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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 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 philosophy

1) What do you understand by concepts like patronage, clientelism, and vote buying in political science? Do you think patronage is an important factor in Indian elections? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


It is the dispensation of favors or rewards such as public office, jobs, contracts, subsidies, prestige or other valued benefits by a patron (who controls their dispensation) to a client. The patron is usually an elected official or is otherwise empowered to make such grants. In return, the client supplies the patron with some valued service, such as voting for the patron’s party or providing money or labour for electoral campaigning (see Political Party Financing). The relationship between patron and client is typically unequal, selective and discretionary; the patron does not generally grant favors to all potential clients but picks and chooses among them.

Patronage can range from the relatively benign — political campaign members are frequently hired as staff members for elected officials — to outright corruption and fraud. Patronage is linked to lobbying, conflict of interest and corruption and is therefore a politically volatile subject. Though some efforts have been made to discourage patronage, the practice remains a fixture of Canadian political life.


Clientelism is a transaction oriented relation where in apolitical figure blesses those who support him/her with big contracts and favorable policies. This generally happens when dealing with individual basis with corporate/business character.

It is the exchange of goods and services for political support, often involving an implicit or explicit quid-pro-quo. Clientalism involves an asymmetric relationship between groups of political actors described as patrons, brokers, and clients. Richard Graham has defined clientelism as a set of actions based on the principle take there, give here, with the practice allowing both clients and patrons to gain advantage from the other’s support. Moreover, clientelism is typified by “exchange systems where voters trade political support for various outputs of the public decision-making process.”

Vote buying-
Vote Buying is similar to Patronage where literally votes are exchanged for material benefit of the voter. This can happen at individual level, or a satrap who guarantees votes of his/her community can clinch the deal.

Do you think Patronage is important factor in Indian elections?

Patronage particularly political has emerged as a debatable topic after the UP election where BJP emerged victorious with huge mandate. It has been argued that despite the politics of patronage played by Samajvadi party in last few years, the BJP could win the election with the plank of development.

Patronage in Indian politics is an old phenomenon. Since independence it has been observed in various states of India in one or other fashion differing in its quantum. Though southern states have prospered relatively compared to northern states, Tamil Nadu and other southern states witnessed high proportion of freebies being distributed to voters in return of votes. 

While Patronage played an important part during elections, it was not all encompassing phenomenon. The regulations by election commission through MCC and judiciary played important role in limiting the phenomenon to limited sections of the voters. Despite this Indian voters have been criticized for being swayed or wooed just with the help of small gifts, liquor, household appliances or monetary gains.

Though it would be wrong to deny out rightly existence of patronage in the present conditions, it could be said firmly that the proportion of patronage is decreasing with the increasing literacy, awareness and awakened citizenry.

The result of which political parties are fighting elections more on the developmental issues rather than freebies and symbolism. However it would take long time and sustainable efforts to eliminate the menace of patronage, clientelism and vote buying in Indian politics.  


General Studies – 2

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

2) The Paris Climate Agreement recognises that all countries have responsibilities. Despite this recognition, do you developed countries owe more to mitigate climate change effects? Discuss critically. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Global warming is the result of the massive emission of C02 and other greenhouse gasses from the burning of fossil fuels throughout the industrial revolution, beginning in the 19th century. In attempting to address and solve global warming, many have asked whether developed nations – which led the industrial revolution and are responsible for most of the greenhouse gases now in the atmosphere – should bear a greater responsibility for combating climate change.

Do developed countries owe more to mitigate climate change effects-


  • Climate change has been caused by the long-term historic emissions of Developed Countries and their high per-capita emissions.
  • It is hypocritical for developed countries to complain at developing countries for polluting more heavily at present, when this is exactly what developed countries did long ago to achieve their great wealth.
  • Per capita emission of developed countries way high than the developing countries or emerging economies like China and India. Thus they bear the greater responsibility towards the mitigating the impact of climate change.
  • Developing countries are not capable, with their limited resources and know-how to develop, on their own, the best “green” model for their societies. Developed countries have a responsibility to act first and set an example that developing countries can follow.
  • Developing countries like China and India are very concerned with their development and their capacity to compete with the developed world. With significantly greater poverty and instability, they have far less flexibility to tamper with their competitiveness with developed nations on the global economic stage
  • Developed states obviously have more wealth to employ in combating global warming. These more able countries have a responsibility to employ their available financial resources toward fighting global warming. Developing countries also have this obligation to commit as much as they can, but because they have far fewer available resources, their obligation and commitment will simply be smaller.
  • Developed states have more applicable technologies and know-how for the fight on global warming. They are uniquely responsible to commit these resources toward the fight on global warming. They are also responsible to transfer them to developing countries, which cannot effectively fight global warming without these technologies first. 
  • Developing nations need room to develop industry and grow, just like developed nations were allowed to do in their industrial development. Heavy emissions regulations constrain such growth and thereby human development and are unfair as such.
  • The rich countries are in better conditions to fight the adverse impact of global warming and climate change while poor countries are not. In fact poor countries are facing the consequences for the irresponsible behavior of the others. Thus rich countries are morally obliged to share more burden than developing countries.


  • Developed nations did not always know that they were causing global warming by burning fossil fuels and emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This knowledge only began to form in the 1980s and 1990s, over a century after the industrial revolution had begun. It is inappropriate, therefore, to hold developed nations morally accountable for starting the industrial revolution and causing global warming; they knew not what they were doing.
  • Once developed economies were dependent on fossil fuels, it was not possible for them to immediately act on their knowledge and stop using fossil fuels – particularly when not everyone accepted the science behind global warming. It is, therefore, wrongheaded to “blame” the developed world for global warming and saddle them with the “punishment” of a greater obligation to combating it.
  • The idea that some countries are more to blame than others for causing global climate change may be true, but it distracts from the more important and just cause, which is for the world to come together to solve the problem.
  • By holding developed countries to a greater obligation to fight global warming and by exempting China and India from certain emissions requirements, developed countries will be put at an economic and job-market disadvantage. It will be even more likely that jobs are outsourced to China and India, leaving the middle class of developed countries suffering.


Although Paris climate deal recognizes that all countries have responsibilities, the principle is not ‘equal responsibility’ but ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ as recognized by Kyoto protocol. Considering all the arguments, developed states on account of their historical past and present wealth should take moral and legal responsibility towards making more efforts in mitigating the impacts of climate change.


Topic: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries 

3) Myanmar intends to become a federal state. Which model of federalism is well suited to Myanmar? Could India’s federalism be a model for Myanmar to emulate? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Myanmar is to hold the second round of the 21st Panglong Union Peace Conference in its administrative capital, Nay Pyi Taw, from May 24 to 28. A major issue at the meet will be the question of federalism.

During the government-led Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on May 12, the committee agreed in principle to grant the seven states and seven regions permission to draft their own constitution on the condition that they would not break away from the country.

The UPDJC, headed by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, includes representatives from the ethnic armed groups, political parties and the government. The Panglong conference is likely to discuss the question of self-determination and the drafting of the Constitution by states and regions.

Models of federalism for Myanmar-

Opinions on different federal systems such as symmetric federalism, asymmetric federalism, dual federalism, cooperative federalism and creative federalism have been discussed by policy makers and scholars.

  • Symmetric federalism could be a major problem since the Bama or Burman majority dominates the seven regions plus the union territory of Nay Pyi Taw. Even if the majority Burmans propose such arrangement, the minorities may oppose it on the ground of being politically disadvantageous.
  • Asymmetric federalism may be opposed by some minorities who feel that they would be outnumbered. Many within the ethnic minorities feel that the majority Bama/Burman/Myanma group should be given only one state in line with other ethnic groups to establish genuine federalism.
  • Dual federalism may be acceptable to the federal government, but the states may find it too invasive or intrusive.
  • Cooperative federalism, though an ideal solution for some, is an unlikely arrangement as it could lead to a power stalemate between the state and federal governments, making it difficult or even impossible to reach a compromise over important pieces of legislation.
  • Creative federalism could be a problem to implement if the two governments are unable to reach a consensus.
  • Due to the scattered population of several ethnic groups, the other concept widely discussed is a non-territorial federalism. In other words, self-determination should not be confined to a well-defined territory.

The non-territorial federal structure could be a possible solution, well suited to the demands of some ethnic groups. On the other hand, it could also be a source of conflict between different ethnic groups and even constrain relations between the state and regional governments which have a mixed population.

The ethnic minorities envision a federalism which is based on an equality of rights for all ethnic groups and a guarantee of a certain degree of autonomy over their people, territories and resources.

Could Myanmar follow Indian model of federalism?

Myanmar too is ethnically, religiously and linguistically diverse country and thus needs to maintain its diversity through constitutional provisions.

  • Indian model of federalism can surely be one of the model that Myanmar can follow in its spirit. The existence of the states in India is not dependent on the Central government but they have independent constitutional existence. Further India has went on to form three tier structure of government with the help of 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment.
  • This could suit the needs of Myanmar which could ensure provinces and even local governments do not remain at the mercy of Central government and have independent existence.
  • Further Myanmar can ensure representation of all states at Central level through ‘Council of States’ which could ensure that Central government do not encroach upon the subjects under the purview of the states. Myanmar could on to give equal representation to states in ‘Council of State’ unlike India to preserve the integrity of all regions.
  • It is a positive development that the government has allowed not only the use and discussion of federalism but also the drafting of a Constitution by individual states and regions. Thus federal units of Myanmar could have more power vis-à-vis their Indian counterparts.
  • In Indian condition, governor has been given wide powers to have Union’s control over States which also violates the true spirit of federalism. Myanmar could reduce such discretion of Union government through appropriate constitutional provisions.

Although Indian model of federalism is more tilted in favor of Central government, Myanmar could follow it in its spirit to maintain the diversity of all regions and at the same time preserve the integrity of the Nation.


Topic: Poverty and hunger

4) Discuss critically the importance of genetic factors in explaining the causes of stunting in Indian children despite advances made in reduction of poverty. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Stunted growth, also known as stunting and nutritional stunting, is a reduced growth rate in human development. It is a primary manifestation of malnutrition (or more precisely undernutrition) and recurrent infections, such as diarrhoea and helminthiasis, in early childhood and even before birth, due to malnutrition during foetal development brought on by a malnourished mother. The definition of stunting according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) is for the “height for age” value to be less than two standard deviations of the WHO Child Growth Standards median.

Factors that contribute to stunted growth and development include poor maternal health and nutrition, inadequate infant and young child feeding practices, and infection. Specifically, these include: maternal nutritional and health status before, during and after pregnancy influences a child’s early growth and development, beginning in the womb. For example, intrauterine growth restriction due to maternal undernutrition (estimated by rates of low birth weight) accounts for 20% of childhood stunting. Other maternal contributors to stunting include short stature, short birth spacing, and adolescent pregnancy, which interferes with nutrient availability to the foetus (owing to the competing demands of ongoing maternal growth).

Importance of genetic factors:-

A useful paper by Caterina Alacevich and Alessandro Tarozzi, published on April 23 on the Centre for Economic Policy Research’s policy portal comes up with crucial research findings that provide evidence against “the importance of genetic factors in explaining the disappointing growth performance of Indian children”.

The authors use data from India’s National Family and Health Surveys and the Health Survey of England to look at the heights of children and adults of Indian ethnicity living in England and compare them with those of children and adults living in India. They find that ethnic-Indian adults were on average 6-7 cm taller than those living in India, which could indicate a positive selection of migrants coming over to England. But ethnic Indian adults in England are also less tall than British “whites”. Interestingly, when they look at young ethnic-Indian children in England who are between two and four years old, they notice that not only are they taller than children in India, they are as tall as British “white” children. This leads them to conclude that the healthier socio-economic environments in England have enabled Indian children to rapidly catch-up to the “standards observed” for other children, giving fillip to the argument that “nurture” is a more important determinant of changes in the height of children than genetic factors.

The authors point to some caveats in their study — they are unable to explain gaps in heights after puberty between ethnic Indians and whites in England and suggest that there is some degree of genetic factors that could come to play in adolescence. They also do not look into reasons related to nutrition, natal care, maternal care etc. in depth.


General Studies – 3

Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

5) Critically comment on the market reforms being brought by the incumbent government at the centre. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction :- Market reforms is related to the economic liberalization in the country easing government control over different sectors. Modi Government had always focused on minimum government and maximum governance.
Following measures have been taken:

  • Make in India scheme which targeted the growth of domestic sector and also generation of employment
  • Farm loans and insurance scheme to help the farmers to boost their income and protect them from the vagaries of nature
  • Abolition of FIPB to attract foreign investments in India
  • Government’s ambition of linking several agricultural market to National agricultural e market to ensure farmers get the best price for their produce
  • Defence sector receiving major boost by adoption of new policy by DAC which provides greater role to private sectors in manufacturing weapons.
  • National skill development council and change in National steel policy in the market by the Government
  • Introduction of GST which is major reform in the sector of taxation
    The above are few steps taken by the government to reform the market so that India achieves high growth rate and also a development which creates jobs for the people.

However, the policies adopted by central government have been more populist than pro-market. In the latest Budget, the government provided the highest-ever allocation of Rs. 48,000 crore to the UPA’s flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). In February, the it promised farm loan waivers in Uttar Pradesh, and the State government soon delivered on it. States like Bihar and Andhra Pradesh have also been recipients of the Centre’s special welfare packages.

Apart from such populism on the fiscal side, centres track record in pushing through crucial labour and land reforms has been no better. Industrial labour is still governed by outdated laws that prevent hiring, and landowners still cannot freely sell their land for industrial purposes (they can still be forced to sell to special interests though). A free agricultural market is still a distant dream as farmers cannot freely sell their produce, while powerful traders protected from competition can still dictate prices. Foreign investors continue to be terrorised by retroactive tax laws, while ‘Make in India’ continues to serve as an excuse for protectionism. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) that did away with tax competition between States is being celebrated, even as it has failed to lower tax rates.

The demonetisation of high-value currency notes last year showed that the government is free to play around with the rupee, while the unsavoury exit of former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan showed that India is far from having an independent central bank. Not surprisingly, India is ranked as a “mostly unfree” economy in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, which measures the economic freedom citizens enjoy from the clutches of government, and its ranking has dropped steadily since 2014, from 120th to 143rd.