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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 2 September 2020

NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.

General Studies – 1


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

1. To what extent, British policies alone were responsible for ruining of traditional handicrafts industries? Explain and give reasons in support of your answer. (250 words)

Reference: Modern Indian History by Bipin Chandra

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way and to what extent British policies alone were responsible for ruining of traditional handicrafts industries.


Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:


Briefly narrate the timeline of ruin of traditional handicrafts industry in India during the British period.


The Indian handicrafts that had made the country famous, collapsed under the colonial rule. This was mainly due to the competition posed by the machine made goods that were imported from Britain. The ability of mass production of goods helped Britain to flood the Indian markets with cheap products especially cotton textiles.

The railways facilitated the reach of these goods to remotest parts in India and the procurement of raw materials from these parts. The traditional handicrafts industry faced a tough competition from these goods produced in bulk.

The policy of free trade followed by the East India Company helped them to dictate terms of trade. They compelled the Indian craftsmen to sell their goods below market price and they hired their services at below the prevailing wages etc.


This destroyed the self-sufficient village economy as the destruction of the traditional industries led to overcrowding in the agrarian sector. De-industrialization had far reach­ing effects in different sectors of the economy.

The systemic ruin of Indian handicraft industries at the expense of Industrially revolutionising Britain in which political force was misused to cause economic misery via discriminatory taxation, forceful coercion of artisans and market capturing via mercantalistic policies caused the demise of traditional Handicraft industries.

Paul Bairoch, the economic historian estimated that India’s share of manufacturing output in the world was as high as 19.7% in 1800. In a span of 60 years, it plummeted to 8.6% (in 1860) and to 1.4* in 1913.

British policies responsible for ruining of traditional handicrafts industries:

  • Impact of Industrial Revolution: Machine made textile goods of Britain, did the great damage to this Indian industry since 1750. Consequent upon industrial revolution in textile industry there had been massive growth of British imports in India and the domination of British cloth in the Indian market did the havoc; it created large scale unemployment as well as unbelievable drop in wages among the spinners and weavers. Cotton industry, jute handloom weaving of Bengal, wollen manufactures of Kashmir, silk manufacture of Bengal, hand-paper industry, glass industry, lac, bangles, etc.
  • Raw Material Shortage: The process of de-industri­alisation of India began with the gradual disappearance of raw material for Indian artisans which was taken away to feed English machines and consequently moving manufactured products from the list of India’s exports and the remarkable growth of manufactures in the list of her imports mainly from Britain. That is why it is said that Britain “inundated the very mother country of cotton with cottons”, thereby eclipsing India’s traditional handicraft industries.

For example the British exported raw materials, like cotton, indigo for the textile industries in Lancashire. As a result, the prices of the raw materials soared high and cost of the handicrafts increased.

  • Discriminatory Taxation: C. Dutt held that the tariff policy pursued by the British Government as the leading cause or ‘the first among equals’ towards the decay of handicrafts. This tariff policy came to be known as ‘one­-way free trade’ policy which preached that what was good for England was considered to be good for India. To put her manufacturing industries on a sound footing at home, England pursued the policy of protection through the imposition of import duties. But for India, she preached the gospel of free trade.

Eg: British manufacturers were levied an 85% tax for importing Indian hand woven calico (chintz) and 44% for importing Indian muslin under the British Raj. On the other hand, British textiles were only imposed with a 5% import tax in India.

  • Loss of Native states: The main source or rather the entire source of demand for the products of these handicrafts came from the royal courts, and the urban aristocrats. With the abolition of the royal court, one source of demand for the products of these crafts dried up. The new ‘aristocracy’ preferred imported goods.
  • Competition from machine-made goods: In terms of quality, though machine-made goods could not compete in quality with the products of the urban weaver, in the matter of lower price and deep respect for goods bearing foreign trademark (i.e., change in tastes) he was hopelessly beaten by machine-made goods.
  • Price fixing and buyer monopolies: They bound local weaver into contracts and that made them sell exclusively to British. The prices were low and exploitative and artisans could recover only 80% cost of production. It pushed the artisans toward indebtedness and eventual poverty.
  • Coercing the artisans: The services and the labour of the craftsmen were hired at very low wages. It was impossible for the craftsmen to adopt their traditional profession. So they were force to abandon those crafts. The worst affected were the weavers of Bengal and textile industry of Bengal was virtually closed. It was said that the thumbs of the weavers were cut off. Actually it meant that thousands of weavers were made jobless due to closure of weaving industry.
  • Acceleration of ruin by railways: Introduction of railways opened a new era for the transport system in India. But the railways served the political and economic interest of the British to a larger extent. Through railways the machine products of Britain found it much easier to enter into the rural India.
  • No efforts to re-industrialise India: There was no attempt for growth of modern industry to take the place of the cottage Industries. As a result, the handicraftsman and artisans had no scope to find suitable employment according to their skill. Rather, they were compelled to switch over to agriculture for employment.

The above mentioned factors point to the nature of British rule and their mercantilistic policies which caused the ruining of industries in India. However there are others factors as well that led to their decline such as:

  • Some people argue that the weaknesses in the industrial structure’ itself must also be blamed for this decline of handicraft industries.
  • First, no efforts were made to explore markets for products. India’s foreign trade was in the hands of foreigners. This meant that the Indian artisans and producers were at the mercy of foreign merchants so far as sales or demand propagation in overseas markets were concerned.
  • Secondly, guild organisation in India was definitely very weak. Finally, she did not possess a class of industrial entrepreneurs.

Though there are some internal factors the led to de-industrialisation of India, but the Indian economy had been systematically slaughtered by the British Government and in the process, traditional handicraft industries slipped away to their demise and the process of de-industrialisation proved to be a process of pure immiseriation for the several million persons.

The only bright side to it was that the ruin coupled with other miseries heaped upon India led to the emergency of economic nationalism India and economic critique become a potent weapon in the arsenal of the nationalists.


General Studies – 2


Topic : Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

2. Write a brief note on the role of SHGs in rural development in India. (250 words)


Why the question:

The question is straightforward and aims to ascertain the role of SHGs in rural development in India.

Key Demand of the question:

Bring out in detail the role of SHGs in rural development in India.

Structure of the answer:


Briefly define SHGs and explain their functioning.


Self Help Groups (SHGs) are self-governed, peer controlled information groups of people with similar socio-economic background and desire to collectively perform common purpose. They play a critical role in the process of rural development by organizing poor and marginalized sections of the society in a collective to build their functional capacity by promoting small savings and ensure sustainable livelihood.

Discuss the role played by SHGs in rural development in India. Explain them with suitable case studies.


Conclude by suggesting some measures to improve their functioning.


Self-help groups are informal groups of people who come together to address their common problems. While self-help might imply a focus on the individual, one important characteristic of self-help groups is the idea of mutual support – people helping each other. Self-help groups can serve many different purposes depending on the situation and the need. For example, within the development sector, self-help groups have been used as an effective strategy for poverty alleviation, human development and social empowerment, and are therefore often focused on microcredit programmes and income-generating activities


SHG Movement in India:

  • The concept evolved over decades and was pioneered by Nobel laureate Mohammad Yunus as Self Help Groups (SHGs) in 1970s.
  • SHG movement in India gained momentum after 1992, when NABARD realised its potential and started promoting it.
  • NABARD’s SHG-Bank Linkage Program (SBLP) connected group members to formal financial services.
  • Over the last two decades, the SBLP has proven to be a great medium for social and economic empowerment for rural women.
  • India has witnessed state-led promotion of SHGs through a three-tiered architecture of community institutions at group, village and cluster levels
  • In 1999, Government of India, introduced Swarn Jayanti Gram Swarojgaar Yojana (SGSY) to promote self-employment in rural areas through formation and skilling of SHGs.
  • The programme evolved as a national movement in 2011 and became National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM).
  • The programme was renamed in November 2015 as Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana (DAY –NRLM).
  • DAY –NRLM now covers 100 million families through 8.5 million SHGs with savings deposit of approx. INR 161 billion.
  • State government initiatives such Kudumbasree in Kerala and Jeevika in Bihar.
  • Women’s SHGs are being supported by Government of India’s National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) which is co-financed by the World Bank. NRLM has scaled up the SHG model across 28 States and 6 Union Territories of the country, reaching more than 67 million women. The women have saved $1.4 billion and leveraged a further $37 billion from commercial banks.

Role of SHGs in Rural Development in India:

  • SHGs have played an important role in enabling financial inclusion in rural areas.
  • It has financially empowered rural women within the family and in local community.
  • SHGs have the required social and financial capital to expedite India’s economic growth.
  • The Social capital of SHGs could be an asset for solving various social issues in India e.g. gender based discrimination, dowry system, casteism etc.
  • There are many successful cases where SHG women have come together to close liquor shops in their village.
  • They also act as a delivery mechanism for various services like entrepreneurial training, livelihood promotion activity and community development programs.
  • Study shows that women in SHGs are more likely to save on a regular basis, have formal loans and scored more on average on the empowerment index.
  • They can act as an intermediary to provide financial services in their community

SHG’s and rural development during Covid-19 pandemic:

  • Face masks: the first shield against current COVID 19 was in short supply. As per report of ministry of rural development, more than 132 lakh masks have been produced by 14,522 SHGs involving 65,936 members in 399 districts, spread across 24 states of India, in just a period of 15 days from March 15 to March 30, 2020.
  • Community kitchens: With huge numbers of informal workers losing their livelihoods during the lockdown and food supply chains getting disrupted in some areas, SHGs have set up over 10,000 community kitchens across the country to feed stranded workers, the poor, and the vulnerable. Kudumbashree alone has set up 1300 kitchens in Kerala.
  • Reaching to the grassroots: In Jharkhand, where poverty is high, SHGs – being the closest to the ground – are helping district administrations identify pockets of hunger and starvation so efforts can be made to ameliorate them.
  • SHGs are helping curb rumours and misinformation: The women are systematically using their vast network of WhatsApp groups to ward off chaos and confusion and avoid rumor mongering.
  • Creating Awareness: In Bihar, one of India’s poorest states, Jeevika – the state’s SHG platform – is spreading the word about handwashing, quarantine and self-isolation through leaflets, songs, videos and phone messages
  • Reaching the needy: Women are also running help desks, and delivering essential food supplies to the elderly and the quarantined. In Jharkhand, where large numbers of people migrate to other states to work, they are running a dedicated helpline for returning migrants and other vulnerable families.
  • Delivering Services: Since access to finance is critical for people to sustain themselves during the lockdown, SHGs women who also work as banking correspondents have emerged as a vital resource. Deemed as an essential service, these bank sakhis have continued to provide doorstep banking services to far-flung communities, in addition to distributing pensions and enabling the most needy to access credits into their accounts through direct benefit transfers (DBT).

Way forward and conclusion:

Government programs can be implemented through SHGs. This will not only improve the transparency and efficiency but also bring our society closer to Self-Governance as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi. Constant and enduring structural handholding support from the self-help group promoting institutions (SHPIs).

Employment in the large unorganised sector can be improved if banks channelize funds through the self-help groups (SHGs). Linking the SHG members to other social security schemes like Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Atal Pension Yojana.

Emphasising SHG movement as an engine of growth in rural India is very vital. It has already been show in during the pandemic the potential SHG’s have. They have been warriors, support system and provided selfless service in the face of adversity. Across the country, women’s SHGs have risen to this extraordinary challenge with immense courage and dedication. Their quick response to food insecurity and shortages in goods and services shows how this decentralized structure can be a vital resource in a time of crisis.  The strength of India’s rural women will continue to be essential in building back economic momentum after the most critical period is over.


Topic : Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3. Discuss the roles and functions of national recruitment agency also explain in what way it is a major boon to youth in the country. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The article talks in detail about the recently established NRA and its roles and responsibilities.

Key Demand of the question:

One must elucidate upon the roles and responsibilities of national recruitment agency and explain in what way it is a major boon to youth in the country.


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:


Start by explaining what NRA is.


NRA or the National Recruitment Agency is an independent body which shall be responsible for conducting a Common Eligibility Test (CET) for all non-gazette Government posts, including Group B and Group C (non-technical) jobs.

Explain why NRA is needed in the country. Discuss its pros and cons.

Explain in detail its impact on the youth of the country.


Conclude with its importance and way forward.


The National Recruitment Agency or NRA is an independent body that will conduct examinations for government jobs. The agency will conduct a Common Eligibility Test for various government jobs. The Centre plans to use the CET score for all recruitments in the future. But, to begin with, this will be implemented only in three sectors.


Roles and Functions of NRA:

  • The National Recruitment Agency will conduct the Tier-1 online. Examination centres will be set up in B, with the Centre committing to invest in the necessary infrastructure for 117 aspirational districts.
  • The examinations will be conducted in 12 languages. The examination will be conducted based on a common curriculum. There will be a common registration, single fee and the candidate need not travel outside the district to appear for the examination.
  • A standardised question bank with multiple questions of similar difficulty levels will be created in a central server. An algorithm will be used to jumble and dole out different questions, so that each candidate receives a different question paper, reducing the chances of cheating and paper leakage.
  • Scores will be generated quickly, delivered online and be valid for a three-year period. Students can write the test multiple times as long as they are within the eligible age limit, with their best score being taken into account.
  • Ultimately, the aim is to allow examination by appointment at the convenience of candidates. For now, however, the examination will be held once a year.
  • The NRA will conduct a separate CET each for the three levels of graduate, higher secondary (12th pass) and the matriculate (10 th pass) candidates for those non-technical posts to which recruitment is currently carried out by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) and by the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS)
  • NRA has been envisioned as ‘a specialist body bringing the state of the art technology and best practices to the field of central government recruitment.
  • Government has sanctioned a sum of Rs 1517.57 crore for the NRA. The expenditure will be undertaken over a period of three years. The cost will also be incurred for setting up exam infrastructure in 117 districts with large numbers of aspirants. The proposal is expected to ease the access to aspirants residing in rural areas.

NRA as a major boon to youth in the country:

  • Aspirants do not have to apply and appear separately for multiple recruitment exams. They will be able to apply once for a single or multiple recruitment exams in various departments and take the Common Eligibility Test (CET). CET will be a preliminary level test. Its score will be valid for 3 years. After the CET is conducted, NRA will send the scores of eligible candidates to the respective agencies to continue the recruitment process. So, those who clear the CET will have to appear for the mains or second level of the recruitment.
  • CET would significantly reduce the lengthy recruitment cycle as some of the recruitment departments have decided to skip their tier -2 or second level test and go ahead with the recruitment based on CET score which will be the preliminary level test followed by physical tests and medical examination. This will reduce the time taken by the agencies to hire the candidates.
  • Candidates who clear CET once, will be eligible to attempt for the second level exam (mains) thrice (once every year). They will not have to appear for the PT/ screening test again for three years. Currently, those who pass the PT and fail in Main exam (tier 2) have to again appear for the PT next year and start afresh. This way, CET will save their time and energy.
  • There shall be no restriction on the number of attempts to be taken by a candidate to appear in the CET subject to the upper age limit. Relaxation in the upper age limit shall be given to candidates of SC/ST/OBC and other categories as per the extant policy of the Government.
  • Candidates will have the facility to give a choice of centres and they would be allotted the chosen centres, based on availability. They will be given an option to schedule their own tests at their choice centres. The ultimate aim is to reach a stage wherein candidates can schedule their own tests at Centres of their choice.
  • Candidates will not have to incur additional expenses for travel, boarding, lodging to reach their exam centres that are usually far from their home town. Single exam will reduce the financial burden on candidates.
  • The availability of exam centres in every district would benefit the female candidates as well. Girls generally depend on a guardian (father/brother/ husband) to accompany them in reaching their exam centres if it is far away from their home town. The location of test centres in every district would benefit the candidates, particularly women.
  • CET would be available in a number of languages, benefitting aspirants from different regions of country. Presently, most of the exams are conducted in English and Hindi languages.
  • NRA will benefit around 25 million aspirants who apply for multiple government jobs every year and have to apply for each exam separately.
  • Avoids overlapping exams, paper leaks and examination scams bringing much needed transparency in public sector recruiting.

Way forward and conclusion:

        The NRA seeks to harmonise the mechanism for recruitment to central and public sector services but they points must be addressed to realise the true potential central recruiting agency:

  • The language in which test is provided must be currently must be increased from 12 to include at least all the languages of eighth schedule of Indian Constitution to ensure a level playing field.
  • Improving digital literacy at and providing adequate training mechanism to candidates from rural area about the exam so that they are left behind.
  • Proper steps should be taken to maintain a uniform level of difficulty for all aspirants in the database as questions are different for different batches. Common Admission Test (CAT) conducted for IIM’s admission is a good case study.
  • It will only benefit when more and more exams are integrated with NRA. Hence the need of improving the number from present 3.

    NRA can be a game changer in the often controversy marred public recruitment examination if the government can ensure a level playing field backed with technical training and robust infrastructure for handling the exam and It will also complement the New educational Policy by accrediting aspirants with standard scores to boost their chances of employment.


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

4. Critically analyse the major implications of World Bank’s decision to halt its annual ‘Doing Business’ report on data authenticity issues. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article presents to us a detailed analysis of how the World Bank’s decision to halt its annual ‘Doing Business’ report on data authenticity issues has major implications.

Key Demand of the question:

One must critically analyse the major implications of World Bank’s decision to halt its annual ‘Doing Business’ report on data authenticity issues.


Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, 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 or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:


Start by briefing on what is world Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ report about.


Discuss in detail the context of the question with brief background. India has consistently sought to improve its ease of doing business index ranking, as a means to attract foreign investments into India. Since 2015, India has invested considerable political and administrative capital to improve India’s global ranking, with impressive success.

India’s has achieved remarkable progress in its ease of doing business ranking by registering a steep improvement from 142nd position in 2014 to 63rd rank in 2019.

The World Bank has proposed the conducting of a systematic review and assessment of data changes that occurred subsequent to the institutional data review process for the last five Doing Business reports.

Discuss what the concerns are; lack of correlation, Design flaws, deviation from other surveys, authenticity of data etc.


Conclude with what needs to be done, hint at what stand should India take at the moment.


In the backdrop of multiple reforms undertaken by the government, India moved up to 63rd rank in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) but the publication itself has come to a halt after allegations of data manipulation.


World Banks’s Ease of Doing Business Index and its importance:

  • It provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level.
  • Study covers 12 indicator sets and 190 economies. Ten of these areas—starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency—are included in the ease of doing business score and ease of doing business ranking.
  • Doing Business also measures regulation on employing workers and contracting with the government, which are not included in the ease of doing business score and ranking.opening_business
  • Those economies that score well on Doing Business tend to benefit from higher levels of entrepreneurial activity and lower levels of corruption.
  • Doing Business reports capture differences in business regulations and their enforcement across countries in a single region. They provide data on the ease of doing business, rank each location, and recommend reforms to improve performance in each of the indicator areas.
  • Doing Business highlights the specific experience of an economy or region in improving important aspects of business regulation. They offer an insight into regulatory issues faced by policy makers, challenges they had to overcome, and the impact of their initiative.
  • It also creates an incentive for countries to pursue economic policies that conform with the World Bank’s vision of economic development: eliminating regulations and barriers to investment, pushing for market-friendly reforms, reducing labor protections, etc

Negative spill over of ‘Doing Business’ Suspension:

  • The suspension comes at a time when India was on a upward trajectory in past few years and climbed to 63rd spot in 2019 rankings from 142 in 2015.
  • It also casts doubt on actual level of improvement in India’s EoDB as the indicators were tampered with.
  • This is a matter of concern for global investors, who used these reports as a ready reckoner, for investment related decisions.
  • Researchers and Governments who relied on them for policy prescriptions are also in a dilemma about the efficacy of decisions taken and the road ahead.

    Is it really a matter of concern?

  • The rise and fall of the Doing Business Report is a good lesson in the limits of applying standardized rankings to heterogeneous units like countries and their business environments.
  • A one-size-fits-all approach to measuring and understanding economic growth and development, especially one based on the ideological priors of particular institutions and stakeholders, is always likely to contain some fatal flaws. Eg: the government of Indonesia policies, along with the World Bank.
  • It is about time global investors stopped looking for a catch-all metric to gauge such a complex variable as the ease of doing business in a country and relied on more localised on-ground assessments.
  • The government too needs to double down on the hard groundwork needed to mitigate the myriad pain points encountered by the local entrepreneur looking to start up and run an enterprise. Doing this would automatically advertise India’s business-friendly credentials to the world without it having to rely on external agencies for validation.


With the ongoing controversy, it is important that this should neither halt nor deter India’s commitment towards Ease of Doing Business. In fact, India has should go a step further in striving to achieve Ease of Living.


General Studies – 3


Topic : Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

5. Elaborate on the components of Border Infrastructure? Examine what is the state of border infrastructure in India? (250 words )

Reference: Live Mint 

Why the question:

The question is premised on the theme of Border infrastructure.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain what you understand by Border Infrastructure and comment on its state in India.


Elaborate – Give a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:



Infrastructural development in the border region could impact in both positive and negative ways. On the positive side, it could strengthen regional connectivity, thereby boosting economic linkages at a sub-regional level, which may or may not impact the overall political relations between the countries. The benefits that can accrue to the border regions from trade cannot be overlooked.

On the negative side, infrastructural up gradation could raise suspicions, up the ante and accentuate the possibility of a conflict along the border, as has been the case with India and China and India and Pakistan. This has led to slow development of border infrastructure in India.

Present a detailed case of Border infrastructure in India.


Conclude with importance.


India shares its border with seven different countries. Most of these borders are man-made and do not follow any natural barrier. India’s vast coastline and island territories also make it open to attacks and infiltration. In addition, politcial instability, cultural radicalism and patronage of mafia and terrorism in the few neighbouring countries make border management an important aspect to guard India’s sovereignty.

The components of Border Infrastructure:

Roads: Major functions include connecting remote border areas with mainstream highways or cities for easy connectivity at time of war and quick deployment of soldiers

Railway: Railways provide even faster movement of arms and personnel and can also move tanks and other artillery at a much faster pace without destroying roads.

Airforce bases: Currently air force is the fastest mode of transport for elite and special units; similarly, their role becomes very important in rescue and relief after the battles and confrontation.

Integrated Check Post: It includes checking post of an army, custom facility or other services. Good facilities with proper scanning and checks improve the speed of movement across the border and boost trades, currently, India lacks proper facilities and crossing border takes days not hours for commercial vehicles carrying goods. Eg: Attari on Indo-Pak border, Petralpole on Indo-Bangla border etc

Fuelling centers: In Kargil war, major impediments faced by Indian air force was that fuelling centers were too far and they couldn’t stay in operation for long. Thus, it is important to have refueling centers very close to areas of operation and also to ensure their safety from falling into enemy’s hands.

Fencing and observation posts: These are there both to slow down the infiltrators and trace their movement apart from keeping track of the enemy’s movement.

Smart Fencing: Robust and integrated system that is capable of addressing the gaps in the present system of border security by seamlessly integrating human resources, weapons, and high-tech surveillance equipment eg: CIBMS

State of border infrastructure in India:

The report of Parliamentary committee on Defence highlights the following:

  • In 2006, the government had envisaged the construction or improvement of 73 roads next to the disputed border with China. Most of these – 61 roads, totalling 3,417 kilometres – were to be built by a government agency: the Border Roads Organization (BRO). The deadline was 2012, and yet as of 2011 the task was just 43 percent completed. As of 2020, 12 roads in this category were to be completed, amounting to less than 200 kilometres of work pending.
  • The pending work in the western sector of the border alone is over 900 km long in Jammu and Kashmir and over 1,400 kilometres in Ladakh as of March 2020.
  • Some of the recurring problems behind these circumstances are work in challenging environmental conditions; shortage of manpower, equipment, and funds (and their inadequate spending); administrative limits; and a slow pace in obtaining clearances for land acquisition and constructing in wildlife territories
  • Construction is being bogged down nearly as much by extreme climate conditions as administrative hurdles: Steep slopes of various administrative levels to be climbed, avalanches of permits, pitfalls of the building agency’s weak power.
  • The BRO is currently handling 471 key projects worth Rs 37,000 crore, whereas it can complete projects worth only approximately Rs 4,000 crore every year.

    other observations on state of border infrastructure:

  • Two Pilot projects of CIBMS have been implemented on the international border along Pakistan.
  • On Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh side it is largely ICP’s that exist along with border fencing but border is porous and prone to smuggling, illegal immigration and terrorist infiltration.

The above scenario looks further grimmer when compared to what China has achieved on the other side of LAC including all weather roads, railway tracks and oil depots.

On the positive side:

  • The umbrella scheme Border Infrastructure and Management containing 60 projects and with an outlay of Rs 8,606 crore has been approved. The projects are implemented in 111 border districts to meet special development needs of border population with focus on people living within 50 kms of the international border.
  • The schemes include construction of roads, schools, primary health centres, promotion of rural tourism, border tourism, promotion of sports activities, cleanliness mission, protection of heritage sites, supply of drinking water, community centres, connectivity, drainage, to enable sustainable living in border areas.
  • Construction of helipads in remote and inaccessible hilly areas which do not have road connectivity, skill development training to farmers for the use of modern and scientific technique in farming, organic farming are some of the other areas where the projects are being implemented.
  • Border Area Development Program (BADP) implemented since 1987, in order to facilitate the provision of the required socioeconomic infrastructure and adequate security, and to eliminate a sense of alienation among the population living at the border. BADP schemes include the development of community-based infrastructure such as forestry, parks, centres, markets and mobile dispensaries. BADP also takes up security-related schemes. 

Way forward and conclusion:

  • Improving the functionality and efficiency of BRO: with Manageable Workload, Greater Financial Autonomy, Delinking Pay and Allowances, Higher Incentives and changes in the organisation structure in order to meet the deadlines.
  • Leveraging technology: Integrated command and communication centres, scaling up of CIBMS, use of AI and moving a step closer to smart border management as recommended by Madhukar Gupta committee.
  • Cross-border cooperation (CBC): The core principle of cross-border cooperation (CBC) is the information sharing and collaborative approach between neighbouring countries for border security threats like human trafficking arms smuggling, terrorist threats, etc.

Given the volatile situation on LAC, emphasis must be on quick completion of existing projects because border Infrastructure not only gives us security but it could strengthen regional connectivity, thereby boosting economic linkages at a sub-regional level. The benefits that can accrue to the border regions from trade cannot be overlooked.


Topic : GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 GS-3: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

6. Discuss the role that PM-AASHA can play in tackling agriculture price and income volatility. (250 words)

Reference: Financial Express 

Why the question:

The question is based on the scheme of PM – AASHA and its effectiveness.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the role that PM-AASHA can play in tackling agriculture price and income volatility.


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:


The Government has taken another giant leap towards boosting pro-farmer initiatives. With the recent approval of the umbrella scheme Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA), that is aimed towards ensuring remunerative prices to farmers for their produce, the government has taken an unprecedented step.


The recent scheme is expected to complement the increase in MSP which will be translated to farmer’s income by way of robust procurement mechanism in coordination with the states.

List down the key features of the scheme, its components; Price Support Scheme (PSS), Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS), Pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPPS). Explain in what way these aid in tackling agriculture price and income volatility.

Give examples if possible.


Conclude with its importance.


PM-AASHA is an umbrella scheme comprising of Price Support Scheme (PSS), Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS) and Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPSS). These schemes are implemented at the request of the State Governments / Union Territories. PSS is implemented for procurement of pulses, oilseeds and copra at MSP, whereas PDPS is implemented for oilseeds.

As per the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances’ (DARPG) latest report related to agriculture ministry, 46% grievances pertained to low crop prices received by farmers. Over the last two decades India’s agricultural produce has been surplus—the root cause of low prices.

PM-AASHA could play a vital role in addressing the above grievacnes.


The AASHA scheme has three components, and these will complement the existing schemes of the Department of Food and Public Distribution for procurement of paddy, wheat and other cereals and coarse grains where procurement is at MSP now.

  • The first part is the Price Support Scheme (PSS). Here, physical procurement of pulses, oilseeds and copra will be done by Central Nodal Agencies.
  • The second leg is the Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS). Under this, the Centre proposes to cover all oilseeds and pay the farmer directly into his bank account the difference between the MSP and his actual selling/modal price. Farmers who sell their crops in recognised mandis within the notified period can benefit from it.
  • The third part is the pilot of Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPSS). In the case of oilseeds, States will have the option to roll out PPSSs in select districts where a private player can procure crops at MSP when market prices drop below MSP. The private player will then be compensated through a service charge that will be up to a maximum of 15 per cent of the MSP of the crop.

Role of PM-AASHA in tackling agriculture price and income volatility:

  • The Price Support Scheme (PSS) promises to provide assured price for farmers and protect them from making distress sale during bumper harvest. The scheme proposes to strengthen physical procurement of pulses, oilseeds and copra.
  • State governments will be entrusted with the responsibility of deciding the type and quantity of the crop to be procured when wholesale prices fall below MSP. Besides, the State governments will also procure 25 per cent of the marketable surplus of farmers for eligible crops. The Centre will compensate the States for any losses capped at 30 per cent of procurement cost.
  • Except paddy and wheat, there has been no proper procurement mechanism for pulses, oilseeds and other crops ever since the Green Revolution. This discriminatory policy hugely disincentivised growing of these crops by farmers, resulted in huge deficits and high import dependency. For example, India imports 70% domestic consumption of edible oils each year, incurring a cost to the exchequer to the extent of Rs 70,000 crore. PM-AASHA aims to set this right.
  • Intra-regional variations have been taken care in the scheme. It takes care of differences in crops, state capabilities and local preferences and feasibilities, and gives flexibility to state governments to choose from different operational modalities to ensure MSP for each crop.
  • Under PDPS, farmers are paid the difference between MSP and the modal price of the market, without actual procurement. It is an efficient method, as it eliminates all logistics costs relating to procurement, storage and offloading. It is advisable to implement PDPS in crops with scattered and thinly distributed production, like oilseeds.
  • PDPS will create a win-win situation for both farmers and the government. While assuring MSP for farmers, it will reduce the accumulation of unwanted foodgrains and oilseeds stocks and the fiscal costs of procurement and storage will also reduce significantly.
  • Involving private players Under PPSS, who can procure oilseeds at the state-mandated MSP during the notified period in select districts or APMC markets, for which they would be paid a service charge not exceeding 15% of the notified support price.
  • Decentralised model as States are free to choose amongst PSS, PDPS and PPSS for oilseeds.

Way forward and Conclusion:

  • To ensure that AASHA works, the Centre first needs to break the trader lobbies at mandis. This could be done by widening the competition by inter-linking mandis. e-NAM promises to do so, but, States need to be proactive in undertaking regulatory reforms.
  • The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, allows farmers to sell their harvest outside the notified Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis without paying any State taxes or fees will definitely complement PM-AASHA.
  • The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, facilitates contract farming and direct marketing. Encouraging contract farming, allowing private agri-markets in competition with APMC markets, capping commissions and fees to not more than 2% for any commodity at any place in India, opening and expanding futures trading, a negotiable warehouse receipt system, e-NAM, with due systems of assaying, grading, delivery and dispute settlement mechanisms, are some of the necessary steps needed urgently.
  • As the price mechanism of oilseeds is determined by free market forces, it is important the government policy does not intervene in already perfectly working free market forces of oilseeds and price deficiency payment through direct money transfer by using the already existing JAM (JanDhan-Aadhaar-mobile) trinity.
  • PDPS can take advantage of huge procurement, storage and distribution networks of private players like HUL in procuring, transporting, storing and disposing of oilseeds coupled with price deficiency payment to farmers using JAM. This also reduces the burden on the government, enhances market efficiency and is cost effective.
  • The crux of the issue is that unless procurement is strengthened by various means, any hike in MSP will not proportionately benefit farmers. When markets have failed miserably to pull out farmers from the perpetual indebtedness over the years, the launch of PM-AASHA can be seen as the dawn of new market architecture.
  • While the pace of procurement increased in recent years, the data released by NAFED for 2018-19 indicates lack of coordination of State governments with procuring agencies has resulted in poor procurement of kharif and rabi pulses and oilseeds in many growing States. Unless State governments work in harmony with the procuring agencies, all concerted efforts that are being taken towards making a robust and efficient procurement mechanism will fail to bring about a paradigm shift in farmers’ income.

General Studies – 4


Topic: Case Study

7. In Beed district of Maharashtra, 50 per cent of the women have been reported for hysterectomies. These women are as young as 25. The majorities of these women are cane cutters and migrate to the sugar belt of western Maharashtra during the cane cutting season; with the drought intensifying, the number of migrants multiplies. The contractor is keen to have women without wombs in his group of cane cutters, as they incur financial loses when any of the labourer goes for maternity leave. Moreover, menstruating women demand rest and toilets facilities.

However, it is an unofficial dictum and contractors say that women are doing it voluntarily. It has also been observed that the child sex ratio in this district is an abysmal 807. For hysterectomies and abortion, the numbers of illegal clinics continue to proliferate in the district.

Identify the ethical issues in above situation. As a DM magistrate of the concerned district, identify the course of action. What innovative steps you will take to solve this problem? (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The question is a case study. According to government reports reviewed by activists, 4500 hysterectomies were conducted in Beed in the last three years. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Evaluate the ethical issues involved in the case study and suggest your course of action as the DM.

Structure of the answer:


Maharashtra’s drought-stricken district of Beed hit the headlines recently when reports emerged of an unusually high rate of hysterectomies among its women.


The question is an ethical case study that involves identification of the stakeholders and ethical issues thus involved.

Discuss what the issue is and what the causative factors of it are.

Identify the ethical angles in the case study. Discuss the course of action you would take as the DM of the district.

Suggest innovative steps to address the problem.


Conclude with solutions.


The principle of bodily integrity sums up the right of each human being, to autonomy and self-determination over their own body. It not only covers unconsented physical intrusion as a human rights violation but as well as coercion or causing situations where a person though voluntarily undergoes a procedure but it is to secure livelihood.

In the above case study, prima facie it appears that many women from Beed, Maharashtra maybe opting undergo hysterectomies but it is order to enable them to work uninterrupted rather out of an objective to achieve family planning.

The stake holder involved are the vulnerable women of Beed, the cane contractors, doctors running illegal clinic, myself as the DM of Beed. It also involves an element of national interest as the child sex ratio is abysmally low.

The ethical issues involved in the above case are as follows:

  • Harming the bodily integrity of women of Beed both directly and we as indirectly. This amounts to exploitation which illegal and immoral.
  • Violation of labour laws by contractors by not providing adequate facilities for labour women like rest and sanitary facilities. This is non fulfilment of responsibility as well as breaking of the law.
  • Illegal clinics which not only break the law but also endanger the health of the patients. It is blatant violation of medical ethics.
  • As an incidental finding, the child sex ratio which is far below the national average of 914, it points towards missing girl childs of India. It is discrimination in the society and points towards failure of administration in preventing it.

As the DM of Beed, I would take the following the course of action:

Firstly, I would ascertain the facts of the case. I would approach the women migrant labourers and ask them the reason, in an empathetic manner, behind the hysterectomies especially among the lower age group. If they were coerced in any way or were they given any false information or were they under any undue pressure.

Secondly, in case of any forceful or coerced hysterectomy I would take legal action against and erring contractors while ensuring the further safety of the affected migrant women from any backlash from the side of the contractor.

Thirdly, I would gather sufficient intelligence in collaboration with SP of Beed and other relevant agency and undertake a strict crackdown on illegal abortion and hysterectomy clinics. Book the offenders under relevant acts. I would ensure strict compliance with PCPNDT act.

I know that the above actions are reactive in nature. Hence, finally, I would now take proactive steps to create awareness about ill-effects of unnecessary hysterectomies and medical prcoedures in women especially among the migrant labourers. Involving NGO’s in order to create awareness about rights of migrant labourers. Also, would create sufficient awareness among contractor group about implementation of labour code for migrant labourers and ask labour inspectors of Beed to monitor its implementation.

Some innovative steps I would take to in this scenario would be ensure all migrants are registered in the Shramik Setu App so that they can avail all the facilities and schemes are meant for them. This will be followed by providing them with Universal Ration Cards, so that they can avail PDS facilities anywhere in the country. Last but not the least, in order to address the issue of low child sex ratio, would engage prominent and famous local women Beed and highlighting their success stories in schools, public places as part of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao mission of the government.


According to Canlon’s contractualism, an act is wrong if its performance under the circumstances would be disallowed by any set of principles for the general regulation of behaviour that no one could reasonably reject as a basis for informed, unforced, general agreement. This case makes sure that the contractualism as a distinctive account of moral reasoning is taken in to account and actions are ethically justified.

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