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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 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 – Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1) Secularism in the Indian setting calls for the maintenance of a “principled distance” between state and religion. Examine the above statement in light of constitutional provisions related to secularism and the practice of secularism by state.(250 words)

The hindu

The hindu

Why this question

Indian definition of secularism has a lot of controversies associated with it. This question examines one of the key confusion in the definition of secularism in India – Sarva dharma sambhava vs dharma nirpekhshta.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight what is meant by principled distance in Indian context of secularism, how this principle manifests itself in the constitution and the practice of secularism by state and the impact of it.

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 – Explain what is meant by principled distance – means that the state is not equidistant from all religions, but the definition of state’s secularism changes with context.

Body – Examine why is it that the assertion has been made. Highlight the instances when the state involves itself in the affairs of one religion and doesn’t do so for other religions. For eg. Art 25(2) in the case of constitution and the earlier practice of providing subsidy for haj Yatra. Post explaining what this means, the focus should shift on explaining the impact and the controversies associated due to not maintaining equal distance from all religions. Finally, bring out the problems associated with this model of secularism.

Conclusion – Conclude by mentioning whether there is a need to change the meaning of secularism in India and how should it be modified.


  • Secularism in India does not mean that the state cannot intervene in religion and its affairs, but that any intervention should be within the limitations prescribed by the Constitution. 
  • According to the concept of principled distance a secular state may keep a principled distance from religion to promote peace between communities and it may also intervene to protect the rights of specific communities.
    • The state gives equal preference to every religion and respects them all equally .However the state may interfere if religious groups try to exercise their power on the political and social life of the people.
  • India maintained idea of a ‘principled distance’ that the state maintained, depending on the context or by pointing towards an alternative imagination of samadharma samabhava, where all religions are treated as equal.

Secularism in India:-

  • Constitution doesn’t acquire its secular character merely from the words in the Preamble, but from a collective reading of many of its provisions, particularly the various fundamental rights that it guarantees.
  • The Indian Constitution allows the state to play a legitimate role in the affairs of religion. For instance Article 25 permits the state to regulate/restrict the secular activities of the religion
  • Unlike the ideology of the American wall of separation, in India legitimate principled intervention of the state in religion and vice versa is constitutional. The two are distanced but not completely separated.
  • Indian secularism follows a strategy of non interference at the same time some times it interferes as well.
    • For instance with respect to untouchability the Indian constitution bans this practice. Here the state is intervening in order to end a social practice that it believes discriminates and excludes and that violates the fundamental rights of lower caste people.
  • State intervention does not always prohibit but rather facilitates the free exercise of religion.
  • The recognition of a religious community is a positive act on the part of the state.
    • For example Granting rights to religious minorities is a form of state intervention so that they can build and maintain their own educational institutions, something large religious communities routinely do without the need for special rights.
    • The intervention of the state can also be in the form of support. For instance the earlier practice of haj subsidy for muslims .
    • The Indian state decides which special days associated with religion are to be declared national holidays
  • If hierarchical caste structure and patriarchy are intrinsic to the doctrine and practice of religions, then the state can legitimately interfere into religious matters through  constitutional ban on untouchability, the opening of temples to all Hindus, judicial reform of Personal Laws etc.
  • The values like freedom, equality and social harmony that prohibit the state from encroaching upon religion also allow permit the entry of religious considerations into the state.
  • In the recent judgment in Abhiram Singh v. C.D. Commachen Supreme Court rejected the identification of a secular state with any one particular religion or non-religious philosophy.

Issues :-

  • There have been instances where people made statements that recognition of India as a Hindu state, in which secularism lies not at the Constitution’s bedrock, but entirely outside the document’s aims and purposes.
  • The state intervention has created a number of issues such as polygamy, unequal inheritance rights, extrajudicial unilateral divorce rights favourable to some males, conflicting interpretations of religious books and public management of Hindu temples.
  • In focusing on the question of the desired distance between religion and state or politics, the idea that secularism essentially promoted a social philosophy of life got sidelined.
  • Indian secularism has promoted ‘secular sectarianism’ of the minorities.
  • Political parties in India have tended to use religion and caste factors for the promotion of their political interests and thus greatly undermined the secular values.

Way forward:-

  • If secularism is a social philosophy of thick friendships and cross-cultural bonds, then it has to be guided by compassion and not merely a policy of tolerance. Such social concern has to be nurtured and made an integral part of the political culture of any nation.
  • State could devise policies in accordance with population percentage to make it mandatory in government housing schemes for individuals from different religious, caste and ethnic groups to co-habit
  • In the case of India, Minority social and political organisations need to learn to speak about the issues of the tribals, Dalits and others. It is this voluntary apportioning of social responsibility that stalls the process of social ghettoisation of the religious minorities in India.

Topic– changes in critical geographical features (including water bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

2) Composite Water Management Index developed by Niti Aayog is the first of many steps required for tackling the water crisis in India. Examine.(250 words)

The hindu


Why this question

Water crisis is a common news event, with the crisis in Shimla being the latest incident. NITI Ayog has flagged the issue in its report and has also come out with the index to deal with the crisis by leveraging the spirit of cooperative competitive federalism. Examining this step along with discussing other steps required to address the water crisis is necessary.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the index, its purpose, the impact it would have. The question also mentions that it is one of the many steps required for dealing with the crisis. We need to examine the other steps required, and the impact that it would have. We need to end with a way forward.

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 – Highlight the dreary picture related to water issues that NITI Ayog paints.

Body – Explain what composite water management index is. Examine how will it help in resolving the issues related to water. Discuss whether benchmarking exercises and instilling sense of competition would suffice. Highlight the other steps needed to tackle the existing issues related to water in the country. Here divide your answer in parts like administrative, infrastructure creation, policy changes etc.

Conclusion – Discuss the necessity of tackling this issue ASAP and the way forward.


  • Decades of the mismanagement of resources, a lack of awareness about the need for conserving fresh water, an absence of a well-thought-out water conservation policy, coupled with the menace of a population explosion and the public’s general indifference towards keeping our rivers and lakes clean have lead to water crisis in India.
  • India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and around 600 million people face a severe water shortage, according to a government think tank.
  • Approximately 200,000 people die every year due to inadequate access to clean water and it’s only going to get worse as 21 cities are likely to run out of groundwater by 2020.
  • By 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply.

Composite water management Index:-

  • CWMI has been developed by NITI Aayog comprising 9 broad sectors with 28 different indicators covering various aspects of ground water, restoration of water bodies, irrigation, farm practices, drinking water, policy and governance
  • According to the Composite Water Management Index developed by Niti Aayog, 70% of the water resources are identified as polluted. This is based primarily on data supplied by States for calculating the index.
  • The system of ratings for States is based on their performance in augmenting water resources and watersheds, investing in infrastructure, providing rural and urban drinking water, and encouraging efficient agricultural use. 
  • States such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab and Telangana have initiated reforms for judicious water use, while populous ones such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have failed to respond to the challenge.

How does it benefit:-

  • Awarding an index rank should help advance such schemes, making States feel the need to be competitive. 
    • Composite water management index’s ranking of states/UTs will ensure that principle of competitive and cooperative federalism is actualised in India’s water management system.
  • It will help build pressure on states who have not performed well to improve their water management techniques as this is directly linked to agriculture prosperity in different states.
  • It can be also utilised to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
  • It will provide useful information for States and also for concerned Central Ministries and Departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
  • The CWMIis an important tool to assess and improve the performance of States/ Union Territories in efficient management of water resources. 

What it will not be able to do:-

  • Such approaches may not resolve seemingly intractable inter-State river disputes.

What more needs to be done?

  • Technical measures:-
    • Need urgent measures like augmentation of watersheds that can store more good water, for use in agriculture and to serve habitations, and strict pollution control enforcement. 
  • Administrative:-
    • Mihir Shah committee has called for a user-centric approach to water management, especially in agriculture. It advocates decentralisation of irrigation commands, offering higher financial flows to well-performing States through a National Irrigation Management Fund.
    • Pervasive groundwater governance may optimistically lead to possibilities of transforming the country from a ‘groundwater-deficient’ to ‘groundwater sufficient’ nation.
    • Another important issue that needs to be addressed, particularly in urban areas, is the leakage of pipes providing water. Putting in place an efficient piped supply system has to be top on the agenda of policymakers and planners.
  • International solutions:
    • Israel
      • Today, Israel is the most efficient to handle water crisis by adopting innovative technologies, dedicating its greater resources and social consciousness to the water crisis.
      • Waste water recycling
        • In many countries waste water is not treated at all, polluting rivers and oceans. Whereas in Israel, nearly 85% of the sewage water is recycled and reused for agriculture.
      • Peru
        • Fog Catcher
          • It is an invention which traps water drops from fog. 
        • Other measures needed are :-
          • Rain water harvesting
            • Both in urban and rural areas, digging of rainwater harvesting pits must be made mandatory for all types of buildings.
          • Restoring and maintaining water bodies by reviving traditional storage systems:-
            • In the ancient past, different types of indigenous water harvesting systems were developed across the subcontinent and such systems need to be revived and protected at the local level. Micro irrigation practices like drip and sprinkler systems have to be promoted in a big way for efficient use of water for agriculture.
          • Growing tress
          • Mandatory Water recycling in all the apartments, industries and textiles.
          • Reusing the waste water from RO. During RO purification process nearly 70% water gets wasted. We can store and reuse it.
          • Revolutionize the agriculture practice .
          • Creating social awareness among the people about effective usage of water.
            • Conscious efforts need to be made at the household level and by communities, institutions and local bodies to supplement the efforts of governments and non-governmental bodies in promoting water conservation.
          • Sustained measures should be taken to prevent pollution of water bodies, contamination of groundwater and ensure proper treatment of domestic and industrial waste water.


Topic: Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

3) Discuss the contribution of Mughal rulers to Indian painting.(250 words) 


Why this question

The issue is related to GS 1 syllabus under the following heading-

Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to deliberate upon the role of Mughal rulers in the development and evolution of Indian painting. We have to give an account of contribution of the Mughal rulers to Indian painting.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive, which wants us to write in detail about the contribution of Mughal rulers to Indian painting. We have to provide examples of different Mughal rulers and their contribution.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – mention the ancient origin and gradual evolution of indian painting.

Body- mention that Mughal rulers further enriched the Indian painting. They introduced persian court culture into Indian paintings. Then give an account of contribution of different Mughal rulers.  From this period book illumination or individual miniatures replaced wall painting as the most vital form of art.

E.g Emperor Akbar patronised artists from Kashmir and Gujarat; Humayun brought two Persian painters to his court. Mention Baburnama, Akbarnama, Abd-us-Samad Dasawanth and Basawan and their works. Take the help of the article attached to the question to frame your answer.

Conclusion- Form a concise and a fair conclusion on the above issue, based on your discussion.


  • Indian painting is the result of the synthesis of various traditions and its development is an ongoing process. However while adapting to new styles, Indian painting has maintained its distinct character.


  • Generally made as miniatures either as book illustrations or as single works, Mughal painting evolved from the Persian school of miniature painting with Hindu, Buddhist and Jain influences.
  • These paintings evolved during the rule of various Mughal Emperors in India. The paintings often revolved around themes like battles, legendary stories, hunting scenes, wildlife, royal life, mythology, etc. These paintings also became an important medium to narrate the tall tales of the Mughal emperors. 
  • The art of textual illustration got a new look under the Mughals.
  • Akbar:-
    • Akbar ordered the creation of many paintings and also paid close attention to the final output of all these artworks. He was very particular about the details and the artistic elements involved. 
    • Akbar had an impressive number of painters in his court. Between 1560 and 1577, he commissioned a number of massive painting projects. One of the earliest painting projects commissioned by Akbar was ‘Tutinama’ which literally translates to ‘Tales of a Parrot.’There is Hamzanama as well.
    • Akbar and his successors brought revolutionary changes to painting and sensual illustrations. From this period book illumination or individual miniatures replaced wall painting as the most vital form of art.
    • Akbar also encouraged the art of making portraits.
  • Jahangir:-
    • Since Jahangir was largely influenced by European painting, he ordered his painters to follow the single point perspective used by European artists. This gave a whole new perspective to the Mughal painting.
    • Jahangir even used European paintings that portrayed the images of Kings and Queens as references and asked his painters to take a leaf out of these paintings.
    • As a result, most of the Mughal paintings commissioned by Jahangir had finer brush strokes and lighter colors. One of the major projects commissioned by him was the ‘Jahangirnama.’ 
    • Several individual portraits of Jahangir were also made by his painters. However, he also commissioned many paintings of birds, animals and flowers which were portrayed in a realistic manner. 
    • Artists began to use vibrant colours such as peacock blue and red and were able to give three dimensional effects to paintings
  • Shahjahan:-
    • The paintings that were displayed in the court became increasingly rigid and formal. However, he commissioned a large number of paintings meant to be his personal collection.
    • These paintings were based on themes like gardens and pictures that gave great aesthetic pleasure.
    • He also ordered many works that portrayed lovers in intimate positions. One of the most important works produced during his reign was the ‘Padshanama.’
    • Shahjahan’s eldest son preferred depicting natural elements like plants and animals in his painting.
  • However withdrawal of royal patronage to painting under Aurangzeb led to the dispersal of artists to different places in the country.
  • During the reign of Muhammad Shah, Mughal painting received a brief revival as he was a patron of arts. He encouraged and supported paintings, and two of the best artists – Nidha Mal and Chitarman – of the time served in his court.
  • Unfortunately, the Mughal painting declined after the death of Muhammad Shah. When the Mughal Empire was in decadence, various other schools of painting with Mughal influence emerged in several regional courts, including the Rajput and Pahari paintings. 

Topic: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

4) Indian ocean has a great political and economic significance. Comment.(250 words)


Why this question

The question is related to GS 1 syllabus under the following heading-

Salient features of world’s physical geography.

Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent);

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

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to bring out the economic as well as the political importance of Indian ocean in the present times.

Directive word

Comment- We have to express our understanding and knowledge on the above issue. We have to answer both the aspects of the question.- economic part, as well as the political aspects.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that Indian o Ocean covers almost 20 percent of the world’s waters and includes Andaman Sea, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, Flores Sea, Great Australian Bight, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Java Sea, Mozambique Channel, Persian Gulf, Red Sea,  Strait of Malacca, Timor Sea, and other tributary water bodies.


  • Discuss the economic importance of Indian ocean. E.g Strait of Hormuz connects the oil fields of Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean and carries almost 88 per cent of the Persian Gulf oil to the world; Strait of Malacca connects the Indian Ocean with the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, this strait serves as the shortest route between the Persian Gulf and its markets in Asia. etc. Similarly, discuss the economic role of other such areas of the Indian ocean.
  • Discuss the political importance of the Indian ocean. E.g involvement of world powers in the area, presence of military bases in various islands, increasing naval presence and posturing of world powers etc.

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

Conclusion– Bring out a fair, concise and a balanced conclusion on the overall importance of the Pacific Ocean and mention the imperative for free trade lanes and peace in the region.



  • Indian Ocean has gained tremendous importance over the years and has now become the most concerted area where global economic activity conjoined political interests.
  • The combination of economic growth and slowdown, military expansion, increasing demand for natural resources, demographics combined with the geo-political situation, increased presence of nuclear capable actors and variances in regional structures of governance, highlights the geo-political significance of this area.

Indian ocean has a political significance:-

  • It is a home to world’s busiest waterways and chokepoints such as the Suez Canal, Bab al Mandeb, Strait of Hormuz and the Strait of Malacca. All these chokepoints and waterways are highly important for the rising nations of the world.
  • More than half the world’s armed conflicts are presently located in the Indian Ocean region.
  • It is also home to
    • Continually evolving strategic developments including the competing rises of China and India
    • Potential nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan
    • The US interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan
    • Islamist terrorism
    • Growing incidence of piracy in and around the Horn of Africa
  • There has been a gradual to an accelerated expansion of maritime forces and their capabilities in the region. The growing presence of extra regional powers and nuclear capable nations has further altered the existing security framework. This is affecting the existing military balance and the impending imbalance could create a new architecture that could affect the prevailing security scenario.
  • Naval bases:-
    • US uses the island of Diego Garcia as a major air-naval base and logistics hub for its Indian Ocean operations.
    • France, meanwhile maintains significant presence in the north and southwest Indian Ocean quadrants, with naval bases in Djibouti, Reunion, and Abu Dhabi. 
  • India:-
    • India imports about 70 percent of its oil through the Indian Ocean Region to its various ports. As a consequence, it has been enhancing its strategic influence through the use of soft power, by becoming a major foreign investor in regional mining, oil, gas, and infrastructure projects.
    • In addition, India has aggressively expanded its naval presence reportedly to include the establishment of listening posts in the Seychelles, Madagascar and Mauritius
  • Its governance and security are under constant threat of being undermined, whether by non-state actors such as pirates, smugglers, and terrorists, or by furtive naval competition between states

Economic significance:-

  • It enjoys a privileged location at the crossroads of global trade, connecting the major engines of the international economy in the Northern Atlantic and Asia-Pacific. This is particularly important in an era in which global shipping has burgeoned.
    • Today, the almost 90,000 vessels in the world’s commercial fleet transport 9.84 billion tonnes per year. This represents an almost four-fold increase in the volume of commercial shipping since 1970
  • The Indian Ocean has vital sea lanes of communication crisscrossing it and which feeds Asia’s largest economies. Around 80 per cent of the world’s seaborne oil trade passes through the choke points of this ocean and therefore it literally connects the east to the west with 40 percent passing through the Strait of Hormuz, 35 percent through the Strait of Malacca and 8 percent through the Bab el-Mandab Strait.
  • The Ocean’s vast drainage basin is important in its own right, home to some two billion people. This creates opportunities, especially given the high rates of economic growth around the Indian Ocean rim, including in India, Bangladesh, Southeast Asia, and Eastern and Southern Africa. 
  • The Indian Ocean is rich in natural resources.
    • Forty per cent of the world’s offshore oil production takes place in the Indian Ocean basin.
    • Minerals:-
      • Mineral resources with nodules containing nickel, cobalt, and iron, and massive sulphide deposits of manganese, copper, iron, zinc, silver, and gold present in sizeable quantities on the sea bed.
      • Indian Ocean coastal sediments are also important sources of titanium, zirconium, tin, zinc, and copper.
      • Additionally, various rare earth elements are present, even if their extraction is not always commercially feasible.
    • Energy security and resources are absolutely critical. The Indian Ocean Region is immensely rich in that
    • Fishing:-
      • Fishing in the Indian Ocean now accounts for almost 15 per cent of the world’s total.
      • Aquaculture in the region has also grown 12-fold since 1980. Although global fishing is reaching its natural limitations, the Indian Ocean may be able to sustain increases in production.
      • The largely unregulated overexploitation of its fishery resources. The consequences of over fishing, which is actually largely a result of activity by countries outside the region, could eventually have serious consequences for littoral states that depend heavily on maritime resources to feed their populations and also provide valuable export revenues.
    • Indian trade:-
      • 95 per cent of India’s trade by volume and 68 per cent of trade by value come via the Indian Ocean.
      • India captured 4.1 million tonnes of fish in 2008, placing it sixth in the world and its fishing and aquaculture industries employ some 14 million people.



General Studies – 2

Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities
of various Constitutional Bodies.

5)“The edifice of our constitution is based upon the basic element in the Preamble. If any of these elements are removed the structure will not survive and it will not be the same constitution and will not be able to maintain its identity”. Analyze.(250 words) 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to analyze how far the preamble can be amended and what constitutes basic structure, which can not be amended.

Key demand of the question

Introduction – Mention that the question of whether or not preamble could be amended came before the court in two key cases.

Body – Mention what the court had to say about the amenability of the preamble and why it said so in Berubari Union case – because preamble is not a part of the constitution. Highlight what made the court change its stand in Keshavananand Bharti case where the court accepted that the preamble is key to understanding the provisions of the constitution, preamble walks with the constitution and thus can be amended but without changing the basic structure. Highlight the impact of it.

Conclusion – Mention the present stand on the amendability of the preamble.


  • The Constitution of India begins with a Preamble. The Preamble contains the ideals, objectives and basic principles of the Constitution. The salient features of the Constitution have evolved directly and indirectly from these objectives which flow from the Preamble.


Amendability of the preamble :-

  • In Berubari union’s case the Supreme Court held that the Preamble was not a part of the Constitution and therefore it could never be regarded as a source of any substantive powers. Such powers are expressly granted in the body of Constitution.
  • The question on amendment of preamble was raised for the first time before the Supreme Court in the historic case of Kesavanada Bharati v. State of Kerala.
    • In that case the Attorney-General argued that by virtue of the amending power in Article 368 even the Preamble can be amended. It was said that since the Preamble was a part of the Constitution it could be amended like any other provisions of the Constitution.
    • On the question whether the Preamble can be amended the majority held that since the Preamble is the part of the Constitution it can be amended but subject to this condition that the “basic feature” in the Preamble cannot be amended.
  • The Preamble declares that the people of India resolved to constitute their country into a Sovereign Democratic Republic. No one can suggest that these words and expressions are ambiguous in any manner. An amending power cannot be interpreted so as to confer power on the Parliament to take away any of these fundamental and basic characteristics of policy.
  • The amending power cannot change the Constitution in such a way that it ceases to be a ‘Sovereign Democratic Republic’.
  • The preamble to the Indian constitution was amended by the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 whereby the words Socialist, Secular, and Integrity were added to the preamble by the 42nd amendment Act, 1976, to ensure the economic justice and elimination of inequality in income and standard of life. 


  • Thus, it can be derived from various judgments that in active expressive term preamble has limited scope but passively it acts more authoritatively. Which means though the Preamble does not bestow power on legislation, it may only act as director but somewhere on the other it limits the power of legislation because the Constitution and other legislations should be read and interpreted in the light of the vision expressed in the preamble and not beyond or against the vision expressed in the preamble.

General Studies – 3

TopicInternal Security

6) Kashmir has proven to be an intractable challenge for the Indian state and requires a fresh strategy. Critically analyze.(250 words)


Why this question

The recent spate of killings in the valley has again demonstrated how fragile peace in the valley is. Considering that the situation has shown no signs of improvement, critical analysis of the policy of Indian state in Kashmir is required.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the status quo in Kashmir. Thereafter, we need to mention the current strategy of dealing with the issue. The pros and cons of the strategy are to be mentioned and what kind of fresh thinking is required needs to be mentioned.

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 – highlight the recent killing of a noted journalist and the rise of militancy in Kashmir and point to the fact that situation in Kashmir has only worsened with time.

Body – Mention the new challenges that have arose in Kashmir – ground unrest, youth getting disillusioned by the idea of militancy in huge numbers, mass agitation in the form of stone pelting etc. Mention how the Government is dealing with the issue – excess of stick and less of carrot. Highlight the pros and cons of this strategy. Thereafter analyze what kind of new thinking is required – focus on the fact that more of carrot policy is required.

Conclusion – Mention your view on the present strategy employed by the government in Kashmir. Discuss the way forward for dealing with kashmir issue.



  • J & K Valley’s prolonged anti-India protest; rising insurgency in Kashmir, intense counter- insurgency operation has caused acute distress in the region.

Why is Kashmir becoming a challenge to India:-

  • Changing nature of the militancy:-
    • This has seen an escalation of local recruitment which has outpaced the numbers the security forces have been able to neutralise.
  • Mass participation in violent civil protest involving stone pelting often at the site of an encounter or a funeral. 
  • Despite a major offensive by the Indian Army against terrorists this year, the number of locally recruited terrorists has increased.
  • Foreign terrorists infiltrating into India from across the border are setting up hideouts which could be used a training grounds for these local Kashmiri men.
  • According to the widely-cited reports, each encounter in the valley triggers a surge in militant recruitment which far exceeds militants killed in counter-insurgency operations. 
  • More disturbing than the rise in local recruitment into militancy is the rising public support for militancy. Open support by locals to trapped militants particularly during encounters enabling their easy escape, has entirely changed the relationship between the locals and the militants. 
  • The presence of active militants at the funerals, where they give so-called gun salutes to their slain comrades, has particularly unnerved the security forces.
  • Poor and Unemployed youth are easily being targeted by radicalists.
  • Anger in the Valley is higher than it has been in two decades and has reached alarming proportions. Peace and reconciliation process is failing.
  • In the absence of a political and reconciliation process, asking security forces to show restraint in the face of constant stoning is not feasible.

Present strategies

  • Government has initiated “Operation All out” to deal with militant and violent activities in the valley. The operation involves killing of Militants in the Kashmir region to install terror in minds of Kashmiri Youth.
  • Ceasefire:-
    • Recently government came out with a unilateral cessation of military operations during the month of Ramadan which marks a significant shift in the government’s four-year old Kashmir policy.
    • It also constitutes a belated recognition that unwarranted trust on hard power cannot bear desired results. In all probability, the ceasefire is likely to be extended beyond the month of Ramadan.
    • From past experienceit is visible that  even though the counterinsurgency of the 1990s did not end insurgency, it did pave the way for a peace process that made progress towards ending armed conflict .
    • There will be immediate relief to the beleaguered residents of the State
    • Can give way for further discussions:-
      • The ceasefire can only provide an opportunity for other steps to be taken, such as India-Pakistan talks, dialogue with the Hurriyat and allied groups, and backchannel negotiations for a reciprocal ceasefire by armed groups. 
      • This initiative has the potential to end the deadlock and facilitate a larger engagement and dialogue, not only between the governments of India and Pakistan but also among civil society groups which exist on both sides of the Line of Control.
      • It is clearly evident that the Kashmir dispute can neither be settled through military means nor is war a viable option. So ceasefire can lead to dialogues.


Issues with government strategy:-

  • Though, the government still remains undecided about resuming peace talks with Pakistan.
  • A hybrid policy of appeasing separatists along with stop-start counter-terror operations won’t work.
  • Past experience:-
    • During the first three months of the 2000 ceasefire, casualties amongst security forces rose sharply.
  • There might be continuing attacks on security forces under a unilateral ceasefire. The ceasefire has seen a marked increase of violence in the state, capped by the assassination of journalist Shujaat Bukhari .
  • Time is not right for ceasefire:-
    • There is little public pressure on the armed groups. The impetus for peace has been replaced by communal stand-offs, anger and hatred. 
    • More civilians, militants and security forces have died in the first five months of 2018 than in corresponding periods for the previous decade. 
    • In the Valley, alienation from India is as high as it was in the early 1990s, when insurgency took root.

Why it needs a fresh strategy :-

  • Focus on investing in J&K’s infrastructure:-
    • The Kishanganga hydroelectric power plant, which will generate 330MW of electricity, the tunnel-cum-highway connecting Jammu and Srinagar and new-economy jobs for youth are what J&K needs.
  • Standard operating procedures must require the use of lethal force only when there is an imminent threat to life and property, force should be used proportionately and not as a punitive measure.
  • India can consider an approach taken by the British in Northern Ireland. This strategy involved operating within the framework of law, avoiding torture, illegal killing and arbitrary punishment. Though there were excesses, by and large the British stuck to the policy that has led to sustainable peace in the region.
  • It is that much more obligatory on India’s part to conduct operations within the ambit of the law and through the use of discriminate and proportionate force.
  • What is needed at the moment is the deployment of new socio-cultural resources, and a new operational culture to wind down the militancy without alienating more locals who could either join or influence their relatives and friends to join various terrorist organisations.
  • Lethal force should be the last resort, used only when lives are threatened. Promptly investigating allegations of abuses and prosecuting those responsible is key to resolving this mess.
  • The 2000’s ceasefire experience also showed that casualties among the security forces could have been minimised had more urgent attention been paid to tightening defence of security installations and personnel. This needs to looked into now.
  • Externally, wide-ranging peace talks between India and Pakistan, the Indian administration and ‘azaadi’ groups is needed and internally, peace-building on the ground by multiple stakeholders involved is necessary.


General Studies – 4

Topic: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance;

7)Discuss why ethical standards are important in the delivery of public services.(250 words)


Why this question

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

Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance;

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to bring out reasons as to why it is essential to follow ethical standards in the delivery of public service.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive, which mandates us to write at length about the key demand of the question- why we need to be ethical in public service.

We have to give reasons/ justifications in favour of the statement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – briefly discuss the importance and role of public service in a modern society.

Body– mention that it is essential to have in place and follow ethical standards in the delivery of public service. Then discuss in points why it is essential.

E.g outcomes for society are better when the decisions of public office holders are made fairly and on merit and not influenced by personal and private interests; low levels of corruption and confidence in the integrity of the trading and operating environment are crucial factors in the functioning of advanced democracies;  high standards benefit the economy through their effect on international confidence; impartiality and objectivity increases predictability, which improves economic efficiency etc.

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


Public want common ethical standards to apply to all providers of public services and that public and stakeholder views are broadly in line with the Seven Principles of Public Life – Selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, leadership.

Public service has four main roles:-

  • First, it delivers essential and necessary services to the people, such as the organisation, funding and provision of healthcare, education and welfare.
  • Second, the public service carries out the important administrative functions of government, such as collecting taxation revenue overseeing and coordinating trade and protecting our borders
  • Third, the public service implements laws and policies made by parliament. It is the means by which government decisions are carried out ‘on the ground’.
  • Fourth and last, the public service provides the government and others with information and advice that is useful for formulating new laws and policies.


High ethical standards are important for society as a whole and that they are particularly important where public money is being spent on public services or public functions. This is because:

  • Outcomes for society are better when the decisions of public office holders are made fairly and on merit and not influenced by personal and private interests
  • Low levels of corruption and confidence in the integrity of the trading and operating environment are crucial factors in the functioning of advanced democracies
  • High standards benefit the economy through their effect on international confidence
  • Impartiality and objectivity increases predictability, which improves economic efficiency
  • Governments which are not perceived to uphold high standards have less legitimacy and basic public institutions such as tax and benefit systems rely on public trust to function effectively
  • High ethical standards are a necessary component of managing public money and fundamental to the right use of public funds and delivery of services to the public. It is therefore incumbent on the bodies commissioning or procuring public services, which are ultimately responsible and accountable for those services, to obtain assurance that high ethical standards are being met.