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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 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: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the
present- significant events, personalities, issues.

1) Analyze the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 and examine the validity of Germany’s objections to the treaty.(250 words) 

Indian express

Financial express

Key demand of the question

The question asks you to delve deeper into the provisions of the policy to examine whether Germany was hard done by, and its feeling of angst at the injustice meted out leading to world war 2.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Briefly introduce the treaty of Versailles.


  • Mention the provisions of the treaty and the fact.
  • Analyze the reasons why the provisions might have seemed harsh to Germans. Also provide counter arguments as to why the provisions were not that harsh.
  • Dictated peace
  • Several points not taken from Woodrow Wilson’s 14 point speech, loss of territory
  • Etc
  • Provide conclusion on the lines of – Germans had certain causes of communication paint but the treaty could have been harsher.



Background :-

  • World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
  • It was mainly negotiated among the Allied powers with little participation by Germany, its 15 parts and 440 articles reassigned German boundaries and assigned liability for reparations.
  • After strict enforcement for five years, the French assented to the modification of important provisions.

Treaty of Versailles and its important provisions :-

  • Territories surrendered:-
    • Germany had to surrender all of its overseas territories. Germany had a number of territories, particularly in Africa and Asia. These were converted into League of Nation mandates and were administered by the Allied Powers.
    • In Europe, Germany also lost a lot of territory. All the lands it had gained from Russia in the Brest-Litovsk treaty were stripped away and given independence.
    • German land was also ceded to France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Denmark. In total, Germany lost about 25,000 square miles.
      • Alsace and Lorraine were returned to France.
    • The coal mines in the German area called Saar were ceded to France for 15 years. But the area was to be governed by the League of Nations.
  • Military:-
    • The size and strength of Germany’s military was severely restricted. Germany was limited to a purely defensive army of just 100,000 men. They also had to surrender all of their modern warships.
    • Germany was forbidden from sending its military into the Rhineland that bordered France, and it had to allow this land to be occupied by Allied forces.
  • Responsibility:-
    • Germany had to officially accept responsibility for the war.
  • Reparations:-
    • Germany was required to pay war reparations to the Allied powers
    • Eventually, in April 1921, the League of Nations agreed a sum of £6.6 billion.
  • Germany and Austria were forbidden from merging.

German objections:-

  • The Germans hated the Treaty of Versailles because they had not been allowed to take part in the Conference. 
  • The Germans hated Clause 231 (which blamed Germany for causing the war), because it was the excuse for all the harsh clauses of the Treaty, and because they thought Russia was to blame for starting the war.  
    • The Germans hated clause 231 because accepting it gave the Allies the moral right to punish Germany
  • Germany’s military power was reduced, and it was not allowed any troops in the Rhineland.   Germans said this left them powerless against even the tiny countries.   
  • Germany had to pay £6,600 million ‘reparations’, a huge sum which Germans felt was just designed to destroy their economy and starve their children.  
  • Finally, Germans hated the loss of land.   Alsace-Lorraine was given back to France which was considered a national humiliation. Huge areas of Germany were given to countries like Poland, and Germany was not allowed to unite with Austria. The Germans thought this was unfair, because other nations were given self-determination .

Their objections were valid:-

Firstly, the Germans did not think that they had caused the war (for the Germans, the war was a war of self-defence against Russia, which had mobilised 31 July 1914).   

 Although the Allies did not allow Germany an army, they did not let her join the League of Nations.   This was an insult, and it also meant the Germany had no way ever to get fair treatment by other states – neither armies nor argument.

  • To claim Germany is solely responsible for World War I is completely unrealistic as it was Austria-Hungary who declared war on Serbia starting a chain of events resulting in a war involving most of Europe. 
  • The reparations to be paid by Germans to the allies was very high and that the allies were simply trying to make a profit out of the war. 
    • In all probability Germany could not afford this sum as the Germans had already lost around 10% of its industry and 15% of its agricultural land through the war and their economy was at the lowest it has been for many years.
    • The allies were effectively trying to ruin the whole German economy by making them pay back these huge debts.
  • Military restrictions:-
    • For a strong military nation like Germany their army was reduced to a humiliating low level. Germany obviously had strong objections to this term. Germany claimed that they would no longer be able to defend itself if these restrictions were in place making the country defenceless against an extremely hostile Europe at the time.
  • Terrritorial loss for Germany:-
    • This was the clause that destroyed Germany role as a global super power. The Germans argued that this term has destroyed all the work that Germany had done in the last century to get so powerful and it also depleted the Germans economy as, less people means less income for the government.

Not valid:-

  • However Germany’s claims that the attacking Russia was an act of self defence was not completely true as Germany was in no direct danger and it is likely that Austria-Hungary plight was an excuse to take on Russia.
  • Some of Germans objections were not justified, such as military restrictions, as the Allies have just been involved in a war and had to reduce the threat imposed by Germany.
  • Germans could have hardly expected good treatment because of the harsh treatment they meted out to Russia when signing Brest-Litvosk during the war.
  • The Germans claimed that they had been promised terms based on Wilson’s 14 points but not all provisions were based on that. But the 14 points have never been accepted officially by any states involving including Germany.
  • Alsace Lorraine was captured by Germany during Franco Prussian war in 1871 and now they were given back to France which was totally justified


  • The treaty could have been even harsher .When compared to other features imposed by Germany this treaty was moderate.

General Studies – 2

TopicIssues relating to poverty and hunger.

Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

2) India needs a third generation right to food legislation to address failings in its food security programme. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu


Why this question

National Food Security Act is a historic legislation, reflecting the evolution of the first generation and the second generation of food security agendas/concepts. It is opined that the situation has reached where the Indian food security programme needs to undergo the third generation reform. The question is related to GS2 syllabus under the following heading-

Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

And to GS3 syllabus under the following heading-

Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to highlight the feelings in India’s food security programme and express your opinion on, whether India needs a third generation right to food legislation.

Directive word

Comment- we have to express our personal opinion on the issue. However, our opinion should reflect our understanding of the failings/ issues in India’s food security programme and need for 3rd Generation legislative reforms in India’s food security programme.

Structure of the answer

Introduction-  Mention the first ( problem of supply) and second generation (the problem of physical and economic access)  reforms in the history of India’s food security programme.


  1. Discuss in points the issues associated with India’s food security programme. e.g whole population is not covered, right to nutritious/ wholesome food not guaranteed, people like the homeless, helpless migrants still lack the access to food, a claim under the Act would not be available in times of “war, flood, drought, fire, cyclone or earthquake, the NFSA is framed in such a way that the courts can’t go beyond the provisions of the NFSA in terms of what it could order the government to give citizens etc.
  2. discuss the issue of environmental degradation, climate change, increased incidence of disasters, and high vulnerability of Indian population, particularly those belonging to the lower segments, which demands to include stability of food supplies.

Conclusion-mention the right to food as a basic human right and also mention India’s commitments under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and mention how the third generation reforms would bring out the true spirit of the NFSA.



  • The right to food is a well established principle of international human rights law.As a state party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, India has the obligation to ensure the right to be free from hunger and the right to adequate food.
  • In India in the first generation reforms there was problem of supply and in the second generation reforms there was a shift of the frame from the problem of availability to the problem of access.

India’s Food security programme:-

  • India’s current understanding of food security includes the four dimensions of access, availability, utilisation and stability
  • India’s National Food Security Act has two goals: increasing access to food and supporting its farmers

Issues with Indian food security programme and why third generation right to food legislation is needed:-

  • Failure of government efforts:-
    • Inspite of ample quantities of grain, and a variety of government efforts such as the Public Distribution System, people were dying of starvation because they were unable to physically or financially (or both) reach this food.
    • Farm policies have resulted in unsteady output, low yield, non-uniform quality and volatile prices.
    • There are multiple schemes to address malnutrition. These include Public Distribution System, Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Programme and so on.

These are implemented by as many ministries as there are schemes but there is little coordination. Programme implementation is tardy and not uniform across the country.

  • National food security act:-
    • It does not guarantee a universal right to food. Instead, it limits the right to food to those identified on the basis of certain criteria.
    • It also specifies that a claim under the Act would not be available in times of war, flood, drought, fire, cyclone or earthquake. Right to food becomes most valuable in exactly these circumstances, so it is questionable whether the Act is effective in guaranteeing the right that it is meant to.
    • It does not look at at food security in a more comprehensive manner. 
    • The framing of the NFSA as being the final word on government commitments to provide food security to citizens might instead have the result of limiting the courts with respect to how far citizen entitlements can be extended.
    • NFSA predominantly mentions just rice and wheat
    • It is largely silent on the issue of stability of food supplies
  • India’s grim performance in multiple indicators:-
    • The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, in its report depicted that 5 per cent of the population is undernourished in India.
    • Also, 51.4 per cent  of women in reproductive age between 15 and 49 years are anaemic.
  • Further, 38.4 per cent of the children aged under five are stunted while many suffer from wasting, meaning their weight is too low for their height.
    • Malnourished children have a higher risk of death from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria.
    • The Global Hunger Index 2016 ranked India at 97 out of 118 countries
  • Structural issues in agriculture:-
    • Fragmented landholding, monsoon dependence, inadequate irrigation, lack of technology inputs, poor state of rural infrastructure and so on have not been sorted out.
    • India’s agricultural system is an example of growth without equity and little distributive justice, an important cause of its poor nutrition status.
  • Climate change:-
    • Besides, there are the upcoming challenges like land constraints, looming water shortage and climate change.
    • Continued grain mono-cropping (rice-wheat-rice cycle) in certain regions has resulted serious deterioration of soil health and alarming decline in the water table. In other words, an environmental disaster is waiting to happen.
  • Nutrition issues:-
    • There is pervasive under-nutrition especially in rural areas with PEM (protein and energy malnutrition). Government policies support subsidised delivery of calories but not proteins.
    • Despite growing production, India’s protein use has gradually declined in the last 20 years.
    • India’s agriculture and food policies (covering production, processing and consumption) in recent years have focused on two fine cereals, rice and wheat and have paid considerably less attention to nutritious coarse cereals (nutri-cereals), pulses and oilseeds
    • The country faces the risk of moving towards nutrition insecurity. Inter-State variations in the nutrition status are stark. The long-term implications of under-nutrition are serious given the age profile of the population.

Reforms needed are:-

  • Long term measures:-
    • There is a need to frame a third generation food security law, recognise and mainstream issues including increasing natural disasters and climate adaptation. Such a framework would robustly address the challenges facing the country’s food security across all the dimensions and make a coordinated effort to resolve them.
    • Food security brings together diverse issues such as inequality, food diversity, indigenous rights and environmental justice. Given the current crises in India, it is time India prepares a third generation right to food legislation that recognises climate change.
    • Involve corporate sector:-
      • India can extend calls to corporate sector, especially those in the food industry, to contribute in creating a network of food banks in poor regions in coordination with local administration.
      • With the issue of lack of access of adequate food among urban poor encourage hotels industry to form network to distribute surplus food.
    • Comprehensive approach by integrating technologies, policies, institutions and agri infrastructure is necessary to usher in a new green revolution, in eastern India this time
    • Reforms in PDS needed:-
      • Some of the people below poverty line households were non-beneficiaries as they did not possess ration cards. Such unintended omissions could be minimised by strengthening the identification mechanism.
      • The density of fair price shops is still lower so efforts are needed to widen the distribution network to remote corners to enhance access.
      • There is still room for minimising wastage and losses resulting from poor handling and storage of grains. Continued research and improvements in logistics throughout the distribution chain is imperative.
      • Appropriate choice of food including biofortified food, if distributed, can help in addressing recalcitrant micronutrient deficiencies such as vitamin A and anaemia.
    • National nutrition mission:-
      • Since each state has invested heavily in PDS and revamping is already under way, it would be cost-effective to make it as a platform to achieve some of the proposed goals under National nutrition mission.
      • The respective states can provide necessary nutrients such as pulses and millets to women along with grains and possibly promote dietary diversification as per the culture, tastes and preferences of people.
    • There is a need to recognise the close relationship between agriculture, nutrition and health
  • Short term measures :-
    • Setting up affordable food canteens on the lines of Chennai’s Amma Canteen could be one way.
    • Agriculture is basically cereals-driven. Pulses and edible oils should be included in the national food security programme.
      • Turn policy focus slightly away from fine cereals to nutri-cereals, pulses, oilseeds, milk, poultry and fish
      • Include pulses and edible oil under the public distribution system and National Food Security Act
      • Encourage food fortification; and
      • Raise protein and micro-nutrient content in MDM and ICDS foods.


General Studies – 3

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

3) What do you understand by Geospatial Intelligence. Discuss how it acts as a force multiplier for the defence and security of a country.(250 words)






Why this question

GIS provides one of the most invaluable tools for defence and public organisations– information. GIS technology has become an indispensable tool to gather data and intel for purposes of analysing, modeling, planning and building to fulfil the full spectrum of government functionalities. The issue is related to GS3 syllabus under the following heading-

Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to simply describe the meaning of the term, geospatial intelligence and elaborate the key principles.  It then wants us to write in detail about its role in promoting the defence and security of a country.

Directive word

Discuss- we have to write in detail about the meaning, underlying principles and role played by geospatial intelligence as a force multiplier for defence and security of a country. Here we should support our answer with some examples.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Give a brief but a comprehensive definition of the term geospatial intelligence.


  • Discuss the key principles underlying the geospatial intelligence. E.g seeks knowledge to achieve a decision advantage, information denial and deception (D&D), reveals how human action is constrained by the physical landscape and human perceptions of Earth etc.
  • Discuss in points how exploitation of geointelligence and associated technologies can act as a force multiplier for the defence and security of the country. Take help of the articles attached with the question to frame your answer. Also give examples of such technologies/ techniques used/ put in place by other countries; Afghan war, Iraq war etc.

Conclusion- Mention the need to harness the given technologies  and mention projects like the hexagon project.


  • In the face of global situations that call for analysis of visual imagery, application of geospatial technologies and the craft of intelligence, Geointelligence emerges as the critical link.

Geospational intelligence:-

  • It is intelligence of both physical and man made characteristics of Earth
  • Geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) is intelligence derived from the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information about features and events, with reference to space and time. This definition applies not only to products and services, but also to the process of conducting analysis. 
  • The use of big data, advanced geospatial analytics software and sophisticated imaging technologies from (very) high-resolution remote sensing satellites, UAVs and other sensors, enables seamless flow of information in pre-, real-time and post-combat operations
  • GEOINT is comprised of the following sub-disciplines:
    • Imagery Analysis
      • The process of examining an image collected from satellites or aircraft to identify features, describe activity and interpret what is occurring at a given place on the Earth’s surface. 
    • Geospatial Analysis
      • Entails collecting and analysing information about features on the ground, their relationships to the Earth and to each other.
    • Geospatial Information and Services
      • A combination of the precise location information and associated attributes of natural and man-made features. This combination conveys the ‘what’ and ‘where’ of a feature on the Earth’s surface and provides the foundation for a wide range of information to be integrated and displayed.

Defence and national security:-

  • Geospatial Intelligence is  a critical foundation for many aspects of defense and internal security, offers the capability of monitoring, predicting and countering threats, while helping strategize and support various field operations.
  • Tracking people:-
    • It helps in getting geo tagged tweets ,terrain images from satellites, GPS phone tracking and Drone surveillance
    • Locate terrorist groups through multiple data sources
    • Helped locate Laden in 2011 when his compound was raided.
    • Use of advanced sensor technology and multiple types of geospatial data to help visualize events.
      • For instance, intelligence applied to a map of terrorist hideouts, data mined from geo-tagged tweets, satellite image of the terrain, drone surveillance and GPS tracking of cell phone devices in use; makes possible real-time mapping and analysis of terrorist movements across space and time
    • Saving lives in war zones:-
      • Geospatial intelligence can map out rugged terrain, possible escape routes and best aid airdrop points.
      • When thousands of people fleeing ISIL got trapped in Iraq several geospational maps were combined to analyze the situation and save lives
      • Geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) has been an indispensable tool for defense agencies across the world for a long time now. The recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have further demonstrated that geospatial inputs would be at the core of all future wars.
    • Military support:-
      • Infrastructure system planning for bases and operations
      • Target vetting
      • Navigation safety on land, air and sea
      • It provides logistics support for military operations, disaster response, civic emergencies, and so on.
      • And with world events tilting towards international terrorism, there is a great need amongst military agencies for detailed knowledge of the areas of conflict to improve their process for assessment, response, and decision-making.
      • Even nations that do not encourage war understand the need of keeping their soldiers informed about the location of friends and enemies alike.
    • Cyber security
      • It can assist in finding the physical locations of hackers and others who launch cyber attacks
      • Logical mapping shows how data and cyber assets connect regardless of geographic location
      • As cyber threats originate in a physical space geospatial intelligence helps find them
      • GEOINT mapping of cyber attacks even after they occur can provide information on the culprits, what they want and what another attack might be
      • Threats to servers and their physical storage locations can be thwarted by :-
      • Server operations can even be diverted to another location in the event of a cyber threat
      • Other physical securities can be added such as additional security guards and more restricted access
    • Natural resource management:-
      • It helps identify and manage natural resources
      • Growing amounts of GEOINT together with advances in energy consuming products could vastly reduce resource waste worldwide
    • Disaster response and management:-
      • It helps first responder and government in times of disaster. The ability to support first responders and military personnel with actionable insights and real time datahas proved to be invaluable.
      • Best locations for bringing in aid are pinpointed
      • To organize humanitarian efforts after crises
      • In west African Ebola crisis GEOINT described key elements for fighting the epidemic
    • It facilitates multi-source information sharing and integration across agencies and organizations by providing a common framework on which other information is based.
    • It has the ability to map human movements, across time, space and terrain for tactical planning
    • It is a powerful tool for civic planning, humanitarian missions, industrial surveillance, precision war, conflict resolution, national security
    • Not only supports forces in their strategic decisions and operations but also for countering asymmetric threats.
    • Provide insights to help avert dangers, counter conflicts, predict opportunities or adapt to shifting conditions.
    • Intelligence analysis using data from other INTs (SIGINT, HUMINT, MASINT, IMINT,OSINT) for additional context to the problem under consideration.
    • It is playing a crucial role to exploit the capability and preparedness of a nation to respond to surprise attack or otherwise.
    • It is used to predict future problems, bring visibility to hotspots, and to develop what if scenarios.
    • As threats to national security become more unpredictable, geospatial intelligence has an even more important role to play in the future of safety, security and defence


TopicMajor crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

4) Discuss the challenges faced by the farmers in availing benefits under the PMFBY. Also, suggest some points to improve the performance of the scheme.(250 words)



Why this question

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) is A flagship programme of the incumbent government. It is one of the programs included in Prime Minister’s award for excellence in public administration 2018. The issue is related to GS3 syllabus under the following heading-

Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

Key demand of the question

The question simply wants us to write in detail about the problems faced by farmers in availing benefits under the scheme. It also wants us to give suggestions to improve the performance of the scheme.

Directive word

Discuss- we have to write in detail about both demands of the question-  problems faced and suggestions for improvement. Be as exhaustive as possible in highlighting the number of problems. And also feel free to suggest radical but plausible ideas to improve the performance of the scheme.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- briefly describe the aim of PMFBY scheme and its strategy (providing financial support to farmers suffering crop losses/ damage, stabilizing income of farmers, adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices, ensure the flow of credit to the agriculture sector).


  1. Discuss in points the difficulties faced by farmers in availing benefits under the scheme. (e.g lack of awareness  among the non-loanee farmers, delay in disbursal of claims, non-availability of information related to crops, complicated process of claiming insurance, difficulty in conducting crop cutting experiments, damage from wildlife not covered, high premium amount on cash crops)


  1. Discuss in points, how the scheme could be improvised.

e.g simplifying the process of applying for and claiming the Crop Insurance, conduct IEC activities to motivate farmers  and enrol them under the scheme, the convergence of geotagging of Crop cutting experiments with the digitisation of land records, use of satellite imagery for assessing crop damage, dissemination of information to farmers


Conclusion- mention the need of agriculture department and revenue authorities to work in tandem for the inclusive coverage of all farmers under the scheme.


Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana

  • It is aimed at shielding farmers from crop failures and yield losses due to vagaries of climate through insurance.
  • It compensates farmers for any losses in crop yield.
  • In the event of a crop loss, the farmer will be paid based on the difference between the threshold yield and actual yield.
  • The scheme is compulsory for farmers who have availed of institutional loans.
  • The scheme insures farmers against a wide range of external risks like droughts, dry spells, floods, inundation, pests and diseases, landslides, natural fire and lightning, hailstorms, cyclones, typhoons, tempests, hurricanes and tornadoes.
  • The scheme also covers post-harvest losses up to a period of 14 days.

Importance of this scheme:-

  • The PMFBY is an attempt to plug the holes in the older crop insurance schemes especially being
    • Their limited risk coverage 
    • For crops where the premiums were steeper insurance companies proportionally reduced the sum insured.
    • Compensation fell way short of even the farmer’s cost of production.
  • The Fasal Bima Yojana has done away with this cap on premium. The sum insured per hectare for a farmer is now decided by the District Level Technical Committee and is pre-declared and notified by the State Level Coordination Committee on Crop Insurance.
  • The farmer also pays less
    • The premium is 2 per cent of the sum insured for all kharif crops and 1.5 per cent of it for all rabi crops.
    • For horticulture and commercial crops, the premium is 5 per cent of sum covered.
    • The remaining premium is paid by the government.
  • The scheme also envisages using technology
    • To capture and upload data of crop cutting
    • To reduce delays in claim payment to farmers
    • Remote sensing to reduce the number of crop cutting experiments.
  • Subsidised premiums and prompt claims settlement enabled by remote sensing and GPS technology should help substantially expand coverage.
  • An increase in the area insured should also bring down premium rates, through spreading of risks across more farmers. That would also help contain the government’s subsidy burden.
  • Government has further targeted at increasing the coverage. In Budget 2018-19, allocation to the PMFBY scheme  is  Rs 13,000 crore and a target of increasing coverage to 98 million ha gross crop area has been set.

Challenges faced by farmers:-

  • Making the insurance business sustainable with actuarial premium rates is not going to help raise farmers incomes.
  • Insufficient reach and the issue of penetration.
  • Most states failed to provide smart phones to revenue staff to capture and upload data of crop cutting, which continues to come with enormous delay.
  • There is hardly any use of modern technology in assessing crop damages.
  • Gaps in assessment of crop loss: 
    • The sample size in each village was not large enough to capture the scale and diversity of crop losses.
    • In many cases, district or block level agricultural department officials do not conduct such sampling on ground and complete the formalities only on paper.
    • There is lack of trained outsourced agencies, scope of corruption during implementation and the non-utilisation of technologies like smart phones and drones to improve reliability of such sampling
    • Less number of notified crops than can avail insurance
  • Inadequate and delayed claim payment:
    • Insurance companies, in many cases, did not investigate losses due to a localised calamity and, therefore, did not pay claims.
    • Only 32 per cent of the reported claims were paid out by insurance companies, even when in many states the governments had paid their part of premium.
  • High actuarial premium rates
    • Insurance companies charged high actuarial premium rates
  • Massive profits for insurance companies
    • If states delay notifications, or payment of premiums, or crop cutting data, companies cannot pay compensation to the farmers in time.
    • There have been farmers protests in various states against compulsory coverage of loanee farmers under this scheme. Farmer activists fear that this scheme might end up benefitting insurance companies more than the farmers.
  • Coverage only for loanee farmers:
    • PMFBY remains a scheme for loanee farmers who take loans from banks are mandatorily required to take insurance. Like previous crop insurance schemes, PMFBY fails to cover sharecropper and tenant farmers
  • Poor capacity to deliver: 
    • There has been no concerted effort by the state government and insurance companies to build awareness of farmers on PMFBY.
    • Insurance companies have failed to set-up infrastructure for proper implementation of PMFBY.
    • There is still no direct linkage between insurance companies and farmers.
    • Insured farmers receive no insurance policy document or receipt.
    • Delayed notification by state governments
  • PMBY is not beneficial for farmers in vulnerable regions as factors like low indemnity levels, low threshold yields, low sum insured and default on loans make it a poor scheme to safeguard against extreme weather events.
  • However, merely increasing the budget allocation for PMFBY scheme might not help the farmers.
  • CAG report:-
    • Private companies are not properly monitored and premium subsidy is released to them simply on the basis of affidavits provided by these companies without checking actual situation on the ground.

Way forward:-

  • There is an urgent need to link the insurance database with Core Banking Solution (CBS) so that when premium is deducted from a farmer’s bank account, the bank sends him a message informing about the premium, sum insured and name of insurance company.
  • There is a need for a total insurance packagelike seed insurance through replanting guarantee programme, crop cycle insurance, prepaid insurance card etc
  • Insurance unit has to be brought down to individual farm level
  • Making claims payment fast and transparent
    • There should be strict compliance of timelines with regard to the process of claim settlement to provide adequate and timely compensation to farmers.
  • Danger of discouraging mixed cropping and crop diversification
    • A limited number of crops are notified by states under PMFBY. This can act as an impediment to crop diversification.
    • PMFBY will have to make insurance relevant to farmers by including more and more crops under notification and by allowing insurance for mixed cropping.
  • Improve scheme monitoring and grievance redressal mechanism
    • Toll-free number should serve as a one-stop solution for crop insurance. Farmers should be able to avail of a single window that is accountable to them for all aspects of the scheme.
  • Coverage of losses expanded:-
    • Coverage of tenant and sharecropper farmers should increase
  • Awareness:-
    • Farmers must be informed before deducting crop insurance premium. They must be given a proper insurance policy document, with all relevant details.
  • Capacity building:-
    • Panchayati Raj Institutions and farmers need to be involved at different stages of implementation.
    • Robust assessment of crop loss should be done through capacity building of state governments, involvement of PRIs and farmers in loss assessment, auditing and multi-level checking to ensure credibility of data and testing incorporating technology such as remote sensing, drones and online transmission of data.



Topic: Environmental pollution and degradation

5) “Beat plastic pollution” the theme for World Environment Day, for its success in India, requires India to bring certain changes in its Plastic Waste Management Rules. Discuss. (250 words)

Financial express


Why this question

India, as the host country of World Environment Day, carries the onus to lead by example in management of plastic waste. Plastic waste management rules 2016 which have been amended in 2018, fills in certain gaps of the past rules but still requires several changes to function effectively. Topics related to plastic pollution is very important for mains this year.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to analyze the details of the solid waste management rules 2016 and its amendments carried out in 2018, along with its implementation to assess their effectiveness in tackling plastic pollution.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention the focus on tackling plastic pollution by making it the theme of world environment day, as several reports have highlighted the alarming magnitude to which this problem has grown.


  • Mention the status quo regarding the extent of plastic pollution in India – data on generation, treatment etc of plastics. Paint the broad picture of the extent of plastic pollution for which the government has revised rules.
  • Discuss the positives of the rules – EPR, attaching a monetary worth to plastics etc.
  • Thereafter, bring out the points in the rules which either impede, or do not facilitate tackling plastic pollution. Also discuss the problems with implementation of these rules.
  • Highlight the changes that need to be brought in the rules which would make dealing with plastic waste a little less cumbersome

Conclusion – present your view on the changes required and the ways to achieve them.


  • India is faced with a paradox i.e.., the same plastic that is powering Indian economy is also grossly polluting its environment. There is no organised process to deal with the 15,342 tonnes of plastic waste generated each day. 

Plastic pollution in India:-

  • According to Plastic Infrastructure Report, 2017, India consumes close to 12.8 million tonnes of plastic per annum, of which, close to 5 million tonnes is rendered as waste every year.
  • Seventy per cent of the plastic waste industry is informal in nature and no action plan for formalising the industry has been pushed in the last two years.

Measures undertaken:-

  • The Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules 2011, introduced under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, established a framework that assigned responsibilities for plastic waste management to the urban local body (ULB) and set up a state level monitoring committee.
    • The rules also addressed the issue of carry bags by setting minimum standards for thickness and a mandate for retailers to charge a fee for each plastic bag made available.
  • The 2011 rules were succeeded by the PWM Rules 2016, which tighten the rules (for example, banning plastic bags of less than 50 microns thickness), and also lay the foundation for accountability across the value-chain.
    • The new rules require producers and brand-owners to devise a plan in consultation with the local bodies to introduce a collect-back system.
    • The extended producers responsibility (EPR), would assist the municipalities in tackling the plastic waste issue.
    • The rules also state that the manufacture and use of multi-layered plastics that are hard to recycle must be phased out.
  • Under the Good and Service Tax (GST), plastic waste was put under a 5 per cent bracket, hurting the informal sector, which already lacks a concrete action plan.
  • Latest amendments to plastic management rules 2016:-
    • Rule 15 (Explicit pricing of carrying bags) has been omitted in the amendment. It earlier required every vendor, who sold commodities in a carry bag, to register with their respective urban local body and pay a minimum fee of Rs 48,000 annum (4000/month) after the announcement of the bye-laws.
    • Other minor amendments include the addition of two more definitions: one on ‘alternate use’ and one on ‘energy recovery’.
    • The section13(2) now requires all brand owners and producers to register or renew registration with the concerned State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) or Pollution Control Committee if operational only in one or two states or union territories.
      • They have to do the same with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), if the producers/brand owners are operating in more than two states or union territories.

Concerns :-

  • Section 9 (3) of the latest amendment to plastic management rules 2016 gives plastic producers a scope to argue that their products can be put to some other use, if not recycled.
    • This move  tantamounts to revoking a complete ban, which it had implied earlier.
    • This type of plastic was supposed to be banned by March 2018, but it is nowhere near a phase-out.
  • Implementation of the rules has been poor in all aspects and the amendment says nothing to strengthen it.:-
    • The status of plastic waste management in the country is grim even after the rules gave emphasis on banning plastics below 50 microns, phasing out use of multilayered packaging and introducing extended producer responsibility (EPR) for producers, importers and brand owners to ensure environmentally sound management of plastic products until the end of their lives.
  • The idea of extended producer responsibility (EPR), which was introduced in the rules of 2016, still remains nowhere close to being implemented even after two years.
    • EPR targets have to be accounted for at the national level, irrespective of which state the products are sold or consumed in. The amendment does not address these issues. Moreover, no example of deposit refund scheme system has been implemented in any state.
  • Lack of adequate infrastructure for segregation and collection is the key reason for inefficient plastic waste disposal.
    • Most municipal corporations still do not have a proper system of collection and segregation, given their lack of access to technology and infrastructure, which are needed to dispose of plastic waste in a cost- and resource-efficient way.
  • The Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, mandate ULBs to set up facilities for processing sorted dry waste. However, the implementation has been rather bleak, owing to available land/space concerns.
  • Source separation of waste, coupled with segregated collection and transportation, have been weak links in the waste supply-
  • Imposing penalties or fines is easier said than done in a democratic setup. 
  • Plastic in oceans and forests are choking flora and fauna. In fact, plastic trash is expected to exceed the fish population in 2050.
  • Microplastics has ability to enter food chain with the highest concentration of the pollutants


  • ULBs could a take cue from cities like Bangalore where dry waste collection centres have not only been established but also have a self-sustainable business model.
    • Municipalities must develop waste collection plans, coupled with outreach activities, to sensitise citizens on waste segregation.
  • It is imperative to develop a phase-wise implementation of the EPR programme with yearly targets and a system of nationwide offsets and credit to ensure effective implementation of the rules.
  • International examples:-
    • The success of imposing a plastic bag fee has also been established in cities like Chicago and Washington, showing that such interventions could be effective in shaping behaviour change.
    • The European Union is mulling new laws to ban some everyday single-use plastic products including straws, cutlery and plates citing plastic litter in oceans as the concern prompting the action.
    • Encouraging plogging:-
      • Picking up litter while jogging or strolling was kick-started on a small scale in a small part of Stockholm about an year ago, it has spread across the globe and India can adopt this as well.
    • Countries such as the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands have already put in place regulations to stop the use of microbeads in personal-care products. The sooner India adopts such regulations, the better
  • Recycling has to ensure that wastes are converted into products of the same quality, if not better, compared to the original product. 
  • Stop using single use plastic:-
    • The Government of the state of Maharashtra has announced an ambitious ban of plastic bags, water bottles and other disposable plastic items in the state after the state civic bodies started facing serious problems on garbage disposing and its management.
    • Fine for violating the ban will be Rs 5,000 for the first offence, Rs 10,000 for the second and Rs 25,000 for the third offence or a three-month jail term or both.
  • With a worldwide crisis due to plastic waste, India has to involve all the stakeholders take the responsibility of ensuring minimisation, reuse and recycling of plastic to the maximum.
    • Sensitise people to stop littering and segregate their waste. Nowadays the most popular eco-conscious effort is participating in beach cleanups.
  • Sanitary napkins made from biodegradable material, menstrual cups should be promoted. 



General Studies – 4 

Topic:Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

6) Can we have a common framework, which can ensure ethical behaviour on part of men/ women as well as the state, in today’s society. Discuss any four principles of such a framework. (250 words)


Why this question

In ethics, one of the fundamental questions is how do we know what is the correct behaviour on part of people or the state. What should be the criteria used it to judge our decisions. The issue is related to gs4 syllabus under the following heading-

Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to devise a framework based on certain key principles and which could be used to ensure that men as well as the state behave in an ethical manner. We have to determine the priorities and Express over opinion on the top four of them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- mention that human behaviour/ judgement is guided by different sources and varies under different circumstances.


  1. Highlight the commonly used sources for guiding decision making.

Adhering to a set of rules or duties

Focusing on the consequences of your actions

Emphasizing the intrinsic character of actors

Faith, accepting a higher power.

  1. Briefly mention the nature of the present society where borders are irrelevant and priorities and problems are different. Then based on your opinion mention the four key principles that could form a framework to ensure ethical behaviour.

Take help of the article attached to the question. You will get 3 principles from the article and you need to figure one by yourself.

Conclusion– form a concise, fair and a balanced opinion on the given statement based on your own understanding and opinion.



Acting in ways consistent with what society and individuals typically think are good values. Ethical behavior tends to be good for business and involves demonstrating respect for key moral principles that include honesty, fairness, equality, dignity, diversity and individual rights.

There are four systems that are often presented as bases for judgment:

  • Adhering to a set of rules or duties
  • Focusing on the consequences of your actions
  • Emphasizing the intrinsic character of actors
  • Faith, accepting a higher power.

Ethical framework:-

  • States and individuals are encased by upbringing, culture, heritage, and institutions which provide implicit systems guiding behavior.
  • Individuals ,society and the state need to uphold morals like honesty, integrity, empathy, accountability etc.
  • Accepting that others have the same right is anoth This requires dialogue, not avoidance or assertion. Hence, respect for diversity itself becomes a universal condition, acknowledging multiple views without succumbing to them.
  • Human rights apply to all. But we live in communities, and having rights implies implementing policies and judging disputes.
  • Equally important, rights imply reciprocity. If you assert rights, you also concede rights to others. Rights require order in our social interactions and institutions to govern them. Hence, responsibilities come from community, governance, and reciprocity.
  • Pluralism ,rights and responsibilities, fairness, become codependent tools for determining ethical choice, and demand dialogue among people, not simple assertions.