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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 09 May 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:   Political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society

1) Write a note on leftist, rightist and centrist political philosophies. Critically examine why the Right is in ascendence across the world and Left is seeing a decline. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- The basic difference between the leftist, rightist and centralist philosophies are as follows:-

Leftist :-

Left wingers believe that governments are a force for social justice and change, and so should intervene in individual’s lives to ensure social justice is achieved. 

For this reason left wingers have traditionally favoured ‘big’ government while right wingers favoured ‘small’ government.

Left wingers believe in substantial equality. They argue that not every individual is the same and so government policy should be aimed to create substantial rather than just formal equality. Examples of left wing substantial equality includes affirmative action and social and cultural rights.


Rightist :-

Right wingers believe that governments are big and unwieldy and so should not interfere with people’s lives at all. They believe that government interference contravenes an individual’s right to liberty.

For these reason right wingers favoured ‘small’ government

Right wingers believe in formal equality. They believe that everyone should be treated equally under the law and should be treated equally by government. Examples of right wing formal equality include equal pay for equal work and civil and political rights.


Centrist :-

In politics, centrism or the centre is a political outlook or specific position that involves acceptance or support of a balance of a degree of social equality and a degree of social hierarchy; while opposing political changes which would result in a significant shift of society either strongly to the left or the right. Centre-left and centre-right politics both involve a general association with centrism combined with leaning somewhat to their respective sides of the spectrum.

Reasons responsible for rise of rightist approach and fall of leftist approach are:-

1) Right is able to relate to the local concerns for whom the world view is restricted to their daily needs. The left on the other hand is cosmopolitan and so cannot appeal emotionally to the local who are indeed the electorate that decide electoral victory.

2) The Right is able to capitalize on the instinct fear which humanity has as to others taking a larger share of their pie which originally belongs to them. The Left speaks of merit and best talent but the right calls for harnessing what it has of its people and only if it cannot be done give scope for ‘other’ talent and service. It is instrumental for the sake of its own people and so strikes a chord naturally.

3) The Left speaks of making the people capable enough of making smart decisions and limits itself as a facilitator and assure no one is being left out. But the right speaks to those who perceive them to be or are actually left out in the development project of the nation and so makes their job more easy; it decides for the people’s good after convincing that it cares for them.


Conclusion :- Thus it can be seen that the left wing politics that was successful earlier is being side-lined today because the body-politic has underwent significant change today. The people have become more inward looking for their lives have become crisis ridden and the ideas of leftists seem to idealistic as against the rightist ideas that are realistic. The Left can surely learn a thing or two from the Right about simplicity. It needs to tackle the fears that internationalism generates and has to find a balance between its cosmopolitan world view and one that is more local. The answer is not to ape the Right but to reimagine the role the Left needs to play in today’s society.


General Studies – 2

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

2) Two decades after signing the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, India is yet to ratify it. Discuss the significance of this Convention and why India should sign it. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture) is an international human rights treaty, under the review of the United Nations, that aims to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment around the world.

The Convention requires states to take effective measures to prevent torture in any territory under their jurisdiction, and forbids states to transport people to any country where there is reason to believe they will be tortured.

The text of the Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1984 and, following ratification by the 20th state party, it came into force on 26 June 1987. 26 June is now recognized as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, in honour of the Convention.


Important articles of conventions:-

  • As per Article 2 of the convention against torture, the main objective is to prevent torture and to ensure that effective remedies are available to the victims.
  • Article 3: prohibition on deportation or extradition to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  • Article 4: criminal liability for torture. States need to ensure that all acts of torture are offence under their criminal law.
  • Article 10: education and information for prevention of torture
  • Article 12: procedures of investigation, injury and trial
  • Article 13: protection to victims and witnesses.
  • Article 14: compensation to and rehabilitation of victims of torture.
  • Article 15: criminal offence of utilizing information from torture.

Why India need to ratify early?

  • In recent times there is a fresh note of urgency attached to the need for early ratification, as the country has pending requests for the extradition of its nationals from other countries.
  • For, as pointed out by the Supreme Court, the absence of a stand-alone law prohibiting torture may prevent many countries from agreeing to India’s extradition requests.
  • The court also noted that India was subjected to close questioning during the Universal Periodic Review of its human rights obligations at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
  • It cannot be forgotten that an extradition request relating to Purulia arms drop case suspect Kim Davy failed owing to the apprehension that he may be ill-treated in India.
  • In an era of increasing international cooperation on criminal matters, India will be better served if it is seen as adhering to international treaties, especially its obligations under the Convention against Torture, which it signed in 1997.

Does India have the provision already?

  • Provisions relating to causing hurt or grievous hurt, especially with a view to extracting a confession, criminal intimidation and wrongful confinement already exist in the Indian Penal Code.
  • However, the idea of a stand-alone law ought to be ultimately seen as a more tangible way of expressing commitment to eliminating torture.
  • A concrete step towards enacting a law was made when the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010, was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2010, but it was referred to a Select Committee in the Rajya Sabha.
  • In its report submitted in the same year, the committee recommended exhaustive amendments to the Bill to make it consistent with the language and intent of the Convention. Thereafter the Bill lapsed.
  • The government says it has referred the matter to the Law Commission for an authoritative view.

What should be done?

  • Given the pervasive nature of custodial violence and its complex policing requirements, the present legislative and administrative framework is obviously inadequate to prevent torture in a country of India’s size.
  • It is imperative that a strong law that criminalises torture, imposes stringent punishment for it and contains liberal provisions for those suffering torture to complain against their perpetrators, prosecute them and be compensated and rehabilitated, is passed at the earliest.

Conclusion :-Given the pervasive nature of custodial violence and its complex policing requirements, the present legislative and administrative framework is obviously inadequate to prevent torture in a country of India’s size. It is imperative that a strong law that criminalises torture, imposes stringent punishment for it and contains liberal provisions for those suffering torture to complain against their perpetrators, prosecute them and be compensated and rehabilitated, is passed at the earliest.


Topic:   Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

3) Should prisons become a default facility for those with mental illness? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :-  Prisons, an integral part of our criminal justice system, receive little or negligible official attention. There is social apathy towards the institution and its inmates. In the social order of public servants, prison officials command less recognition than their peers, and this leaves a dent on their self-esteem and morale.

Under revised United Nations rules, also known as ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’, health care for prisoners is a state responsibility; prisoners with mental illness are entitled to the same standards of health care as the rest in the community. National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics in 2015 identified a total of 5,203 inmates (1.2% of total inmates) as those having mental illness.

The recently passed Mental Healthcare Bill, 2016, is a welcome sign because it has provisions that aims to protect rights of such individuals. However, inmates with mental health-care needs are more vulnerable than others. Adapting to the prison environment is challenging.

Prisons cannot become a default facility for those with mental illness

  • Prisons are not designed for therapeutic care and cannot become a default facility for those with mental illness. The stigma and discrimination they experience is excruciating
  • According to the NCRB 1.2% of the prisoners have mental illness and they are being ill treated and discriminated and deprived of their right of good health.

Way forward:-

  • First step is early and proactive detection. Police being the first responders, periodic training on mental health is imperative.
  • Equally significant is to train prison staff and reimagine prisons as ‘correctional centres’ in order to bring about transformative changes and reduce recidivism.
  • Mental health needs of prison staff are often overlooked and this deserves adequate attention too.
  • It is time to entrench health policy of inmates as an integrated component of the national health policy and ensure that they receive the support, care and treatment they are entitled to.
  • Prison health-care services ought not be stymied with budget constraints, and poor staffing and medical facilities.
  • Qualified health professionals — independent of the prison administration — are essential to provide services to inmates.

Conclusion :- Reviewing our criminal justice system would invariably have to include a transformation of our approach from its current punitive form to a rehabilitative and reformative one, which would facilitate social reintegration of inmates. In the words of Madiba, “a nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones”.


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

4) Examine India’s concerns on China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) and analyse how it can counter BRI. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Introduction :- The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative (B&R) and The Belt and Road (B&R), is a development strategy proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping that focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries, primarily the People’s Republic of China, the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt” (SREB) and the oceangoing “Maritime Silk Road” (MSR). The strategy underlines China’s push to take a larger role in global affairs, and the desire to coordinate manufacturing capacity with other countries in areas such as steel manufacturing.

The Belt and Road initiative is geographically structured along 6 corridors, and the maritime silk road.

  • New Eurasian Land Bridge, running from Western China to Western Russia
  • China–Mongolia–Russia Corridor, running from Northern China to Eastern Russia
  • China–Central Asia–West Asia Corridor, running from Western China to Turkey
  • China–Indochina Peninsula Corridor, running from Southern China to Singapore
  • Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Corridor, running from Southern China to India
  • China–Pakistan Corridor, running from South-Western China to Pakistan
  • Maritime Silk Road, running from the Chinese Coast through Singapore to the Mediterranean

silk route

Issues for India on OBOR:

The China-Pakistan Economic corridor runs through POK, thus politically it threatens to legitimise Pakistan’s occupation of POK . India has always taken a very rational and democratic stand on issue of POK. The OBOR will bring CPEC to life through trade and transport activities. In such case the Indian stand about its Geographical integrity comes under the question.

The OBOR project is essentially part of China’s expansionist designs starting with Asia. The immediate fallout will be increased ease of cooperative action between Pakistan and Chinese forces. Also, worryingly, the Chinese Army will get deeper access and deployment in Kashmir.

The economic purpose of the OBOR is the type of new economic imperialism which will be established in very close vicinity of India geographically. Opening markets, building new trade routes, projecting power from the Suez to Shanghai, setting up alliances will distort the India trade patterns and profitable potential that exist for India in near future.

Steps to counter OBOR

It is not possible for India to oppose and stop the expansion of OBOR due to sheer strength of China along with the role of multiple International players. India can secure its position through various measures such as:

  • Promoting regional connectivity :- The neighbor first approach will help to counter certain elements of OBOR initiative. The projects such as Mekong Ganga cooperation, BCIM initiative, India Myanmar Thailand highway are the some of the projects that needs immediate attention in order to strengthen the regional connectivity for India.
  • Internal connectivity:-India should ramp up its own internal connectivity especially in North East and on its border regions. The strong internal connectivity only can support the well-integrated networks of connectivity with neighbor countries.
  • Institutional building:-The trade related infrastructure need to be enhanced in order to sustain in the competition that will be created by OBOR connectivity. The institution building is also important to maintain the intern security in efficient manner for longer duration.
  • Maritime security:-India has long coastline that provides huge opportunity for maritime trade to various part of the world. The maritime trade can provide a counter strategy to OBOR in an efficient manner.

India has a common long-term interest with Beijing, in promoting regional connectivity. India must, focus on debating the specific terms of individual projects rather than having to say “Yes” or “No” to the BRI as a whole. The integrated and cooperative approach can go a long way for mutual benefits of both the countries. Both neighbors share a highly strategic relationship spun around economic cooperation.


Topic:  India and its neighborhood- relations

5) “Executed properly, Aadhaar could become a central pillar of India’s “neighbourhood first” policy, culminating in the creation of a unique digital South Asian identity.” In the light of the statement, discuss how Aadhaar could be a good foreign policy tool. (200 Words)

The Hindu

About Aadhar:

Aadhaar is a 12 digit unique-identity number issued to all Indian residents based on their biometric and demographic data. The data is collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Aadhaar is the world’s largest biometric ID system, with over 1.154 billion enrolled members as of 11 June 2017. As of this date, over 99% of Indians aged 18 and above had been enrolled in Aadhaar. Aadhaar is not a proof of citizenship, and does not grant any rights to domicile in India.

A number of features make the Aadhaar card a digital identity, and facilitate digital identity as the :

  • The document of the card itself is electronic in PDF format,
  • A QR Code provides digital XML representation of some core details of the card.
  • The number and some limited details can be validated online (with the notable exclusion of the name),
  • Updating details can be done electronically using a mobile phone number and/or email as the second factor of authentication,
  • The system collects a photo, all 10 finger scans, and eye scan.

Aadhar has received huge acclamation and approval from many parts of the world. The drive has been considered as a success by International community. The technology developed by India can be utilized by exporting it to the neighboring countries. Considering the stage of development of neighboring countries of India, Aadhar has the wide applicability and feasibility in these countries.

Managing Big Data:

Aadhaar-like platforms catalyze innovation by tailoring Big Data for governments and businesses alike. The political and economic leverage India will accrue as a result of enabling such entrepreneurship will surpass fixed investments by China.

Technological integrity:

There is another strategic reason for India to export the Aadhaar platform. Once a critical mass of Aadhaar-enabled applications has been created, interoperability standards for the digital ecosystem will be determined by the Unique ID programme. App developers, handheld manufacturers, and even Internet Service Providers will have to work around Aadhaar encryption standards and data protection guidelines.

Efficient knowledge exchange:

A digital identity-based scheme will not only authenticate the legitimate recipients of land, but also simplify future transactions for sale, leasing or commercial use. In Bangladesh, digital IDs could track loans made by multiple microfinance institutions to the same borrower and help check rural debt.

Economic opportunity:

Beyond collecting biometric data, however, South Asian governments have not been able to create digital ID-enabled applications. This is what Aadhaar has mastered, making it a very valuable foreign policy export. Its open application programming interface (API) layers — known as “India Stack” — set Aadhaar apart from other biometric ID programme. India Stack APIs, which include the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and Aadhaar e-KYC, allow applications to be built atop them (for example, the Bharat Interface for Money or BHIM app) and enable identity-driven transactions. Such platforms will be invaluable to an economy working to integrate its communities; exporting Aadhar on the wheels of foreign policy can help in the economic benefits to software companies that are involved in this type of security infrastructure.

India’s foreign policy lays a lot of importance on neighborhood through its ‘Neighborhood First’ policy. Countries in our neighborhood are also trying to create digital identification tools for its citizens using biometric etc, but their efforts have resulted in limited success. While India has massively scaled up its bio metric identification platform through Aadhar successfully. Aadhar open Application Program interface allows building apps and service on it e.g.: UPI, BHIM etc

Aadhaar is a constitutional technology that can build whole new information and communication technology ecosystems. New Delhi should appreciate its foreign policy value and integrate the project into its neighborhood agenda.


General Studies – 3

Topic:  Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate 

6) What do you understand by the Joint Doctrine? Discuss critically ongoing debate on this doctrine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :-

About India armed forces

The Indian Armed Forces are the military forces of the Republic of India. It consists of three professional uniformed services: the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force. Additionally, the Indian Armed Forces are supported by the Indian Coast Guard and paramilitary organisations and various inter-service commands and institutions such as the Strategic Forces Command, the Andaman and Nicobar Command and the Integrated Defense Staff. The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. The Indian Armed Forces are under the management of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the Government of India. With strength of over 1.4 million active personnel,[ it is the world’s 3rd largest military force and has the world’s largest volunteer army.

Joint doctrine:

The Joint Doctrine provides foundations for greater integration and interdependence, to achieve higher inter-operability and compatibility within the Armed Forces. The Joint Doctrine is a diversionary attempt by the services to resist any changes in the status quo. It refers to the military policy aimed at fostering cooperation & interoperability among the three Armed Forces: the army, navy and the air force.

Historically the joint doctrine got resistance from Indian political setup in order to avoid any domination from armed force. There was no much enthusiasm within armed forces due to autonomy that was getting provided by single service approach. The debate on jointness within the Indian military has been going on for almost sixty years. Lord Mountbatten, the architect of India’s Higher Defence Organisation, was keen to appoint a Chief of Defence and lobbied repeatedly for creation of a Joint Staff. It never came into reality due to lack of political will and no initiative taken from armed forces.

But there are some issues with the Joint Doctrine:

This joint doctrine should be read as a diversionary attempt by the services to resist any changes in the status quo. It is therefore not surprising that the doctrine is confusing even on the issue of defining jointness.

Apart from being a difficult to read, the doctrine fails on other levels. It creates an unnecessary controversy about India’s nuclear doctrine by describing it as “credible deterrence” instead of “credible minimum deterrence”. This distinction is crucial as India’s draft nuclear doctrine specifically mentions the latter. If there is a change in the nuclear doctrine, then messaging it through the joint doctrine is peculiar. A more likely explanation is that perhaps the distinction was lost upon those who wrote this document.

This doctrine mainly talks about Military civilian relations and hardly gives required importance to other areas linked with armed forces. Noticeably, the doctrine fails to mention anything about the joint Andaman and Nicobar Command.

Training infrastructure will require significant investment. Currently, the three services conduct training at their independent institutes at different locations. Joint training will thus require an overhaul of the recruitment & training system.

This recent development needs quality discourse by expertise in the field of armed forces. The documentation also needs to be made better in order to implement on ground to create integrated system of Defence for India.


Topic: Infrastructure; Energy

7) It is argued that India’s solar ambitions might become unviable in coming days. Examine why.  (200 Words)


Introduction :-

Status of solar power in India:

Solar power in India is a growing industry. As of 30 April 2017, the country’s solar grid had a cumulative capacity of 12.50 GW. In January 2015 the Indian government expanded its solar plans, targeting US$100 billion in investment and 100 GW of solar capacity (including 40 GW from rooftop solar) by 2022. Being one of the fastest growing tropical countries, solar energy becomes a good choice for India for catering its rising energy needs.

The future of renewable energy in India presumably rests on achieving the ambitious solar power target set by the country. In its INDC under the Paris Agreement, India committed to increase the clean energy resources to 40% by 2030. A total of 175 GW of renewable energy installed capacity was promised to be achieved by 2022, of which 100 GW is the target set for solar power alone.

There are concerns that India’s solar ambitions might become unviable in the future due to following reasons:

  • Land scarcity:

Land is scarce in India, and per-capita land availability is low. Dedication of land for the installation of solar arrays must compete with other needs. The amount of land required for utility-scale solar power plants is about 1 km2 (250 acres) for every 40–60 MW generated. One alternative is to use the water-surface area on canals, lakes, reservoirs, farm ponds and the sea for large solar-power plants.

  • Dependence on Chinese Solar Cells:

China is a global leader in Solar Cell manufacturing and follows predatory pricing. India imports majority of its requirement from China as it lacks manufacturing capacity of its own and it does not impose any anti-dumping duty on Chinese. Any change in Chinese pricing and supply may have adverse effects.

  • Non-viable state electricity boards:

They are the principal power purchasers and in most cases lack the financial strength to buy all the power produced. This makes many power projects unviable. India has surplus power but still has areas that lack regular power supply and load shedding because of SEBs poor financial situation. This may work against solar power projects in the future.

  • Grid connectivity issues:

The probable fluctuations in solar energy can only be harnessed by establishing non-grid connected independent  solar energy units. The people participation is comparatively much lower in implementation of off grid solar system.

  • Lack of proper training

The utilisation and maintainance of solar energy based equipments needs basic training to people in oreder to make its usage sustainable in nature. The role of informal organisation is very crucial in extention activities linked with solar energy. It require regular cleaning and maintenance of solar panels with water, which is already at stressed level.

All these factors must be addressed in order to use full potential that solar energy provides for enrgy security. The  Need of clean energy that is available at affordable to all sections of the society is part of susutainable development. India has given so much of efforts to harness and utilise the available soalr enrgy . The above mentioned aspects must be dealt in order to utilise solar energy to best of our capabilities.