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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 22 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:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues 

1) How did Europeans imagine India before Vasco da Gama’s arrival and how did this perception change after colonialism? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- 

India of Europe’s imagination –

Before Vasco da Gama :

India has had ancient trade networks with Europe that goes earlier than the Greek and Roman civilizations. The west had to rely on spices, cotton and silk from east and had access only through the ancient silk route. India had occupied an exotic, strange and alluring place in the European’s imagination where they studied India mostly via travelogues, diaries of historians, court poets etc like Sir Thomas Roe. India’s natural resource attracted European merchants to gather trading rights and make a fortune as well as various catholic orders hoping to increase their crowd. They constructed India’s past marked by great glory and strategically with the advancement of printing, actively showcased India via art, painting, and anthropological curiosities that were often reinterpretations of an earlier generation of European experiences. After growing tax issues with the middle east chieftains and dependability on east’s treasures, the need to reach India increased manifold. Following are some of the reasons: 

  • To bypass the avaricious chieftains along the Silk Route between India and the Levant and find a quicker and less risky route
  • The freedom to explore new lands as demarcated by the Treaty of Tordesillas
  • In the spirit of the Age of Discovery started by Henry the Navigator to facilitate the Crusades against the Ottomans and discover new lands to colonize.
    They did reach the shores of India.

The Change of Perception:

The East India Company latched on when India was at its weakest point in the history with Mughal rulers defeated. Well organized troops and use of superior tactical & strategic skills on the Warfield led to colonization very rapidly. Divide and rule, strong navy presence and further industrial revolution debilitated the condition. British colonialism had inexorably acquired a life force of its own, India had been traduced to become a site of plunder, commerce, and opportunities for enrichment. Britain’s expertise in handling worldwide rebellions, wiser visionaries, evolvement as superpower, world banker, technological and industrial superiority, knowledge advantage made it outperform India in almost all sectors.

Thus the change of perception from a past glorious country to contemptuous reality of the present is in reality a kaleidoscope of competing interpretations with histories of their own.


General Studies – 2

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

2) Write a note on election process that is being conducted in Iran and impact of its outcome on India and other countries. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Iran elects on national level a head of state and head of government (the president), a legislature (the Majlis), and an “Assembly of Experts” (which elects the Supreme Leader). Also City and Village Council elections are held every four years throughout the country. The president is elected for a four-year term by the people. The Parliament or Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis-e Shura-ye Eslami) has 290 members, elected for a four-year term in multi- and single-seat constituencies. Elections for the Assembly of Experts are held every eight years. All candidates have to be approved by the Guardian Council. 

Irans political structure:-

political system

The national election process is different from India in the following ways;

  • The election itself is to offices whose powers and responsibilities are constrained by the theocracy and other classes unlike in India where the constitution sets clearly defined roles for each arm of government.
  • The list of electors is vetted by the clerical council to weed out names considered undesirable, whereas in India there is freedom to contest in election, if eligible by law.
  • Little to no oversight mechanism unlike in India which has a powerful election commission to oversee elections.
  • Elections in India (at the centre) are limited to two houses, president and vice president. Whereas in Iran in addition to president and the legislature, a powerful theological body called the clerical committee is also elected every 8 years.

Comment on recent political happenings:-

  • Iran’s election is a complex process that is partially managed and partially reflects the popular will. At least 120 people have registered as candidates. The clerical Guardian Council will vet the candidates and publish the final list on April 27, removing most dissidents. Thereafter the election is expected to be free.
  • It is not clear if Mr. Ahmadinejad intends to stay as a candidate or plans to shape the election agenda in favour of the hardliners. As of now, the most powerful conservative candidate is Ebrahim Raisi, a close ally of Ayatollah Khamenei and a clear favourite of the clerical establishment.
  • For the conservatives, this is an opportunity to reclaim the presidency — one of the three main pillars of the Iranian state, but the only one with a popular mandate — and reclaim legitimacy for their hard-line agenda. For the moderates, the challenge is to push back the strongman narrative of the conservatives and shape the agenda around economic development and incremental freedoms, as opposed to strengthening theocracy and a stand-off with the West.
  • In 2013, Mr. Rouhani had shown the political aptitude to stitch together an alliance with moderates as well as conservatives who had fallen out with the clerical establishment, while cashing in on popular impatience with the Ahmadinejad government. It is time the political climate changed. It may take greater political guile for Mr. Rouhani to withstand the hardliners’ campaign at a time when economic troubles and regional challenges remain and the U.S. is again taking a confrontationist stance towards Tehran.

Impact of Iran’s election on India and other countries :-

  • Iran has coexisted in tense relations with the U.S., European Union and other developed economies since the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979. These tensions reached a peak in the decade of 2000 with the application of economic sanctions by major world economies and other UN members against Iran’s nuclear development program, which was promoted by hard-line conservative governments in the country.
  • In 2015 under the leadership of moderate reformist President Hassan Rouhani, Iran successfully negotiated the removal of sanctions in exchange for the revision of its nuclear program. It also gained the prospect of more peaceful relations with major world powers and neighbouring countries in Central Asia and the Middle East.
  • The 2017 presidential elections in Iran will determine whether hard-line conservative political factions are restored to power and tensions are renewed; or whether the current moderate regime can retain power to promote the continued easing of tensions and re-integration of Iran into the global economy.

The U.S.

  • The U.S. has had tense relations with Iran since the Islamic regime was installed in 1979. Shortly after Khomeini took power, Iranian revolutionaries held a group of 52 Americans at the U.S. embassy hostage for 444 days in alleged retribution for the U.S. allowing the Shah to enter its territory for cancer treatment.
  • Since the Iranian revolution, the U.S. has imposed economic sanctions on Iran and firms dealing with the country. In 2006, those sanctions were tightened as part of an effort to weaken Iran’s uranium enrichment and nuclear weapons research. Some of these sanctions were lifted in January 2016, however, following the agreement between Iran and UN Security Council.


  • Israel maintained stable relations with Iran from the time of Israel’s formation in 1948 until the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979. This was in part because of the countries’ mutual efforts of resistance against dominance by the former Soviet Union.
  • Since at least 1982, however, the Islamic regime of Iran has maintained an adversarial stance toward Israel, and some Iranian clerics and government leaders have publicly advocated for Israel’s elimination. Relations have also been strained by Iran’s actions to train and equip the anti-Israeli Hezbollah group in Lebanon, while encouraging Palestinian attacks on Israel from the regions of Gaza and the West Bank. Tensions have been further heightened by Iran’s commitment to a uranium enrichment program and signals that it seeks to develop nuclear weapons.


  • Russia and Iran have maintained a mutually mistrustful, albeit stable, relationship of cooperation over the past few decades. Although Iran was the target of Russian incursions of Czarist regimes in the early 20th century, the two countries have since shown a common interest in resistance to U.S. and European dominance of global trade and politics. Also, both have been targets of economic sanctions from the U.S. and Europe.
  • In the 2010s, their governments coordinated to combat Middle Eastern terror groups in addition to opposition forces in Syria during that country’s civil war. Russia has also provided assistance to Iran in the development of its Bushehr nuclear power plants.


  • Since the 1980s, leaders of the European Union have attempted to engage Iran in trade and diplomatic agreements. However, a crisis in relations erupted in the decade of 2000 after the discovery of Iran’s covert nuclear development program.
  • Between 2010 and 2013, Europe imposed heavy economic sanctions on Iran, including an embargo on oil sales. In 2013, following the election of moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Europe entered negotiations for an agreement over Iranian nuclear policy with the P5+1 diplomatic group. Following the signing of an accord in 2015, European leaders said the agreement represented a new page in relations between Iran and the EU.

The U.K.

  • Like the U.S., the U.K. has had difficult relations with Iran since the Iranian Islamic Revolution. Tensions worsened in the 2000s following revelations about Iran’s covert nuclear development program.
  • In 2011, the U.K. joined other nations in announcing economic sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program. As a response, the Iranian parliament voted to expel the British ambassador in Tehran. The U.K. followed suit by expelling all Iranian diplomats from its territory. Following the election of President Rouhani and the signing of the P5+1 nuclear accord, the two countries chose to re establish diplomatic relations.


  • China has enjoyed an ascension as an important player within the global economy in the 2000s, taking advantage of Iran’s political isolation globally to establish closer ties to the country. China has supported Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear technology, but it also voted in favour of some UN resolutions against Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. In February 2010, however, China declined to support Western efforts to levy further sanctions on Iran, and instead called for continuing negotiations to resolve international disagreements over Iran’s nuclear program.
  • The U.S. and other nations alleged that Chinese companies were violating UN sanctions in doing business with Iran. More than 100 Chinese state companies operate in Iran, becoming its top economic partner. Also, Chinese companies took the place of Western firms that were forced by international sanctions to stop doing business there.
  • The Iranian nuclear agreement of 2015 has further strengthened China’s competitive position in Iran.


  • Japan and Iran have maintained steady trade and diplomatic relations since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979. Japan has been a large buyer of Iranian oil exports and is one of its most significant trade partners.
  • However, like other countries, Japan expressed concern over revelations that Iran was carrying out a secret nuclear development program and participated in the international sanctions program. The easing of sanctions against Iran may allow Japan to resume cooperation in development of Iranian nuclear energy technology, in addition to purchases of oil from Iran that decreased during the period of sanctions.

South Korea And North Korea

  • Like Japan, South Korea was a large purchaser of oil from Iran before the international sanctions against its nuclear program were imposed. Since the sanctions were lifted, Iranian oil exports to South Korea have quadrupled to 400,000 barrels per day. The country has shown interest in intensifying its relations with Iran.
  • North Korea has been isolated internationally because of its own nuclear weapons development program, and it was one of few countries who maintained strong ties with Iran during the period of sanctions. The country was suspected of collaborating with Iran in its nuclear program.

Central Asia – India, Pakistan and Iraq

  • Iran’s nuclear program and the Iran nuclear deal arose within the context of long-running political tensions and power disputes in Central Asia and the Middle East. Iran is thought to have begun its nuclear program in the 1980s as part of a response to a war with neighbouring Iraq.
  • At least two other countries in Central Asia, Pakistan and India, have operational nuclear weapons programs. Pakistan differs with Iran on a religious order, with most Pakistanis following Sunni Islam and most Iranians following Shia Islam. Prior to Iran’s Islamic revolution, the nation enjoyed good relations with Pakistan, though they cooled afterward.
  • Both Pakistan and India participated in the UN sanctions program against Iran. And with the lifting of sanctions, the nations have shown interest in intensifying trade with Iran

Conclusion :- Politics in Iran, and in relation to the country, have been a source of global uncertainty and market tension since the revolution in 1979. Its adversarial relationship with Israel and tensions across the globe have served as particular focal points of market concerns. This is particularly true as it relates to the presidential election winner’s views as they relate to the country’s 2015 international nuclear accord, and whether it should be reconsidered.


General Studies – 3

Topic: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

3) Do you welcome the defence ministry’s decision to allow companies outside state control to build fighter jets, submarines and armoured vehicles? Substantiate. (200 Words)


Introduction :- The defence ministry’s decision to allow companies outside state control to build fighter jets, submarines and armoured vehicles is likely to help Indian defence manufacturing firms.

Larsen and Toubro Ltd, Ashok Leyland Ltd, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, Tata Group, Punj Lloyd, Adani Group and Bharat Forge Ltd, which have existing defence businesses, are likely to benefit the most from the decision

India is world’s largest importer of defence equipment’s in the world. It imports almost every major defence products which puts huge pressure on its hard earned foreign reserves, also putting its national security at risk.
After more than six decades of independence, the inability on the part of state owned defence manufacturers to produce critical and advanced war machines like fighter jets, submarines and armoured vehicles, forced the government to allow companies outside state control to build such critical defence equipment’s is an welcome move because of following reasons: It will

  • Help country to achieve excellency in developing and acquiring cutting edge technology related to defence products.
  • Make country self-reliant thus reducing its dependency and strengthening its national security.
  • Give fillip to government’s “Make in India programme”, which will also help in generating gainful employment in the sector.
  • Help Country to save billion of dollars used for procuring such defence equipment.


  • There will be question of oversight over private companies and whether the defence ministry has wherewithal to do so.
  • There would be a need to evolve a mechanism on how to deal with contractual changes, which are easier in case of defence PSUs.
  • The future of state owned giants including HAL, Mazgaon dock ltd. Will need to be redefined as overlapping of role with private players.


Topic:  Economic growth and development; Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth

4) “Coastal Regulation Zone norms are an example of a top-down, heavy-handed, legislative diktat from Delhi that ignores local dynamics.” Critically comment. (200 Words)


About Coastal Regulation Zone

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1986, notification was issued in 1991 for regulation of activities in the coastal area by Ministry of Environment and Forests. These notification known as Coastal Regulation Zone Notification defined the Coastal Regulation Zone or CRZ as coastal land up to 500m from the High Tide Line and a range of 100m along banks of creeks, estuaries, backwaters and rivers subject to tidal fluctuations is CRZ. According to Coastal Regulation Zone notifications, it is divided into 4 zones

  • CRZ I – It refers to the ecologically sensitive areas, essential in maintaining ecosystem of the coast. These lie between the HTL and LTL. Only exploration of natural gas and extraction of salt is permitted.
  • CRZ II – These areas form up to the shoreline of the coast.  Authorized structures are not allowed to be constructed in this zone.
  • CRZ III – This includes rural and urban localities. Only certain activities relating to agriculture and public utilities allowed here .
  • CRZ IV – This includes the aquatic area up to the territorial limit (12 nautical miles). Fishing and allied activities permitted in this zone. Solid waste can be let off in this zone. 

Why CRZ are criticized as an example of top-down, heavy-handed legislative diktat from Delhi?

  • Onerous rules and regulations contained in CRZ, impose restrict economic activity in the entire country.
  • The coastal regions suffer from the additional liability of having to comply with far-fetched coast protection norms originating under the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA).
  • Although the norms carve out exceptions within these prohibited activities for certain undertakings, such as building ports or reconstructing dwelling units for local communities, it interestingly carves out a singular exception for the development of a greenfield airport proposed at Navi Mumbai.
  • The regulation is replete with such curious exceptions to some specific cases, which raise questions pertaining to the criteria that was followed to determine permissible and non-permissible activities.
  • The peculiarity of the CRZ directives is further evidenced from the universal allowance granted to areas adjoining bays, estuaries, backwaters, lagoons and other tidal-influenced water bodies. For areas falling under this category, the regulated zone extends only 100m inland from the high-tide line. As a result, many developers, entrepreneurs and builders have been asking the coastal zone management authorities to declare the water around the coastal land area within their project plans as bays or tidal-influenced water bodies. Some have approached several high courts for such declaration to avail the benefits of a smaller regulated zone.
  • The multiplicity of definitions, exceptions, permissible and impermissible activities not only lead to high regulatory and legal expenditure in obtaining project clearances, there is all-round confusion in implementation as well.
  • The execution of the CRZ rules falls within the domain of several coastal zone management authorities created by the state governments for this purpose. Most authorities are themselves unaware of the implementation scheme and a significant number of cases concerning clearances and bay designation are sent to the Central government for clarification. This not only creates uncertainty, it also increases the time taken for permissions, burdening the firms with high compliance outlays.
  • Regulations like CRZ create significant entry barriers for firms unable to negotiate the myriad, complex guidelines or lobby for rent-seeking special concessions from the government. Restrictive market entry adversely affects economic development and consumer welfare, increases prices owing to high costs and constrains technological improvement.

Way forward-

  • Even though the CRZ rules stand amended as on 6 January 2011, the new rules have done little to ease the regulatory burden imposed on a wide array of economic and development activities that may be pursued in coastal regions.
  • The Central government must assert its political will and rescind these regulations, leaving the task of administering coastal zones to the already created state coastal zone management authorities.
  • State governments in coastal regions will be better suited to devise laws concerning coast development, given their substantial political interest in the matter and superior knowledge of state goals as well as needs.
  • The Central government must restrict its role to advising state governments on the prospective benefits and costs of any regulation that the states propose.


Topic:  Cybersecurity

5) The critical information infrastructure rules framed in 2013 under the Information Technology Act, 2000, identified banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) as one among five critical sectors. Discuss the nature of cyber security threats faced by financial services and infrastructure needed to thwart such attacks. (200 Words)



The most recent ransomware attacks, currently estimated to have locked up more than 100,000 computers across 100 countries, yet again highlights the very real peril of cyber-threats in the virtual world. The Mirai botnet’s distributed denial of service attacks last year, soon followed by BrickerBot’s permanent incapacitation of several devices forming part of the Internet of Things, exposed the vulnerabilities of a world where everything from room heaters to wearable fitness trackers is connected. Attacks of this kind have proved themselves capable of even imperilling national security, economic stability and public health.

Nature of cyber security threats faced by financial services-

  • The targeting of bank systems directly to modify, delete and/or steal data-
  1. The targeted intrusion into a bank’s systems is often perceived as the greatest threat due to the malicious actor’s ability to not only steal data but modify or delete it. By exploiting software, hardware or human vulnerabilities hackers can gain administrative control of networks which, if abused, could cause catastrophic consequences.
  2. If publicised, network security breaches can affect share prices, cause irreparable reputational damage and impact on the stability of the wider financial market.
  • The targeted disruption of access to bank networked systems and services-
  1. Denial of Service (DoS) attacks are increasing in scale and effectiveness. Over the last 12-months cyber actors have increasingly utilised open domain name servers to amplify their attacks.
  2. DoS attacks are used for extortion by cyber criminals and have increasingly been used as a distraction tactic to ‘tie-up’ company IT resources while furthering the actual aim of stealing data or intellectual property.
  3. Hostile nations also use DoS capability to prevent access to and the delivery of online services. Hacktivists groups use DoS to raise the profile of their campaign and generate publicity, which ultimately erodes customer confidence by disrupting online services
  • The large scale harvesting of personal and business data to commit fraud-
  1. Financially motivated crime groups are a growing threat to banks. The growth in the “as-a-service” nature of the marketplace is fuelling an increase in the number of traditional crime groups and individuals drawn into cyber offending.
  2. Malicious actors previously entirely removed from cyber offending are attracted by the low risk and potentially high rewards offered by offending online. The availability of professional criminal services for sale, such as coding, the provision of infrastructure, tools and mules, means groups without the requisite technical skills can buy or rent all the required components to commit a cyber-attack against banks and their customers.

The three main categories of malicious actors involved in cyber-attacks-

  • Hacktivists- Aim to cause maximum disruption and embarrassment to their victims. Hacktivists have captured media attention with campaigns co-ordinated through social media. Favoured criminal techniques include SQL injection and DoS.
  • Organised criminals- Are primarily motivated by financial gain. They increasingly purchase components they need to commit crime through online marketplaces. Criminals are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and often use blended attacks (technical and social engineering).
  • Nation State- These actors commit the most targeted attacks. They know what they want and are relentless in their efforts to obtain or attack it. Not all attacks are sophisticated and Verizon report that 95% of attacks utilized phishing.

Common tools and techniques-

  • Malware- The development and deployment of financial Trojan malware is a key threat. The credentials harvested from customers and banks compromised IT systems are subsequently used for fraud.
  • Social engineering- Due to the improvements in online authentication methods, such as two-factor or out-of-channel, malware campaigns are increasingly paired with social engineering tactics, commonly through voice or email (vishing and phishing).

Social engineering is still generally targeted at customers, although there have been examples of criminals targeting bank employees directly utilizing their online accesses or by tricking them into installing physical devices to networks.

  • Deployment techniques- The deployment of malware is optimized through the use of exploit kits. The exploit kits automate the process of identifying vulnerabilities in victims’ web browsers and plug-ins (notably java and adobe) to enable the installation of malware.
  • Botnets- Botnets provide the industrial scale of much of the online fraud threat. Botnets are versatile tools that are created through the successful deployment of malware, once established botnets can facilitate further infections, denial of service attacks and anonymisation of criminal activities.

Infrastructure needed to thwart such attacks-

Steps taken by government-

  • In order to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity, the Indian government in 2013 launched the National Cyber Security Policy with an aim to obtain strategic information on threats to critical information infrastructure (CII) and to enhance its protection and resilience. Since then, there’s been an increase in cybercrime reporting and related arrests.
  • In June 2016, the RBI issued the Cyber Security Framework for Banks, mandating them to take a proactive approach to strengthen their cybersecurity protocols. According to the framework, it is banks’ responsibility to take an ad-hoc approach to secure their systems, and have a cyber-crisis management plan in place.
  • According to the Cyber Security Framework for Banks, it is banks’ responsibility to take an ad-hoc approach to secure their systems, and have a cyber-crisis management plan in place  
  • India also has multiple security departments to deal with cyber security issues. The ICERT acts as the immediate reaction team that coordinates response activities including defense, data collection, analysis and dissemination of information on cyber incidents.
  • The Digital Swachhata Kendra(DSK) is focused on tackling the proliferated botnet and malware problem. The National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre is focused on strengthening the CII through risk management and ensuring stakeholders’ compliance with guidelines and policies.

What more needs to be done?

  • Protect critical data assets- Minimizing the risks of future cyber-attacks requires a fundamental change in the way we approach security—from “building bigger walls” in an attempt to block out all malware, to a more realistic approach that focuses on making your organization cyber-resilient.

Beyond the basics, a Data Loss Prevention solution is recommended to discover, monitor, protect and manage confidential data wherever it is stored or used, augmented by encryption solutions to protect data on mobile endpoints, or to trigger Safe Harbor exemptions in cases of suspicious data movement.

  • Prepare for targeted attacks- As financial institutions prepare to defend themselves against adversaries, the areas of greatest need include:
  1. Advance warning of impending attacks, reducing requirements for slow, reactive firefighting or expensive mitigation.
  2. Context of potential attacks to operationalize, automate and prioritize processes to identify attackers’ mission, funding and target.
  3. Establishing a security mindset among employees to close vulnerabilities from gaps in personnel knowledge or awareness.


  1. Threat awareness data feeds to automate and correlate network and endpoint security logs with feeds of: » Information about immediate threats and risks. » IP, reputation, URL and domain information. » Data about vulnerabilities and risks as they are discovered.
  2. Managed response from experienced teams providing cybersecurity as a service.
  3. Hardened infrastructure to lock down systems—for example ATMs—and limit what even users with full installation privileges may run on them.
  • Training and simulation-

Financial firms can take training and simulation one step further by building cyber “fusion centers” that integrate the fraud, cyber, IT, physical security and product development teams. By leveraging diverse talent to boost intelligence and speed response, financial firms can reduce costs while achieving more efficient and faster threat awareness and mitigation.

Conducting frequent small-scale table top exercises and an annual full scenario run-through gives teams the knowledge and experience needed to perform when called upon to respond to an attack.

  • Neutralize third-party risk-

Nearly all businesses can now be viewed as extended enterprises. As network perimeters have hardened, attackers are increasingly targeting the IT supply chain and partner network.

As self-certification processes are proving less reliable, financial firms are encouraged to shift to active cyber-risk monitoring and mitigation with third parties in order to neutralize third-party risk.

  • Enable mobile security- Mobile is at the core of banking—in five years, three of every four customer interactions will be online or mobile. Financial firms know they must move to mobile platforms or risk losing an entire generation of consumers to new, digital-native startups.

A full-fledged solution will manage mobile security from end-to-end, including:

  1. Application code to assure that applications developed in-house are free from vulnerabilities.
  2. Strong authentication and certificate management across devices, applications and users, including multi-level access control by identity and role and expansion of customer access controls.
  3. Data protection solutions on shared devices, for example tablet computers used by staff and customers at branch offices.
  4. Two-factor authentication options for high-value or high-sensitivity transactions, or available as a customer benefit.

Way forward-

Recently Union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s budget speech this year, which announced the formation of a sectoral Computer Emergency Response Team for Finance (Cert-Fin). A body built on the foundational principle of shared responsibility with a larger body of stakeholders, including banks, fintech start-ups, cyber-security companies, and academic institutions, is better placed to effectively fund advanced research and even incubate cyber-security solutions on a co-creation basis.


Topic: Environmental pollution

6) How does pharma industry pollute environment and what are the effects of this pollution? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Pharmaceutical waste (PCW) is perhaps generated through a wide mixture of deeds in a healthcare facility, including I. V preparation, general compounding, breakages, the partially used ampoules, needles, and IVs, out-dated, unused preparations, fallow unit doses, personal medications and outdated pharmaceuticals.

How does pharma industry pollute the environment?

Sources of hazards in pharmaceutical industries-

  • Manufacturing and formulation installations.
  • Handling and storage of hazardous chemicals including warehouses, god owns, tank forms in ports/fuel depots/docks.
  • Transportation (road, rail, air, water, pipelines)
  • Emission of pollutants–the air pollutants include carbon monoxide (CO), Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter of 10 microns or less (PM10), Total suspended particulate matter (SPM), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and Volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The most common VOCs include methanol, dichloromethane, toluene, ethylene glycol, N, N dimethyl formamide, and acetonitrile.
  • Effluents, especially those that are not easily biodegradable and toxic in nature. The effluent releases could go directly to streams, rivers, lakes, oceans, or other bodies of water. The releases due to runoff, including storm water runoff, could also be a potential hazard.

Most common environmental hazard by pharmaceutical industries The hazards from the pharmaceuticals could be categorized as:

  • Eco-toxic- damage is caused to the environment. Trace amount of pharmaceuticals in drinking water for longer duration may cause substantial undesirable effects to human health and aquatic life.
  • Carcinogenic- contribute to the causation of cancer.
  • Persistent-remain dangerous for a long time.
  • Bio-accumulative–accumulates as it makes its way up the food chain.
  • Disastrous due to a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area

Pharmaceuticals waste treatment-

  • Microwaving-

Application of an electromagnetic field over the PCW provokes the liquid in the waste to oscillate and heat up, destroying the infectious components by conduction. This technology is effective if the ultraviolet radiation reaches the waste material.

  • Incineration-

Incineration is a disposal method in which solid organic wastes are subjected to ignition so as to alter them into residue and gaseous products. This method is constructive for disposal of residue of both solid waste management and solid residue from waste water management.

This process reduces the volumes of solid waste to 20 to 30 percent of the original volume. Incineration and other high temperature waste treatment systems are sometimes described as “thermal treatment”

  • Deep burial-

The Biomedical Waste Rules require that human anatomical and animal wastes in cities with the population less than 500,000 and in rural areas be disposed of by deep burial. Accordingly, the deep burial site should be pre-pared by digging a pit or trench of about 2 meters deep in an area that is not prone to flooding or erosion, and where the soil is relatively impermeable, there are no inhabitants or shallow wells in the vicinity, and the risk to surface water contamination is remote.

  • Autoclaving-

Autoclaving uses saturated steam in direct contact with the PCW in a pressure vessel at time lengths and temperatures sufficient to kill the pathogens. The Biomedical Waste Rules specify the minimum temperature, pressure, and residence time for autoclaves for safe disinfection.

  • Chemical disinfection-

Chemical disinfection is most suitable for treating liquid wastes such as blood, urine, stools, or health care facility sewage. Addition of strong oxidants like chlorine compounds, ammonium salts, aldehydes, or phenol compounds kills or inactivates pathogens in the BMW.

  • Waste management program-

Health care facilities implement a waste management program that includes waste segregation to ensure that facilities meet all applicable regulations and potentially minimize costs. For example, by separating the non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste from hazardous pharmaceutical waste, facilities may minimize cost and still comply with applicable federal regulations.

Another important part of the waste management program is to communicate with staff so all pharmaceuticals are disposed properly.

  • Waste segregation-

The waste management plan should include a process to segregate pharmaceutical waste by how the facility plans to dispose of them. The process can identify the type of pharmaceutical (controlled or non-controlled, hazardous or nonhazardous, chemotherapy) either at the time of delivery or when the waste is collected.

For example, some facilities find it useful after delivery and during stocking, to apply color-coded stickers on supplies that match the disposal bin color placed at their facility to collect and segregate various types of waste (e. g., black color indicates hazardous waste).

  • Training staff in proper disposal methods-

After developing a waste management plan, the facility should train staff (pharmacy personnel, nurses on the patient floors, and others who will manage unused pharmaceuticals) to recognize the type of unused pharmaceutical and its proper disposal.

The staff should recognize when unused pharmaceuticals should be returned to the pharmacy and when they should be disposed of and how. Training should be revisited to update and refresh staff on proper unused pharmaceutical management and waste handling.