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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 05 MAY 2018


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: salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1) A close analysis of art and culture of medieval India points to the cultural syncretism, which has been a distinguishing feature of Indian society and polity. Examine.(250 words)

Indian Express

Why this question

The recognition of the importance of upholding the core value of Indian state ie unity in diversity is a core concern today. An analysis of the art and culture of medieval India will go well to show that the society and polity of India has always been inclusive and should continue to be so.

Key demand of the question

Following points are to be highlighted in your answer

  1. What do you mean by cultural syncretism in society and polity
  2. How does literature, religion, art and architecture , music of the time imbibe the ideal of syncretism to present an organic whole

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any . You are required to discuss the main points discussed above.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the need of revising the lesson of unity in diversity in the present situation where caste, religion and gender based violence are being highlighted more.


  • Mention the one core value of India which had remained constant through time – unity in diversity as a result of cultural syncretism
  • Highlight the presence of this value in medieval India – give examples from social situation to the effort made by Mughal rulers to introduce secular laws
  • Examine the art and culture of the era to support this argument
    • Literature – system of administration in Ain I Akbar
    • Literature of bhakti and Sufi saints
    • Religion – bhakti and Sufi movements
    • Architecture – Indo Islamic style
    • Painting – intermingling of provincial and royal school
    • Etc

Conclusion – Highlight the need of continuing with this tradition of cultural syncretism for it leads to enrichment of our culture like it happened in medieval times.



  • The current narrative of intolerance and mutual distrust can only be wiped out if the interactive cultural and literary history of medieval India is put together

Cultural syncretism is a distinguishing feature of Indian society and polity of Medieval period:-


  • Medieval period India witnessed a creative synthesis of Hindu and Islamic civilizations and thus grew a composite tradition, a pluralistic synthesis of the Indo-Islamic tradition including inter-faith convergence.
    • There are two interrelated dimensions of the Indo-Islamic tradition. On the one hand, it manifested itself in syncretistic traditions of music, art, literature and architecture, and on the other, it found expression in folklore, dress patterns, food habits, names and surnames.
  • Indian culture is synthetic in character:-
    • It comprehends ideas of different orders.
    • It embraces in its orbit beliefs, customs, rites, institutions, arts, religions and philosophies belonging to society in different stages of development.
  • It eternally seeks to find a unity for the heterogeneous elements which make up its totality.
  • State craft:-
    • This was reflected, among other things, in the composition of the Mughul governing class where by 1707, the Rajputs and other Hindus came to have a share in the resources as well as positions of authority within the state roughly to the extent of a third of those available.
  • Political Rule:-
    • Same like mughals  was the policy in the Deccan kingdoms where in the philosophy of governance the necessity of a pragmatic approach towards the subjects of the state prevailed. Very little differentiation was made between the Hindus and the Muslims so far as the affairs of the state were concerned.
  • While religious communities, and caste sections within each, lived in segments, compulsions of daily life led to normal cooperation. A study of the pre-Moghul period has observed that it was somewhat difficult to distinguish the lower classes of Muslims from the masses of Hindus and that even in the case of conversions the average Muslim did not change his environment which was deeply influenced by caste distinctions and a general social exclusiveness.
  • Paintings:-
    • Same was the case with painting in which the refined Persian style was combined with the lively vision of Indian artists.
    • The Hindu art of mural painting underwent a remarkable change with the arrival of the Mughals.
    • The themes of the paintings were varied and often focused on religion and mythology.
    • Though Rajput school was indigenous by nature, after coming in contact with Muslim painting it was completely transformed and gave birth to Kangra School of painting in the 18th century.
  • Literature:-
    • The cultural intermingling in Persian and Sanskrit literatures was a characteristic of the age and has been dwelt upon by scholars.
    • Abul Faizi and Allama Abul Fazal had rendered the Bhagwad Gita in Persian.
    • From Akbar’s reign to the middle of the 19th Century, Ramayan was rendered into Persian more than 50 times.
    • “Yoga-Vasisth” was translated into Persian more than 15 times, and 80 manuscript copies are referred to by the compiler.
    • Almost all the fundamental works of India on history, archaeology, religion, mysticism culture fiction art, science etc. were rendered into or adopted in Persian.
  • Whatever happened in the medieval India was not just peaceful co-existence, it was heartfelt and organised cooperation of Hindu and Muslims
  • Bhakti and Sufi movements:-
    • Their teachings had an impact on the development of local languages.
    • The two trends imbibed each other’s thoughts, traditions and customs.
    • Both minimized the differences and distinctions between the Hindus and the Muslims and promoted mutual understanding and had a perceptible impact in the cultural domain.

General Studies – 2

Topic – Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes; Environmental pollution and degradation

2)The benefits accrued on account of Saubhagya scheme should be utilised to address the issue of clean cooking fuel once and for all. Examine.(250 words)

Financial express


Why this question

India is catching up on providing access to basic services like clean water, electricity to all sections of population which would help alleviate poverty as defined under MPI. Access to clean cooking fuel is a major service whose access so far has been limited in India. Hence this issue needs examination.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the following issues

  • What are the benefits accrued on account of Saubhagya scheme
  • What are issues related to access to clean cooking fuel
  • What steps are being taken to provide access to clean cooking fuel
  • How can benefits accrued  through Saubhagya scheme help

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any . You are required to discuss the main points discussed above.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention the criticality of providing access to clean cooking fuel and also explain Saubhagya scheme in brief.



  • Benefits of Saubhagya scheme
    • Access to electricity
    • Latest figures
  • Issues faced due to lack of access to cooking fuel
    • Health
    • Pollution
    • Gender issue
    • Etc
  • Steps taken by government so far
    • Ujjwala scheme
    • Issues with this step
  • How can Saubhagya scheme help – take ideas from the article

Conclusion – Mention the need of solving this issue by highlighting its impacts . End with a way forward.


  • India has been gradually succeeding in the provision of basic needs to its citizens from safe drinking water, to food security, to schooling. Access to electricity for all is now nearing completion, with about 1,25,000 villages and over 50 crore people having gotten access over the last decade. All remaining households in the country are expected to get electricity by 2020.

Saubhagya scheme:-

  • Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana –“Saubhagya” aim is to ensure electrification of all willing households in the country in rural as well as urban areas here.
  • Under the scheme, government will provide free electricity to all households identified under Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) data 2011.
  • The one of the expected outcomes of the Scheme is as follows:
  • Environmental upgradation by substitution of Kerosene for lighting purposes

Benefits accrued on account of Saubhagya scheme:-

  • Saubhagya does not envisage any subsidy for electricity consumption. That is, consumers will have to pay the bill as per their utilisation. 
  • The government said that the scheme will ensure a substitute to kerosene. By substituting kerosene use in rural areas it would save import expenditure.

Stepa taken to provide access of clean cooking fuel and issue s:-

  • According to some estimates, there are about 5 lakh avoidable deaths every year as a result in India. In addition, there is the impact on overall air pollution, which affects the health of all.
  • Most of the indoor pollution impact is on women so clean cooking fuel is essential for them .
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:-
    • The below poverty line (BPL) rural households are being given a cooking gas connection and a cylinder for free. 
    • Issues with Ujjwala yojana:-
      • Unlike urban areas where there usually is home delivery of the gas cylinder to the consumer, in rural areas the consumer is required to go to the dealer to collect the gas cylinder, and this needs at least half a day, which is a real additional cost.
      • The related issue is the one of affordability. The refill rate, according to some sources, is only two to four cylinders in a year, against the estimated needs of nine refills in a year.
      • Further, the creation of a distribution network to cover all the rural households is a gigantic task, with petroleum companies having drawn up investment plans of Rs 30,000 crore to develop the needed infrastructure.


Benefits accrued on account of Saubhagya scheme should be utilised to address the issue of clean cooking fuel in the following ways :-

  • It is an alternative, immediate and cheaper option to that of extending LPG cooking gas supply to cover all the rural households.
  • The electricity network has already been expanded to cover all the villages, and all the remaining households are being electrified with additional central financial assistance under the Saubhagya scheme.
    • These electrified rural households can be encouraged to use electricity for cooking which is already the case in many developed countries.
  • Electric induction stove is cheaper than a gas stove. Bulk procurement by EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Limited) should drive down prices significantly, going by the past experience.
  • The required investment in improving the electricity distribution infrastructure would be lower and can be done faster than for LPG.
  • The actual cost of using electricity for cooking is similar to that of gas.
  • Whereas the cost of electricity is relatively stable, the cost of LPG goes up with the rise in oil prices as well as with the depreciation of the rupee.
  • With increased capacity utilisation from the existing plants and generation from the new plants in the pipeline, the additional demand for cooking could be met without much difficulty.
  • The state governments could choose between a mix of cross-subsidy and direct subsidy. This is both manageable as well as affordable.


  • From a gender perspective, this deserves the highest priority due to the transformation in the health and the quality of life of rural women that would be brought about as a result of this step.

Topic – India and its neighborhood- relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

3) India should not join China’s OBOR initiative, until the issues regarding CPEC are resolved. Critically analyse.(250 words)

The Hindu


Why this question

Despite recent hints (like Wuhan Summit) from both India and China for greater cooperation in their mutual interest, OBOR remains the key issue of contention between the two countries. The main reason behind India’s opposition of the project is CPEC. The question is related to GS-2 syllabus under the following heading-

India and its neighborhood- relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.


Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to bring forward reasons, why India should not join OBOR until the issue of CPEC is resolved. It also demands us to talk about the disadvantages of not joining CPEC and OBOR.


Directive word

Critically analyse- we have to dig deep into the question and identify the key issues involved. We have to justify why India should not join OBOR unless concerns around CPEC are allayed. And it wants us to discuss the repercussions of not joining OBOR, CPEC.


Structure of the answer

Introduction- Briefly describe CPEC project and relate it to the broader OBOR initiative.


  1. Discuss the key issues involved in CPEC-

E.g sovereignty and territorial integrity issues, investment issues etc.

  1. Discuss the cons of not joining CPEC and OBOR

            E.g development of J and K could be better by joining CPEC,  development in PoK will legitimise Pakistan’s stand, furtherance of China-India rivalry and Pak-China friendship, pressure from other countries joining OBOR etc.

Conclusion– give a clear, justified and balanced opinion on India’s joining of CPEC and mention India’s initiatives like Sagarmala project etc.


  • The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China’s ambitious project for increasing connectivity and economic cooperation within Eurasia. OBOR strategy is often reported as China’s ambitious push to take a bigger role in global affairs and expand its friend circle

India’s present stand on OBOR:

  • Its principal objection was that CPEC passed through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)
  • The ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ violates India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.


Why India should not join OBOR:-

  • OBOR seems to be primarily driven by broad geostrategic and geopolitical aim.
    • CPEC will provide China strategic access to the Arabian Seaand enhance its presence in the region.
    • It would enable China to wield much more powerful influence in the Indian Ocean.
    • Kashmir:-
      • Once completed, CPEC project would mean that the Chinese presence in entire Pakistan including Pakistan Occupied Kashmir becomes all pervasive and powerful.
      • The route of CPEC passes through POK and makes China an indirect stakeholder in Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan.
    • OBOR is a unilateral ideational of China and there is a lack of transparency in its working. The process is not participatory and collaborative in nature.
    • String of pearls:-
      • Under Maritime Silk Route (MSR) China is developing ports in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan and is trying to enlarge its influence using its economic might in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
      • Thus MSR is nothing but an economic disguise to the “Strings of Pearls” Theory. China is investing a huge amount of money in India’s immediate neighbourhood and these countries tend to use the China card against India.
    • Through OBOR, China is countering the strategies of India in North East region and is promoting its greater presence in North East India, part of which China claims as its own territory. This may have a security impact on India.
    • Tense bilateral relations with China, deep mistrusts and India’s growing concerns over Chinese hegemonic intentions in South Asia and Indo-Pacific region make it practically unlikely that India will ever consider joining this project.
    • Military deployment:
      • The fact that the Chinese have begun to deploy 30,000 security personnel to protect the projects along the CPEC route makes it an active player in the politics of the Indian sub-continent. Clearly, this is a case of double standards.


Why India should join :-

  • India will not be able to stop China in carrying on this initiative nor can it stop its neighbours from joining this initiative. So whether India joins this initiative or not, the project will take place and not join may harm India’s interests.
  • India may become isolated in this region since all of its neighbours (except Bhutan) have joined One Belt One Road. Leaving any regional platform may hamper India’s credentials and may hasten the end of its regional hegemony.
  • Some analysts say that this initiative will be a win-win situation for India since it will increase the connectivity of the region. There may emerge mutually beneficial swap where India protecting Chinese interests in the Indian Ocean and China securing India’s essential undertakings in their part of the waters.
  • Regional transport, energy security, and blue economy are key to OBOR initiative which will be helpful for India.
  • Some analysts feel that countries like Russia and others in SCO would want Indian participation in OBOR as a counterweight to Chinese influence.
  • Regardless of economic interests, India cannot ignore the symbolic significance as it was along the Silk Route that Indian trade and philosophy (Buddhism) travelled to the rest of Asia. Thus, China may gain cultural hegemony in the region which may prove counter-productive to India.
  • China has the financial capital, technology to accelerate the development of other countries and India also need resources and funds for its own development.
  • The initiative could be seen as viable, particularly given that many of the projects envisaged under the BCIM (Bangladesh China India Myanmar) corridor and the Asian Highway project would dovetail into OBOR
  • Trade:
    • The OBOR project will open more links of trade between India and other countries. Further, India does not enjoy much leverage to guide ocean trade markets despite having proximity to the sea and a strong navy.
    • Through OBOR project India will get access to more business in an environment which promote friendly reforms.

Way forward:-

  • India need to come up with a concrete plan on PoK.
  • Japan and India can build rail and road connectivity across the Eurasian landmass running parallel to OBOR.
  • Project mausam, chabahar ports projects need to be implemented effectively.
  • India now needs to match ambition with commensurate augmentation of its capacities that allows it to be a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region
  • Chinese railways, highways, ports and other capacities can serve as catalysts and platforms for sustained Indian double-digit growt
  • Therefore, for the time being, it may be worthwhile to carefully evaluate those components of the BRI which may, in fact, improve India’s own connectivity to major markets and resource supplies and become participants in them just as we have chosen to do with the AIIB and the NDB.

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

4) Discuss how the recently proposed Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority aims to transform the higher education in India.(250 words)

Economic times

Why this question

The incumbent government recently suggested its plan to reform higher education in India by forming a common higher education authority, Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority. The draft guidelines define the aims and functioning of the authority. The proposed changes in higher education will bring sweeping reforms. The issue is related to GS-2 syllabus under the following heading-

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to discuss the powers and functioning of the newly proposed Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority and discuss in detail how it will transform the higher education sector in India.

Directive word

Discuss- we have to write in detail about all the key aspects of the Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority which enable it to act as an engine of transformation in India’s higher education sector.


Structure of the answer

Introduction- mention the committees which suggested forming an authority on the lines of Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority. E.g Yashpal committee, National Knowledge Commission.

Body– discuss in points the structure, functioning and powers of the Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority. Compare them with the present authorities viz. UGC, AICTE etc wherever required. The attached article would help in collecting those points, but organize them into following heads- structure, functioning and powers.

Conclusion- briefly discuss the need of reforms in higher education in India and to what extent the Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority will solve the problem.


  • Policy analysts and experts have been advocating replacement of AICTE and UGC with a more efficient regime for a long time. 
  • The National Knowledge Commission (NKC) found that there was a multiplicity of regulators prescribing standards and minimum norms for higher education institutions. Accordingly, NKC recommended creation of an Independent Regulatory Authority for Higher Education (IRAHE), which would function at an arm’s length from all concerned stakeholders

Higher Education Evaluation and Regulation Authority:-

  • HEERA Bill says that the new authority will focus on setting quality standards for institutions, specify learning outcomes, lay down standards of teaching assessment and research and evaluate the yearly academic performance of the institutes on clearly laid criteria.
  • New regulator will mentor institutes, besides defining academic standards.
  • While it won’t have grant giving powers, HEERA will be armed with zero tolerance mechanisms for violations, including provisions to terminate the affiliation of an institute.
  • Once the new regulator is created, existing regulatory authorities such as the University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE) and the National Council for Technical Education(NCTE) will be scrapped.
  • The jurisdiction of AICTE and UGC often tends to overlap:-
    • Given that UGC governs universities and prescribes minimum standards for higher education, and AICTE performs similar functions for the stream of ‘technical education’, there are many cases where institutions fall under the domain of both UGC and AICTE
    • For example, a college affiliated to a university which is recognised by the UGC may also be called upon by AICTE to obtain its approval. This is where the problem of multiplicity arises leading to lack of clarity over which regulations to conform to.
    • It appears that often the idea of conforming to two sets of norms set out by both regulatory bodies can be a huge barrier for setting up of nascent institutions.
    • The multiple sets of rules and sub-regulations prescribed by UGC and AICTE, unfortunately, seem to have acted as a deterrent to the development of premier educational institutions
    • UGC has also on many occasions impeded institutional autonomy at top notch universities and institutions for instance, its handling of the Delhi University’s four-year undergraduate programmes (FYUP). 
  • Functions:-
    • HEERA may provide expert advice to any institution or its departments for promoting excellence.
    • If any university is found to grant affiliation to a course in contravention of regulations of the HEERA, it may be faced with a penalty, fine, withdrawal of degree granting powers and in dire cases, even a direction to cease all operations.
    • A three year imprisonment has been proposed for those that fail to comply with the penalty imposed.
    • HEERA, like UGC, will specify and notify degrees and their nomenclature, have the right to bring a variety of regulations for maintenance of standards at varsities. It will come under CAG’s scanner and will also take directions from the Centre on policy matters.

How will it transform higher education:-

  • The multiple sets of rules and sub-regulations prescribed by UGC and AICTE, unfortunately, seem to have acted as a deterrent to the development of premier educational institutions would be done away with by setting up of a single body.
  • Unlike the UGC Act, the new single education regulator will be backed by more teeth.
    • It will be able to bar an institute from admitting new students in a particular course if it is established that it has violated the quality benchmarks.
    • It will also be able to terminate affiliation of such an institute and provide for measures to safeguard interest of the enrolled students.
  • The introduction of a unified regulator would minimise administrative delays and remove jurisdictional ambiguity.
    • Sponsoring bodies of institutes of higher education would no longer be required to approach multiple authorities for clearances, which is likely to promote ease of development of institutions of higher learning.
  • Furthermore, HEERA is expected to have sharper teeth than the extant AICTE and UGC: the HEERA Law is likely to empower HEERA to take strict penal action against defaulting institutions.
  • HEERA is expected to eliminate the overlaps in the jurisdiction and remove irrelevant regulatory provisions.
    • Having a single statutory body for higher education will simplify and consolidate the mass of regulations and compliances that currently operate in the sector.
  • It will bring the regulation of both technical and non-technical higher education institutions under one umbrella.
  • The way UGC and AICTE have been roundly criticised for their poor handling of higher education so far, HEERA is likely to be structured in a manner that addresses these deficiencies.
  • The introduction of a unified regulator for both UGC and AICTE would do away with regulatory provisions that may no longer be relevant.

Way forward:-

  • International example:-
    • In the US, for instance, regulation is based on a system of self-reporting by institutions and monitoring by regional accreditors. Accreditors evaluate institutions based on the latter’s assessment of themselves which means a one-size-fits-all approach is shunned. Institutions failing to earn accreditation are not given support for research, infrastructure and other needs.

General Studies – 3

Topic:Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources ; Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

5) Discuss whether priority sector lending norms need to be done away with?(250 words)




Why this question

Banking sector in India is reeling under several challenges. Access to credit for certain sectors is a huge challenge too. This makes the issue of PSL slightly complicated. In this backdrop, the decision of RBI to tighten PSL norms for foreign banks in India makes it imperative for us to discuss the issue.

Key demand of the question

The question is fairly straightforward. We have to analyze the pros and cons of PSL and evaluate whether the scheme needs to continue in its present form , needs to be scrapped or modified.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain the move of RBI which necessitates an evaluation of the effectiveness of PSL norms.



  • Explain PSL norms in detail along with the sub categories and the reforms brought in over the course of last three years. The aim has been to address credit woes of vulnerable section
  • Mention the benefits of the scheme
    • boosts inclusive growth reducing inequality and helps in capacity building of masses
    • Etc
  • Mention the disadvantages
    • Accentuate the banking crisis – bad loans
    • Role of specialist agencies in giving loans to sector like agriculture. Eg nabard
    • IMF report
    • Etc
  • Discuss what should be the way forward. What kind of reforms are required should be mentioned here

Conclusion – mention the advantages that access to credit would have for Indian economy and inclusive growth and the need to re-examine PSL norms to make it more effective.


  • In a recent report the IMF, raised concerns regarding the role of the public sector in the financial system and has advised the RBI to review its PSL policy to allow for greater flexibility in meeting targets

Priority sector lending norms:-

  • Currently, all domestic and foreign banks with at least 20 branches are required to lend a minimum of 40 per cent of their total loans (Adjusted Net Bank Credit (ANBC) or credit equivalent amount of off-balance sheet exposure (whichever is higher)) to the priority sector (agriculture, micro enterprises, education, social housing, etc).
  • They are also required to meet sub-targets, such as 18 per cent for agriculture (8 per cent for small and marginal farmers), 7.5 per cent for micro enterprises and 10 per cent for weaker sections.
  • Those with less than 20 branches will also need to fulfil the overall PSL norms of 40% of adjusted net bank credit (ANBC) in a phased manner by 2020

PSL norms are  needed because:-

  • Those who are directly affected comprises of mainly weaker sections of society like farmers and small scale industries.
  • PSL was created to ensure support for sectors of the economy that do not receive adequate credit or support from financial institutions due to questions of profitability.
  • It is also claimed that PSL results in social returns and improved lending portfolios of the banks. 
  • The directed lending promotes social equity and facilitates increase in employment and investment in less developed regions and the vulnerable sections of the society. 
  • Average PSL ratio overall is well above the target over the entire period, with some degree of variation. However, the average lending to agriculture and weaker sections is much below the RBI target. All banks have defaulted on their sub-sectoral targets, especially that of 18% for agriculture, in most years.
  • Priority sector loans have contributed far less to the gross non-performing assets (NPAs) .priority sector lending may not be responsible for compromising banks’ credit risk minimization strategies, or risk accumulation.
  • Removal of existing loan limits of up to ₹5 crore to micro and small units and up to ₹10 crore to medium enterprises, will help banks make good the shortfall in MSME loans that qualify as priority sector lending.

They need to be done away with:-

  • It diverts funds from the productive sectors, imposes economic burdens on the banks in the form of loan losses and payment defaults and also imposes opportunity costs of lending to non-priority sectors of the economy.
  • These negative effects are increased transaction costs, increased NPAs and the decreased deposit mobilization. Since the subsidized nature of loans under the directed credit forces the banks to pay lower interest rates on deposits, this makes the deposits a less attractive avenue for the people which ultimately impacts the banks.
  • Foreign banks
  • They have cited their lack of knowledge, and fear of stressed assets, as reasons for their reluctance to lend to these sectors.
  • A foreign bank, desirous of opening a bank branch in some remote area to service agricultural borrowers, neither understands its borrower, nor is clearly aware of the legal provisions to recover stressed assets.
  • Agriculture and credit risk:-
    • Problem with priority sector loans is the lack of understanding of the sub-sectoral target groups, especially agriculture and the small and medium sector, as also weaker sections.
    • Further, given the vagaries of the monsoon that agriculture is susceptible to and the undiversified risk portfolios in such rural areas, the credit risks for such banks from such PSL would be extremely high.
    • The guidelines for agricultural credit and lending to weaker sections are extremely complex the commercial banks may not be the best equipped to handle beneficiary identification, credit risk assessment and loan disbursement to these sectors.
  • Same would be the case for PSL to the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) secto The sector, with its unorganized operations and lack of proper accounting records and financial statements, poses higher costs and greater risks in credit disbursement. 
  • IMF recommendations:-
    • It also suggests a gradual reduction in PSL as a means to move funds into more productive activities and greater participation of the private sector in capitalizing public sector banks, together with full capitalization.
    • Since all banks need to follow guidelines and meet targets on PSL, it compromises their independent, risk-based credit allocation policies and strategies.
    • At a time when non-performing assets (NPAs) are weighing heavily on banks’ balance sheets, this poses a challenge to attract credit to productive sectors and enterprises that the economy desperately needs.
    • As the IMF report suggests, sectoral lending targets should be in the exclusive domain of specialised institutions such as NABARD, regional rural banks, small finance banks and other development finance institutions, and not general commercial banks as is currently the case.

Way forward:-

  • Banks should be allowed to choose the category they wish to lend to. Foreign banks may then choose to lend in the form of export credit rather than to agriculture. 
  • Creation of a development finance institution that would provide a mix of grants and loans to under-served sectors and geographies.
    • The new institution can raise capital from commercial banks through existing innovative instruments like the PSL certificates, specify minimum sectoral disbursement targets and choose projects based on independent risk assessment and intended outcomes.
    • This will support the policy objectives of increased credit and reduce systemic risk, making PSL work in the long run
  • Similarly, private sector banks may choose to lend housing credit in urban areas, rather than being forced to lend agricultural finance. The government may rely on specialized institutions such as the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) to fulfil sectoral lending targets, while at the same time ensuring structural reforms in these sectors to make lending to them more viable.

General Studies – 4

TOPIC Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values. Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity;

6)“Indian philosophy is essentially a philosophy of values.” Comment.(250 words)



Why this question

Indian philosophies is one of the oldest philosophies in the world with certain peculiar traits and lines of thought. Indian philosophy has a lot to share with the western and eastern philosophies but also differs from them in certain key respects. The issue is related to GS-4 syllabus under the following heading-

Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity;

Key demand of the question.

The question simply wants us to brainstorm on the above statement and decide whether Indian philosophy is essentially a philosophy of values. Whatever our stand, we have to justify it with proper and valid arguments/ facts/ examples.

Directive word

Comment-we have to present our personal opinion on the given statement and bring-out justifications in support of our answer.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- briefly discuss Indian philosophies roots in vedas and their link with morality.


  1. Discuss main schools of Indian Philosophy and differentiate between orthodox and heterodox schools of thought.
  2. Discuss the similarities of Indian philosophies and their stress on linking philosophy with practice. E.g Indian ethics is based on  Purusarthas i.e. ultimate goal of life. The Indian conception of values- viz the four connote as the goals of human life to be achieved through activities or practice, Indian philosophy is mainly axiological and additionally, cosmological and epistemological etc.

Conclusion– present a balanced and fair opinion on the given statement and mention lack of attention towards scientific study of ethics




India has been described by some traditional texts as Sa Prathama Sanskrati Vishvavara, the first and supreme culture in the world. To this day, the South Asian country remains a hotspring of ancient wisdom on mind-body health and spirituality.

Indian philosophy:-

  • Dharma, moksha, karma, and atman are important concepts of Indian philosophy. All these four concepts are interrelated. e.g. the indiscriminate destruction of nature by man has led to an imbalance in nature which has created problems of global warming and unusual natural disasters.
  • Since man has not performed his/her duties (karma) in preserving nature, there is imbalance of nature and the cosmic whole (dharma)  is affected. A person is reborn to make amends for the wrong done in the earlier life. This brings us to the idea of sustainable development which also takes on a spiritual dimension.
  • Indians do not believe in value or a collection of values but in a value- system which in classical terminology is called purusarthas that is four fold ideals of human life.
    • Performing of the duties of institutions (varnasrama dharmas), a number of sanskaras, household life, marriage, earning wealth, enjoying sex for begetting an offspring, sacrifices, meditation, pilgrimage, all are value and virtuous only because of them instituted in the system.
    • Purusarthas are enumerated generally as four namely wealth (artha), desire (kama), dharma (virtues) and liberation (moksa).

How  is it a philosophy of values:-

  • Indian philosophy is often referred to as a ‘darshana’ .It is assumed that one, who follows
    it, should be able to “see” the truth and lead life in accordance with the truth perceived.
  • Some schools of Indian philosophy are pro-Vedic like Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaishesika, etc: The anti-Vedic schools of thought include Charvaka, Buddha and Jain philosophies. 
  • However, Indian philosophy has certain common features. For instance, its quest
    for spiritual progress is a predominant characteristic. Thus many Indian Philosophical schools believe in soul and the need for its enlightenment.
  • It transcends thoughts, based on religion and those upholding merely ethics. Apart 
    from seeking higher attainments like ‘moksha’, i.e. spiritual progress, Indian
    philosophy also seeks truth and knowledge, explains and upholds ethics.

    it is a source of morals and values to guide human life.
  • Happiness is a key value and Indian philosophy offers strategies to ensure happiness.
  • Though Indian philosophy emphasizes the need for individual (meditation) Sadhana for liberating the mind, at the same time it seeks universal Values Enshrined in Indian wellbeing.
  • Emancipation from miseries and ignorance is the common pursuit of both Darshan and Dharma. There is synergy between philosophy and religion. The Vedas are a rich source of values for all and especially for the teaching community.
  • The Nyaya school of Logic introduced a method based on scientific rules of reasoning, by which certain knowledge could be arrived at regarding the object of enquiry. Therefore the skill of logic and reasoning is developed and the values of verification, fairness, caution are encouraged.
  • Vaisesika school :-
    • Values of uniqueness and individualism are recognized and a strong sense of identity develops. Through both synthesis and analysis we can understand both ourselves and the world around us.
  • Samkhya philosophy claims that the effect lies in the cause, e.g. drop a glass and it breaks 
    into pieces. If you had not dropped it, then the glass would not have broken.  From this example, it can be inferred that an individual has to take responsibility for his/her own action. 
  • Yoga increases self-discipline, self-control, concentration, reduces stress and enables one to control emotions.