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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 20 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) The British exploitation f India can be divided into three main stages. Discuss.(250 words)


Why this question

The British conquest of India was gradual and in stages. Similarly The exploitation of Indian resources  was also done in stages. It is an important question as far as mains exam is concerned. The issue is related to GS 1 syllabus under the following heading-

Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

Key demand of the question.

The question simply wants us to write in detail about the British exploitation f India and describe the three main stages in which it can be divided.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which wants us to write exhaustively about the three main stages of British conquest of India.

We have to write in detail about the nature of those three stage.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– briefly discuss the start of British colonialism in India and mention the battle of Plassey.

Body– Discuss the three stages of British exploitation of India.

  1. The period of ‘merchant capital’ dating from 1757 to 1813.
  2. The period of ‘industrial capital’ dating from 1813 to 1858.
  3. The period of ‘finance capital’ starting from last decades of 19th century and continuing till independence.

Describe the salient characteristics and nature of the three stages in detail while restricting yourself to the word limit.

Conclusion– form a fair and a balanced conclusion based on the above discussion.


  • With the victory of the British in the Carnatic wars and more importantly in the Bengal battles began the process of their conquest of India. By 1765 the British had not become the virtual rulers of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, but also begun to dictate terms to the Nawabs of both carnatic and Awadh. This was a gradual process by the end of which, all parts of India came under British control.

British conquest of India in stages:-

  • The British colonial rule in India is generally divided into three stages:
    • First stage(1757-1813) represents the mercantile phase
  • This ‘mercantilist’ phase was marked by direct plunder and the East India company’s monopoly trade functioning through the investment of surplus revenues in the purchase of Indian finished goods for export to England and Europe.
  • During the mercantile phase the aim of all activity was to accumulate wealth. In order to pursue a favourable trade, the British company started aggressive policies in India.
  • The government passed the Regulating Act  and the Pitt’s India Act to gain more and the direct control over the affairs of the company. The company officials transferred their fortunes acquired in India to England. The financial bleeding of India started with the British gaining hegemony over Indian territories.
  • New revenue settlements were imposed upon the agrarian structure.
  • They fought several wars, crushed many princely States and brought them under the colonial authority. Soon the mercantile phase came to an end.
    • Second stage(1813-1860) represents the free trade phase
  • By the dawn of the 19th century, the British became an industrial power following Industrial Revolution in England. It was in need of raw material to feed its industries. The emerging capitalist class found the Company a stumbling block for its market.
  • During this period, India was converted rapidly into a market for British textiles and a great source for raw materials. Traditional handicrafts were thrown out of gear
  • The Company’s monopoly in India was bitterly attacked by the British industrial community. Thus, the need for raw material and markets for the British manufactured goods resulted in the formulation of free trade policy towards India.
  • The special feature of this policy was that it was a one way traffic wherein British goods entered India virtually free while Indian products entering Britain faced high tariffs.
  • The protective policy towards British trade was thoroughly guarded, leaving India-made products to face stiff competition.
  • Revenue and expenditure policies of the Britishers were also exploitative in nature. Huge expenditure (expenditure on army, pensions and salaries of Englishmen, etc.) incurred by the British imperial power had been borne by Indians by paying high doses of taxes.
    • Third stage(1860 onwards ) represents the finance capital phase
  • During this phase, finance-imperialism began to entrench itself through the managing agency firms, export-import firms, exchange banks, and some export of capital.
  • Britain, of course, kept India as her most important colony where British capital could hope to maintain a haven. For her survival, Britain decided to make massive investments in various fields (rail, road, postal system, irrigation, European banking system, and a limited field of education, etc.) in India by plundering Indian capital. It is said that ‘railway construction’ laid the foundation for a new stage of colonial exploitation
  • With the opening up of the country, private capitalist investment from Britain came to India. But unfortunately, such British investment was not meant for India’s industrial development. 
  • The basic motive behind such investment was the commercial penetration of India, its exploitation as a source of raw materials and markets for British manufactures.
  • This was, in fact, one of the principal contradictions of imperialism-colonialism in India. 


  • Britain’s supremacy in the world economy for nearly 200 years lay in the utter neglect and plunder of her most important colony India. India’s economic life was redirected towards servicing the interests of British imperial power. Internal needs of the country were of no concern to the lone colonizer of the world.

Topic– Salient features of world’s physical geography.
Distribution of key natural resources across the world.

2)Discuss how geology of an area determines its biodiversity. (250 words)


Why this question

Geology has a prime bearing on the biodiversity of an area. 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.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to bring out the relationship between the geological features of an area and the biodiversity of life it possesses.

Directive word

Discuss- we have to write in detail about the link between geology and biodiversity of an area. We have to describe in detail about how the two are related.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Mention that geology of an area and its biodiversity are closely related and geology has an important bearing on the evolution as well as survival of all the life forms associated with it.


Mention that geological influences the biodiversity can be split into two basic areas:

  1. the direct influence of rock type( its physical characteristics like degree and direction of slope, topography etc.) and
  2. the indirect role that it plays in soil formation (chemical composition, rate and extent of weathering, erosion) and the development of structures that influence the distribution of plants and animals.

Take the help of the article attached to the question and also go through other relevant material to frame your answer.

Conclusion- mention that besides geology, climatic conditions and history, and human activities also have a bearing on biodiversity of an area.



  • Geology has strong ties with biodiversity, in that the nature of the substrate, as usually 
    determined by the nature of the underlying rock, is a key factor in determining the 
    distribution of habitats and species.

How geology of an area determines biodiversity:-

  • Influence of geology and geomorphological processes may be manifested through a
    number of factors, both direct and indirect.
  • The direct influence of rock type itself and the indirect role that it plays in soil formation and the development of structures influences the distribution of plants and animals at a range of  scales.
  • There are limited examples where it can be shown that the direct influence of rock 
    type has a significant effect on plant presence and distribution.
    • Generally these examples relate to groups of organisms and species which directly attach to a rock face (for example lichens and some vascular plants) and for which direct contact with the rock and its utilisation forms an integral part of the life cycle (for example uptake of mineral nutrients).
  • The immediate and direct influence of rock type can be seen in the distribution of lichens,
    with many species favouring either calcareous (basic) or acidic substrates
    on which to grow
  • However, even in these cases, lichens can modify the local chemistry and the rock outcrop may act as more of a physical structure than a specific substrate requirement for growth.
  • The direct influence of rock type can be related to both its chemistry and its physical structure. There are numerous examples of how bare rock or rocky slopes act as a habitat for a wide variety of species and community types (for example talus slope communities) and at this level it can be said that rock exposure provides an important function within ecosystems and the biosphere.
  • However, many of the species/assemblages which utilise rock as a habitat do so regardless of its composition (i.e., sedimentary, igneous or metamorphic), although general characteristics such as hardness vs softness are important factors in determining the suitability of rock types for specific ecological functions ( as nesting habitat for birds or insects).
  • Certain rock types do support recognisable and distinct communities and that these associations must, in some way, be related to the particular properties of the rock itself. 
  • However, other factors, such as climate and aspect are also very important in defining the 
    boundary conditions (i.e., the niche space) that support species populations.
  • Significant variations may therefore exist in the distribution of species from one place to another depending on the interaction between these physical variables.

General Studies – 2

Topic: Indian Constitution – significant provisions and basic structure.

3) Explain the different generations of fundamental rights and examine the role that supreme court has played in expanding the scope of fundamental rights?(250 words) 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the broadened nature of fundamental rights courtesy supreme court’s liberal interpretation of our fundamental rights. We need to explain the three generation of rights that we have come to enjoy and how SC, through its progressive judgements, helped expand the scope of fundamental rights.

Directive word

Explain – explain the meaning of the three generation of rights and what we enjoy as part of our fundamental rights.

Examine – Here we need to delve deeper into the role that supreme court played in expanding the nature of fundamental rights and the impact it has had on the scope of fundamental rights.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain the history and nature of evolution of fundamental rights in India.


  • Explain what do we mean by first, second and third generation rights. Also highlight some first, second and third generation of fundamental rights that we enjoy
  • Examine the role played by judiciary in expanding the scope of fundamental rights. Highlight that the main reason has been that indian judiciary has not been passive and often takes the course of judicial activism. Highlight the judgement in some important cases like Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation (1985), MC Mehta, Subash Kumar v. State of Bihar etc through which second and third generation rights came to be enjoyed as fundamental rights.

Conclusion – Highlight the impact that SC’s judgement had on expanding the nature and scope of Fundamental rights in India.



  • Fundamental Rights are defined as the basic human rights of all citizens. These rights, defined in Part III of the Constitution, apply irrespective of race, place of birth, religion, caste, creed or sex. Fundamental Rights may well be called the soul of our Constitution. These are the very basic rights that are universally recognized as fundamental to human existence and indispensable for human development. It guarantees civil liberties such that all Indians can lead their lives in peace and harmony as citizens of India. 

Generations of fundamental rights:-

  • There are three overarching types of human rights norms: civil-political, socio-economic, and collective-developmental
  • The first two, which represent potential claims of individual persons against the state, are firmly accepted norms identified in international treaties and conventions.
  • The final type, which represents potential claims of peoples and groups against the state, is the most debated and lacks both legal and political recognition.
  • First-generation human rights, sometimes called “blue” rights, deal essentially with liberty and participation in political life. They are fundamentally civil and political in nature: They serve negatively to protect the individual from excesses of the state. First-generation rights include, among other things, the right to life, equality before the law, freedom of speech.
    • Civil-political human rights include two subtypes: norms pertaining to physical and civil security (for example, no torture, slavery, inhumane treatment, arbitrary arrest, equality before the law) and norms pertaining to civil-political liberties or empowerments (for example, freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; freedom of assembly and voluntary association, political participation in one’s society).
  • Second-generation, “socio-economic” human rights guarantee equal conditions and treatment.
    • They are not rights directly possessed by individuals but constitute positive duties upon the government to respect and fulfill them.
    • Second-generation human rights are related to equality. They are fundamentally economic, social, and cultural in nature. They guarantee different members of the citizenry equal conditions and treatment.
    • Socio-economic human rights similarly include two subtypes: norms pertaining to the provision of goods meeting social needs (for example, nutrition, shelter, health care, education) and norms pertaining to the provision of goods meeting economic needs (for example, work and fair wages, an adequate living standard, a social security net).
  • Third-generation, “collective-developmental” rights of peoples and groups held against their respective states aligns with the final tenet of “fraternity.”
    • They constitute a broad class of rights that have gained acknowledgment in international agreements and treaties but are more contested than the preceding types
    • Finally, collective-developmental human rights also include two subtypes: the self-determination of peoples (for example, to their political status and their economic, social, and cultural development) and certain special rights of ethnic and religious minorities (for example, to the enjoyment of their own cultures, languages, and religions).

Expanding the scope of fundamental rights:-

  • Since independence, the scope of Fundamental Rights have expanded greatly to include several other rights from time to time.
  • Right to life:-
    • The Supreme Court of India by explaining the Fundamental Rights has further expanded the scope and meaning of the Fundamental Rights, as it included ‘right to food’ in the ‘right to life’ section (i.e. Article 21).
    • Maneka Gandhi case thus completely overturned Gopalan and ushered in a revolution in judicial thinking about article 21. It gave a new life to article 21 and, thus, extended substantive and  procedural protection to life and personal liberty. The court took a great step forward by interpreting ‘procedure’ in article 21 as ‘fair, reasonable, and just procedure; thus introducing elements of procedural due process in Indian law.
    • Supreme Court has made a signal contribution by using article 21 towards the improvement of the environment.
  • Right to privacy :- Puttuswamy judgment:-
    • It is the inevitable conclusion of steady developments in the law in the last three decades where courts across the country, not just the apex court, have said that the right to privacy, to choose, to be free of unwanted intrusion and to determine what happens to their information, is a fundamental right under the Constitution.
    • From seeing them as distinct compartments against which to test laws (in A.K. Gopalan v State of Madras in 1950) to understanding them as a cumulative whole (Maneka Gandhi v Union of India) to now seeing them as boundaries which guarantee the dignity of a free individual in a modern republic, the courts have come a long way. 
  • Article 19:-
    • In Romesh Thappar v State of Madras (AIR 1950 SC 124), the Supreme Court of India held that the freedom of speech and expression includes freedom to propagate ideas which is ensured by freedom of circulation of a publication, as publication is of little value without circulation.
    • On the issue of whether ‘advertising’ would fall under the scope of the Article, the Supreme Court pointed out that the right of a citizen to exhibit films is a part of the fundamental right of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
  • Article 23:-
    • Giving a very expansive interpretation to article 23, the supreme court has ruled that payment of wages less than the minimum wages amounts to forced labour.
  • Gender rights:-
    • Vishaka v State of Rajasthan the Supreme Court declared  sexual harassment of a working woman at her place of work as  amounting to violation of rights of gender equality and right to life and liberty, which is a clear violation of articles 14, 15 and 21.

Topic – Indian Constitution

4) Discuss the essentials of the 69th Constitutional Amendment Act and anomalies, if any, that have led to current crisis between the elected representatives and the institution of the Lieutenant Governor in the administration of Delhi. Do you think that this will give rise to a new trend in the functioning of the Indian federal politics?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The recent political crisis in Delhi brings the focus back on 69th constitutional amendment, the causes of conflict between LG’s office, bureaucracy and the elected representatives. It also raises questions over the impact such a tussle would have on practice of federalism in India. The question has already been asked in UPSC mains and is important for this year too.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the reasons behind the tussle happening between the LG’s office, bureaucracy and the elected representatives and whether it is related to any anomalies in 69th constitutional amendment. In the second part of the question we have to examine the challenges that the present standoff in Delhi portends for the practice of federalism in India.

Directive word

Discuss – Highlight whether there are any anomalies in 69th constitutional amendment act, and the reasons behind the present crisis in Delhi. Explore the linkage between the current reasons for the crisis and 69th CAA.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the current event that has led to this question.

Body –

  • Explain 69th CAA – The 69th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1991 provided special status for Delhi by incorporating article 239 AA and 239 AB by providing for legislative assembly and and Council of Ministers. It made the following changes
  • Highlight the controversy and the Delhi High courts judgment – The amendment does not provide Delhi with the recognition of a full fledged state. Some scholars have even called them as half States.
  • Examine the causes behind the current controversy
  • Analyze whether there would be any impact on federalism – you can provide your own view.

Conclusion – Mention that the constitution makers incorporated Federal provisions not only to facilitate the governance of  India but also to accommodate diversity. The governments ought to come together in the spirit of cooperative federalism and give priority to the  welfare of people and governance. 


  • The current crisis is rooted in the understanding (or misunderstanding) of the constitutional limits of the powers of the elected government in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. 
  • The tussle between the Delhi Chief Minister and Lieutenant Governor raises several constitutional and legal issues on the scope and extent of their powers in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.
  • Also recently another crisis is triggered due to the non cooperation between bureaucracy and the political representatives.

69th amendment:-

  • The 69th constitutional amendment designated Delhi as National Capital Territory of Delhi and provided Legislative Assembly. However it was not conferred with full statehood and is administered by union government through Lieutenant Governor.
  • 69th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1991 provided special status for Delhi by incorporating article 239 AA and 239 AB by providing for legislative assembly and Council of Ministers. It made the following changes,
Before 69th Constitutional Amendment ActAfter 69th Constitutional Amendment Act
AdministratorLieutenant governor
Union TerritoryNational capital Region of Delhi
Metropolitan Council and executive CouncilChief Minister and Council of Ministers
  • The centre has jurisdiction over this crucial subjects. Delhi and Puducherry are called as union territories with assemblies.  Some scholars have even called them as half States.
  • It was rationalized that the special arrangement was necessary because of the significance of Delhi, it housing the Parliament and foreign embassies and missions.
  • Any law passed by Delhi assembly with respect to local bodies has to be sent to Urban Development Ministry for approval and it should be in concurrence with Municipal Corporation Act 1957.
  • CM of Delhi and its Council of Ministers are appointed by president. 
  • The amendment stipulated that the legislative assembly shall have power to make laws for the whole or any part of the National Capital Territory, with respect to any of the matters included in the State List or the Concurrent List which means 47 entries on the State List and 64 on the Concurrent List.  
  • The language of Article 163 is similar to Article 239AA sub clause 4 but the only difference is that the Legislative Assembly cannot make laws with respect to entries 1, 2 and 18 in which the lieutenant governor can exercise his discretion. Thus, the lieutenant governor has more power than a governor of state.
  • 239AB:-
    • Provision in case of failure of constitutional machinery.-If the President, on receipt of a report from the Lieutenant Governor or otherwise, is satisfied-
      • (a) that a Situation has arisen in which the administration of the National Capital Territory cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of article 239AA or of any law made in pursuance of that article; or
      • (b) that for the proper administration of the National Capital Territory it is necessary or expedient so to do,
      • The President may by order suspend the operation of any provision of article 239AA or of all or any of the provisions of any law made in pursuance of that article for such period and subject to such conditions as may be specified in such law and make such incidental and consequential provisions as may appear to him to be necessary or expedient for administering the National Capital Territory in accordance with the provisions of article 239 and article 239AA.’
    • Court judgments:-
      • Delhi high court noted that that the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi is not bound to act upon the aid and advice of the elected government of the state, because the National Capital Territory is not a state but, continues to be a union territory.
      • Delhi lieutenant governor does not have to act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers of the state government, says Supreme Court

Constraints and how it affects federal politics:-

  • Peculiar federal architecture– Delhi is more than a UT but less than a full state.
  • As per provision of Article 239AA(3)(a), the legislative powers of the Government of the NCT are restricted.
    • It can legislate on the subjects mentioned in the State List of the Seventh Schedule except those dealing with public order, police and land and the related aspects of Entries at 64, 65 and 66
  • Several other important functional powers concerning transferred subjects too, continue to vest in the Union Government or the Lt. Governor.
    • For example Entry 5 of the State List consists of Local Government, that is to say, the constitution and powers of municipal corporations, improvement trusts, district boards, mining settlement authorities and other local authorities for the purpose of local self-government or village administration.
    • But in actual practice, the functions pertaining to the Municipal Corporation and Improvement Trusts are being handled by bodies which are exclusively under the control of the Union Government
  • There are as many 57 as Sections/sub-Sections in the DMC Act, 1957 and 67 Sections/Sub-Sections in the NDMC Act, 1994 where the Union Government wields power directly.
  • A major portion of the finances come to the Delhi Municipal Corporation through the budget of the Delhi Government, whereas the NDMC receives funds directly from the Union Government (Ministry of Urban Development)
  • Division of powersbetween the elected Delhi government and the appointed lieutenant governor
    • Differences extend to the LG’s discretionary powers to appoint the Chief Secretary
  • Article 239AA: Vagueness in powers of LG and CM:-
    • Language used in Article 239AA (4), that pertains to Delhi, reads identical to Article 163 (1), that pertains to states and is vague .
  • Federal anomalies :-
    • Matters relating to appointments of bureaucratsis a prerogative of the state government and must be done on the “aid and advice” of the chief minister (versus) LG, not the CM, has the power to make appointments, and that LG’s authority is final in appointments of bureaucrats.
  • The executive power being co-extensive with the legislative power, it goes without saying that the Government of NCT of Delhi cannot claim any executive power in relation to matters with respect to services.
  • In Delhi’s case, the Lt.Governor has been accused of meddling with Delhi government at the behest of Central Government. Delhi’s elected representatives have sought greater autonomy and full fledged state status. 
  • Any law made by the legislative assembly, if repugnant to a law made by Parliament, would be void. So, while Delhi government can pass bills, they will not become law without the approval of the Central government.
  • Federalism and autonomy is in question as the state government has to get approvals for most of the laws which is passed by them. The existing set up undermines the role of elected legislature.
  • In adopting the politics of protest as part of its quest to expand the powers of the elected government, the government of Delhi is putting governance at risk. Instead of mounting a legal challenge to the Centre’s efforts to further curtail the limited powers of the Delhi government, it chose to respond politically
  • To provide decision taking powers to Mohalla sabhas, the new law passed by Delhi assembly shall remain compliant with Municipal Corporation Act 1957.
  • Although there are no legal impediments to provide subsidies for low price for electricity and water, it can lead to fiscal imbalance between Delhi and centre.
  • Unlike a full fledged state, Delhi cannot borrow from the market, RBI and levy cess.

Way forward:-

  • If the spirit of the Constitution and of democracy are respected, the Lt Governor of Delhi, or Puducherry should only have the power to refer disagreements between him and the chief minister to the President, as the 69th amendment permits him/her to do. 
  • Constitution makers incorporated Federal provisions not only to facilitate the governance of  India but also to accommodate diversity. The governments ought to come together in the spirit of cooperative federalism and give priority to the  welfare of people and governance.  The aim should be to deepen democracy and provide for people centric governance.
  • According to second ARC:-
    • The Commission is of the view that since Delhi is the national capital with people from all parts of the country being its residents, some responsibility for its orderly growth and security must lie with the Union Government.
    • At the same time, there is no reason to burden the Union Government with matters of local import which are best addressed by the elected government of the Territory and the elected Municipal Corporation. In other words, a balance has to be struck between the imperatives flowing from Delhi’s status as the national capital and as the seat of its own elected government.
    • The Commission has sought to restore a more workable balance on the principle of subsidiarity.
    • The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), including appointment of the Commissioner and other functionaries should lie in the domain of the Government of the National Capital Territory (GNCT). This can be done by way of a notification under Section 490A of the Act, issued by the Union Government. However, the appointment of the Commissioner should be made by the GNCT in consultation with the Union Government.

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests,

5) Deepening defence ties with Vietnam will give boost to the India’s Act East policy. Comment.(250 words)


Why this question

Recently US passed Countering Americas Adversaries through Sanctions Act ( CAATSA) which will complicate the defence ties between Vietnam and Russia. This gives India an important opportunity to further strengthen and deepen its defence cooperation with Vietnam. The issue is related to GS 2 syllabus under the following heading-

India and its neighborhood- relations.
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests,

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge  and understanding of the nature of defence ties between India and Vietnam and present our opinion on how the ties can be further deepened.

Directive word

Comment- we have to express our understanding of the issue and deliberate upon the key demand of the question.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Briefly discuss India’s Act east policy, its aim. Also mention that Vietnam can be an important partner in achieving those aims.


  1. Discuss the scope of deepening defence ties with Vietnam under the present circumstances- US has passed the CAATSA which will dilute Vietnam’s engagement with Russia. Also discuss the tensions in the South China Sea and how that can be capitalised to strengthen defence cooperation between India and Vietnam.
  2. Discuss in points, in what ways the defence ties can be strengthened. E.g Brahmos missile transfer, cyber security cooperation, commonality in military platforms which have the potential to attain a high degree of interoperability, Akash missile etc.

Conclusion– mention the need for superior industrial partnership, development of indigenous technologies and co-production in order to realise the required level of cooperation.


  • Vietnamhas an important place in India’s framework of Act East policy and India’s relations with ASEAN

Deepening defence  ties with vietnam:-

  • With the US bringing into force the ‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act’ (CAATSA) a move that is likely to mount secondary sanctions on nations dealing with Russia in defence and energy  a window of opportunity has opened for India.
  • Naval exercises:-
    • Military exchanges between India and Vietnam are quite robust, with the two sides conducting their first-ever bilateral land warfare and naval exercises respectively earlier this year.
  • China:-
    • Vietnam, which is under maritime pressure from China’s revanchist activities in the South China Sea (SCS), wants India to deepen its military engagement further and sees defence industrial ties as a key component of the same.
    • Given India’s own energy interests in Vietnam, as well as the need to uphold freedom of navigation in the SCS, bolstering Vietnamese defence capabilities makes strategic sense for India.
    • Vietnam also wants offensive strike systems such as the Brahmos anti-ship cruise missile to credibly deny Chinese access to its waters. 
  • Training :-
    • Defense ties have grown in recent years to include not just the traditional components in this realm of ties like exchanges and port calls but also the training of personnel, capacity-building funding and equipment, coast guard collaboration, and pacts on areas such as white shipping and outer space.
    • The armed forces of the two states have started cooperation in areas like information technology and the English-language training of Vietnamese Army personnel.
    • India is also involved in various training programs, besides helping Vietnam augment its cyber capabilities.
  • Defence infrastructure:-
    • Army Software Park in Nha Trang that is being built with Indian financial support to the tune of $5 million.
    • Convergent interests coupled with Vietnam’s rising military expenditure means that India can build its own position in the global arms market by focusing on Vietnam. At the moment, Indian defence transfers to Vietnam include the supply of some ten patrol boats by L&T, with the sale facilitated by a $100 million line of credit (LoC) extended by India, as well as upgrade packages for Vietnam’s Russian-origin Petya Class Surface Combatants.
    • Given the pool of common Russian origin equipment operated by India and Vietnam, Indian companies that are upgrading such equipment domestically can now see Vietnam as a future customer for similar services.
    • The commonality in military platforms also suggests that the Indian and Vietnamese militaries have the potential to attain a high degree of interoperability.
    • Bharat Electronics Limited’s (BEL) opening of a representative office in Hanoi assumes significance since the Vietnamese seem interested in inducting Indian-origin COMSEC and sensor equipment such as radars.
    • Predominantly indigenous weapons such as the Akash surface-to-air missile is also on offer to Vietnam.
    • India on Saturday extended $500 million Line of Credit to Vietnam for facilitating deeper defence cooperation with the south east Asian nation, as the two countries elevated their ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to respond to emerging regional challenges.
  • Maritime security :-
    • Two nations also have stakes in ensuring sea-lane security, as well as shared concerns about Chinese access to the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. Hence, India is helping Vietnam to build capacity for repair and maintenance of its defense platforms. Conclusion:-


  • With its outreach to Hanoi, Delhi seems to ready to challenge Beijing on its own turf. And this stance is being welcomed by states like Vietnam who fear the growing aggression of China. A more engaged India will also lead to a more stable balance of power in the region.

General Studies – 3

Topic -Disaster and disaster management.

6) Storms are the new normal for India and provide several lessons for disaster preparedness. Examine(250 words)

Financial express


Financial express


Why this question

With the number of deaths due to sandstorms crossing 50, and northern India bearing the brunt of excessive sandstorms, environmentalists such as Sunita Narain have analyzed the nature of these storms and held that they are going to be a recurring feature. This makes it necessary for disaster management agencies to learn lessons and be better prepared for future.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain the reasons behind the spate of storms in India and explain why it may become a regular occurrence in India. Thereafter, highlight how it led to huge number of deaths and the lessons that ought to be learnt from a disaster management point of view. Highlight the changes required in our strategy to stay better prepared for any eventuality.

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 . In this question, examine the causes of the storm, impact on disaster management in terms of lesson learnt and changes required.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight why this topic is in news.

Body – Explain the reasons for storm both natural as well as anthropogenic factors. Examine whether it is indeed going to be a recurring feature in India’s climate. Thereafter discuss the impact of the storm on life and property in brief and emphasize on the lessons that ought to be learnt from this storm, just as we learnt lessons for dealing with heat waves. Finally, bring out the changes required in our disaster management strategy that would enable us to better deal with such sand storms in the future by mitigating loss of life and property.

Conclusion – Summarize the views expressed above and emphasize on the need for charting a strategy.



  • In the recent storms that engulfed north India five hundred Indians died because of storms.
  • Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar are among the state that have recorded several deaths due to storms

Why are storms becoming the new normal for India:-

  • Mismanagement of land, forest and water resources is causing increased desertification
  • Anthropogenic climate change is causing frequent and hitherto unseasonal storms.
  • Western disturbances:-
    • There is a marked increase in Western Disturbances (WDs) winds originating in the Mediterranean that blow over West Asia and reach the Himalayas where, blocked by the mountains, they cause snow/rainfall.
    • The WDs collide with the cyclonic, moisture-heavy systems from a warming Bay of Bengal which is the recipe for the perfect storm.
  • The fact that this summer has been warmer than before means vast stretches in these areas will be drier, and hence, dustier than before.
  • High temperatures in Rajasthan and its surrounding areas, and easterly winds bringing in moisture that also pointed to the possibility of intense thunder activity in the region

Issues with India’s disaster preparedness during these storms:-

  • Looking at the loss of life and the damage caused by the storms, questions are being raised about the effectiveness of India’s weather alerts system.
  • Apart from the Met department’s headquarters in Delhi, its regional meteorological centres also issue weather warnings for their respective regions and alert the district collectors. However, an investigation found that no such warning was issued by the Regional Meteorological Centre in Jaipur to district collectors before Wednesday’s storm.
    • Also, the city’s Doppler Weather Radar which can accurately assess the severity and direction of storms  had not been functional for a few days.
  • Met department has no official system of collecting information on state-wise lightning deaths.
  • Met department’s alerts are vague and ambiguous, on the other hand, dissemination of information is a slow and long process.
  • Non-user-friendly language of weather forecasts among others

How storms provide lessons for disaster preparedness in India:-

  • India needs to improve its forecasting ability, dust reduction management and management of its water resources.
  • The department should have properly warned the states about the possible intensity of the storm and issued area-specific alerts by collaborating with the to-be-affected districts.
  • Weather warning has to be specific, else people do not take these alerts seriously.
  • Better communication:-
    • Mobile phone applications or text message alerts can be used for swifter and wider dissemination of information.
    • With effective communication methods using multiple channels of national television, national radio, social media, print and electronic media, local FM radio stations, etc., people could have been warned well in time.
    • The forecast needs to be converted into a well-worded, easy to understand pictorial warning in local language for maximum impact.
    • Social media plays a very important role in spreading the message around in incredibly fast manner. This could have been used to the advantage of the people. 
  • The local administration could have also proactively made certain arrangements – for instance shifting them to safer places like school buildings, community centres, other safe government

and private buildings  for the safety of the people.

General Studies – 4

TopicPublic/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions;

7)Discuss in what ways can you motivate your subordinate public servants. (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;

Key demand of the question

The question simply wants us to delve into the issue of motivation, analyze the difference between public and private sector and write in detail about how public servants can be motivated  for higher performance.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to dig deep into the question and write in detail about the ways in which subordinate public servants can be motivated.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– briefly discuss the difference between private and public sector which demands a different approach of motivation. E.g paucity of resources, public criticism, more accountability to public in public service etc.

Body– Discuss in points about the two main sources ( internal and external) of motivation for public servants. Bring out the importance and role of the two sources. Also describe how internal sources of motivation can be triggered ( e.g placing confidence in subordinates and delegating enough powers, appreciating good work, higher engagement etc.). Similarly, discuss how external sources can be utilised ( e.g giving good APR in case of good performance). Also discuss that external sources are not significant in case of public service due to paucity of resources and ethical concerns.

Conclusion- Form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the issue based on the above discussion.




Employee engagement has a significant impact on organizational outcomes.

Why subordinate public servants are not motivated:-

  • Public sector employees are oftentimes characterized as “overpaid” and “underworked”. These characterizations impair morale and negatively affect employee engagement.
  • Public sector agencies do not have the ability to utilize financial incentives as the private sector may. Harsh public criticism of government employees affects job performance, organizational outcomes, the performance of agencies, and the manner in which services are rendered to citizens.
  • Public managers often complain they do not have the necessary tools to motivate their staff .They do not have a stick, since it is impossible to fire anyone from the public service. And on the other, they do not have a carrot to offer, as substantial financial rewards are not allowed
  • Also public sector organizations are very hierarchical in nature, both in structure and in culture. The result is frustrated front-line employees who rarely get to see the outcomes of their work, which serves top level management and high political echelons. Moreover, hierarchical organizations foster a patronizing management approach in which the worker is coerced, rather than persuaded, to work


How to motivate them?

  • Extrinsic rewards cannot be offered within public service due to their financial nature. In addition, these types of rewards are inappropriate and unethical due to public, political interests, and budgeting issues. Intrinsic rewards are psychological rewards that employees receive from accomplishing purposeful work and completing it well.
  • The majority of employees are required to self-manage to a substantial degree through the utilization of intelligence and experience and the management of work activities in order to accomplish organizational objectives.
  • Allowing employees to feel a sense of meaningfulness supports the opportunity to accomplish something of real value, which matters within the larger scheme of life. A sense of meaningfulness provides a strong sense of direction and purpose.
  • Employing a sense of choice permits employees to utilize their best judgment to choose work activities that make the most sense and complete them in appropriate manners, which allows employees to feel ownership over their work, trust in the employed approach, and feel responsible.
  • A sense of competence permits employees to feel that work activities are being managed well, execution of these activities either meets or exceeds standards, and that an employee is completing high-quality work. A sense of competence offers pride and satisfaction.
  • A sense of progress allows employees to feel encouraged that work is on track and moving in the proper direction. 
  • These employees are driven by a higher purpose and serving others, which would empower them to be motivated through a sense of meaningfulness, choice, competence, and progress.  Once an organization conveys that important work is being completed with a higher purpose, employees will utilize their intrinsic rewards and remain driven and engaged.

Performance = Ability x Understanding of the task x Motivation x Environment.