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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 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-  The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

1)The  energy and courage of youth  played an important role in the India’s freedom struggle. Discuss, in light of the student movements in pre-independent India.(250 words)



Why this question

It is important to know the role played by different sections of the society in India’s freedom struggle. Student movements have contributed significantly to our freedom movement and there are many important personalities associated with the issue.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the role played by the student movements in the history of India’s freedom struggle. We have to be comprehensive in our approach covering all the contributions of these movements.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question and all important and relevant aspects, so as to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that In 1848 Dadabhai Naoroji founded ‘The student’s scientific and historical society, as a forum for discussion. This can be considered to be beginning of student movements in India.


Discuss the contribution of student movements in pre-independent India. E.g discuss their contribution in Swadeshi and Boycott movement, Non-cooperation movement; Civil disobedience movement; quit India movement etc. Discuss the role of student organizations like All India Students Federation; All Bengal Students association; All India Muslim Students Federation; Hindu Students Federation etc. Mention the names of few important student leaders.

Conclusion- Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.


  • In India students were initiators and agents in independence movements. Political and student movements are interlinked and have advanced more In India Student Movements have more than 150 years of history.
  • In 1848 Dadabhai Naoroji founded ‘The student’s scientific and historic society, as a forum for discussion. This can be considered to be beginning of student movements in India 

Contribution of student movements :-

  • As the part of the freedom struggle there were so many student movements emerged and engaged in it. Between 1906 and 1918, 184 persons are convicted in Bengal in connection with revolutionary activities out of which 68 were students.
  • Swadesi Movement(1905)
    • This gave students a revolutionary outlook which called them to boycott colleges as well as British Goods, Student clubs. It grew all over introducing students to active politics.
  • In 1905 students in Eden Hindu Hostel burned the effigy of Lord Curzon and British clothes. They resolved to boycott college examinations in order to remonstrate against the government’s decision to partition their province.
  • Local level organisations:-
    • In the place of the mass student organizations, a number of local groups mostly of an adhoc nature have developed. Agitations have tended to be localized forced on university issues or local political conflicts, rather than on rational or broader ideological questions.
    • In Punjab a group known as Nai Hava (New air) was founded: students in Maharashtra and Punjab were deeply involved in politics.
  • All India college students conference:-
    • In 1912, All India College students Conference of Ahmedabad nailed the student commitment to work for the freedom of the India and gives moto of ‘Charka Swaraj first, and education after”.
  • Student Christian Movement of India (SCM)
    • It was started in 1912 against western colonialism with an aim to orient the students with Christian Faith through social realities.
  • Non Cooperation Movement (1919)
    • As the Part of this movement The All India College Students Conference held at Nagpur in1920, under the Presidentship of Lala Lajpat Rai. He criticised the then denationalising system of education, stressed the need for the creation of a permanent organisation of college students to look after their interests and opined that students should participate in politics
    • The resolution on non-co-operation and boycott of schools and colleges is passed with an overwhelming majority. Boycott of schools and colleges become an integral part of the non-cooperation movement.
  • They preached noncooperation ,especially withdrawal of boys and girls from schools and colleges, and lawyers from the bar.
  • Revolutionary leaders like Bhagat Singh, Khudiram Bose influenced students for the greater cause and many students became part of HSRA.
  • Civil disobedience movement:-
    • This was another call to students. Students led processions, organized hartals and courted arrest in big numbers in Punjab, Bengal, UP and Bombay. This was the most active period of political agitation by Indian students.
    • In 1936 at the first All India Students Conference at Lucknow, 986 student delegates from 210 local and11 provincial organizations from Punjab, UP, CP, Bengal, Assam, Bihar and Orissa attended the Conference.
  • All India Students Federation:-
    • In 1936, under the presidentship of Jinnah. It was in this conference that AISF came into existence and it was the first national organisation of students. The delegates to the conference were both political and apolitical.
    • According to the directions of the AISF strikes were conducted in colleges and institutions when demands of students were not complied This happened in Bengal, Madras, Aligarh, U.P., Bombay and Lahore. Further, conferences were held to bring all students under one banner.
  • The Hindu Students Federation (HSF) was started in 1936 with the ideology of RSS. This wing of student directly appeals to the sentiments of Hindu youth from its inception. It did not participate with the Freedom struggle.
  • The first All India Students Conference was held at Lucknow in 1936 in which 986 student delegates from 210 local and11 provincial organizations from Punjab, UP, CP, Bengal, Assam, Bihar and Orissa attended the Conference.
  • All India Muslim Students Federation (AIMSF) founded by the Muslim League in 1937 to address the grievances of Muslim students and wanted a support for separate state for Muslims from the Muslim student wing. This wing of student did not participate in the Independence movement and was concerned only with defending Muslims whenever they were attacked.
  • In 1937, “ The Students’ Tribune ”, a journal was started to popularise the national
  • Rise of the State Students’ Organisations:-
    • The Deccan States Students Conference was held at Khudachi (District Belgaum) in 1937, under the presidentship of Dr. G. S. Khair.
    • Some twenty resolutions were adopted. Mr. Prabodh, the editor of the students Tribune, inaugurated the All-Kashmir Students’ Federation and dissolved all other unions and leagues.
    • Later on, this Federation affiliated itself to the Punjab Students Federation. The Madras Students Federation started a journal, Student, to organise students of the South.
  • The youth of India was not confined to Indian boundaries but also supported freedom struggle from nation abroad eq. Bhikaji Kama, Lala Hardayal etc.
  • Quit India Movement (1942):-
    • In the first time in the history of India there was such a large majority of students involved in a struggle. The students successfully manage to shut down most of the colleges and involved most of leadership responsibilities and provided the link between the underground leaders and the movement.



General Studies – 2

TopicPart of static series under the heading – “Parliamentary privileges and issues involved in them”

2) Examine whether parliamentary privileges in a constitutional democracy like India is an antithesis to “equality before law”?(250 words)


Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what parliamentary privileges and equality before law mean, how it might appear that they are antithesis to each other. Examine why Parliamentary privilege are important. Discuss what happens if the privileges are codified.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

  • Explain what Parliamentary privileges and what forms do they take
  • Examine what equality before law entails – absence of privileges, no person above law and equal subjection of law to each and every person.
  • Mention in brief why they might appear contradictory
  • Highlight why Parliamentary privileges were conceived – efficiency, deal with unseen situation etc
  • Examine the issues that are being faced on account of parliamentary privileges

Conclusion – Summarize why the two are not at loggerheads.

Parliamentary privileges:-

  • Parliamentary privileges are defined in Article 105 of the Indian Constitution and those of State legislatures in Article 194.
  • The members of Parliment are exempted from any civil or criminal liability for any statement made or act done in the course of their duties. The privileges are claimed only when the person is a member of the house. As soon as he ends to be a member, the privileges are said to be called off.
  • The privileges given to the members are necessary for exercising constitutional functions. These privileges are essential so that the proceedings and functions can be made in a disciplined and undisturbed manner.
  • The Constitution confers certain privileges on legislative institutions with the idea of protecting freedom of speech and expression in the House and ensuring that undue influence, pressure or coercion is not brought on the legislature in the course of its functioning.

Privileges of Parliamentarians

  • Freedom of Speech:
    • According to the Indian Constitution, the members of Parliament enjoy freedom of speech and expression.
    • No member can be taken to task anywhere outside the four walls of the House (e.g. court of law) or cannot be discriminated against for expressing his/her views in the House and its Committees.
  • Freedom from Arrest:
    • It is understood that no member shall be arrested in a civil case 40 days before and after the adjournment of the House (Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha) and also when the House is in session. It also means that no member can be arrested within the precincts of the Parliament without the permission of the House to which he/she belongs. 
  • Exemption from attendance as witnesses:
    • The members of Parliament also enjoy freedom from attendance as witnesses.

Privileges of Parliament 

  • Right to publish debates and proceedings:
    • Though by convention, the Parliament does not prohibit the press to publish its proceedings, yet technically the House has every such right to forbid such publication.
    • Again, while a member has the privilege of freedom of speech in Parliament, he has no right to publish it outside Parliament. 
    • Anyone violating this rule can be held responsible for any libelous matter it may contain under the common law rules
  • Right to exclude strangers:
    • Each house of Parliament enjoys the right to exclude strangers (no-members or visitors) from the galleries at any time and to resolve to debate with closed doors.
  • Right to punish members and outsiders for breach of its privileges :
    • In India, the Parliament has been given punitive powers to punish those who are adjudged guilty of contempt of the House. Such contempt can be committed by the members of any House or any outsider. When a member of the House is involved for parliamentary misbehavior or commits contempt he can be expelled from the House.
  • Right to regulate the internal affairs of the House:
    • The House has the right to regulate its internal affairs. A member of the House is free to say whatever he likes subject only to the internal discipline of the House or the Committee concerned.

Equality before law :-

  • It entails absence of privileges, no person above law and equal subjection of law to each and every person.

How are parliamentary privileges antithesis to equality before law:-

  • Unfortunately, breach of privilege is invoked for the ostensible reason of protecting the image of the House on the whole or its individual members; too often, it is a thinly disguised mechanism to insulate elected representatives from criticism.
  •  Without a law codifying the legislative privileges, there is little merit in subjecting anyone, leave alone a journalist, to penal action for allegedly breaching a legislator’s privilege, unless there is a move or attempt to obstruct the functioning of either the House or its members.
  •  The problem also stems from the Constitution’s provisions on privileges and powers of the legislature.
    • These provisions are loosely worded .Article 194 (3) states that the powers, privileges and immunities of a House of the Legislature of a State until defined shall be those of that House and of its members and committees.
  •  It is sometimes used to counter media criticism of legislators and as a substitute for legal proceedings. All persons have a right to trial by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal.
  • Breach of privilege laws allow politicians to become judges in their own cause, raising concerns of conflict of interest and violating basic fair trial guarantees.
  •  There is also misuse of the privileges given to them because they do not have many restriction on the rights. They have the power to be the judge of their own proceedings, regulate their proceedings, what constitutes the breach and what punishment should be given for the breach, are solely decided by them.
  • The power vested in them is too wide as compared to the fundamental rights vested in the citizens. With no codification of the privileges, they have gained an undefined power because there is no expressed provision to state the limitations on their powers.

Way forward:-

  • Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah heading the Constitution Review Commission also recommended to define and delimit the privileges for the free and independent functioning of the legislature. This is based on the apprehension that codification will involve interference of the court as the matters would be presented in the court of law.
  • Supreme Court in Keshav Singh’s case observed that the privileges conferred on the members are subject to the fundamental rights.The Supreme Court has also held that any conflict arising between the privileges and the fundamental rights would be resolved by adopting harmonious construction.
  • If the privileges are not in accordance with the fundamental rights then the very essence of democracy for the protection of the rights of the citizen will be lost.
    • It is the duty of the parliament not to violate any other rights which are guaranteed by the constitution.
    • The members should also use their privileges wisely and not misuse them. They should always keep in mind that the powers do not make them corrupt.
    • The parliament cannot adopt every privilege that is present in the house of commons but should adopt only those privileges which accordingly suits our Indian democracy.

Topic– Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

3) That Leprosy is still a major public health problem draws into question the ethical priorities of our national and state health policies and their implementation. Critically analyze our fight against leprosy.(250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

The article highlights the shortcomings in our fight against leprosy, which we often assume is a challenge that has been dealt with. The article deals with a major health crisis that impacts the most vulnerable section of our society and hence is important.

Key demand of the question

The question makes a sad comment on status quo that its shameful that we have not been able to deal with the leprosy challenge. We need to mention what the status quo is which reflects the poor state of affairs, the steps taken so far in dealing with leprosy, how they have managed to improve the situation somewhat, the new challenges that have arisen, and our view on tackling the leprosy problem.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When critically is suffixed, you have to point out the pros and cons along with a fair and balanced opinion.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss the status quo with respect to leprosy challenge and highlight the observation mentioned in the article regarding the growing incident of leprosy cases amongst the socially marginalized.


  • Discuss the steps taken by the government such as the National Leprosy Eradication Programme, National Health Policy, multi drug therapy treatments etc
  • Discuss the results of such intervention. Highlight that incidents did go down.
  • Highlight that despite government’s focus, problems are many. Highlight the problems faced by leprosy patients, along with the deficiencies in government’s strategy.
  • Discuss what steps should be taken – special campaigns in disease prone areas and communities, counselling centres, increased focus etc

Conclusion – Mention a fair and balanced view on India’s strategy so far and emphasize that leprosy’s persistence reflects poorly on a country aspiring to become a world power.


  • Leprosy is one of the world’s oldest diseases with India accounting for over 60% of the annual new cases of leprosy.
  • Official data says that the number of new Leprosy cases detected during 2016-17 is around 140000 and the prevalence Rate per 10000 population as on March 2017 for India is 0.66, it is established that the number underestimates the real Leprosy burden.
  • In 2017, India along with Brazil and Indonesia are the only countries where more than 10000 new cases are reported per year.

National and state health policies:-

  • India is also known to have had several discriminatory laws against persons affected by Leprosy. One of the oldest laws (The Lepers Act of 1898), which sanctioned the arrest and segregation of persons affected by leprosy into ‘leper asylums’ was repealed only as late as in May 2016
    • Before the national level repealment, even though 12 states and five union territories of India had abandoned its application within their respective jurisdictions, it continued to be in force in the remaining states and union territories.
  • The National Health Policy 2017 (NHP) has elimination of Leprosy as a national level target.
  • Leprosy Case Detection Campaign (LCDC) is being implemented by the Union Health Ministry.
  • SPARSH Leprosy Awareness Campaign (SLAC) was launched in January 2017 to promote awareness and address the issues of stigma and discrimination.
  • National leprosy eradication programme:-
  • In India, the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) is the centrally sponsored health scheme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
  • While the NLEP strategies and plans are formulated centrally, the programme is implemented by states and union territories (UTs).
  • The programme is also supported by WHO, ILEP, and few other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
  • Performance:-
    • India has succeeded in bringing the national prevalence down to elimination as a public health problem of less than 1/10,000 in December 2005 and even further down to 0.66/10,000 in 2016.
    • In addition to achieving the national elimination target by the end of 2005, India by the end of March 2011–2012 succeeded in achieving elimination at the state level in 34 states/UTs out of the total of 36 states/UTs.
    • By the end of March 2016, 551 districts out of the total 669 in districts, in India had a prevalence of <1/10,000 population which is the target of elimination as a public health problem.
    • To address the challenges NLEP advocated a three-pronged approach of
      • Leprosy case detection campaign (LCDC) in highly endemic districts
      • Focused leprosy awareness campaign using ASHA and multipurpose health workers in Hot Spots where new cases with Grade 2 Disability (G2D) are detected
      • Area-specific plans for case detection in hard to reach areas.
      • By the end of year 2016 a total of 163 highly endemic districts, which reported a prevalence rate >1/10,000 population in any of the last 3 years across 20 states/UTs, were identified for conducting case detection campaigns by NLEP.
    • The special emphasis on women, children, and those with disabilities is expected to flush out more hidden cases. In addition to continuing to administer MDT to patients, new preventive approaches are being considered to break the chain of transmission and reach zero disease status.
    • NLEP has introduced the Mycobacterium Indicus Prani(MiP) vaccine in a project mode in India from the year 2016. MIP vaccine has been shown to have both immunotherapeutic and immune-prophylactic effects in multibacillary leprosy patients and their contacts in both hospital and population-based trials
    • Nikusth, a web-based reporting system for leprosy
      • For the ease of reporting and data management of registered leprosy cases, NLEP has launched Nikusth, a web-based reporting system in India
      • In addition, Nikushth will be helpful in keeping track of all the activities being implemented under the NLEP. NLEP is also planning to develop online training software for leprosy workers

Implementation issues :-

  • The fact remains that India continues to account for 60% of new cases reported globally each year and is among the 22 global priority countries that contribute 95% of world numbers of leprosy warranting a sustained effort to bring the numbers down.
  • NLEP annual reports of the last 4 years have consistently observed that the four states/UTs (Orissa, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Lakshadweep) which achieved elimination earlier in 2011–2012, have shown a prevalence of >1 per 10,000 population, which is a matter of concern for the programme.
  • In addition, although the average national child leprosy rate is approximately 9%, the proportion of child cases was more than 10% of new cases detected in eleven states/UTs of India, with 6 of them (Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Dadra & Nagar haveli, Bihar, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh) showing very high rates ranging from 14% to 23%.
  • Lack of efficient reporting:-
    • Major cause of hidden cases is low voluntary reporting in the community due to a lack of awareness as well as the continuing fear, stigma, and discrimination against leprosy. 
  • No focus on elimination:-
    • Leprosy eradication from community appears to have been equated with the reaching of the WHO-defined target of elimination as a public health problem (prevalence of <1 per 10,000 population), which India reached by the end of 2005.
    • In addition, the use of term “elimination” also leads to confusion among general public and to many even in the medical profession.
  • Misplacement of priorities :-
    • To assist public health initiatives for HIV/AIDS in 1990’s leprosy health workers were made multipurpose workers with additional responsibilities of HIV and tuberculosis control.
  • Lack of funding :-
    • Over the next decade, there was reallocation of resources and a gradual decline in funding for leprosy-related programmes.
  • Lack of monitoring:-
    • A study done in Odisha on the effects of integration of leprosy in to primary health care, highlighted the need for effective monitoring and evaluation of the integration process.
    • It concluded that inadequate monitoring could lead to a reduction in early diagnosis, a delay in initiation of MDT, and an increase in disability rates, which in turn could reverse some of the programme’s achievements.
  • Unfortunately, the WHO elimination target has no epidemiological or scientific basis or even significance to support the gradual decline or disappearance of the remaining cases of leprosy once it was achieved.
    • Doing away with skin smear services, rapid merging of leprosy services into the general medical health services, efforts towards further reducing the duration of therapy, and reduced attention to research and funding of leprosy programme in general, are some of the direct results of such false interpretation.
  • Not eliminated yet:-
    • India officially eliminated Leprosy in 2005 by bringing the Prevalence Rate below 1/10000 at the national level. However, the National Health Policy 2017 (NHP), which will guide the health policy direction of the country over the next decade or so, still has elimination of Leprosy as a national level target.
  • Adivasi population:-
    • The percentage of new Leprosy patients in India belonging to the Adivasi community is 18.8% much more than their proportion in the Indian population- and that proportion is fast increasing.
  • Lack of awareness, myths, socio-cultural beliefs, and the stigma attached to leprosy are the most pressing problems before public health activists today.
  • Discrimination:-
    • Persons affected by leprosy continue to face discrimination not only from the larger society but also the disability sector itself.
    • Leprosy causes a negative impact on children’s life, study and work.
    • Many States in India prohibit leprosy patients from running in local elections and deny them employment privileges and benefits.
    • Rampant stigma against the disease prevents patients from seeking medical treatment.
  • Fundamental rights violated:-
  • There are currently 119 provisions across various Acts passed by the Central and State governments that discriminate against people affected by leprosy (PAL).These 119 provisions not only violate the Rights of Person with Disabilities Act 2016, but also Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

Way forward:-

  • Basic investigations such as skin smear services need to be reintroduced in the leprosy programme of India, as this bacteriological test is often found as useful as advanced PCR techniques.
    • It may be learnt that re-introduction of bacteriological diagnosis indeed has changed the diagnostic landscape of tuberculosis, facilitating better case detection and control. 
  • There is need for wider awareness about the signs and symptoms of leprosy and reactions among general health care staff as well as in the community to promote self-reporting, as well as early diagnosis and proper management of the disease and its complications in an integrated setting
  • There is a need to expand the repertoire of drugs to treat Clinical and laboratory studies suggest the emergence of secondary drug resistance in treated/relapsed patients to dapsone, and rifampicin.
  • It is also important to recognize that leprosy can be associated with other comorbidities such as tuberculosis, HIV, and diabetes which could affect clinical manifestations and complications hence, therapeutic management strategies need to be tailored to such situations.
  • Overall lack of a comprehensive approach towards battling the disease, which requires collaboration between different ministries and sometimes between countries.
  • The Supreme Court asked the Centre, states and Union Territories to undertake a campaign to spread awareness about the curability of leprosy so that those suffering from it are not discriminated.
    • It recommended for repealing archaic provisions from 119 statutes that stigmatise leprosy patients.
    • No government hospital shall decline treatment to leprosy patients.
  • To reduce the burden, it is important to develop a multi-pronged approach that includes public education campaign, sustainable livelihood programmes, skill training workshops and generate employment, identify interventions to dispel stigma and mainstream the affected people.
  • Continued training of medical officers, nurses, physiotherapists, and paramedical workers about quality diagnosis and treatment of leprosy must also be given prime focus.
  • Public education on the fact that leprosy can be cured and is not to be feared is imperative.


  • As suggested in the WHO strategy document for year 2016–2020, it is only by including and assigning an active role to this vast pool of dermatologists in the leprosy programme, who are well equipped to manage leprosy, that India can truly aspire to eradicate leprosy.


TopicEffect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

4) Analyze how Trump’s foreign policy and systematic dismantling of established norms in foreign policy is impacting India?(250 words)

indian express

Why this question

India in recent years had banked on USA as a key ally in its foreign policy. However, the recent position of US on several issues have been having an impact on our bilateral relationship as well as other areas of our foreign policy. The article talks about this issue which is relevant while preparing IR section for Paper 2.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to draw a linkage of the ways in which USA’s foreign policy under Trump has an impact on India, analyze what the impact is, and how can India respond to such emerging challenges.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give example of the recent events such as trade wars, US opinion on EU, its flip flop on the Iran Nuclear deal etc which creates challenges for its allies including India.


  • Give a brief history of India US relations in the past few years. Emphasize on the fact that post Cold War, India has gone the path of liberalization, globalization etc, the consensus over which is being challenged by US.
  • Discuss the various challenges under heads like economy, bilateral relations, multilateral relations, trade relations etc. Also discuss the values  which are under threat. Under the head of economy, can discuss factors like the cost of rejecting Iranian oil under pressure of US sanctions. Under bilateral relations, we can discuss the impact USA’s policies are having on India US bilateral relations etc
  • Thereafter, discuss how is India responding to the emerging challenges – in certain areas like trade we are standing by our ethos of rules based trading order and in other cases such as Iran oil, we are toeing the line

Conclusion – Discuss what should the future policy be – we can mention consensus building on platforms like BRICS, IBSA etc



  • With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, world embarked on the post-Cold War interlude.
  • American primacy was unprecedented and uncontested. Russia declined as it struggled to overcome the legacy of over seven decades of Communist misrule. Europe consolidated and NATO expanded.
  • For a time, it seemed that American primacy was enough. The most important traditional security concern of the past the prevention of a major power war  dissipated.
  • S. policy seemed to be guiding important regional disputes, such as those in the Middle East and on the Korean Peninsula, toward settlement.
  • There has been significant progress on the international economic front with the launch of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization (WHO), only to confront the expiration of Fast Track authority, financial meltdown in many parts of the world, and the debacle of the 1999 WTO meeting in Seattle. Democracy spread as never before, yet in many places its roots remained shallow and vulnerable to disappointment and backlash.

Trump’s foreign policy is dismantling these norms:-

  • As US is running trade deficit with China, most of the US top companies outsource their work to low wage countries adversely impacting American employment opportunities (America first policy).His America first policy focusses on opposition to globalization with focus on protectionism, opposition to open borders, tariff wars
  • European Union:-
    • Continues to challenge almost all the traditional assumptions about America’s international relations. Consider, for example, his most recent remarks that the European Union might be America’s most important adversary. 
    • Trump put the European Union whose members are some of America’s oldest allies and friends  at the top of the list of America’s foes. 
    • He is sustaining the pressure on EU and China to change the terms of economic engagement with the United States.
  • Trade:-
    • Trump had issues with America’s leading economic partners in the G-7 summit on issues relating to trade. At the summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Trump accused Germany as well.
  • NATO allies:-
    • Trump warned the NATO allies that if they did not contribute more to the collective defence burden, America would go its own way.
    • He is threatening to dismantle NATO, the world’s most powerful military alliance.
  • Special relationship between America and Britain:-
    • For nearly a century, the Anglo-American partnership has been the strongest bilateral relationship in the world. But now its fading away.
  • Russia:-
    • Despite the huge resistance at home and in Europe, Trump seems determined to enhance the engagement with Putin’s Russia.
  • Trump’s opposition to globalisation, open borders and foreign military interventions is evident. Trump has emerged as the political instrument to channel these sentiments into direct confrontation with the old order.
    • The consensus on economic globalisation and a relative harmony among the major powers which defined the post Cold War era  is now breaking down.
  • Trump is doing precisely that in questioning the utility of the collective Western institutions built after the Second World War and demanding a re-arrangement of burdens and benefits between the US and its partners.
  • During his trip to Israel, he did not once mention the word Palestine, a veiled message that Washington is no longer interested in a two-state solution.

US-India relations:-

  • After the cold war India has carried out Substantial economic reforms & has become an important member of the Washington Consensus bodies like the IMF , WB & WTO . Also India has reoriented its Strategic relations towards the west and has become part of the Global Rule based Liberal order

Impact on Trump’s approach to India:-

  • Economic:-
    • As a late convert to economic globalisation, India will have much to lose, if the current trading order breaks down.
    • India could also face a confrontation with the U.S. if Trump seeks to reduce temporary work visas. Trump criticized the U.S. H-1B non-immigrant specialty worker visa program as that decimates American jobs.
    • In 2015, India had a positive goods trade balance of $23 billion with the United States. That number will diminish if the U.S. erects trade walls.
    • Just as India is set to benefit from greater integration with the global economy, Trump’s actions could depress already sluggish global trade and growth.
  • Geopolitical:-
    • Indian worries centred on the US president’s erratic Twitter-diplomacy, his attempts to reduce the US’s global footprint, his business-oriented engagement of China, his inability to re-engage Russia and his general disinterest in India.
  • US pulled out of Iran nuclear deal:-
    • Even though India was not party to the deal, India supported it. India had watched the growing tensions between Iran and the United States before the deal was reached with some trepidation because a war could have had multiple negative consequences for India, including threats to the very large Indian expatriate population, disruption of oil supplies, and being forced to pick sides between Iran and the United States, to name just a few. 
    • Oil prices: 
      • The impact on world oil prices will be the immediately visible impact of the U.S. decision. Iran is presently India’s third biggest supplier (after Iraq and Saudi Arabia), and any increase in prices will hit both inflation levels as well as the Indian rupee, which breached Rs.67 to the U.S. dollar this week.
    • Non-oil trade with Iran, which stood at about $2.69 billion of the total trade figures of $12.89 billion in 2016-17 may not be impacted as much,as New Delhi and Tehran have instituted several measures in the past few months, including allowing Indian investment in rupees, and initiating new banking channels, between them.
    • Chabahar:
      • India’s moves over the last few years to develop berths at the Shahid Beheshti port in Chabahar was a key part of its plans to circumvent Pakistan’s blocks on trade with Afghanistan, and the new U.S. sanctions could slow or even bring those plans to a halt depending on how strictly they are implemented.
    • sanctions could affect this timeline and delay the handing over of the project further.
    • A broader concern is about the general stability of the region
      • If the increasing tension in the region should ignite into a full-scale war, India faces a number of challenges. Millions of Indian expatriates live in the Arab states of the Gulf, and they would be in the direct line of fire. 
      • Politically, it will become very difficult for India to continue playing the balancing game between Iran on one side and Israel, the Arab states and the United States on the other.
    • Finally, India will also have to balance its other interests with the developments in the Gulfas this  could impact India in a range of areas, including overseas projects, exports, payments for oil, and even international relations.
    • New U.S. sanctions will affect INSTC plans immediately, especially if any of the countries along the route or banking and insurance companies dealing with the INSTC plan also decide to adhere to U.S. restrictions on trade with Iran.
  • Rules-based order: 
    • India has long been a proponent of a rules-based order that depends on multilateral consensus and an adherence to commitments made by countries on the international stage.
    • By walking out of the JCPOA the U.S. government has overturned the precept that such international agreements are made by States not just with prevailing governments or regimes. This could also impact all agreements India is negotiating both bilaterally and multilaterally with the U.S.
  • Tariff wars:-
    • Tariff war which started between US-China and slowly India has also been dragged into it would affect Indian economy adversely.  India is the latest to join the the risk of tit-for-tat battle by slapping tariffs as high as 50% on a list of 30 goods imported from the U.S.
    • Protectionist measures are likely to move the globe further away from an open, fair and rules-based trade system, with adverse effects for both the U.S. economy and for trading partners.
    • IMF said the tariffs imposed or proposed by the Trump administration also risk catalyzing a cycle of retaliatory responses from others, creating important uncertainties that are likely to discourage investment at home and abroad.
    • Threatens WTO
    • AsAmerica is looking to pursue a mercantilist trade policy in defiance of the global trading system, other countries are bound to follow. That might not lead to an immediate collapse of the WTO, but it would gradually erode one of the foundations of the globalised economy.
    • In the long term, a full-fledged trade war is not good for India. It invariably leads to a higher inflationary and low growth scenario.
    • Increase in interest rates in the US has implications for emerging economies such as India, both for the equity and debt markets.
      • Higher interest rates do make the option of investors borrowing cheap money in the US and investing in Indian equities significantly less attractive.
    • India cannot grow on a sustained basis until it exports and free trade is in existence. With the trade war free trade might affect global economy and in turn India’s as well.
  • US has left the Paris agreement which addresses problems of Climate change faced by developing countires like India & has ot agreed to concepts like historical responsibilities & Compensations.


  • Quad:
    • Both Quad and Look East Policy of India serves as a counter measure to the String of Pearls theory mooted by China.
    • The Objective of “Act East Policy” and “Quad” policy are on similar lines. To promote economic co-operation in Indo Pacific
    • Increase in stature of India as an Economic Power, Global standard over South east Regional political power play.
    • An alliance of 4 Quad countries will mean a greater influx of trade and commerce for India which can be used to fund projects in “Act East” policy.
    • India became important for US polcy in the Indo pacific region.
  • Defence partnership with signing of agreements like LEMOA and India close to signing COMCASA.
    • COMCASA creates the conditions for the Indian military to receive modern secure and net-enabled weapons systems such as precision armament, air-to-air missiles, space systems and navigation systems that are critical components in platforms like fighter aircraft and unmanned aerial systems. Hitherto India has had to purchase more expensive commercial communications equipment, raising the overall acquisition price of a platform,

How is India tackling these challenges:-

  • India needs to focus on strengthening the organisations it is part of like BRICS,IBSA,SCO and maintain good relations with both China, EU and Russia.
  • In certain areas like trade India needs to stand by its ethos of rules based trading order
  • India needs to maintain its strategic autonomy and its multi-alignment with the nations important for it and not yield to unreasonable US demands. At the same time India needs to maintain a balance than conflict.
  • Delhi needs a flexible negotiating strategy founded in a more ambitious internal reform agenda.

Topic– Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

5) Our road safety laws are inadequate to deal with the problem of potholes. Discuss and suggest way forward.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Now with the monsoon session set to begin soon, the pending legislations become important news items. The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill is one such legislation. The amendment related to pothole is quite important, particularly at this time of the year when monsoon aggravates the problem.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain why existing laws are insufficient to tackle with the problem of potholes. We also need to point out that merely changing law would not be sufficient and would require alacrity and transparency on the part of the municipal authorities. We need to end with way forward.

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 – Explain why the problem of potholes is important – discuss statistics related to accidents in India in general and potholes in particular.


  • Discuss the problem in greater detail
  • Highlight the gaps in the legal architecture. Mention other reasons why potholes abound. Mention about the standards of Indian road Congress related to standardization of road construction and how they are not being implemented.
  • Discuss about the proposed amendments and how they can help address the issue
  • Discuss the focus required on transparency, accountability etc to deal with the challenge

Conclusion – Discuss what should be the way forward as per you.


  • In 2016, potholes claimed six lives every day in India. According to official statistics, potholes claimed 11,836 lives and left 36,421 persons injured in India from 2013 to 2016.
  • Recently Supreme Court also expressed concern over road deaths due to potholes, saying that such fatalities were more than the number of people killed in terror attacks in the country. The situation assumes significance as India is a signatory to the United Nations convention on reducing road fatality by 50 per cent. 

Why are potholes present on Indian roads:-

  • The main reason for the potholes is that the roads are dug up by the utilities.
  • After trenching, the road should be reinstated properly, else the road is damaged. Also, for a while the right variety of sand was not available.
  • Recent survey by the SPA found that overloaded trucks entering Delhi caused maximum damage to footpaths and weakened the city roads.And civic and transport agencies do not have a process in place to check overloaded trucks.
  • Transport and traffic experts blamed it on faulty road designs and poor maintenance of roads.
  • Road engineers said the ill-conceived drainage system in cities were also responsible for potholes. 
  • The situation worsens in Monsoon when the existing drainage system fails due to excess water flow and thus water stagnates on the roads resulting into potholes


Road safety laws in India:-

  • The existing legislation for road safety, the Motor Vehicles Act, has no provisions to ensure accountability of road authorities for defects in the engineering, design and maintenance of roads.
  • The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017 has attempted to address the issue of liability for road defects. For any road crash injury or death caused by defective road design and engineering, the designated authority responsible to construct and maintain the road is to be penalised with a sum. The Bill directs that safety standards be prescribed by the Central government. 
    • The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017 aims to rectify several systemic issues by providing a uniform driver licensing system, protecting children and vulnerable road users, rationalising penalties and creating a system of accountability in the construction of roads. 

Road safety laws are inadequate to deal with the problem of potholes:-

  • Negligence on the part of road owners or maintenance authorities is rarely brought to book.
  • Indian Road Congress has prescribed over 100 sets of guidelines to ensure standardised road construction, maintenance and management, including guidelines for repairing potholes. The challenge lies in ensuring that these guidelines are implemented.
    • The absence of a unified statute or law on road construction, engineering and maintenance makes it nearly impossible to ensure that these guidelines are implemented.
  • Constraints with the new bill:-
    • Even in the new bill road contractors and engineers will still not be held criminally liable for causing deaths and injuries.
  • Unprecedented motorisation in the absence of scientific and well defined road safety policies and programmes is contributing to the increase in road deaths and injuries
  • Despite the high death toll and resulting loss of productivity, road accidents hardly figure on the country’s public health agenda. Road safety is dealt with by police and enforcement agencies, largely in an inefficient and unscientific manner.
  • Poorly designed and maintained roads are often blamed for India’s accident rate, along with subpar driving skills and deficient vehicle maintenance.

Way forward:-

  • Better quality material use:-
    • Several studies conducted in cities such as Chandigarh and Mumbai point to the lack of a proper drainage system and weak proportioning of aggregates for road construction as major reasons for pothole formation. Therefore, it becomes necessary to ensure the use of standardised methodology and good quality material when constructing roads.
  • There also needs to be regular maintenance and an effective system to ensure accountability.
  • Better design:-
    • There is a need to incorporate the Safe System Approach in all aspects of road design, engineering and construction. This approach takes into account the possibility of human error and ensures that the surrounding environment and infrastructure are designed to save lives.
  • Policy level:-
    • At a policy level, the first step is to create an enabling framework that weaves in different progressive aspects across stakeholder sectors under one legislation.
  • The latest National Transportation Development Committee report includes special chapters on safety and human resource development.
    • These suggest that unless new institutions are set up, institutional mechanisms for encouraging development of technical expertise, new research departments in national institutions and a National Transport Safety Board, safety on roads will remain a distant dream.
  • WHO:-
    • For effective road safety management, it is imperative to have an institutionalised and sustainable data system
    • This includes information pertaining to drivers, such as types of licenses held and a record of violation of traffic laws


  • As a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety, India has committed to reducing(by 2020), the number of road crash fatalities and serious injuries by 50%. This will be impossible to achieve if the sole statute governing road safety in India, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, is not overhauled. The new Bill is not a panacea for all problems, but it is the first step towards ensuring that no deaths are caused by road crashes.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

6) Discuss the structure, functioning, and the role played by the World Customs Organization in international trade. (250 words)



Why this question

India recently became the vice-chair of Asia Pacific region for the sake of WCO. WCO is an important inter-governmental organization involved in promotion of international trade. It is important to know its structure, functioning as well as its role.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to simply write in detail about the structure of WCO, how it functions and what roel does it play in international trade.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write at length about the key demand of the question so as to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – mention that WCO is an intergovernmental organization comprising of 182 customs administrations. Mention that India joined WCO in 1971 and recently assumed the vice chair of Asia Pacific Region for World Customs Organisation (WCO).


  • Discuss the structure of the organization and its functioning. E.g Secretary General; E.g It is headed by a Secretary General, who is elected by the WCO membership to a five-year term; annual council meetings; Mention various committees which assist WCO ints work such as the Harmonized System Committee, the Permanent Technical Committee, Policy Commission; Finance Committee etc.
  • Discuss briefly the objectives of WCO.e.g  to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of member customs administrations and assisting them in revenue collection, national security, trade facilitation, community protection, and collection of trade statistics.
  • Discuss in points the role played by WCO in the arena of international trade. E.g  it is the global centre of customs expertise and plays a leading role in the discussion, development, promotion and implementation of modern customs systems and procedures. It is responsive to the needs of its members and its strategic environment, and its instruments and best-practice approaches are recognized as the basis for sound customs administration throughout the world; mention its few instruments.

Conclusion- Sum up your discussion in a few lines.

World customs organization:-

  • The World Customs Organization (WCO), established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations and assisting them in revenue collection, national security, trade facilitation, community protection, and collection of trade statistics.
  • Recently India has assumed the Vice Chair of the Asia Pacific Region for the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and will be heading the Region for a period of 2 years from 2018 to2020.


  • It is headed by a Secretary General, who is elected by the WCO membership to a five-year term
  • It is governed by a Council representing all Members, which meets once a year.
  • The Council is supported by a Policy Commission, a Finance Committee , Harmonized System Committee, the Permanent Technical Committee and Audit Committee.
  • The Secretariat comprises over 100 international officials, technical experts and support staff of some nationalities.
  • Throughout the year, the WCO’s many committees and working groups meet to develop global standards, exchange best practices, and seek solutions to Customs-related problems. Global and regional forums covering various topical issues are also held when necessary.


  • The WCO offers its Members a range of Conventions and other international instruments, as well as technical assistance and training services provided either directly by the Secretariat, or with its participation. The Secretariat also actively supports its Members in their endeavours to modernize and build capacity within their national Customs administrations.
  • The functions of the Council, as stipulated in Article III of the Convention establishing a Customs Cooperation Council, are to:-
    • (a) Study all questions relating to cooperation in customs matters, which the Contracting Parties agree to promote in conformity with the general purposes of the present Convention.
    • (b) Examine the technical aspects, as well as the economic factors related thereto, of customs systems with a view to proposing to its members practical means of attaining the highest possible degree of harmony and uniformity.
    • (c) Prepare draft Conventions and amendments to Conventions and recommend their adoption by interested governments.
    • (d) Make recommendations to ensure the uniform interpretation and application of the Conventions concluded as a result of its work and, to this end, to perform such functions as may be expressly assigned to it in those Conventions in accordance with the provisions thereof.
    • (e) Make recommendations, in a conciliatory capacity, for the settlement of disputes concerning the interpretation or application of those Conventions.
    • (f) Ensure the circulation of information regarding Customs regulations and procedures.
    • (g) On its own initiative or on request, to furnish to interested governments information or advice on customs matters and make recommendations thereon.
    • (h) Cooperate with other intergovernmental organizations as regards matters within its competence

Role in international trade:-

  • Today, the WCO represents 182 Customs administrationsacross the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade.
  • Besides the vital role played by the WCO in stimulating the growth of legitimate international trade, its efforts to combat fraudulent activities are also recognized internationally.
  • The partnership approach championed by the WCO is one of the keys to building bridges between Customs administrations and their partners. By promoting the emergence of an honest, transparent and predictable Customs environment, the WCO directly contributes to the economic and social well-being of its Members.
  • Finally, in an international environment characterized by instability and the ever-present threat of terrorist activity, the WCO’s mission to enhance the protection of society and the national territory, and to secure and facilitate international trade, takes on its full meaning.
  • Strategic Goal 1 – Promote the security and facilitation of international trade, including simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures = Economic Competitiveness Package
    • The WCO is working with its Members to ensure growth by securing and promoting economic competitiveness. The WCO provides a forum for the development of instruments and tools to simplify and harmonize Customs procedures.
  • Strategic Goal 2 – Promote fair, efficient, and effective Revenue collection = Revenue Package
  • Strategic Goal 3 – Protect society, public health and safety = Compliance and Enforcement Package
    • The WCO will continue to develop and maintain standards and guidelines with respect to the goal of protecting society. The exchange of Customs enforcement information and Intelligence is crucial to the WCO’s Enforcement Strategy. To this end, the WCO will coordinate and implement Customs law enforcement initiatives and operational activities with assistance from key stakeholders.
  • Strategic Goal 4 – Strengthen Capacity Building = Organizational Development Package
    • The WCO, as the global centre of Customs excellence, plays a central role in development, promotion and support for the implementation of modern Customs standards, procedures and systems and has positioned itself as a global leader in Capacity Building delivery.
  • Strategic Goal 5 – Promote information exchange between all stakeholders
    • The WCO provides a forum for international cooperation to promote greater connectivity and more harmonious interaction, including the exchange of information and experience and the identification of best practices, between Member administrations, other government agencies, international organizations, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Strategic Goal 6 – Raise the performance and profile of Customs
    • The WCO and the international Customs community promote their strategic priorities, roles and contributions through cooperation, communication and partnership with governments, other international and regional organizations, donors and the private sector.
  • Strategic Goal 7 – Conduct Research and Analysis
    • The WCO conducts research and analysis on a wide range of Customs and international trade topics using various methods in order to promote a professional, knowledge-based service culture, and to benefit the WCO membership and external stakeholders.


General Studies – 4

TopicContributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

7) Discuss the contribution of David Hume to the philosophy of religion.(250 words)



Why this question

David Hume occupies a unique position in intellectual thought and is regarded as one of the most. He challenged the traditional philosophy of religion and made many other contributions to philosophy.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the philosophy and thoughts of David Hume on  religion.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive .Here we have to write in detail about the key demand of the question delving deep into the philosophy of David Hume.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Write a few introductory  lines about Hume. you can also write the introductory quote for Hume, mentioned in the article attached to the question.


Discuss the contribution of Hume to the philosophy of religion. E.g Hume’s opposition to the teleological argument for God’s existence, the argument from design, is generally regarded as the most intellectually significant attempt to rebut the argument prior to Darwinism; it is unreasonable to believe testimonies of alleged miraculous events, and he hints, accordingly, that we should reject religions that are founded on miracle testimonies; he offered one of the first  purely secular moral theories, which grounded morality in the pleasing and useful consequences that result from our actions. He introduced the term “utility” into our moral vocabulary, and his theory is the immediate forerunner to the classic utilitarian views of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. He is famous for the position that we cannot derive ought from is, the view that statements of moral obligation cannot simply be deduced from statements of fact etc.

Conclusion– Form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the contribution of Hume to the philosophy of religion and mention a few other important works of David Hume.


David hume was a Scottish writer and philosopher who paved the way for the future of the skeptical school of thought. A dogmatic skeptic, he devoted a substantial portion of his work to investigating the limits of human reasoning.

Hume wrote forcefully and incisively on almost every central question in the philosophy of religion. His various writings concerning problems of religion are among the most important and influential contributions on this topic

Hume advances a systematic, sceptical critique of the philosophical foundations of various theological systems. Whatever interpretation one takes of Hume’s philosophy as a whole, it is certainly true that one of his most basic philosophical objectives is to discredit the doctrines and dogmas of traditional theistic belief. 

Hume said that, regardless of how strong the testimony of miracle it can never come close to the overwhelming experience of unvaried laws of nature. Thus, according to Hume, wise person must reject the evidence concerning the alleged miracle.

The argument from design, is generally regarded as the most intellectually significant attempt to rebut the argument prior to Darwinism.

He offered one of the first  purely secular moral theories, which grounded morality in the pleasing and useful consequences that result from our actions. He introduced the term “utility” into our moral vocabulary, and his theory is the immediate forerunner to the classic utilitarian views of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.

He also applied his skeptical approach to science and religion saying that even though neither was capable of fully explaining anything science was stronger because it could admit that it would never be absolutely correct.

Natural and Revealed religion:

During period of enlightenment, there were two pillars of traditional Christian belief i.e. Natural and Revealed. Former involves knowledge of god based upon logic and reason and latter involves knowledge of god based upon revelation through religious texts like Bible, Hume had argued for Natural Religion.

Psychology of Religious belief:

Another attack on revealed religion appears in Hume’s essay “The Natural History of Religion”. His thesis is that, natural instincts such as fear is the true cause of religious belief and not the rational argument.

He is famous for the position that we cannot derive ought from is, the view that statements of moral obligation cannot simply be deduced from statements of fact etc.

Hume is one of the first philosophers to systematically explore religion as a natural phenomenon, suggesting how religious belief can arise from natural, rather that supernatural means.

He leveled moral, skeptical, and pragmatic objections against both popular religion and the religion of the philosophers.