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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 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

1) Critically examine the need for conducting caste based census in Indian society?(250 words)

The hindu


Why this question

The article raises some pertinent questions regarding the nature of Indian society and whether caste based data would strengthen the existing biases or help us in better analyzing the need of some of the positive action measures for one. SECC was in news a lot and considering the history of census in India where caste based data has not been collected, the debate over the need of its inclusion is justified.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to delve deeper into the benefits of collecting caste based data in census as well as the harms it might cause in light of the reality of Indian society.

Directive word

Critically examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give a brief history of census in India highlighting that caste based census has not been conducted in post independent India. Mention about SECC


  • Discuss the cons – creates chasms within society, historical apprehensions when such data was used to further divide and rule policy, the reality of Indian society and the implications that it would have in a situation of trust deficit between communities, it would be a process of recording caste generated a conception of community as a homogeneous and classifiable community and thereby influenced the processes of political representation.
  • Discuss the pros – lack of accurate data related to many affirmative action programmes of the government, helpful in the debate related to reservation policy, targeted poverty reduction programmes etc
  • Discuss the challenges in collecting caste based data – subdivisions within caste, elaborate administrative exercise etc

Conclusion – Based on above arguments give a fair and balanced view.



  • Caste is a social reality which determines one’s social status and the limits of the social relations and also opportunities for advancement in the life of an individual.

Why caste based census is necessary in India:-

  • Data is required:-
    • Indian political systems, civil society and courts continue to assume that broad caste-based social categories Dalits, Adivasis, Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and upper castes defined largely using data from 1931 Census and a few special purpose surveys continue to shape economic conditions in 21st century India.
    • Without accurate data at a granular level for each of these categories consisting of thousands of jatis (castes) and upjatis (subcastes), India has no way of knowing whether this is correct.
  • Indian society has undergone a tremendous transformation since 1931:-
    • Land ownership that bolstered the power of upper castes has lost its hold.
    • Land fragmentation and decades of agricultural stagnation have turned many upper caste landowners into marginal farmers barely eking out a subsistence. 
  • Economic growth benefitted the downtrodden:-
    • Economic growth of the past century, combined with strong affirmation action undertaken by successive governments of the independent nation, may have changed relative fortunes of various groups.
    • Some jatis may have managed to pull themselves out poverty and marginalisation, while others may have sunk into it. Hence, it is time to collect data that reflects the current situation.
  • The proponents of caste census offer that without knowing the actual numbers, adequate affirmative action cannot be taken by the States.
  • If caste census provides figures on caste and these are analysed objectively, the ideas represented by the India’s upper castes and their disproportionate claim over the country’s resources will stand exposed. 
  • A caste census would, on the one hand, bring forward anthropological facts, and on the other, provide the basis for framing sound development policies required for social justice.
  • A caste census is also important because there are hundreds of such castes which are nomadic and even today, deprived of an identity and development. Obtaining factual information about them would make it possible to design programmes for their security and growth.
  • The country will also come to know about those castes which have profited a lot already and those for which development hasn’t even been able to touch.


  • Colonial Censuses, beginning with the first Census in 1871, included questions about caste and used these data to divide and conquer India by first privileging Brahmins as interpreters of Indian culture and then targeting them as the roots of caste-based oppression and inequality. Consequently, post-Independence Censuses have shied away from including questions about caste.
  • Collection of data on castes is inherently risky and also a major challenge. This will lead to social fragmentation and increase caste enmities. 
  • There is already a permanent list for the country showing the number of backward classes is continuously being updated and would be readily available.
  • The argument of exact number of people belonging to various castes like Vashists, Yadavs, Kurmis, Kapurs will serve no purpose except to create an artificial bond of kinship on one side and unnecessary antagonism to the other castes.
  • The judgment of the Supreme Court held that the collection of data on castes, through a census (or any other means), is against the law.



  • The day caste is obliterated, untouchability, discrimination, inequality, casteist hatred, caste genocides and the fight for reservations will automatically get wiped out and nor will politicians be able to play politics on the basis of caste.

Topic– Role of women and women’s organization, Social empowerment

2) Gender equality offers a sizeable economic opportunity for any country. India, however, has lagged behind in taking advantage of this economic opportunity. Discuss.(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

The economic losses suffered due to lack of gender parity is a very important topic for mains. Such questions are often asked including in essays. This article provides several fodder points on this issue.

Key demand of the question

The question makes two statements, both of which needs to be discussed. How is gender equality related to economic progress and the status of India on this parameter needs to be discussed.

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 – Highlight that several reports including the present one, the power of parity etc have highlighted this linkage and the need for countries to take steps in this regard.


  • Discuss how gender empowerment is linked to economic progress
  • Highlight the status quo in India – discuss the poor LFPR of females in India, their poor performance on other indicators of development which indirectly impact their ability to become meaningful contributors to economy
  • Highlight the benefits that India would accrue if it focuses on gender empowerment – limit yourself to benefits directly or indirectly related to economic growth
  • Discuss the steps taken so far and what more could be done

Conclusion – Highlight the importance of focussing on this issue to reap economic dividends.



  • A new research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) finds that Asia-Pacific economies could boost their collective GDP by $4.5 trillion per year by 2025, just by accelerating progress toward gender equality.
  • India is the country that stands to gain the most from inclusion, with the potential to increase its usual GDP by a staggering 18% through increased participation, amounting to a total of $770 billion by 2025.

Measures taken:-

  • Nationally, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao directly tackles pre-birth sex-determination and along with Sabla and Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana supports the empowerment of girls.
  • “One stop shop” centres for survivors of violence against women have been set up and are being utilised.
  • Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Yojana, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram and Janani Suraksha Yojana support pregnant women, new mothers and infants.

Why India is lagging behind:-

  • Women remain subject to traditional attitudes that define their primary role as being in the home. As a result, women often lack access to the financing needed to start or expand a business, and to the training needed for the modern labour market. 
  • The primary issue is one of participation. Currently, only a quarter of the workforce in India is female.
  • Barriers:-
    • There are significant barriers to improving increasing female presence in more productive roles (19%), and increasing the number of hours worked by women (9%).
  • Level of unpaid care work carried out by women in India, which stands at ten times the amount carried out by men. If the volume of unpaid work carried out by women was compensated even with the minimum wage, India’s economic output could increase by as much as $300 billion.
  • Legal protection offered to women is another challenge, wherein the existing infrastructure is sufficient in terms of sexual harassment and paid maternity leave, but legal mandates for equal pay and parental leave are severely lacking.
    • Deficiencies in the legal framework can further be attributed to another key challenge – unequal legislative representation for women. A mere 11% of the members of parliament in India’s lower house are currently female.
  • Other challenges include crucial socio-economic challenges such as sex-selective abortions and violence against women. 

Measures needed:-

  • Women’s labour force participation and access to decent work are important and necessary elements of an inclusive and sustainable development process.
  • Policy makers in India and throughout the region should take a comprehensive approach to improving labour market outcomes for women.
  • Improving access to and relevance of education and training programs, skills development, access to child care, maternity protection, and provision of safe and accessible transport.
  • Policy-makers should be more concerned about whether women are able to access better jobs or start up a business, and take advantage of new labour market opportunities as a country grows.
  • A policy framework encouraging and enabling women’s participation should be constructed with active awareness of the “gender-specific” constraints that face most women.
  • Gender responsive policies need to be contextually developed.
  • Increasing labour market flexibility allowing more women, many of whom are working in the informal sector, to be employed in the formal sector.
  • Supply-side reforms to improve infrastructure and address other constraints to job creation could also enable more women to enter the labour force.
  • Higher social spending, including investment in education, can also lead to higher female labour force participation by boosting female stocks of human capital.
  • Rural women:-
    • Dedicated efforts in skilling, re-skilling and improving their educational outcomes through infrastructure development.
    • Female teacher availability, incentives along with creating an adequate number of favourable job opportunities are necessary to harness their potential.
    • Focus on microfinance-supported self-help group-centred activities, which will make them economically active along with handling domestic duties.

Topic:  Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

3) Critically analyze the Jajmani system, as was prevalent in several parts  of India.(250 words)





Why this question

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

Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to delve deep into the issue of Jajmani system, identify and discuss the benefits as well as harms associated with the system and then come up with a personal opinion on the issue.

Directive word

Critically analyze- We have to dig deep into the question, identify the essential characteristics of the Jajmani system as was prevalent in India; its benefits as well as disadvantages. Based on our discussion, we have to form a personal opinion on the issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – give a brief definition of Jajmani system.


  • Briefly discuss its essential features. E.g barter system, durable relationship, hereditary, idea of paternal relationship etc.
  • Discuss the benefits of the system. E.g economic and food security, intimate and close relationship, peaceful coexistence, self sufficiency etc.
  • Discuss the cons of the system. E.g source of exploitation, artificial and rigid division of society into upper and lower class, impediment to social as well as economic mobility, propagation of caste system etc.

Conclusion– Mention that Jajmani system had several benefits but the system was gradually manipulated to serve the needs of the rich and laned class etc. Also mention the role of socioreligous organizations in eradicating the Jajmani system.


  • Jajmani system is considered as the backbone of rural economy and social order.It is a system of traditional occupational obligations. In rural India Jajmani system is very much linked with caste system.

Jajmani system:-

  • Jajmani system is a system of distribution whereby high caste land owning families are provided services and products of various lower castes such as Khati (Carpenter), Nai (Barber), Kumhars (Potters), Lobars (Blacksmiths), Dhobi (Washer man), Sweeper (Chuhra) etc.
  • The servicing castes are called Kamins while the castes served are called Jajmans. For services rendered the servicing castes are paid in cash or in kind (grains, fodder, clothes, animal products like milk, butter etc.) 


·         Hereditary: Jajmani ties are hereditary.

·         Jajmani relations are not like wage-relations which can be terminated after the transaction is over. They are durable.

·         Goods Against Services (Barter exchange)

·         This system brought peace and satisfaction to the villagers.

·         There was wide difference in scope of work of kamins.



  • Security of Occupation:
    • Security of occupation is guaranteed in case of jajmani system. Since this system is hereditary, the kamin is assured of his occupation. He knows that if he breaks his family occupation he shall not be able to earn his livelihood.
  • Economic Security:
    • It provides economic security to kamins as the jajman looks after all of their needs. The kamins are assured of their economic security. In every monetary crisis the jajman helps the kamins. They extend all possible help to the kamins. So there is economic security in the jajmani system.
  • Close and Intimate Relationship:
    • There is close and intimate relationship between the jajman and kamin. This relationship is not purely economical but it is sentimental and internal. A spirit of fellow feeling and brotherhood develops under this system. Both jajman and kamin know full well each other’s limitations as well as plus points.
    • So, they try to adjust each other. This system creates an atmosphere conducive to peaceful living and co-operation.
  • Peaceful Living:
    • The cut-throat-competition for work or employment is almost absent in jajmani system. No jajman goes without service nor any kamin goes without food. So this system creates an atmosphere of peaceful living by creating the spirit of fellow-feeling and co-operation.
  • Jajmani system is functional. It gives security to lower castes that they will never go hungry.


·         Source of Exploitation:

o   Jajmani system is exploitative. The agricultural castes, which are invariably upper castes, seek the services of the occupational castes, which are generally lower castes. The exploitation of lower castes continues under the garb of paternal ties.

o   Like the caste system, this system has become a source of suppression, exploitation and discrimination.

·         Feeling of Superiority and Inferiority:

o   In this system, the kamins are considered low whereas the jajmans are placed high. This has resulted in social inequality and feeling of superiority and inferiority in the minds of both Jajman and kamin.

o   Because this system is based on heredity, the kamin cannot take other Job or occupation and the advantage of latest scientific developments to improve his economic condition.

o   This system has resulted in lowering the economic standard of the kamins. They are treated as inferior. They are sometimes exploited and abused by the Jajmans. They become helpless before the money power of their Jajmans. This is a system which is based on the sense of high and low.

·         Impediment to Occupational and Social Mobility:

o   Jajmani system has stood on the way of occupational mobility and resulted in lowering economic standard of the kamins. This system is hereditary, so there is no possibility of changing the occupation. In this way the system has checked social mobility. The conditions of the kamins remain miserable because of their economic weaknesses.

·         Supported by Caste System:

o   Caste system is the basis of jajmani system. So this system suffers from all the evils of caste system.

o   They are ill-treated by the Jajmans. This system leads to widespread discrimination. There is exploitation and coercion.

·         Effect of Transport and Communication:

o   Due to rapid expansion of transport and communication, the system is in a decline. Because it has made easy for the kamins to seek job or other occupation outside their village. Now the kamins are no longer compelled to do the Job of Jajmans.

·          Impact of Social Reform Movement:

o   Due to the impact of social reform movements, the suppressed castes get benefits. They try to rise up in the social ladder. Various religious reform movements, like Arya Samaj have produced one of the greatest setback to the Jajmani system.


  • Jajmani system had several benefits but the system was gradually manipulated to serve the needs of the rich and landed class etc. Due to socio-religious organisations slowly Jajmani system faded away.


General Studies – 2

Topic:India and its neighborhood- relations.

Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

4) Conducting joint military exercises comes with its own benefits and pitfalls. Critically comment, in the context of India.(250 words)


Why this question

India has been conducting a lot of joint military exercises. Hence it is essential to understand their purpose as well as pitfalls associated with them. 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.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to bring out the benefits/ purpose of conducting joint military exercises and what downfalls it brings along. We have to discuss the issue in the context of Indian and its international relations.

Directive word

Critically comment- We have to express our understanding and knowledge on the issue by discussing the pros and cons of holding joint military exercises by India. After that, we have to form a personal opinion on the overall issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Mention that India has conducted around 100 military exercises since last 6 years, with several countries ranging from Nepal to US and Myanmar to France.


  • Discuss the purpose of joint military exercises. E.g to improve inter-coordination and interoperability; forging a bond between participating nations and enhance the level of cooperation between them; operational interaction with military professionals trained in an entirely different operational environment; involvement of their militaries in a joint exercise, rather than in war, is the best form of CBM etc.
  • Discuss the limitations/ pitfalls of joint military exercises. E.g International military exercises are carried out within well-defined, pre-decided and mutually agreed rules of engagement (RoE)- which affects their significance; Each participant in an international exercise keeps certain capabilities out of bounds for the exercise in order to retain operational independence;Any leakage to a nation/organisation inimical to one’s own could result in a security compromise etc.

Conclusion– mention that International defence cooperation is an imperative for building our capabilities to deal with how we envisage our current and emerging role in the international arena.International military exercises are, thus, efficient tools to engage partnering nations and enhance existing relationships. Gradually, multiservice and multinational exercises with an enhanced scope need to be organised in India to make the entire process of military engagement more efficient.


  • Joint military exercises provide the necessary impetus to such an understanding and play a pivotal role in efficient aid disbursement in the provision of humanitarian assistance and conduct of disaster relief (HADR) situations.
  • According to Military Balance 2017, over 100 international military exercises are carried out within one calendar year, with participation of almost all countries with recognisable military forces.
  • Indian armed forces have been engaging a number of countries through regular international military exercises in India and abroad


  • Sharing of military training aspects through international military exercises is one of the most effective confidence-building measures (CBMs) between partners. It helps in understanding the intent and perspectives of participants and normally gives a boost to bilateral ties.
    • The Hand-in-Hand series of exercises between the Indian Army and China undertaken every year and with the location alternating between India and China, are a perfect example of the power of international military exercises as a CBM.
  • The long-term impact of international military exercises on participants is that it allays fears and apprehensions between them and this, in turn, assists in forging a bond of understanding as well as enhances the level of cooperation between them.
    • This cooperation in military affairs has the potential to expand to other arenas, especially related to technology, human resources, training, education and the economy. Mutual benefits from this expansion lead to greater synergy and a cohesive policy formulation.
  • International exercises assist in operational interaction with military professionals trained in an entirely different operational environment. It helps in grooming combatants in tackling varied operational situations. This forms an important input for refining training methodology too.
  • Another area of significance is the force application planning process. The process followed by each participant is different and thus assists in understanding the different routes and ways along with stabilising/destabilising factors. This ultimately leads to a greater understanding of the force application methodology that can be employed in an operational scenario.
  • Interacting professionally in an operational situation as part of international military exercise, highlights the weaknesses of tactical employment plans carried out by the country’s own forces as participants from different countries have been trained differently.
  • Additionally, empirical data can be obtained to support a theoretical comparative analysis of the combat equipment of participants.
  • Forces that need to operate in an overlapping operational environment for war or for humanitarian and disaster relief need to have common operating processes to obviate the risk of sub-optimal operational efficiency. International military exercises are ideal tools for formulating, testing and finalising such interoperable processes between the partners.
  • Learning experience :-
    • Interaction with military operators and forces which have directly or indirectly participated in significant military events is of immense military value for learning the outcome of various strategies and tactics. Such interaction takes place through visits and seminars but is most productive during an international military exercise.
    • For example, various techniques of ‘Broadcast Control’ found their way into the IAF through lessons learnt from international exercises with the French Air Force, the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) and USAF.
  • Exposure during international military exercises induces a systematic change in the work culture and operational thought process.
  • These exercises actively support military diplomacy along with other aspects such as military training, port calls, delegation visits, and combat equipment support.
  • Besides projecting Indian capabilities and enabling doctrinal learning, such exercises assist in benchmarking our capabilities against international standards.


  • International military exercise engagements are undertaken with the aim to boost one’s national interests and image.
    • However, media reports in 2015 reported that in an exercise Indradhanush between the IAF and the RAF the follow-on debate ended up undoing a lot of the goodwill that was generated by the bilateral exercise.
  • Applicability of the lessons learnt across a broad spectrum could be disastrous and thus needs to be handled with utmost care as international military exercises are carried out within well-defined, pre-decided and mutually agreed rules of engagement (RoE). Therefore, the lessons drawn from such engagements need to be viewed in light of the restricted space and conceptualisation of operations.
  • Each participant in an international exercise keeps certain capabilities out of bounds for the exercise in order to retain operational independence
  • There are certain capabilities/deficiencies that come to fore during the exercise and become known to all participants.
  • Any leakage to a nation/organisation inimical to one’s own could result in a security compromise.

Way forward:-

  • The Indian armed forces must continue to hold international military exercises in India and also participate in similar exercises held in other countries.
  • India needs to diversify its partners in military exercises like ROK, Germany, Myanmar, Vietnam, Egypt, Iran etc.
  • Furthermore, the scope of engagement with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Nepal too needs a revision owing to the high probability of involvement of the Indian armed forces in these countries .
  • India’s engagement policy needs to be re-visited and, if required, the frequency of military exercises with certain countries can be reduced in order to engage a greater number of countries. The gains from engaging different countries would far outweigh repeated engagement with the same partners.
  • Gradually, multiservice and multinational exercises with an enhanced scope need to be organised in India to make the entire process of military engagement more efficient.

Topic Part of static series under the heading – “Right to Life and its interpretations”

5) Right to life is one of the most evolved right at the hands of Supreme Court. Explain with the help of suitable SC judgements.(250 words)


Key demand of the question

The question demands discussion on how SC has helped in evolving the nature and scope of Article 21. The key here is highlighting some of the  landmark judgments of SC which have expanded the enjoyment of our fundamental rights.

Directive word

Explain – Here you have to talk about what it meant by the statement in the question. The explanation should include specific case laws where SC has expanded the scope and nature of Article 21.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Talk about the constitutional provision related to Art 21


  • Explain that supreme court has expanded the right to life through a liberal interpretation of the provisions of article 21
  • Discuss in brief how the position of SC has changed with respect to right to life – from Golak Nath to Keshavananand Bharti, ADM Jabalpur  to Maneka Gandhi cases.
  • Highlight some of the important cases where SC has expanded right to life – Shreya Singhal, K Puttaswamy, Naz Foundation, MP Singh case etc

Conclusion – Discuss how SC has done justice to its role as the protector of fundamental rights.


  • Article 21 ensures every person right to life and personal liberty. Both the terms, life and personal liberty has been given a very expansive and wide amplitude covering a variety of rights. Its deprivation is only possible through the procedure established by law.
  • The expression “life” has been broadly interpreted by the Supreme Court, which has given it, an expansive scope.

Most evolved in the following ways:-

  • Right to Live with Human Dignity
    • The Supreme Court in the case of Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of Indiaheld that right to life embodied in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, is not merely a physical right but it also includes within its ambit, the right to live with human dignity.
    • In the case ofFrancis Coralie vs. Union Territory of Delhi it was held that right to live includes the right to live with human dignity with bare necessities of life such as: Adequate nutrition, Clothing, and Shelter over the head etc
  • Right against sexual harassment at workplace
    • In the case of Vishakha vs. the State of Rajasthan, the court declared that sexual harassment of a working woman workplace amounts to a violation of rights under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. The guidelines have been laid down in order to protect the rights of a woman at workplace
  • Right to clean environment
    • The Right to life under Article 21 means a life of dignity to live in a proper and healthy environment.
    • The maintenance of various things like: Health, Proper sanitation system, and Preservation of environment comes under the purview of the Article 21.
    • In the case ofVellore Citizens Welfare Forum vs Union of India the Supreme Court held that though industries are vital for the country’s development, having regards to the pollution caused by them, the principle of ‘sustainable development’ has to be adopted as the balancing concept
  • Right to know or right to be informed
    • It has been recognized by the Courts, in the case of Reliance Petrochemicals Ltd. vs. Proprietors of Indian Express Newspapersthat right to know falls under the scope of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution as an essential ingredient of participatory democracy.
  • Right of prisoners
    • The protection under Article 21 is also available to those who have been convicted of any offense. Even though he is deprived of his other rights, but he is entitled to the rights guaranteed under Article 21.
  • Right against illegal detention
    • In the case of K. Basu vs. State of West Bengal, the Supreme Court laid down the guidelines to be followed by the Central and the State investigating authorities in all cases of arrest and detention
  • Right to Legal Aid and Right to speedy trial
    • It has been held, in the case of Hussainara Khatoon vs. State of Bihar, that right to free legal aid at the cost of the State to an accused who cannot afford legal services for reasons of poverty, indigence or incommunicado situation is a part of fair, just and reasonable procedure under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Disclosure of dreadful diseases
    • The Court herein opined that the lady proposing to marry a person with dreadful disease is entitled to all human rights, which are available to any human being and the right to be told that person is suffering from a deadly disease which is sexually communicable, is her right to life guaranteed under Article 21.
  • Right to Privacy
    • In the recent case of Justice K.S. Puttuswamy vs. Union of India and Other,the Supreme Court held privacy to be a fundamental right under the Constitution of India.
  • Right to die with dignity:-
    • Supreme court expanded the right to life to incorporate the right to die with dignity. It legalised passive euthanasia and approved ‘living will’ to provide terminally ill patients or those in persistent and incurable vegetative state (PVS) a dignified exit by refusing medical treatment or life support.


General Studies – 3

Topic -Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

6) What do you understand by space debris. Also, discuss some of the  technologies that could be employed in future, to tackle the problem.(250 words)




Why this question

Scientists and researchers have been warning us time and again about the dangers posed by the space debris. Countries like US, Japan and Russia have shown their intent to tackle the problem. Besides, recently the RemoveDEBRIS satellite was launched, to  test – for the first time – new technology aimed at capturing and deorbiting space junk. The issue is related to GS-3 syllabus under the following heading 

Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to express our knowledge of the meaning of space debris, their sources, what are the dangers posed by them and what are the technology options available to tackle the issue.

Directive word

Discuss- we have to write in detail about all the key demands of the question- our understanding of the term and how can the issue be resolved.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Give a brief definition of space debris and demarcate between natural and artificial debris.


  • Enlist the sources of space debris- e.g Dead spacecraft, Lost equipment, Boosters, Weapons etc.
  • Briefly discuss the threats posed by them. E.g to space-crafts, International Space Station, Kessler’s syndrome, collision with earth etc.
  • Discuss in points all the relevant technologies. E.g ElectroDynamic Debris Eliminator; Solar sails; Space Debris Elimination (SpaDE) system; Laser Broom; Discuss each technology briefly. Also add, ending or sharply reducing the number of breakups of spacecraft and rocket bodies and, to a lesser extent, by reducing the amount of mission-related debris released in spacecraft deployment and operations; Deorbiting or accelerating the orbital decay of spacecraft and rocket bodies at the end of their functional lifetimes etc.

Conclusion-  Mention that most of these technologies have not been successfully tested and launch of RemoveDEBRIS will significantly reduce the knowledge gap.


  • Space debris has become a pressing issue, with objects in orbit flying out of control, posing a risk to satellites and to astronauts. The drive to keep space debris at bay is growing as more satellites are launched. 

Space debris:-

  • Space debrisis a term for the mass of defunct, artificially created objects in space, most notably in Earth orbit, such as old satellites and spent rocket stages. It includes the fragments from their disintegration, erosion and collisions. 
  • Sources of space debris are dead spacecrafts, lost equipment, boosters, weapons etc.
  • Threats:-
    • Space junk is a threat to active satellites, unmanned spacecrafts and spaceships.
    • International space station:-
      • Although the ISS uses Whipple shielding to protect itself from minor debris, portions (notably its solar panels) cannot be protected easily. 
    • There is also the risk, known as the Kessler Syndrome or Kessler Effect, where one piece of debris breaks off and hits another so that it becomes a cascade, which could end up polluting an entire orbit for satellites. 
    • Earth:-
      • Although most debris burns up in the atmosphere, larger objects can reach the ground intact. According to NASA, an average of one cataloged piece of debris has fallen back to Earth each day for the past 50 years

Technologies that can tackle the problem in future are:-

  • Moving an object out of the way by altering its orbit is one method of diverting a potential crash, but the sheer amount of debris requires constant observation and prediction – by any means necessary.
  • Nasa’s Space Debris Sensor orbits the Earth on the International Space Station.
    • The sensor was attached to the outside of the space station’s European Columbus module in December 2017.
    • It will detect millimetre-sized pieces of debris for at least two years, providing information on whatever hits it such as size, density, velocity, orbit  and will determine whether the impacting object is from space or a man-made piece of space debris.
  • REMOVEdebris, satellite contain two cubesats that will release simulated space debris so that it can then demonstrate several ways of retrieving them.
  • Right now engineers are using model satellites and robot arms to understand how a spacecraft would approach an out-of-control satellite, maneuver itself around it, and grab hold of it.
  • Astroscale plans to launch in 2018
  • Deorbit’s flight is scheduled for 2023 or 2024:-
    • The next stage using technologies on uncontrolled pieces of debris will be more complex and European space agency is proposing a mission called e.deorbit to its member states at the end of 2019.
    • deorbit will demonstrate that scientists can remove an uncontrolled object safely from orbit
    • There are two emerging technologies being developed under what’s known as the e.Deorbit mission to grasp the wayward space junk, or to catch it.
    • Another approach being studied within the e.Deorbit project involves using nets flung into space to capture big lumps of space junk.
  • Scientists need to start removing the most volatile and biggest pieces from the most congested orbits. A number of companies, such as Astroscale and Saber Astronautics, are looking at this very complicated and technical solution already. The idea is essentially to grab a piece of debris with a special satellite and de-orbit both of them, in the process burning up both objects.
  • Other technologies include moving objects with a powerful laser beam. It is important to start doing that soon current scientific estimates predict that without active debris removal, certain orbits will become unusable over the coming decades.
  • There is a need to ensure the long-term accessibility of orbits and to adjust current behaviour in space in order to minimize the creation of new debris. People need to be more careful with existing operational satellites and new missions.

Way forward:-

  • The issues constraining the process of tackling space debris are financing and international cooperation. The question of who pays for these ‘garbage collection’ missions is also a tricky one. Perhaps even trickier, is negotiating the international diplomatic space and persuading, for example Russia, that their old military satellite needs to be de-orbited by a technology company. All these issues need resolution but countries need to act immediately to avoid any huge catastrophe due to inaction.

General Studies – 4

TopicProbity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.

7) What do you understand by governance. Also, discuss some of the indicators of  good governance.(250 words)


Why this question

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

Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding of the working and philosophical concept of the term governance. It also wants us to write in detail about the indicators of good governance.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive and it mandates us to write at length about the key demands of the question- meaning of the term governance and indicators of good governance.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Define and briefly explain in 1-2 lines,  the term governance. E.g The word “governance” came from the Latin verb “gubernare,” which means “to steer.” Basing on its etymology, governance refers to the manner of steering or governing, or of directing and controlling, a group of people or a state.


  • Explain and discuss the term further, give its working definition ( what it practically means), its relation to government etc.
  • Discuss in points, the indicators of good governance. E.g transparency, rule of law, accountability, absence of corruption etc.

Take the help of the article attached to the question and also other related material, in order to frame your answer.

Conclusion– Form a fair, concise and a balanced opinion on the issue.



Kautilya in his treatise Arthashastra propounded the qualities of good governance by the ruling king as follows: In the happiness of his subject lies his happiness, in their welfare his welfare, whatever please himself he shall not consider good. The concept of good governance is associated with capable and real administration in democratic set up.


Governance is commonly defined as the exercise of power or authority by political leaders for the well-being of their country’s citizens or subjects. It is the complex process whereby some sectors of the society wield power, and enact and promulgate public policies which directly affect human and institutional interactions, and economic and social development. A great deal about governance is the proper and effective utilization of resources.

Today, governance includes three sectors: the public sector (state actors and institutions), the private sector (households and companies), and the civil society (non-governmental organizations). These three sectors are said to work hand in hand in the process of governance.

Good governance is understood through its eight indicators or characteristics:

  • Participatory:-
    • Good governance essentially requires participation of different sectors of the society. The management of highly complex societies and of their ever growing needs requires a participatory form of governance by diffusing power.
    • The move for decentralizationis a response to this as it widens the base of participation and allows local government units to exercise governmental powers directly within their respective districts.
    • This means freedom of association and expression and an organized civil society should go hand in hand.
  • Rule of Law:-
    • Democracy is essentially the rule of law. It is through the law that people express their will and exercise their sovereignty.
  • Effective and Efficient:-
    • Good governance requires that the institutions, processes, and actors could deliver and meet the necessities of the society in a way that available resources are utilized well. That the different actors meet the needs of the society means that there is effective
  • Transparent:-
    • Transparency, as an indicator of good governance, means that people are open to information regarding decision-making process and the implementation of the same.
  • Responsive :-
    • Responsiveness means that institutions and processes serve all stakeholders in a timely and appropriate
  • Equitable and Inclusive:-
    • Equity and inclusiveness means that all the members of the society, especially the most vulnerable ones or the grassroots level, must be taken into consideration in policy-making. 
  • Consensus Oriented:-
    • Governance is consensus oriented when decisions are made after taking into consideration the different viewpoints of the actors of the society. Mechanisms for conflict resolution must be in place because inevitably conflict that will arise from competing interests of the actors.
  • Accountability:-
    • Accountability means answerability or responsibility for one’s action. It is based on the principle that every person or group is responsible for their actions most especially when their acts affect public interest.

“Good” governance promotes gender equality, sustains the environment, enables citizens to exercise personal freedoms, and provides tools to reduce poverty, deprivation, fear, and violence. The UN views good governance as participatory, transparent and accountable. It encompasses state institutions and their operations and includes private sector and civil society organizations.

Good governance is significant in public institutions to conduct and manage public affairs and resources to guarantee human rights in free of abuse and corruption, and with due regard for the rule of law.

Good governance is thus, a function of installation of positive virtues of administration and elimination of vices of dysfunctionalities. It makes the government work effective, credible and legitimate in administrative system and citizen-friendly, value caring and people-sharing.