SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A August 16, 2016

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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A August 16, 2016


As we are not giving feedback on your answers, we thought of providing detailed synopsis of important Secure questions on daily basis so that you could revise them and compare with your answers. 

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General Studies – 1;

Topic:  Social empowerment

1) Examine the features of today’s Dalit movements and critically comment on their demands. (200 Words)

The Hindu


  • There have been many instances of victimisation and discrimination against Dalits in the recent times. Dalits started to protest against this and the most recent one is the Dalit Asmita Yatra.

 Features of Dalit movements:

  • The movements are spontaneous, with a publicly stated non-violent approach.
    • The peaceful, non-violent yatrawas all the more remarkable given the background of inhuman and humiliating incidents
  • It had no political affiliation.There were no celebrity leaders or speakers.
  • Ordinary people supported it in large numbers, with meetings held in villages en route where local participation was spontaneous. 
  • It had several groups coming together — trade unions, Dalit Sangharsh Samitis, workers’ unions, youth groups and individuals. 
  • Participants came from all over India and Dalit leaders from Punjab, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana joined in.
  • Muslim community members came in large numbers to support the Dalit community in their campaign In Gujarat recently.
  • Dalit movement in Gujarat played a significant role for the government to step down from power.


  • Dalit movement in Gujarat is talking about intensifying agitation if the demand for granting five acres of land for each family is not met by Gujarat government.
  • Freedom from castesim and they will not tolerate any more atrocities on dalits anywhere in the country.
  • Banishment of each of the accused arrested in the Una atrocity incident under PASA 
  • Arrest of people who participated in the beating of Dalits and police to be sensitive to the Dalit victims.
  • They also demanded alternative employment options from government to Dalits who have pledged to not dispose of carcasses of dead animals.


  • Caste system:
    • constitutional provisions upheld eradication of untouchability and treating every person equally irrespective of caste.Their demand of freedom from caste system is supported by this.
  • Recent incidents of atrocities against Dalits in the country and called for a thorough probe in those cases is needed. 


  • Banishment is against the constitutional provisions of article 19.
  • Violence is against the Indian law and constitutional provisions.Intensifying agitation by rail roko causes discomfort to many people and this kind of approach should not be encouraged.

Topic: Salient features of Indian society

2) “While it has been a dramatic journey of social, economic and political progress since 1947, one that we are all proud of, several regressive practises continue to exist in India today, and it is these that we must look at addressing urgently in the future.” Which are these regressive practices? Critically analyse their nature and impact on society. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Regressive practices:

  • Gender discrimination and Preference for sons:
    • India’s patriarchal society has engrained that sons are the saviours of the families and this has led to adverse sex ratio in many states like Haryana, Punjab etc
    • Impact: 
      • Leads to importing brides from different regions.
      • Men are treated superior in the families than women.
      • Female infanticide and sex detection which is against the tenets of PCPNDT act.
      • Looking at the data regarding communal riots since 1980’s the body of a woman becomes the primary target  of the display of regressive power via rape and the victim is blamed for it.
      • Woman’s purity is calculated based on the submissive nature of the woman .
      • Violence against women in the form of dowry violence, rape,marital rape is accepted by the society.
    • prevent women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of places of worship.
      • organization Bhumata Ranragini Brigade due credit for their gumption to take on religious leaders and organizations and enter haji ali dargah, shani singnapur temple 
      • women are now coming forward to fight against various social evils, including those tied to religion
    • Child marraige and child labour:
      • India has the highest cases of child marraige and child labour in the world.The rates of child marriage vary between states and are as high as 69% and 65% in Bihar and Rajasthan
      • Nature:
        • In many communities girls are seen as an economic burden and marriage transfers the responsibility to her new husband. Poverty and marriage expenses such as dowry may lead a family to marry off their daughter at a young age to reduce these costs.
        • Controling women’s sexuality is another reason behind this ill practice
      • Impact:
        • Against constitution provisions.
        • Endangering their personal development and wellbeing.child marriage is a human rights violation
        • Child brides are often disempowered, dependent on their husbands and deprived of their fundamental rights to health, education and safety. 
        • Neither physically nor emotionally ready to become wives and mothers, child brides are at greater risk of experiencing dangerous complications in pregnancy and childbirth, becoming infected with HIV/AIDS and suffering domestic violence.
        • With little access to education and economic opportunities, they and their families are more likely to live in poverty.
      • Discrimination against socio economic backward classes:
        • Recently Dalit crematoriums were constructed as upper caste Hindus  were not allowing Dalits to perform their last rights in Hindu crematorium.
        • This is against article 15 of the constitution where state should not discriminate against sex,gender , religion, caste etc.Untouchability is a menace and social evil associated with traditional Hindu society
        • Impact:
          • Leads to segregation and insecurities among different communities
          • Against the ideals freedom fighters fought for.
          • Dalit movements would rise leads to polarisation within communities 
        • Muslim Talaq issue:
          • Having suffered under discriminatory practices for centuries, Muslim women in India have started raising their voice against anachronistic Muslim divorce laws, which gives men the right to forsake their marriage on the flimsiest of grounds by uttering the word ‘talaq’ three times.

The sooner we remove the dichotomy between liberal values and regressive traditions and customs, the sooner we will be able to take our nation forward.

TopicModern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

3) Critically examine the contribution made by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to post-independent India. (200 Words)



  • Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel took over as the Home Minister of nascent nation at a very important juncture in history and devoted himself wholeheartedly to make sure that the nation which was already partitioned remained united and intact.
  • Integrating more than 560 princely states, Patel and his secretary of the ministry of states V.P. Menon imparted geographic coherence to India and prevented its Balkanization, a fate which many predicted would befall the newborn state sooner than later.this achievement occurred without shedding a drop of blood. He is also known as the “Bismarck of India”.
  • An administrator by instinct, Patel sought to protect the privileges of the Indian Civil Service officers
  • was a major driving force behind the liberal industrial policy resolution of 1948
  • Patel was among the few to see the dangers from China’s imminent takeover of Tibet.
    • Patel advocated a series of practical measures designed to strengthen India’s position: accelerated road building in the frontier areas, strengthening of India’s military capabilities, moves to better integrate the northeastern territories into India.
  • On Kashmir issue  Patel had advised Nehru against going to the UN.
  • Patel was a key force behind the appointment of Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkaras the chairman of the drafting committee, and the inclusion of leaders from a diverse political spectrum in the process of writing the constitution
    • Patel was a senior leader in the Constituent Assembly of Indiaand was responsible in a large measure for shaping India’s constitution.
  • He worked closely with Muslim leaders to end separate electorates and the more potent demand for reservation of seats for minorities.
  • was responsible for the measure that allows the President to appoint Anglo-Indiansto Parliament.
  • His intervention was key to the passage of two articles that protected civil servants from political involvement and guaranteed their terms and privileges
    • He was also instrumental in the founding the Indian Administrative Serviceand the Indian Police Service, and for his defence of Indian civil servants from political attack, he is known as the “patron saint” of India’s services.
  • Guided farmers to create the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Limited, which preceded the Amulmilk products brand
  • Patel was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, in 1991. It was announced in 2014 that his birthday, 31 October, would become an annual national celebration known as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day).


Criticism :

  • Vallabhbhai Patel received criticism for an alleged bias against Muslims during the time of Partition.  He was criticised by Maulana Azadand others for readily plumping for partition
  • Patel was also criticised by supporters of Subhas Chandra Bosefor acting coercively to put down politicians not supportive of Gandhi
  • He was criticised for being inclined to support the West in the Cold

General Studies – 2

Topic:Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests,

4) “If Brexit, as seems likely, impacts the forces ranged against globalisation and strengthens protectionism, major developed countries might well begin to look inward. This would lead to profound geopolitical shifts.” Analyse what geopolitical shifts could take place. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Geopolitical shifts:

  • It threatened not merely the existence, but the very idea of a European Union. The EU’s place in Europe could also be changed.
    • A Brexit could change the EU’s relationship with countries such as Norway and Switzerland who are connected to the EU through either membership of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) and/or the European Economic Area (EEA). These were intended as conveyor belts towards eventual EU membership. A Brexit has the potential to throw them into reverse.
    • A Brexit would also remove from the EU a member that has been more willing than many to contemplate Turkish membership of the EU. For countries such as France, who have already made clear their unease at Turkish membership, losing Britain is a blow.
  • Britain’s one-point agenda is to try to maintain the U.K.’s access to the single European market, while restricting EU migration into Britain. This will not be easy. 
  • Financial jitters are more likely as almost immediately the U.K. will need to prepare for the loss of nearly 2,85,000 financial sector jobs.
    • The City’s relations with China are also likely to suffer as a result of Brexit.
    • London’s standing as the world’s principal place for trading in euro will come under new pressures.
    • when banks leave, professional services firms that work with them will follow. 
    • Former EU partners will have a very real and pressing incentive to compete with UK on the status of Overseas Territories
      • For example, within twenty-four hours of the Brexit vote the Spanish Foreign Ministry offered a co-sovereignty arrangement to Gibraltar, a British colony that sits on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula.
      • In exchange, Gibraltar would retain its much-needed access to the EU single market. 
    • Brexit could also have a significant impact on the composition of the UK itself. The EU would, for example, be wise to draw Scotland to its cause and offer it, at the very least, a special status within the Union.
    • A possible destabilisation of the West, with the liberal international order coming under strain as world democracies begin to look inward.
    • strengthening of the trend against globalisation, favouring the erection of barriers, and undermining free trade in goods and services.
    • Institutions such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) could also be impacted. Dissonance among NATO partners is already very much in evidence, mainly over being compelled to toe the U.S. line against Russia
    • Experts further believe that Britain’s retreat from Europe will increase tensions between Germany and France over leadership in Europe. With Britain’s exit, Germany’s share of EU’s GDP would increase from one-fifth to one-fourth. . Many other countries of Europe appear concerned at a German surge towards hegemony in European politics, and the emergence of a more ‘German Europe’. This could provoke more disunity than unity.
    • Brexit, and a weakened EU resolve, is likely to lead to the easing of sanctions. This would leave Russia free to strengthen its relations with continental European powers, expand its influence, and consolidate its leadership in Eurasia.
    • US- Britain:
      • US will see Britain – instead of being its usual force for stability in the world as a great and mature democracy – as a bringer of instability to Europe.

Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

5) What are the salient features of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016? Critically analyse if this Bill attempts to empower women. (200 Words)

The Hindu


  • The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed in Rajya Sabha.
  • The Bill amends the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. The Bill amends provisions related to the duration and applicability of maternity leave, and other facilities.


  • It extends the period of maternity benefit from 12 weeks to 26 weeks of which not more than eight weeks can precede the date of the expected delivery. This exceeds the International Labour Organisation’s minimum standard of 14 weeks and is a positive development.
  • women who legally adopt a child below the age of three months or a “commissioning mother” will be entitled to maternity benefit for 12 weeks from the date on which the child is handed over to her.
  • Gives discretion to employers to allow women to work from home after the period of maternity benefit on mutually agreeable conditions,
  • It requires establishments having 50 or more employees to have a crèche facility, either separately or along with common facilities.  employers should allow the woman to visit the crèche four times a daY.
  • Informing women employees of the right to maternity leave:
    • The Bill introduces a provision which requires every establishment to intimate a woman at the time of her appointment of the maternity benefits available to her.  Such communication must be in writing and electronically.


  • Shallow attempt at protecting maternity, and one that does not adequately embrace a human rights approach. The Bill does nothing to dismantle the male breadwinner model and continues to reinforce the stereotype about childcare being exclusively a woman’s responsibility. 
  • It also demeans and discriminates against alternative parenting models.
  • A woman who has two or more surviving children will be entitled to 12 weeks of which not more than six weeks can precede the date of the expected delivery.
  • silent on paternity/parental leave. 
  • Restricting the option of working from home to only women also reinforces gender-based roles within the family. Provisions like these will inevitably cause employers to view these measures as an undue burden.the amendment in the long term will undoubtedly perpetuate and sustain the gender gap in employment and in pay scales.
  • Since 2006, the Government of India has granted adoption leave of 135 days to women government servants on adoption of a child upto one year of age. The Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children, 2015, require government and public sector undertakings to provide adoption leave to all adoptive parents working in their offices irrespective of the age of the child.
    • The Bill regresses it and does not comprehend rigorous procedures on declaring a child free for adoption under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, that makes it nearly impossible to adopt a child below three months
  • It also discriminates against adoptive fathers and transgendered persons who may adopt, as it does not even recognise their right to parental benefits
  • Another problem with the Bill is that it says maternity benefit is available to a woman only if “her egg” was used to create an embryo. This is a demeaning way of sanctioning surrogacy and is fairly unscientific as well. It fails to recognise that either of the parents could be a donor and need not necessarily be the mother.


  • To ensure genuine equality in employment, protection of maternity, and promotion of childcare, Lok Sabha members should ensure that the Bill extends maternity benefits equally and unconditionally to all women who parent a child and introduce parental leave as well.
  • Employers should be under an obligation to provide crèche facilities and work-from-home options to all parents and not just to working mothers as childcare is a shared responsibility.
  • A non-discrimination clause should be added that no person should be discriminated against in employment for having availed any parental benefits under the law.

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

6) Do you think India should rise the issues of Pak occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Balochistan movement at international fora as a strategy to counter Pakistan’s involvement in Kashmir unrest? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Indian Express


  • Even in the present era of growing global interdependence, national sovereignty remains a central principle governing the international order. It is not in New Delhi’s interest to erode this principle.
  • Would raise further tensions with Pakistan and lead to adverse impact on SAARC and
  • Can inflict further violence and tension in Pakistan destabilising it and threatening the safety of nuclear reactors in the region.
  • Pok is a territorial dispute between the two countries and it’s better to discuss it bilaterally. India had already learnt from the experience of involving UN in the Kashmir issue which led to nowhere.
  • Balochistan is a contentious issue for Iran and Afghanistan as well.
  • It would make Pakistan put forward India’s internal problems in the international arena .


  • It would add as a pressure on Pakistan to handle terrorism in a responsible way .
  • To be a great power in the world India has to take risks . India has always stood for the righteous sufferers as seen in its role in liberation war of Bangladesh 1971. A successful Balochistan policy premised on Indias historical association with just causes would also lead to forging of successful Pakistan policy.
  • Experts believe this might distract pakistan’s interference in Kashmir
  • Experts suggest without morally supporting Baloch and other ethnic groups in Pakistan, it is almost impossible to bring stability in that particular region because Pakistan has proved to be a failed state.
  • It would be a moral responsibility to put forth the human right violations Pakistan is forcing on the people of Baluchistan.

General Studies – 3

Topic Infrastructure – Railways

7) Examine the principle behind Maglev trains. What are the challenges Indian Railways could face in running Maglev trains in India? Examine. (200 Words)

Business Standard


  • Maglev or magnetic levitation  is a transport method that uses magnetic levitation to move vehicles without touching the ground.
  • A maglev train floats above the tracks on a “cushion” of magnetic field.These Trains can travel 500 km an hour.
  • Maglev train floats above the track by about 1 inch to 6 inches on a cushion of magnetic power. The track magnets are controlled by computers which keep shifting forward the magnetic force of the track magnets so that the Maglev train is pulled forward.
  • With maglev, a vehicle travels along a guideway using magnets to create both lift and propulsion, thereby reducing frictionby a great extent and allowing very high speeds.
  • The two notable types of maglev technology are:
    • Electromagnetic suspension(EMS), electronically controlled electromagnets in the train attract it to a magnetically conductive track.
    • Electrodynamic suspension(EDS) uses superconducting electromagnets or strong permanent magnets that create a magnetic field, which induces currents in nearby metallic conductors when there is relative movement, which pushes and pulls the train towards the designed levitation position on the guide way.
  • The Indian Railways is mulling options to run trains on magnetic tracks.

Challenges Indian railways will face in running Meglev trains are:


1.Cost :

  • According to a rough estimate, it will cost about Rs 150 crore for constructing one km of elevated high speed track for Maglev train. 
  • large fixed capital investments and thus necessitate a blend of high density and government investment to be competitive against existing capital infrastructure.


  • To build a network of Meglev trains in India is to take a quantum leap in technology. 
  • Fresh new tracks have to be laid, signalling system has to be advanced, new set of engines, and compartments, electrical and magnetic systems etc. have to be built. 
  • unlike normal Railway tracks, Meglev tracks have to be fenced and isolated from the external environment. 
  • In a railway network of 64,000 km, only 15-20% of tracks can support trains running at the speed of 170 km/h.
  • Likewise the direct discharge toilet system followed on Indian Railways has no scope whatsoever in these trains. Bio-toilets or other system will have to be installed.

3.The problem of crowds thronging the trains and travelling uncomfortably has not been solved and thus looking at a Meglev train is a farfetched idea.

4.Meglev trains would run only run in Meglev lines so this makes it commercially unviable.

5.This idea only adds to the already enormous burden on the Indian private sector involvement is huge which is very restricted now.

6.Railways is already losing its business to roadways and airways especially with low charge carriers.The fare for these trains can’t be less so how far it can face the competition is questionable.

  1. In India as the process of laying tracks is so slow, the rate at which magnetic  lines will be laid would negate the advantages .
  2. Land acquisition would be a huge problem.

The benefits surpass the challenges of these trains with duration of travel significantly reduced it would ultimately benefit the economy in terms of growth and also human capital would be put to good use.


General Studies – 4

Topic: Ethics in human actions;

8) Discuss two events where your own ethical behaviour has given you happiness. Looking back, what would have been the consequences if you had behaved unethically in the same events? Examine. (200 Words)