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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 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: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors
/contributions from different parts of the country.

1) Quit India Movement was the most different from all Gandhian mass movements. Critically analyze.(250 words)

From Plassey to Partition, Pg 414


Key demand of the question

The question expects us to analyze the strategies followed in quit India movement and analyze whether they were in line with the principles espoused by Mahatma Gandhi, whether the clarion call of Do or Die was in accordance with Gandhian principle of non violence etc.

Directive word

Critically analyze – Here we have to bring out the distinguishing features of quit India movement, the various principles espoused by Gandhi and analyze whether the movement was in line with those principles. The question expects us to provide our view on the assertion made in the question at the end.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give a brief background of quit India movement – last mass movement for independence, call of Do or Die given by gandhi, World war 2 had heightened fears and sensitivities.


  • Examine the direction to the movement given by gandhi.
  • Disciplined anarchy vs complete lawlessness
  • Freedom to regional movements to take control
  • Difference evident from NCM where Chauri Chaura led to termination of movements but in QIM, no such directive by Gandhi
  • Etc
  • Examine the key features of QIM which made it distinctive
  • Examine whether QIM was really different from other mass movements
  • Mention that gandhi ji was a very smart tactician who knew how to galvanize people. Earlier he was trying to take the freedom struggle to masses, now that popular sentiment was with him, he wanted to make a final push for independence. War of position vs ear of manoeuvre of Gandhi

Conclusion – summarise your arguments and present your view



  • The Quit India Movement, also known as ‘August Kranti’, was a freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • It began on 8th August, 1942 and turned out to be one of the most popular and powerful mass movements for independence.

How is it different from other movements :-

  • The Quit India Movement was mainly a non-violent movement. However, it became violent at some places. Rails were uprooted, post offices were set on fire and offices were destroyed.
  • Social radicalism of Gandhi:-
    • In a sharp contrast to Non cooperation movement, where Gandhi withdrew after Chauri Chaura incident, in Quit India movement he not only refused to condemn the people’s resort to violence but unequivocally held government responsible for it.
    • Though the need for non-violence was always reiterated, Gandhi’s mantra of Do or Die represents the militant mood of Gandhi.
    • Gandhi also gave a call to all sections of the people, the princes, the Jagirdars, the Zamindars, the propertied and moneyed classes, who derive their wealth and property from the workers in the fields and factories and elsewhere, to whom eventually power and authority belong.
    • This  indicates Gandhi’s social radicalism and shift in the philosophy of the Congress, by now people with the goals of socialism and communism have become a part of the broad-based Congress organization.
  • The spontaneous participation of the masses in the Quit India movement made it one of the most popular mass movements.
    • Even before the formal launching of the movement, the government in a single sweep arrested all the top leaders of the Congress. This led to spontaneous outburst of mass anger against the arrest of leaders. 
  • This historic movement placed the demand for independence on the immediate agenda of the national movement.
    • The spirit unleashed was carried further by Indian National Army of Subhas Chandra Bose.After ‘Quit India’ there could be no retreat. Independence was no longer a matter of bargain. It accelerated and sustained the urge for freedom and enabled India to achieve freedom in 1947.
  • The movement had a local impact in some areas, especially at Satara in Maharashtra, Talcher in Odisha, and Midnapore.
    • In Tamluk and Contai subdivisions of Midnapore in West Bengal, the local populace were successful in establishing parallel governments, which continued to function.
  • QIM surpassed all previous mass movements organized by Congress in its level of anti-British militancy.
    • It exhibited people’s fighting spirit and their longing for freedom. It also demonstrated determined attitude of Indian masses of accepting nothing less than the realization of freedom.


  • It was a historic event. It was not merely a movement against foreign occupation but also awakening of Indian masses.
    • The history of this movement is full of unsung heroes. There are untold stories of farmers, factory workers, journalists, artists, students, educationists, religious saints and dalits.
  • Quit India movement was unique in the sense that it saw women participation where they not only participated as equals but also led the movement. There was Matangini Hazra, who lead a procession of 6,000 people, mostly women, to ransack a local police station.


  • Quit India Movement was a watershed movement in the sense, that it prepared the ground for future politics in India. It is in the Quit India Movement that freedom struggle was owned by’We the People’ who fought for India’s freedom.

TOPICEvents from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

2)Vietnam War was a part of the larger cold war rivalry between capitalism on one side and communism on the other. Discuss.(250 words)

World History by Norman Lowe



Why this question

Vietnam War was one of the most protracted modern wars in which the world’s most powerful country suffered defeat at the hands of a small newly independent country. Question is related to GS 1 syllabus under the following heading-

Events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to write in detail about the background, reasons and progress of the war and discuss how the war was a part of the larger rivalry between US and allies on one side and Russia along with its allies on the other.

Directive word

Discuss – we have to write in detail about the main cause of the war, goals of the warring groups and how the rivalry between communism and capitalism shaped the war.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- give a brief description of the duration of the war along with the main parties involved and battlegrounds involved.

Body –

  1. discuss the parties to the war in detail. e.g  Army of the Republic of Vietnam and US army vs People’s army of Vietnam and Viet Cong.
  2. discuss the main reasons behind the war ( communism vs anti-communism headed by US).
  3. discuss the main goals of the warring groups and their level of involvement.  

Conclusion– mention the effect of the war on Vietnam- politically strengthened but economically shattered, build up of American anti-war opinion etc and ultimately the withdrawal of US and victory for Vietnam.




  • Vietnam War was a long, costly and divisive conflict that pitted the communist government of North Vietnam against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. The conflict was intensified by the ongoing Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. 

Parties involved:-

  • There were 4 military organizations total that were involved in this war, however, they can be divided into 2 sides based on their common goals, the communist side and the anti-communist side.
  • On the anti-communist side, there were the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the U.S. military
  • On the other side, the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) (more commonly called the North Vietnamese Army, or NVA, in English-language sources), and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF, more commonly known as the Viet Cong in English language sources).

Vietnam war was part of larger cold war:-

  • All of the key moments in the process emerged from different contexts and the thinking of various players, but there were three threads that unified them: communism, the Cold War, and credibility. 
  • The global context is also important because Cold War tensions between the U.S., the Soviet Union, and China also shaped events related to the Vietnam War.
    • The Vietnam conflict also played into Cold War superpower rivalries, which, in turn, shaped superpower decision making.
    • As the U.S., the Soviet Union, and China vied for alliances with newly independent countries, Vietnam became one of the proving grounds on which all three countries tried to make their mark.
    • The U.S. gave economic and military aid to South Vietnam, while the Soviet Union and China offered similar assistance to North Vietnam. Although authorities in both Vietnams tried to assert themselves and resist superpower control, the Cold War power struggle between the U.S., the Soviet Union, and China was key in shaping the Vietnam War.
  • The North Vietnamese government and the Viet Cong were fighting to reunify Vietnam. They viewed the conflict as a colonial war and a continuation of the First Indochina War against forces from France and later on the United States. The U.S. government viewed its involvement in the war as a way to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam. This was part of the domino theory of a wider containment policy, with the stated aim of stopping the spread of communism.
  • Southeast Asia was so important in the minds of America policymakers and their allies that the U.S., along with Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Thailand, established the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) in September 1954.
    • SEATO’s purpose was to prevent communism from gaining ground in the region, and although South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos couldn’t join because the Geneva Accords prevented them from joining international military alliances, they were included as SEATO protectorates.
    • This designation provided a justification for U.S. involvement in Vietnam because SEATO members pledged to act to prevent the spread of communism in Southeast Asia.
  • In the context of the Cold War power struggle, and in the context of U.S. efforts to court allies in the decolonizing world, Americans had to prove that their pronouncements about containing communism, supporting non-communist governments, and aiding democracy building were credible. 
    • Johnson’s anxieties about U.S. credibility, combined with political instability in Saigon, China’s resistance to negotiations, and Hanoi’s refusal to remove troops from South Vietnam and stop aiding the National Liberation Front led him to escalate the U.S. military presence in Vietnam from 1964 through 1967.


  • Vietnam was unified but the social and economic cost for Vietnam was enormous with an estimated 2 million people were killed and ultimately US pulled out of the war.

General Studies – 2

TopicIndia 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’s neighborhood policy should include Pakistan as well. Discuss, in the light of recent improvement in relations between India and its neighbours. (250 words)


The hindu

Why this question

India has shown a recalibration in its foreign policy as can be deduced from the recent Wuhan summit and the Nepal PM visit to India. This was a much needed reform given the spiralling down of the relationship with these countries, which was yielding no results and  stifling mutual progress. However, the relationship with Pakistan has deteriorated which is also hampering our several diplomatic and developmental efforts. The issue 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 deliberate upon the recent events which show a change in approach of our foreign policy towards our neighbours like Nepal and China and then discuss why it is also necessary to ease our relationship with Pakistan.

Directive word

Discuss- we have to write in detail about the given issue i.e recent events which testify betterment of relations between India and its neighbours. We have to connect this part of the answer with India’s relationship with Pakistan and discuss the need for accommodating it.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Briefly discuss the economic and political reality of South Asia and China as a whole. e.g GDP, dominance of India and China in the region, low cross border connectivity and trade, terrorism issues, boundary disputes etc.


  • Discuss the negative effects of a bad relationship with Pakistan ( escalation of terrorism, cross border shelling, kashmir problem, loss of trade and investment opportunities, china-pak nexus strengthened, Afghanistan problem worsened threatening Indian investment etc)  while briefly mentioning the reasons behind the current scenario( Pathankot attack, Hafiz Saeed, Kashmir and terrorism support).
  • Discuss the recent events which depict easing of the relationship between India and its neighbours. e.g China (Wuhan Summit),  Nepal (PM visit), Bangladesh (land agreement)etc. And positive implications of these initiatives.

Conclusion- Briefly discuss the need for peace, greater economic and physical integration, mutual prosperity between India and its neighbours and mention the higher responsibility on part of China and India.



  • Issues with Indian neighbours range from lack of connectivity and trade to boundary disputes, terrorism ,India China Pakistan rivalry ,hydrological issues, illegal migrants issue, Nepal constitution making issue etc 


Present status of relations with Pakistan:-

  • Bilateral relations stalled in 2016 following the Pathankot and Uri attacks. 
  • Firing across the Line of Control (LoC) has intensified leading to higher casualties on both sides, both civilian and military. In September 2016, India launched ‘surgical strikes’ as retaliation for the Uri attack but this has not reduced infiltration.
  • Since Burhan Wani’s death, local recruitment by radical groups is also on the rise.
  • India has successfully stalled the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit since 2016 
  • But limits to the policy of isolating Pakistan are also apparent.

Pakistan needs to be included / issues if Pakistan did not included :-

  • There was resumption of the stalled Track II Neemrana Dialogue which  indicates that a shift may be likely. 
  • Building good relations can provide insight into issues like terrorism,militancy ,Kashmir issue etc.
  • Also China Pak axis is apparently becoming stronger if Pakistan is isolated it would only be detrimental to India due to the CPEC corridor.
  • Without Pakistan the solution to Afghanistan issue and India’s development there would be always insecure.
  • It does not make sense for Indian policy makers to start declaring India as a major world power unless it builds peace in South Asia by resolving its major disputes with its neighbours including Pakistan. In this regard India should develop tension-free friendly relations with Pakistan as a neighbouring nuclear power.
  • Energy:-
    • The route for the pipelines through Afghanistan and Pakistan will be the shortest and cheapest as compared to the route through Afghanistan and Iran using Chahbahar seaport and then by pipelines to be constructed under the sea, avoiding exclusive economic zone of Pakistan. 
    • The same is true for India regarding importing iron ore and other minerals from Afghanistan where it is investing heavily and also for large scale trading of goods with
    • The trade route through Afghanistan and Pakistan will also be beneficial to India for trading with Russia, western China and even with Turkey and the EU countries in a long-term perspective.
    • Therefore to meet its higher military and economic objectives to become a major world power, India will need to fully open up with Central Asia, Russia, West Asia and the Middle East through land routes for which it will need to improve its relations with Pakistan in a major way in the next 10 to 15 years. 
  • Building better relations with Pakistan will also help India in further deepening its relations with the Gulf countries.

Recent initiatives towards neighbours:-


  • The informal summit at Wuhan, China and a visit to Nepal by Indian PM reflect a change aimed at reviving the ‘neighbourhood first’ policy announced in 2014.
  • China:-
    • The recent move by India  advising officials to stay away from events commemorating 60 years of Dalai Lama’s exile in India and declining Australia’s suggestion to participate in Malabar naval exercises indicated Indian interest in a reset.
    • It is clear that messages have gone out to the Army to improve communications and understanding and prevent the stand-offs that were becoming frequent.
    • Both sides have agreed to undertake a joint project in Afghanistan.
  • Nepal:-
    • Nepal PM in keeping with tradition,  made Delhi his first foreign destination after being elected PM.A return visit by India to Nepal within a month indicates that both sides are keen to show positive movement highlighting the historical, cultural and religious ties between the peoples of the two countries.
  • The recent land agreement with the Bangladesh also shows that India’s priorities towards neighbours is a priority


  • There is a need to embrace an overarching strategic stability regime and to shun aggressive security doctrines to reduce the possibility of a nuclear conflict
  • The problems of terrorism and Non-State Actors need to be addressed jointly through institutionalised mechanisms
  • Water issues should be resolved through the mechanisms provided by the Indus Basin Treaty and should not be allowed to degenerate into a serious source of conflict.
  • Confidence-building measures should be pursued to alleviate the “trust deficit” but should not be used as a substitute for the resolution of disputes.
  • Economic co-operation and trade should be facilitated to develop mutuality of interest
  • India and Pakistan need to understand each other’s legitimate interests in Afghanistan and pursue them without coming into conflict with each other.


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.


4)Withdrawing from Iran nuclear deal by US is a serious mistake and has many possible ramifications for India. Analyse.(250 words)

The hindu


Why this question

The US recently unilaterally pulled out of the Iran Nuclear deal, formerly known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The move will reverse the progress of Iran- US relationship and complemented by economic sanctions it will have serious ramifications for Iran. It will also have several ramifications for India. Questions 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 out the possible implications, particularly the negative ones associated with withdrawing of US from the Iran Nuclear deal. It also wants us to dig deep into the topic and discuss the ramifications of this event on India.

Directive word

Analyse- we have to identify the key aspects of the question- why the withdrawal of US from the Iran Nuclear deal is a serious mistake and what would be the possible ramifications of this act on India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- briefly describe the JCPOA, its signatories, and status after US withdrawal.


  1. Discuss in points, why the US withdrawal from Iran Nuclear deal is a mistake.

e.g unilateral nature of action, Iran was complying with the agreement, Iran’s capabilities to build nuclear weapons had been severely curtailed, etc.

  1. Discuss the possible implications of the US decision on India.

e.g oil prices may go up, investment and potential of Chabahar Port may be affected, International North-South Transport corridor may be affected etc.

Conclusion- mention the futility, irrational nature and a biased approach of the US in the above issue and need for a fair, effective agreement with Iran and more importantly need to respect the provisions of the agreement and also other international obligations.


  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was meant to stall Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, was finalized in  2015.  The deal was concluded between Iran and the P5 (United States, Russia, France, China, and United Kingdom) plus Germany and the European Union. 
  • Despite United States decision to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal itself won’t be scrapped as long as Iran and the other signatories: the U.K., France, Russia, China, Germany and the European Union remain committed to it.

US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal is a mistake:- 

  • The United States pulling out does create more than a few uncertainties  for regional security, for nonproliferation, and for American credibility more generally.
  • American credibility lost:-
    • Decision could undermine the US’s credibility on the international stage, former president.
  • Arms race:-
    • Undermining it despite no clear evidence of Iranian violations could hasten an arms race or outright regional conflict.
  • JCPOA has been successful:-
    • JCPOA has worked to halt Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon, highlighting its international inspections and noting that some of its provisions were permanent.
    • The JCPOA is in America’s interest – it has significantly rolled back Iran’s nuclear program.
    • The JCPOA does not rely on trust as it is rooted in the most far-reaching inspections and verification regime ever negotiated in an arms control deal. Iran’s nuclear facilities are strictly monitored. International monitors also have access to Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, so that we can catch them if they cheat. Without the JCPOA, this monitoring and inspections regime would go away.
    • Iran is complying with the JCPOA. The United States intelligence community has continued to find that Iran is meeting its responsibilities under the deal, and has reported as much to Congress. 
    • The JCPOA does not expire:-
      • The prohibition on Iran ever obtaining a nuclear weapon is permanent. Some of the most important and intrusive inspections codified by the JCPOA are permanent.
    • The JCPOA was never intended to solve all of US problems with Iran. Every aspect of Iranian behaviour that is troubling is far more dangerous if their nuclear program is unconstrained. US ability to confront Iran’s destabilizing behaviour  and to sustain a unity of purpose with its allies is strengthened with the JCPOA, and weakened without it.
    • Without the JCPOA, the United States could eventually be left with a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East as it knows dangers of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. It could embolden an already dangerous regime pose unacceptable dangers to America’s own security and trigger an arms race in the world’s most dangerous region.
  • North Korea:-
    • The JCPOA is a model for what diplomacy can accomplish its inspections and verification regime is precisely what the United States should be working to put in place with North Korea. Indeed, at a time when world is rooting for diplomacy with North Korea to succeed, walking away from the JCPOA risks losing a deal that accomplishes with Iran the very outcome that world is pursuing with the North Koreans.
  • S. allies and adversaries that are party to the agreement had urged the US administration not to tear it up.
    • Britain has appealed to US  not to abandon the Iran nuclear deal as a key deadline approaches, saying that while it is not perfect there is no better alternative.
  • Iran:-
    • Keeping the deal’s constraints on Iran’s nuclear program will also help counter Tehran’s aggressive regional behaviour.

Implications for India :-

  • Even though India was not party to the deal, India supported it. India had watched the growing tensions between Iran and the United States before the deal was reached with some trepidation because a war could have had multiple negative consequences for India, including threats to the very large Indian expatriate population, disruption of oil supplies, and being forced to pick sides between Iran and the United States, to name just a few. 
  • Oil prices: 
    • The impact on world oil prices will be the immediately visible impact of the U.S. decision. Iran is presently India’s third biggest supplier (after Iraq and Saudi Arabia), and any increase in prices will hit both inflation levels as well as the Indian rupee, which breached ₹67 to the U.S. dollar this week.
  • Non-oil trade with Iran, which stood at about $2.69 billion of the total trade figures of $12.89 billion in 2016-17 may not be impacted as much, as New Delhi and Tehran have instituted several measures in the past few months, including allowing Indian investment in rupees, and initiating new banking channels, between them.
  • Chabahar:
    • India’s moves over the last few years to develop berths at the Shahid Beheshti port in Chabahar was a key part of its plans to circumvent Pakistan’s blocks on trade with Afghanistan, and the new U.S. sanctions could slow or even bring those plans to a halt depending on how strictly they are implemented.
    • S. sanctions could affect this timeline and delay the handing over of the project further.
  • A broader concern is about the general stability of the region
    • If the increasing tension in the region should ignite into a full-scale war, India faces a number of challenges. Millions of Indian expatriates live in the Arab states of the Gulf, and they would be in the direct line of fire. 
    • Politically, it will become very difficult for India to continue playing the balancing game between Iran on one side and Israel, the Arab states and the United States on the other.
  • Finally, India will also have to balance its other interests with the developments in the Gulf as this  could impact India in a range of areas, including overseas projects, exports, payments for oil, and even international relations.
  • During the era of sanctions, India had major backlogs in terms of payments towards oil imports from Iran. When the sanctions were lifted, both New Delhi and Tehran heaved a sigh of relief, and payments could be made.
  • China has been considering the induction of Iran into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) .If Iran is inducted after the re-imposition of US sanctions, India could be seen as being part of an anti-America bloc.
  • INSTC:
    • Beyond Chabahar, India has been a founder of the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) since it was ratified in 2002. Plans for INSTC sped up after the JCPOA was signed in 2015 and sanctions on Iran were lifted.
    • New U.S. sanctions will affect these plans immediately, especially if any of the countries along the route or banking and insurance companies dealing with the INSTC plan also decide to adhere to U.S. restrictions on trade with Iran.
  • Rules-based order: 
    • India has long been a proponent of a rules-based order that depends on multilateral consensus and an adherence to commitments made by countries on the international stage.
    • By walking out of the JCPOA the U.S. government has overturned the precept that such international agreements are made by States not just with prevailing governments or regimes. This could also impact all agreements India is negotiating both bilaterally and multilaterally with the U.S.


General Studies – 3

Topic – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment


5)Examine the performance of National Forest Policy 1988. Discuss whether the draft forest policy will address the issues faced by forest sector in India?(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

The data on forest area released by state of forest report (SFR) highlights the less than adequate increase in the forest cover of India. Due to declining forest cover, India is facing several environmental challenges and natural hazards which make it imperative for us to evaluate the performance of last forest policy and suggest changed in the new draft forest policy.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the following points in our answer


  • The performance of forest policy 1988
  • In protection and enhancement of forest cover
  • Involvement of people in conservation efforts
  • Etc
  • The issue faced by forest management in India
  • Whether those issues have been adequately handled in the draft forest policy. If yes, how and if not, what changes should be brought in.


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 .


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 – mention that India has recently come out with a draft forest policy and the SFR data has highlighted the problems plaguing forests in India.



  • Discuss the broad principles of forest policy of 1988 and examine its impact on areas like forest area coverage, community participation in conservation etc
  • Examine the issues that are still plaguing the forests despite NFP 1988
  • Examine whether the draft forest policy will help in resolving the issues faced. Discuss the key  provisions, principle and aims and objectives of the policy to see whether it is line with the changes required


Conclusion – Present your view on the efficacy of draft forest policy and suggest way forward.



  • Forests are very important economically, ecologically and even for the survival of the human kind. The new draft policy seeks to replace the country’s 30-year-old national forest policy.
  • In the light of the contemporary challenges like climate change, human-wildlife conflict, intensifying water crisis, increasing air and water pollution and deteriorating environment a new policy is necessary.

National forest policy 1988:-

  • The NFP 1988 was enacted with the aim of preserving the remaining natural forests and for increasing substantially the forest/tree cover in the country.
  • It debarred the private sector from raising plantation on forestland and encouraged them to source raw materials directly from farmers.
  • It promoted substitution of wood with other materials.
  • It also envisaged vesting in individuals, particularly from the weaker sections, certain ownership rights over trees for protecting and enhancing forests.
  • The goal of increasing tree cover outside Recorded forest area and promoting agroforestry has been notable, though much more needs to be done to realise the full potential of agroforestry.
  • Similarly, the policy of substituting wood with plastic and metals has been successful.


  • Most of the increase in dense forests is just plantations on private land, changes in dense forest cover inside Recorded forest area are insignificant.
  • The increase in total forest cover is also largely because of trees grown outside forests, mostly under social and farm forestry.
  • Recorded forest area has experienced significant degradation in the last 30 years. Thus, India has had significant loss of ecologically diverse forests and major gains in plantations outside forests.
  • There is a general decline in the growing stock:-
    • Growing stocks in forests have declined of 12% in a little over a decade from 2002-15. This indicates significant degradation of forest. 
  • Forest cover inside recorded forest area
    • State forest reports have data on forest cover inside the recorded forest areas (RFAs), and outside, since 2011. The data in the last four SFRs indicates that the forest cover inside the RFAs has reduced while it has increased outside. So, forest cover is increasing on the private land and not in forests managed by the foresters.


Draft forest policy :- 

  • The overall objective and goal of the present policy is to safeguard the ecological and livelihood security of people, of the present and future generations, based on sustainable management of the forests for the flow of ecosystem services.
  • Features:-
    • Public private participation for afforestation in degraded forest areas
      • Public-private participation models will be developed for undertaking afforestation and reforestation activities in degraded forest areas and forest areas available with forest development corporations and outside forests
    • Promoting urban greens
      • It says the management plans for urban green will be prepared and implemented in consonance with the development plan of cities.
    • Measures to safeguard ecosystems from forest fire (map the vulnerable areas; develop and strengthen early warning systems)
      • It proposes to restrict schemes and projects which interfere with forests that cover steep slopes, catchments of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, geologically unstable terrain and such other ecologically sensitive areas
    • It also suggests setting up of two national-level bodies
      • National Community Forest Management (CFM) Mission and National Board of Forestry (NBF) for better management of the country’s forests
      • The draft calls for state boards of forestry headed by state ministers in charge of forests to be established for ensuring inter-sectoral convergence, simplification of procedures, conflict resolution, among other things
    • Afforestation in catchment areas for river rejuvenation and water recycling
      • The ecologically sensitive catchment areas shall be stabilized with suitable soil and water conservation measures, and also by planting suitable trees and grass like bamboo
    • Economic valuation of forests
    • Forest certification to provide premium on forest produce
    • Integration of climate change concerns in forest management
    • Promote agro-forestry and farm forestry
    • Management of north-eastern forests
  • Besides, it had suggested launching a national forest streams revival programme in mission mode to tackle the water crisis.


  • It addressed the issue of forest fires, stating that adequate measures would be taken to safeguard ecosystems from forest fires, map the vulnerable areas and develop and strengthen early warning systems and methods to control fire, based on remote sensing technology and community participation.”
  • The latest draft of National Forest Policy has omitted any reference to a green tax or a national stream revival programme.
  • It emphasized on integrating climate change concerns into forest managementwhile noting that forests acts as a natural sink of carbon dioxide thereby assisting in climate change mitigation.
    • Contributes to the forestry-related Nationally Determined Contribution Targets and by integrating, climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in forest management through the mechanism of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus) so that the impacts of the climate change is minimised.
  • To tackle rising human-wildlife conflict, the draft outlined short-term and long-term actions.
  • The draft policy document also talks about degraded landand how it can be improved by undertaking afforestation activities using public private partnership models. 
  • It seeks to sync it with the country’s forestry-related ‘Nationally Determined Contribution’ targets under the Paris Agreement where India has promised to rapidly increase its forest cover so that an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent is created by the year 2030.
  • The draft policy also talks about the need to stimulate growth in the forest based industry sector. This sector being labour intensive can help in increasing green jobs. Forest corporations and industrial units need to step up growing of industrial plantations for meeting the demand of raw materials
  • Apart from these, the policy has a sprinkling of good objectives like promoting agroforestry by loosening control over farmers and reversing the wood-substitution policy.

Failure :-

  • The draft NFP 2018 mentions major forestry issues ailing the forest sector, but it doesn’t provide answers to them as to how these objectives will be achieved considering the competitive demands for forestlands.
  • New draft also says efforts will be made to achieve harmonization between policies and laws like Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006 . People may see it as an attempt to weaken role of gram sabhas (village councils)
  • While the role of forests as climate change mitigation factor has been recognised, the draft NFP is vague on the issue of forests rights for forest dwelling communities as it reasserts the control of the forest department over the forests by undermining the Forest Rights Act. 
  • Continues to speak about private participation in forest management, which was criticized in 2016.
  • This policy is in direct conflict with the policy of promoting social/farm forestry.
    • As industries get forestlands cheap, they will raise captive plantations of monoculture species, bringing down their production costs. Farmers growing the same tree species will not be able to compete against such low prices. Bringing the private sector into production forestry will completely undermine farmers.
  • There is ample evidence to show that Community forest resource can transform the livelihoods of communities and conserve and regenerate forests.
    • The draft policy has chosen to undermine CFR by proposing a new community-forest-management mission. This parallel mission will control the CFR process, taking power from the communities and vesting it with the forest department.

Way forward:-

  • A production forestry system in place in the form of Forest Development Corporations (FDC), is needed
    • With close to 1.3 million ha of forestland under their control, FDCs need technical and financial support to improve the productivity of their plantations. The private sector can partner with FDCs and increase the productivity of this land.
  • Agroforestry can be further scaled up by removing restrictive regulations and providing incentives and operational support systems. FDCs and agroforestry can meet India’s wood demands.
  • International experiences :-
    • In Brazil and Colombia the deforestation rate has been reported to be two times lower in community controlled forests as compared to those not under community management.
    • The forest departments in these countries have reversed their roles from being owners and regulators of forests to becoming facilitators in community-managed forests. This is the paradigm shift required in India’s forest administration.

Topic – Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

6)Briefly explain the role of deep learning neural networks in AI technology. Discuss features of Google Duplex which makes it a revolutionary technology.(250 words)

Financial express



Why this question

The recent demonstration of Google assistant making phone calls and reservations for us opens our eyes to the potential of deep learning and neural networks. It is expected of us to know about this remarkable development in the case of virtual assistants.

Key demand of the question

The questions expects us to explain in brief what deep learning and neural network. Only it’s working principle and the non technical aspects to be discussed. Thereafter we need to bring out the features of Google Duplex which has made it the talk of the town.

Directive word

Explain – Briefly highlight what it is, how it is useful in AI

Discuss – Here we don’t have to bring out the pros and cons but just explain the use of Google duplex, the technology of Google duplex and the real world advantages of the same.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – highlight the technological advancement taking place in the field of AI which is making the idea of man vs machine a reality


  • Explain machine learning and neural network in brief
  • Explain its application in Google duplex
  • Explain what Google duplex is
  • Discuss the advantages it has and the risks that it poses

Conclusion – Mention the overall debates that is going on wrt AI and your view on the Google duplex technology.



  • Artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning, and neural networksrepresent incredibly exciting and powerful machine learning-based techniques used to solve many real-world problems.

Role of deep learning neural networks in AI technology :-

  • Artificial neural networks (ANNs) and the more complex deep learning technique are some of the most capable AI tools for solving very complex problems, and will continue to be developed and leveraged in the future.
  • Deep learning is a term to describe certain types of neural networks and related algorithms that consume often very rawinput data. They process this data through many layers of nonlinear transformations of the input data in order to calculate a target output.
    • Unsupervised feature extractionis also an area where deep learning excels. Feature extraction is when an algorithm is able to automatically derive or construct meaningful features of the data to be used for further learning, generalization, and understanding. 
  • Neural networks use software to mimic the function of the many neurons in the human brain. These functions can be tuned over time.This means man-made neural networks can learn.
  • Deep learning refers to the use of multiple layers of neural networks.
  • To develop these approaches, scientists and programmers have turned to the mysterious human brain and the trillion neurons inside it that transmit and process information, as the model for analyzing data. They have developed networks of cells that mimic the function of neurons.
  • Google has integrated a deep-learning machine with its Street View platform to enable the identification of nearly every location, and the company is also using its own Deep Mind AI technology to reduce the energy used to cool its data centre by 40%.
  • A deep neural network (DNN) is an artificial neural network (ANN) with multiple hidden layers between the input and output layers.

Google duplex:-

  • Google introduced a new feature called Google Duplex as a part of the revamped Google Assistant. It is essentially a service that works in the background without involving the user. Google Duplex is an offline service powered by Google Assistant that make a booking on your behalf at the vendors and shops that have no or little online presence.
  • Features:-
  • Google Duplex, a new technology for conducting natural conversations to carry out real world tasks over the phone.
  • The technology is directed towards completing specific tasks, such as scheduling certain types of appointments. For such tasks, the system makes the conversational experience as natural as possible, allowing people to speak normally, like they would to another person, without having to adapt to a machine.
  • One of the key research insights was to constrain Duplex to closed domains, which are narrow enough to explore extensively.
  • Duplex can only carry out natural conversations after being deeply trained in such domains. It cannot carry out general conversations.
  • Google Duplex technology is built to sound natural, to make the conversation experience comfortable.

How is it a revolutionary technology:-

  • Google Duplex comes with a more practical bent for the users who do not want the superfluous results from all the high-priced places from far away.
  • The Google Assistant will make the conversational experience for the person taking up the bookings more comfortable and as natural as possible.
  • Google Duplex uses a natural voice to make reservations at a restaurant with the help of AI to offer contextual and deeply trained answers.
  • It is a system that allows AI understand complex sentences, fast speech so it can respond naturally in a phone conversation, Google sees a future where humans will not longer have to make calls to book an appointment.
  • People expect to talk to people and not a bot. Conversations are not just exchange of spoken words. They are more than that. Currently, when humans talk to bots they know it because bots are bad at talking. Duplex changes that.


  • There are several challenges in conducting natural conversations: natural language is hard to understand, natural behavior is tricky to model, latency expectations require fast processing, and generating natural sounding speech, with the appropriate intonations, is difficult.
    • When people talk to each other, they use more complex sentences than when talking to computers. 
    • In natural spontaneous speech people talk faster and less clearly than they do when they speak to a machine, so speech recognition is harder and we see higher word error rates. The problem is aggravated during phone calls, which often have loud background noises and sound quality issues.
  • The most thorny is the way it mimics humans.


  • AI is an extremely powerful and exciting field. It’s only going to become more important and ubiquitous moving forward, and will certainly continue to have very significant impacts on modern society.

General Studies – 4

TOPIC : Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

7)Divorced from ethics, leadership is reduced to management and politics to mere technique.(250 words)



Why this question

UPSC generally asks questions about commenting on a particular quote/ statement. The question is related to GS 4 syllabus under the following heading-

Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

Key demand of the question

Plus two discuss the importance of ethics in management and political leadership. We have to discuss, what happens when management and leadership are devoid of the ethics.

Directive word

Comment- we have to brainstorm on the given statement and form an opinion on it. The opinion here would be in favour of the statement and we have to provide the justifications in the form of arguments/ examples etc.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- briefly discuss how ethics is related to the management of a person’s life and mention some leaders who led a life of ethics e.g Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King etc.


  1. Discuss the importance of imbibing ethics in management.

e.g need to serve the customers/ consumers in the best way, good for the long-run survival of the firms, need to fulfill social obligations, improve organizations image/ brand etc.

  1. Discuss the importance of ethics in politics.

Take help of the reference article attached with the question to form the discussion.

  1. Discuss the controversies like unfair practices among big established corporations (e.g Volkswagen controversy), bad economics and ethics is good politics ( distribution of freebies, fiscal mismanagement etc)

Conclusion– form a balanced, fair, concise conclusion based on the above discussion.

Answer :-

The function of leadership is to engage followers, not merely to activate them, to commingle needs and aspirations and goals in a common enterprise and in the process to make better citizens of both leaders and followers.

Leadership is power governed by principle, directed toward raising people to their highest levels of personal motive and social morality. This role has been practised by business leaders and political leaders equally well in the past for instance role of Freedom struggle leaders in India.

Ethics in management:-

Building on a foundation of ethical behaviour helps create long-lasting positive effects for a company, including the ability to attract and retain highly talented individuals, and building and maintaining a positive reputation within the community.

Running a business in an ethical manner from the top down builds a stronger bond between individuals on the management team, further creating stability within the company.


Employees make better decisions in less time with business ethics as a guiding principle; this increases productivity and overall employee morale. When employees complete work in a way that is based on honesty and integrity, the whole organization benefits


Ethics in politics :-


For Aristotle, and for most subsequent thinkers about politics, political thinking is grounded in ethical thinking. Our assumptions and beliefs about politics or individual policies are inseparable from our ethical principles, and political debate necessarily requires ethical debate.

How ethics  is being diluted in politics and management:-

There are many instances of Good economics is bad politics  like popular schemes like giving laptops, televisions, giving unemployment bonus instead of creating jobs, etc. Politicians giving hate speeches rising communal fervor .Other examples include horse trading of MLA’s in Uttarakhand, taking money for asking questions in Parliament, criminalization of politics as more than 30% of current MP’s have criminal cases against them, use of money and muscle power to win elections, booth capturing, intimidation, use of liquor ,corruption  etc. 


Some argue that ethics has no place in politics. If politicians are to be effective in the real world, they cannot be bound by moral rules. They have to pursue the national interest. The recent scams by various industrialists shows that there is leadership crisis.

International examples also show that ever since the advent of the Gupta Leaks, and a growing body of evidence implicating KPGM, Bell Pottinger, McKinsey and SAP, it has become clear that corruption is not confined to the public sector, political leaders and the executives of state-owned companies in Africa.


Recent admission by Volkswagen executives that at least a half-million of their diesel-powered models have been rigged to pass vehicle emissions ,the non repayment of loans by business organisations in India show s that ethics is degrading in businesses as well.

Constant communication between the management and employees is of utmost importance in inculcating workplace ethics, children need to be educated about what is right and wrong from the young age itself ,ethical committee need to be established in businesses to enforce ethics.