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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 August 2017


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 August 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: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

1) Why is Jawaharlal Nehru called the architect of democratic India? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Hindu


  • The evolution of the idea in Nehru’s mind during the crucial years of his life when he came under the influence of several streams of thought, mostly foreign, the acceptance of the Gandhian ethic resulting in the enunciation of framework of democracy committed to secula­rism, socialism and social justice and the creation of a sound institutional base for the rapid development of the huge and diverse country made him the stalwart of democratic philosophy.
  • Nehru was himself a curious and a fascinating mixture of diversity influences and streams of thought from the east and the west. He was influenced by the idealist tradition of the Indian renaissance and the national movement, especially by Gandhi and persistently endeavored to combine idealism with realism.
  • In his early years Nehru raised several questions against the Gandhian approach and openly disagreed with the Mahatma on many counts. Some letters written by Nehru to Gandhiji reveal the dilemma before Nehru. He sought answers from Gandhiji and found in the Mahatma’s approach and work solutions to the many doubts that had persisted for long.
  • Nehru’s democratic socialism was ‘a growing, dynamic conception’ something which he felt would not be rigid. It should be something that would suit the genius and require­ments of the Indian people.
  • Nehru’s commitment to democracy was borne out by the respect he showed to the opposition, the Press and those with whom he disagreed. He pointed out that variety should not affect unity nor should religion, caste and language disrupt national unity. From the Buddha to Gandhi, he observed, India’s heritage conveyed to the world the lesson of living harmoniously together.
  • Democracy required the spirit of tolerance and co­operation and he firmly believed in India’s capacity for sustain­ing the democratic spirit. Nehru’s faith in the Indian spirit remained throughout unshaken.
  • Underlying the strong institutional base Nehru laid for the growth of Indian democracy was the value system shaped under Gandhijis leadership, the relevance of those highly cherished values – communal harmony, non-violence and eman­cipation of the oppressed sections of the society – has not decreased with the passage of time. Even today they occupy a high place in our system though euphemistically we may describe them as national integration and social justice.
  • The fact is unassailable that there is no alternative to the Gandhi-Nehru framework of Indian democracy. Discarding it would be most harmful to India’s social and political life. It is only by recalling that ethos and reviving the Nehruvian spirit that we can stem the ominous drift that has set in and put the Indian democracy back on the rails.


Indian democracy proved worthy of Nehru’s faith in it. Yet, the last two decades have witnessed a steep erosion of the value-system underlying the Indian democracy. Some of the trends that set in the Indian system would have greatly distressed Jawaharlal Nehru. A strong and stable democracy on the lines drawn by the great architect, Jawaharlal Nehru, would ensure world peace and better future for mankind. How aptly he once asked “Who dies if India lives? Who lives if India dies?”



Topic: Role of women; India’s culture

2) Write a note on the Hanafi school and its relevance in the debate on triple talaq in India. (200 Words)

The Hindu


What is Hanafi school of thought?

The Hanafi School is one of the four religious Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence. The other major schools of Sharia in Sunni Islam are Maliki, Shafi`i and Hanbali.

Though the Hanafi School finally came to adopt the mainstream legal methodology and philosophy, it did maintain peculiar characteristics such as its emphasis on the practical aspects of the law. Particularly in the first three centuries of Islam, its followers, more than any other school, were the chief authors and experts on formularies (shurut), notarial documents, and the profession and conduct of judgeship (adab al-qada). It is distinguished from the other schools through its placing less reliance on mass oral traditions as a source of legal knowledge. It also established the principle that the universal concurrence of the Ummah (community) of Islam on a point of law, as represented by legal and religious scholars, constituted evidence of the will of God.

What is Triple talaq?

Triple talaq is the practice under which a Muslim man can divorce his wife by simply uttering “talaq” three times. It is prevalent among India’s Muslim community majority of who follow the Hanafi Islamic school of law.

This mode of divorce is not universal among Muslims across the world, as many other Islamic schools of thought prefer the divorce process to be deferred, in many cases over a period of three months.

Existing Condition on Triple talaq:

Both the Koran and the Hadith spell out the rights of Muslim women. They also clearly lay down the procedure for talaq, a lengthy one which carries enough scope for reconciliation before a complete termination of marriage. Measures like arbitration and counseling during this process are also advised to save the marital relations.

There are some grounds on which talaq can be pronounced but there is a strict procedure laid for it. The process is to take several months and, in the meantime, every possible effort has to be made the save the marriage. Many Indian Muslim men do not follow this. Neither have clerics or the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) bothered to educate them. Under the circumstances, the only remedy left is scrapping it in its present form so that those who violate it are punished.

Gender justice

Islam considers marriage as a contract and it has laid down procedures on how to annul it. A woman can seek divorce under what is called as “khula”, while the husband can end the marriage by pronouncing talaq thrice, after which arbitration is required.

But activists have highlighted the misuse of instant divorce by men as a reason to ban it. Cases of husbands divorcing their wives through text messages and over phones have come to light.

According to the findings of a BMMA study, more than 90 percent of 4,710 women interviewed wanted a ban on unilateral divorce.


The Hanafi School is the first of the four orthodox Sunni schools of law. It is distinguished from the other schools through its placing less reliance on mass oral traditions as a source of legal knowledge. At the same time, they were engaged in teaching activity and did everything in their power to further refine theoretical basis of the Hanafi school of thought. The Centre has already told the court that the practice was discriminatory, unconstitutional and against gender equality.India has separate sets of personal laws for each religion, governing marriage, divorce and succession. While Hindu law overhaul began in the 1950s, activists have long argued that Muslim personal law has remained mostly unchanged.


General Studies – 2


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

3) It is said that there is an urgent need to formulate law and policy measures to address groundwater crisis in India. Examine why. (200 Words)

The Hindu



Water security is widely recognised as one of the major challenges to India’s economic and social development. The nation’s average annual rainfall is extremely abundant by global standards, yet much of this rain falls in relatively brief deluges during the monsoon and there is great disparity across different regions. The combination of these climatic conditions with a range of man-made pressures has driven India’s farmers, households, and industry to increasingly depend on groundwater rather than surface water in rivers and lakes.

Rate of groundwater decline:

Groundwater is a critical resource in India, accounting for over 65% of irrigation water and 85% of drinking water supplies. However, on current trends it is estimated that 60% of groundwater sources will be in a critical state of degradation within the next twenty years. In the most seriously affected north-western states, recent satellite measurements indicate an average decline of 33 cm per year from 2002 to 20085. Local observations of annual water table decline exceeding 4 meters are common throughout India.

ground water

Reasons of this crisis:

  • Lack of reservoir infrastructure is also a contributing factor to current shortages, the fact that groundwater resources are unable to compensate as before indicates that what was once a problem of long-term sustainability has developed into an urgent crisis – one that is fundamental to India’s broader water security today and for a long time to come.
  • Urban water supply infrastructure is often poor and unreliable. Well drilling is typically the most economical means of obtaining household water. This results in exploitation of groundwater resources.
  • In rural areas, electricity subsidies allowing farmers to pump groundwater cheaply have become entrenched in the political landscape. They are likely to become even more so as energy requirements increase to extract water from greater depths. Low cost encourages excess water withdrawal, an inefficient usage pattern commonly exacerbated by ineffective application methods and the wastage of agricultural produce between farm and market.
  • Aside from the physical absence of the resource, the state of groundwater quality in India is a critical health issue. As wells are drilled deeper in pursuit of the falling water table, the water which is extracted frequently displays higher levels of arsenic, fluoride, and other harmful chemicals.
  • Depletion of groundwater is not simply a case of drawing down a replenishable resource, but potentially one of permanent degradation.
  • India’s state governments have primary jurisdiction over groundwater usage and, in many cases, state agencies are even more poorly equipped. Both underground aquifers and above-ground rivers traverse the borders of Indian states; competition over water use is already a major source of inter-state conflict, as well as between users at a local level.

Possible solutions:

A comprehensive World Bank study concluded that high-level policy reform in the shape of regulatory measures, economic instruments, or tradable groundwater extraction rights is simply not a credible way forward.

Particular focus on community level groundwater recharge and the use of communally managed alternatives to groundwater, such as small dams can solve the issue to some extent.

Legal position:

Water falls under the State List of the Constitution. This implies that state legislative assemblies can make laws on the subject. In order to provide broad guidelines to state governments to frame their own laws relating to sustainable water usage, the central government has published certain framework laws or model Bills.

 In 2011, the government published a Model Bill for Ground Water Management based on which states could choose to enact their laws.

 It outlined a National Water Policy in 2012 articulating key principles relating to demand management, usage efficiencies, infrastructure and pricing aspects of water. As recommended in this policy, the government published a National Water Framework Bill in 2013.

The Model Bills and National Water Policy address the governance of ground water under the public trust doctrine. The concept of public trust doctrine ensures that resources meant for public use cannot be converted into private ownership. Government being the trustee has the responsibility to protect and preserve this natural resource for and on behalf of the beneficiaries, that is, the people.


Groundwater is a classic example of a ‘public good’ – a resource where it is difficult to exclude potential users and it is not in the self-interest of the individual to use the resource in a collectively beneficial manner.  If one user reduces the volume of water they withdraw the overall impact will be minimal. All users compete with each other to extract as much water as they can while the resource still exists and everyone is worse off than if they cooperated and each reduced consumption.



Topic:  Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States

4) Analyse the role of state and private entities in the right to privacy issue. (200 Words)

The Hindu


The Supreme Court is currently considering whether Right to Privacy is a fundamental right or not. The focus in this case is on whether government can store personal data of citizens obtained through Aadhar. However, role of private enterprises is equally important in today’s world.

Concerns have been raised over the misuse of Aadhar by the state for surveillance, safety of data within the database, an individual’s inability to access his own data (this impedes verification of data). Therefore, it is argued that there should be a limited role of state and right to privacy is a fundamental right. However, there is a dual role of the state.

The role of the state is not just to abstain from preventing rightful free expression but also to actively ensure that private parties are not able to block it. In the same manner, the role of the state in terms of the right to privacy in the digital age is not just to abstain from its violation. It is equally to ensure that private parties are not able to violate such a right. The court must specifically direct the state to ensure this imperative.

 Citizens will also require the assistance of a public interest agency to enable management of their personal data in a manner that they can obtain the best benefit of a data economy/society and its personalised services.

State should  ensure that people’s right to privacy is actually available against the private corporations as well.

We share our personal data voluntarily with private technology companies when we agree to their terms of use. This data includes our search history, our travel history, the things we buy, the websites we visit etc. This data is being used today by several firms to advertise their products as well as other purposes. Private entities should ensure the safety of such information and respect for individual choices. Self-regulatory mechanisms should be in place.

In the future, the importance of data will further increase. It is important to empower the citizens by granting them the right to privacy and establishing appropriate institutions to secure it. State and private sector both have their own roles to play.



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

5) Critically discuss evolution and the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in bringing about regional integration. (200 Words)

The Hindu


ASEAN was created in 1967 as a result of Bangkok declaration (among Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand). End of the Cold War paved way for the enlargement of ASEAN by normalising relations with Vietnam and Laos. Vietnam joined ASEAN in 1995, followed by Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999.

ASEAN, which has recently completed 50 years of its existence, has had a history, that is replete with both successes, as well as failures, in the political, social and economic fronts. In fact, one of its prime objectives, attainment of regional integration, has been the subject of discussion for quite some time now.

Its role in achieving regional integration –

  1. The steady improvement in intra-regional co-operation on issues such as industrial development, trade and commerce, science and technology, and even security is worth appreciation.
    2. Politically, the member governments of the bloc have acted in unison in international forums, and have not had divergent stance in critical matters, of both global and regional significance.
    3. The arrangements such as ASEAN Regional Forum meet, or the current progress achieved in the RCEP negotiations, is an appreciable aspect of the relationship between the member-nations. 
    4. The acceptance of the principle of free movement of goods, services, capital, and skilled personnel, has further boosted regional integration.

However, some issues still need to be addressed –

  1. The high tariff rates for intra-regional trade.
    2. The enhancement of the ability to contain Chinese influence in the region, with respect to its divide and rule policy in the region.
    3. The influence held by the military in Myanmar.
    4. Concerns of terrorism, which has affected countries like Philippines, and the inability to curtail the hold of drug trafficking networks in the ”Golden Triangle” region.

Way forward –

ASEAN focuses on traditional way of regional integration which rely on free flow of goods & services, investment, people, and standardization. The changing dynamics of South East Asia demands interaction to promote Knowledge, innovation along with strengthening of cultural & historical linkages.


General Studies – 3


Topic:  Agriculture issues

6) The Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) mandate is agriculture education, research and farm extension. Critically evaluate performance of ICAR and suggest reforms. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


Introduction :- The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is an autonomous body responsible for co-ordinating agricultural education and research in India. It reports to the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Ministry of Agriculture. The Union Minister of Agriculture serves as its president. It is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.

The Committee to Advise on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education (Yashpal Committee, 2009) has recommended setting up of a constitutional body — the National Commission for Higher Education and Research — which would be a unified supreme body to regulate all branches of higher education including agricultural education. Presently, regulation of agricultural education is the mandate of ICAR, Veterinary Council of India (Veterinary sub-discipline) and Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (Forestry sub-discipline). The UPA government has included Yashpal Committee recommendations in its ‘100 days agenda’. premier institute of agriculture in India

Performance of ICAR :-

  • ICARscientists were the first in the world to sequence the pigeon pea genome. it was a purely indigenous effort by 31 scientists led by Nagendra Kumar Singh of NRCPB. The first draft of the sequence was published in  Plant Biochem. Biotechnol
  • As of July, 2006 it has developed a vaccineagainst bird flu.The vaccine was developed at the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory, Bhopal, the only facility in the country to conduct tests for the H5N1 variant of bird flu. It was entrusted with the task of developing a vaccine by the ICAR after the Avian Influenza outbreak in February
  • It contributed during the most challenging years of food scarcity. 
  • Conducted Survey of accidents in Indian agriculture :- To develop safer equipment and to pursue measures for minimizing accidents in agriculture, realistic data on these accidents are essential. Therefore, an agricultural accident survey was carried out during 2004-07 in collaboration with Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute, New Delhi. The data collected in this survey are being used to formulate accident minimization programmes in these states.
  • Development/ evaluation of safety gadgets for farm machines/ activities The following safety gadgets were developed/ evaluated to minimize   accidents in agricultural activities.
  • Safety gadgets for chaff cutters and sugarcane crushers
  • Safety cover for pedal operated paddy thresher
  • Belt and chain type conveyor feeding system for high capacity thresher
  • A tractor trailer with brakes and other safety features

Critical evaluation :-

  • Far from being an autonomous body, ICAR has become an extension of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • ICAR has historically evolved with a strong bias in favour of crop sciences at the cost of animal husbandry. Research that focuses on agriculture productivity without an alignment to its socio-economic consequences and farmer prosperity is passé.
  • Yields for irrigated crops like rice and wheat are comparable with the best in the world, but research on rain-fed farms, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and vegetables lags considerably.
  • Evolving consumer preferences, changing the narrative from farm to food, environmental impact, climate resilient agriculture require a reorientation of priorities and mindsets.
  • The capacities for market intelligence and forecasting models have not been cultivated.
  • The deterioration in agriculture education is deplorable. Some state agriculture universities (SAU) are even conducting courses in fashion design.
  • More appalling are the over 1,000 unregulated private agriculture colleges which have sprouted across the nation.
  • Many are without proper labs, infrastructure or farm land. As agriculture is a state subject ICAR/Central government jurisdiction doesn’t apply to these proliferating private profiteers. They thrive because states haven’t enacted a regulatory framework. 
  • Of the three activities of ICAR, technology transfer or farm extension is shared with the states and is the biggest disappointment of all. Since India became a cereal secure nation, complacency set in and public extension collapsed. 
  • Around 700 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) funded by the ICAR are designated for capacity building and technology refinement and transfer but are neither fully staffed nor equipped.
  • Convergence between ICAR and state agriculture agencies has failed.
  • ICAR cannot escape its share of culpability — recruitments are manipulated, inbreeding and nepotism are rampant. Salary structures based on government promotion rules of time-bound promotion do not recognise research output and talent is ignored. Most farmhands are women, but women are not even recruited in equal numbers. 
  • Worse still, research is routinely stolen from ICAR institutes by private companies. Thus, IPR registrations and internal resource generation like that in the developed world universities is improbable.

Measures needed :-

  • It should be transformed into a truly autonomous body reporting directly to the prime minister like the Atomic Energy Commission. Its functions should be restricted to farm research, education and oversight of non-ICAR agriculture institutes. Farm extension services should be completely delegated to the state governments.
  • The Punjab government has notified a regulatory act; other states must follow.
  • If the PMO accepted the responsibility of agriculture research and education, SAU salaries would fall into the Central government basket and the KVKs could be transferred to the states. That would free up resources for states to focus exclusively on farm extension.
  • The budget allocations for agriculture R&D must be pegged as 2 per cent of the GDP from the less than 1 per cent at present. But, most importantly, a metric to audit outcomes and establish accountability is needed to resolve the crisis.



Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

7) Critically comment on the deployment of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) during the recent raid by the Income Tax department in Karnataka on a serving Minister. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


Introduction :- Recently the Central Reserve Police Force was deployed during raid by Income Tax Department in Karnataka. “Public order” and “police” are in the State List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, which means state legislatures have the exclusive power to make laws on those subjects. The Centre does assist the states in situations of law and order, deriving its sanction to do so from constitutional provisions. The Constitution states that it is the duty of the Union to protect states from external aggression and internal disturbance. The Union therefore has legal sanction to deploy armed forces when required in the states to contain a situation.


·        The finance ministry overstretched a badly drafted provision under the Income Tax Act, 1961, which gives the officer authorised to carry out search and seizure the “…power to requisition service of a police officer or officer of the Central Government” underSection 132(2).

·        It is evident that the word “police” mentioned in the Act refer to a police officer of the state government. Policing and law and order are within the domain of states. Interpreting the words, “any …officer of the Central Government” to include the CRPF is absurd, and devious.

·        The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, does not give untrammelled power to arrest to a member of the armed forces. This power is reserved for the non-armed state police.

·        The Guwahati High Court in a 1991 judgment referred to the Administrative Reforms Commission Report which stated that the Union Government cannot deploy armed forces except at the request of, or with the concurrence of, the State Government.

·        The armed forces of the Union, including the CRPF, can be deployed only to aid a state’s police force.

Use of CRPF in Karnataka IT raids is a blow to federalism. The Karnataka government’s ‘protest’ at the use of the CRPF is not enough. It should move the Supreme Court in the matter.


General Studies – 4



Topic: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service; integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity

8) What do you understand by objectivity? Why is objectivity regarded as one of the foundational values for a civil servant? 

Introduction :- Objectivity is a central philosophical concept, related to reality and truth, which has been variously defined by sources. Generally, objectivity means the state or quality of being true even outside of a subject‘s individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings. A proposition is generally considered objectively true when its truth conditions are met without biases caused by feelings, ideas, opinions.

According to Nolan committee Objectivity in carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit is required.

It is regarded as one of the foundational values for civil servant as she enjoys much discretionary powers, is in charge of public funds and has responsibility of welfare of lakhs of people especially from weaker section of society. Objectivity ensure the utmost use of these powers.

Decisions must be objectives. Subjective biases and prejudices can never become part of decision making. With objective decision making organisations become effective and efficient Ex Planning commission though an important institution had become a white elephant hence replacing it with more dynamic institution like NITI aayog keeping aside the legacy and leaning towards socialism aspect aside was an objective decision.

Objectivity will help civil servants to be non partisan, impartial and more service oriented. It also contributes in rational merit based decision makings in day to day work of them. Ex. Team work, solving emergency issues like riotous situation.

Being objective ensures that work of civil servant becomes fair, transparent and visionary above all narrow considerations of kinship, nepotism, favouritism. It also plays a big role in reducing menace of corruption from the system.