Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS:  10 July 2017


SECURE SYNOPSIS:  10 July 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:  Urbanization – problems and remedies

1) It is said that bold policy measures and big infrastructure investments such as Smart City Mission are likely to fall short if they don’t factor in climate change. Examine  how and why smart city mission should aim to build climate resilient cities. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


With more than 30% of the Indian population living in cities with most of them living in slums and poor housings, huge proportion of populations has become more vulnerable to ill-consequences of the climate change. With the launch of Smart cities mission, government could focus more on inclusion of adaptation and mitigation techniques to minimize the adverse impacts of climate change.

Why smart city mission should aim to build climate change?

  • Climate change poses serious threats to urban infrastructure, quality of life, and entire urban systems. Not only poor countries, but also rich ones will increasingly be affected by anomalous climate events and trends.
  • Cities are highly vulnerable to the disruption of critical supplies. Food distribution, energy provision, water supply, waste removal, information technology, and susceptibility to pandemics are all the Achilles heels of cities. Adverse effects of climate change can break this critical infrastructure leaving citizens at the mercy of nature.
  • A long life time, design and material considerations as well as sensitivity of performance to climate makes infrastructure vulnerable. For instance, heat may adversely impact the power output of gas-turbine and steam-based electricity generation, thereby creating a demand-supply gap.
  • Cities which are located along the coast and rivers are most vulnerable to the adverse impact like tidal surges, storms and floods due to climate changes. Three out of four megacities in India are located along the coast and almost all of them have already witnessed the vagaries of climate change in the past. For eg, Mumbai rains of 26th July, Chennai floods of 2015 etc.
  • For larger, higher-density cities, the temperatures in central “heat islands” can be several degrees higher than in surrounding areas. In Andhra Pradesh, India, a heat wave killed more than 1,000 people – mostly labourers working outside in high temperatures in smaller urban settlements.
  • There are again different vulnerabilities to the health impacts of climate-related extremes and air pollution within urban areas.

Some findings about smart cities- A recent analysis by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), University of East Anglia, Mott MacDonald and the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office shows that temperatures in the smart cities of Madhya Pradesh are likely to increase by 1-1.5°C by the middle of the century. Another analysis by CEEW, IIT Gandhinagar and IIM Ahmedabad finds that extreme precipitation events are likely to increase in the future.

How should government approach it?

Making cities effective can mean rethinking governance, planning and metropolitan finance. Reform of local public finances in many cases, including increased fiscal autonomy for cities and planning laws that provide mechanisms for local communities to share in the overall gains, is needed. This can help stimulate the significant private sector financing required for smart urban infrastructure development.

  • To carry out regular risk assessments.

In the context of infrastructure, this means addressing questions such as the likelihood of buckling of railways under a 4°C temperature rise or a one-in-hundred year rainfall event. It also involves assessing the impacts on emergency services associated with electricity disruptions due to extreme heat. Given the dynamic nature of climate risks, the assessments need to be updated regularly.

  • Adopting technical standards that consider climate change.

City governments often share a request for proposals (RFPs) as part of the procurement process for various services. These RFPs could specify technical parameters (for example, heat-resistant pavement materials) or standards (for example, ISO) that align with climate transitions. For instance, private companies bidding for road contracts could use polymer modified bituminous materials that can typically withstand temperatures in excess of 40°C. Or, information on future rainfall extremes could be used while designing city drainage systems.

  • To address interdependencies.

Infrastructure components are highly interconnected: Electricity failures could disrupt transport or ICT services, transport disruption, in turn, could affect emergency health services. The failure of one set of infrastructure can amplify risks across other sectors. It is important to map these interconnections as well as study whether current governance structures are adequate to address the associated risks.

  • Developing innovative financial instruments.

Very often, infrastructure project finance does not account for future climate risks as part of the risk portfolio. New debt instruments such as climate-resilience bonds could be used to insure infrastructure against specific climate risks. Such bonds would spread risk across multiple investors while borrowing money from the debt market. Investors would receive market or higher rates of return until the onset of an adverse climate event, after which they would forfeit capital up to their investment liability. Prudent use of financial instruments could hedge against future climate risks.

  • Further Union and state government must take steps to increase the capacity and preparedness of the local government as they are the ones who can offer immediate help in cases of natural disasters.


Indian cities have huge numbers of poor people that cannot afford to deal even with the smallest changes in climate. The effects of climate change are especially unfair as those most unable to adapt, are poor and those who contributed least to the problem, will be harmed the most. Thus government must focus on inclusion of adaptation strategies while designing smart city project in India.


General Studies – 2


Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations

2) Unlike other previous border skirmishes, why is present border crisis between India and China in Chumbi Valley hailed as important? Do you think India is right in preventing Chinese road building near Doka La? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Doka La stand-off, at the southern tip of the Chumbi Valley where India, Bhutan, and China meet, is perhaps the most significant of all the border confrontations that have roiled the India-China relationship in recent years.

Why is present crisis between India and China in Chumbi valley important?

  • The unique position of the Chumbi Valley, which is at once a dangerous conduit into the slender Siliguri Corridor and a dangerous choke point, exposed on both sides, for Chinese forces.
  • This tussle is formally over the interests and rights of a third country, Bhutan, echoing the wider competition for influence in smaller countries — Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and elsewhere — across the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The stand-off comes in a period when it is clear that the wheels are coming off the India-China wagon, with Indian trust in Chinese intentions collapsing steadily and Beijing taking an ever-more strident tone.
  • Though India is short of infrastructural capacities developed by China in Tibet, the instinct, boldness and preparedness shown by Indian forces in Doka La have surprised Chinese and had to halt the construction of the road.
  • India enjoys close and warm relationship with Bhutan vis-à-vis China. India has shown unusual firm resolve to resist the Chinese aggression in Doka La that could violate the integrity of Bhutan and undermine the security of India in Siliguri corridor.


Is India right in preventing Chinese road building near Doka La?

  • The India-Bhutan Friendship Treaty, though revised in 2007 to give Thimpu more autonomy, still notes that the two countries “shall cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests”. Thus India is committed to the security and integrity of Bhutan.
  • If India does not defend Bhutan, the tiny Himalayan nation could easily be pressurized by China and compelled to cede strategic territory.
  • Chinese activity has steadily increased in the area beneath Bhutan’s claim-line, pushing the area under its de facto control about 5 km southwards, towards a crucial ridge-line. This has a number of implications. It would widen the area of Chinese control in an otherwise very narrow valley, from around 8-9 km (Batang La to the Amo Chu river) to 12-13 km (Gamochen to the river), thereby easing the logistics of moving large numbers of troops. Control of the dominating ridgeline would also give China a strong position, by some accounts even domination, over Indian posts to the west, and Bhutanese ones to the south and east. Hence Chinese move would also jeopardize India’s interest in that region.
  • In India-China’s long-stranded border disputes, China has always been audacious and aggressive in its dealing with India. China acquired around 5000 sq km of territory from Pakistan without paying heed to India’s concerns, China is pushing for CPEC through PoK violating India’s sovereignty, and China has persistently claimed its suzerainty over Arunachal. And now the matters are shifting to Sikkim.

There have been little efforts from China to address India’s concerns and lack of any confidence building measures. Thus India has taken right decision to stand up to the challenge of Chinese aggression that could halt the China’s increasing assertiveness in neighbor’s territories.  


Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

3) It is argued that without making deep-going and radical changes to India’s political economy it will not be possible to prevent and eliminate corruption. Do you agree? Substantiate. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Political economy refers to how political institutions, the political environment, and the economic system — capitalist, socialist, communist, or mixed — influence each other. It is argued that India is in urgent need of radical changes in the political economy to fight ever-burgeoning corruption in India.

Why India’s political economy needs deep-going and radical changes?

  • In India, the traditional approach to deal with corruption is moralist one where focus is on to inculcate moral and ethical principles so that people desist themselves from corruption.
  • Further there have been mass movements to pressurize government of the day to enact stringent laws to deter the people from indulging into corruption. For eg Anna Hazare movement in 2011.
  • Another explanation given for the huge corruption in India is that many vestiges of the licence raj remain, enforcement capacity is still weak, and the reform process needs to be given more time to bring down the level of corruption.
  • India already has plethora of laws and institutions to deal with the corruption. In spite of this the new institutions like Lokpal are demanded.
  • All these methods have not brought the effective changes on the ground in reducing the corruption. The moralist approach is difficult to enforce and could take indefinite time to reduce the corruption. The mass movements may have increased the awareness among the people but they have not achieved their intended objectives. Anti-corruption institutions are full of political interference and officials of many of them are themselves facing the corruption charges.
  • Flaws in political economy and corruption-
  1. The high level of corruption in India after the independence was attributed to the license-Raj system, over-regulation by the government and existence of government in market through PSUs. However the reforms of 1991 which deregulated the economy, ended license-Raj system, liberalized the economy did not make any difference. In fact corruption has gone up manifold with overall 28 scams being exposed since the year 2000.
  2. The crony-capitalism (politician-capitalist nexus) has eroded the credibility of many institutions that were created with the intention of serving the interest of masses and not few. Political masters are promoting the interest of the few at the expense of majority for vested gains. For eg Flawed allocation of coal mines, 2G spectrum scandal etc.
  3. Lack of institutional transparency is the major issue in India’s political system. Recently passed Finance Bill 2017 would increase the anonymity of funding to the political parties. Tax administration is equally opaque and its arbitrariness has created the trust deficit between the government and citizens.
  4. Law enforcement agencies like CBI are used instruments to serve the needs of the ruling party and to promote her interests. CBI was called as ‘Caged Parrot’ in one of the judgement of Supreme Court indicating CBI’s helplessness and inability to work effectively. Police forces in the states suffer the same fate as CBI.

Thus India needs to make deep-going and radical changes in political economy which breeds high level of corruption and offers impunity to corrupt that in turn encourages more corruption.


When corruption is not conceptualized soundly, in relation to socio-economic, political, and cultural factors, but is presented in overly simplified moral terms, analysis of its causes and effects tends to go all over the place; and without accurate, theoretically sound and empirically backed analysis, prescription tends to be seriously flawed. Hence India needs to focus on more on bringing radical changes to political economy to curb the menace of corruption.


Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

4) What does the law say on nominating members to the Assembly of a Union Territory? why does the system of nominated members exist in Puducherry? In the light of recent controversy, examine. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


LG Kiran Bedi administered the oath of office to V Saminathan, president of the BJP’s Puducherry unit, K G Shankar, its treasurer, and S Selvaganapathy, an educationist and member of the Puducherry BJP, making them members of the Assembly. The ceremony was conducted without public function giving no reasons for such urgency. Political parties including the Congress, DMK, VCK and Left condemned the Centre’s “arbitrariness” in choosing the three nominated members – which allowed the BJP to enter the Assembly — and the “undemocratic” manner in which they had been “secretly” sworn in.

Legal procedure to nominate the members to the Assembly of UT-

  • Article 239(A), first introduced in the Constitution by the Fourteenth Amendment in 1962, allows Parliament to enact a law for the creation of “a body, whether elected or partly nominated and partly elected, to function as a Legislature” for Puducherry.
  • Under The Government of Union Territories Act, 1963, “the Central Government may nominate not more than three persons, not being persons in the service of Government, to be members of the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory.”
  • Puducherry and Delhi are the only two Union Territories that also have elected Assemblies. As per The Government of Union Territories Act that governs Puducherry, the 30-member Assembly can have an additional three members nominated by the Centre. LG Kiran Bedi administered the oath of office to the nominated members based on the recommendation sent by the union Home Ministry.

Why does the system of nominated member exist in Puducherry?

  • At the time of the debate in Rajya Sabha on the Constitution Amendment Bill, the purpose of the nomination appeared to be to allow members from a community not adequately represented to be part of the legislature. However, in the enacted law, there was no mention of representation from weaker or inadequately represented sections as a purpose of the nominations.
  • In fact, one member argued that the concept of nomination should not be applicable at all, given the size of a Union Territory, and called for such a clause to be made available only under certain conditions.
  • Another member felt that the union government would use this provision for ulterior motives — he referred to a situation in the Nagpur Corporation where the Congress managed to overturn its minority situation by nominating members to the body.
  • A third member suggested the use of single transferable vote, like in the case of elections to Rajya Sabha, to nominate members.
  • A fourth suggested the use of a Resolution in the Assembly to approve the nomination of members.

What is the process followed in the nomination to the Puducherry Assembly? (Extra info)

Political parties have been arguing that only the Speaker has the power to induct a member in the House. However, the law for Puducherry only specifies that the central government has the power to nominate; the process to be followed is unclear as there is no rule or notification.

This is similar to the nomination of an Anglo-Indian member: while the All India Anglo Indian Association and Federation of Anglo-Indian Associations in India can send recommendation for nomination to Parliament and state Assemblies, the government has the final say in sending the names to the President or Governor for nomination.


General Studies – 3

Topic Indigenization of technology and developing new technology

5) In your opinion, what is the best way to encourage domestic production of defence equipment in India? Discuss. (200 Words)


Introduction :- Between 2012 and 2016, India accounted for 13% of global arms imports, followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, China and Algeria.

global arms purchases

Until 16 years ago, defence production, under the Industrial Policy Resolution of 1956, was entirely a government function. In 2001, the government proposed 100% non-government ownership with up to 26% foreign direct investment (FDI). However, both domestic private sector and FDI participation has been disappointing.

Ways to encourage domestic production of defence :-

  • Encourage collaboration between foreign and Indian firms. The Tatas, Hero Group, Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd, Ashok Leyland Ltd, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd and Bharat Forge Ltd are among the companies establishing various types of technology licensing and joint venture projects.
  • Allow the export of certain types of equipment made in India. In the national interest, the most advanced systems should remain protected from export, but small arms, certain types of armoured vehicles, and some types of naval vessels should be allowed. A diversity of buyers may encourage others to make in India.
  • The current Make-in-India campaign launched by the government is an echo of the defence ministry’s long-cherished aspiration for achieving self-reliance in defence production. Campaign like this must be promoted.
  • The government needs to take both the small steps as well as some bold decisions like increasing the FDI cap to 74% or even 100% and should strive to make Indian industry an integral part of the global aerospace and defence supply chain.
  • Learn from other countries :- Ex China
  • China’s success in revitalising its defence industry is owed to two main factors – one, providing ample funding for weapons acquisition and two, fundamental reforms based on the ‘Four Mechanisms’ of ‘competition, evaluation, supervision and encouragement’. 
  • India can take a leaf out of China’s book is in negotiation tactics during weapons acquisitions. China is known to drive a hard bargain, but their attractive co-production agreements and the availability of both cheap labour as well as R&D funding prove to be strong selling points for foreign OEMs.
  • structural reforms in public sector enterprises and providing a fillip to R&D are crucial steps required for providing a solid base to domestic defence industry and innovation.

Conclusion :- There are multiple areas that need attention such as funding, R&D, taxation, protection of intellectual property, foreign investment and collaboration, the import and export regimes. There is need for a comprehensive review of all of these to create synergies rather than contradictions, and an ecosystem that stimulates investments in building domestic capabilities across the entire defence supply-chain.


Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security

6) Discuss critically issues and concerns raised against pre-emptive internet shutdowns as a security measure. (200 Words)


Introduction :- Internet shutdowns are generally justified on “national security” grounds, but there can be no doubt that many of the closures have been driven by political or other considerations, and many have been imposed with no clear legal mandate. 


  • South Asia led the world in internet shutdowns in 2016.
  • India shut down the internet 31 times in 2016 – the highest in the world. India has ordered 73 internet shutdowns since 2012. (Software Freedom Law Center)
  • Most internet shutdowns in India are ordered under article 144 of the Indian Penal Code, which empowers local authorities to issue prohibitory orders to deal with situations of potential unrest. (Software Freedom Law Center)
  • India lost US$ 968 million economically due to internet shutdowns.
  • In Jammu and Kashmir, a pre-emptive internet shutdown was put in place recently as security was being beefed up for the first death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. This is the seventh such shutdown in the state this year alone, followed by Haryana (which has had five shutdowns), Rajasthan (three), and Uttar Pradesh and Odisha (two each), according to the Delhi-based Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC).

Issues and concerns involved :-

  • Shutdown is a violation of fundamental rights of Freedom of speech and expression.
  • Internet shutdowns can erode democratic institutions and values. For example, if citizens are using the internet to mobilize themselves, then shutting down the internet is not different from suppressing dissent.
  • Does a democratic government have the right to shut down the internet? Is a basic question regarding internet shutdown. After the Gujarat government suspended internet services for almost a week during the Patidar protest in 2015, the matter was taken to the courts.
  • Internet shutdowns are not particularly effective—people always find other ways to communicate, and studies have shown that such censorship in times of political unrest actually leads to more violent uprisings as the information void fuels uncertainty and causes panic.
  • The rising economic cost of such shutdowns also needs to be factored in. A 2016 study by Brookings Institution that looked at 81 instances of internet shutdowns across 19 countries between July 2015 and June 2016 found that they had cost the world economy a total of $2.4 billion. India, at a conservative estimate of $968 million, was one of the biggest losers.

Conclusion :- Shutdowns, which are a negative expression of the idea of digital sovereignty, are not just for undemocratic societies any more. An internet shutdown compromises our democratic freedoms and should only be allowed in the most rare cases, rather than as a first response. Also an independent body could be a substitute for legislation which impose shutdown arbitrarily and that it also be empowered to review the necessity of shutdowns in the first place. 


Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions

7) Define ethics. Where does ethics come from and what is its use? (150 Words)



Introduction :- Ethics is a set of tradition, customs, culture, rules, regulations that are followed by society over a period of time. At its simplest, ethics is a system of moral principles. They affect how people make decisions and lead their lives.

Ethics is concerned with what is good for individuals and society and is also described as moral philosophy.

Where does ethics come from :- Many sources can be traced for it.

  • God and religion
  • Human conscience and intuition
  • a rational moral cost-benefit analysis of actions and their effects
  • the example of good human beings
  • a desire for the best for people in each unique situation
  • political power

Specific influential sources :-

  • Childhood Upbringing :- Without really thinking or even being able to avoid it, each person learns ethics from his or her parents—what they teach in words and perhaps more importantly through their actions. These teachings shape our most fundamental attitudes about what is “right” and what is “wrong.”
  • Religious Beliefs

Virtually all the world’s religions teach an essentially similar code of ethics that emphasizes honesty, respect for others and their rights, and selflessness. 

  • Codes of Ethics

Perhaps the most direct and explicit sources of our daily ethical guidance are codes of ethics. They can be official or business or informal codes guiding the people about their behaviour, thought process and actions.

  • Discussions with Others

Almost daily, quite casually, and sometimes without thinking, virtually all of us talk about others’ and our own actions—offering frequent opinions about whether what they or we have been doing is good, right, and sensible (or perhaps very much the opposite). Buried in this “small talk,” “chit chat,” gossip, and mealtime conversations are implicit—sometimes very explicit—ethical judgments about the behaviour being discussed. 

  • Ethical Philosophers

In sharp contrast to these ethics of casual social consensus, the philosophers who have developed systems of ethics—such people as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Bentham, and more recent ethical thinkers throughout the world—have developed basic principles from which they have derived systems of ethics.

  • Ethical Dilemmas

A final source of ethical insight (more a way of developing one’s ethical awareness and sensibilities than a separate source of ethical guidance) is pondering ethical dilemmas. These dilemmas are real or imagined situations that pit two or more ethical principles, rules, or objectives against one another. To resolve the dilemma, one has to decide which of these ethically desirable ends is the more/most important or, alternatively, if there is a way to achieve both/all of these ends without committing some other ethical wrong.

  • Later Life Experiences

Similarly, a life-shaping event later in life may more directly and consciously shape a person’s ethics. Thus, someone severely injured in an automobile accident may have a much higher opinion of the entire automobile-injury reparations system—including the police who investigated, the hospital that provided care, the lawyers and courts that resolved any legal issues, and the insurers that helped finance so much of the injured person’s recovery—if that person is satisfied with the ultimate medical and financial result months and years after the accident. If, however, this victim feels the result was medically inferior or legally unfair, the victim may well treat everyone in the system unfairly—even years later in circumstances unrelated to the original accident—just to seek some measure of personal “justice.”


Use of ethics :-

  • It helps us in enhancing our life in various dimensions :- It guides our behaviour for what is right or wrong, helps in making our decisions batter, in resolving day to day dilemmas and conflicts.
  • Ethics allows us to cultivate inner peace. Lives that are lived ethically tend to be calmer, more focused, and more productive than those that are lived unethically. Most people can’t turn off their sympathy for other human beings. Hurting people leaves scars on both the giver and the receiver. As a result, unethical people have stormier internal lives because they have to work to suppress their consciences and sympathies to deal with the ways they treat others. When they fail to properly suppress their sympathies, the guilt and shame that comes with harming or disrespecting one’s fellow human beings takes deep root within them.
  • Ethics provides for a stable society. When people live ethical lives, they tell the truth, avoid harming others, and are generous. Working with such people is easy. On the other hand, callous and insensitive people are distrusted, so it’s difficult for them to be integrated well into social arrangements. A stable society requires a lot of ethical people working together in highly coordinated ways. If society were mostly composed of unethical people, it would quickly crumble.


Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions

8) Briefly discuss relationship between ethics and human actions. (150 Words)

Reference (Page 49, 50 and 51)

Introduction :- Ethics is the branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.The term ethics derives from the Ancient Greek word ethikos, which is derived from the word ethos (habit, custom or character).

Human actions are the net results of what any person does in accordance with his/her thinking and behaviour pattern. The definitions of ethics suggest that it focuses on human actions and their morality. It is concerned with the morality of human behaviour. The major focus of ethics is on human actions; this also happens to be the starting point for most legal systems. They are primarily interested in human actions and, following that, in their legality or illegality. Ethics, then, does not concern itself with the actions of animals. Furthermore, ethics focuses only on people’s deliberate human actions, and not on undeliberate actions or actions done because of ignorance.


Scholastic philosophers maintain that three requirements must be concurrently present for any action to be human:

  • There must be some knowledge involved :- Knowledge is an essential requirement for an action to be human. We cannot will anything unless we first know it. So knowledge of some kind is an absolute for an action to be human. Hence actions without knowledge are hard to judge on ethical grounds.
  • There must be voluntariness present :- It must proceed from the will. The will controls the performance of external actions—the will is the cause of our actions. If a person is being forced upon by others to perform a particular action them his/her behaviour can’t be judged on ethical ground.
  • The action must be freely done :- The capacity to act or not to act or to act in one way as opposed to another. Free will means that human beings have choices.
  • Children in slums or underprivileged background are forced to beg indiscriminately sometimes. These actions can’t be taken as ethically wrong since many a times they are not voluntary, children involved in them have no knowledge of what are the consequences or why they are doing so and in many instances they are not done by free will.