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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 January 2017



SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 January 2017

NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.

General Studies – 1;

Topic: Poverty and developmental issues

1) Oxfam’s latest report tells us that the bottom 50% of the world’s population has “just 0.2%” of the world’s “wealth.” What are the causes of this huge inequality? Explain. (200 Words)


The Indian Express


Economic inequality is the difference found in various measures of economic well-being among individuals in a group, among groups in a population, or among countries. Economic inequality sometimes refers to income inequalitywealth inequality,

Oxfam is an international confederation of charitable organizations focused on the alleviation of global poverty. Oxfam was founded at 17 Broad Street in OxfordOxfordshire, in 1942 as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief by a group of Quakerssocial activists, and Oxford academics; this is now Oxfam Great Britain, still based in Oxford. It was one of several local committees formed in support of the National Famine Relief Committee. Their mission was to persuade the British government to allow food relief through the Allied blockade for the starving citizens of occupied Greece or the wealth gap.


  • In 2016, the richest 1 per cent in India owned nearly 60 per cent of the country’s total wealth; in contrast, the equivalent figure for most western European nations is between 20 percent to 30 percent.
  • The top 20 per cent commanded a staggering 80 per cent, while the entire bottom half of the country owned a pathetic 2 per cent. In the past six years, this share of wealth has shot up by an astounding 45 per cent.
  • The real income growth for the rich has increased 300 times in the last 3 decades but for the most of the people, the real growth has been zero.
  • A Credit Suisse Report of October 2015 had already found that the richest 1% of the world’s population had the same amount of wealth as the other 99%. But Oxfam reveals that the wealth of the bottom 50% of the global population is actually lower than was previously estimated so it takes just 8 people to equal the total wealth of half of the world’s people.

rich peoplerich


  • Historical Causes: Imperialism is one of the major causes of the inequality among the developed and developing nations. The imperialist countries looted the other countries to generate wealth for themselves.
  • Cultural Causes: Due to cultural reasons where people of different race and class were seen differently and hence, given less opportunities. In the same way, women were not given opportunities who forms 50% of the population.
  • Geographical Causes: One of the reasons of inequality is geographical reasons where few regions have more natural resources which help in economic terms. Some areas with better weather also help work conditions more than the extreme weather places.
  • Political Causes: The ultra-rich who buy the government bonds are able to influence government policies for themselves. Political divide and Imperilaism in previous centuries which brought class and divided people in such a way that supported deep inequality
  • Economic Causes: a) Powerful management set their own compensation b) The already rich has money and the money works through investment which is way faster than a labor working somewhere. Even when the rich sleeps, his money works 24*7
  • Environmental Causes: Through industrial revolution, the developed countries polluted the whole world and now they are working towards cleaner environment. This forces the other countries to follow the norm but they are still not able to handle technologies of the renewable energy. Thus, this keeps them confused in a way.
  • Anthropological Causes: The way society has developed over time, the poor society is different from the modern one and it takes time to develop with the same rate as the rich ones. Gender inequalityhas been a reason for economic inequality as well.


Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times; Role of women

2) Dance in India has had a long and chequered history: from being seen as sacred and spiritual to getting proscribed for being perceived as profane, debauched and carnal. Critically examine how women and their role was depicted in various dance forms during the colonial India. Also examine how Rabindranath Tagore depicted women in various art forms, especially in dance and drama. (200 Words)



Indian Natya is an amalgamation of dance, drama and music. Indian mythology and history are replete with examples of dance forms and expressions. Starting from Bronze dancing girl of Indus Valley Civilization to many temple architecture, dance is imbibed as a cultural heritage of our country.

Women and their role during colonial Era:-

  • Women Image and perceived role has changed during colonial era with changing understanding of British about Indian traditions and various legislations brought about British during their role.
  • Early phase – British equated dancers to nautch girls.
  • The enchantment component degraded with time making dance performance vulgar for British audience loosing aesthetic standards of dance as art form.
  • In South India devadasi was considered as equivalent to legalized Prostitution and The Anti-Nautch Bill passed in 1911, finally proscribed the Sadir dance and abolished the devadasi institution.
  • The anti-nautch campaigners admonished existing dance practices confusing it with an act of soliciting sexual candidature
  • Revival of their art as “classical” traditional dance as part of nationalist movement which sought to bestow “dignity” and “integrity” to Indian culture, be it in art, sculpture, music or dance to counter colonial allegations of moral degradation.
  • Indian classical dance came to represent a sanitized Hindu version of India’s past and became the repositoryof “spirituality” which was thought to be lost with years of repeated onslaughts of “foreign” rule.
  • In the world forum, Indian dance was gradually gaining visibility from the beginning of the 20th century ex revival of the Sadir form was Rukmini Devi Arundale, who founded the Kalakshetra, a dance academy which workedtowards promoting the ancient dance form in a new format called the Bharatnatyam infusing into it the basic tenets of the rasatheory as propounded in Bharata’s Natya Shastra.
  • Poet Vallathol reformed Kathakali and Madame Menaka refashioned Kathak
  • Modern dance in India revolutionised or democratised gender aspects.
  • In Bengal Tagore bestowed the status of art to dance by including and promoting dance in Santiniketan.
  • Men in the performance arena were great embarrassment for the Bengali gentry

Tagore’s views and efforts:-

  • Initially Tagore seemed to have held little regard for public dance performers but later he performed important role in growth of dance as art in his university.
  • It was Tagore who bestowed the status of art to dance.
  • Tagore advocated teaching of dance to both male and female students in his university, he also encouraged stage performances where women from respectable households were cast in roles where they were required to dance on stage before an audience.
  • He organized an event called Geetotshab where songs, poetry, recitation were organized.
  • Dance was incorporated in the Santiniketan curriculum since the 1920s thereby increasing respect for Dance forms.
  • He brought foreign dance (ballet) and dances from other region (manipuri) to his university thus popularizing them.
  • Many of his dance dramas have women as central character.
  • In Tagore’s universe, dance and the stage allowed equal opportunities to both men and women to use their bodies to liberate themselves from their gender inscribed bodies.



Role of women in Dance has improved over years after reaching rock bottom during Medieval times early British phase. Still devdasi pratha is followed in some places in country and need to be curbed. Dance as part of art form and importance as provided by Bharat Muni In Natya Shahstra need to be restored fully. Folkdances play a major role in national integration hence need preservation and promotion.


General Studies – 2

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

3) Compare and contrast the differing approaches taken by the high courts on the issue of maternity benefits to women employees who have children through surrogacy. (200 Words)



HCs have taken varying approaches regarding the same with respect to surrogacy. This is important to be examined given the recent proposal to ban commercial surrogacy.

1) In the Kalaiselvi Vs Port Trust of Chennai case the ruling was an expansion of maternity benefits to include even those who become mothers by surrogacy.

2) Kerala High Court’s judgment in P Geetha Vs the Kerala Livestock Department has examined the difference between adoption on one hand and natural birth with respect to the genetic link and has shown that surrogate birth is somewhere in between those two. In this line, it has ruled that leave benefits related to health of woman in case of child got with help of surrogate mother will not accrue while the remaining will be as per regulations.

3) In case that came before Bombay HC maternity and motherhood was seen from not merely physical aspect but also from an emotional and psychological perspective.

4) Chhattisgarh HC sees it in light of Right to life guaranteed by Article 21. This is laudable but the view on motherhood of women as something natural to which benefits are given to aid them in staying employed knowing that it will compromise on child’s physical, emotional and psychological needs seems to suggest that maternity benefit is a paternalistic benevolence to women which is disconcerting for its patriarchal hue.


These approaches seem to leave things in a loop for every case is a new possibility. In this context, the new bill with regards to surrogacy must be comprehensive defining motherhood from a humane point of view and maternal care something which can never be substituted.


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

4) Punjab, situated in close proximity to Golden Crescent (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran), is considerably affected by the illicit drug menace. Critically discuss scale of this problem and measures needed to eradicate it. (200 Words)


According to the World Drug Report 2016 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, a quarter of a billion people between the ages of 15 years and 64 years used at least one drug in 2014. India, sandwiched between the narco-drug producing “Golden Crescent” and “Golden Triangle” countries, is affected by drug abuse and trafficking.

Scale of this problem-

  • A study undertaken by the Institute for Development and Communications, Chandigarh, on drug abuse revealed that an overwhelming number (75.8%) of the sample of substance abusers (1,527) from the border districts of Punjab belonged to the age group of 15–35 years.
  • Similarly, the “Punjab Opioid Dependence Survey (PODS),” conducted in 2015 by the Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM), and National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, revealed that 76% opioid dependents in Punjab were in the age group of 18–35 years.
  • Further, the study suggested that among the 18–35 years age group males in Punjab about 4 in 100 were opioid dependents, while 15 in 100 were opioid users.
  • According to some doctors, even children aged 9–16 years were hooked to drugs like tobacco, poppy husk, and marijuana.
  • The consumption of heroin and smack was 3.5 times more in Punjab than the national average (Singh 2014a).
  • Likewise, according to the non-governmental organization (NGO) website, the heroin abuse among the 15–25 years age group was as high as 75% near border areas (Mahapatra 2015).
  • The recovery of heroin witnessed a surge from 100 kg in 2011 to 570.8 kg in 2014. Of the 30,000 odd cases of narcotics registered in India in 2014–15, 14,800 were from Punjab alone.

Factors contributing the rise in drug menace-

  • The state’s close proximity to the poppy- and heroin producing region. \
  • The network of cross-border trafficking;
  • Corruption;
  • Lack of regulation of pharmaceutical trade;
  • Easy availability of synthetic drugs at counters;
  • Good paying capacity of the people in Punjab;
  • Inadequacies in rehabilitation of drug addicts as productive members of the society;
  • Lack of employment opportunities; and decline in the normative spheres of the social milieu entailing parental affection and care.

Measures needed to eradicate it-

  • There should be national policy on controlling drug abuse which should promote a comprehensive approach centered on health, human rights, and balanced demand and supply reduction. The key goal should be to ensure a society where illicit drug use is not an accepted way of life and to ensure available and suitable services for those in need.
  • The prevention and education activities should be geared towards the youth and young adults, who represent the target population.Demand reduction efforts need to be characterized by a comprehensive and integrated evidence-based approach, with measures ranging from primary prevention, early intervention, treatment, rehabilitation and harm reduction measures. 
  • Countering money-laundering and promoting judicial cooperation should be integral to India’s drug control efforts
  • Economic development: lack of economic development particularly in border region is exploited by drug cartels to lure the unemployed people to act as peddlers. So economic development of the region through employment generation and inclusive growth is urgently needed.
  • Effective border surveillance to curb cross-border drugs trafficking and regulation of pharmaceutical trade and of synthetic drugs needs attention.
  • Active involvement of all stakeholders: Community leaders, institutions, NGOs, academics and previously Drugs Addicted need to rope in for awareness programs through means like Street plays, documentaries and anti-pledge programs. For eg Ubharta Bhatinda is great example of police-community cooperation against drugs. Along with this parents being the ‘first teacher’ must taught their children about bad effects of drug addiction.
  • Drugs de-addiction camp: The camps must treat addicts as ‘Patients’ needing ‘Medical’ treatment. Further rehabilitation centers are needed to be increased to give new life to the drug addict.
  • Greater cooperation between Border Security Force and State police services is needed.
  • Media whether Television, print and social should be used effectively to promote awareness among people particularly in border districts.


The drug problem in Punjab has assumed alarming situation and needs urgent attention of both, Union and state government. The fight against drugs must be a collaborative undertaking that spans across the globe and India should work in tandem with international efforts to curb drug abuse.


Topic: Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

5) “Systemic reform of the institutional and legal framework for non-profit organisations in India is long overdue, but its absence does not imply that their societal, developmental and professional contributions should be ignored, decried, or devalued.” Critically comment. (200 Words)


There are nearly 31 lakh non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the country and only 8%–10% files their accounts with the registrar of societies. Even Supreme Court went on to say that NGOs get “mind-boggling” funds and it has become a “major problem,”2 implying that these funds were “unaccounted” for, and no useful purpose is being served by NGOs.

Reasons for this perception-

  • Due to absence of systematic framework, the assessment of their voluntary work is difficult.
  • Loopholes in the existing framework are exploited to serve the profitable interest of the organizations.
  • No clear framework for accounting and tracking the source of their funding.
  • Corruption and black money hoarders are eroding the reputation and true nature of NGOs.

However the NGOs have played critical role in socio-economic and religious spheres in India. Some of the prominent functions of the NGOs are mentioned here-

  • Their proximity to ground reality served as necessary support for the proper implementation of government’s welfare schemes.
  • NGOs with the support given by the government has been accelerating its development activities by taking up specific issues like Poverty alleviation, child rights, caste stigma and discriminations, women rights, child labor, rural development, water and sanitation, environmental issues etc.,
  • In the last two decades the role of NGOs have become proactive in the social sector development-education, health etc.,NGOs have played a crucial role in sending the school dropouts back to the school especially in rural areas thus upholding the Right to education.
  • Also the heath sector development programs like Leprosy eradication program and programs on eliminating TB, malaria and improving water and sanitation facilities by NGOs have met with huge success.
  • The most highlighted success of NGOs could be seen in their achievement in influencing government to bring out various development-oriented policies and laws. Few of such laws and policies include: Right to Information, Integrated child development scheme(ICDS), Integrated child protection scheme(ICPS), MNREGA, Juvenile justice, Nirmal gram initiative, Rastriya swathya bhima yogna(RSBY), Various policies on women development, forest and environment development, anti-trafficking, people with disability etc.
  • NGOs or Non-Governmental Organizations have more benefits of working in rural areas as compared to governmental organizations because NGOs are more flexible, NGOs are specific to a particular locality and moreover these are committed towards serving the public and community as a whole.
  • Along with Panchayat institutions, NGOs have played important role in strengthening grass-root democracy in rural areas.


Requirement of modernized legal and institutional framework for Non Govt Organization is the need of hour for taking action against the wrongdoers and to reward those who are truly serving the society.


General Studies – 3

Topic: Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems

6) Although the construction of farm ponds is portrayed as a miracle strategy by the state and central government as well as popular media. Critically examine if their construction has resulted in achieving their objectives. (200 Words)



After the exhaustion of bore-well technology, most of the farmers moved towards the farm pond techniques. Post the 1990s, farm pond technology became a new ray of hope for the farmers. Farm ponds were originally conceived to collect and store rainwater so as to provide protected irrigation to crops during periods of water scarcity.

Significance of farm ponds-

  • Promotes rain water harvesting. Percolation of stored water recharges ground water.
  • It ensures water supply during water stressed conditions. It is particularly helpful in semi-arid regions like of Maharashtra Karnataka etc.
  • It can also be put for multiple uses like duck farming, pisciculture which have provided additional support to farmers income.
  • States like Maharashtra have already started scheme “Magel Tyala Shet Tale” to enable the construction of farm ponds by those who demands it.

The Farm pond structure also presents a number of issues and challenges which are listed below-

  • There is a clear contradiction between the main objectives of the farm pond policy and how these ponds are actually being used by farmers. Although, rainwater harvesting is one of the main objectives behind the farm pond strategy, in practice there are few functioning farm pond where rainwater is collected and stored. In fact, in direct contradiction to the purpose of building such ponds, most of the farm pond owners still extract groundwater from dug wells and bore-wells and then store it in the same farm ponds. Therefore, farm ponds have become the new way for groundwater extraction and have increased the competition amongst farmers to further extract groundwater. As a result, such extraction is causing a grave depletion of the groundwater levels in these regions.
  • Farm ponds were conceived as an important strategy for groundwater recharge through percolation. However, in practice, in almost all functional farm ponds, high micron plastic paper is applied to stop the seepage of stored water. Even the state is promoting the use of plastic lining through a subsidy for the plastic. Hence, there is little possibility of water from the ponds percolating to the groundwater.
  • There is overall absence of regulation and appropriate planning while sanctioning farm ponds and in its actual construction. Ideally, depending on the carrying capacity of the area, the total number of farm ponds to be constructed in the specific village or watershed area, needs to be planned. It seems that there is lack of clarity at the policy level and with the functionaries involved in implementing the scheme. Along with the number of unregulated farm ponds, another concern is the possibility that farmers are in violation of the approved size for building a farm pond.
  • One of the major issues of concern is the increasing rate of evaporation of the overall surface water and particularly the water stored in farm ponds. In many pockets of arid and semi-arid Maharashtra, the maximum temperature during summer reaches up to 40°C to 45°C which increases the rate of evaporation. Therefore with an increasing number of farm ponds—regulated or not—a huge amount of groundwater extraction to store water in the ponds, and a changing and volatile climate, the issue of evaporation of water from farm ponds becomes more alarming and is a cause for serious concern.

Way forward-

  • Ban on extracting groundwater to store in farm ponds: In already water stressed regions, specifically those declared as semi-critical and overexploited zones, the extraction of groundwater to store it in farm ponds should be strictly prohibited. In such regions, it should be mandatory for farm pond owners to store the rainwater or run-off in the farm ponds.
  • Limitation on the number of farm ponds in the village or watershed area: In any village or watershed area, considering the overall sustainability of the water resource and the carrying capacity of the area, the total number of farm ponds that can be constructed should be fixed. Most importantly, while making such plans, local hydrogeology, the level of groundwater depletion in the area, and the water dependency of downstream villages need to be taken into consideration.
  • Controlling the size of farm ponds: It is important to control the enlargement of the size and depth of farm ponds by farmers beyond the sanctioned norms. This is important to assure that the groundwater and aquifers are not entirely extracted by a few farmers.
  • Changes required in the provision of subsidy: Presently, the big farmers and orchard cultivators are at the centre of the subsidy scheme and other promotional strategies offered by the government. However, small farmers who depend solely on rainfall should be the focal point for this.
  • Alternatives to the plastic lining: The high-micron plastic paper, which is used for lining the farm pond is costly and harmful for the environment. Therefore, there is a pressing need to research on cost-effective and environment-friendly alternatives to the plastic lining
  • Construction of a common farm pond to secure the drinking water needs: Although farm ponds as a strategy has proved to be very useful for protective irrigation, looking at its utility/ ability to secure water during the scarcity period, this strategy can also be used to secure domestic and drinking water needs of all villagers and animals throughout the year.
  • Measure to reduce the rate of evaporation: There is a pressing need to reduce the rate of evaporation of water stored in the farm ponds. Some immediate measures, like reducing the surface size and increasing the depth of farm pond structures, using non-harming solutions (such as Evalock) in the stored water, and applying floating covers on the surface (such as waste plastic bottles) can be promoted.


Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country,

7) It is argued that the changing cropping pattern is of key significance for the present state and future prospects of Punjab economy. Examine how has cropping pattern changed in Punjab over the decades. (200 Words)


Punjab with a 1.53% share in the geographical area of India, produced 27.92% of the total wheat and rice produced in the country in 2014–15.1 Punjab’s contribution towards India’s food self-sufficiency has been widely acknowledged.

How cropping pattern has changed in Punjab over the decades?

  • Out of the total cropped area in 1966– 67, rice and wheat together occupied 45.46% when compared to the 54.54% under all the other crops put together. With the advent of green revolution, the area under rice and wheat expanded, and as per the latest data available for 2014–15, rice and wheat together occupied 90.13%, whereas the area occupied by all the other crops has reduced drastically to the 9.87%. The area under the other crops has been mainly cannibalized by the expansion of area under rice.
  • It can be noticed that although the increase in the MSP of other crops such as gram, arhar (tur), rapeseed and mustard, sunflower, groundnut, cotton and moong was greater than the increase in the MSP of wheat and paddy for the same period, still the area under wheat and mainly under rice expanded due to the assured procurement and higher yields of these crops.
  • In the recent times, although there have been major increases in the MSP of pulses, there is negligible interest on the part of the farmers in adopting pulses. This is mainly due to the absence of marketing of these crops and their low yield levels.
  • Government schemes like free agricultural electricity encouraged the farmers to move towards individual pump irrigation systems giving more reliable water supply for the crops.
  • Strong infrastructural and institutional strength of Punjab helped farmers to have a reliable market and credit linkages thus acting as a catalyst for growing crops mainly to increase the profits.
  • Increased level of income of farmers encouraged them towards new agricultural equipments such as Tractors, water harvesting pumps, harvesters, etc .So further it increased the production surplus in wheat and rice.


With the advent of green revolution, the area under low value rice and wheat crops in Punjab expanded enormously. Although these crops might have ushered in economic prosperity in Punjab for a few decades, they have now brought in a socio-economic–ecological crisis to the famers of Punjab and to the state itself. Rice has double impact as it depletes groundwater, and like wheat also has a low value of output per hectare. In order to improve the economic condition of the farmers and save depleting groundwater, the crops with higher value of output which are suitable for cultivation in Punjab must be selected and effort must be made to expand the area under those crops.