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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 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 : Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. Write a detailed note on entertainment Folk theatre of India. (250 words)

Reference: Indian art and culture by Nitin Singhania

Why the question:

The question is from the static portion GS paper 1, theme art and culture.

Key Demand of the question:

 One must explain in detail entertainment folk theatre in India.

Structure of the answer:


Start by explaining about folk art theatre of India.


Folk Theatre is a composite art form in India with a fusion of elements from music, dance, pantomime, versification, epic and ballad recitation, graphic and plastic arts, religion and festival peasantry. The Folk theatre having roots in native culture is embedded in local identity and social values.

Besides providing mass entertainment, it helps Indian society as indigenous tools of interpersonal, inter-group and inter-village communication for ages. Folk theatre has been used extensively in India to propagate critical social, political and cultural issues in the form of theatrical messages to create awareness among the people.

 As an indigenous form it breaks all kinds of formal barriers of human communication and appeals directly to the people.

Discuss more of its key features, its presence across the country in different forms.


Conclude with importance of it and contributions of it to Indian art, culture and heritage.

India boasts of a rich tradition of folk theatre in various parts of India. The traditional folk theatre reflects the various aspects of the local lifestyle including social norms, beliefs and customs. While the Sanskrit theatre was more urban-oriented and sophisticated in its treatment of the play, folk theatre had rural roots and the rustic flavour was reflected in the dramatic style involved.


                Indian folk theatre can be broadly classified into three categories as


  • Ritual Theatre. Ex: Ramman, Raslila, Ramlila etc
  • Theatre of entertainment. Ex: Bhavai, Jatra, Maach, Tamasha etc
  • South Indian Theatre. Ex: Yakshagana, Bayalata, Kuruvanji.

Types Entertainment Folk theatre of India:

This form of theatre was more secular in its narration and storytelling. They focused more on stories of love, valour and the sociocultural traditions and were meant primarily as means of entertainment for the rural masses. Some forms of it are:

  • Bhavai: Bhavai is a popular folk theatre form of Gujarat and Rajasthan, mainly in the regions of Kutchh and Kathiawar. This form incorporates an extensive use of dance to narrate a series of small plays, known as Vesha or Swanga, each with its own plot. The theme of the play is generally romantic.
  • Daskathia: is a form of folk theatre popular in the region of Odisha. In this form, there are two narrators – Gayaka, who is the chiefsinger and Palia, who is the co-narrator. The narration isaccompanied by a dramatic music composed using a woodenmusical instrument called kathia.
  • Garodas: This is a popular art form of the ‘Garoda’ community of Gujarat. It uses painted pictures to narrate stories of romance and valour.
  • Jatra: is a popular folk theatre of Eastern India. It is generally anopen-air performance that was initiated by Vaishnava saint SriChaitanya. During his travels through rural Bengal, he used themedium of Jatra to propagate the teachings of Krishna. Later,variants such as Rama Jatra, Shiv Jatra and Chandi Jatra also came into existence that narrated stories of Puranic legends.
  • Dashavataris the most developed theatre form of the Konkan and Goa regions. The performers personify the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu-the god of preservation and creativity. The ten incarnations are Matsya (fish), Kurma (tortoise), Varaha (boar), Narsimha (lion-man), Vaman (dwarf), Parashuram, Rama, Krishna (or Balram), Buddha and Kalki. Apart from stylized make-up, the Dashavatar performers wear masks of wood and papier mache.
  • Tamaashais a traditional folk theatre form of Maharashtra. It has evolved from the folk forms such as Gondhal, Jagran and Kirtan. Unlike other theatre forms, in Tamaasha the female actress is the chief exponent of dance movements in the play. She is known as Murki. Classical music, footwork at lightning-speed, and vivid gestures make it possible to portray all the emotions through dance.
  • Maachis the traditional theatre form of Madhya Pradesh. The term Maach is used for the stage itself as also for the play. In this theatre form songs are given prominence in between the dialogues. The term for dialogue in this form is bol and rhyme in narration is termed vanag. The tunes of this theatre form are known as rangat.
  • Bhand Pather, the traditional theatre form of Kashmir, is a unique combination of dance, music and acting. Satire, wit and parody are preferred for inducing laughter. In this theatre form, music is provided with surnai, nagaara and dhol. Since the actors of Bhand Pather are mainly from the farming community, the impact of their way of living, ideals and sensitivity is discernible. 

Note on Entertainment Folk theatre of India:

Traditionally the language of ordinary people has an element of creativity, though not based on classical or grammatical roots. This kind of creativity is spontaneous, emerging from the circumstances. When there is intensity of emotions, there is a natural kind of rhythm in the expressions. It is this natural rhythm from which emerges the traditional theatre-form. In this art form, sorrow, joy, frustration, hatred and love have their role and place.

In different regions of India, there are religious festivals, fairs, gatherings, ritual offerings, prayers, almost throughout the year. During these occasions, traditional theatre forms are presented. They reflect the common man’s social attitudes and perceptions. In this social portrayal, there is also the individual’s role which is given due importance.

Traditional theatre forms incorporate not only the common man’s interests but there is also a classical element in them. This classical facet, however, takes on regional, local and folk coloring. It is possible, that those associated with the classical world of Sanskrit drama, went to the neighbouring regions after its decline and intermingled with the local theatre forms. This kind of synthesis, give-and-take must have taken place on various levels such as written, verbal, classical, contemporary, national and local.

In traditional theatre forms there are special styles of dance portraying the entry on to the stage or platform, narrative and descriptive roles. The best example of descriptive acting is the Bidapat naach. In this traditional theatre form, emphasis is not on beauty but on acting itself and narrative and descriptive skills. Dance as a narrative art is the base of theatre form which can be seen in the traditional theatre form of Bhavai of Gujarat. In this form, quick or slow foot movement is a means of narration. The art of making the entry by dancing has been perfected in the traditional Kashmiri theatre form, Bhand Jashn. The way each character walks and enters the platform, identifies him. In Koodiyaattam and Ankia Naat, the entry by dancing itself is complicated and artistic. In the forms, the tempo and basic posture and gesture identifies the role of the character.

In traditional theatre, age-old forms, customs and the desire to improvise are intermingled. It is usually when the significant themes are enacted, that the acting restricts itself to traditional norms, not deviating from it. But, every time the theme inches towards the contemporary, the actors improvise as far as dialogue delivery is concerned.

Traditional theatre forms have definitely been influenced by industrial civilization, industrialization, and urbanization. The socio-cultural aspects of these influences should be carefully studied. There was a time when Kanpur became the centre of the traditional theatre Nautanki. Artists, dancers and singers produced plays based on local heroes, their popularity and traditional love stories. Thus, a local theatre form acquired significance in the field of entertainment.

Traditional theatre forms have a common distinguishing feature that is the element of simplicity. What is the underlying force of traditional theatre forms that has enabled it to survive and maintain its simplicity? The fact remains, that it is the immediate, direct, realistic and rhythmic relationship that the spectators are able to develop with the artists of traditional theatre forms which is generally not experienced in other art forms. It is reflected in applaud by the spectators by means of clapping their hands.


Thus, the development of traditional theatre forms is based on such local and regional peculiarities which are not bound and restricted by social and economic divisions, limitations, etc. Tradional art forms have influenced classical art forms and vice-versa. It is an eternal journey in the sphere of ‘culture’.


General Studies – 2


Topic : Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

2. Analyse the menace of increasing cases of criminal background on legislators. Suggest solutions to address it. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article paints a bleak picture yet again of increasing cases of criminal background on legislators.

Key Demand of the question:

Analyse the menace of increasing cases of criminal background on legislators and suggest solutions to address it.


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.

Structure of the answer:


Recently a report submitted in the Supreme Court has said there are a total of 4,442 cases pending against legislators across the country.


One can start with the 2018 judgment of the apex court with regards to criminal cases against legislators and rules they must abide by.

Explain then the reasons for not being able to curb the menace of corruption and criminal activities of the legislators such as – Domination of politics in the bureaucracy, business, civil society and the media, lack of intention to do public service in the political system, Lack of enforcement of laws and judgments which are unclear.


Conclude with suggestions to address the problem.


                A report submitted in the Supreme Court has said there are a total 4,442 cases pending against legislators across the country. Of this, the number of cases against sitting Members of Parliament and members of State legislatures was 2,556. The cases were pending in various special courts exclusively set up to try criminal cases registered against politicians.

The cases against the legislators include serious cases that of murder, sexual assault, corruption, money laundering, damage to public property, defamation and cheating. A large number of cases were for violation of Section 188 IPC for wilful disobedience and obstruction of orders promulgated by public servants.


Criminalization of politics in India:- 

  • 36% of incumbent MPs and MLAs have criminal cases registered against them.
  • Vohra Committee in 1993 and the second ARC report, 2008 recommend to cleanse politics. But still Criminalization of politics has been a matter of great concern.

Reasons why criminalization of politics still exists in India: 


  • In every election political parties put up candidates with a criminal background.
  • Evident link between criminality and the probability of winning is further reinforced when winnability of a candidate is looked into. A candidate facing criminal charges is twice as likely to win as a clean candidate.

Vote Bank: 

  • The political parties and independent candidates have astronomical expenditure for vote buying and other illegitimate purposes through these criminals.

Denial of Justice and Rule of Law: 

  • Toothless laws against convicted criminals standing for elections further encourage this process. Under current law, only people who have been convicted at least on two counts be debarred from becoming candidates. This leaves the field open for charge sheeted criminals, many of whom are habitual offenders or history-sheeters.
  • Constitution does not specify what disqualifies an individual from contesting in an election to a legislature.
  • It is the Representation of People Act which specifies what can disqualify an individual from contesting an election. The law does not bar individuals who have criminal cases pending against them from contesting elections

Lack of governance: 

  • The root of the problem lies in the country’s poor governance capacity.

Scarcity of state capacity: 

  • The scarcity of state capacity is the reason for the public preferring ‘strongmen’ who can employ the required pulls and triggers to get things done.
  • Criminality, far from deterring voters, encourages them because it signals that the candidate is capable of fulfilling his promises and securing the interests of the constituency.
  • No political party is free of this problem. The use of muscle power along with money power is a weapon used by all political parties to maximize electoral gains.
  • With cases dragging in courts for years, a disqualification based on conviction becomes ineffective. Low conviction rates in such cases compounds the problem; voters don’t mind electing candidates facing criminal cases.
  • Voter behavior then emboldens political parties to give tickets to such candidates who can win an election on their ticket etc.

Provisions available to resolve the problem of criminalization of politics in India: 

 RPA, 1951 on Criminalization of politics: 

  • Currently, under the Representation of Peoples (RP) Act, lawmakers cannot contest elections only after their conviction in a criminal case.
  • Section 8 of the Representation of the People (RP) Act, 1951 disqualifies a person convicted with a sentence of two years or more from contesting elections. But those under trial continued to be eligible to contest elections. The Lily Thomas case (2013), however, ended this unfair advantage.

SC’s Rulings: 

  • Making it mandatory for candidates to submit an affidavit with full disclosure of criminal cases, if any, and details of their asset and income — were made mandatory by the judiciary.
  • The court made it mandatory for political parties and candidates themselves to make public disclosure through print and electronic media.
  • None of the Above (NOTA) option was also introduced by the judiciary in 2003.
  • In 2013, the apex court ruled that a sitting MP and MLA convicted of a jail term of two years or more would lose their seat in the legislature immediately.
  • The Supreme Court favoured the creation of special courts for expediting criminal cases involving politicians.
  • In 2017, it asked the Centre to frame a scheme to appoint special courts to exclusively try cases against politicians, and for political parties to publicize pending criminal cases faced by their candidates in 2018.

Measures taken so far:- 

  • Protecting the parliamentary system from criminalisation has been the intention of the law from the beginning. Section 8 of the Representation of the People (RP) Act, 1951 disqualifies a person convicted with a sentence of two years or more from contesting elections but not from holding positions of seniority within a political party.
  • Under the present law, the minimum bar of a politician from election is eight years (two years of minimum imprisonment followed by six years of ban).
  • But those under trial continued to be eligible to contest elections. The Lily Thomas case (2013), however, ended this unfair advantage.
  • SC has repeatedly expressed concern about the purity of legislatures. In2002, it made it obligatory for all candidates to file an affidavit before the returning officer, disclosing criminal cases pending against them.
  • The famous order to introduce NOTA was intended to make political parties think before giving tickets to the tainted.
  • In landmark judgment of March 2014, the SC accepted the urgent need for cleansing politics of criminalisation and directed all subordinate courts to decide on cases involving legislators within a year, or give reasons for not doing so to the chief justice of the high court.
  • In Ramesh Dalal Vs UoI 2005, members of legislature shall also be subjected to disqualification if on the day of filing his nomination paper he stands convicted in the court of law.

EC measures:- 

  • Model Code of Conduct: These are guidelines issued by ECI at election time which should be followed by political parties and candidates fighting an election.
  • In 1997 the ECI directed the Returning Officer to reject the nomination papers of any candidates if on the day of filling nomination paper he stands convicted in a court of law even if his sentence is suspended
  • Election Commission also kept into account the need to exclude criminals from politics:

It has suggested debarring candidates facing serious criminal charges in 2015. But it will include only:

  • Only heinous offences like murder, dacoity, rape, kidnapping or moral turpitude.
  • The case should have been registered at least a year before the elections.
  • The court must have framed the charges.

Steps that need to be taken to address Criminalization of politics:- 

  • Law panel report bats for using the time of the framing of charges to initiate disqualification as an appropriate measure to curb the criminalization of politics.
  • Political parties should themselves refuse tickets to the tainted.
  • The RPA Act should be amended to debar persons against whom cases of a heinous nature are pending from contesting elections.
  • Bringing greater transparency in campaign financing is going to make it less attractive for political parties to involve gangsters
  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) should have the power to audit the financial accounts of political parties, or political parties’ finances should be brought under the right to information (RTI) law
  • Broader governance will have to improve for voters to reduce the reliance on criminal politicians.
  • Fast-track courts are necessary because politicians are able to delay the judicial process and serve for decades before prosecution.
  • The Election Commission must take adequate measures to break the nexus between the criminals and the politicians.
  • The forms prescribed by the Election Commission for candidates disclosing their convictions, cases pending in courts and so on in their nomination papers is a step in the right direction if it applied properly.
  • Voter awareness and education so that legislators with criminal background are nor elected.


While judicial pronouncements on making it difficult for criminal candidates to contest are necessary, only enhanced awareness and increased democratic participation could create the right conditions for the decriminalization of politics.


Topic : Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

3. Account for spatial and regional dimensions of digital divide in India. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

NSO’s survey of ‘Household Social Consumption on Education in India’, for July 2017-June 2018, highlights the poor state of computer and Internet access across different geographical areas and economic strata. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to present the case of digital disconnect across the country that has been exposed by the current pandemic of covid-19.


Account – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you are in agreement with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:


Start with brief background of how covid-19 has exposed the perils of digital divide in the country.


States like Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Delhi have access exceeding 50%, whereas larger states have less than 20 % of internet connectivity. Rural areas are more deprived compared to urban areas with respect to internet connectivity, Ex: Rural Odisha, MP, Karnataka, West Bengal has net connectivity of 5% – 10%. Apart from internet connectivity, other tools which broaden digital divide are lack of computer to access internet, reliability problems, and power cuts.

Explain that poor access to the Internet in many States must be bridged urgently to help e-learners.

Discuss the steps being taken by the government in addressing the issue and suggest what more needs to be done.


Thus the government needs to look at all possibilities and go into overdrive to bridge the digital divide.


The digital medium has emerged as a powerful passport for millions of citizens to register their expectations from the state and make their voices hear. Especially at a time when the nation is under a lockdown to combat an unprecedented pandemic, the glaring inequality in the access to the digital world is laid our bare. 


Digital Divide: It means discrepancy between people who have access to and the resources to use new information and communication tools, such as the Internet, and people who do not have the resources and access to the technology. It also means discrepancy between those who have the skills, knowledge and abilities to use the technologies and those who do not.

The digital divide can exist between those living in rural areas and those living in urban areas, between genders, between the educated and uneducated, between economic classes, and on a global scale between more and less industrially developed nations.

Digital divide scenario in India: 

  • The report, titled Internet in India 2017, was released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India.
  • In December 2017, internet penetration in urban India was at 64.84 percent as compared to 60.6 per cent in December 2016. In rural India, however, internet penetration was at 20.26 percent in December 2017, from 18 percent in 2016.
  • According to a 2017 global survey by the Pew Research Centre, only one in four Indian adults report using Internet or owning a smartphone.
  • Despite the booming economy, India’s progress in smartphone penetration has been slow.
  • In India and Tanzania, less than one-quarter report owning smartphones, the lowest among the countries surveyed.
  • A Deloitte India report released in January 2018 revealed that with only 17 percent internet penetration, rural India is lagging behind in connectivity owing to challenges in deployment of fixed broadband networks.
  • Although India has 220 million smartphone users and is the second largest smartphone market in the world, the overall penetration is still just about 30 per cent of the population.
  • There is a huge rural- urban and inter-state digital divide in India.
  • according to statistics, more than 75 per cent of the broadband connections in the country are in the top 30 cities
  • Similarly, many states like north-eastern states, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Assam lag behind other states in the use and development of ICTs.
  • Globally 12 percent more men used the internet than women in 2017, while in India only 29% of total internet users are females.
  • A recent report on the latest National Statistical Organisation (NSO) survey shows just how stark is the digital divide across States, cities and villages, and income groups. The survey on household social consumption related to education was part of the NSO’s 75th round, conducted from July 2017 to June 2018. The final report was released recently.
  • Across India, only one in ten households have a computer — whether a desktop, laptop or tablet. However, almost a quarter of all homes have Internet facilities, accessed via a fixed or mobile network using any device, including smartphones.
  • Most of these Internet-enabled homes are located in cities, where 42% have Internet access. In rural India, however, only 15% are connected to the internet.
  • The national capital has the highest Internet access, with 55% of homes having such facilities. Himachal Pradesh and Kerala are the only other States where more than half of all households have Internet. At the other end of the spectrum is Odisha, where only one in ten homes have Internet. There are ten other States with less than 20% Internet penetration, including States with software hubs such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • The biggest divide is by economic status, which the NSO marks by dividing the population into five equal groups, or quintiles, based on their usual monthly per capita expenditure. Even in Odisha, almost 63% of homes in the top urban quintile have Internet facilities. In the poorest quintile of rural Odisha, however, that figure drops to an abysmal 2.4%.
  • Kerala shows the least inequality: more than 39% of the poorest rural homes have Internet, in comparison to 67% of the richest urban homes. Himachal Pradesh also fares well, with 40% of the lowest rural quintile having Internet. Assam shows the most stark inequality, with almost 80% of the richest urban homes having the Internet access denied to 94% of those in the poorest rural homes in the State.
  • The Centre has directed State Education Departments to map the online access available to all their students in order to adequately plan curriculum and teaching methods that can reach such students. Although much of the focus has been on digital platforms, television and radio are also being used to deliver lessons.
  • Of course, having Internet access is no guarantee that one can use it. The NSO report shows that 20% of Indians above the age of 5 years had basic digital literacy, doubling to just 40% in the critical age group of 15 to 29 years, which includes all high school and college students as well as young parents responsible for teaching younger children.
  • Even as digital literacy is likely to grow during this pandemic, concerns remain about basic literacy, with September 8 celebrated as International Literacy Day. More than one in five Indians above 7 years still cannot read and write in any language. Over the last decade, literacy rates have increased from 71.7% to 77.7%, with the highest gains coming among rural women.
  • A State-wise split of literacy rates also throws up some unexpected results. Andhra Pradesh has the country’s lowest literacy rate, at just 66.4%, significantly lower than less developed States such as Chhattisgarh (77.3%), Jharkhand (74.3%), Uttar Pradesh (73%), and Bihar (70.9%). Kerala remains at the top of the pile with 96.2% literacy, followed by three northern States: Delhi (88.7%), Uttarakhand (87.6%) and Himachal Pradesh (86.6%).

Implications of Digital divide:

  • Increasing penetration of digital technology by bridging the existing digital divides is associated with greater social progress of a country.
  • Social capital: Once an individual is connected, Internet connectivity and ICTs can enhance his or her future social and cultural capital.
  • Economic disparity is created between those who can afford the technology and those who don’t.
  • A direct correlation between a company’s access to technological advancements and its overall success in bolstering the economy.
  • Countries with less digital gap are benefitted more than the ones with more digital gap.


  • The digital divide also impacts children’s ability to learn and grow in low-income school districts.
  • Without Internet access, students are unable to cultivate necessary tech skills in order to understand today’s dynamic economy.

Lack of information:

  • Almost all India’s socio-economic problems had links to the “digital divide”, which had come to stay during the era of digital revolution and then again during the era of internet revolution in India.
  • Rural India suffered from information poverty. Information is controlled by a few at the top of the pyramid who restrict its percolation down to those at the bottom.
  • Political empowerment and mobilization in the age of social media is difficult when there is digital divide.
  • Transparency and accountability are increased when digitalized for instance people filing taxes online, single window mechanisms for delivery of services ensures good governance as well.

Way forward:

  • A national network of decentralised virtual call centres could be operated in local languages and dialects for the purpose of accessing e-governance.
  • Digitally empowered citizens, remotely serving as “digital volunteers” could be equipped with the relevant helpline numbers, website addresses and URLs for accessing public services.
  • The digitally disconnected could seek help through a simple phone call, which would be queued in the system.
  • A digital volunteer could then connect with the caller in her language, understand her requirement, and initiate the necessary procedures.
  • Similarly, leveraging India’s vast mobile phone penetration, an artificial intelligence-powered Interactive Voice Response (IVR) mechanism of placing automated calls could be harnessed for proactive dissemination of area-based vital information.
  • Such digital inclusion is essential for the reassurance of India’s teeming millions that the state is in their service and won’t let them languish without an anchor.


Promotion of telecommunication infrastructure in rural India is the most important condition for bridging the rural-urban digital divide and Indian government can play a significant role in creating the IT infrastructure in rural India. A special expenditure should be marked for bridging the digital divide in rural India. Government should come up with innovative schemes for giving technology access to rural areas.


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

GS-3: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

4. What should be the covid-19 vaccine policy in India to ensure total coverage? Explain. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The author explains in what way India needs a COVID-19 vaccine policy that ensures total coverage in logical phases.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain what India’s plan should be to ensure full coverage of covid-19 vaccine.


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:


Government officials are working out the details of the plan in consultation with the experts’ group on vaccines headed by Dr VK Paul of Niti Aayog.


Start by explaining the possible models that India can come up with or adopt to ensure full coverage of vaccine across the length and breadth of the country.

One model could be – free distribution and might be restricted to a few immediate neighbours such as Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and other SAARC countries. Second model entails heavily subsidized vaccines being distributed to poor countries as a part of India’s international obligations. The third model involve In the fifth model, India may offer some countries opportunities to co-produce the two domestic vaccines — a move that could hasten production of these recipient countries purchasing vaccines at the market price but being assured of supply.


Conclude with way forward.


                The world is in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic. As India and partners work together on the response — tracking the pandemic, advising on critical interventions, distributing vital medical supplies to those in need— they are racing to find a vaccine.

Vaccines save millions of lives each year. Vaccines work by training and preparing the body’s natural defences — the immune system— to recognize and fight off the viruses and bacteria they target.  If the body is exposed to those disease-causing germs later, the body is immediately ready to destroy them, preventing illness.  


Immunization currently prevents 2-3 million deaths every year from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza and measles. There are now vaccines to prevent more than 20 life-threatening diseases, and work is ongoing at unprecedented speed to also make COVID-19 a vaccine-preventable disease.

There are currently more than 100 COVID-19 vaccine candidates under development, with a number of these in the human trial phase. WHO is working in collaboration with scientists, business, and global health organizations through the ACT Accelerator to speed up the pandemic response. When a safe and effective vaccine is found, COVAX (led by WHO, GAVI and  CEPI) will facilitate the equitable access and distribution of these vaccines to protect people in all countries. People most at risk will be prioritized.

Vaccines are important preventive medicines for primary health care, and are a critical component of a nation’s health security. Although international agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) promote global immunisation drives and policies, the success of an immunisation programme in any country depends more upon local realities and national policies

Components of a new vaccine policy for Covid-19: 

Vaccine selection:

  • The decision to include a new vaccine should be guided by the disease burden in the country. This information, ideally, be derived through strong surveillance system within country.
  • Furthermore, the data from the investigator initiated researches, from modeling studies and the data from countries with either geographical proximity or similar demography may also be used for these decision makings.
  • A mid-term (5-7 year) strategy on the required evidence with regard to the burden of diseases should also be in place, with scope for periodic monitoring and review. A multi-agency policy unit should be created to conduct meetings of various stakeholders to evaluate and monitor these studies periodically.

Decision making process:

  • The potential inclusion of any new vaccine should initially be discussed by National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI). The NTAGI may consider various factors before giving technical recommendation for introducing any new vaccine in the program.
  • The technical decision of NTAGI should be considered by immunization division for implementation. The program division may further consider the operational aspects of the decision implementation.
  • Plan for vaccine distribution now. Gather an interagency task force now to determine how your state will distribute a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Moreover, the vaccine specific work plans need to be prepared, which includes review of existing evidence on burden and efficacy, identify data gaps and outline plan of work to collect any additional data needed for decision making.
  • These work plans can be strictly adhered to streamline and support the decision making efforts in the country. The efforts should be made to address the identified gaps in these areas and the needful activities may be done in this direction in collaboration with various stakeholders.
  • A proportion of country’s population accesses vaccines from the private market, where new vaccine entry follows the marketing strategy of the manufacturers based on their experience from introduction in developed countries. This segment of the population should be studied as it can provide valuable post marketing surveillance (Phase -IV analysis) data. The profile of the people accessing these vaccines as well as the mapping of service providers could be useful for future planning and decision making. 

Improving vaccine coverage:

  • An assessment of existing bottlenecks that impede success in UIPshould be carried out by an independent agency.
  • An in-depth assessment of the immunization systems in the states should be carried out to understand the better outcomes in a few versus the abysmal performance in others. Similarly, the neighboring country structures should also be studied to learn from them.
  • A systematic registration and identification people to be vaccinated or already vaccinated along with computerization of data for data-management will be useful to facilitate reaching masses.
  • Linking of the Geographical Information System (GIS) with UIP network can also be used to track delivery of vaccines.
  • The strengths and gains from National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) in improving coverage of vaccination in certain states should be consolidated.
  • The vaccines are administered as preventive measures to healthy individuals particularly children. The adverse events following immunization (AEFI) should be handled effectively in order to maintain/restore public faith in immunization program.
  • Innovations in diagnostics and tools for surveillance should be encouraged and facilitated. Tools for surveillance should be such that even the laboratories that are in the periphery at the primary health center can use it without much training of staff.
  • Surveys like the National Family Health Survey (NHFS) should be further strengthened with trained manpower to create data sets on baseline demography. Such baseline demographic data is of utmost importance in interpreting disease burden data, results of clinical trials or when an adverse events following any intervention has to be investigated and causal linkages established.

Way forward and conclusion:

India has a fairly reliable vaccine delivery system for children, as part of the universal immunisation programme. It may be assumed that the knowledge and wherewithal to run a full-scale vaccination programme rests with the health administration — both at the central and the State level. However, in terms of scope, this is far wider; in fact, a mammoth task. All people in the country must have access to the vaccine, and, if necessary, periodic doses of it.

Indeed, the mobilisation for this task in India should be nothing short of heroic, as and when the vaccine is available here. Meanwhile, the government must get its act together on developing a policy specific to the COVID-19 vaccine; from preparing resources — both material and human — for the manufacture, storage, distribution and delivery. This includes taking sensitive, but firm, decisions guided by evidence, on who will receive the vaccine, how, when and where. Putting down a standard operating protocol for every stage of the vaccine will serve the government well when the baton is finally passed on to it.


General Studies – 3


Topic : Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

5. A technology that works in the lab may fail in fields since real-world success hinges on multiple factors, in the context of the above statement analyse the twisted trajectory of Bt cotton in India. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article explains in what way despite finding huge favour in India, the GM crop has only brought modest benefits.

Key Demand of the question:

One must analyse the twisted trajectory of Bt cotton in India, the factors contributing to it and what should be the way forward.


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.

Structure of the answer:


Cotton has been woven and used in India since thousands of years. Desi varieties of seeds were used for cultivation, cotton suffers from most of the infestation due to which usage of pesticides and fertilisers  increased, with which the cost of cultivation increased, Rising debts, reducing yields, coupled with insect resistance worsened the plight of farmers.


Discuss the coming of the Bt cotton in India; In 2002 Bt cotton was introduced to address the plight of farmers, with which the yield almost tripled, framers income increased. However as per the recent report in Natural plants, increase in the yields cannot be solely attributed to Bt cotton seeds, irrigation and fertiliser have played dominant role.

Further the greatest pride of Bt cotton as pest resistant is no longer a truth as we could see with pink worm pest attacks, considering all these points report has concluded that GM crop has brought only short lived and modest benefits.

Report suggest that desi varieties, with pure line varieties, high density planting can give more yield compared to Bt cotton.


Conclude that thus government instead of entering into further misadventures with Bt Brinjal should look into alternative sustainable agriculture cropping to reap long term benefits.

                Genetically Modified (GM) pest resistant Bt cotton hybrids have captured the Indian market since their introduction in 2002. These now cover over 95% of the area under cotton, with the seeds produced entirely by the private sector. India’s cotton production in 2019 is projected as the highest ever: 354 lakh bales. Bt cotton’s role in increasing India’s cotton production, which GM proponents have highlighted as being instrumental, has also been used to argue for extending GM technology to increase food crop yield. However, critics say that Bt cotton hybrids have negatively impacted livelihoods and contributed to agrarian distress, particularly among resource-poor farmers.


The usage and performance of Bt-cotton in India: 

  • The increasing use of synthetic pyrethroids (group of man-made pesticides) to control pests and the rising acreage under the American long-duration cotton led to the emergence of resistant pests. Resistant Pink and even American Bollworm (ABW), a minor pest in the past, began increasing, leading to a growing use of a variety of pesticides.
  • Rising debts and reducing yields, coupled with increasing insect resistance, worsened the plight of cotton farmers. It was in this setting that Bt cotton was introduced in India in 2002.
  • Genetically modified (GM) cotton, the plant containing the pesticide gene from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), has been grown in India for about twenty years. This pesticide, now produced in each Bt plant cell, ought to protect the plant from bollworm, thereby increasing yields and reducing insecticide spraying on the cotton plant.
  • According to the Ministry of Agriculture, from 2005, adoption of Bt cotton rose to 81% in 2007, and up to 93% in 2011. Many short-duration studies examining Bt cotton, in the early years, pronounced that Bt was a panacea for dwindling yields and pesticide expenses. The two-decade mark now provides an opportunity to review GM cotton in India more comprehensively.
  • In March this year, K.R. Kranthi and Glenn Davis Stone published a review in the scientific journal Nature Plants, analysing the entire picture of the use of Bt cotton in India. Earlier studies had attributed to Bt the tripling of cotton yield between 2002-2014 in India. However, one detail that sullied such a conclusion was that yield differences between farmers who were the early adopters of Bt cotton and those who were not suffered from selection bias.
  • Controlling for such bias showed (in 2012) that the contribution of Bt cotton to yield increase was only about 4% each year; still, since yields vary annually by over 10%, the benefits claimed were dubious.
  • There are discrepancies between yield and the deployment of Bt cotton. For instance, the Bt acreage was only 3.4% of the total cotton area in 2003, not sufficient to credit it for the 61% increase in yield in 2003-2004.
  • Furthermore, with only 15.7% Bt cotton coverage by 2005, yield increases were over 90% over 2002 levels. While Bt cotton adoption corresponded to a drop in spraying for bollworms, the study states, countrywide yields stagnated after 2007 even as more farmers began to grow Bt. By 2018, yields were lower than in the years of rapid Bt adoption.
  • Individual State data are more helpful in understanding subnational trends. In Maharashtra, yields climbed in the decade after 2000, with no change in the rate of increase when Bt cotton was introduced. In Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh as well, there is no correlation between the adoption of the variety and increase in yields. For instance, Gujarat’s surge in cotton yields was 138% in 2003, even as Bt cotton was used only for 5% of land under cotton. Similar findings are seen in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, where yield increase is incongruous with the spread of Bt cotton.
  • The rise in cotton yields can be explained by improvements in irrigation, for instance in Gujarat, and a dramatic growth across the country in the use of fertilizers. Gross fertilizer use for cotton more than doubled from 2007-2013; the average rose from 98 kg/ha in 2003 to 224 kg/ha in 2013.
  • There is a strong correlation between the rise in use of fertilizers in individual States and yields, and this bias increases when it is combined with improvements in irrigation.
  • The total insecticide expenditure per hectare reduced in 2006, and Lepidopteran spraying expenditures continued to fall until 2011. While the ABW that feeds on different plants does not appear to have developed a resistance to Bt, the PBW developed a resistance by 2009 in India. In a few years, the situation was dreadful. Bollworm spraying began to climb again. Sap-sucking insects have surged for the hybrids, as the hirsutum Bt cotton hybrids are quite vulnerable. With rising acreage under Bt cotton cultivation, expenditures for spraying for sucking pests also went up. By 2018, farmers were spending an average of $23.58 per hectare on insecticide — 37% more than the pre-Bt levels. 

Challenges involved: 

  • It is tough to isolate one particular aspect of a technology and evaluate it properly. A technology that works in the lab may fail in fields since real-world success hinges on multiple factors, such as different kinds of pests and local soil and irrigation conditions. The benefits of Bt cotton have been modest and short-lived.
  • Changes to the agricultural systems correlate better with positive yields, and countrywide yields have not improved in thirteen years. India’s global rank for cotton production is 36 despite heavy fertilizer use, irrigation, chemicals and Bt cotton usage. This is below the national average of some resource-poor African countries that don’t have Bt, hybrids or good access to inputs.

Way forward: 

  • The cost of ignoring ‘desi’ varieties for decades has been high for India. These varieties resist many pests and don’t present the problems faced with hybrids.
  • Research suggests that with pure-line cotton varieties, high density planting, and short season plants, cotton yields in India can be good and stand a better chance at withstanding the vagaries of climate change. But government backing for resources, infrastructure and seeds is essential to scale up ‘desi’ varieties.
  • It is time to pay attention to science and acknowledge that Bt cotton has failed in India, and not enter into further misadventures with other Bt crops such as brinjal or herbicide resistance.


It is important to recognise that adoption of any new technology such as Bt is a choice and not an imperative. For example, some of the major cotton-producing countries such as Brazil (until 2012) and Turkey (up to the present) have achieved high productivity without the use of GM cotton by using alternative pest-management approaches. The purpose of risk assessment in GMO regulation is to enable exercising of this choice by careful and comprehensive evaluation of costs and benefits. In the case of Bt cotton hybrids, the benefits were limited and costs may well have been too high, particularly for resource-poor farmers.


General Studies – 4


Topic : corporate governance.

6. What do you understand by “corporate governance”? How does it become all more important in the present era of liberalization, privatization and globalization? Explain. (250 words)


Why the question:

The question is based on the concept of corporate governance and its importance in the era of liberalization, privatization and globalization.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the concept of corporate governance relevance applied to today’s times.


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:


A corporate is a business organization wherein the ownership and management are separate.


Start by explaining the concept of corporate governance in detail with suitable examples, corporate governance can be understood as the set of all the processes that steer a business corporation towards a specific direction in such a way that interests of all the stakeholders in general and shareholders in particular are not compromised by the management.

Explain the stakeholders involved.

Using examples explain its importance in the era of liberalization, privatization and globalization.


Suggest way ahead.


                Corporate governance is the system of rules, practices, and processes by which a firm is directed and controlled. Corporate governance essentially involves balancing the interests of a company’s many stakeholders, such as shareholders, senior management executives, customers, suppliers, financiers, the government, and the community. Since corporate governance also provides the framework for attaining a company’s objectives, it encompasses practically every sphere of management, from action plans and internal controls to performance measurement and corporate disclosure.


Corporate governance establishes the relationship, among various primary participants of the firms those are shareholders, directors, and managers, in formulating the directions and performance of their firms. In a broader sense, it delineates the rights and responsibilities of each primary stakeholder and the design of institutions and mechanisms that induce or control board directors and management to best serve the economic interests of shareholders along with safeguarding the interest of other stakeholders of a firm.

A company’s corporate governance is important to investors since it shows a company’s direction and business integrity. Good corporate governance helps companies build trust with investors and the community. As a result, corporate governance helps promote financial viability by creating a long-term investment opportunity for market participants.

Communicating a firm’s corporate governance is a key component of community and investor relations. On Apple Inc.’s investor relations site, for example, the firm outlines its corporate leadership—its executive team, its board of directors—and its corporate governance, including its committee charters and governance documents, such as bylaws, stock ownership guidelines and articles of incorporation.

Most companies strive to have a high level of corporate governance. For many shareholders, it is not enough for a company to merely be profitable; it also needs to demonstrate good corporate citizenship through environmental awareness, ethical behavior, and sound corporate governance practices. Good corporate governance creates a transparent set of rules and controls in which shareholders, directors, and officers have aligned incentives.

Importance of corporate governance in the present era of liberalization, privatization and globalization:

In recent years, the ownership structure of companies has changed a lot. Public financial institutions, mutual funds, etc. are the single largest shareholder in most of the large companies. So, they have effective control on the management of the companies. They force the management to use corporate governance. That is, they put pressure on the management to become more efficient, transparent, accountable, etc. They also ask the management to make consumer-friendly policies, to protect all social groups and to protect the environment. So, the changing ownership structure has resulted in corporate governance.

  • Importance of Social Responsibility: Today, social responsibility is given a lot of importance. The Board of Directors has to protect the rights of the customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, local communities, etc. This is possible only if they use corporate governance
  • Growing Number of Scams: In recent years, many scams, frauds and corrupt practices have taken place. Misuse and misappropriation of public money are happening everyday in India and worldwide. It is happening in the stock market, banks, financial institutions, companies and government offices. In order to avoid these scams like Satyam scam or Nirav Modi scam and financial irregularities, many companies have started corporate governance.
  • Indifference on the part of Shareholders: In general, shareholders are inactive in the management of their companies. They only attend the Annual general meeting. Postal ballot is still absent in India. Proxies are not allowed to speak in the meetings. Shareholders associations are not strong. Therefore, directors misuse their power for their own benefits. So, there is a need for corporate governance to protect all the stakeholders of the company.
  • Globalization: Today most big companies are selling their goods in the global market. So, they have to attract foreign investor and foreign customers. They also have to follow foreign rules and regulations. All this requires corporate governance. Without Corporate governance, it is impossible to enter, survive and succeed the global market.
  • Takeovers and Mergers: Today, there are many takeovers and mergers in the business world. Corporate governance is required to protect the interest of all the parties during takeovers and mergers.
  • Required by law: SEBI has made corporate governance compulsory for certain companies. This is done to protect the interest of the investors and other stakeholders.
  • Accountability: Investor relations are essential part of good corporate governance. Investors directly/ indirectly entrust management of the company to create enhanced value for their investment. The company is hence obliged to make timely disclosures on regular basis to all its shareholders in Corporate Governance is integral to the existence of the company.
  • Easy Finance from Institutions: Several structural changes like increased role of financial intermediaries and institutional investors, size of the enterprises, investment choices available to investors, increased competition, and increased risk exposure have made monitoring the use of capital more complex thereby increasing the need of Good Corporate Governance. Evidences indicate that well-governed companies receive higher market valuations. The credit worthiness of a company can be trusted on the basis of corporate governance practiced in the company.
  • Enhancing Enterprise Valuation: Improved management accountability and operational transparency fulfill investors expectations and confidence on management and corporations, and in return, increase the value of corporations.


            Corporate governance is a system that aims to instill policies and rules that helps maintain the cohesiveness of an organization. It exists to help hold a company accountable, while helping them steer clear of financial, legal, and ethical pitfalls. The importance of corporate governance is made abundantly clear by the direct benefits seen when a good corporate governance framework is in place.

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