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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 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: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1)The ultimate aim of Ashoka’s Dhamma was to create a harmonious atmosphere in the state, where all people irrespective of their religious and cultural diversities, lived in peace and harmony with each other.(250 words) 


Why this question

The question is an important and controversial topic INDIRECTLY related to GS 1 syllabus under the following heading-

Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

key demand of the question

The question wants us to dig deep the into the policy of Dhamma adopted by Ashoka, identify the reasons behind the policy, its achievements. We have to provide justification in the form of facts/ arguments to support our identification of the reasons.

Directive word

Examine- we have to look into the details of the Ashoka’s policy of Dhamma and find out how the ultimate aim of the policy was to create a harmonious atmosphere in the state, where all people irrespective of their religious and cultural diversities, lived in peace and harmony with each other.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – mention that the word Dhamma is derived from the Sanskrit word dharma and has no equivalent meaning in the English language, because of a specific context in which the term developed and applied.


  1.  Discuss in points, how the policy of Dhamma was meant to reduce various conflicts and discords present in the Mauryan society at that time.

e.g socio-economic condition- use of iron, the growth of Commerce and urban centres demanded a flexible social organization but the society was sharply divided by the caste system. Buddhism appeal to the lower sections of the society.

  1. Mention the rock edicts which give us an idea of the purpose of the policy of Dhamma.

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

Conclusion– mention that Ashoka’s Dhamma was an answer to the socio-political needs of the contemporaneous situation.

Reasons why Dhamma had come into existence:-

  • Economical conditions which led to dhamma:-
    • The use of iron resulted in surplus production, and the economy changed from being a simple, rural economyto a pattern of economy in which urban centres became important.
    • The use of Punch-marked silver coins and some other varieties of coins, the conscious intervention of the State to safeguard trade routes and the rise of urban centers point to a structural change in the economy, requiring adjustments in the society.
    • The commercial classes had come to the forefront of society. The emergence of urban culturedemanded a flexible social organization. The incorporation of tribes and peoples from the outlying areas into the social fabric also presented a problem.
  • Socio-religious conditions:-
    • The response of the Brahmanical social order, which was based on the four-fold varna division, was to make the caste systemmore rigid and deny a higher status to the commercial class. The rigidity of the Brahmanical class system sharpened the divisions within the society.
    • The Brahmanical hold over society, assiduously built through the later Vedic period, was coming under increasing attack. The privileges of the priests, the rigidity of the caste system and the elaborate rituals were being questioned.
    • The lower orders turned to various heterodoxsects and this created social tensions. It was this situation which emperor Ashoka inherited when he ascended the Mauryan throne.
    • Buddhism opposed the dominance of the Brahmans and the concept of sacrifices and rituals. It thus appealed to lower social orders and to emerging social classes. The human approach to relations in society preached by Buddhism further attracted different sections to itself.
    • Another element in these heterogeneous strands, co-existing during the Mauryan period was the presence of a large foreign population in the North-West.
    • It was essential to bring about a climate of harmony and mutual trust. In many tribal areas, people were unfamiliar with Brahmanical or heterodox ideas. To make the empire survive and to bring some cohesion within the empire in the midst of this diversity, some common patterns of behaviour and common approaches to the society’s problems were needed which culminated into the policy of Dhamma.
  • Political conditions:
    • The complexity of the state system demanded an imaginative policy from the emperor which required minimal use of force in such a large empire having diverse forms of economy and religions.
    • A more feasible alternative was the propagation of a policy that would work at an ideological level and reach out to all sections of the society. The policy of Dharmawas such an endeavour.

Ashoka’s Dhamma:-

  • Ashoka’s dhamma was neither a new religion nor a new political philosophy. Rather, it was a way of life, a code of conduct and a set of principles to be adopted and practised by the people at large. Dhamma related to generalized norms of social activities and behaviours.

Achievements :-

  • It is an important document of his essential humanity and an answer to the socio political needs of the contemporaneous situation.
  • It was not anti brahminical because respect for brahmins and sarmanas is an integral part of dhamma.
  • One of the striking features of Asoka’s edicts is that he regards himself as a father figure. He constantly speaks of the father-child relationship between the king and his populace. In spite of his religious eclecticism, Ashoka denounced all useless ceremonies and sacrifices held under the influ­ence of superstition. The first Rock Edict prohibits the ritual of animal sacrifice and festive gatherings.
  • While different major rock edicts talk about various aspects of the dhamma, the Major Rock Edict XI contains an elaborate explanation of the dhamma, apart from dealing with charity and kinship of humanity.
  • The second Rock Edict describes the various measures taken by him such as the construction of roads and medical centres for men and animals. This is followed by advice to be liberal and generous to both Brahmins and sramanas. This again stresses the fact that the ruler was not bigoted about one religion.
  • In the seventh Pillar Edict he orders the dhamma-mahammatas to look after the Brahmins and Ajivikas. The Dhamma-mahammatas were a special cadre of officials started by Asoka in the four­teenth year of his reign and they were responsible for the practical aspects of the propagation of dhamma and the welfare of the different religious sects.
    • This indicates that the moral precepts preached by him were different from Buddhism. Asoka also started a system of dhammayatas or Yatras whereby be toured the country and preached the dhamma to the people.
  • Throughout his edicts Ashoka stresses the importance of the family. The emphasis is on respecting elders including religious elders, a humane and just attitude towards servants and slaves and a high degree of social responsibility and civic ethics.
  • Dhamma was not given any formal definition or structure. Ashoka pleaded for tolerance of different religious sects in an attempt to create a sense of harmony. The policy of Dhamma also laid stress on non-violence, which was to be practiced by giving up war and conquests and also as a restraint on the killing of animals.
  • Ashoka set an example of vegetarianism by almost stopping the consumption of meat in the royal household.
  • Since he wanted to conquer the world through love and faith, he sent many missions to propagate Dhamma. Such missions were sent to far off places like Egypt, Greece and Sri Lanka. The propagation of Dhamma included many measures of people’s welfare.


  • His policy of dhamma failed to achieve the desired goal of reducing social tension .
  • Power of official dhammamahamattas to interfere in the lives of people increased over time .There was resentment against officials.
  • None of Ashoka successors continued the propagation of dhamma.
  • The Ashoka policy of Dhamma has been the subject of controversy and debate amongst scholars. Some have said that Ashoka was a partisan Buddhist and have equated Dhamma with Buddhism.


  • Ashoka’s “Dhamma” could not survive him; as such it was a failure. However, he was not establishing a new religion but was trying to impress upon the society the need for ethical and moral principles.

TOPIC: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial
revolution, world wars.

2) Bismarck united Germany not by majority of votes and speeches but by a policy of Blood and iron. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question makes an assertion that Bismarck’s policy of blood and iron was the major reason behind Germany’s unification. We have to, thus, explain what policy of blood and iron meant. We have to understand Bismarck’s contribution to the cause of German Unification and examine whether it was only his policy of blood and iron that led to unification, or there were other factors like his focus on coal and steel, industrialization etc that led to unification.

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 situation in Europe during German Unification and that Bismarck employed several strategies to achieve the impossible.



  • Explain what policy of blood and iron is and how Bismarck employed it in the 3 wars he fought, and how it brought Germany closer to the goal of unification.
  • Explain the various other policies of Bismarck which led to German Unification.
  • Analyze if it was only his policy of blood and iron that led to unification, or was it a combination of various factors.


Conclusion – provide your view on the assertion made in the question by summarising your arguments above.


Background :-

  • During the early nineteenth century, Prussia was the only German state that could match the power and influence of the Austrian Empire. They were comparable in terms of size, population and wealth. Austria opposed the idea of German unification as it saw this as a threat to its own empire. Although they were a minority, there was a significant percentage of German-speakers in the empire. Austria had lost key allies and was losing influence in Europe
  • Prussia was producing more key resources such as coal and iron than Austria and it had surged ahead of its rival in building road and rail networks to help promote trade
  • Prussia had successfully set up an economic alliance (Zollverein) with other German states that made trade between states easier and more profitable.


  • The man who did most to unite the German states was Otto Von Bismarck. He was the Prussian Chancellor and his main goal was to strengthen even further the position of Prussia in Europe. His primary aims were to:-
    • Unify the north German states under Prussian control
    • weaken Prussia’s main rival, Austria, by removing it from the Bund
    • make Berlin the centre of German affairs – not Vienna
    • strengthen the position of the King of Prussia, William I, to counter the demands for reform from the Liberals in the Prussian parliament (the Reichstag).

Bismarck policy of blood and iron:-

  • Blood and Iron policy is the policy, perceived to be followed by Prussia after 1848 to achieve the goal of German unification.
  • It was a policy based on military might to militarise Prussia in order to win wars which Prussia would eventually needed to fight in order to achieve German unification.
  • Bismarck favoured a militarily powerful Prussia. He carried out an ambitious plan to strengthen Prussia militarily even though the Prussian Parliament rejected it.
  • The first aim he pursued was the elimination of Austria from the Germanic Confederation. He aligned with Austria in a war against Denmark over the possession of Schleswig and Holstein.  After Denmark’s defeat, he entered into an alliance with Italy against Austria, defeated Austria and dissolved the Germanic Confederation. Thus Austria was separated from other German states.
  • He never hesitated to use war as tool of propagating Prussian interests. He carried out military expedition to claim two Dutch areas.
  • In place of the old Confederation, he united 22 states of Germany into North German Confederation in 1866. The constitution of this Confederation made the king of Prussia the hereditary head of the Confederation. The unification of Germany was completed as a result of a war between Prussia and France. The war of Sedan in 1870 with France completed the process of German unification.
  • He used his unparalleled diplomatic skills to make the wars looked like an imposed ones and got international and public support for his actions. Hence the military might i.e. “Iron and blood” policy played a great role in German unification.

Other factors also led to German Unification:-

  • Economic factors:-
    • Vienna Congress had allotted mineral rich Rhine Land to Prussia, which led to industrial revolution and Prussia became the most industrialized state among German provinces
    • Between 1830 and 1860, rapid integration of German market took place. In 1834, an all German custom union (except Austria) called Zollverein came to existence under Prussian leadership.
    • Development of railways in 1830s made the physical integration of German areas possible. The industrial revolution gave birth to a capitalist class, which was striving for a unified Germany for greater economic benefit.
    • This economic leadership of Prussia gave it the advantage in comparison to Austria which had long resisted any unification attempt.
    • Thereby the economic factors made the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership more plausible. It created a base for Prussia’s militarism. Both the factors i.e. Economic and Military, played an essential part in German unification and complemented each other.


General Studies – 2

Topic:Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3) Pre-litigation mediation is an important step to improve the ease of doing business. Discuss in the context of how India can learn from the experience of other countries.(250 words)

The hindu


Why this question

The recent Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division High Courts (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, has made pre-litigation mediation mandatory. However, the concept of mediation is not new in India. In this regard, we can learn from the experiences of other countries where the process has been successful. The issue is related to GS 2 syllabus under the following heading-

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to analyse the mediation process in India, highlight its deficiencies and discuss examples from other countries where mediation process has largely been successful.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive. We have to briefly describe the process of mediation, its application in India and examples from other countries.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– mention the recent ordinance which has made pre-litigation mediation compulsory for the parties.


  1. Briefly describe the process of mediation and its main features.
  2. Mention the laws which allow mediation in India- e.g Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996,Code of Civil Procedure, MSME Development Act, 2006.
  3. Discuss the Italian example of a voluntary yet once mandatory experiment which gives tax benefits as well.

Conclusion– Mention the need of a holistic and systematic policy to address the process, the role and professional responsibilities of mediators, the rights and obligations of parties in the process, and the outcome of the mediation agreement.



  • Mandatory pre-litigation mediation in commercial disputes has been introduced by the recent Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, which amends the Commercial Courts Act of 2015.

Pre-litigation mediation:-

  • Mediation is an alternative method of resolving disputes without resorting to the courts. It is a structured, voluntary and interactive negotiation process where a neutral third-party uses specialized communication and negotiation techniques to help the parties in fulfilling their stated objectives. As a party-centred process, it focuses on the interests, needs and rights of the parties.
  • The 2018 ordinance :-
    • It stipulates that no suits concerning commercial disputes will be filed under this Act unless the person filing the suit exhausts the remedy of pre-litigation mediation.
    • If an urgent interim relief is required, this pre-litigation mediation can be dispensed with. However, in all other cases, the mediation is mandatory and will be conducted within a period of three months (extendable by another two months with the consent of the parties).
  • Any settlement arrived at through mediation will have the status of an arbitral award on agreed terms and be enforceable like a decree of court. 
  • A settlement reached at a pre-litigation stage is a contract, which is binding and enforceable between the parties

How it improves ease of doing business:-

  • Mandatory pre-litigation mediation puts the ball in the court of the parties involved, rather than looking at external agencies like courts, and urges them to engage with and resolve disputes.
  • Control is vested not with a judge or jury, but the parties themselves and helps them in reaching a mutually agreeable solution. By giving control to the parties, it may also result in the settling of related and connected issues and disputes.
  • Consent-based:-
    • Based on voluntary consent, it allows any party to opt out at any stage if they find mediation to be unhelpful.
  • Participation:-
    • It allows the parties to directly participate in the negotiation and present the case in their own perspective.
  • Economical:-
    • Mediation takes less time to resolve disputes than standard legal channels.
  • Confidentiality:-
    • Mediations remain strictly confidential, with the terms of the mediation being known only to the parties involved and the mediator. This aids in better and effective communication between the parties.
  • Conducive to dispute resolution:-
    • By providing a procedure that is simple and flexible, mediation can be modified to the demands of each case and allows the parties to carry on with their day to day activities. It thus creates an informal, cordial and conducive environment for dispute resolution.
  • Mutuality:-
    • Since parties to a mediation are amenable to mutually working towards a solution, they are more receptive to the other party’s side. This aids in restoring the relationship between the parties and settles the dispute in a mutually beneficial manner.
  • Support by mediator:-
    • As a neutral, impartial and independent third-party, mediators ensure that the mediation remains a fair process. They also guide the parties through the process as neutral facilitators, encourage creativity in resolution and broaden the range of solutions.
  • Finality
    • Mediation promotes finality in dispute resolution as there is no scope for an appeal, a revision or further litigation on the successful conclusion of a mediation.
  • Avoids prolonged, potentially emotionally draining depositions and delays
  • Reduces large litigation costs


  • One of the advantages of mediation is its voluntary nature but questions are raised about how does this reconcile with the mandatory nature of pre-litigation mediation.
  • Informality:-
    • In the informal setting of a mediation, there are no formal rules or procedures that have to be followed. Thus, mediators do not have access to a lot of tools to get people to testify or produce evidence to get to the truth of a matter.
  • Unfairness:-
    • Moreover, the lack of formal rules means that there is no way to ensure a fair procedure for the parties involved. An aggressive party might be able to steamroll a timid one despite the best efforts of the mediator.
  • Success not guaranteed:-
    • Mediation may also be unsuccessful and not lead to a settlement between the parties involved. The parties will then have to resort to the money and time intensive court system after already wasting a significant amount of them in the mediation.

How India can learn from other countries:-

  • Italy:-
    • Attempts to mediate were made mandatory for certain disputes (like partition and joint ownership of property) before a case was filed in court.
    • This law reconciles the voluntary nature of the process, while mandating mediation. All disputants are required to attend, with their lawyers, one session of mediation.
    • After this session, any or all the disputants can choose to opt out of mediation and the disputants can proceed with their case in court. Parties who mediate and settle get tax
    • The outcome of this policy is encouraging. Disputants have found mediation worthwhile and continued with the process towards resolution. This has resulted from the opportunity of understanding the process in the mandatory first session.
    • Italy has seen almost 200,000 cases going in for mediation until 2017. After trying out one session of mediation, when parties continued with the mediation, almost 50% of those cases were settled. 
  • India can impose costs on disputants refusing to mediate, as is done in the U.K.


Way forward:-

  • There is a need for a comprehensive policy on mediation, rather than the abbreviated and disconnected steps so far. This policy would encapsulate the process, the role and professional responsibilities of mediators, the rights and obligations of parties in the process, and the outcome of the mediation agreement. 

TopicGovernment policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

 4) Behaviour change communication (BCC) could be the key to changing attitudes and behaviour patterns.  What do you understand by BCC and discuss its role in improving our health.(250 words)

The  hindu


Why this question

BCC has been universally accepted as an effective strategy to bring about changing attitudes and behaviour. It has become an important component of many government programs like the Swachh Bharat programme. BCC has been especially successful in controlling HIV infections. The issue is related to GS 2 syllabus under the following heading-

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to simply describe the meaning of the term BCC and then explain and give examples in support to show how it plays the role of improving our health.

Directive word

Discuss- it is an all-encompassing directive. Where we have to describe the meaning of the term BCC, mention the steps in bringing a behaviour change and then write in detail about how BCC plays/ has played the role of improving our health.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– give a brief description of the term BCC.


  1. Describe the term further. (E.G SBCC employs a systematic process based on research and behaviour analysis, followed by planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. Audiences are carefully segmented, messages and materials are pre-tested, and mass media, interpersonal channels and community mobilisation are used to achieve defined behavioural objectives.
  2. Mention the steps in bringing about a behavioural change.

Unaware > Aware > Concerned > Knowledgeable > Motivated to change > Practicing trial behavior change.

  1. Discuss how BCC has played/ plays the role of protecting and improving our health. Give examples also, like HIV infection, Swachh Bharat programme etc.

Conclusion– mention how BCC can be used to clean our environment, plant trees ( BHUTAN example) etc.

Behaviour change communication and its key to changing attitudes and behaviours:-

  • It is an interactive process of any intervention with individuals, communities and/or societies to develop communication strategies to promote positive behaviors which are appropriate to their settings and there by solve worlds most pressing health problems.
  • This in turn provides a supportive environment which will enable people to initiate, sustain and maintain positive and desirable behaviour outcomes.
  • It employs a systematic process beginning with formative research and behaviour analysis, followed by communication planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.
  • Audiences are carefully segmented, messages and materials are pre-tested, and mass media (which include radio, television, billboards, print material, internet), interpersonal channels (such as client-provider interaction, group presentations) and community mobilisation are used to achieve defined behavioral objectives.
  • Strategic use of behaviour change communication (BCC) applies targeted messages and tailored approaches to promote healthy behaviours and reduced risk taking.
  • SBCC is the comprehensive process in which one passes through the stages:
    • Unaware > Aware > Concerned > Knowledgeable > Motivated to change > Practicing trial behavior change > Sustained behavior change
  • Research consistently shows evidence-based communication programs can increase knowledge, shift attitudes and cultural norms and produce changes in a wide variety of behaviours. 

Role in improving human health :-

  • BCC encompasses health communication, social and community mobilization, and it evolved from information, education and communication (IEC) strategies.
    • With components ranging from interpersonal communication between a community health worker and her client to multi-level mass media campaigns, evidence-based and theory-driven BCC interventions are an integral part of all types of health promotion and disease prevention
  • BCC is an effective tool for dealing with many community and group related problems. BCC has been adapted as an effective strategy for community mobilization, health and environment education and various public outreach programs.  
  • BCC can be used
    • To reach populations who remain at risk as transmission dynamics change (e.g. mobile populations)
    • To facilitate identification of people with asymptomatic infections and their compliance with treatment
    • To inform communities of the optimal timing of malaria control interventions
    • To explain changing diagnostic concerns (e.g. increasing false negatives as parasite density and multiplicity of infections fall) and treatment guidelines.
  • India has seen success with this method regarding nutrition for expectant mothers.
  • SBCC has proven effective in several health areas, such as increasing the use of family planning methods ,reducing the spread of malaria and other infectious diseases, and improving newborn and maternal health.
  • HIV/AIDS:-
    • Behaviour Change Communication is a process of working with individuals, communities and societies to develop communication strategies to promote positive behaviours in HIV and AIDS prevention and to provide a supportive environment which will enable people to initiate and sustain positive behaviours.
    • BCC constitutes of effective communication which is central to the success of interventions to reduce the risk of HIV infection. It plays a role to:
      • Increase knowledge
      • Stimulate community dialogue
      • Promote essential attitude change
      • Advocate for policy changes
      • Create a demand for information and services
      • Reduce stigma and discrimination
      • Promote services for prevention and care
    • Malaria control:-
      • BCC is used in malaria control to encourage families to hang and use their nets regularly, care for them and repair them when they’re torn, or to create demand for replacing nets on a continuous basis or as part of distribution campaigns. 


  • A critical element of BCC is having requisite infrastructure. In this case it would mean installation of waste receptacles, proper collection and management, and proper policing.


Way forward:-

  • “Success Factors” for effective BCC based on experience from Bhutan
    • Clear messages 
    • Target audiences
    • Contextualised and evidence-based 
    • Monitoring and follow-up 
    • Political will and linking with others 
    • Long-term campaign / perspective 
    • No BCC without services 
    • Good design and communication objectives 
    • Capacity and good facilitation
    • Community participation
  • Behaviour change communication is essential in making water and sanitation campaigns successful. Bhutan has high coverage rates, basic sanitation coverage of 95 percent, improved sanitation coverage of 60 percent and 97 percent access to safe drinking water. India can learn from Bhutan experience.
  • Specific strategies must be designed for high-risk groups such as women, young people, injecting drug abusers, homosexuals and HIV positive groups.

Topic– Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Human Resources.

5) India does not figure very high in terms of sporting achievement, but disproportionately high on athletes accused of doping. Examine why and discuss probable solutions to tackle the doping menace.(250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

Close on the heels of the recently concluded Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Australia, where the Indian contingent got rapped for alleged violations of the “No Needle Policy”, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has reportedly decided to implement a similar policy. This provides an opportune moment to analyze why so many indian athletes are caught for doping and way of addressing this menace.

Key demand of the question

Following points are to be incorporated in your answer

  • The status quo of doping in India
  • The causes behind the high incidents of doping
  • How to deal with it – steps required to check doping
  • Performance of Indian sports regulatory agencies in checking this menace

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Discuss – highlight the possible steps to address doping.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the case in commonwealth which has again brought focus on the issue


  • Discuss the status quo of how many athletes caught and accused for doping
  • Discuss the reasons behind the high number
  • Discuss how sports regulatory agencies are tackling the issue
  • Discuss what more should be done to address doping

Conclusion – discuss the way forward for ensuring that this issue is brought under control



  • Some of the Indian athletes were sent home from the recent Commonwealth Games for breaching the ‘no-needles’ policy of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
  • India had dropped from third to sixth place on the recently released World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) 2016 List of Offenders. From 120 sportspersons in 2015, only 69 were found guilty in the subsequent year.

Why high number of Indian athletes are accused of doping:-

  • Doping is a malaise that has afflicted Indian sports for far too long. India has reacted to this malaise mostly by sweeping it under the carpet .
  • Over 91 Indian athletes from various different sporting events have failed dope tests. While the vast majority are track and field athletes (30), the other sports involved include weight-lifting, wrestling, power-lifting, bodybuilding, judo, boxing and various others.
  • The reasons for the malaise are many :-
    • Peer pressure
    • Irresponsible advisers and fellow athletes
    • Unscrupulous coaches
    • Easy availability
    • Poorly administered federations
    • Human fallibility.
  • An athlete accused of inadvertent doping cannot get supplements tested for contamination, having no access to authorised laboratories. The National Dope-Testing Laboratory (NDTL) is accessible only to NADA or the government.
  • Low-key school and college competitions have become breeding grounds for dope cheats.
  • Lack of awareness:-
    • Most of these athletes were not well-educated. They just take what their coaches give them.
    • Harmless food supplements like proteins or vitamins used by athletes are often from unreliable sources like private shops or online purchase.

Current measures taken :-

  • Draft legislation is being framed to criminalise the anti-doping rule violation.
  • It has been more than 11 years since the UNESCO brought forward the International Convention against Doping in Sport. It has been nine-and-a-half years since India ratified that convention and it has been four years since a draft National sports development bill mentioned the convention
  • Indian anti-doping rules mirror the WADA code and prescribe a framework of strict liability. For this, the athlete first needs to establish how the prohibited substance entered his/her system. In reality, it disables an athlete caught in inadvertent doping.

What needs to be done?

  • Any anti-doping initiative should aggressively focus not only on detection but also on education and awareness.
  • Athletes, support staff, federations, sports medical personnel must be equipped with well-conceived literature, consultation and workshops.
  • NADA’s efforts need to be supplemented by a cadre of indigenous anti-doping experts.
  • The government should create a source for safe permitted supplements. It would curb accidental doping. 
  • A framework must be created to constructively counsel athletes to understand the real causes, degrees of fault and administrative lapses. Merely subjecting them to an arduous legal process before NADA is not a long-term solution. 
  • The culture of casual doping amongst athletes needs to change. 
  • There is a need to recognise the socio-cultural reality of our sportspersons.


  • Making doping a criminal offence, as was once proposed, is an untenable idea which would subject athletes to an already crippled criminal justice system. A nation with a burgeoning young population cannot let inertia put it on a murky sporting track.

General Studies – 3

TopicScience and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

6) The applications of blockchain go much beyond its role in crypto currencies. Examine (250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

The application of blockchain is increasing and is much moving much beyond its use in digital currencies. We need to be aware of the applications and the importance of blockchain in various sectors.

Key demand of the question

The question demands us to discuss the applications of blockchain in various sectors apart from cryptocurrencies. We will thereafter discuss the impacts of such usage.

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 – Define blockchain and mention that it’s role is enhancing

Body – Discuss how blockchain is used in cryptocurrencies. thereafter, mention how the application of blockchain has started moving beyond cryptos and its application is moving into fields like social development, banking etc

Conclusion – Mention the huge role that blockchain can play in our developmental journey and highlight how indian government in focussing on blockchain.



  • Blockchain is a type of software that powers a database for verifying transactions made online.
  • The idea is that by making the database public, no one can cheat the system by editing records because everyone using the system spots them in the act.
  • The decentralized and distributed nature of blockchain prevents one person or company from reigning supreme over system; instead, everyone can help run, manage and secure it.
  • The blockchain lets people who are part of this super-computer perform functions such as verification of transactions and contracts, and the updating and maintenance of these records in the form of trustworthy ledgers, tasks that are normally reserved for established intermediary organisations such as banks and legal firms, and be rewarded for it.
  • This core feature of the blockchain creates a space for trusted transactions in the digital space that have never been possible before.
  • A key property of blockchain technology, which distinguishes it from traditional database technology, is public verifiability, which is enabled by integrity and transparency.

Crypto currency applications:-

  • The cryptocurrency Bitcoinis the first successful application of this technology. Even though there are mixed standpoints regarding the credibility, scalability and practicality of digital currencies, the core technology blockchain, undoubtedly has tremendous value.
  • Annual global economic output is over $90 trillion, with almost 3% of the amount going to various financial toll collectors such as banks, and credit card platforms.
  • The technology supports cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, and the transfer of any data or digital asset. Spearheaded by Bitcoin, blockchains achieve consensus among distributed nodes, allowing the transfer of digital goods without the need for centralized authorisation of transactions.

Beyond crypto currency applications:-

1.Telecom sector:-

  • Cost
    • Blockchain could lower network costs in more ways than one. Service providers could save money with the technology by relying less on third parties to complete a transaction.
  • Security
    • The decentralization of blockchain could help better secure the privacy of the end user experience.
  • Customer trust:-
    • Blockchain also provides a greater level of automation and leads to more streamlined processes within organisation.
    • Analysing such vast amounts of accurate customer data can provide leaders with greater insights into customer behaviour and guide their strategy.
  • Internal processes:
    • The processes such as OSS (Operation Support System) and BSS processes (Business Support System) such as billing and number portability databases can be streamlined using blockchain
  • Identity management
    • Operators could develop identity management tool that are accessible to organizations, devices and applications.


  • Mobile money:
    • Blockchain has enabled cost-effective international remittances across the globe with very minimal transaction charges.
  • Checking fraud
  • Understanding this cost-saving potential, several international banks and state-owned banks in Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have started working on blockchain-powered financial solutions.

3.Blockchain in digitalization of land records:-

  • Andhra Pradesh is currently working with private firms to secure land recordsin its new capital, Amaravati, using blockchain. 
  • A blockchain-secured record-keeping process will collect, store and provide access to information quite differently than a conventional process. After reaching consensus on what constitutes a valid record, market participants use cryptography and consensus algorithms to create or modify records.
  • There is no need for a central authority to keep recordsas they are distributed across a system of networked computer nodes.
  • All participants can see and use the latest version of the record without relying on anyone else. Data stored using blockchain is secure, transparent, easy to access, and hard to dispute.
  • Not hard to imagine lenders seeking blockchain security for land records as it would dramatically cut down risks in lending against property.
  • Overlaying blockchain on lands pledged against those mortgages could be a great start. Similarly, the newly set up information utility, National e-governance Services Ltd (NeSL), could also be used to drive blockchain-based record-keeping for underlying collateral like land.
  1. Blockchain applications could be further extended to sectors such as insurance, law, real estate and digital art, and could be used to further strengthen national institutions, including the judiciary and the Election Commission.
  2. Critical citizen information like land records, census data, birth and death records, business licenses, criminal records, intellectual property registry, electoral rolls could all be maintained as blockchain-powered, tamper-proof public ledgers, and be verified, or updated in real time, with utmost security, thereby generating inconceivable improvements in efficiency, transparency and time savings.

6.Blockchain has the potential to optimize the delivery of public services, further India’s fight against corruption, and create considerable value for its citizens.

  • A public blockchain, like the one Bitcoin uses, records all information and transactions on the decentralized database permanently, publicly, and most importantly, securely.
  • By allowing governments to track the movement of government funds, blockchain can hold state and local actors accountable for any misappropriations.
  1. Blockchain can play an important role in storing individuals’ data, helping conduct secure transactions, maintaining a permanent and private identity record, and turning India into a digital society.

8.Artificial intelligence, Internet of things can gain significantly from Blockchain applications.


  • Telecom sector:-
    • Blockchain is poised to disrupt typical business operations. Unanswered questions about how private blockchain relates to regulatory frameworks, in addition to security and privacy issues, exist too.
    • Arguably the biggest challenge, however, is identifying the optimal entry point for blockchain into the telecom industry, which may require service providers to streamline internal operations.
  • Land records:-
    • While blockchain could ensure integrity and indisputability of future changes, it cannot resolve differences that exist today.
      • Questions like what benefit would blockchain provide to a land whose area is not captured correctly, whose ownership is contested, whose liens are not fully recorded and whose value is underreported are still vague
    • Because blockchain expert developers are scarce in the market for now, the implementation cost might be higher.
  • Blockchain is still a (relatively) new technology and is not without its problems. For a start, there are ongoing concerns about privacy in the settlement and storage of securities blockchain providers are working hard to address.
  • Banks are also at threat with blockchain, since more and more firms (using their IT service providers from India and elsewhere) will build systems that can create and exchange ‘blocks’ with one another completely legally, without ever having to use the banks as a financial intermediary.


  • The potential of blockchain to bring about substantial economic transformation is the mirror image of the way the Internet revolutionised commerce, media and advertising in the previous decade. India should effectively channel its technical human capital surplus to position itself as one of the pioneers during this upcoming wave of innovation.

General Studies – 4

Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

7) Discuss the functions of the attitude. Give examples in favour of your answer.(250 words)


Why this question

The issue is related to GS 4- syllabus under the following heading –

Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to write in detail about the functions of the attitude. However, along with the description, we also have to provide suitable examples to bring a player picture and meaning.

Directive word

Discuss- we have to write in detail about the nature of functions of the attitude along with suitable examples to illustrate our discussion.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- briefly define the term attitude.


  1. Discuss in points, the different functions of attitude.

e.g Knowledge function, Self / Ego-expressive function, Adaptive function,ego-defensive function.

Take the help of the article attached to the question to form your own examples, which bring out the functions of the attitude.

Conclusion– mention the importance of the attitude in determining the behaviour of the persons etc.


Attitude is a relatively enduring organization of beliefs, feelings, and behavioral tendencies towards socially significant objects, groups, events or symbols. It is a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favour or disfavour.

Functions of attitude:-

  • Knowledge
    • Attitudes provide meaning (knowledge) for life.  The knowledge function refers to our need for a world which is consistent and relatively stable. This allows us to predictwhat is likely to happen, and so gives us a sense of control. Attitudes can help us organize and structure our experience. 
    • Knowing a person’s attitude helps us predict their behavior. For example, knowing that a person is religious we can predict they will go to Church
  • Self / Ego-expressive
    • The attitudes people express help communicatewho they are and may make them feel good because they have asserted their identity.  Self-expression of attitudes can be non-verbal too.
    • Therefore, our attitudes are part of our identity, and help us to be aware through the expression of our feelings, beliefs and values.
  • Adaptive
    • If a person holds and/or expresses socially acceptable attitudes, other people will reward them with approval and social acceptance
    • Attitudes then, are to do with being apart of a social group and the adaptive functions helps us fit in with a social group. People seek out others who share their attitudes, and develop similar attitudes to those they like.
  • Ego-defensive
    • The ego-defensive function refers to holding attitudes that protect self-esteem or that justify actions that make people feel guilty.  For example, children might defend themselves against the feelings of humiliation they have experienced adopt a defensive attitude
    • Positive attitudes towards ourselves, for example, have a protective function (i.e. an ego-defensive role) in helping us reserve our self-image.
  • The basic idea behind the functional approach is that attitudes help a person to mediate between their own inner needs (expression, defense) and the outside world (adaptive and knowledge).
  • The basic idea behind the functional approach is that attitudes help a person to mediate between their own inner needs (expression, defense) and the outside world (adaptive and knowledge).