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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 JULY 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 –  Part of static series under the heading “Clemency powers”

1)Explain the clemency powers of the president under article 72? Discuss the clarifications given by Supreme Court regarding the clemency powers of the president?(250 words)


Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain the content of Article 72. Thereafter we have to detail the various judgments of SC which have given several clarifications, guidelines and check on the power of president under Article 72.

Directive word

Explain – Clemency power of the president under art 72 has to be explained.

Discuss – Here the discussion should revolve around the rulings of SC related to clemency powers.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention the constitution under article 73 provides clemency powers.


  • Explain what clemency powers under article 72 entail
  • Reprieve
  • Respite
  • Commute
  • Remission
  • Pardon
  • Discuss the main points of the SC judgment in cases like Kehar Singh, Mani Ram cases where the SC has mentioned that this power is liable to be judicially reviewed if exercised in an unfair, whimsical, arbitrary manner. The court has also given several guidelines on what should the scope of president’s power be.
  • Discuss certain cases such as Shatrughan Chauhan, 2014 where the SC has commented upon the pardoning power of the president in case of death penalty

Conclusion – Mention why such a power has been given and the need to exercise it judiciously and neutrally.


Clemency powers of the President under article 72 :-

  • Indian President is empowered with the power to pardon under Article 72 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Article 72 says that the President shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence.
    • Pardon –A pardon completely absolves the offender from all sentences and punishment and disqualifications and places him in the same position as if he had never committed the offence.
    • Commutation- Commutation means exchange of one thing for another. In simple words to replace the punishment with less severe punishment. For example for Rigorous imprisonment-simple imprisonment.
    • Reprieve – Reprieve means temporary suspension of death sentence. For example-  pending a proceeding for pardon or commutation.
    • Respite – Respite means awarding a lesser punishment on some special grounds. For example-  the Pregnancy of women offender.
    • Remissions –  Remission means the reduction of the amount of sentence without changing its character, for example, a sentence of 1 year may be remitted to 6 months. In other words, it reduces the period of sentence, but the character of punishment remains same.
  • The President shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remission of punishment or to suspend remit or commute the sentence of any persons convicted of any offence:-
    • (a) in all cases where the punishment or sentence is by a court martial;
    • (b) in all cases where the punishment or sentence is for an offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the Union extends;
    • (c) in all cases where the sentence is a sentence of death.
  • The pardoning power of President is wider than the governor and it differs in the following two ways:-
    • The power of the President to grant pardon extends in cases where the punishment or sentence is by a Court Martial but Article 161 does not provide any such power to the Governor.
    • The President can grant pardon in all cases where the sentence given is sentence of death but pardoning power of Governor does not extend to death sentence cases.

Clarifications given by Supreme court regarding the clemency powers of the President :-

  • Supreme Court in a catena of cases has laid down the law relating to judicial review of pardoning power.
  • In Maru Ram v Union of India, the Constitutional Bench of Supreme Court held that the power under Article 72 is to be exercised on the advice of the Central Government and not by the President on his own, and that the advice of the Government binds the head of the Republic.
  • In Dhananjoy Chatterjee alias Dhana v State of West Bengal, the Supreme Court reiterated its earlier stand in Maru Ram’s case and said that the power under Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution can be exercised by the Central and State Governments, not by the President or Governor on their own. The advice of the appropriate Government binds the Head of the state.
  • The Supreme Court in Ranga Billa casewas once again called upon to decide the nature and ambit of the pardoning power of the President of India under Article 72 of the Constitution. The term “pardon” itself signifies that it is entirely a discretionary remedy and grant or rejection of it need not to be reasoned.
  • Supreme Court once again in Kehar Singh v Union of Indiareiterated its earlier stand and held that the grant of pardon by the President is an act of grace and, therefore, cannot be claimed as a matter of right. The power exercisable by the President being exclusively of administrative nature, is not justiciable.
  • In a landmark judgment in Epuru Sudhakar case it was held by the Supreme Court that it is a well-set principle that a limited judicial review of exercise of clemency powers is available to the Supreme Court and High Courts. Granting of clemency by the President or Governor can be challenged on the following grounds:
    • The order has been passed without application of mind.
    • The order is mala fide.
    • The order has been passed on extraneous or wholly irrelevant considerations.
    • Relevant material has been kept out of consideration.
    • The order suffers from arbitrariness.
  • In the Landmark judgment in Shatrughan Chauhan case Supreme court said that :-
    • Delay by the government in taking a decision about the mercy petition of the death row convicts was in fact a valid ground for commutation of their sentence.
    • This judgment came as a relief to as many as fifteen death row convicts, whose sentence was thus commuted to life term. This judgment also included the factor that schizophrenia and mental illness is also a defence against death penalty and such a person cannot be hanged.
    • In this case, the Supreme Court overruled its own verdict in Devinderpal Singh Bhullar’s case in which it had held that delay in deciding mercy plea cannot be a ground for commutation of death sentence.
  • The supreme court laid down the following principles:-
    • The petitioner for mercy has no right to an oral hearing by the President.
    • The president can examine the evidence afresh and take a view different from the view taken by the court.
    • The power is to be exercised by the president on the advice of the union cabinet
    • The president is not bound to give reasons for his/her order.
    • The president can afford relief not only from a sentence that he regards as unduly harsh but also from an evident mistake.
    • The exercise of power by the president is not subject to judicial review except where the presidential decision is arbitrary, irrational, malafide or discriminatory.
    • Where the earlier petition for mercy has been rejected by the President stay cannot be obtained by filing another petition.


  • The pardoning power of Executive is very significant as it corrects the errors of judiciary. It eliminates the effect of conviction without addressing the defendant’s guilt or innocence. 


General Studies – 2

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive

2)If India is to achieve its status as a great power, it is absolutely essential that police is restructured and modernised. In this context, discuss the status of police reforms in the country?(250 words)

Indian express


Why this question

The article rues the lack of police reforms undertaken despite several directions and guidelines by SC, including the most recent guideline regarding appointment of DGP. The article brings the focus on police reforms, the need of it, the direction it should take and how to go about it.

Key demand of the question

The question demand us to explain the need for police reforms in India as the statement in the first line points to that. Thereafter, we need to bring out the steps that have been proposed by several committees and courts regarding police reforms. We need to finally give a way forward.

Directive word

Discuss – The discussion here has to focus on the reports of committees and supreme court guidelines and judgments regarding police reforms and assess why they have not been implemented either in spirit or form.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Begin with mentioning that police in India is still governed by archaic laws formulated pre independence and that police reforms have not been taken up so far.

Body – Explain why police reforms are necessary for India. Thereafter, bring out the contents of the report of Niti Ayog, Justice Verma committee, Justice Thomas committee, SC ruling in Prakash Singh case 2006 etc which have mentioned the need for police reforms and have also laid down the structure that such a reform must take. Examine the current guidelines of SC regarding appointment of DGP and how they seek to correct a systemic malaise in police structure and functioning. Examine the nature and feature of police reforms that the country requires.

Conclusion – Mention that India should consider reviewing the structure and functioning of police in line with the recommendations discussed above.


  • The primary role of police forces is to uphold and enforce laws, investigate crimes and ensure security for people in the country.
  • Under the Constitution, police is a subject governed by states.
  • There has been almost 30 years of debate on policing and reform in India.

Why police needed to be restructured and modernized :-

  • An overburdened police force :-
    • Police force is over burdened especially at lower levels where constabulary is forced to work continuously 14-16 hrs and also for 7 days a week. It adversely impacts their performance.
    • While the  sanctioned police strength was 181 police per lakh persons in 2016 when the United Nations recommended standard is 222 police per lakh persons. 
    • 86% of the state police comprises of constabulary. Constables are typically promoted once during their service. This could weaken their incentive to perform well. 
  • Improving police infrastructure 
    • Failure of police infrastructure like vehicles, weaponry. Also audits have found that the POLNET network is non-functional in various states.
    • For example, an audit of the Gujarat police force reported that the network had not been  operationalised till October 2015 due to non-installation of essential infrastructure, such as remote subscriber units and generator sets.
    • Funds dedicated for modernisation of infrastructure are typically not utilised fully. For example, in 2015-16, only 14% of such funds were used by the states.
  • Police accountability :-
    • Police forces have the authority to exercise force to enforce laws and maintain law and order in a state. However, this power may be misused in several ways. For example, in India, various kinds of complaints  are madeagainst the police including complaints of unwarranted arrests, unlawful searches, torture and custodial rapes.
  • Poor quality of investigation:-
    • Crime per lakh population has increased by 28% over the last decade (2005-2015). However, convictions have been low. So it shows the poor quality of investigation.
    • The Law Commission and the Second Administrative Reforms Commission have noted that state police officers often neglect investigation because they are understaffed and overburdened with various kinds of tasks. 
    • Further, they lack the training and the expertise required to  conduct professional investigations.
    • They also have insufficient legal knowledge and the forensic and cyber infrastructure available to them is both inadequate and outdated. In light of this, police forces may use force and torture to secure evidence.
    • Crime investigations may be influenced by political or other extraneous considerations
  • Forensic labs:-
    • Expert bodies have however said that these laboratories are short of funds and qualified staff.Further, there is indiscriminate referencing of cases to these labs resulting in high pendency.
  • Lack of co-ordination between centre and states is matter related to maintenance of law & order results in ineffective functioning of police force.
  • Police force is not in the position to tackle present problems of cyber crime, global terrorism, naxalism because of structural weaknesses.
  • Prevalence of Rank system within the police force results in abuse of powerby top level executive over lower level personnel.
  • According to a recent estimate, crime, terrorism and external threats take a huge toll on economic growth and that these cost India 9 per cent of its GDP, which is a very high figure (China lost only 4 per cent, Japan 3 per cent).
  • Without the police ensuring good law and order in the country, the other services would find it difficult to operate.
  • To transform the colonial police structure of the country into a progressive, modern force sensitive to the democratic aspirations of the people.
  • To eliminate the undue political interference. The police of today are victims of politicization as well as criminalization.
  • To instil the confidence of the people in the institution of police by making police more people friendly.
  • The security of the society and the welfare of the people is dependent on the efficiency of the police.

Status of police reforms:-

  • The Supreme Court gave a slew of directions to ensure that there are no distortions in the appointment of Director General of Police (DGP) of the state.
    • It laid down that the states shall send their proposals three months prior to the retirement of the incumbent DGP
    • That the UPSC shall prepare a panel of three officers suitable for elevation to the post of DGP; that the state shall appoint one of the persons from the panel only
    • That there would be no appointments of Acting DGP
    • That a person appointed as DGP should continue to hold the post for a reasonable period “beyond the date of superannuation”
    • That the UPSC should as far as practicable empanel officers who have got clear two years of service, giving due weightage to merit and seniority
    • That “any legislation/rule framed by any of the states or the Central Government running counter to the direction shall remain in abeyance”
  • Justice Thomas Committee (2010) expressed its dismay over the total indifference to the issue of reforms in the functioning of police being exhibited by the states.
  • Government of India (GoI) came up with the concept of SMART police in 2014 i.e.., police that would be strict and sensitive, modern and mobile, alert and accountable, reliable and responsible, tech-savvy and trained. There was, however, no effort to make the concept a reality. 
  • States have constituted security commissions, as directed by the Supreme Court, but their composition has been diluted and their charter curtailed. 

Reforms needed:-

  • Directions of the Supreme Court in Prakash Singh vs Union of India :-
    • The Supreme Court ordered the centre and states to set up authorities to lay down guidelines for police functioning, evaluate police performance, decide postings and transfers, and receive complaints of police misconduct.
    • The court also required that minimum tenure of service be guaranteed to key police officers to protect them from arbitrary transfers and postings.
  • Investigation :-
    • Experts have recommended that states must have their own specialized investigation units within the police force that are responsible for crime investigation.
  • Independent Complaints Authority :-
    • The Second Administrative Reforms Commission and the Supreme Court have observed that there is a need to have an independent complaints authority to inquire into cases of police misconduct.
    • Example is that of the New York City Police which has a Civilian Complaint Review Board comprising of civilians appointed by local government bodies and the police commissioner to investigate into cases of police misconduct.
  • The Second Administrative Reforms Commission has recommended that one way to reduce the burden of  the police forces could be to outsource or redistribute some non-core police functions(such as traffic management, disaster rescue and relief, and issuing of court summons) to government departments or private agencies.
  • Padmanabhaiah commission :-
    • It has also been recommended that constables, and the police force in general, should receive greater training in soft skills given they need to deal with the public regularly.
  • Housing:
    • Importance of providing housing to the constabulary (and generally to the police force) to improve their efficiency and incentive to accept remote postings has also been emphasised by expert bodies, such as the National Police Commission.
  • Community policing:-
    • Janamaithri Suraksha in Kerala 
      • This project is an initiative of the Kerala Police to facilitate greater accessibility, close interaction and better understanding between the police and local communities. For example, Beat Constables are required to know at least one family member of every family living in his beat area.
    • Courts:-
      • The Madras High Court has said that the state government should contemplate giving policemen a day off in a week like other government officials in order to spend time with their families. The court suggested to introduce an 8-hour, three-shift system for police personnel. It will help them rejuvenate themselves and relieve them from stress.
    • Evidence based policing is gaining credibility day by day – Indian police force must be exposed to it.
    • Second ARC recommended that the government should declare certain crimes as “federal” and entrust their investigation to a Central agency.
    • Police need to have the operational freedom to carry out their responsibilities professionally, and satisfactory working conditions, while being held accountable for poor performance or misuse of power.


General Studies – 3

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

3) The latest employment estimates of CSO are not credible enough given the paradoxes it creates. Examine.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Employment is a critical issue in Indian economy. The recent CSO estimates suggesting a huge growth in employment has been criticized for its inconsistent methods and paradoxical association with other indicators in the economy. The issue is related to GS- 3 syllabus under the following heading –

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the current macroeconomic scenario of the country and bring out how the CSO estimates are not credible and what paradoxes they create.

Directive word

Examine- here we have to dig deep into the issue and find out the causes of the situation- lack of credibility on part of CSO estimates and paradoxes created by it.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – mention the recent CSO report titled “Payroll Reporting in India: An Employment Perspective and its employment generation findings.


  • Discuss the reasons as to why the credibility of the report stands questioned. E.g only formal sector is covered, it defines jobs as ones that provide at least one government financed (or mandated) social security benefit such as Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), National Pension Scheme, or Employees’ State Insurance Scheme; the records used for estimation are such that their completeness, consistency and accuracy are unknown; doubling of participation not considered etc.
  • Discuss the other paradoxes it creates. Household surveys carried by Labour Bureau show a decline in worker-population ratio between 2013-14 and 2015-16, suggesting a deteriorating employment situation; growth rates reported  by ndex of Industrial Production (IIP), and the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) are consistently lower than those reported by GDP in manufacturing, suggesting an overestimation of manufacturing value added in the NAS. Demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) seem to have dented informal sector production and employment, which official data sources seem in no position to capture etc.

Conclusion– discuss in 2-3 lines the need for consistent, transparent, inclusive and objective analysis of the macroeconomic parameters affecting employment in order to arrive at a correct estimate of employment generation in India.


  • Between September 2017 and April 2018, says a CSO media release last week titled “Payroll Reporting in India: An Employment Perspective – April 2018”, the economy added 4.1 million new jobs in the formal sector.

Latest employment estimates of CSO:-

  • They are not credible because:-
    • The CSO release defines jobs as ones that provide at least one government financed (or mandated) social security benefit such as Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), National Pension Scheme, or Employees’ State Insurance Scheme. 
    • Confined to the economy’s organised or formal sector, accounting at best for 15% of the workforce.  The official estimates are completely silent about the majority of the workforce engaged in the informal sector.
    • The estimates are based on administrative records of implementing the social security schemes, whose completeness, consistency and accuracy are unknown
    • Since a formal sector worker, in principle, can legitimately access more than one social security scheme, double counting is a distinct possibility. The release does not explain how the problem is addressed in the database.
  • They create paradoxes:-
    • The official data suffer from a conceptual problem:-
      • The social security databases, by design, are lists of workers enrolled in the schemes, as an entitlement or as voluntary subscribers not employment registers.
      • These schemes are applicable to establishments above a certain size (of employment), and to certain kinds of enterprises.
    • In its efforts to formalise employment government has incentivised employers to enrol workers under EPF by offering to make employers contribution to the social security scheme for three years, thus boosting enrolment but that cannot be counted as new jobs created. 
    • Household surveys carried by Labour Bureau show a decline in worker-population ratio between 2013-14 and 2015-16, suggesting a deteriorating employment situation
    • Growth rates reported  by Index of Industrial Production (IIP), and the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) are consistently lower than those reported by GDP in manufacturing, suggesting an overestimation of manufacturing value added in the National accounts statistics.
    • Demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) seem to have dented informal sector production and employment, which official data sources seem in no position to capture etc.
    • Consistency and accuracy of the administrative datasets have not been publicly established. Conceptually, the data are about enrolment in the social schemes, not about new jobs generated



  • There is a need for consistent, transparent, inclusive and objective analysis of the macroeconomic parameters affecting employment in order to arrive at a correct estimate of employment generation in India.

Topic – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

4)The National Policy on Biofuels 2018 repeats the pattern of promising the moon and delivering little. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu


Why this question

Use of fossil fuels not only imposes higher tax liabilities on the masses but is also responsible for the environmental pollution and GHG emissions. Given the imperative to decrease use of fossil fuels and protect the environment and public health, the government has formulated the Biofuel policy and has also taken various other initiatives to increase the use of biofuels. However the progress has not been satisfactory. The issue is related to GS- 3 syllabus under the following heading-

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and present an opinion thereon. We have to back our opinion with relevant and forceful arguments/ facts etc.

Directive word

Comment- we have to express our knowledge on the issue – initiatives of the government and objectives of the Biofuel policy, 2018 and how far has been the progress in this direction.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – mention the WHO report indicating the gravity of air pollution in Indian cities. Discuss in 1-2 lines the need for increased use of biofuels.


  • Discuss the initiatives/ policies/ programmes of the government aimed at increasing the use of biofuels. E.g Ethanol Blending Programme and its revision of targets from 5-10%; National Biodiesel mission and its targets etc. Discuss in a few lines that these were never met and missed by huge margins.
  • Discuss the strategy of National Biofuel Policy and how they are unrealistic. E.g stress on 2G biofuels with lack of requisite infrastructure, delay in setting up bio refineries: no plans for mandatory blending norma for all states etc

Conclusion– mention in 1-2 lines the advantages of biofuels – prevention of air pollution, less BTX release, saving of foreign exchange etc and suggest the way forward.



  • Biofuels in India are of strategic importance as it augers well with the ongoing initiatives of the Government such as Make in India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill Development and offers great opportunity to integrate with the ambitious targets of doubling of Farmers Income, Import Reduction, Employment Generation, Waste to Wealth Creation.
  • Despite framing Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme (EBP) and national biodiesel mission earlier no concrete results came through. So recently The Union Cabinet has approved National Policy on Biofuels – 2018 in order to promote biofuels in the country.

National biofuel policy :-

  • Categories of biofuels:
    • The policy creates two categories of biofuels: basic and advanced. Basic biofuels include first generation bioethanol.
    • Advanced biofuels include second generation ethanol, municipal solid waste, third generation biofuels, bio-CNG etc
  • Raw materials:
    • The policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing the use of certain items that are unfit for human consumption. These include: (i) sugarcane juice, (ii) materials containing sugar such as sugar beet, (iii) materials containing starch such as corn, cassava, and (iv) damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, and rotten potatoes.
    • Farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Taking this into account ,it also allows the use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol, with the approval of the National Biofuel Coordination Committee. 
    • This will likely reduce the cost of producing biofuels and improve affordability for consumers, particularly during times when oil prices reach discomforting levels.
  • Financial incentives:
    • The policy indicates a viability gap funding scheme of Rs 5,000 crore in six years for second generation ethanol bio refineries. Further, advanced biofuels will also get additional tax 
      incentives, and higher purchase price as compared to basic biofuels.
  • Roles and responsibilities of all the concerned Ministries/Departments with respect to biofuels has been captured in the Policy document to synergise efforts.
  • The new policy will also benefit farmers, who will be able to sell various types of agricultural waste to industry at remunerative prices

Expected benefits:-

  • Reduce Import Dependency:
    • The ethanol supply year 2017-18 is likely to see a supply of around 150 crore litres of ethanol which will result in savings of over Rs.4000 crore of forex.
  • Cleaner Environment:
    • One crore lit of E-10 saves around 20,000 ton of CO2 emissions.
    • For the ethanol supply year 2017-18, there will be lesser emissions of CO2 to the tune of 30 lakh ton. By reducing crop burning & conversion of agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels there will be further reduction in Green House Gas emissions.
  • Health benefits:
    • Used Cooking Oil is a potential feedstock for biodiesel and its use for making biodiesel will prevent diversion of used cooking oil in the food industry.
  • Municipal solid waste Management:
    • It is estimated that, annually 62 MMT of Municipal Solid Waste gets generated in India. There are technologies available which can convert waste/plastic, MSW to drop in fuels. One ton of such waste has the potential to provide around 20% of drop in fuels.
  • Infrastructural Investment in Rural Areas:
    • At present Oil Marketing Companies are in the process of setting up twelve 2G bio refineries with an investment of around Rs.10,000 crore. Further addition of 2G bio refineries across the Country will spur infrastructural investment in the rural areas.
  • Employment Generation:
    • One 100klpd 2G bio refinery can contribute 1200 jobs in Plant Operations, Village Level Entrepreneurs and Supply Chain Management.
  • Additional Income to Farmers:
    • By adopting 2G technologies, agricultural residues/waste which otherwise are burnt by the farmers can be converted to ethanol and can fetch a price for these waste if a market is developed for the same.
    • Also, farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Thus conversion of surplus grains and agricultural biomass can help in price stabilization

Concerns with the policy:-

  • The policy is totally silent on octane, which has direct consequences on air quality and pollution as it assists in proper combustion of fuels, thereby affecting vehicular emissions. 
  • Over ambitious:-
    • The policy states that a viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol bio refineries of Rs. 5,000 crore in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels will be provided.
    • The policy is overambitious in light of the fact that the capability of 2G has not been realised till today. Therefore, completely relying on a mechanism which has not been proven commercially is flawed.
    • Excessive expenditure from the exchequer is sought to be made by the NPB for a technology (production of 2G) which is untested and has not taken off commercially internationally.
  • The ways in which companies are selected for driving this policy agenda forward is questioned.
    • So far, there’s an investment of Rs.10,000 crore to set up 12 2G biorefineries across 11 States. But concrete steps have not been taken.
    • The criteria and reasons for awarding the MoUs is unknown.
  • Supply-chain infrastructure that is required to deliver biofuels to the final consumer remains inadequate.
  • To convert India’s existing biofuel potential into reality,huge investments need to be made in creating bio refinery capacity. However, this is easier said than done. While state-owned oil marketing companies are in the process of setting up 12 bio-refineries, this can only be a base to build on. 
  • On the ground, private sector investment in this space has been hampered by financial constraints and lack of cohesive support from the Central to the local level.
  • Efficiently transporting low value biomass to the refineries is another challenge.

Way forward:-

  • Centre should steer clear of micromanaging the supply chain but, instead, help in land acquisition for the bio-refineries and working with the stakeholders to fix a reasonable price for the end product
  • The Centre should ensure that it actively involves the private sector in this exercise especially for functions like procurement, storage and distribution.
  • The policy should be followed up with coordinated action at the user end to ensure that the larger goal of the policy of cleaning up the air, reducing the carbon footprint and shift to more sustainable renewable fuels  is not lost sight of.
  • Interim import of ethanol should be considered while 1G production is being increased and technology to produce 2G ethanol is still developing and proving its commercial viability. These corrections in policy will lead to lower fuel prices, cleaner air, foreign currency savings and efficiency in the oil economy.


  • From encouraging the use of biofuels in public transport to ensuring that civic bodies actually realise the potential of municipal waste and sewage the policy needs to be implemented in mission mode on a nationwide basis.

Topic – Conservation

5)What is biopiracy? Discuss the merits of proposed changes to Nagoya Protocol in tackling biopiracy?(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

Nagoya Protocol is the landmark agreement which seeks to protect the biological diversity of the nation. The reforms being discussed here are significant, particularly for India which merits a detailed analysis.

Key demand of the question

The question first requires us to explain what biopiracy is. Thereafter, we need to discuss the proposed changes and debate it’s intent and design as to whether it can curb biopiracy.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention details about Nagoya Protocol and how important it is for India.

Body – Explain biopiracy. discuss the proposed changes and highlight how they seek to curb biopiracy. Examine the merits and demerits of the move and the impact it would have on India. Bring out both aspects of the debate – how the system of taking permission would help natives to protect their traditional knowledge etc from being exploited by unscrupulous corporate houses vs the increased red tapism which would curb research and innovation.

Conclusion – Give your view on the merits of the proposed changes and the impact it would have on India.


  • The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversityis a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • It provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. 
  • Its objective is the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. 


  • Biopiracy is the practice of commercially exploiting naturally occurring genetic material or biochemical. Biopiracy happens when researchers or research organisations take biological resources without official sanction, largely from less affluent countries or marginalised people.
  • Biopiracy is not limited to drug development. It also occurs in agricultural and industrial contexts. Indian products such as the neem tree, tamarind, turmeric, and Darjeeling tea have all been patented by foreign firms for different lucrative purposes.

Proposed changes to Nagoya protocol with respect to biopiracy:-

  • Under proposed changes to the Nagoya Protocol, researchers might have to ask a country’s government for permission before using publicly available gene sequences obtained from plants or animals originating there. 
  • Prior approval from the country is required to use the “digital gene sequencing information” or even the genetic information available on the public platform, obtained from plants and animals of the nation.
  • Researchers have to submit the draft of what type of research they intend to do during their visit and, if the nation asks, sharing of benefits from the study.

Merits of this move:-

  • Rejection of this change will lead to exploitation of biological wealth of nations by corporations, sometimes at the cost of existing local knowledge and knowledge creation
  • Boost to domestic industry:-This will protect domestic bio-tech industry against patents wars
  • Combat biopiracy:-
    • Foreign Corporate firms preying on India’s traditional knowledge will have to share benefits.
  • Mitigate litigation which happens of getting patent without informing the government.
  • Promote biodiversity and ecology conservation.
  • System of taking permission would help natives to protect their traditional knowledge etc from being exploited by unscrupulous corporate houses 

Demerits :-

  • Even if the proposal is accepted, the implementation already looks shaky while it is nearly impossible to impose curbs on data already available on the internet, the US, home to many rich biotech firms, never ratified the CBD and Nagoya Protocol.
    • The United States, however, has not ratified the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which the 2010 Nagoya Protocol is a supplementary agreement, and would not be bound by changes to the protocol.
  • Regulatory burden:-
    • Increased regulatory burden on non commercial researchers and institutions will hinder research in key medicines formulation.
  • Poor compliance :-
    • Data already available in internet is impossible to curb when compliance history of Nagoya is already shaky.
  • Increase cost of research and development thus making the product expensive.
  • It will bring populism in science thus curtailing science.
  • In recent decades, scientists have assembled massive amounts of genetic information from organisms collected around the world and stored them in publicly available databases for others to study or use. The fight now brewing is whether the protocol applies not just to actual biological samples, but also to this type of information.


  • Proposed changes to Nagoya protocol is a welcome step for equitable sharing of benefits of genetic resources and combating bio-piracy. Proper implementation of Nagoya protocol is need of the hour.

General Studies – 4

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

6) What do you understand by ethical hacking. Discuss the issues underlying ethical hacking.(250 words)



Why this question

The question aims to test the ability of the student to analyze the given concept or problem and identify and deliberate upon the issues involved therein. The issue is related to GS- 4 syllabus under the following heading –

Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to define the term ethical hacking. It also wants us to write in detail about various issues involved in ethical hacking from the social/ ethics point of view.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive which directs us to write at length about the meaning of the term, ethical hacking and issues involved in such an act.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – write  a few lines about the meaning of ethical hacking and where it is largely used.


Discuss in points various issues underlying ethical hacking. Be as exhaustive as possible but give priority to the ethical- social and then legal issues if any.

E.g teaching a person to penetrate a system without ensuring that the person may misuse that knowledge. Is it wrong or right?; probability of an insider attack and wrong sense of safety in case of a wrong report from an ethical hacker- compromising the security of the associated persons; invasion of user privacy etc.

Conclusion– mention the benefits of ethical hacking for companies and for general public and based on your convictions and according to the discussion held above, form a fair and a balanced opinion on the issue.

Ethical hacking:-

Ethical hacking refers to the act of locating weaknesses and vulnerabilities of computer and information systems by duplicating the intent and actions of malicious hackers.

Ethical hacking is the term which is being used by professionals in order to make the system more secure and safe. A person will be called as an ethical hacker when he will not destroy the security of the system rather he will take care of the security and safety of the system from the view point of the hacker.

One of the main requirements for an ethical hacker is its trustworthiness. The customer needs to be 100% certain that information found by the ethical hacker won’t be abused. Another very important ability is patience. An ethical hacker is most trustworthy employee for the organisation who is hired to check about the vulnerabilities and other issues in the computer network system to maintain its security and safety.

Issues underlying ethical hacking:-

  • The problem of teaching students to hack is still a very serious issue that we are facing today. Experts feel that they will teach students how to improve intrusion which unfortunately not happening so .Understanding the true intentions of the students is very hard to pinpoint the reason why ethical hacking should be used. Teaching students to hack in effect gives them a global knowledge of how to hack into computer systems with the help of subject matter experts. The threat they pose is unimaginable.
  • Ethical hackers can and may use their abilities to try and avoid paying for items they have brought because they know they can. They use their power to “help themselves” without being caught, at the expense of others.
  • In banking with many online frauds being committed it would create great problems in tracking down ethical hackers and pinning the blame, for having access to accounts will in effect blame the ethical hacker even if they did not commit the crime.
  • Being into the company’s insider he has all the rights to access all the confidential data of the company. It is really depends on the true intentions of the ethical hackers that how  they do their job well.
  • Ethical hacker can easily get the IP addresses of any system and may harm it. For ethical hackers there are many tools available in the global market to help them to do their job  effectively
  • Ethical Hackers have to break the organizations security policy and procedures violating the code of conduct.
  • Privacy of the employer and employees
    • There can be privacy invasion takes place when they do a ethical hack. All confidential employee and partner documents and information can be seen. The ethical hacker is able to view all the weak points of the firewall. 


However ethical hacking can ensure safety of our systems if conducted ethically. Ethical hackers are highly paid professionals with a legitimate status and a means of access. They can minimize the risk of impact, clearly identifying benefits and flaws helping senior company directors to understand if such activities should be undertaken. Ethical hackers could explore vulnerabilities in advance to minimize the risk.

To counter problems, researchers are looking towards new ways of improving ethical hacking and hacking in general from inside the company. One approach is to use models to monitor employees closely to reduce the risk of impact. One solution is to use a model approach that can seriously help in ethical hacking. Not only does this model helps, but also tries to reduce the impact by identifying implications early enough to help reduce the impact of confrontation.

Considering with view point of consequentialism theory ethical hacking can be identified as ethically correct, because it’s all done for the betterment of the organization.