  • Women who are more vulnerable to depression than men are hardly given proper diagnosis and treatment.

Has education system failed to address these problems?

Education system particularly till higher secondary level in India has largely failed to address the problems of depression and mental health because of the following reasons-

  • Formal education helps the development of cognitive intelligence and not the emotional abilities because it focuses on learning through reading and writing, language, words and not images and sound.
  • Formal education in India has no place for subjects like depression and mental healthcare in the curriculum till the higher secondary level.
  • There are no separate arrangements in the schools for de-stressing, minimizing the pressure bore by students.
  • Almost all the schools have no specialized teachers or experts who can handle the issues like depression and mental health disorders.

However the subject is being delved into, discussed, researched and taught at higher educational level (though not in all branches of higher education) in India. Psychology as a field of study is being explored and efforts are being made to make it patient centric. The numbers of psychiatrist and psychologists are increasing through higher education in those fields (albeit their number is very low). 

Way forward-

The objectives of Cinema should go beyond entertainment and should be explored to deal with the subjects like depression and mental health disorders.

There should be institutional approach to be used by the government to create awareness among people and make them more sensitive to the people suffering from these disorders.

Special efforts need to be made for treating the depression conditions in women and to provide them liberal, safe and secure environment.

Education system in India needs to be reformed to accommodate the issues like depression, mental stress and other disorders related to it. Each school should have special teachers and experts who could deal with the students’ problems and counsel them in right direction.

Indian parliament has recently passed ‘Mental healthcare bill 2016’, in which rights based approach has been adopted. The bill is in the right direction and government of India should make conscious efforts for the increase in allocation of funds for mental healthcare sector.


General Studies – 3

Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas

5) Is there a change in India’s nuclear doctrine – from no first use policy to counterforce strategy? Does India really possess minimum credible deterrence? Critically examine. (200 Words)


Counterforce and Counter-value doctrines-

  • Counterforce doctrine,in nuclear strategy, is the targeting of an opponent’s military infrastructure with a nuclear strike. The counterforce doctrine is differentiated from the counter-value doctrine, which targets the enemy’s cities, destroying its civilian population and economic base. The counterforce doctrine asserts that a nuclear war can be limited and that it can be fought and won.
  • In response to the 1950sstrategy of massive retaliation, which maintained that the United States would respond to Soviet aggression with an all-out nuclear attack, counterforce strategies sought to give the United States more options in countering communist threats. Counterforce targeting was developed with the idea of limiting damage and protecting cities in the event of a nuclear war. The “city avoidance” principle was the driving force behind counterforce targeting, and the hope was that both the United States and the Soviet Union could establish some ground rules to be followed in the event of a nuclear exchange. The idea was to create rules for a limited nuclear exchange to prevent escalation to an all-out general nuclear war.
  • The main problem with the counterforce doctrine lay in its inevitable association with a preemptivefirst strike. A first strike aimed at an opponent’s military facilities and weapons systems could effectively disarm the enemy. Counterforce presupposed that adversaries would agree to strike only certain restricted military targets to protect those forces needed for an effective retaliatory second strike (necessary for deterrence to work). The logic was that the country that absorbed the first attack would have enough military force intact to allow it to respond and strike at the enemy’s military facilities. This would create a limited nuclear exchange.
  • Another issue with counterforce targeting was that an incredible level of precision would be needed to accurately target missiles so that they would hit only military installations.Collateral damage would be unavoidable, though, because many military bases and missile installations were located in close proximity to cities, in both the United States and the Soviet Union.

Is there is change in India’s No First Use (NFU) policy to Counterforce strategy?

  • Uproar over India’s nuclear doctrine has once again been ignited because of certain comments made by Dr Vipin Narang of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the Carnegie Nuclear Policy Conference 2017, an annual gathering of nuclear policy wonks from across the world. Narang’s argument is that India, through an accumulation of official statements and induction of first strike weapons and systems (such as ballistic missile defence, multiple warheads on individual missiles, improvements in missile accuracy, and imminently, when India operationalises the naval leg of its triad – missiles that are fully mated with the warhead and ready to fire instantaneously), has verbally and tangibly watered down its NFU. He cited Menon’s recently released book, Choices: Inside the Making of Indian Foreign Policy, to argue that India’s doctrine appeared to have moved from “counter-value” strikes to “counter-force” strikes. In other words, from targeting population centres to aiming at Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
  • However the reality at the ground is different. the development of accurate missiles is being undertaken as India’s yield of nuclear weapons is 15-20KT (kilotons) for its fission warheads and 250KT for thermonuclear warheads. The destruction caused by nuclear warheads goes down exponentially as the distance increases from the centre of the blast, hence the move towards improving the accuracy of weapon delivery systems.
  • Second, BMD is a defensive mechanism aimed at neutralizing a nuclear attack rather than conducting a counterforce first strike. A BMD forces the enemy to reassess the number of warheads it requires for destroying a target. This imposes costs in terms of producing more warheads, delivery platforms, and the cost of maintaining and securing them.
  • Finally, India is developing Mirvs not for first strike but to retain a credible second strike option if India loses some of its missiles to an enemy first strike.
  • Moreover, a counterforce strike is a lot more complex and taxing than both first use and second strike. First use may be on countervalue and/or counterforce targets or ones that overlap and it may not be a surprise or a pre-emptive strike. On the other hand, a counterforce strike is a surprise nuclear blitz on the enemy’s missiles, C4I (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence), military infrastructure and war- fighting capabilities. It requires a large number of warheads, missiles, accurate and round-the-clock intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (Istar).

Thus it shows that India is not moving to the counterforce strategy yet. However the increasing tension between India and its neighbor, the increasing nuclear capacity of Pakistan may compel India to adopt nuclear counterforce strategy in near future.

Does India possess Credible Minimum Deterrence?

  • Second Important aspect of the Indian policy is to maintain Minimum Credible Deterrence (MCD). It mean that “Highest” Credibility with best possible “least” weapons. By Opting for the MCD, India would avoid the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) nuclear race that would wash out important resources that India can utilize for Socio economic development.

Minimum credible deterrence is about having capable Weapons, Delivery system, Intelligence etc. India holds MCD as under:-

  • India constructed the Nuclear triad that India can launch Nuclear weapon form the Air, Land and Sea.
  • India Opted the policy of the “Major Devastation” in case of the Nuclear war on India, This hold immense deterrence potential.
  • India developed the well-controlled nuclear command that central power remain in hand of the elected government.

But there are certain loopholes as well:-

  • Policies like NFU and CMD are directed against whom is not clear? There is ambiguity on the Question that Whether Indian Deterrence is against the chance of Nuclear attack form Paksitan or From China or From Both?
  • Pakistan may not use nuclear weapons in the beginning of war, but in case of sure defeat, it may not deter to use the nuclear weapons.


Topic: Awareness in the field of biotechnology

6) What’s bioinformatics? What are the applications of Gene sequencing and gene editing (CRISPR CAS-9)? Also examine India’s progress in bioinformatics. (200 Words)



Bioinformatics is the application of information technology to the study of living things, usually at the molecular level. Bioinformatics involves the use of computers to collect, organize and use biological information to answer questions in fields like evolutionary biology.

It is an interdisciplinary field that develops methods and software tools for understanding biological data. As an interdisciplinary field of science, bioinformatics combines computer science, statistics, mathematics and engineering to analyze and interpret biological data. Bioinformatics has been used for in silico analyses of biological queries using mathematical and statistical techniques.

Growth of biotechnology has accelerated particularly during the last decade due to accumulation of vast information as a result of sequencing of genomes and solving of crystal structures. This, coupled with advances in IT has made biotechnology increasingly dependent on computationally intensive approaches. This has led to the emergence of a super- specialty discipline, called Bioinformatics. The term ‘bioinformatics’ is the short form of ‘biological informatics’, just as biotechnology is the short form of ‘biological technology’.
Applications of Gene sequencing and Gene editing (CRISPR CAS-9)-

  • CRISPR-Cas9 has a lot of potential as a tool for treating a range of medical conditions that have a genetic component, including cancer, hepatitis B or even high cholesterol.
  • Many of the proposed applications involve editing the genomes of somatic (non-reproductive) cells.
  • In agriculture it will help in design of new variety of grains, roots and fruits.
  • It can be used to make bacterial cultures more resistant to attacks from viruses. This will increase the productivity.
  • The technology is also used to create transgenic animals such as rats, mice etc.
  • Scientists are also working to create human organs from transgenic pigs by use of this technology in conjunction with pluripotent stem cells. This will helps us to solve some of the shortage of human organs for transplant operations.
  • The technology can also be used in treatment of infectious diseases, by making more specific antibiotics that target only disease-causing bacteria while sparing beneficial bacteria.

India’s potential and progress in Bioinformatics-

Bioinformatics is growing as an independent discipline and helping immensely to accelerate the growth of Biotechnology. Its ultimate goal is to uncover the wealth of biological information hidden in the mass of data and to obtain a clearer insight into the fundamental biology of organisms. Bioinformatics has become a frontline applied science and is of vital importance to the study of new biology, which is widely recognized as the defining scientific endeavor of the twenty-first century. The genomic revolution has underscored the central role of bioinformatics in understanding the very basics of life processes. The growth in full genomic sequencing, structural genomics, proteomics, micro-array etc. will be very slow without application of bioinformatics. In fact usefulness of these areas to solve complex biological problems will be limited without bioinformatics and thus very high importance to bioinformatics.

The Bioinformatics sector in India have grown up rapidly as IT companies have also stepped up their focus on the life sciences vertical. Companies like Infosys, Cognizant Technologies, HCL, MphasiS, and TCS have been made significant strides in this space. Indian Bioinformatics companies can look forward to garnering a large chunk of the world market for bioinformatics services such as data mining, mapping and DNA sequencing, functional genomics, proteomics and molecule design simulation. Growing volumes of genomics data and an expanding number of participants contracting work to Indian companies have encouraged many pharmaceutical, IT, and Biotechnology (BT) companies to enter the bioinformatics sector. Indian IT companies such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Cognizant Technologies, Infosys, and Wipro have already set up their bioinformatics divisions. Indian pharmaceutical such companies such as GVK Biosciences, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Biocon, Astra Zeneca, Ranbaxy, Biological E, and Nicholas Piramal too, are making rapid moves into the bioinformatics arena. India is also witnessing the emergence of pure-play bioinformatics companies such as Strand Genomics.

In India, major government organizations, such as Biotechnology Information System (BTIS) and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) are promoting bioinformatics. DBT had identified bioinformatics as an area of high priority during the 10thplan period(2002-2007). Government of India is also providing numerous tax incentives at par with IT to develop bioinformatics sector. India has combined its strength in biotechnology and IT to attract outsourcing contracts in bioinformatics by building Bio-IT park. The Bio-IT Park would be the launch pad for bioinformatics industry as STPs (Software Technology Parks) were for IT and position itself as a global hub for bioinformatics. These parks would be a conglomerate of academic-industry-research initiatives, thereby opening up new vistas for the Indian bioinformatics market and making it a sunrise industry for the future. The Department of Biotechnology, Government of India has been working with other departments to set up these parks, which is expected to position India in the global hub of bioinformatics. Establishment of Bio-IT parks and new biotech policy acts as growth catalyst for bioinformatics sector.

Some of the achievements of India can be summed up in following manner-

  • India was among the forerunners in the genomics space. The country entered the league of the US, the UK, Canada, China and Korea by successfully completing the Human Genome Project in 2009.
  • Established in 1986, the DBT (regulatory body for biotechnology which also takes care of bioinformatics).DBT is credited for the development of the Biotechnology Information System network (BTISnet) in1987. India was the first country to build such a network.
  • DBT formulated the Bioinformatics Policy of India (BPI) in 2004.
  • DBT developed a mechanism aiding the exchange of information in bioinformatics within SAARC member countries.
  • India has more trained bioinformaticists than any other country in the world.
  • Double-digit growth in the bioinformatics sector.
  • India among the preferred CRO and CTO locations for drug development low-cost R&D and cheap availability of knowledge resources.


India’s position as a global software powerhouse and as a leading IT nation with growing biotechnology expertise gives Indian companies many advantages with the bioinformatics challenges. As IT is an indelible part of the bioinformatics industry the future outlook for Indian Bioinformatics looks bright. India has great potential to develop competitive research and innovative technologies. It is envisaged that, India will emerge as a significant contributor to the world bioinformatics market and position itself as a global hub for bioinformatics. Indian bioinformatics sector has numerous strengths and competitive advantages to make bioinformatics sector a sunrise industry of India. With the improvements in the IPR regime, increasing support from the government and continuing efforts of the private sector companies, it is very much likely that India could repeat its IT success story in bioinformatics too. Indian Bioinformatics market is expected to grow exponentially to take a major pie in the global bioinformatics sector in next few years.