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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 January 2021

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


1. What was the response of Indian nationalists to World War-I? Did the national movement enter a stage of passivity during it? Examine. (250 words)

Reference: India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra.


When the First World War broke out, British Government, appealed to the Indian leaders to join hands with them, although the leaders agreed but they forwarded their own terms and conditions. When the war was over, British Government did not fulfil its promises. This led to change the views of nationalist leaders in the Second World War.

Response of the nationalist leaders towards World War I

  1. During the war years, political unrest was growing within India and Leaders such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Annie Besant launched the Home Rule League in 1916 and used India’s war contributions to demand self-government within the empire.
  2. Political moderates such as Surendranath Banerjee and Bhupendranath Basu, pledged their whole-hearted support to the Allies.
  3. Different political parties and communities such as the All India Muslim League, Madras Provincial Congress, Hindus of Punjab and the Parsee community of Bombay supported the Allies and fund-raising was organized, meetings were held in cities such as Calcutta, Bombay, Lahore and Allahabad.
  4. Mahatma Gandhi thought that England’s need should not be turned into our opportunity, and he argued that we should send our men to France and Mesopotamia.
  5. Moderate and extremist groups within the Congress submerged their differences in order to stand as a unified front and argued their enormous services to the British Empire during the war, demanded a reward and demonstrated the Indian capacity for self-rule thus the pre-war nationalist movement had revived.
  6. Lucknow Pact of 1916, was an alliance between Muslim League and Congress, which led to some sort of consensus over the issue of devolution of political power.

Response of Revolutionaries

  1. The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 gave a new lease of life to the nationalist movement since Britain’s difficulty was seen as India’s opportunity by the revolutionaries as well as other nationalists. This opportunity was seized, in different ways and with varying success, by the Ghadar revolutionaries based in North America.
  2. The Ghadarites attempted a violent overthrow of British rule. After the outbreak of World War- 1, Ghadarites conducted revolutionary activities in central Punjab and organized uprisings. This way the Ghadar party proved to be the stepping stone for future Indian revolutionary movements.

Indian national movement and the country’s socio-economic development did not take place in isolation. World War I linked India to global events in profound ways with far-reaching consequences.

Political Impact

  1. In India, the return of Punjabi soldiers after the end of the war also aroused political activityagainst colonial rule in that province, which became the spark for further wider protests. Punjab which supplied a large proportion of the troops turned into an epicentre of nationalism after the war.
  2. There was a surge of nationalism and rise of mass civil disobediencewhen the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms’ failed to deliver on the expectation of home rule that had led to popular support for the British war effort.
  3. As the war dragged on, casualties mounted and recruitment methods grew more coercive, resentment grew to fuel nationalism.

Social Impact

  1. Between 1911 and 1921,literacy rates increased significantly in heavily recruited communities. This effect is strongest for men of military age, which is consistent with the notion that soldiers learned to read and write on their foreign campaigns.
  2. Respect for particular communities who participated in the war grew in the society.
  3. The huge number of non-combatants were also recruited from India- such as nurses, doctors etc. leaving Indian society deprived of essential services in a situation where such skills were already scarce in India.

Economic Impact

  1. There was a sharp increase in demand for Indian goodsin Britain as production capabilities in Britain itself were diverted to the war effort.
  2. However, the disruption in shipping lanes because of the war also meant that Indian industry faced inconvenience because of the shortage of inputs that were earlier imported from Britain and Germany. There was excess demand as well as supply bottlenecks.
  3. Another result was inflation.Industrial prices nearly doubled in the six years after 1914. Accelerating prices benefitted Indian industry.
  4. Farm prices rose as well, but at a slower pace than industrial prices. The internal terms of trade (ratio of export prices to import prices) moved against agriculture. This trend continued for most of the next few decades, and especially during the collapse in global commodity prices during the Great Depression.
  5. Demand for food supplies, particularly cereals, led to rampant food inflation.
  6. Exports of cash crops like jute suffered due to the loss of the European market. Meanwhile, rising military demand for jute products compensated for the decline in civilian demand with jute mills in Bengal establishing monopolies; skewed income distribution grew even more so.
  7. The drain on the Indian economyin the form of cash, kind and loans to the British government came to about 367 million pounds.
  8. Domestic manufacturing sectors such as cotton benefitedfrom the decline in British goods that had dominated the pre-war market.
  9. The steel sector benefited as well.For instance, the ailing Tata steel mills were handed a lifeline in the form of a contract to supply rails to the Mesopotamian campaign.
  10. British investment was rerouted to the UK,creating opportunities for Indian capital. In short, the war economy boosted Indian capitalism in some ways at least.


Unfulfilled promises by British in the World War I made Indians not to trust British anymore, this led to Indian nationalists change their strategies. After World War IImovement like quit India launched by the Indian leaders eventually culminated in India’s independence in 1947, Two years after the end of the Second World War.


2. The revolutionary national movement in Bengal was distinct but its impact was profound like the rest of India. Comment. (250 words)


The emergence of revolutionary ideology in India during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was the result of several internal and external influences working on the minds of the youth.

Early phase of revolutionary movement in India was in Bengal, Maharashtra, Punjab, U.P., Orissa, Bihar and Madras provinces, but it predominantly operated in Bengal, Maharashtra and Punjab as these regions were more politically active than other parts of the country.

The reasons behind rise of revolutionary terrorism

  1. Nationalism among youth:Most vital factor which contributed to amplify the spirit of nationalism among the countrymen was the ‘economic exploitation’ of Indians by the British Government and the Partition of Bengal.
  2. Failure of Moderate and extremist congress:Younger element was not ready to retreat after the decline of national militancy phase. Fallout of Swadeshi and Boycott Movement was the immediate reason.
  3. Leadership’s failureto tap revolutionary energies of the youth.
  4. Government repressionleft no peaceful avenues open for the protest.
  5. Inspired from the individual heroic action on the lines of Irish nationalistsor Russian nihilists.
  6. Ideological appeal of ideas:Freedom through revolution, heroic action, supreme sacrifice, Assassinate unpopular British officials, strike terror in hearts of rulers and arouse people to expel the British with force attracted the new nationalists.

Impacts of revolutionary terrorism-

  1. The era of revolutionary terrorism began and very soon secret societies of the revolutionaries came up all over the country. The Anusilan Samiti, the most famous and long lasting secret society, with its headquarters at Calcutta created revolutionary centres all over India.
  2. Their activities took two forms- the assassination of oppressive officials, traitors and informers, and dacoities to raise funds for the purchase of arms, etc.
  3. It had its impact on the Congress strategy to involve the youths in the short term programme of rural reconstruction.
  4. Their sacrifices aroused the emotions of the Indian people and thus helped the building up of the national consciousness which certainly contributed to gaining independence.
  5. It could not mobilize the masses. In fact, it had no base among the people. They believed in individual heroism.
  6. This movement failed to achieve its object of independence. With the death of Chandrasekhar Azad in a shooting encounter in a public park at Allahabad in February 1931, the revolutionary movement virtually came to an end in Punjab, U.P. and Bihar.
  7. Surya Sen’s martyrdom also marked an end to the terrorist activity in Bengal. A process of rethinking on the part of the revolutionaries lodged in jails and in Andaman began. A large number of revolutionaries turned to Marxism.

Decline of Revolutionaries post 1930’s:

  1. Despite gaining popularity and a dedicated following, both the terrorist and the revolutionary movements could not achieve their objectives of freeing India from the British. This was because
  2. There was no central, all-India level organization which could control the activities in an organised manner;
  3. These movements appealed to the youngsters who had faced the hostilities of the British rule, but the mass following in the rural belt was unavailable;
  4. Germany, which promised arms and funds to be used against Britain could not deliver;
  5. The US entry and its subsequent dominance in the world war demoralised Germany and the allies to be of help to the Indian cause;
  6. Montagu’s package of self-governance for the Indians took the fizz out of the revolutionary activists;
  7. The congress party and other upper middle class politicians and leaders always disapproved of the ways of these movements; and
  8. Gandhi’s entry into the political scene of India marked a revolution in the form of satyagraha, which contributed to the decline of the revolutionary and terrorist activities.


Although they had failed to attain set objectives of attaining independence through armed revolt, they were successful in arousing people and remove the fear of authority from their minds and strike terror in the heart of the rulers


General Studies – 2


3. Amidst the vaccine rollout, there is a critical need for a climate of transparency and data sharing for scrutiny and debate. Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 


India embarking on the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination programmed, on January 16, 2021. The clinical trial ongoing within the country by the firms will continue. These vaccines are thus deemed to be market ready while regulatory processes and logistic requirements are being laid out.


  • What is the process for new vacation trial?
    • The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) is India’s national regulatory body for pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
    • Within the CDSCO, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) regulates pharmaceutical and medical devices and is positioning within the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
    • Clinical trials of new drugs and vaccines, and their approvals, are governed by the New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019.
    • Accordance with the provisions of the 2019 CT Rules, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) heads CDSCO, and is responsible for granting permission for clinical trials to be conducted and for regulating the sale and importation of drugs for use in clinical trials.
    • Traditional clinical trials follow a straightforward but mandatory three-step approach: designing, conducting and analyzing the collected data, according to a pre-specified analysis plan.
    • Seamless adaptive designs add a ‘review-adapt’ loop to the linear design-conduct-analysis sequence, with a pre-defined one primary endpoint and several secondary endpoints.
    • An adaptation is referred to a change made to the trial procedure, such as eligibility criteria, study dose, treatment duration or study endpoints, and/or statistical procedures such as randomization, study design, study hypothesis or statistical analysis plan, while a clinical trial is at the design stage.
    • These are a priori planned adaptations and should be based on data collected from the study itself, and different from unplanned ad hoc modifications that are common in traditional trials.
    • Drug Controller General of India is the final approval of drug.
  • Issue in new drug:
    • Impact of modifications: The clinical trial of both vaccines shall continue, community engagement is critical to establish community acceptability of control arms, placebo, and blinding and should adhere to WHO’s guidelines on good participatory practice (GPP).
    • Need for more caution: not every trial can be rescued by adaptation and adaptive designs. these should not be a cure for poor planning”
    • Adequacy of processes: An important aspect is also the perceived motivations of policymakers making decisions about the vaccine. Given the fact that data are still awaited on the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine.
    • Needed, openness: Scientists are trained and professionalized in dealing with doubt and uncertainty, given that all scientific knowledge is uncertain.
  • Solution:
    • There is a need to gain confidence of the people in the vaccines. There is need to establish an independent team of experts under the aegis of the WHO.
    • The nationwide vaccination drive is mostly a decentralized process, where state governments are preparing the list of elderly, people with comorbidities, healthcare and frontline workers.
    • The areas could be ranked on the basis of a vulnerability index built by triangulating data sets from disease burden, caseload of COVID infections, demographic profile, health-seeking behaviour and availability of infrastructure
    • The guidelines are ideal but do not reflect the real world of the health system that is full of flaws, defects, inconsistencies and cracks.
    • The availability of efficacy data could also impact the procurement and supply of vaccines, result in huge wastage, and can introduce scope for errors and duplication.
    • The immunization can disrupt routine health service delivery — antenatal care, national programmes like those pertaining to TB or other immunization drives and exhaust workers, particularly if another wave of the infection or other outbreaks like the bird flu.


There must be some mechanism for allocation beyond frontline workers — that identification is presently based on age and comorbidities, regardless of place of residence. Private sector organizations and PSUs can be allowed to hold vaccination drives for their own employees, relieving some burden from public health authorities. It is important to understand that vaccination is an incomplete solution to ending the epidemic.


General Studies – 3


4. The government, which has the final say on reserve prices, must step in to enable the Indian telecom industry to be a leader in 5G. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Business standard


The Union Cabinet cleared the much-awaited auction of radio spectrum in various bands for commercial mobile services. Following this decision the auction that will use the well-proven methodology of Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending (SMRA) Auction.


  • What does a Spectrum Auction mean?
    • Energy travels in the form of waves known as electromagnetic waves, these waves differ from each other in terms of frequencies, and this whole range of frequencies is called the spectrum.
    • In Telecom electromagnetic waves of different wavelengths are used, they are divided into bands based on frequencies.
    • A spectrum auction is a process whereby a government uses an auction system to sell the rights (licenses) to transmit signals over specific bands of the electromagnetic spectrum and to assign scarce spectrum resources.
    • Spectrum auctions makes use of natural resources for revenue raising and ensuring economic development.
  • Based on the recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the government is planning to auction spectrum in the sub GHz bands of 700, 800 and 900 MHz along with mid-band frequencies in bands of 1800, 2100, 2300, and 2500 MHz across the 22 Licensed Service Areas (LSAs) of the country.
  • The total spectrum to be auctioned is about 2,251 MHz, compared to about 2,355 MHz put on the block in 2016.
  • The cumulative reserve price — and hence the potential revenue accrual to the government at reserve prices — is about $50 billion.
  • Total reserve price of spectrum put on auction in 2016 was about $90 billion while the realized value was just about one-tenth of that, with none of the 700 MHz spectrum band being sold.
  • What are the factors that determine the success of spectrum auction?
    • The reserve price. Cross country spectrum database shows that the reserve price is positively correlated to the winning bid price. However, a higher reserve price also stops bidders from bidding for more spectrum blocks, resulting in lower amounts of spectrum sold as happened in 2016.
    • Factor of VoIP subscribers. Over the Top (OTT) providers are providing substitute goods such as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and are capturing a greater mind share of customers while remaining somewhat invisible to government regulators.
      • The scraping away of the position of telcos in front of OTTs would impact their relationship in the overall digital value network of devices, connectivity and apps, that could result in a lower willingness to pay.
    • Allocation of unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi shared the load of carrier network and reduces the demand for mobile network capacity. If government want to expand the Wi-Fi facilities, it needs to keep more spectrum unlicensed. The more the unlicensed spectrum allocation, the lower will be the demand for licensed spectrum.
    • Visibility of spectrum that will be up for auction. The amount of spectrum for 5G auction (namely 3.4-3.6 GHz) that will be made available by the government in late 2021 is not clear. It is creating a confusion among companies, should they acquire the spectrum now, or wait for subsequent auctions.
    • Reserve prices of different bands for the forthcoming auction as recommended by TRAI indicate that the average price per MHz per population (a common metric used for comparing spectrum prices) is around $3 for sub-GHz band and $1.70 for mid-band.
    • The right price
      • Higher reserve prices, though they increase spectrum prices, may leave again a swathe of spectrum blocks unsold as in the 2016 auction.
      • This will indicate a failure of the auction. Spectrum is a perishable scarce resource. If it cannot be used, then its value is lost.
      • When the whole country is adopting a new norm for Work from Home due to the COVID-19 crisis, it is important for the government to ensure that the spectrum put on the block is sold successfully.
    • Recommendation before the auction begins:
      • A re-visit of reserve prices and lower it further, especially that of 700 MHz (even though it was re-estimated to be lower by TRAI) which is the “golden band” for covering the hinterlands of the country;
      • Releasing more unlicensed spectrum in 2.4/5/60 GHz for proliferating Wi-Fi as a suitable complement to [the] carrier network; this will also augment the deployments of the Public Wi-Fi project which the cabinet approved recently;
      • Provide visibility of future auctions, especially the quantum of spectrum that can be put on the block in 3.3/3.6/26/28 GHz;
      • Now that OTT firms have been brought under regulation under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the government should release guidelines on how they will be regulated and what will be regulated so that the telecoms and OTTs can join hands to provide superior services for the benefit of the consumers.
    • Way Forward:
      • Government need to remove the irrational excitement of the past to address the impact of bad policy like the shortage of spectrum.
      • If government’s design is right, it can auction even water while keeping tariffs affordable or even subsidized, thus a better policy design is crucial.
      • The auction design must ensure the poor get a service at affordable price instead of concentrating on revenues.
      • Reforms also need to be roped in to reduce the ridiculously high license/spectrum charges and address the problems faced by the industry for better ease of doing.


5. Asses how the Niti Aayog’s draft guiding principles on their regulation have the potential to drive innovation and growth of the industry and enable India to emerge as a global hub for fantasy gaming. (250 words)

Reference: Live Mint


Fantasy Sports in India has been fast emerging in the last decade and amid pandemic owing to digitization, internet penetration, by leveraging 5G, artificial intelligence and virtual reality. So much so that it has been a major contributor to the growth of sports across the nation. Since Online Fantasy Sports has seen a major boom and has been attracting good foreign investment, Niti Aayog recommends a Self – Regulatory body for the fantasy sports industry.


  • What Is Fantasy Sports
    • Fantasy Sports are online prediction games where you put together a virtual team of real sports players. You earn points based on real-life statistics that are converted into fantasy points. The better your player performs in real life, the higher your fantasy points.
    • It is a type of game, often played using the Internet, where participants assemble imaginary or virtual teams composed of proxies of real players of a professional sport.
    • These teams compete based on the statistical performance of those players in actual games. This performance is converted into points that are compiled and totaled according to a roster selected by each fantasy team’s manager.
    • The fantasy sports are applicable to all the games such as Football, basketball, rugby, cycling, hockey, tennis, motorsports, golf, athletics, cricket, volleyball.
  • Difference Between Fantasy Sports & Other Online Games Or Sports Betting
    • Fantasy sports are entirely different from all forms of online games that are in the nature of e-sports, casual gaming etc. that do not need a real-life player to be actually playing a real sports match to decide the outcome for the participant.
    • Fantasy sports, unlike other online gaming, is dependent on actualities, seasonality and availability of real-time sports matches make it a non-addictive form of play which sets it distinctly apart from other forms of online game that are perceived to be in the nature of gambling and/or betting.
  • Economic Facts
    • Fantasy sports which began over 60 years ago as “fun” has today turned into a multi-billion-dollar industry and is growing rapidly.
    • The Online Fantasy Sports platforms and operators cumulatively paid GST of approximately INR 445 crore in the Financial Year 2020, substantially higher from INR 166 crore in Financial Year 2019, as per the FIFS report.
    • Fantasy sports as an industry has attracted significant amounts of Foreign Direct Investment in India. In 2018 and 2019, the industry attracted FDI of INR 1,500 crore approximately and has been growing exponentially. Details of Foreign Direct Investment – FDI is available on the given link.
    • The industry’s estimates indicate that fantasy sports platforms and operators cumulatively paid INR 166 crore in goods and services tax (GST) in Financial Year 2019 and INR 445 crore in Financial Year 2020. Read about Goods & Services Tax on the linked page.
    • Fantasy sports platforms have resulted in growth in digital transactions, which has been a long-standing objective of the “Digital India” campaign, driven by the Government of India. Go through the details of Digital India on the given link.
  • Regulation of Fantasy Sports
    • Niti Aayog submitted a draft report titled ‘Guiding Principles for the Uniform National-Level Regulation of Online Fantasy Sports Platforms in India’, and recommended the formation of a self-regulatory organization to govern fantasy gaming.
    • The report talks about uniform countrywide regulations for fantasy sports to ensure growth in the industry and removing the impediments caused by continuous legal challenges against all forms of online real-money gaming in different states.
    • The NITI Aayog report claims that the Indian online fantasy sports market has recently overtaken the US online fantasy sports market in terms of the user base.
    • It suggests that banning fantasy sports might not be a good decision as it will discourage innovation in this sector that has seen robust growth. Online fantasy sports in India have grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 212%, from 2 Million users in 2016 to 90 Million users in December 2019.
    • Fantasy Sports could attract foreign direct investment (FDI) of more than INR 10,000 Crores over the next few years, as well as generate 1.5 Billion online transactions by 2023.
    • As there are no set of government regulations, Fantasy industry standards are regulated by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports – FIFS. Self-regularization norms for the Indian fantasy sports industry is set up by the federation until the government comes out with any standards and laws.
    • Under the Constitution of India, the state legislatures have been given the power to frame state-specific laws on ‘betting and gambling’. The public gambling act of 1867 has been adopted by certain states. The other states in India have enacted their own legislation to regulate gaming/gambling activities within its territory.
    • Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Assam and Tamil Nadu have enforced complete bans on online real-money gaming, while Sikkim and Nagaland, require companies offering online games of skill to register for special licenses for conducting operations.
  • Fantasy Sports Regulation – Benefit
    • Formal recognition of the fantasy sports industry and providing for principle-led governance would enable Indian Online Fantasy Sports Platform (OFSP) operators to focus on innovation and achieve scale and expand their operations in a clear and principle-based regulatory environment.
    • In a recent market report, KPMG had noted that the number of users participating in online fantasy sports in India has grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 212 per cent, from 2 million users in June 2016 to 90 million users in December 2019.
    • Further, the report estimated that the fantasy sports industry has the potential to attract foreign direct investment of more thanRs10,00croreover the next few years as well as generate 1.5 billion online transactions by 2023.
    • A PricewaterhouseCoopers India’s report has noted that the fantasy sports industry has the potential to generate an additional 5,000+ direct and 7,000+ indirect jobs in the next 2-3 years.
    • It also estimates that the fantasy sports industry has the potential to contribute GST revenue of Rs 3,000croreto Rs 3,500croreover the next five years, with income tax on winnings and corporate tax paid by OFSP operators expected to contribute between Rs 7,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore over the next five years.
  • Way Forward
    • Fantasy Sports Industry can be seen as the next emerging industry that will not only grow out of India to the world but can significantly contribute to the growth of sports in India.
    • With a fast emerging “Digital India” and increasing internet penetration backed by smartphones, the rise of league-based sports and online viewership, fantasy sports is sure to pick up well in India in future.
    • The online fantasy Sports has the potential to contribute to other existing businesses as well that includes online sports content aggregators, online sports streaming, online sports scoring platforms, sports merchandising and e-commerce, digital payments, travel & sports experience, online coaching & sports turf management, cloud services, etc.
    • It can significantly create and Increase employment in the field of sports and allied services in the nation.


6. Rimland and heartland nations have very different perceptions of security. It is important for heartland ones to have a sense of control over areas just beyond their borders. Examine. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express


The geographical factor behind deeply inherent perceptions of security among different people are known but seldom given the importance it should get in efforts to understand and evolve resolutions to endemic conflicts.


  • The India-China boundary dispute in Arunachal Pradesh.
    • China’s claim is that the state is South Tibet, but this is probably maximalist posturing.
    • Except for the Tawang-Bomdila corridor in Arunachal’s western districts, the Tibetan Buddhist Church—as Alastair Lamb called it in The McMahon Line:
    • A Study in the Relations Between, India, China and Tibet, 1904 to 1914—had virtually no influence in the rest of the state, unlike say in Sikkim, Ladakh and Bhutan.
    • Tawang, the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama, indeed was under Tibetan control back then and it was only during the Shimla Conference of 1913-14 that Henry McMahon and Charles Bell bargained for its inclusion with India.
    • The reason was, Tawang was too close to the Assam plains. Tibet in turn was promised British support in case of Chinese aggression.
    • When China invaded Tibet in October 1950, Lhasa took the matter to the UN. Its allies Britain, the US and India were unwilling to sponsor its motion and it was ultimately El Salvador that did the favour.
    • This prompted Tibet to actually ask for the return of Tawang. After the Simla Conference, even though Tawang was politically made a part of India, it was still allowed to be under the cultural and religious control of Lhasa.
    • However, after China communicated to India of its decision to take over Tibet, New Delhi decided to end Lhasa’s suzerain influence on Tawang in early 1950.
    • There is also the legacy of the British frontier administration that complicated the matter. The most significant is the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, which created an Inner Line along the base of the hills surrounding the plains of Assam.
    • This line divided British revenue land from the non-revenue ones. While the former was to be administered, the latter were to be claimed but not administered.
    • Lord Curzon’s Romanes Lecture 1907 titled “Frontiers” gives more insights into how notions like “suzerainty”, “protectorate states”, “excluded” and “partially-excluded” resulted from this approach to frontier management.
    • These were territories where the British involved themselves in a calibrated way in indirect administration.
    • The Tibet case stood out in this. The British did not want to take control of it but did not want other powers extending their “sphere of influence” there. This legacy of boundary ambiguity is now being capitalized by China.
  • Primal politics shaped by subliminal anxieties: As in Kashmir, the anxiety here is also water.
    • Just as all major tributaries of the Indus River, including the five that irrigate the fertile plains of Punjab, either originate or flow through Kashmir, all the major tributaries of the Brahmaputra River also flow out of Arunachal. Controlling the state can hence be an important handle in controlling the Northeast as well as Bangladesh.
    • The same civilizational threat Indus valley would feel at losing control of the waters that feed it would also be true of the fertile plains Brahmaputra irrigates.
    • Even between friendly countries, the protest by Bangladesh regarding India’s proposed Tipaimukh Dam over the Barak is the litmus test to demonstrate this archetypal anxiety in the relationship between any river valley and the hills that surround it.
    • This dynamic can also be seen in the objections from Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to the demand for a Greater Nagaland.
    • Halford Mackinder’s influential Geographical Pivot of History in 1904, taken forward by Robert Kaplan in Revenge of Geography, elaborates on this further.
  • Rimland and heartland nations have very different perceptions of security.
    • Island nations are bound by natural boundaries, heartland nations invariably by artificial ones.
    • It is important for heartland nations to have a sense of control over territories immediately beyond their national boundaries. Russia’s extreme response to NATO befriending Ukraine was explained thus.
    • The vast plains that separate Russia from Western European powers have always been a source of Russia’s security through history.
    • The futile invasions by Napoleon and Hitler demonstrated this. The British Empire had a curious mix of both psychologies. The friction between Lord Morley in London at the India secretariat and Lord Curzon as viceroy in Calcutta say this loudly.
    • The heartland outlook to security was evident in Curzon’s Tibet anxiety, which led him to invade the monastery state in 1904 when he became convinced it was leaning towards Russia.
    • In London, Morley and his likes dismissed this concern and eventually ended up undoing whatever Curzon achieved.
    • Ironically, Minto, while in London in Morley’s office, spoke the same language, but once in India, he too began seeing as Curzon did and expressed his dissatisfaction at the way the Lhasa Convention 1904 was allowed to be usurped by the Peking Convention 1906.
    • It is arguable that if Curzon had his way, the British would probably have left Tibet like Bhutan, or Sikkim before 1975.


General Studies – 4


7. What do you understand by the following terms?

    1. Dedication of public service.
    2. Impartiality
    3. Probity
    4. Moral muteness.

Dedication of public service:

  • Dedication means quality of involving oneself completely or applying one’s attention, time to a particular activity, cause or a person.
  • Dedication in public service is required as civil servants in India, a developing country need to perform the regular administrative and also play an important role in socio-economic development of the nation through Good Governance
  • Public service is not a goal but journey which may be non-exciting and unwanted at times, only a dedicated civil servant can remain motivated in such situations.
  • Dedication would make sense of duty an end in itself, which will be independent of assignment.
  • For Eg: the role of Covid front line warriors – health workers, police officials in being committed to serve relentlessly despite their personal problems.


Impartiality is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons. For a public servant, it means that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice or personal interest.

“Impartiality is the life of justice, as justice is the life of all good governments”

Impartiality refers to equal interest and equal lack of interest without hatred or passion.

Importance of Impartiality:

  • Upholding constitutional values
  • Fulfilling all interests equally
  • Being fair and non-partisan
  • Eg: N Ravi, an interlocutor is effective in north east insurgency negotiations because of his impeccable record of impartiality.

Controlling corruption:

The examples are Sagayam IAS of Tamil Nadu cadre or Ashok Khemka of Haryana.


Probity is “the quality or condition of having strong moral principles, integrity, good character, honesty, decency”. It is the act of adhering to the highest principles and ideals rather than avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It balances service to the community against the self-interest of individuals

Principles of Probity:

  • Transparency:  Being transparent in one’s functioning.
  • Accountability: Being accountable of our actions and resultant outcome.
  • Confidentiality: Keeping government information secret and confidential.
  • Impartiality: Being impartial in one’s conduct based on merit of actions.

Eg: Tough action against illegal sand mining by IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal or against illegal land deal by Ashok Khemka sets an example of essence of probity among govt. Officers.

Moral Muteness: 

Moral muteness occurs when people witness unethical behaviour and choose not to say anything. It can also occur when people communicate in ways that obscure their moral beliefs and commitments.

When we see others acting unethically, often the easiest thing to do is look the other way. Studies show that less than half of those who witness organizational wrongdoing report it. To speak out risks conflict, and we tend to avoid conflict because we pay an emotional and social cost for it.

For example, in one study, psychologist Harold Takooshian planted fur coats, cameras, and TVs inside 310 locked cars in New York City. He sent a team of volunteers to break into the cars and steal the valuables, asking the “thieves” to act in an obviously suspicious manner. About 3,500 people witnessed the break-ins, but only 9 people took any kind of action. Of those who spoke up, five were policemen

Reasons for Moral Muteness:

  • Cumbersome processes of public service give very little time for moral reasoning
  • Red Tapism
  • Lack of Public officials to complete the assigned task
  • Irregularity of the public officials
  • Corruption in public service

Ways to resolve moral muteness:

  • Imparting value-based code of ethics
  • Encouraging moral reasoning
  • Reducing cumbersome processes of public service using e- governance
  • Giving value-based training for public officials

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