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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 29 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: changes in critical geographical features (including water bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

1) If climate change is going to influence monsoon vigour and availability in coming years, the time to take action and make changes is now. Examine.(250 words) 

The hindu

Why this question

As the monsoons approach, the horrors of the past few years, when climate change impacted the ability of monsoon to satiate India’s water needs, comes back to light. This is an important worry as droughts, lack of water for irrigation etc create huge economic and social losses. Hence this question

Key demand of the question

The question expects two broad explanations from us

  • What is the impact of climate change on monsoons in particular and water availability in general
  • What should be the steps to be taken for dealing with this situation

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 . Apart from the key demands we have to analyze the steps taken so far and the effectiveness of those steps in dealing with water shortage on account of climate change.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – introduce your answer by explaining the linkage between climate change and monsoon as well as water availability.


  • Examine the impact of this acute shortage each year that the monsoon fails. Bring out the impact by discussing it under heads like economic cost, social cost etc
  • Examine the steps that have taken in dealing with this situation and effectiveness of these steps. Also bring out whether these are steps are more of the same usual steps being taken or whether these are chosen by analysing the problem and responding accordingly
  • Mention the changes that are required in monsoon and water management to ensure that this annual uncertainty is best dealt with.

Conclusion – Mention that as anthropogenic factors start becoming more dominant, the time to prepare ourselves for adapting is now.

Relationship between climate change and monsoon :-

  • Rainfall extremes have increased threefold over the last few years and now extend over all of central India from Gujarat to Odisha.
  • The floods of 2017 are quite consistent with this pattern; the moisture is derived from the northern Arabian Sea and not from depressions in the Bay of Bengal
  • For the third year in a row, India’s monsoon season has produced floods in the northwest and the northeast, while southern parts of the country have suffered from a rainfall deficit. 
  • The onset of the monsoon has been delayed almost every year since 1976, when there was a regime shift in climate around the world from a weak to a strong El Nino period. Since this time, monsoons have also been ending sooner so the length of the rainy season has been compressed. 
  • During the monsoon season, there are usually random “break periods” when there is hardly any rainfall. These periods are associated with systems moving northwards from the equatorial region.  Global warming and climate change is shortening the length of the “active periods” when it does rain, while lengthening the break periods. 
  • So, just about everything about the monsoon is changing rainfall intensity, duration, frequency and spatial distribution.
  • Anthropogenic aerosols emitted through human activities might be a more important factor for change in monsoon patterns. .
  • Climate models have indicated with high confidence that climate change will lead to an increase in extreme rainfall events.
  • For India, the average monsoon rainfall is expected to increase initially and then reduce after a few decades. 


Impact :-

  • Climate change will cause low-pressure systems (LPSs) that create the Indian monsoon rains to shift northwards. The resulting reduction in rainfall that some areas will experience could have a major impact on agriculture. This can affect the livelihood of farmers and can lead to increase in farmers suicides
  • Monsoons are erratic, perhaps increasingly so because of climate change.
  • Food prices soar, the poor go hungry, reservoirs empty and power cuts hamstring businesses.
  • The impact even ripples overseas as commodity markets are starved of Indian sugar and rice.
  • Poor monsoons delay planting and produce smaller yields of crops such as rice, corn, sugar cane and oilseeds. That can accelerate food inflation
  • About 800 million of India’s 1.3 billion people count on agriculture for a living, yet less than half of its farmland have access to irrigation. 
  • India faces major threats to its water security, with most water bodies near urban centres heavily polluted. Inter-State disputes over river resources are also becoming more intense and widespread.
  • Along with water scarcity, there is the issue of water quality. A Central Pollution Control Board report indicates that almost half of India’s inter-State rivers are polluted. It found that the untreated sewage and industrial waste was a major cause of pollution
  • India’s water problem is being caused by several factors  like  increase in population, reduced rainfall, encroachment of water bodies, poor handling of industrial waste water, exploitation of natural resources, change in food consumption pattern etc. have all come together to deplete the amount of water available.

Measures taken for water conservation and management :-

  • Gujarat  State government has embarked on a labour- intensive programme to desilt rivers and water bodies ahead of the rains.
  • Government of India has launched National Water Mission with the objective of conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring more equitable distribution both across and within states through integrated water resources development and management.
  • River rejuvenation:-
    • With deteriorating quality of water in Ganga and Yamuna in 1985, the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Phase I, followed by GAP Phase II, starting in 1993.
    • Similarly, the Yamuna Action Plan (YAP) was also started in 1993 as a bilateral project with the Japanese Government.
    • In 2009, the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) with the Prime Minister as its Chairman, was formed.
    • The total expenditure till March 2014 was Rs986.34 crore. In July, 2014, the Modi Government launched the Namami Gange Project with more or less the same purpose as the GAP has served.
  • Government  has  focussed on cleaning the Gangesbut there has been little progress so far on a project which has defeated successive administrations, despite substantial funding.
  • Declaration of the Ganga and the Yamuna as living entitiessignals a renewed effort to rescue our rivers. 
  • Groundwater:-
    • Groundwater Bill, 2017:-
      • The bill proposes a new regulatory framework based on the recognition of the unitary nature of groundwater pool, the need for decentralised control and the necessity to protect water at the aquifer level.
      • It recognition water as a public trust and a fundamental right.
      • The Bill also builds on the decentralisation mandate and seeks to give regulatory control over groundwater resources to local bodies.
      • The proposed new regime will benefit the resource, through the introduction of groundwater security plans and valuable local participation.
      • This will serve as a mandate to use groundwater wisely, protect it for our own benefit, as well as for future generations.
    • The World Bank’s Water Scarce Cities Initiative seeks to promote an integrated approach to managing water resources and service delivery in water-scarce cities as the basis for building resilience against climate change
      • 6,000-crore World Bank-aided Atal Bhujal Yojana with community participation is prepared to ensure sustained groundwater management in overexploited and ground water-stressed areas in seven States. 
    • Government of India is committed to accord high priority to water conservation and its management. To this effect Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) has been formulated with the vision of extending the coverage of irrigation ‘Har Khet ko pani’ and improving water use efficiency ‘More crop per drop’ in a focused manner with end to end solution on source creation, distribution, management, field application and extension activities. 
    • According to the annual report of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, about 77% of rural habitations in India have achieved a fully covered status under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme, and 55% of the rural population have access to tap water
      • Ministry has also taken special steps to address the issue of water quality. A sub-mission programme is being implemented to eliminate the problems of water quality in about 28,000 habitations affected by arsenic and fluoride by 2020

Criticism :-

  • There are different municipal agencies and government bodies, often working at cross purposes, who are supposed to be working to save rivers.
  • Yamuna River Project has not addressed the issue of environmental flow which is crucial to save a river.
    • It does not tell the action plans for rejuvenation of the river and its riparian ecosystem that generate ecological services including the storage of flood water, enhanced recharging of ground water, flood regulation, treatment of sewage before and after discharging into river.
  • Straightening of rivers is entirely opposed to their ecological integrityand is environmentally destructive and downright dangerous to the river banks and riverine population.
  • There is no understanding of river hydrology and floodplains, which form diverse habitats for flora and fauna. Here lies the root of the problem,
  • Water in India is a state government subject and water laws are state-based. The state has the constitutional power to make laws, to implement and regulate water supplies, irrigation and canals, drainage and embankments, water storage and hydropower. This creates conflicts between centre and state.
  • There is nothing in the constitutionor law that shows an understanding of what a river is, what services it provides or the conservation of rivers
  • There is no legal protection for rivers in India. This is the reason various legal and institutional measures such as the Water Pollution Act, CPCB, the state pollution control boards, Ganga Action Plan, Yamuna Action Plan and the National River Conservation Plan have yielded no results.
  • Successive governments have ignored river protectionand a proposal for a river regulation zone has been gathering dust for over a decade.
  • Government resolution (GR) mentions desilting, straightening and deepening of rivers.This is not river rejuvenation.
  • Government is just focusing on pollution and trying to find an engineering solution while ignoring the core issue, the ecological problem.
  • Open defecation in the rivers
  • Groundwater exploitation still very high
  • India receives an average rainfall of 1,170 mm per year, it is estimated that only 6% of rainwater is stored.
  • Unless drastic measures are taken to minimise water usage, the day may not be far off when authorities will be forced to ration water supply in cities like Bengaluru, which has been ranked second in the list of 11 global cities which might face the imminent threat of running out of drinking water. 


What else is needed :-

  • Genetically modified plants suited to droughts might help, as would selecting more appropriate crops than thirsty rice and sugar cane in water-scarce regions. 
  • Tackling India’s chronic air pollution may be among the most effective policies.
  • The monsoon itself is highly variable. This underscores the need for comprehensive reforms at the level of States, with the Centre helping to conserve hydrological resources.
  • There is also the challenge of reducing demand for farming, given that the Mihir Shah Committee estimated public irrigation efficiency to be a low 35%. Farmers need to be helped with the latest technologies to cut water use.
  • Development needs to be climate-smart, but also avoid social and institutional challenges such as moral hazard.
  • Cities could be laid out to reduce flooding by following natural contours, drainage and tank systems. Emergency responders should be well prepared to transport and care for people who may become stranded during disasters.
  • Regional and transboundary cooperation in water security :-
  • India must take the lead in consulting SAARC nations to foster information sharing and joint management of transboundary water resources and perhaps shape a common stance on international climate change negotiations
  • Rain water harvesting to recharge aquifer and fill up ponds/lakes, leveraging MGNREGA to build harvesting capacity
  • Micro irrigation:-
    • In the light of PMKSY, aiming towards per drop more crop, farmers should be aware and incentivised towards drip and sprinkler irrigation. This will prevent water wastage and increase water productivity.
  • Using M-Kisan, extension service and awareness to farmers to use mixed cropping, incentivising horticulture-millet-pulses sowing can be done. This will reduce water guzzling crops like rice and sugarcane.
  • Nature-based solutions hold great promise in areas which also include sustainable food production, improved human settlements, access to drinking water supplies and sanitation, water-related disaster risk reduction, and helping to respond to the impact of climate change on water resources.
    • Environmentally-friendly agricultural systems like those which use practices such as conservation tillage, crop diversification, legume intensification and biological pest control work as well as intensive, high-input systems. 
    • Constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment can also be a cost-effective, nature-based solution that provides effluent of adequate quality for several non-potable uses (irrigation) and additional benefits that include energy production. 
    • Watershed management is another nature-based solution
  • Encourage traditional water systems:-
    • Ecologically safe engineering marvels of water conservation have existed in India for nearly 1,500 years, including traditional systems of water harvesting, such as the bawari, jhalara, nadi, tanka, and khadin.
    • They continue to remain viable and cost-effective alternatives for replenishing depleted groundwater aquifers. With government support, they could be revived, upgraded and productively combined with modern rainwater-saving techniques such as anicuts, percolation tanks, injection wells and subsurface barriers. This may be a far more sustainable approach to alleviating the water scarcity crisis across India.
    • The basic concept underlying all these techniques is that rain should be harvested whenever and wherever it falls.
  • Urban India needs to focus on recycling and harvesting water, having better testing and purification facilities and increase public awareness on the need to conserve water. 
  • International examples:-
    • Israel has been a role model for the world in matters of water management with its innovation of drip irrigation. The country has also set the template for reusing wastewater in irrigation. It treats 80 percent of its domestic wastewater, which is recycled and constitutes nearly 50 percent of the total water used for agriculture. Israel now saves as candlelight for countries like India.
    • Israel’s drip and micro-irrigation solutions rapidly spread worldwide. Just one recent example of how this method has impacted food supply in foreign countries is Tipa, literally “Drop,” an Israeli-developed kit that has allowed 700 farming families in Senegal to reap crops three times a year instead of just once, even on infertile land.
  • Large catchment areas need to be developed around water bodies so that natural recharge of groundwater takes place. A good example is the Seog catchment area which has been denoted as a wildlife sanctuary and where no construction is allowed.
  • Greywater recycling, a method of recycling wastewater from kitchen sinks, showers and laundry fixtures.
    • Greywater recycling helps reduce household water usage by about 50% .


General Studies – 2

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States
and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted
for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

2) In order to make Ayushman Bharat scheme a success, certain key issues plaguing India’s healthcare sector need to be resolved. Analyse.(250 words)

The hindu


Why this question

Ayushman Bharat scheme is a recently mooted health scheme that aims to transform the health sector in India. However, without catering to some of the issues plaguing health sector, the scheme will not be successful. The question is related to GS 2 syllabus under the following heading-

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to dig deeper into the issue and find out the problems/ issues with our healthcare system that should be necessarily resolved in order to make Ayushman Bharat scheme a success.

Directive word

Analyse- we have to analyse the present health care system and bring out the important issues which need to be resolved at any cost, in order to achieve the desired aims of the scheme.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– mention the aim of Ayushman Bharat scheme and highlight the key strategy designated to achieve those aims.

Body- Discuss in points, what are the issues faced by present healthcare system and which need to be necessarily resolved.

e.g perennial shortage of infrastructure and human resources at primary levels, particularly in Northern states of India,  lack of dedicated resources ( health budget has not been increased), regulation of healthcare sector ( need for bringing transparency in pricing, treatment protocols etc.), problem with cashing out of insurance sum etc.

Conclusion-Bring out a fair, balanced and concise conclusion on the desirability of Ayushman Bharat scheme and highlight the most important reforms which need to be implemented for making the scheme a success.


  • India is concerned with many health issues be it malnutrition, infant mortality, rising non communicable diseases, growing number of deaths due to cancer etc. The national health protection scheme or the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme is the step in the right direction which can give impetus to healthcare in India.


Ayushman Bharat scheme:-

  • Aims to roll out comprehensive primary health care with Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) serving as the people-centric nuclei. A nationwide network of 1.5 lakh HWCs will be created by transforming the existing sub-centres and primary health-care centres by 2022. This will constitute the very foundation of New India’s health care system. HWCs will help unleash a people’s movement for a healthy India.
  • The scheme has two components:
    • Upgrading the 150,000 sub-centres (for a 5,000 population level) into wellness clinics that provide 12 sets of services
    • Providing health security to 40% of India’s population requiring hospitalisation for up to a sum assured of 5 lakh per year per family

Problems with Indian healthcare system:-

  • Massive shortages in the supply of services (human resources, hospitals and diagnostic centres in the private/public sector) which are made worse by grossly inequitable availability between and within States.
    • For example, even a well-placed State such as Tamil Nadu has an over 30% shortage of medical and non-medical professionals in government facilities.
  • Health budget:-
    • The health budget has neither increased nor is there any policy to strengthen the public/private sector in deficit areas.
    • While the NHPS provides portability, one must not forget that it will take time for hospitals to be established in deficit areas. This in turn could cause patients to gravitate toward the southern States that have a comparatively better health infrastructure than the rest of India.
  • Infrastructure constraints:-
    • There are doubts on the capacity of this infrastructure to take on the additional load of such insured patients from other States, growing medical tourism (foreign tourists/patients) as a policy being promoted by the government, and also domestic patients, both insured and uninsured.
  • In the absence of market intelligence, arbitrary pricing and unethical methods cannot be ruled out:-
    • Aarogyasri scheme has only package rates, a procedure that all States have since followed as a model. Package rates are not a substitute for arriving at actuarial rating.
    • More importantly, there is no way the government or the payer has an idea of the shifts in the price of components within the package. This knowledge is essential to regulate/negotiate prices to contain costs. This also explains why there is no dent in the exorbitant health expenditures being faced in India despite government-sponsored schemes.
  • Absence of primary care:-
    • In the northern States there are hardly any sub-centres and primary health centres are practically non-existent.
    • The wellness clinic component is a step towards bridging that lacuna but funding constraints are here too.
  • Out of pocket expenditure high:-
    • Even the poor are forced to opt for private healthcare,  and, hence, pay from their own pockets. Resultantly, an estimated 63 million people fall into poverty due to health expenditure, annually. 
  • Inequities in the health sector exist due to many factors like geography,  socio-economic status and income groups among others. Compared with countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand and China, which started at almost similar levels, India lags behind peers on healthcare outcomes.
  • The Government has launched many policies and health programmes but success has been partial at best.
    • The National Health Policy(NHP) 2002 proposed to increase Government spending on health by two to three per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2010 which has not happened yet. Now, the NHP 2017, has proposed to take it to 2.5 per cent of the GDP by 2025.
  • Healthcare does not have holistic approach:-
    • There are a lot of determinants for better health like improved drinking water supply and sanitation; better nutritional outcomes, health and education for women and girls; improved air quality and safer roads which are outside the purview of the health Ministry.
    • These issues are increasingly being recognised with emerging challenges such as Anti-microbial resistance, air pollution, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
  • While private sector healthcare providers play an important role in the overall delivery of health services, any engagement of Government hospitals with private sector is seen with suspicion.
  • A number of health institutions, established since independence, seem to have outlived their utility for instance  institutions solely focus on family welfare.
  • Finally, universal health coverage (UHC) is a widely accepted and agreed health goal at the global level and has been included in the broader Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda as well. In India, the momentum seems to have been lost. The inclusion and articulation of core principles of UHC as central aim of NHP 2017, is a sign of hope. 
  • Rural medical practitioners (RMPs), who provide 80% of outpatient care, have no formal qualifications for it. 
  • Given low salaries, colleges face serious difficulties in filling the positions. The result has been extremely slow expansion of capacity in many states.
  • Pricing of medical equipment :-
    • Private hospitals are charging exorbitant prices for these and poor suffer the most and there is no price capping yet.


Way forward:-

  • There is a need for multi-sectoral planning and ‘health in all policies’ approach, where initiative of different departments and Ministries is developed and planned coordination, accountability  assigned and progress monitored jointly. It has to be coordinated at the level of Prime Minister or the Chief Minister’s office, as the case may be.
  • PPP in India needs a nuanced approach and systematic mechanisms, including legislation and regulatory aspects. The process requires wider stakeholder engagement and deliberations and oversight from top leadership.
  • There is a need to reform and re-design institutions to broader health system goals to contribute achieve sustainable development goals.
  • Policy proposals, such as setting up of Indian Medical Service, establishing public health cadre as well as mid-level healthcare providers and exploring lateral entry of technical experts in academic and health policy institutions, including in the health Ministry (up to the levels Joint Secretary and Additional Secretary levels) should be deliberated and given due priority.
  • A competitive price must be charged for services provided at public facilities as well. The government should invest in public facilities only in hard to reach regions where private providers may not emerge.
  • The government must introduce up to one-year long training courses for practitioners engaged in treating routine illnesses. This would be in line with the National Health Policy 2002, which envisages a role for paramedics along the lines of nurse practitioners in the United States.
  • There is urgent need for accelerating the growth of MBBS graduates to replace unqualified “doctors” who operate in both urban and rural areas. 
  • The government needs to provide adequate funding to improve the quality of services as well.
  • In a federal polity with multiple political parties sharing governance, an all-India alignment around the NHPS requires a high level of cooperative federalism, both to make the scheme viable and to ensure portability of coverage as people cross State borders.



  • Good health is part of ‘social contract’ between the Government and the people and essential for sustaining economic growth of the country. Seventy years of independence is an opportune time to revisit priorities and place health higher on policy and development agenda.

Topic:Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business,
powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

3)Discuss the legal, administrative and other issues associated with the idea of allocating cadres and services based on the combined score of CSE and FC.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The PMO has recently mooted the idea of including the score of Foundation Course (FC) in allocating the cadre and service in UPSC civil service exam. However, there are several issues involved. The question is related to GS 2 syllabus under the following heading-

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to simply highlight and describe in detail about the legal, administrative and other issues associated with the idea  of allocating cadres and services based on the combined score of CSE and FC. We have to highlight the issues under different headings separately here.

Directive word

Discuss- we have to be as exhaustive as possible in our answer. We have to write in detail about the legal, administrative and also if there is any other issue involved.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Mention the normal course followed for service and cadre allocation in CSE.

Also mention the recent proposal.

Body- Discuss in points, under different headings, what are the problems associated with the given idea.

E.g Legal issues-  Article 321 which only authorizes UPSC to conduct UPSC exam will be violated, article 316 ( security of tenure of UPSC members) and article 319 ( bars from holding further office) will not be applicable on directors of academies where FC is done.

Administrative issues- Lack of capacity in present academies to conduct FC, Issue with cadre and service allocation in cases where people take EOLs (Extra-ordinary leave) etc.

Other issues- politicization of the process, higher chances of corruption etc

Conclusion– Bring out a fair, balanced opinion on the need to bring reform in the civil services exam and on the desirability of the present idea.


  • Recently Prime Minister’s Office made a proposal that it wants to alter that process and allot services and cadres to candidates only after taking into account how they fare in the Foundation Course.

Legal issues :-

  • Articles 315 to 323 of the Constitution deal with Public Service Commissions of the Union and the States.
  • Article 320(1) says: It shall be the duty of the Union and the State Public Service Commission to conduct examinations for appointments to the services of the Union and the services of the State respectively.
  • Thus, the duty of conducting the CSE is vested only in the UPSC. If the marks secured in the foundation course in the training academy are included for allocation for services, it would make the training academy an extended wing of the UPSC, which it is not. Therefore the new proposal violates Article 320(1).
  • This move of deciding service after the foundation course would lead to large-scale litigation by bureaucrats right at the beginning of their careers.
  • Service recruitment rules will have to be amended to accommodate the new idea.

Administrative :-

  • The Director and the faculty members of the training academy that conducts the foundation course are mostly career civil servants on deputation who do not enjoy the constitutional protection that the UPSC members enjoy under article 316 and 319 nor is there any bar on their holding further posts. This means that the Director and faculty members will not be able to withstand pressure from politicians, senior bureaucrats and others to give more marks to favoured candidates.
  • There is also the grave risk of corruption in the form of ‘marks for money’ in the training academy.
  • Politicisation and communalisation of the services are likely to take place from the beginning.
  • Infrastructural issues:-
    • The training academy has facilities to handle not more than 400 candidates for the foundation course. With only about 12 faculty members in the training academy in Mussoorie, the trainer-trainee ratio for the foundation course is very high, and it will be impossible to do the kind of rigorous and objective evaluation that is required under the government’s new proposal.
    • The evaluation of the trainees will be even less rigorous and objective when the foundation course is conducted in training academies situated elsewhere.
    • The inclusion of the highly subjective foundation course marks can play havoc with the final rankings and with the allocation of services and cadres can impact many careers.
  • Rewriting exam:-
    • Nearly 60-70% of the candidates qualifying for the IPS and Central Services Group A do not join the foundation course in Mussoorie as they prepare for the civil services (main) examination again to improve their prospects.
    • Clearly, it is not possible to evaluate such candidates in the foundation course as contemplated in the new proposal.
    • They cannot be compelled to attend the foundation course because that would amount to depriving them of their chance of taking the examination again.

Other issues :-

  • The new proposal seeks to tinker with precisely that aspect of the civil services which is recruitment that is least in need of reform. The real problems of the civil services are with what happens after an officer joins the system.
  • No probationer will ask questions during the foundation course for fear of getting a poor assessment and a service they do not want.
  • In the present system, the moment their cadre is allotted, probationers start developing a loyalty to that state, start learning its language and history and interacting with people of that state. All of this will now get upended.
  • Technical issues
    • The proposal raises a whole lot of technical questions that cannot be easily resolved given the current system of service allocation and training.
    • The first question is about what the foundation course will consist of.
  • Constraints with academies:-
    • Pliant academies with extraordinary powers will open the doors of sought-after services to people whose ideological outlook suits the government, creating a loyal or committed bureaucracy over the long haul.
  • Could give rise to a trend where high-ranking candidates will no longer get services of their choice.
  • Will destroy the purpose for which officers go through the Foundation Course as probationers will compete for every mark so that they get the service of their choice.
  • Using a probationer’s performance in the foundation course to decide his or her service will ruin whatever objectivity the UPSC examination provides and put pressure on probationers to appeal to the subjective assessments of their examiners.


  • There is no doubt that reforms are necessary but any decision needs to be taken only after dialogue and discussion involving multiple stakeholders especially aspirants as well whose life is at stake.


TopicIndia and its neighborhood- relations.

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

4)If the idea of Asia drew Delhi and Jakarta close in the 1950s, it might well be the Indo-Pacific that will provide the framework for long overdue strategic re-engagement. Comment.(250 words)

Indian express


Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to trace the evolution of India-Indonesia relationship- how it started and how it progressed. It then wants us to highlight the present situation which shows the importance/ role of the Indo-pacific in strengthening the relationship.

Directive word

Comment- We have to present our opinion on the key demand of the question. We have to backup our opinion with necessary facts/ arguments/ examples.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Mention the common colonial oppression faced by the two countries and their common views on colonialism which ultimately led to Bandung conference, an important step towards  Non-Alignment.


  1. Discuss the issues which led India and Indonesia ignore the relationship.

E.g India-Russia partnership vs Indonesia-US partnership, No shared land border, India’s concentration its northern and western borders neglecting seas, Rise of ASEAN etc.

  1. Discuss the factor which demands strengthening of the relationship.

E.g rise in economic and population size, dilution of NAM, growing importance of maritime trade and movement, growing contestation over Indo-Pacific region etc.

Conclusion- Briefly discuss further the importance of Indo-Pacific region for both the countries.



  • Separated by a mere 90 nautical miles in the Indian Ocean, India and Indonesia share a continuity of civilizational relationship that spans over two millennia.
  • Whether it is the annual Balijatra celebrated in Odisha or the legends of Ramayana and Mahabharata, which are visible across the entire landscape of Indonesia, these unique cultural threads umbilically bind the peoples of Asia’s.
  • In the mid 20th century, anti-colonial solidarity and Bandung conference brought them together

Why relationship went bad:-

  • A variety of internal, regional and global political developments widened the political gulf between India and Indonesia.
  • Ideology:-
    • If the domestic threat from Communism drove Jakarta decisively to the right from the late 1960s, India entered into a prolonged alliance with left wing politics and economics.
  • NAM:-
    • After Bandung, India turned its back on Asia and focused on the non-aligned movement. Indonesia moved towards the minor variant of Asianism in South East Asia.
  • Soviet union:-
    • India drifted towards a de-facto alliance with the Soviet Union, Indonesia feared Communist Russia and emphasised partnerships with the US and Japan.
  • Little maritime business:-
    • Although India and Indonesia have a shared sea frontier in the Indian Ocean, there was little maritime business between the two. 
  • The India-Indonesia relationship has been one of potential rather than realisation.
  • Even though both the countries are separated by only 90 nautical miles there is no shared land border which kept the relations at bay

Need to strengthen relationship :-

  • Economic:-
    • Bilateral trade between India and Indonesia increased 2.5 times in the last ten years. President Joko Widodo’s State visit to India in 2016 has made a long-lasting impact on the bilateral relations.
    • Foreign investment:-
      • Indian investment in strategically important countries should thus be seen as an arm of its foreign policy. This has not been the case yet.
      • While there is already substantial Indian investment in areas like coal, textiles, steel, and the auto and banking sectors, much more can be done. Particular attention needs to be paid to increasing India’s presence in the manufacturing sector.
    • Geopolitical:-
      • Indonesia is a latent Asian power. It is the world’s largest archipelago, straddling the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
      • It can potentially control virtually all the straits linking the southern Indian Ocean to the South China Sea
      • Maritime interests:-
        • Recently the president of Indonesia said the country as a “maritime axis” requiring a strong naval force to protect its territorial integrity, fishing waters and energy interests, supported and funded by strong economic growth. This shows that the country has a strategic maritime vision for the first time.
        • There is no territorial conflict between the two nations at a moment when maritime disputes have taken centre stage is of much value for the re-engagement.
        • Both these nations can create a “maritime mandala” in the heart of the Indo-Pacific through a number of steps. These include developing shipping links, building new ports, promoting a blue economy in the Andaman Sea, and advancing cooperative security framework for the Malacca Straits and the Bay of Bengal.
      • Indo pacific:-
        • India is looking for partners who can play a stabilising role in the Indo-Pacific region as China is showing its naval muscle in the South China Sea and its strategic and commercial reach through the One Belt One Road initiative
        • India could recognise Indonesia’s centrality in the Indo-Pacific region and help work towards a future where both countries can be partners for security in the region. The political basis for such a relationship already exists in the Strategic Partnership agreed to in 2005.
          • Such a partnership would also be a hedge against dependence on big powers outside the region whose commitment to regional security is subject to their own shifting perceptions.
        • Jakarta is looking to complement the centrality of ASEAN with a larger vision of the Indo-Pacific, a geopolitical construct that India too has adopted.
        • Both Delhi and Jakarta are eager to look beyond their immediate neighbourhood and play a larger role in promoting peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.
        • Indonesia unveiled the ambition to turn Indonesia into a “global maritime fulcrum” by taking advantage of its special geographic position as the land bridge and sea link between the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
      • Cultural:-
        • Indonesia and India can also provide complementary models for the coexistence of religious minorities with majoritarian communities in Asia based on their own traditions of coexistence.
        • In the areas of education, culture, and people-to-people relations, a thrust could be given to Indian Council for Cultural Relations scholarships in Indian universities, increased slots for training under the Indian Technical and Economic Corporation programme, closer academic exchanges, and vocational training by Indian companies in Indonesia.
        • India could also learn lessons on tourism promotion from Indonesia.
      • Connectivity:-
        • Of particular interest to India from a connectivity point of view should be the Medan industrial zone in north Sumatra. A shipping service from Chennai or Krishnapatnam to Medan via the Andaman Islands could be used to export Indian goods to offset, at least partly, the large imbalance in India’s trade with Indonesia.
      • Self-awareness in Delhi and Jakarta of their growing regional and international weight:-
        • India and Indonesia are slowly but surely breaking out of the foreign policy mindsets shaped for long by non-alignment.

General Studies – 3

Topic – transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints

5)The aim of creating a truly unified NAM with an efficient price discovery mechanism is still a far-fetched dream. Critically examine.(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

NAM has been in news since the present government has come in power as APMC reforms were high on the government agenda, so was e-NAM. It would be an opportune moment for stock taking on the reforms that have taken place in the arena of transport and marketing of agricultural produce.

Key demand of the question

The focus of the question is on establishing the progress that has been made when it comes to creating a truly unified NAM that serves two major purposes – unify agricultural markets so as to  deal with the fragmentation of markets and enable efficient price discovery. We have to critically examine the progress that has been made in achieving this. If not, then how to ensure that unified NAM will be a reality.

Directive word

Critically 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 . When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – We have to mention that agriculture has been a focus area with promises of doubling farmers income by 2022. Marketing reforms are a crucial piece in that jigsaw puzzle.


  • Highlight the issues with agricultural markets
  • Highlight what the objective of the present government has been – eNAM and how that would bring in the advantages being talked about in the question
  • Also the kind of reforms required in APMC
  • The progress in achieving a unified national market needs to be examined – bring out both the hits and misses (latter will be more)
  • Thereafter, examine how can we improve the marketing of agricultural produce going ahead

Conclusion – Mention the critical role that unified market will play in improving the status quo of the farmers and how to bring in reforms.




  • Single national agriculture market (NAM) was launched in 2016 in the country, with a view to enable farmers to get a better price and for consumers to pay a lower price for agri-produce, a win-win situation at both ends of agri-value chains.
  • It was launched with the goal of formulating a unified national market for agricultural commodities by integrating Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees or APMCs across states in India.


  • Quite commendably, as on March 2018, all targeted mandis, i.e., 585 that are in 16 states and 2 UTs, (Chandigarh and Puducherry), have been integrated with the NAM-platform.
  • Recently government has also sanctioned 75 lakh to each mandi to set up facilities for cleaning, grading and packaging of produce. The funds are welcome especially because assaying of produce is an important aspect of the e-NAM concept itself. The plan of a single national agricultural market based on an electronic platform is an excellent one.
  • e-NAM was to help farmers find the best possible price for their produce by expanding the market nationally and eliminating middlemen. 
  • The highlight of the scheme is the single point levy of market fees, i.e. on the first wholesale purchase from the farmer.
  • The provision lets farmers to showcase their produce in nearby markets and facilitate traders from anywhere to quote price.
  • The portal enables harmonisation of quality standards of agricultural produces and provision for assaying (quality testing) infrastructure in every market that will pave way for informed bidding by buyers.
  • There will be liberal licensing of traders or buyers and commission agents enabled by state authorities without any precondition of physical presence or possession of shop /premises in the market yard.
  • Under the scheme, a provision of Soil Testing Laboratories in or near the selected mandi (market) has been set up. This will help visiting farmers access the facility in the mandi itself.






  • States role:-
    • Only 10 States have amended the law to allow e-mandis since the national roll-out ten months ago.
    • Most of the reported transactions are intra-mandi. Inter-mandi and inter-state trading on the platform are minimal. What this means is that the states on e-NAM have not been able to provide farmers with better price discovery in other mandis of the same state or across states.
    • E-payment facility is not available in most mandis, and that there is no competitive bidding reported in these states. This clearly implies that the monopoly of the APMCs continues unabated even in the 18 states/UTs, and the aim of creating a truly unified NAM with an efficient price discovery mechanism is still a far-fetched dream. 
  • Infrastructure:-
    • Even as the Centre works with States to persuade them, infrastructure such as reliable third-party certification for the produce in every mandi and robust computer systems, including uninterrupted web connectivity, need to be put in place.
  • Middlemen influence:-
    • The hold of the middleman, who often is also the financier of the farmer against a pledge of the produce is not completely broken.
  • The challenges posed by present day APMCs :-
    • Fragmentation of Stateinto multiple market areas, each administered by separate APM
    • Separate licensesfor each mandi are required for trading in different market areas within a state. This means that there is  limited first point of sale for the farmer.
    • Licensing barriers leading to conditions of monopoly
    • Opaque process for price discovery
    • An overwhelming majority of farmers still rely on the same broken system of markets under APMC, which is monopolistic and rent-seeking, with high commissions, especially for perishables.
  • Fruits and vegetables, where there often are prices fluctuations, are yet to be included in the NAM platform
  • Country’s two biggest mandis Azadpur (Delhi) and Vashi (Mumbai) have not yet agreed to come on board
  • NAM does not say anything about interstate taxes and levie
  • Dominance of cash:-
    • Critical link was creating an electronic payment system that would allow the buyer credit the proceeds directly into the farmer’s bank account. But this has not taken off, and farmers continue to be paid in cash
    • Physical trading is still taking place even in mandis that are integrated with e-NAM.
  • Only a fraction are covered and constraints in calculations:-
    • The 585 mandis brought only 90.5 lakh farmers onto the platform, which is less than 7% of the 14 crore Indian farmers.
    • Close to 17 MMTs of quantity is reported to have been traded on the platform. But, this value is only about 2% of India’s total value of agricultural output.
    • Besides, this value is also artificially inflated by adding the value of MSP-procurement operations by states like Haryana.
    • By including such transactions made at fixed prices (MSP) by a fixed buyer (procurement agency) onto the e-NAM platform, the true spirit of e-NAM, i.e. of free and competitive marketing, fades.

Way forward :-

  • Following steps need to be taken in a concerted manner :-
    • Unyielding focus on agri-market reforms starting with basics of assaying, sorting, and grading facilities for primary produce as per nationally recognised and accepted standards
    • Creating suitable infrastructure at mandi-level (like godowns, cold storages, and driers) to maintain those standards
    • Bringing uniformity in commissions and fee structures that together do not go beyond, say 2%, of the value of produce
    • Evolving a national integrated dispute resolution mechanism to tackle cases where the quality of goods delivered varies from what is shown and bid for on the electronic platform. This would require significant investments, and changes in state APMC Acts. 
  • Roping in the private sector for investments would create jobs and promote efficient agri-value chains.
  • For the e-NAM network, which presently caters to 25 key commodities, purchasing at the MSP price should be made statutory.
  • Buying the produce from farmers below the MSP should be made illegal. The ‘model price’ that these markets offer should therefore be replaced with MSP.  
  • Instead of amending the APMC Act to take out fruits and vegetables from its activities, and eventually ending up with dismantling the regulated mandis, the focus should shift to expanding the network. Against the existing 7,000 APMC markets, India needs 42,000 regulated mandis.

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

6) Analyze whether capitalism was the reason for or an outcome of industrial revolution? Examine the factors that led to the rise of capitalism?(250 words)


Key demand of the question

We have to analyze the situation surrounding industrial revolution to understand whether capitalism led to industrial revolution or vice versa. Thereafter, we have to delve deeper into the factors that led to the rise of capitalism.

Directive word

Analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

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.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – explain capitalism


  • As a response to the first part of the question, you have to bring out that changes in economic system, including capitalism did not come about overnight but represented a gradual change in the economic system of the country. Both impacted the other and led to the other
  • Mention that intensification of capitalism happened post IR and explain how – factory system, rise in income leading to rise in demand leading to more production and requirement of profit for investment
  • Explain the factors that led to the rise of IR – need for land, labour and resources, renaissance leading to geographical exploration etc

Conclusion – Summarize the arguments made above and reiterate your conclusions.



  • The capitalist system is the most productive mode of production in the history of humankind. In the space of a few centuries the world has been transformed beyond all recognition. Average life expectancies have more than doubled. Technological developments occur at a rate that would have been previously unimaginable. More food, clothing and shelter can be produced using less labour than ever before. It would seem that the material problems of survival have finally been solved.
  • Instead of humankind controlling the fulfilment of its own development, humanity is at the mercy of an economic system which it has itself create

How capitalism contributed to industrial revolution:-

  • It is only under a capitalist system that factory owners have the monetary incentive to keep moving forward with technology in the factories (to make production faster and cheaper) and to create more varieties of goods .In any other economic system there is no competition, no choices for consumers, and no incentives to the factory owners to make changes.
  • Capitalism was the foundation for the Industrial Revolution. The idea behind the revolution was rampant consumerism. Capitalism and consumerism go hand in hand
  • Capitalism allowed the new generation of people to gain money and become involved and interested in the idea of investment. The investments allowed inventors and entrepreneurs to build the inventions, such as the blast furnace, railroads, vaccinations and much more.
    • Private investments, which are a form of capitalism, became a huge factor in allowing countries, such as Great Britain, to succeed in industrialization faster than other European countries, such as the Germanic states.
  • Loans from either private investors or, in Great Britain’s case, national banks, finally allowed great technologies a chance to actually be created and widely used, since railways could transport the machinery and technology much farther for much less money.
    • It was far easier to receive a loan from highly industrialized economies (ie. Britain), and these developing nations had high amounts of working class citizens an opportunity to get rich quickby either investing in or endorsing the industrialization process started by capitalist intentions.
  • The countries that accepted capitalism and made it easy for new investors to receive loans, such as Britain, industrialized faster than others, while countries that refused to allow national loans, such as France, and private investments, such as Russia, failed to industrialize as fast and did not succeed as fast as they could have .

How capitalism was an outcome of industrial revolution:-

  • Industrial Revolution created more goods, more choices and cheaper products which became an incentive for the development of capitalism.
  • There was an expansion of business with the Industrial Revolution, a change that provided poor people with jobs.  Given more purchasing power from having employment, the hitherto poor now had some money with which to become consumers.  As a result, small businesses were created to provide these new consumers with products for their homes, etc.  Of course, the large businesses profited, too, and capitalism expanded.
  • As industrialization occurred, companies got bigger and there came to be much more of a divide between the people who did the work and the people who supervised them and owned the factories where they worked.  The rise of these large firms is what really developed the wage labor-based capitalist system.
  • The power and influence of the capitalist system grew with the massive increase in the ability to concentrate capital in the hands of a smaller group of people. This became possible during the industrial revolution because of advances in production technology and the ability to mass-produce commonly used consumer items.
  • Capitalists mostly controlled the political sphere of the countries undergoing industrialization
  • Market expansion and increasing international trade opened the economies more and loosened State control

Rise of capitalism:-

  • Transition from feudalism to capitalism is often viewed as the result of a gradual and rising progress of technology, urbanisation, science and trade .
  • Agricultural revolution in Europe post feudalism i.e farm consolidation, labor employment, surplus production etc.
  • Monetisation of economy:
    • The introduction of money as a medium of exchange played a great role in the rise of capitalism in Europe.
    • Use of money in market, payment of salaries and wages.
  • Consequent rise in disposable income and consumerism.
  • Renaissance, its resultant scientific and industrial revolution.
  • Discovery of new sea routes, foreign lands and improvements in modes of transport and communication.
    • Trade routes also were deregulated as governments did not that much power to control and restrict trade.
  • Also inventions like the American clipper ship and the steamship allowed easier travel.
  • It also became what it was because of the increase in the supply of capital and efficient trade. This created the capital that entrepreneurs could use.
    • Through international trade form their colonies European countries accumulated lot of capital which led to rise of capitalism.
  • The hundred year war between British and French led to plundering of French towns and lot of accumulated capital to Britain.
  • Political revolutions also lead to end of feudalism and kept the means of production in the hands of capitalists.
  • Growth of population and towns led to availability of cheap labour  and many people were attracted to commerce.
  • Need for land, labour and resources.


Topic:Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance;

7) Discuss some of the ethical issues surrounding a modern police job.(250 words)



Why this question

This question is intended to build your capacity to analyse the ethical aspect of any job/ situation etc. The question is related to GS 4 syllabus under the following heading-

Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance;

Key demand of the question.

The question simply wants us to analyse the life of a police officer/ personnel and bring out the common ethical issues surrounding it.

Directive word

Discuss- we have to write in detail about the ethical issues involved here. We have to be as xhaustive as possible in such type of questions, which ask explicitly demand an answer on certain specific aspect.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Mention the modern police life- the key areas of work- prevention, investigation, interrogation etc.


Discuss in points the key ethical issues surrounding the police job.

E.g expectation of high standards in public as well as personal life, upholding law even when you feel the offender should be given lesser punishment/ let free, use of necessary force even in situations where the protests are legitimate etc. You can add further points to your answer.

Conclusion– Bring out a fair and balanced opinion on the positive and negative aspects of police job. You can also suggest some remedies to handle such situations.

It’s often said that no other profession demands a higher ethical standard than that of law is undeniable that there is an understandably tremendous degree of expectations placed upon police officers, and rightly so.

Ethical Issues:-

Police officers are expected and required to follow law enforcement ethics as defined by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. This code of ethics, which was written in 1957, often creates ethical issues or dilemmas for those serving to uphold the law. Five modern ethical issues in law enforcement involve the officer’s off-duty life, upholding the law and your rights, using necessary force, acting impartially and profiling.

Common ethical dilemmas in policing are well known. Examples include officers judgments about allegedly legitimate use of deception to further investigations; reporting fellow officers’ misconduct (what ethicists refer to as whistle-blowing decisions); compliance with seemingly unreasonable or unjust regulations, laws, and orders; and managing conflicts of interest (for example, when an officer investigates a matter that involves an acquaintance).

All police officers have the authority to use necessary force to uphold the law, but in some cases their use of force is unjustified. This ethical issue cops face each day can, and does, put their lives in danger when dealing with those individuals that are non-compliant.

Family is always secondary and it is the line of duty to serve the nation that comes first to a policemen.Even when the police officer is off duty ethical conduct and the same sense of responsibility towards society needs to be maintained yet appreciation from the society is constraining.

One of the ethical issues officers are faced with is the requirement to act impartially. Irrespective of the status, class, caste, relation etc of the accused they need to uphold law.

With little financial security policemen are conflicted with doing the right thing and be moral by not accepting bribes and be corrupt or getting unethical and corrupt.

Profiling has been a major component of policing since early days. It is critical for officers to use their discretion and judgment in determine the best course of action on a case-by-case basis. Unfortunately, modern-day society is rife with incorrect assumptions and stereotypes that result in unfair racial or ethical profiling cases every day. 


Therefore it is important to teach them about other critically important components of ethical decision-making. These include consulting with colleagues and superior officers; relevant police department regulations; federal and state laws; and, when appropriate, legal counsel.


Law enforcement agencies can use ethics consultants to sort through ethical challenges both case-specific and broader policy issues that are unique to policing. Ethics consultants can be particularly useful in agencies’ efforts to develop transparent citizen complaint and citizen oversight protocols.


Modern policing poses both acute and chronic ethical challenges and daunting circumstances that require sound moral judgment. To enhance both public trust in police and sound risk management, it behooves today’s police academies to offer recruits state-of-the-art ethics education that includes a comprehensive overview of complex ethical dilemmas; nuanced decision-making protocols and frameworks; and practical risk management strategies. Such efforts can go a long way toward strengthening the integrity of law enforcement agencies and officers and bending the arc of policing toward the kind of justice to which this honorable profession aspires.