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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 01 JUNE 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: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial
revolution, world wars.

1)The American War of Independence deprived Great Britain of one empire, but it strengthened the foundations of another. Examine.(250 words) 


Key demand of the question

The question expects us to examine whether the loss of British Control in America led to changes in its approach which enabled it to strengthen its hold over another empire (India). Thus we need to point out the steps British took in India post american declaration of independence that enabled it to strengthen its hold over India.

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.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that post american declaration of independence we lived in the era of pax Britannica which meant that Britain took learnings.

Body – Here we have to examine the steps taken by the British to consolidate its hold over India and the learning that British took from American revolution which enabled it to take these steps. Eg Pitts India act 1784, posting experience people in India like Cornwallis, lord Wellesley’s policy of territorial expansion etc

Conclusion – Mention your view on the assertion made in statement based on arguments made.



  • The American war of independence (1776-1783) was concluded by which British had to recognize the freedom of the 13 American colonies. British had lost their territories and market for their factory goods especially the monopoly of Tea etc. They also lost their source of raw materials like cotton in America. So they shifted their focus towards east.
  • Britain’s defeat in the American War of Independence meant the loss of the American colonies and the end of the ‘first British Empire’.

Steps taken by the British to consolidate its hold over India :-

  • Britain regarded itself as ‘ruler of the waves’. The songs ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ show this. Many British people at the time thought that they were doing the right thing by taking the British government and Christianity to the rest of the world, ending slavery and barbaric traditions and bringing ‘civilisation’ and an international ‘Pax Britannica’, or ‘British peace’. The British generally felt that the way they lived their lives was the right way. 
  • Empire was now more than just about discovering new lands and building them up. Most of the world was now known and belonged to someone. Therefore, the British had to colonise established countries with populations and leadership systems of their own.
  • Great Britain’s attitude toward how to build its empire changed as well. Britons began to think of colonization more in terms of conquest and annexation and, as a result, it governed its colonies in a more authoritarian manner.
  • It led to Pitts India act in 1784, by which British government brought the East India Company’s rule in India under the control of itself. This Act provided for the appointment of a Board of Control, and provided for a joint government of British India by both the Company and the Crown with the government holding the ultimate authority.
  • It was done in the wake of fear of losing monopolies and market of India and to prevent Indian people to revolt on the lines on America. The governor general post was established in British India to control the administration under the crown rule directly.
  • The new administration expended their military strength and focused on the expansion of the territory by any means. Lord cornwallis who played in controlling the American Revolution to some extent was transferred to India to use his experience and not to repeat the mistakes which have been done earlier.
  • Britain had to find new market for its factory goods and raw material for their factory and to
    protect its monopoly of trade in india to compensate the loss in America. It initiated differential trade tariff and started building railways to give competitive effect to their goods in indian market and use india as raw material hub.
  • It uses both expansionist tactics like subsidiary alliance and friendship to consolidate their control over the administration of country.
  • British also took initiative to knock out French from India by annexing Yanam and Pondicherry and also defeated their alliance of Mysore.

The learning that British took from American revolution which enabled it to take these steps:-

  • American Revolution influence even the colonial policy towards white dominated colonies like South Africa, Canada Australia and New Zealand. Earlier they were give the concession in course of time they were offered even dominion status. Furthermore in context of India, Pits India act was introduced after losing America. Britain move towards India and gave this colony higher value. After American revolution British modified its policy even to Ireland.
  • Great Britain may have lost the thirteen colonies in America, but it still had Canada and land in the Caribbean, Africa, and India. Great Britain began to expand in these regions, building up what has been called the Second British Empire, which eventually became the largest dominion in world history.
  • Indeed, some historians argue that support for the crown grew. Political life quickly settled into much the same patterns as before the war, albeit with a greater emphasis placed on public opinion, a stronger sense of political parties and more concern with economic reform and corruption.
  • Demobilisation caused temporary difficulties, but low tariffs helped to stimulate trade and the economy recovered rapidly: by the 1790s, Americans were purchasing twice as much from Britain as they had as colonists in the 1760s.


  • In the end, although Great Britain suffered temporarily due to the American Revolution, it eventually became an even more powerful and expansive empire as a result of it.


General Studies – 2

Topic:Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

2) In using VVPAT machines to reassure sceptics about an election’s integrity, the ECI has introduced a new element, and cost, to the process, which needs to be urgently addressed. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu


Why this question

Electronic voting machines have made the election process simpler and more convenient. However, using of Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) has added complexity to the system whose failure is manifested in glitches observed in the recent elections. The issue is related to the GS 2 syllabus under the following heading-

Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to express our knowledge as well as opinion on the given issue- how the introduction of VVPATs has introduced a new element, and cost to the election process and how should we proceed further in this matter.

Directive word

Comment- we have to express our understanding of the issue and after discussing the relevant material, we have to present our opinion on what should be done in this matter.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Briefly describe the VVPAT system and how it works.


  1. Discuss why VVPAT system was introduced- to allay the fears about the hacking of EVMS.
  2. Discuss the failure rates and reasons for failure- Lack of familiarity with VVPAT system, Hot weather etc.
  3. Discuss how should we proceed further in this matter- e.g deploying the VVPAT machines in a limited, statistically significant, randomly chosen set of polling booths or giving up VVPAT altogether. Also, add reasons for your opinion.

Conclusion- Bring out a fair, concise and a balanced opinion on the given issue in the form of a summary of the above-held discussion. Mention the harms of frequent glitches on the voters trust and on the functioning of the democracy to bring out an urgency in dealing with the mater.



  • Recently there have been high incidences of glitches in the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines in the by-elections in UP and Maharashtra and this has become a major cause of concern for the Election Commission of India.

VVPAT system:-

  • Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines are used during election process to verify that the vote polled by a voter goes to the correct candidate. VVPATs are a second line of verification.
  • VVPAT system gives instant feedback to the voter showing that the vote polled has in fact been allotted against the candidate chosen.
  • Working:-
    • After a voter presses the button on the EVM against the chosen candidate, the VVPAT prints a slip containing name of the candidate and the election symbol and drops it automatically into a sealed box.
    • The machines give the chance for the voter to verify their vote. The machine is placed in a glass case in a way that only the voter can see it. The slip is displayed to the voter for seven seconds after which the VVPAT machine cuts it and drops in into the storage box with a beep. The machines can be accessed, though, by the polling officials and not by the voter.

Why was it implemented:-

  • The VVPAT was added to the EVM to audit the voter tallies stored in the machine.
  • This system was deemed necessary as many political parties complained about the possible hacking of EVMs.
  • VVPAT implementation was hastened to bring back trust in the election process.
  • Supreme Court of India has for long held a supportive and extra cautious stand when it comes to voting. It had directed the EC in 2013 to introduce VVPAT in Lok Sabha Elections 2014 to improve voter confidence and ensuring transparency of voting


Glitches seen in this system:-

  • Machine malfunction and subsequent delays in polling have been recurring issues since VVPAT implementation.
    • The VVPAT is also prone to malfunctions, a few being paper jamming, running out of battery and unavailability of ink and electricity, which is true for the elections cast in rural areas of India.
    • Even the stored ballot paper or the audit can be tampered with as the VVPAT does not offer any solution to differentiate between a legitimate and fraudulent ballot. 
  • Close to 4.2% of the VVPAT machines deployed in the Karnataka elections recently developed glitches during the testing as well as polling processes. 
  • ECI has suggested that
    • These machines were more prone to malfunctioning due to their sensitivity to extreme weather conditions and exposure to light.
    • It also blamed the relative inexperience of polling officers handling them, compared to the ballot and control units for the electronic voting machines (EVMs) that have been in use for much longer. 
  • The use of these machines has added to the complexity of an otherwise simple, single programmable-chip based system, and rendered it prone to more glitches.
  • In using VVPAT machines to reassure skeptics about an election’s integrity, the ECI has introduced a new element, and cost, to the process. 
  • Few voters actually notice if the printout doesn’t match their vote.
    • A research conducted in Georgia suggests that a considerable amount of voters do not even verify their vote as the verification is voluntary and not necessary.
  • In case the voter does detect a discrepancy, they have to go through the arduous process of casting the vote again which can compromise the secrecy of the vote.
  • Observing the pattern of the paper audit of the voter can lead to “ballot stuffing.” There are inherent storage concerns too since the ballot paper is printed on thermal paper whose print fades with time.

Way forward:-

  • ECI should consider deploying the VVPAT machines in a limited, statistically significant, randomly chosen set of polling booths. This will reduce the possibility of glitches affecting the polling process as well-tested machines could be deployed  to such booths.
  • Counting of VVPAT slips by randomly choosing one booth from each constituency need to be done.
  • In a country where 1.3 million EVMs are not VVPAT equipped, it would take time before the technical issues have been ironed out. If the inherent lacunae are solved, VVPAT can be an effective alternative. This would entail that it becomes audio verified, independent of battery and include the usage of sustainable inks and employment of more efficient workforce to manage errors.

Topic: India and its neighbourhood 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. Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

3) India should not focus too much on joining NSG. Examine in the light of the evolution of India as a responsible nuclear power.(250 words)

The  hindu

Why this question

India recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of Pokhran tests- officially declared India as a nuclear power. The journey thereafter has not been smooth but why large India has successfully managed to establish its image as a responsible nuclear power. The issue is related to GS 2 syllabus under the following heading –

India and its neighbourhood 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.

Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to write in detail about the evolution of India’s nuclear programme and strategy thank you reasons for why India should not worry too much about joining NSG.

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. Here we have to give reasons in support of the statement that India should not invest too much energy in its bid to join NSG. We have to see how India could achieve the desired objectives without being a member of NSG.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – give a brief description of NSG- 1968 requirement.


  1. Discuss in paragraphs, how India reacted post-Pokhran tests. We have to lay stress on presenting those aspects/facts/ arguments which establish the opinion that India should not invest too much energy in pursuing NSG membership.

e.g India’s no first use policy, adherence to the terms of NPT without being a member, India-US Nuclear deal and the 2008 NSG waiver which enables India to effectively harness nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Conclusion- give a fair, concise and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.


  • Between  May 11th – 13th of 1998  India took a leap into the unknown world of nuclear weapon powers with the five tests at Pokhran .Recently India completed 20 years of conducting this tests.


India has been a responsible power :-

  • Today India occupies a special position as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology.
  • This status is a product and a reflection of the steady attempt by India to shift attention away from its nuclear weapons and towards its civil nuclear technology.
  • Indian diplomacy triumphed in turning a grave crisis into an opportunity by securing legitimacy for its nuclear arsenal and removing obstacles in generating nuclear power. 
  • Nuclear dealshave brought India to the nuclear mainstream and opened up the global nuclear market for development of nuclear power without signing the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) or the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
  • India refused to sign the CTBT, but declared a moratorium on testing, agreed to join the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty negotiationswithout halting fissile material production
  • India reaffirmed minimum deterrentwithout giving any number of warheads and agreed to strengthen export controls.
  • India published a draft nuclear doctrine within five years of testing when none of the other  nuclear  weapon states has an explicitly published doctrine
    • Even the US first published its Nuclear Posture Review in 1994.
  • Additionally, India declared no-first-use and commitment to disarmament:-
    • It would not be the first to use nuclear weapons against other countries. But if nuclear weapons were used against India, it would retaliate, and inflict unacceptable pain on the adversary.
    • This nuclear weapons doctrine has since become the cornerstone of India’s diplomatic, military and political policy in the international arena.
  • Even though India placed its civilian nuclear facilities under perpetual safeguards, its nuclear assets remained fully insulated against external scrutiny and interference. India secured rights to receive uninterrupted nuclear fuel supplies as a trade-off against safeguards.
  • It kept open its right to acquire advanced enrichment and reprocessing technologies, although it would require bilateral negotiations with the U.S. and others.
  • India’s sovereign right to test a nuclear device in the future has remained intact.
  • India declared a moratorium on testing after the two series of tests in Pokhran.
  • There is no Evidence of India’s involvement in illegal nuclear proliferation. This has earned India Civil nuclear deals with nations like Japan.
  • India is not in the company of the other two self-declared nuclear weapons powers, Pakistan and North Korea .This shows India’s credibility in international arena.


So India need not focus on NSG :-

  • India has most of what it needs from the NSG from the 2008 waiver, certainly for the current desultory progress in nuclear power production.
    • This waiver enables India to effectively harness nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
    • The waiver has allowed India to engage in civil nuclear commerce with a number of countries. It has entered into long-term nuclear fuel supply agreements with a number of supplier countries and is negotiating the supply of advanced nuclear reactors with Russia, France and the U.S.
    • The waiver was not specific to the agreement with the U.S., it covered all the items in the NSG’s lists, and it has no sunset clause
    • India needs no further waiver to import from willing exporters anything it needs for IAEA-safeguarded civil nuclear facilities. From 2011, of course, this would exclude enrichment and reprocessing. 
    • Neither China nor any other member can create problems for India within the terms of the waiver: whether any member sells to India or not will be dependent entirely on other factors, including its domestic laws and the strength of India’s bilateral relations
  • India has already joined the MTCR, Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.
  • No foreign nuclear reactor supplier is waiting for India to get a NSG membership.
  • India has agreements with Canada (April 2013) and Australia (November 2014), and other countries such as Kazakhstan have been supplying too


  • Pokhran-II gave India the strategic space to manoeuvre at the world stage, and to showcase its international behaviour on the rules-based system  and what followed has given India the right to claim the tag of a responsible power and a valuable asset in times when powers like the US and China are perceived to be not adhering to international commitments.


Topic– Role of civil services in a democracy.

4) The government ought to reassess the entire structure of the civil service, instead of taking steps in fits and starts, to make public services more management-oriented and relevant to present challenges. Critically analyse.(250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

Off late, there have been several attempts by the government and Niti Ayog to bring about reforms in the civil service structure, design and recruitment process to bring it in tune with the aspirations of modern India. This question enables you to take a holistic view of the entire debate surrounding these reforms and understand how close it will bring us to the requirements of an aspirational India.

Key demand of the question

The question essentially deals with the kind of civil services reforms in the country. It also asks us to examine whether the current step of taking scattered reform measures would enable us to transform public services in the manner required. Thus we have to first analyze the requirement of the kind of reforms required in civil services to keep it relevant to address present challenges.Thereafter we need to analyze whether the steps being pondered upon by the government will take us there. Finally we should discuss some of the holistic reforms required.

Directive word

Critically 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. You need to conclude with  a fair judgement, after analyzing the nature of each component part and interrelationship between them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Talk about the changes in consideration which has brought attention to civil services reforms.


  • Examine the nature of civil services required to deal with the present challenges and aspirations. Based on that we will have an idea of the kind of reforms required. Here we might mention the areas where reforms are required – recruitment, performance management, role etc
  • Thereafter, we will analyze the steps under consideration such as lateral entry and examination process reforms and analyze whether they are sufficient to achieve our aims.
  • Finally, we will talk about the reforms required as suggested by 2nd ARC, Prakash Singh Case etc to bring about a holistic change in civil services

Conclusion – We will give our view based on the summary of arguments made above.


  • It is widely recognised that the civil services have contributed to stability in terms of maintenance of peace, the conduct of fair elections, managing disasters and the preservation of the unity of the nation, providing stability and maintaining order in a vast country prone to various conflicts ethnic, communal, regional etc.
  • Nonetheless there are certain concerns about the performance of the civil service in the context of realizing a results-oriented government

Recent initiatives :-

  • The government’s proposal to revise the present system of recruitment to the country’s elite civil services .
  • The Niti Aayog has recommended that the government take recourse to lateral entry at all levels of the administration.
  • According to a recent order from the government, background checks by the Intelligence Bureauhas been made mandatory for candidates shortlisted to fill posts of heads of various regulatory bodies and tribunals
  • Verification of character and antecedents of the shortlisted candidates shall be made by the administrative ministry/department through Intelligence Bureau


These reforms are not enough and there are issues with these :-

1.Issues with the government proposal regarding recruitment:

  • Legal issues :-
    • 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 amendedto accommodate the new idea.
  • Administrative :-
    • The Director and the faculty members of the training academy 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:-
    • It will be impossible to do the kind of rigorous and objective evaluation that is required under the government’s new proposal when the foundation course is conducted in training academies situated elsewhere.
  • 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 and 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 :
  • 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.
  1. The nation is changing rapidly and  the objective of governance has changed to seeking and managing equitable economic growth. Yet, the bureaucratic infrastructure has remained more or less the same and grounded in the mistrust of citizens.
  2. Only around 10 per cent of officers remain current in their knowledge and exert themselves to keep the administrative system in shape.
  3. Malady of non-performance arises from the fact that not all positions in governments at the Centre and in the States are meaningful. There is a bloated bureaucracy, and portfolios are created only to accommodate officers.
  4. Lack of integrity is undeniably not the monopoly of any one service. 
  5. Even the second ARC has recognised that inefficiency, corruption and delays have become, in public perception, the hallmarks of public administration in India.
  6. A Hong Kong-based organisation in its study in 2012, rated Indian bureaucrats high on the index of red tape among other bureaucracies of Asian countries (9.21 points out of 10). It revealed that working with the civil servants in India is a slow and painful process. 
  7. Major reason for the dilution of bureaucratic excellence is the poor encouragement the system provides for meritocracy.
  8. It has been pointed out that the Civil Service in India is more concerned with the internal processes than with results.
  9. The systemic rigidities, needless complexities and over-centralization in the policy and management structures within which the civil service functions are too complex and often too constraining.
  10. The structures are based on hierarchies and there are a large number of veto points to be negotiated for a decision to eventually emerge.
  11. To compound it, the size and the number of ministries and departments have both overloaded the decision-making system and diminished the capacities of the individual civil servants to fulfill their operational responsibilities.
  12. On the other hand, the perception is that they resist change as they are wedded to their privileges and prospects and thereby have become ends in themselves.

How to make public service more management oriented and in sync with present challenges :-

  • Civil servants should view civil society organisations and the private sector as partners in the process of the country’s governance.
  • There is need to shift from pre-eminence of governance to effective governance with a focus on decentralization and citizen-centricity.
  • Reshape recruitment and promotion processes
    • Reforms are required in the field of recruitment of civil servants so that right people could be recruited who can ensure smooth functioning of democracy.
    • Training of civil servants should be able to bring about behavioural and attitudinal changes.
  • The induction of officers of the State Civil Services into the IAS should be done by the UPSC on the basis of a common examination.
  • Baswan committee:-
    • The suggestion to remove the optional paper is being considered a major reform for which the Baswan Committee depended on the feedback from aspirants
    • Most aspirants feel it would be a game-changer as there is a huge difference in the award of marks in the optionals, while some subjects have innate advantages.
  • Broader reforms:-
    • Improve performance-based assessment of individual officers
    • Adopt safeguards that promote accountability while protecting bureaucrats from political meddling.
    • The development work needs some flexibility from a strict observance of rigid rules and regulations. Rigid rule bound bureaucracies should be changed into flexible and action-oriented.
    • Administrative procedures, rules and regulations need to be simplified so that red tapism could be minimized; decentralization of authority and collegiate decision making; de-emphasis of hierarchy in the administrative structure
    • Adoption of modern management techniques such as management by objectives; elimination of corruption so as to secure clean, honest, impartial and efficient administration; creation of new work culture and encouraging creative
  • Second ARC recommendations:-
    • Capacity Building
      • Every government servant should undergo a mandatory training at the induction stage and also periodically during his/her career. Successful completion of these trainings should be a minimum necessary condition for confirmation in service and subsequent promotions.
      • A monitoring mechanism should be set up for overseeing the implementation of the National Training Policy (1996).
      • The composition of governing bodies of the national training institutions such as the LBSNAA, SVPNPA, IGNFA and also the State Administrative Training Institutes should be broadened by inducting eminent experts.
    • On Training
      • Yugandhar Committee, 2003 recommended the need for three mid-career training programmes in the 12th, 20th and 28th years of service. Trainings at these 3 stages was suggested as there is a “major shift” in the nature of work of the officer, at these stages of their career.
    • The Committee on Civil Services Reforms Hota Committee, 2004 emphasised the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to transform Government by making it more accessible, effective and accountable.
      • It stressed on the need to recognise that e-governance is about discarding old procedures and transforming the process of decision making and that technology is merely a tool and a catalyst for such transformations.

General Studies – 3

TopicVarious Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

5) Discuss the role of BSF in protecting the country’s borders and it’s sovereignty.(250 words)


Why this question

The question is related to GS-3 syllabus under the following heading-

Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to simply discuss the role and responsibilities of the Border Security Force of India. We should be as descriptive as possible and we should also highlight some of the major contributions of BSF.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which directs us to write at length about the role of BSF in guarding the country’s borders and protecting its sovereignty.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – give a brief description of The BSF- that it is a paramilitary force under home ministry and established in 1965 and being the world’s largest border guarding force.


Mention in points, the responsibilities of the BSF. Divide the responsibilities into wartime and peace-time duties. Also, mention some of the major contributions of BSF.

Take help of the link attached to the question to frame your answer.

Conclusion- Bring out a fair and concise conclusion on the great role played by BSF under the difficult environments.


  • Considering the vastness of India and its border, different border guarding forces are deployed.
  • BSF is responsible for guarding India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders.
  • BSF is a paramilitary force under home ministry responsible for guarding India’s land border during peace time and preventing transnational crime.
  • BSF currently stands as the world’s largest border guarding force with 186 battalions and 2.57 lakh personnel including an expanding air wing, marine wing, artillery regiments, and commando units.


  • Peace time:
    • Promote a sense of security among the people living in the border areas.
    • Prevent trans border crimes, unauthorized entry into or exit from the territory of India
    • Prevent smuggling and any other illegal activity.
    • In 2017 Border Security Force (BSF) personnel detected a cross-border tunnel in the forest area of Damala nullah in Jammu’s Arnia sub-sector.
    • BSF personnel have been performing Internal Security Duty in Manipur for the last two years and have been successfully fighting insurgency in those areas.
    • During the earthquake in Gujarat in 2001, the BSF was the first to reach out to help the distressed people and during the communal disturbances BSF personnel went all out to restore amity and brotherhood among the people.
    • The BSF took over the erection of the border fencing in Jammu & Kashmir
    • The BSF has been defending the borders along with the army and checking infiltration on the borders during the current standoff with Pakistan.
  • War Time:
    • Holding ground in less threatened sectors so long as the main attack does not develop in a particular sector
      • The BSF units can continue to remain deployed in particular sector even in a war situation to release the Army for offensive tasks.  In the even of a major attack developing, which is not within the capacity of the BSF to deal with, the Army can be expected either to reinforce the BSF with Artillery or other support, or relieve the BSF from its role in the particular sector.
    • Protection of vital installations particular air-fields against enemy commandoes/para troopers or raids.  
    • Providing extension to the flanks of main defence line by the holding of strong points in conjunction with other units.
    • Limited Aggressive action against para military or irregular forces of the enemy within the overall plan of the Armed Forces .
    • Performing special tasks connected with intelligence including raids.  These are tasks which might be entrusted to BSF Units by the Army in a war situation according to local necessity.  It would, however, be expected that the state of training and equipment of the particular BSF Units would be kept in view in assessing their adequacy for the tasks.
    • Acting as guides in an area of responsibility where routes are known. This is a task which the BSF should be able to perform.
    • Maintenance of law and order in enemy territory administrated under the control of Army.Normally, ordinary civil police force would be utilised for this task but the BSF could be used to supplement the civil police or to act in lieu thereof in a situation where civil police is not readily available. 
    • Provision of escorts.
    • Guarding of prisoners of war cages
    • Assistance in control of refugees. It is the intention to utilise civil police force and armed Home Guards etc. for these tasks but again depending upon local exigencies, the BSF might be entrusted with these tasks.
    • Anti – infiltration duties in specified area. This is an important responsibility which will have to be performed by security forces.  The exact responsibility of the BSF in this matter is still under consideration and separate instructions are expected to be issued.
    • During the Kargil conflict in 1999, the BSF remained on the heights of the mountains and defended the integrity of the country with all the might at its command in unison with the Army

Topic – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation ; Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

6) Discuss the importance of biofuels for India? Critically examine whether the national policy on biofuels will help India unlock it’s biofuel potential?(250 words)

The hindu

Economic times




Why this question

The question is important as the cabinet has a fortnight back approved the national policy on biofuels.

Key demand of the question

Following points are to be incorporated in your answer

  • The ways in which biofuels can resolve several of India’s challenges
  • The main points of the national policy on biofuels and how it will help India unlock it’s biofuel potential. Also point out its shortcomings

Directive word

Discuss – highlight the key ways in which biofuels are beneficial for India

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 – mention that cabinet has recently approved the national policy on biofuels.


  • Highlight the ways in which biofuel is advantageous for the country
  • Discuss the main provisions of the policy
  • Examine its pros and cons in helping India unlock it’s biofuel potential. Discuss under heads like financing, supply chain, raw materials etc

Conclusion – Present your view and highlight the importance of assessing technical and financial feasibility as well as focus on implementation.


  • The Union Cabinet has approved National Policy on Biofuels – 2018 in order to promote biofuels in the country.

Importance of biofuels to India:-

  • Biofuels in India are of strategic importance as it augers well with the ongoing initiatives of the Government such as Make in India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill Development and offers great opportunity to integrate with the ambitious targets of doubling of Farmers Income, Import Reduction, Employment Generation, Waste to Wealth Creation.
  • Current problem of the pollution is plaguing the entire north Indian plains. The short-term solution for this issue exists in the quick and scaled-out expansion of biofuel-powered public transport across the country.
  • This will lead to a huge reduction in stubble burning because of an economic incentive available to remove and give the crop waste to biofuel plants.
  • Economic:-
    • Energy generated from biofuels is equivalent to 340 million barrels of oil or over $22 billion. Considering that in the first quarter India had a current account deficit of $14.3 billion, India could wipe out almost a third of our current account deficit.
  • Employment:-
    • The increase in ethanol production alone has the potential to create over 700,000 jobs when targeting only the base potential.
    • States with a combination of high agricultural activity and large fuel consumption like Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh would be the best positioned to exploit this opportunity. 

National biofuel policy :-

  • Categories of biofuels:
    • The policy creates two categories of biofuels: basic and advanced. Basic biofuels include first generation bioethanol.
    • Advanced biofuels include second generation ethanol, municipal solid waste, third generation biofuels, bio-CNG etc
  • Raw materials:
    • The policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing the use of certain items that are unfit for human consumption. These include: (i) sugarcane juice, (ii) materials containing sugar such as sugar beet, (iii) materials containing starch such as corn, cassava, and (iv) damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, and rotten potatoes.
    • Farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Taking this into account ,it also allows the use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol, with the approval of the National Biofuel Coordination Committee. 
    • This will likely reduce the cost of producing biofuels and improve affordability for consumers, particularly during times when oil prices reach discomforting levels.
  • Financial incentives:
    • The policy indicates a viability gap funding scheme of Rs 5,000 crore in six years for second generation ethanol bio refineries. Further, advanced biofuels will also get additional tax 
      incentives, and higher purchase price as compared to basic biofuels.
  • Roles and responsibilities of all the concerned Ministries/Departments with respect to biofuels has been captured in the Policy document to synergise efforts.
  • The new policy will also benefit farmers, who will be able to sell various types of agricultural waste to industry at remunerative prices

Expected benefits:-

  • Reduce Import Dependency:
    • The ethanol supply year 2017-18 is likely to see a supply of around 150 crore litres of ethanol which will result in savings of over Rs.4000 crore of forex.
  • Cleaner Environment:
    • One crore lit of E-10 saves around 20,000 ton of CO2 emissions.
    • For the ethanol supply year 2017-18, there will be lesser emissions of CO2 to the tune of 30 lakh ton. By reducing crop burning & conversion of agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels there will be further reduction in Green House Gas emissions.
  • Health benefits:
    • Used Cooking Oil is a potential feedstock for biodiesel and its use for making biodiesel will prevent diversion of used cooking oil in the food industry.
  • Municipal solid waste Management:
    • It is estimated that, annually 62 MMT of Municipal Solid Waste gets generated in India. There are technologies available which can convert waste/plastic, MSW to drop in fuels. One ton of such waste has the potential to provide around 20% of drop in fuels.
  • Infrastructural Investment in Rural Areas:
    • At present Oil Marketing Companies are in the process of setting up twelve 2G bio refineries with an investment of around Rs.10,000 crore. Further addition of 2G bio refineries across the Country will spur infrastructural investment in the rural areas.
  • Employment Generation:
    • One 100klpd 2G bio refinery can contribute 1200 jobs in Plant Operations, Village Level Entrepreneurs and Supply Chain Management.
  • Additional Income to Farmers:
    • By adopting 2G technologies, agricultural residues/waste which otherwise are burnt by the farmers can be converted to ethanol and can fetch a price for these waste if a market is developed for the same.
    • Also, farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Thus conversion of surplus grains and agricultural biomass can help in price stabilization

Concerns with the policy:-

  • Supply-chain infrastructure that is required to deliver biofuels to the final consumer remains inadequate.
  • To convert India’s existing biofuel potential into reality, huge investments need to be made in creating bio refinery capacity. However, this is easier said than done. While state-owned oil marketing companies are in the process of setting up 12 bio-refineries, this can only be a base to build on. 
  • On the ground, private sector investment in this space has been hampered by financial constraints and lack of cohesive support from the Central to the local level.
  • Efficiently transporting low value biomass to the refineries is another challenge.

Way forward:-

  • The Centre should ensure that it actively involves the private sector in this exercise especially for functions like procurement, storage and distribution.
  • Centre should steer clear of micromanaging the supply chain but, instead, help in land acquisition for the bio-refineries and working with the stakeholders to fix a reasonable price for the end product.
  • The policy should be followed up with coordinated action at the user end to ensure that the larger goal of the policy of cleaning up the air, reducing the carbon footprint and shift to more sustainable renewable fuels  is not lost sight of.


  • From encouraging the use of biofuels in public transport to ensuring that civic bodies actually realise the potential of municipal waste and sewage the policy needs to be implemented in mission mode on a nationwide basis.