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[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 September 2021



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


1. The Partition of India was one of the largest, most abrupt, unplanned and tragic transfer of population that human history has known. Examine the impact of partition on India. (250 words)


“Partition” – the division of British India into the two separate states of India and Pakistan on August 14-15, 1947 – was the “last-minute” mechanism by which the British were able to secure agreement over how independence would take place. At the time, few people understood what Partition would entail or what its results would be, and the migration on the enormous scale that followed took the vast majority of contemporaries by surprise.


Impact of Partition on India:

Social impacts

  • Huge number of refugees belonging to religious minorities crossing over the border
  • In terms of human resource the loss was enormous as it received about 16 million uprooted, homeless  refugees  who  had  to  be  rehabilitated  at
  • Demographic changes due to migration and Overcrowding in border districts, towns and cities
  • Emergence of ethno-cultural, ethno-religious minorities leading to inter-ethnic conflict
  • Influx of people in the metropolis of Kolkata resulting to over-urbanization
  • Logistics of rehabilitation of refugees
  • Rise in the number of unemployed
  • Later bouts of communal tension generated further movement, with a trickle of people still migrating as late as the 1960s.

Economic impacts

  • West Punjab  and  Sind  traditionally  formed  a  great  source  of  food  supply  so  much so that they were called the granary of undivided India.
  • But since the two regions came to belong to Pakistan after the partition, India was hit hard so far as food production was concerned.
  • The industrial  sector  suffered  considerably  from  the  impact  on  agriculture,  for  reasons  of  the  traditional  linkage  of  industries  with  the  agricultural  sector  for  deriving  raw  materials  produced  in  the  agricultural
  • In addition  the  riots  that  ensued  after  the  partition  led  to  a  massive  migration  of  skilled  labour  from India to Pakistan. A majority of the skilled workers and artisans were incidentally the people of the Muslim community.
  • The biggest calamity in the jute sector arose from the fact that nearly 80% of jute production went to east Pakistan because of the partition.

Geographical impacts

  • Loss of territorial resources, i.e. fertile agricultural land, in this case an extensive area under jute crop, forest lands, loss of huge mangrove forests in the deltaic region of Sunderbans
  • Sharing of water resources between upper and lower riparian states
  • Border disputes  related  to  demarcation  of  boundary  running  through  riverine  delta  areas  and  flat  alluvium plains
  • Inadequate transport and communication network system between newly created independent nations
  • Inadequate infrastructure for inter and intra-regional trade and commerce
  • Enclaves on either side of the border

Geopolitical impacts

  • The geopolitical  situation  is  a  direct  impact  of  unwise  partition  of  territories  the  implication of which is far- reaching.
  • In order to achieve a lasting peace in the sub-continent a pragmatic foreign policy  and  settlement  of  unresolved  issues  such  as  sharing  of  water,  border  management,  settlement of border disputes, disbanding of terrorist outfits are of prime importance.


Today, the two countries’ relationship is far from healthy. Kashmir remains a flashpoint; both countries are nuclear-armed. Indian Muslims are frequently suspected of harbouring loyalties towards Pakistan; non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan are increasingly vulnerable thanks to the so-called Islamisation of life there since the 1980s. Seven decades on, well over a billion people still live in the shadow of Partition.


2. The Sino-Indian War of 1962 had many consequences and India moved from an idealistic foreign policy to practical one. Analyse (150 words, 10 marks)


China launched a swift and massive invasion in October 1962 on Aksai-chin  area  in  the  Ladakh  region  of  Jammu  and  Kashmir  and NEFA  (North  Eastern  Frontier  Agency). The first attack lasted one week and Chinese forces captured some key areas in Arunachal Pradesh. The second wave of attack came next month. While the Indian forces could block the Chinese advances on the  western  front  in  Ladakh,  in  the  east  the  Chinese  managed  to advance  nearly  to  the  entry  point  of  Assam  plains.  Finally,  China declared a unilateral ceasefire and its troops withdrew to where they were before the invasion began.


Consequences of Sino-Indian War of 1962

  • First, the war of 1962 sealed the fate of the Tibet issue as an eternal source of tension in Sino-Indian relations. This has had both strategic and tactical consequences.
  • Strategically, the Dalai Lama’s presence in India, which the war made de facto irreversible, is a constant strain on Sino-Indian relations and the embodiment of the unresolved status of the Tibet issue.
  • For Beijing, the Dalai Lama’s government in exile in Dharamsala has been a constant challenge to its rule in Tibet. For Delhi, it has been a symbol of Beijing’s refusal to grant real autonomy to Tibet.
  • On a tactical level, Sino-Indian relations have been held hostage by events in Tibet and the relationship between the Chinese government and the Tibetans.
  • 1962 has bequeathed to China and India the border dispute that started the war and has made resolving it a Herculean task. Thus to this day China continues to claim the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, while New Delhi lays claim to the Chinese-controlled Aksai Chin territory.
  • A series of incidents- including Indian officials visiting the disputed areas, Beijing refusing to issue visa’s to Indian officers stationed in the disputed area, and official Chinese references to Arunachal Pradesh as “South Tibet”- have rekindled the dispute and led to a new cycle of accusations and tensions.
  • The territorial dispute has led to dangerous militarization of the Sino-Indian border, especially in disputed areas. Both sides have built transportation infrastructure, airstrips, and outposts and have deployed large numbers of troops to the border, including a Tibetan paramilitary special force employed by India’s intelligence service.
  • The result has been frequent stand-offs and even occasional skirmishes between Indian and Chinese soldiers, as seen during last year’s Galwan valley clashes.
  • The border war has instilled deep mistrust and a strong sense of rivalry between the two sides.
  • To this day, Beijing suspects that India, with the help of the U.S., strives to undermine its rule in Tibet in order to balance against China’s growing power. These suspicions have only been heightened by India’s hosting of the Dalai Lama and the recent improvement in U.S.-Indian relations.
  • For its part, India still sees China as a nationalist, aggressive power which seeks to dominate Asia and one that might once again strike unexpectedly, just as it did in 1962.
  • These stereotypes, often propagated by jingoistic media, have proved a major obstacle to building a strong and stable Sino-Indian relationship.

Impact on foreign policy:

  • The war of 1962 has also charged Sino-Indian relations with a strong sense of rivalry which has shaped the foreign policies of both countries.
  • Seeking to balance the other side, each country has forged relationships that act as a counterpoint to the other; most notably, Beijing’s “all weather friendship” with Islamabad and Delhi’s partnership with Moscow.
  • The rivalry has also led both sides to compete for influence in their peripheries, especially in Burma and Nepal, and to resent the spread of the other’s influence close to their borders.
  • Hence, Delhi has often obsessed over Chinese penetration in South Asia and its purported “string of pearls” around India’s maritime borders, while Beijing has resented India’s growing involvement in Southeast Asia and especially in the South China Sea.


Nearly a half a century since the brief war occurred, it continues to cast a long shadow over Sino-Indian relations. The legacy of the war enhances the inherent competition between China and India. While growing trade and cooperation mitigate this competition, a long list of factors, such as the security dilemma engendered by the militarization of disputed Sino-Indian border, keep it alive.


3. The French Revolution was not only a popular uprising against the absolute power of the king but was also against the privileges and wealth of the elite. Elaborate. (150 words, 10 marks)


French revolution was a period of radical political and societal change in France that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended with the formation of the French Consulate in November 1799. The outbreak of revolution was due to the political incompetency of King Louis XVI, disorganized administrative step, sharp inequalities in the society and impending financial crisis.


The French Revolution was not only a popular uprising against the absolute power of the king but was also against the privileges and wealth of the elite. The causes are generally agreed to be a combination of social, political and economic factors, which the existing regime proved unable to manage.

Political Causes:

  • Degeneration of the Absolute Monarchy:
    • Absolute monarchy reached its peak under Louis XIV, and began to degenerate during his lifetime.
    • Refusal of Louis XV to remedy the abuses of the old order, inefficiency of Louis XVI, all added to the initiation of the process of revolution.
    • His wife, Marie Antoinette, squandered money on festivities and interfered in state appointments.
  • Administrative Ruins:
    • The administrative system of the country was hopelessly unsatisfactory. Various units of the administration possessed ill-defined and overlapping jurisdictions.
    • At different times, France had been divided into districts under bailiffs and seneschals whose offices were purely ornamental. It had also been divided into provinces under governors.
    • It had been divided into intendancies (under intendants), judicial districts, educational districts and ecclesiastical districts.
    • The conflict of jurisdictions added to the difficulties and troubles of the people.
  • Judicial Malfeasance:
    • The legal system of the country was full of confusion. There was no uniform law for the whole of the country.
    • Different laws were in force in different parts of the country. While at one place German law prevailed, at another place the Roman law was in force.
    • It is estimated that there were about 400 different systems of law in the country.
    • The laws were written in Latin and consequently were not within the comprehension of the people.

Social Causes:

  • Inequalities:
    • There was too much of inequality in French society on the eve of the French Revolution. French society was divided into two parts the privileged and the unprivileged.
    • It is estimated that the clergy and nobility owned about one-fifth each of property in France.
    • Thus, about one per cent of people owned about 40 per cent of property in the country. While they enjoyed privileges, they were exempted from taxes.

Economic Causes:

  • The series of wars France took part in Austrian War of succession, Seven Years war and American war of Independence which was great drain on the resources of the country.

Role of French Philosophers:

  • Another cause of the French Revolution was the effect of the preachings of the French philosophers.
  • Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau were the three intellectual giants of the age.

Immediate Cause:

  • The impending bankruptcy and the acute shortage of food in France started the revolution in France.


French Revolution was a total revolution having manifestations in almost all spheres from ending Royal Absolutism, Feudalism and inspiring many other revolutions which marked the beginning of the end of the ancient regime on which modern politics took shape.

General Studies – 2


4. Standing committees form an integral part of Parliament’s role in the debate. But off late their role has been diminishing and this calls for an introspection, in order to utilise the full potential of these ‘mini-Parliaments’ as a deliberative and consensus building body. Analyse. (150 words, 10 marks)


In the Indian Parliament, a Standing committee is a committee consisting of Members of Parliament. It is a permanent and regular committee which is constituted from time to time according to the provisions of an Act of Parliament or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business. Both houses of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, and Lok Sabha have similar Committee structures with a few exceptions. Parliamentary committees draw their authority from Article 105 (on privileges of Parliament members) and Article 118 (on Parliament’s authority to make rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business).


Significance of Parliamentary Standing Committees:

  • Parliament is the embodiment of the people’s will. Committees are an instrument of Parliament for its own effective functioning.
  • Committees are platforms for threadbare discussion on a proposed law.
  • The smaller cohort of lawmakers, assembled on the basis of the proportional strength of individual parties and interests and expertise of individual lawmakers, could have more open, intensive and better-informed discussions.
  • Committee meetings are ‘closed door’ and members are not bound by party whips, which allows them the latitude for a more meaningful exchange of views as against discussions in full and open Houses where grandstanding and party positions invariably take precedence.
  • Members of Parliament may have great acumen but they would require the assistance of experts in dealing with such situations. It is through committees that such expertise is drawn into law-making.
  • Executive accountability to the legislature is enforced through questions in Parliament also, which are answered by ministers. However, department standing committees go one step further and hear from senior officials of the government in a closed setting, allowing for more detailed discussions.
  • This mechanism also enables parliamentarians to understand the executive processes closely.

Role of committees:

  • Support Parliament’s work.
  • Examine ministerial budgets, consider Demands for Grants, analyse legislation and scrutinise the government’s working.
  • Examine Bills referred to by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha.
  • Consideration of Annual Reports.
  • Consideration of national basic long term policy documents presented to the House and referred to the Committee by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha.

Challenges faced:

  • Persistent absenteeism from meetings of department-related standing committees should cost MPs their spot on these parliamentary panels was a strong view that emerged during a meeting of chairpersons of the committees with Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu recently.
  • Eleven of the 22 Bills introduced in the ongoing session of Parliament have been passed, which makes it a highly productive session after many years.
  • But these Bills have been passed without scrutiny by parliamentary standing committees, their purpose being to enable detailed consideration of a piece of legislation.
  • After the formation of the 17th Lok Sabha, parliamentary standing committees have not been constituted as consultations among parties are still under way.
  • Partly as a result of this, the Bills were passed without committee scrutiny. They were discussed in Parliament over durations ranging between two and five hours.

Way forward:

  • Parliamentary committees don’t have dedicated subject-wise research support available. The knowledge gap is partially bridged by expert testimony from government and other stakeholders.
  • Their work could be made more effective if the committees had full-time, sector-specific research staff.
  • The national commission to review the working of the Constitution has recommended that in order to strengthen the committee system, research support should be made available to them.
  • Currently, the rules of Parliament don’t require every bill to be referred to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny. While this allows the government greater flexibility and the ability to speed up legislative business, it comes at the cost of ineffective scrutiny by the highest law-making body.
  • Mandatory scrutiny of all bills by parliamentary committees would ensure better planning of legislative business.


5. The global war on terror led by the U.S, failed to achieve its objective and yielded mixed results at best. This calls for a new global approach to defeat terrorism. Comment. (150 words, 10 marks)


On the day the United States marked two decades since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Taliban triumphantly hoisted their flag over the Afghan presidential palace to start off their new regime. The unprecedented 9/11 attacks prompted the U.S. not only to invade landlocked, strategically located Afghanistan but also to launch a global war on terror. Yet, the U.S.-led war on terror has yielded no tangible results.


War on terror led by US failed to achieve objective

  • The US-led invasion of Afghanistan toppled the Taliban and degraded the capabilities of Al-Qaeda, but it did nothing to eradicate the causes of violent Islamic extremism at its roots.
  • The nature of the threat has transformed since 9/11 when jihadist terror essentially meant Al-Qaeda. But since then, IS emerged and various branches pledging allegiance to IS or Al-Qaeda.
  • The geographic spread of the jihadist threat has also changed. The groups were limited to the Middle East but they are now also common throughout Africa, most of the Arab world as well as in South and Southeast Asia.
  • The US has shifted its priorities from countering terrorist groups overseas to dealing with the Chinese first. The rhetoric is proven correct that, USA does not lose war, it only loses interest.
  • Idea of rebuilding societies: The withdrawal is a tacit admission that the idea once shared by conservatives, liberals and foreign policy elites, including Biden himself — that the U.S. could use force to destroy other societies and then rebuild them in America’s image — had proved a failure.
  • Critique of pre-emptive war on Iraq: A major criticism levelled at this justification is that it does not fulfil one of the requirements of a just war and that in waging war pre-emptively, the United States undermined international law and the authority of the United Nations, particularly the United Nations Security Council.
  • Morale of Afghan army hit: Afghan army was sustained upon aids and funds from USA and most importantly air support. When air support ended, Taliban onslaught could not be resisted and demoralised army surrendered.

New global approach to defeat terrorism

  • Despite the public’s rejection of “forever wars,” the U.S. will need to maintain military pressure on radical networks.
    • The biggest challenge is in Afghanistan, where the Taliban’s return to power could once again make the country a haven for violent extremists.
    • Without troops and diplomatic personnel on the ground, the U.S. should increase investments in satellite and reconnaissance capabilities to improve the accuracy of drone strikes.
  • Nations should seek intelligence-sharing agreements with Afghanistan’s neighbours.
  • The counterterrorism agencies should explore the possibility of limited cooperation with the new Afghan regime to target Islamic State Khorasan, a rival of the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
  • Collective action against safe havens: UNSC must sanction nations such as Pakistan which are safe havens for terrorists. Designated terrorists still find sanctuary in Pakistan and this can be dismantled only when the larger nations under UN collectively punish such nations.


The 20th anniversary of 9/11 should have been an occasion to reflect on the forgotten lessons of those attacks, including the importance of not coddling terrorism-supporting regimes. With the global war on terror having gone off the rails, the anniversary was also a reminder of the imperative to build a new international consensus to help drain the terrorism-breeding swamps. It is not too late for western powers to absorb the lessons from national policies that gave rise to Frankenstein’s monsters.


6. The AUKUS pact will complement the regional security architecture in the Indo-Pacific but has ramifications extending far beyond it. Analyse. (150 words, 10 marks)


The UK, US and Australia have announced a historic security pact in the Asia-Pacific, in what’s seen as an effort to counter China. It is called the AUKUS pact and AUKUS alliance. It is a landmark security pact involving the UK, US and Australia that will allow Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time with technology provided by the US underscores the rapidly shifting realities of the Indo- Pacific.


Overview on AUKUS pact

  • Under the AUKUS alliance, the three nations have agreed to enhance the development of joint capabilities and technology sharing, foster deeper integration of security and defence-related science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains.
  • Under the first major initiative of AUKUS, Australia would build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines with the help of the US and the UK, a capability aimed at promoting stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • In recent years, Beijing has been accused of raising tensions in disputed territories such as the South China Sea.
  • Western nations have been wary of China’s infrastructure investment on Pacific islands, and have also criticised China’s trade sanctions against countries like Australia.
  • Australia will be joining a select group of countries, including the US, UK, France, China, India and Russia, that operate nuclear-powered submarines.
  • It will also be only the second nation after the UK with which the US will be sharing its submarine technology.

AUKUS pact: Regional security architecture in the Indo-Pacific and beyond

  • Technology transfer to non-nuclear state: In an extraordinary move, the US and UK are willing to export nuclear technology to a non-nuclear powered nation.
    • Regional security concerns have been the main driver behind this ‘Aukus pact’ that is being touted as Canberra’s biggest defence partnership in decades, involving artificial intelligence, cyber and other cutting-edge defence technologies.
  • Indo-Pacific security: It described the pact as a “historic opportunity for the three nations, with like-minded allies and partners, to protect shared values and promote security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Countering Chinese expansionist policy: For Washington and its allies in the Pacific, a new class of nuclear-powered submarines can be of critical value in challenging Chinese military expansionism.
    • It would also allow the three nations to operate more effectively together undersea across the Pacific.
  • Timing of announcement: The announcement of this major pact comes against the backdrop of a disastrous withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan that had raised widespread doubts across the Indo-Pacific about the credibility of American commitments in the region.
  • Brexit and UK’s projection as global power: Britain aims to play a larger role in the Indo-Pacific, especially after its exit from the European Union.
    • The Boris Johnson administration is keen on projecting the idea of a ‘Global Britain’ as the central narrative of British foreign policy after Brexit, and greater engagement in the Indo-Pacific with like-minded nations is a natural corollary to that.
    • In July, the UK’s new aircraft carrier, Queen Elizabeth, sailed through the South China Sea waters despite denunciations from Beijing.
  • India’s stance: The latest developments are largely favourable from an Indian viewpoint and as our focus now shifts to the Quad meeting, it is clear that like-minded regional powers are trying to evolve a partnership that will see closer alignment of regional policies and actions as well as greater integration of their defence forces.
    • Alongside India’s stated intent to acquire more nuclear-powered submarines, it will amount to a step-change increase in the Quad’s undersea and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.


The message from Aukus is that while the current churn in the Indo-Pacific may have begun with Chinese actions, it is now other regional players that are willing to set new terms of engagement with Beijing. They can effectively counter Chinese Aggression and their ‘middle kingdom’ agenda alongside the Quad.


7. Implementation of e-governance in local governments will not only improve service delivery at the local level but also takes us a step closer towards achieving broader socio-economic goals. Elaborate. (150 words, 10 marks)


As India grows more urban, the importance of effective governance and service delivery by city governments becomes central to the well-being of Indians. We hope to live in ‘smart cities’, where digital systems enable the use of data — generated by people living and working in the city itself — to continuously improve how the city functions. E-governance holds the promise of improving local governance and is actively being promoted across the nation.


Background: e-governance in local governments

  • If the Panchayats and municipal bodies are to perform efficiently and effectively all the mandated tasks, which are increasing day by day, extensive use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is needed.
  • Moreover, there is a strong need to build a “digital inclusive society” where large sections of rural population are able to benefit from new technologies; can access and share information and services freely and can participate in the development process more effectively.
  • In cities, ease of citizen services is a pre-requisite. For example :BBMP in Karnataka will soon start issuing digitally signed khata certificates in Bengaluru to facilitate registration of properties. It is called e-Aasthi.

Role of e-governance in Local self-governments

  • Transparency: Government of India formulated E-Panchayat Mission Mode Project for e-enablement of all the Panchayats, to make their functioning more efficient and transparent.
  • Automation of internal workflow processes of Panchayats: PRIASoft – an online cash-based double entry accounting software that implements the Model Accounting System for PRIs, has been a major success with 1.2 lakh Panchayats on board and about 65,000 Panchayats are making online voucher entries during 2011-2012.
  • Budgeting: Cities such as Bangalore and Pune have experimented with citizen budgeting receiving many online budgets. This shows the most important issues that need resources from local bodies.
  • Improving delivery of services to citizens: Citizens can be part of governance and
  • Capacity building of Panchayat/Municipality Representatives and Officials: Online materials and training to Panchayat representatives can go a long way in achieving
  • Social Audit: Social Audit can become much easier, if the information on all the development details are made publicly available.
  • Accountability, Efficiency and RTI compliance of Panchayats: e-governance in local self-government will lead to better utilisation of funds and decrease the discretionary powers of officials. Thereby reducing scope for any misappropriation.


All the benefits we associate with e-governance the ease of interaction, the gains in efficiency through both performance management and process reform, and the potential for data-driven preventive maintenance of infrastructure, hinge upon adoption of the system by local government employees and citizens themselves.

General Studies – 3


8. RBI’s Account Aggregator framework is an encouraging stimulus for easing of credit flow in the economy, especially for the MSME sector. Comment (150 words, 10 marks)


The Account Aggregator (AA) framework, which was first announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) back in 2016, will now be open for users to access account aggregation services. According to the RBI, AAs are a new class of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) that offers account aggregation services — retrieving or collecting information of its customer pertaining to their financial assets and consolidating, organizing, presenting it to the customer or any other person as per the instructions of the customer — in exchange for a fee. This has the potential to streamline credit access for MSMEs.


Account Aggregator’s framework

  • The AA network has been launched on the basic premise that customer data is generally fragmented and exists in silos in databases of banks, lenders, insurance companies, government bodies, and other entities.
  • In order to provide an institutional framework for seamless and secure data sharing digitally between let’s say a borrower and a bank for credit access, the AA network was created instead of dedicating time in collating information such as scanned copies of bank statements, stamped documents from notaries, bank statements, GST returns, cash flow, etc., and then sharing it with the lender.
  • Here, financial assets could be bank deposits including fixed deposits, saving deposits, recurring deposits, current deposits, deposits with NBFCs, SIPs, government securities, equity shares, bonds, debentures, ETFs, insurance policies, balances under the National Pension System (NPS), etc.
  • With AA services, the user is not required to physically share hard copies of documents from various entities or confidential login details of his/her documents or browse through different sites for information required by financial service providers.

Potential to streamline credit access for MSMEs.

  • Formal credit: Instead of physical collateral usually required for an MSME loan, this information collateral-based credit underwriting can help the business access a small formal credit.
    • With AA now making it possible to share other credit-worthiness proxies like digital invoices, tax returns, etc., it will help businesses towards cash-flow-based lending from current physical-collateral-based lending thereby getting more people and businesses in the formal credit system.
  • Access to credit due to information: The fast-tracking of data sharing to broaden the scope of financial services for better products and services can help micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) access credit in a more convenient and trustworthy manner that eventually might help address the credit crunch faced by MSMEs currently.
  • Securing easy credit: Lack of organised records of financial statements pushes MSMEs to secure credit through informal channels. Importantly, out of 6.33 crore MSMEs in India, only 10 per cent have access to formal credit, according to a November 2019 report by PwC and FICCI titled Wider Circle. AA framework can remedy this ill.
  • Faster loans: AA system has the potential to revolutionise lending to MSMEs by allowing much faster access of financial data of businesses to lenders and reducing the loan application cycle to a few minutes.
  • Tailored services by banks: Account Aggregators are an exciting addition to India’s digital infrastructure as it will allow banks to access consented data flows and verified data. This will help banks reduce transaction costs, which will enable them to offer lower ticket size loans and more tailored products and services to our customers.
  • It will also help us reduce frauds and comply with upcoming privacy laws.
  • More options to msme’s: The larger benefit can also come in the form of access to alternate data to the banks using the framework.


This would enable banks to potentially not only offer lower ticket size loans, but also possibly reach out to a broader set of customers for loans which in the past they might have rejected. Thus, RBI’s Account Aggregator framework is a step in the right direction and further steps that are needed to make it secure and effective.

Value addition

  • The Ministry of Finance had last week in a statement informed that eight banks have been onboarded onto the AA network.
  • This included Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and IndusInd Bank that are already sharing data based on user consent while State Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra Bank, IDFC First Bank, and Federal Bank will shortly begin the same.
  • The data shared by AAs with banks or other financial institutions with the user’s consent is encrypted and can be decrypted only by the recipient.
  • Moreover, the time period for which the institution would have access to the data will be visible to the user at the time of giving consent for sharing the data.


9. Why is Montreal protocol considered the most successful global climate treaty? Evaluate India’s performance in implementing the Montreal Protocol. (150 words, 10 marks)


The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is the landmark multilateral environmental agreement that regulates the production and consumption of nearly 100 ozone depleting substances (ODS). The Montreal Protocol sits under the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. It phases down the consumption and production of the different ODS in a step-wise manner, with different timetables for developed and developing countries. Developing and developed countries have equal but differentiated responsibilities, but most importantly, both groups of countries have binding, time-targeted and measurable commitments.


Montreal protocol: the most successful global climate treaty

  • The Montreal Protocol mandated the complete phase-out of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances (ODS), which it has successfully managed to do in the last three decades.
  • The protocol was adopted in 1987, becoming the only United Nations treaty to be ratified by its 198 member-states.
  • This effort has led to the healing of the ozone layer hole which, in turn, protects humans, economies, and ecosystems.
  • Researchers believe that the size of the ozone hole has shrunk by around 4 million sq. km since 2000 and is not as deep as it used to be, thanks to the collective efforts of nations to cut the use of chlorofluorocarbons and other dangerous gases.
  • The Montreal Protocol offers a model of a successful environmental treaty that brought nations together to act swiftly on protecting the ozone layer.
  • In 2016, Nations that were party to the protocol got together in Kigali, Rwanda, to discuss the phasing down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as the next step towards addressing ozone depletion, also necessary to curb global warming.
  • Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol came into effect in 2019.

India’s performance in implementing the Montreal Protocol

  • Comprehensive Ozone   Depleting   Substances (Regulation   and   Control)   Rules,   2000   were developed   and   put   in   place   under   the Environment (Protection) Act 1986, which were utmost     important     for     the     successful implementation   of   ODS   phase-out   in   a   vast country like India.
  • The unique feature  of  these  Rules  was  banning  the  use  of CFCs   and   halons   in   manufacturing   of   new equipment  as  early  as  from  1st  January,
  • This has  not  only  achieved  the  early  phase-out of  CFCs  and  halons  in  the  country,  but  also reduced the inventory of ODS based equipment which   resulted   in   reduction   of   servicing requirements.
  • India phased-out of  production  and  consumption    of  virgin halons   as   early   as   2002,   being   high-ODP chemicals.
  • India accelerated  the  phase-out  of  production and  consumption  of  CFCs  with  effect  from  1st August, 2008, 17 months ahead of the Montreal Protocol schedule except use of pharmaceutical grade CFCs in manufacturing of MDIs for Asthma, COPD and other respiratory ailments within the country.
  • The phase-out  of  ODSs  in  MSMEs,  which  were widely   scattered   were   handled   using   an innovative  approach,  realizing  that  MSMEs  are having   relatively   a   large   share   in   Indian economy.
  • India successfully met the 2013 target of freeze of HCFC production and consumption and 10 % phase-out targets  of  HCFCs  in  2015,  as  per  the accelerated phase out schedule of the Montreal Protocol.
  • India has  voluntarily  followed  a  low  carbon development   path   in   HPMP   Stage
  • India is  the  first  country  in  world  to  develop  a Cooling  Action  Plan,  which  addresses  cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which  can  help  reduce  the  cooling  demand and to   reduce   both direct and indirect emissions.


India,   during   the   last   30 years  has  made  outstanding  contributions  for the  protection  of  ozone  layer. To add to its efforts, the Union Government recently approved the ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on phasing down climate-damaging refrigerant Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).


10. High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) offer persistence and flexibility to complement satellites and drones in both civilian and defence purposes in India. Elaborate (150 words, 10 marks)


Giving a giant leap to India’s military strike capabilities, State-owned aerospace and defence company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is building a first-of-its-kind High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) with a Bengaluru-based start-up to assist Indian Armed Forces in strike missions. It is a Rs. 700 crore project.


High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS): Concept overview

  • HAPS are advanced unmanned flying systems, which operate in the stratosphere at an altitude of 70,000 feet continuously for 2-3 months, to maintain surveillance on the ground below.
  • The solar energized system is designed to act as a bridge between Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and conventional satellites.
  • The futuristic project has not been designed by any other country yet.
  • The design work has already been initiated by HAL and HAPS will be induced by 2024-2025.

Applications of HAPS for civilian purposes

  • Telecommunication and Remote sensing: HAPS are cost-effective and are easier to launch. These satellites can be controlled from anywhere using Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) technology and comprises applications such as telecommunication and remote sensing for both civilian as well as military purposes.
  • HAPS is particularly useful in providing communication in remote locations or in deep seas.
  • Further, HAPS could offer advantages and complementary applications over satellites, terrestrial infrastructures, and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), at a relatively convenient price.
  • It can be used in Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) operations as well during natural disasters.

Applications of HAPS for defence purposes

  • Surveillance: These unmanned aircraft may be airplanes, airships, or balloons and are stationed at a fixed place to enable versatile intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) options thereby eliminating performance and capability limitations of satellites.
  • Combat Air Teaming System: CATS drone is a deep penetration aerial attack system that enables a fighter pilot to remain safely within the country’s borders while being able to deploy missiles or swarms of drones deep into enemy territory to destroy targets.
  • The stealth drones can carry up to 4 conventional munitions including cruise missiles, runway destroying bombs, and other payloads.
  • The aerial vehicle has a capacity of flying at a speed of 350 km into the enemy’s territory guided by “mother ship,” – a light combat aircraft (LCA), which can enter the enemy region, drop its missile and return to base.
  • On being aligned with CATS, HAPS can provide communication to the troops in strike missions with live video feeds and images.


Although the development of these unmanned stratospheric vehicles has been underway since the 1990s, the latest advancements in technologies have spurred the momentum with the latest iterations reaching advanced stages in terms of payloads, operations, and capabilities. This development of High-Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) platforms, which are among the latest aerospace technologies could revolutionize near-space operations.


Answer the following questions in 250 words:

General Studies – 1


11. The Green Revolution and the benefits that accrued out of it helped transform the Indian economy from a state of food deficient country to a food surplus one. However, it had its own limitations. Analyse. (250 words)


The green revolution in India led by M.S Swaminathan in 1960’s and 70’s refers to a period when Indian Agriculture was converted into an industrial system due to the adoption of modern methods and technology such as the use of HYV seeds, tractors, irrigation facilities, pesticides and fertilizers. The Economic Survey 2015-16 claimed Indian agriculture to be “a victim of its own success—especially the green revolution”, by becoming cereal-centric, regionally biased and input-intensive (land, water and fertilizers).


In a nutshell, Green revolution in India led to Substantial increase in agricultural production and productivity and reduction in the import of food-grains. The adoption of New technology and modernization of agriculture strengthened the linkages between agriculture and industry. Rural employment in turn led to prosperity of the farmers.

Limitations of Green revolution:

  • Focus only on Food Grains:
    • Although all food-grains including wheat, rice, jowar, bajra and maize have gained from the revolution, other crops such as coarse cereals, pulses and oilseeds were left out of the ambit of the revolution.
    • Major commercial crops like cotton, jute, tea and sugarcane were also left almost untouched by the Green Revolution.
    • This ultimately led to the dangerous trend of Monocropping.
  • Limited Coverage of HYVP:
    • High Yielding Variety Programme (HYVP) was restricted to only five crops: Wheat, Rice, Jowar, Bajra and Maize.
    • Therefore, non-food grains were excluded from the ambit of the new strategy.
  • Led to Regional Disparities:
    • It led to growing disparities in economic development at inter and intra-regional levels.
    • Only 40 percent of the total cropped area benefitted while the rest was left untouched by it.
    • The most benefitted areas are Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh in the north and Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in the south.
    • It has hardly touched the Eastern region, including Assam, Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa and arid and semi-arid areas of Western and Southern India.
    • Only those areas which were already better placed from an agricultural point of view benefitted from Green revolution leading to further aggravated regional disparities.
  • Rampant usage of Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides:
    • The Green Revolution resulted in a large-scale use of pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilisers for improved irrigation projects and crop varieties.
    • However, little or no efforts were made to educate the farmers, mostly illiterate, about the high risk associated with the intensive use of pesticides.
    • This caused more harm than good to crops and also becomes a cause for environment and soil pollution.
  • Water Consumption:
    • The crops introduced during the green revolution were water-intensive crops.
    • Most of these crops being cereals, required almost 50% of dietary water footprint.
    • Canal systems were introduced, and irrigation pumps also sucked out the groundwater to supply the water-intensive crops, such as sugarcane and rice, thus depleting the groundwater levels.
    • For instance, Punjab is a major wheat- and rice-cultivating area, and hence it is one of the highest water depleted regions in India.
  • Impacts on Soil and Crop Production:
    • Repeated crop cycle in order to ensure increased crop production depleted the soil’s nutrients.
    • To meet the needs of new kinds of seeds, farmers increased fertilizer usage.
    • The pH level of the soil increased due to the usage of these alkaline chemicals.
    • Toxic chemicals in the soil destroyed beneficial pathogens, which further led to the decline in the yield.
  • Unemployment:
    • Except in Punjab, and to some extent in Haryana, farm mechanization under the Green Revolution created widespread unemployment among agricultural labourers in the rural areas.
    • The worst affected were the poor and the landless labourers.
  • Health Hazards:
    • The large-scale use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides such as Phosphamidon, Methomyl, Phorate, Triazophos and Monocrotophos resulted in resulted in a number of critical health illnesses including cancer, renal failure, stillborn babies and birth defects.


The Green Revolution, which undeniably ended the country’s “ship-to-mouth” existence and transformed it into an exporter of rice and wheat. In spite of the negative impact, the success of green revolution cannot be dwarfed. The spill over effect of green revolution led to the growth of farm mechanization industries to provide tractors, Fertilizer and pesticide, Agro-based industries etc.

However, it has also led to lopsided growth in agriculture, causing regional and other disparities. Now coupled with frequent droughts, Indian agriculture is under distress. Thus, there is a need for a second green revolution.  The second green revolution must be an Evergreen Revolution, which incorporates technology in harmony with ecology.

Value addition:

Need for second green revolution:

  • The need for a Second Green Revolution is being experienced more than ever before.
  • One in every two Indians relies on agriculture for livelihood, yet India still has the second highest number of undernourished people in the world.
  • The agriculture sector is at crossroads with rising demand for food items and relatively slower supply response in many commodities resulting in frequent spikes in food inflation. E.g.: Tomato, onion, pulses.
  • There is a marked drop in the yield and production of cereals, underpinned by abysmally low nutrient consumption per hectare.
  • The farmers don’t get remunerative prices for their produce. By enhancing the returns farmers get on their production is essential for incentivising the farmers to produce more
  • The Economic Survey 2015-16 raised an alarm over the dismal performance of the farm sector saying the Indian agriculture has not seen any big technological breakthrough since the 1960s.
  • The food safety net for each of India’s billion-plus citizens requires enhanced agriculture production and productivity.
  • Special attention is required to increase production of nutrition-rich crops like pulses, fruits and vegetables — which remained untouched in the first Green Revolution.
  • There is a need for Indian agriculture to diversify from just crop farming to livestock, fisheries, poultry and horticulture, besides focusing on raising farm productivity with adequate focus on rain-fed areas.
  • The Green Revolution has made us self-sufficient in food grains, but the environmental consequences and ecological costs are offsetting the progress made.
  • The ground water is depleted and polluted. The lakes and ponds are becoming life less due to eutrophication – a direct consequence of Green Revolution.
  • Climate change is tightening its grip and threatening food supply, not just in India but worldwide. It has never been more important to protect the scarce natural resources that are essential to agriculture.


12. What were the causes behind the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)? What role did India play in its conception? Evaluate the successes and limitations of NAM in achieving of its stated objectives. (250 words, 15 marks)


The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was created and founded during the collapse of the colonial system and the independence struggles of the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America and other regions of the world and at the height of the Cold War. The Non-Aligned Movement was formed as an organization of States that did not seek to formally align themselves with either the United States or the Soviet Union, but sought to remain independent or neutral. The Movement has its origin in the Asia-Africa Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955. “Ten Principles of Bandung”, were proclaimed at that Conference were guiding principles of NAM.


India’s role in conception of NAM

  • India’s role in the formation and sustenance of the NAM has been immense.
  • Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister was not only one of the founding fathers of the Movement but, he was also the driving force behind the principles NAM came to stand for.
  • In fact, ‘Non-Alignment’ itself was a phrase coined by India’s Ambassador to the United Nations, V.K Menon.
  • Nehru’s efforts towards NAM were shaped by his country’s experience as a newly independent nation free from colonialism, both of which contributed significantly to many other newly independent states joining India in the movement.
  • India and Nehru were the driving force behind NAM, and voiced the concerns of newly-independent nation states that were actively being coerced and persuaded by the two Cold War powers to choose between two, different political and social orders.
  • Instead, India and NAM proposed the principle of nonalignment and a country’s freedom to choose its fate while also highlighting the fact that multilateralism, non-violence and international cooperation was at the heart of resolving international disputes.
  • India propagated her passion for peace and cooperation rather than war or confrontation using NAM as a medium.

Successes of NAM

  • NAM helped speed up the attainment of freedom in states that were under colonial bondage.
  • NAM assisted its members in safeguarding their national security and territorial integrity.
  • NAM created a conducive environment for peace, justice, equality and international cooperation by contributing to the relaxation of international tension by keeping clear of the two military blocs, USA and USSR.
  • NAM provided an international forum where members’ voices could be heard.
  • The movement acted against the arms race of the superpowers during the time of the Cold War.
  • It has supported the cause of international peace, justice and freedom. It has opposed all forms of injustice, including the Suez Crisis of 1956, the aggressive policies of Israel and the unilateral American attack on Iraq.
  • NAM has advocated the creation of a New International Economic Order (NIEO) based on greater economic cooperation and justice. In fact, the first UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held in 1964 was largely a result of the efforts of the Non-Aligned countries.
  • NAM has made the developed countries realise that the continued deprivation of the third world would negatively affect the global economy and their own prosperity.
  • The movement has succeeded to create a strong front on the International level, representing countries of the third world in the International organizations on top of which the United Nations.

Limitations of NAM

  • World has  again  moved  towards  bi-polarity,  one  led  by  US  and  other  by  China-Russia.  The  war  torn Syria is  prime  example  of  this,  where  both  US  and  Russia  is asserting power.
  • The escalating tension in Indo-pacific region due to China’s assertion and  US acting as a counterweight to check the Chinese expansionist policy.
  • Issue of global climate change.
  • Changing US   policies,   protectionism,   prevalent   terrorism   and   nuclearization   of Middle East.
  • The other challenges facing the NAM include the necessity of protecting the principles of International law, eliminating weapons of mass destruction , combating terrorism, defending human rights.
  • NAM is also facing challenge in working toward making the United Nations more effective in meeting the needs of all its member states in order to preserve International Peace , Security and Stability, as well as realizing justice in the international economic system.
  • On the other hand, the long-standing goals of the Movement remain to be realized.


The Non-Aligned Movement, faced with the goals yet to be reached and the many new challenges that are arising, is called upon to maintain a prominent and leading role in the current International relations in defence of the interests and priorities of its member states and for achievement of peace and security for mankind.


13. Nehru favoured the policy of integrating the tribal people in Indian society by making them an integral part of the Indian nation, even while maintaining their distinct identity and culture. Elucidate. (250 words, 15 marks)


The preservation of the tribal people’s rich social and cultural heritage lay at the heart of the government’s policy of tribal integration. As Jawaharlal Nehru, the main influence in shaping the government’s attitude towards the tribals, put it: ‘The first problem we have to face there [in the tribal areas] is to inspire them [the tribal people] with confidence and to make them feel at one with India, and to realise that they are part of India and have an honoured place in it.’ At the same time, ‘India to them should signify not only a protecting force but a liberating one’. Indian nationalism, Nehru thought, was capable of accommodating the uniqueness of the tribal people.


Nehruvian idea of integrating tribal people in Indian society

  • There were two major approaches regarding the place to be accorded to tribals in Indian society. One approach was to leave the tribal people alone, uncontaminated by modern influences operating outside their world and to let them stay more or less as they were.
  • The second approach was that of assimilating them completely and as quickly as possible into the Indian society all around them. The disappearance of the tribal way of life was not to be regretted; it was to be welcomed for that would represent their ‘upliftment’.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru rejected both these approaches. The first approach, of treating the tribal people ‘as museum specimens to be observed and written about’, was, he said, ‘to insult them’.
  • The tribal people, he wrote, ‘could not be left cut off from the world as they were’.
  • Isolation was in any case impossible at this stage, for the process of penetration by the outside world had already gone too far and ‘it was not possible or desirable to isolate them’
  • The second approach of allowing them ‘to be engulfed by the masses of Indian humanity ’,or of their assimilation through the operation of normal outside forces was also wrong, according to Nehru.
  • This would lead to the loss of the tribals’ social and cultural identity and of the many virtues they possessed.
  • Instead of these two approaches, Nehru favoured the policy of integrating the tribal people in Indian society , of making them an integral part of the Indian nation, even while maintaining their distinct identity and culture.

Nehruvian tribal Panchsheel policy

There were two basic parameters of the Nehruvian approach: ‘the tribal areas have to progress’ and ‘they have to progress in their own way’. Progress did not mean ‘an attempt merely to duplicate what we have got in other parts of India’. Whatever was good in the rest of India would ‘be adopted by them gradually’.

Jawaharlal Nehru formulated the following five principles for the policy to be pursued vis-a-vis the tribals also known as Tribal Panchsheel:

  • People should develop along the lines of their own genius, and the imposition of alien values should be avoided.
  • Tribal rights in land and forest should be respected.
  • Teams of tribals should be trained in the work of administration and development.
  • Tribal areas should not be over-administered or overwhelmed with a multiplicity of schemes.
  • Results should be judged not by statistics or the amount of money spent, but by the human character that is evolved.


Nehru’s approach was in turn based on the nationalist policy towards tribals since the 1920s when Gandhiji set up ashrams in the tribal areas and promoted constructive work. After independence this policy was supported by Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, and other major political leaders.

Value addition

Measures taken to preserve tribal identity and culture

  • To give shape to the government’s policy, a beginning was made in the constitution itself which directed under Article 46 that the state should promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the tribal people and should protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation, through special legislation.
  • The governors of the states in which tribal areas were situated were given special responsibility to protect tribal interests, including the power to modify central and state laws in their application to tribal areas, and to frame regulations for the protection of tribals’ right to land and also their protection from money lenders.
  • The application of the Fundamental Rights was amended for this purpose. The constitution also extended full political rights to the tribal people.
  • In addition, it provided for reservation of seats in the legislatures and positions in the administrative services for the Scheduled Tribes as in the case of the Scheduled Castes.
  • The constitution also provided for the setting up of Tribal Advisory Councils in all states containing tribal areas to advise on matters concerning the welfare of tribals.
  • A Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was appointed by the President to investigate whether the safeguards provided for them were being observed.

General Studies – 1


14. The local bodies in India must aspire to move towards smart and inclusive governance while promoting transparency and efficiency. Discuss the steps that needed to be taken in this regard. (250 words, 15 marks)


The 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution constituted a new chapter in the process of democratic decentralisation in the country. It has been 25 years since the establishment of these lakhs of self-governing village panchayats and gram sabhas to manage local development.

The amendment paved way for mandatory creation of rural and urban local bodies (ULBs): Article 243 B envisages a three-tier system of Panchayats in all the States/UTs, except those with populations not exceeding 20 lakhs which can have 2-tier. Similarly, 243Q provides for the creation of municipalities in urban areas. However, the working of these institutions has not been as envisaged and there is a need for rethinking and reviving them to ensure good governance.


Local bodies reinvigoration towards smart and inclusive governance

  • Urban Local bodies:
    • Metropolitan governance systems are needed in million-plus cities. There is a strong case for having a two-tier governance structure where all local functions are transferred to the ward committees and citywide services, such as transportation, water supply, sewerage, etc., are vested with the city council or regional authorities.
    • Each city needs to be recognized as a distinct unit of the economy. In larger cities, City Economic Councils can serve as a clearinghouse.
  • Central Government has started the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan. The campaign is undertaken under the name of “Sabka Sath, Sabka Gaon, Sabka Vikas”.
    • It aims to draw up Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDPs) in the country and place them on a website where anyone can see the status of the various government’s flagship schemes.
    • Gram Panchayats have been mandated for the preparation of GPDP for economic development and social justice utilizing the resources available to them.
    • Government of India formulated E-Panchayat Mission Mode Project for e-enablement of all the Panchayats, to make their functioning more efficient and transparent.
  • Social Audit: The power of social audit was proven by Jan Sunwai in Rajasthan. Transparent, third-party Social Audit can enable people to hold the representatives accountable.
  • Citizen Participation
    • Ward committees and area sabhas should be activated with a technology- enabled ‘Open Cities Framework’ and the use of digital tools for feedback and reporting.
    • In case of Gram Sabhas, their functions and roles must be clearly defined as in the PESA Act, to enable to function effectively.
  • Role of IT: Citizen services, grievance redressal and local taxes such as property tax etc must be made available online. This can help in ease of doing governance.
  • Encouraging public-private partnership: Successful PPP programs should be formulated at both state and city levels to fund city development. Role of the state should be to create an enabling environment with an aim to expand and deepen private sector investments in infrastructure.


The objective of local bodies, be it in rural or urban areas is to ensure that suitable levels of infrastructure and services are available to the citizens. In many parts of India, the quality of life  is miserable and the citizens lead a difficult life. To overcome this problem, a series of reforms need to be initiated by the Indian government to strengthen local-level governance.

Value Addition

  • The 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments provided for the rural and urban local bodies respectively.
  • Local government is a state subject in List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India.
  • They are vested with a long list of functions delegated to them by the state governments.
  • These functions broadly relate to public health, welfare, regulatory functions, public safety, public infrastructure works, and development activities.
  • There are several types of Urban Local Bodies in India such as Municipal Corporation, Municipality, Notified Area Committee, Town Area Committee, Special Purpose Agency, Township, Port Trust, Cantonment Board, etc.


15. Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD) aims to advance inclusive and resilient economic development but there is much more potential in Indo-U.S bilateral relations for both to emerge as global leaders in the climate action and clean energy sectors. Analyse (250 words, 15 marks)


India and the United States of America (USA) launched the “Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD)”. The CAFMD is one of the two tracks of the India-U.S. Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 partnership launched at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April 2021, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joseph Biden.


Objectives of CAFMD

CAFMD would have three pillars

  • Climate Action Pillar: This would have joint proposals looking at ways in emissions could be reduced in the next decade.
  • Setting out a Roadmap: To achieving the 450GW in transportation, buildings and industry.
  • Finance Pillar: This would involve collaborating on attracting finance to deploy 450 GW of renewable energy and demonstrate at scale clean energy technologies.

Potential of Indo-US relations to emerge as global leaders in climate action and clean energy sectors

  • Expanding clean energy programs, such as the prior Partnership to Advance Clean Energy, focused on energy efficiency and solar and wind energy, and potentially adding electric vehicles, battery storage and renewable grid-integration that align with India’s priorities.
  • Developing new areas for cooperation, such as climate resilience, climate-resilient infrastructure, sustainable finance, air quality, electric mobility, among others.
  • Strengthening global partnerships, including greater ambition under the Paris Agreement, ratification of Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment to phase down dangerous hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), advancement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), expanded USAID cooperation on energy, accelerating Mission Innovation, among others.
  • Ramping up climate finance, investments and trade with India and emerging markets to support clean energy through the International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC), S. Export-Import bank and other international platforms, such as the Green Climate Fund.
  • Fostering subnational climate action at the state- and city-levels with meaningful funding to create opportunities for cross-country learning, capacity building and implementation on the ground.


Through this collaboration, the United States and India aim to demonstrate how the world can align swift climate action with inclusive and resilient economic development, taking into account national circumstances and sustainable development priorities.

Value addition:


  • The dialogue will strengthen India-US bilateral cooperation on climate and environment.
  • It will also help to demonstrate how the world can align swift climate action with inclusive and resilient economic development, taking into account national circumstances and sustainable development priorities.
  • The US will collaborate with India to work towards installing 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030.
  • Currently, India’s installed power capacity is projected to be 476 GW by 2021-22 and is expected to rise to at least 817 GW by 2030.

Recent India-US collaborations in Climate Action

  • The United States and India are launching the “U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership.”
  • Led by President Biden and Prime Minister Modi, the Partnership will represent one of the core venues for U.S.-India collaboration and focus on driving urgent progress in this critical decade for climate action.
  • Both the United States and India have set ambitious 2030 targets for climate action and clean energy.
  • In its new nationally determined contribution, the United States has set an economy-wide target of reducing its net greenhouse gas emissions by 50–52 percent below 2005 levels in 2030.


16. The Afghan crisis can be a fatal blow to an already moribund SAARC. Do you think India should consider an alternative approach to augment south Asian cooperation sans Pakistan and Afghanistan? Comment.  (250 words, 15 marks)


Afghanistan was inducted into SAARC in 2007, a decision that recognised its struggle to emerge from years of war and isolation, and its historical, political, religious, economic and cultural links to the rest of the region. The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban is a massive setback to South Asia.

Recently there was cancellation of the SAARC foreign ministers meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, in the backdrop of Taliban takeover. Rightly, India does not want to recognise to legitimise Taliban.


SAARC and the Afghan crisis

  • Pakistan wanted the Taliban to represent Afghanistan during the SAARC meet. Several members, including India, objected to Pakistan’s proposal, and the meeting was cancelled due to ‘lack of consensus’.
  • After the deadly terror attack on the Indian security forces at Uri in 2016, India refused to engage with the SAARC.
  • Since then, the SAARC has become almost marginal to the regions’ collective consciousness and other organisations such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) came into the forefront.
  • It has been years since there was a summit, principally because it is Pakistan’s turn to host it, and Delhi has refused to participate due to the tensions between the two countries over terrorist incidents and other issues.
  • Other SAARC arrangements, including regional trade, have never been able to get off the ground due to the forever hostility between the two big neighbours.
  • Now with Taliban takeover, many SAARC nations are not willing to engage with them.

Alternative to SAARC sans Pakistan

  • There is no mistaking the fact that Pakistan had joined the SAARC in 1985 with a clear view to utilise the organisation as an anti-India platform by mobilising the smaller nations of the region.
  • The future success of the SAARC lies in making Pakistan irrelevant.
  • India should create alternate group conversations such as BBIN (Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal), and lead more such conversations and consortiums and make such alternate gatherings aspirational for others to sign up.
  • In other words, the only way ahead is to promote sub-regionalism within the SAARC to carry out the developmental projects and other integrating ideas.
  • India and Sri Lanka on the one hand, and Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal on the other could join hands to work together.
  • As it is, there is already the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) that connects South Asian countries (except Pakistan and Afghanistan, which are not members) with Myanmar and Thailand.
  • Connectivity and development through the sub regional route is very much permissible under the SAARC Charter.
  • The idea is to go ahead without Pakistan.


It is being increasingly realised that since Pakistan is not interested in implementing the existing SAARC decisions on regional connectivity, trade and terrorism, and it continues to interfere in the internal matters of other member countries in sharp violation of the SAARC Charter, it will be better to proceed with a “small SAARC” option.

Value addition


  • In 1980’s the idea of SAARC was initiated by General Zia Ur Rehman of Bangladesh, which resulted in the first summit of the seven leaders of the region in 1985.
  • Later, Afghanistan joined in 2007. However, in the nearly 35 years of its existence, SAARC has not lived up to its promise of regional integration.
  • South Asia is the world’s least integrated region; less than 5% of the trade of SAARC countries is within.
  • A South Asian Free Trade Zone, which was agreed on in 2006, has not been materialised yet.
  • The 19th SAARC summit, scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November 2016, was postponed after the terrorist attacks in Uri; none has been held since then.

General Studies – 3


17. Explain the challenges in enforcing Intellectual property rights (IPR) in India. A review of National IPR Policy, 2016 should be undertaken in the wake of new and emerging trends in spheres of innovation, which requires concrete mechanisms to protect them. Analyse. (250 words, 15 marks)


India, as a member of the World Trade Organization and signatory to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is obliged to align its intellectual property rights laws with the TRIPS agreement. The challenge comes not only from creating the laws but also their implementation considering the Indian government has to strike a balance between the needs of the country’s citizens and the rights of patent holders.


Overview of IPR and patents in India

  • The issue of IP enforcement has become all the more sensitive considering a bulk of patent applications in India are filed by foreign companies.
  • As an example, the data provided by the Indian IP office in its annual report of 2017-2018 shows the applications filed by foreign applicants were more than double (32,304) compared to those by Indian residents (15,550).
  • The International IP Index 2017 released by the US Chamber of Commerce, compares India’s intellectual property environment with that of 44 other world economies. The index ranked India at a dismal 43rd position out of 45 countries.
  • This shows that challenges to innovation continue to exist in India and, therefore, the government needs to build upon the positive rhetoric of its IPR policy with the substantial legislative reforms that innovators need.

Challenges in enforcing IPR in India

  • Priority Watch List: Special 301 Report issued by the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has India on the “priority watch list”.
    • The report mentions “Over the past year, India took steps to address intellectual property (IP) challenges and promote IP protection and enforcement. However, many of the actions have not yet translated into concrete benefits for innovators and creators, and long-standing deficiencies persist”.
    • India remains one of the world’s most challenging major economies with respect to protection and enforcement of IP.
  • Compulsory licensing:
  • Higher level of scrutiny: Apart from the global patentability requirements for inventions to have novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability, the Indian patent act has specific provisions, covered under Section 3, that makes the patentability of an invention relating to subject matter such as
    • derivatives of a pharmaceutical drug;
    • patentability of stem cells;
    • diagnostic methods and kits

As a result, these inventions face a higher threshold of examination and scrutiny.

  • Section 3(k) bars patentability of computer programs per se or algorithms. This objection exists as default for all computer-related inventions.
  • Section 3(d) restricts patentability of derivative/s of a pharmaceutical compound. A derivative has to show significant difference in therapeutic efficacy with respect to the parent compound for overcoming the barrier of Section 3(d).
  • Backlog and time for final decision: The basic challenge in the enforcement of patent rights is the time it takes for the court to make a final decision. A patent lawsuit ordinarily takes approximately five to seven years to be finally decided after trial, if contested by the other party.
  • Compulsory licensing: It is problematic for foreign investors who bring technology as they are concerned about the misuse of CL to replicate their products. It has been impacting India-EU FTA negotiations.
  • Combatting piracy and counterfeit products: India is key exporter of counterfeit fake products such as foodstuffs, textiles, shoes, electronics etc. Enforcement of the Copyright act is weak, and piracy of copyrighted materials is widespread.

Review of National IPR policy

  • Fostering an environment where innovation flourishes and a knowledge economy is built, is the key idea. Hence, the policy should have a balance.
  • It should encourage patenting and at the same time ensure that patentability of a product/process does not deter further innovation and progress.
  • Intellectual Property must not be about patent on paper but dearth of application in reality.
  • The organisations such as CSIR and others must be encouraged to work upon socially useful applications of their patents.
  • Support for innovation has to be accompanied with instruments that guard local companies against the misuse of market power, coercive bargaining and aggressive acquisition strategies.
  • India needs to spread awareness on IPR in public and for its traditional industries to enable fair monetisation of IP Rights.
  • It needs to safeguard its patents, copyrights and traditional knowledge by ensuring easy IPR rules.
  • Success of India’s flagship programmes – Make in India and Start up India – depends on the boost of innovation ecosystem with better IPR safeguardings.


Beliefs, attitudes and approaches towards IPRs in India must change for the sake of the ambitions articulated in this government’s many initiatives—from Make in India to Startup India and Smart Cities. Indian policymakers do not adequately appreciate the fundamental reality that IP laws and policies are meant to incentivize innovation by establishing enforceable boundaries to protect new products, processes, and original works of expression. Adequate safeguards though necessary should not cripple innovation or new technology that can come to India and benefit the larger public.

Value addition

National IPR Policy

A comprehensive National IPR policy was adopted in May 2016, to stimulate innovation and creativity across sectors, and provide a clear vision regarding IPR issues. Objectives enshrined in the policy are hereunder:

  • IPR Awareness – Outreach and Promotion – To create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society;  Generation of IPRs – To stimulate the generation of IPRs;
  • Legal and Legislative Framework – To have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights’ owners with larger public interest
  • Administration and Management – To modernize and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration;
  • Commercialization of IPRs – Get value for IPRs through commercialization; 6  Enforcement and Adjudication – To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements; and
  • Human Capital Development – To strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs


18. Enumerate the steps taken so far to expedite and enable resolution of NPAs in India. Critically analyse the potential of National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL) as the “Bad Bank” in addressing the issue of NPAs. (250 words, 15 marks)


Paving the way for a major clean-up of bad loans in the banking system, the Cabinet on Wednesday cleared a ₹30,600-crore guarantee programme for securities to be issued by the newly incorporated ‘bad bank’ for taking over and resolving non-performing assets (NPAs) amounting to ₹2 lakh crore.

The Reserve Bank of India is in the process of granting a licence for the National Asset Reconstruction Company Limited (NARCL), following which toxic assets worth ₹90,000 crore that banks have already fully provided for, will move to the NARCL.


Overview on Non-Performing Assets

  • A nonperforming asset (NPA) refers to a classification for loans or advances that are in default or in arrears. A loan is in arrears when principal or interest payments are late or missed.
  • In most cases, debt is classified as nonperforming when loan payments have not been made for a period of 90 days.
  • Scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) were carrying NPAs worth Rs 8.96 lakh crore on their balance sheet at the end of March 2020.
  • Non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans of banks have declined by Rs 61,180 crore to Rs 34 lakh crore at the end of March 31, 2021.

Steps taken so far to expedite and enable resolution of NPAs in India

  • The Government has come up with a 4-R Strategy:
    • Recognition: Value assets close to real value,
    • Recapitalization: Infuse equity into sick banks to safeguard capital position,
    • Resolution: Sell off stressed assets, and
    • Reform: Avoid repetition of the problem
  • SARFAESI Act, 2002: The Act empowers Banks/ Financial Institutions to recover their NPAs without the intervention of the court, through acquiring and disposing secured assets without the intervention of the court in case of outstanding amounts greater than 1 lakh.
    • SARFAESI, it is alleged, has been used only against the small borrowers primarily from MSME sector.
  • Asset Quality Review: RBI has also initiated an Asset Quality Review (AQR) which mandates the banks to report actual NPAs in their balance sheets.
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy code Act, 2016: It provides a time-bound process for resolving insolvency in companies and among individuals.
    • The Government implemented the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to consolidate all laws related to insolvency and bankruptcy and to tackle Non-Performing Assets (NPA), a problem that has been pulling the Indian economy down for years.
    • According to RBI, banks recovered on average more than 40% of the amount filed through the IBC in 2018-19, against just over 20% in total through the SARFAESI, Lok Adalats and Debt Recovery Tribunals.
  • Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 enacted for effective action against wilful defaulters fleeing Indian jurisdiction.

Potential of NARCL as the “Bad Bank”: Critical Analysis

  • While there are 28 ARCs in the private sector, there was a need for government-backed receipts for big ticket resolutions.
  • The government guarantee for the proposed security receipts is a positive stepping stone for unlocking stressed assets’ value.
  • The upfront cash payment by the NARCL to banks will immediately be accretive for the profitability and capital of the banks, however the ability of the NARCL to resolve these assets in a time-bound manner will be critical for future provision writeback by banks
  • The whole idea is to ensure that these assets for which this whole set-up is being created, and the value that is locked in the assets is realised and comes back to the banks; they use it as a growth capital and the banking system becomes more robust
  • From the perspective of a commercial bank saddled with high NPA levels, it will help.
    • That’s because such a bank will get rid of all its toxic assets, which were eating up its profits, in one quick move.
    • When the recovery money is paid back, it will further improve the bank’s position.
    • Meanwhile, it can start lending again.
  • From the perspective of the government and the taxpayer, the situation is a little more muddled.
    • After all, whether it is recapitalising PSBs laden with bad loans or giving guarantees for security receipts, the money is coming from the taxpayers’ pocket.
    • While recapitalisation and such guarantees are often designated as “reforms”, they are band aids at best.
    • The only sustainable solution is to improve the lending operation in PSBs.
  • Lastly, the plan of bailing out commercial banks will collapse if the bad bank is unable to sell such impaired assets in the market.


While the objective of NARCL is a novel one, the success lies in its implementation and downstream reforms in banks in lending. The NARCL will have to deliver on the recovery front or risk being a dump yard. Dump yards do not facilitate redistribution of capital in an economy and therefore have a cost.

Value addition

About National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL)

  • It will be a five-year guarantee for the National Asset Reconstruction Company Limited (NARCL)-issued security receipts to banks.
  • Under the proposed mechanism, the NARCL will acquire assets by making an offer to the lead bank.
  • Private sector asset reconstruction (ARCs) firms may also be allowed to outbid the NARCL.
  • Separately, public and private lenders will combine forces to set up an India Debt Resolution Company (IDRC) that will manage these assets and try to raise their value for final resolution.
  • A 15% cash payment would be made to the banks based on some valuation and the rest will be given as security receipts.
  • Once the NARCL and the IDRC have finally resolved the asset, the balance 85% held as security receipts would be given to the banks.
  • If the bad bank is unable to sell the bad loan, or has to sell it at a loss, then the government guarantee will be invoked and the difference between what the commercial bank was supposed to get and what the bad bank was able to raise will be paid from the Rs 30,600 crore that has been provided by the government


19. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity can provide robust protection and generate rapid responses to cyberthreats. Discuss the advantages of integrating A.I in cybersecurity.  (250 words, 15 marks)


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the branch of computer science concerned with developing machines that can complete tasks that typically require human intelligence. The cyberattack surface in modern enterprise environments is massive, and it’s continuing to grow rapidly. AI systems have immense potential in cybersecurity. It can be trained to generate alerts for threats, identify new types of malware and protect sensitive data for organisations.


Advantages of integrating Artificial Intelligence in cybersecurity

  • Continuous learning
  • AI uses machine learning and deep learning to learn a business network’s behaviour over time.
  • By recognizing patterns on the network and clustering them, AI proceeds to detect any deviations or security incidents from the norm before responding to them.
  • Potential threats with similar traits to those recorded get blocked early enough.
  • The fact that AI keeps learning makes it difficult for hackers to beat its intelligence.
  • Identifies Unknown Threats
  • Unknown threats can cause massive damage to a network. Worse still is the impact they can have before you detect, identify, and prevent them.
  • As attackers try new tactics from sophisticated social engineering to malware attacks, it is necessary to use modern solutions to prevent them.
  • AI has proven to be one of the best technologies in mapping and stopping unknown threats from ravaging a company.
  • Handle a Lot of Data
  • AI’s automated nature allows it to skim through massive chunks of data and traffic.
  • Technology that uses AI, such as a residential proxy, can help you to transfer data.
  • It can also detect and identify any threats hidden in the sea of chaotic traffic.
  • Better Vulnerability Management
  • AI helps you assess systems quicker than cybersecurity personnel, thereby increasing your problem solving ability manifold.
  • It identifies weak points in computer systems and business networks and helps businesses focus on important security tasks.
  • That makes it possible to manage vulnerability and secure business systems in time.
  • Reduces Duplicative Processes
  • AI, while mimicking the best of human qualities and leaving out the shortcomings, takes care of duplicative cybersecurity processes that could bore your cybersecurity personnel.
  • It helps check for basic security threats and prevent them on a regular basis.
  • It also analyses your network in depth to see if there are security holes that could be damaging to your network.
  • Accelerates Detection and Response Times
  • The best way to detect and respond to threats in time is by integrating AI with cybersecurity.
  • AI scans your entire system and checks for any possible threats.
  • Securing Authentication
  • AI secures authentication anytime a user wants to log into their account.
  • AI uses various tools such as facial recognition, CAPTCHA, and fingerprint scanners amongst others for identification.
  • The information collected by these features can help to detect if a log-in attempt is genuine or not.


The increasing rate of cyber-attacks has posed a great challenge in the recent times. AI gives the much-needed analysis and threat identification that can be used by security professionals to minimize breach risk and enhance security posture. AI can help discover and prioritize risks, direct incident response, and identify malware attacks before they come into the picture. So, even with the potential downsides, AI will serve to drive cybersecurity forward and help organizations create a more robust security posture.


20. Enumerate the recent structural reforms taken to alleviate the problems of the telecom sector in India. Is 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) through automatic route in the telecom sector a step in the right direction? Comment. (250 words, 15 marks)


The telecom reforms announced by government are beginning of a new era for sector as well as for boosting investment in the industry that is reeling under debt burden. The Centre announced a slew of financial relaxations, with sectoral liberalization and procedural easing thrown in, and declared a moratorium on AGR dues.


Recent structural reforms taken to alleviate the problems of the telecom sector

  • Rationalization of Adjusted Gross Revenue: Non-telecom revenue will be excluded on prospective basis from the definition of AGR.
  • Stay on AGR dues payment: The earlier definition of AGR, backed by the Telecom Department and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2019, had made telcos liable to pay Rs. 1.6 lakh crore.
    • This payment has cash-strapped the telecom sector, which led to the losses of business to telecom companies like Vodafone and established a duopoly (reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel).
    • In order to revive the telecom sector, a four-year moratorium on all spectrum and AGR dues has been approved
    • Option to the TSPs to pay the interest amount arising due to the said deferment of payment by way of equity.
  • Bank Guarantees (BGs) rationalized: Huge reduction in BG requirements (80%) against License Fee (LF) and other similar Levies. No requirements for multiple BGs in different Licenced Service Areas (LSAs) regions in the country. Instead, One BG will be enough.
  • Interest rates rationalized/ Penalties removed: From 1st October, 2021, Delayed payments of License Fee (LF)/Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) will attract interest rate of SBI’s MCLR plus 2% instead of MCLR plus 4%; interest compounded annually instead of monthly; penalty and interest on penalty removed.
  • Spectrum Tenure: In future Auctions, tenure of spectrum increased from 20 to 30 years.
    • Surrender of spectrum will be permitted after 10 years for spectrum acquired in the future auctions.
    • No Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) for spectrum acquired in future spectrum auctions.
    • Spectrum sharing encouraged- additional SUC of 0.5% for spectrum sharing removed.
  • FDI: To encourage investment, 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) under automatic route permitted in Telecom Sector.

Procedural Reforms

  • Auction calendar fixed – Spectrum auctions to be normally held in the last quarter of every financial year.
  • Ease of doing business promoted – The cumbersome requirement of licenses under 1953 Customs Notification for wireless equipment removed. Replaced with self-declaration.
  • Know Your Customers (KYC) reforms: Self-KYC (App based) permitted. E-KYC rate revised to only One Rupee. Shifting from Prepaid to Post-paid and vice-versa will not require fresh KYC.
  • Paper Customer Acquisition Forms (CAF) will be replaced by digital storage of data. Nearly 300-400 crore paper CAFs lying in various warehouses of TSPs will not be required. Warehouse audit of CAF will not be required.
  • SACFA clearance for telecom towers eased. DOT will accept data on a portal based on self-declaration basis. Portals of other Agencies (such as Civil Aviation) will be linked with DOT Portal.

FDI through automatic route: Step in the right direction?

Till now, only 49% of FDI was allowed through the automatic route and anything beyond this had to necessarily go through the government route.


  • It will encourage investment in the country and push India’s rankings on the innovation index.
  • Healthy competition amongst operators and a stable environment will allow customers to opt for differentiated experiences and taste innovations from around the world.
  • The ailing Indian telecommunications industry’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflow in H1FY21 plunged sharply by 99.8% to Rs 50 crore ($7 million) during April-September 2020 quarter from Rs 14,899 crore ($2,178 million) a year ago in the same quarter.
  • Post-pandemic uptick in the FDI inflows is required to revive the industry. This move can ease the credit flow into telecom industry.


  • The stakes of Indian companies in telecom sector can now be bought by foreign giants.
  • Indian telecom companies may find it difficult to compete with foreign players who can infuse large credit from various business sources.
  • As telecommunication is an integral part of national security, 100% FDI and foreign dominance can become threat to security and establishing secure channels of communications.
  • Procurement of equipments needs to be monitored thoroughly as big companies can subvert rules and bring in Chinese equipments.

Despite the cons, 100% FDI can transform the ailing telecom sector with necessary safeguards as announced by the government.


Thus, with the reform measures, the government aims to boost the proliferation and penetration of broadband and telecom connectivity in the country. Apart from this the government is looking to boost 4G proliferation, infuse liquidity and create an enabling environment for investment in 5G networks with the new set of reform measures.

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