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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 3 December 2022


How to Follow Secure Initiative?

How to Self-evaluate your answer? 



Answer the following questions in 150 words:

General Studies – 1


1. As relationships change, constitutional rights on freedoms and liberties must expand. Do you think it is time to allow same-sex marriage under a special law? Critically comment.

Reference: The Hindu , The Hindu Insights on India


The debate over same-sex marriages is more of morality than on law. People try to establish a line of distinction between the ‘societal norms’ and ‘individual liberty’ especially in the culture where religion enjoys more prominence. The law on same-sex marriages in India is already indirectly established by the apex court. In March 2018, the Supreme Court of India has held that an adult has a fundamental right to marry a person of their own choice. The collective reading of this case with Navtej Singh Johar (September 2018) can be taken as a tacit recognition of same-sex marriage. Further in 2019, The High Court of Madras decreed and allowed the marriage under the Act.



  • With a steady advance in LGBTQ+ rights, a growing number of countries are legalising same sex weddings.
  • The institution of marriage in its current form, encompasses love, conversations, sex, procreation, sharing responsibilities and happiness.
  • There are technical aspects like property, inheritance, insurance, visitation rights in healthcare and custody and so on.
  • Marriage is the building block of stable communities. By what logic then should the government regulate the relationship between two consenting adults.
  • Specifically denying same sex couples the full rights of marriage is obviously discriminatory.
  • In India we have seen the Court intervene in cases of inter-religion and inter-caste marriages to protect our choices. This must extend to other groups. The law must ensure equality in the truest sense.
  • The battle for gay rights has been long and difficult. It took years for the courts to accept it is not an ‘unnatural offence’.
  • There was much reason to celebrate the abolishment of Article 377, but that is just the beginning.

Time for allowing same-sex marriage in India

  • The domain of marriages cannot be immune to reform and review.
  • Reform of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 to bring self-respect marriagesunder its very umbrella, is seen as a strong move towards breaking caste-based practices within the institution of marriage.
  • Self-respect marriages were legalised in Tamil Nadu (later, in Puducherry) through amendments to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
  • Self-respect marriages have done away with priests and religious symbols such as fire or saptapadi.
  • Solemnisation of such marriages requires only an exchange of rings or garlands or tying of the mangalsutra.
  • Similarly, understanding the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, the law must expand the institution of marriage to include all gender and sexual identities.

Global laws

  • Globally, the recognition of the unequal laws discriminating against the LGBTQIA+ community has acted as a trigger to reform and modernise legal architecture to become more inclusive and equal.
  • As a result of a verdict by the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the Civil Union Act, 2006 was enacted, enabling the voluntary union of two persons above 18 years of age, by way of marriage.
  • In Australia, the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws – General Law Reform) Act 2008was enacted to provide equal entitlements for same-sex couples in matters of, inter alia, social security, employment and taxation.
  • In England and Wales, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013enabled same-sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies or with religious rites.
  • In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples.It held the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples to be a grave and continuing harm, serving to disrespect and subordinate gays and lesbians.


At least 29 countries in the world have legalised same-sex marriage. It is time that India thinks beyond the binary and reviews its existing legal architecture in order to legalise marriages irrespective of gender identity and sexual orientation. The law is however a dynamic concept. Inevitably the nature of marriage would change if there is a change in society.


2. What is depopulation? What are the reasons for declining fertility rates in the country? How can depopulation impact the country?

Reference: The Hindu  ,Insights on India


Depopulation refers to substantial reduction in the population of an area. Population growth has declined mainly due to the abrupt decline in the global total fertility rate.

The world population touched 8 billion recently, the headlines are focusing India which is expected to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation by 2023.


Key elements of depopulation:

  • Equitable sharing of housework
  • Access to subsidized child care that allows women to have families as well as a career
  • Lowered barriers to immigration to enable entry to working-age people from countries which aren’t yet in population decline.

the reasons for declining fertility rates in the country

  • Higher education, increased mobility, late marriage, financially independent women, overall prosperity are all contributing to a falling TFR.
  • It goes below 2 in both urban and rural areas, where girls complete schooling and reduces further as they pass college.
  • Bihar, with the highest TFR of 3.2, had the maximum percentage of illiterate women at 26.8%, while Kerala, where the literacy rate among women is 99.3%, had among the lowest fertility rates.
  • Increased focus on family planning by use of Contraceptives, increased tubectomies and relatively lesser vasectomies have also contributed to the reducing TFR.
  • Urbanization, reduced joint family system, increasing nuclear and single-parent families, higher cost of living in urban areas and higher wages have discouraged aspiring parents to reduce the number of kids.
  • Working people in urban areas want better pay, implying that they have to reduce the number of children so as to increase the time they spend at their workplace.
  • As more cities come up, people move for jobs and employment tenure gets shorter, TFR may fall further.

Impacts of depopulation

  • Skewed sex ratio: It remains a danger.
    • NFHS: families with at least one son are less likely to want more children than families with just one daughter.
  • Regional disparities:
  • The stark differences between northern and southern Statesin terms of basic literacy as well as enrollment in higher education, including in technical fields.
    • It will mean that workers from the southern States are not automatically replaceable.
  • Sharp anti-Muslim tone in the conversationhas remained even though fertility between Hindus and Muslims is converging.

Way forward

  • Health and education parameters need to be improved substantially to make the Indian workforce efficient and skilled.
  • Enhance, support and coordinate private sector initiatives for skill development through appropriate Public-Private Partnership (PPP) models; strive for significant operational and financial involvement from the private sector
  • Focus on underprivileged sections of society and backward regions of the country thereby enabling a move out of poverty; similarly, focus significantly on the unorganized or informal sector workforce.
  • Measures should have pan Indian presence and not just concentrated in metropolitan cities as most of the workforce is likely to come from the rural hinterland.
  • Investing in people through healthcare, quality education, jobs and skills helps build human capital, which is key to supporting economic growth, ending extreme poverty, and creating more inclusive societies
  • New technology could be exploited to accelerate the pace of building human capital, including massive open online courses and virtual classrooms
  • Policymakers should have a greater incentive to redouble their efforts to promote human capital so that it can contribute to economic growth and job creation
  • Policies to boost fertility:
    • Germany allows more parental leave and benefits.
    • Denmark offers state-funded IVF for women below 40 years
    • Hungary recently nationalised IVF clinics.
    • Poland gives out monthly cash payments to parents having more than two children
    • Russia makes a one-time payment to parents when their second child is born


General Studies – 2


3. Examine the implications of China’s debt trap diplomacy on India and its neighbourhood. How can India offset the instability created by the Chinese foreign debt?

Reference: The Hindu , Insights on India


Debt-trap diplomacy is a theory that describes a powerful lending country or institution seeking to saddle a borrowing nation with enormous debt so as to increase its leverage over it.



China’s debt trap diplomacy

  • To gain rapid political and economic ascendency across the globe, China is dispensing billions of dollars in the form of concessional loans to developing countries, mostly for their large-scale infrastructure projects.
  • These developing nations, which are primarily low- or middle-income countries, are unable to keep up with the repayments, and Beijing then gets a chance to demand concessions or advantages in exchange for debt relief.
  • Sri Lanka, for instance, was forced to hand over control of the Hambantota port project to China for 99 years, as it owed massive debt to Beijing. This allowed China control over a key port positioned at the doorstep of its regional rival India, and a strategic foothold along a key commercial and military waterway.
  • In exchange for relief, China constructed its first military base in Djibouti. Whereas Angola is replaying multibillion-dollar debt to China with crude oil, creating major problems for its economy.


Implication of debt trap in India’s neighbourhood

  • Most of India’s neighbours have fallen prey to China’s debt trap, and ceded to China’s $8 tn project – One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR) or BRI which seeks to improve connectivity among countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.
  • Many nations have ceded control over strategic sea ports which can affect India’s regional security.
  • China through OBOR can increase India’s political cost of dealing with its neighbours because Kashmir, which India considers its part is also used in OBOR by Pakistan.
    • The CPEC corridor passes through the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
  • Kautilya, the famous India theorist on statecraft, suggests it is important to monitor and contain the activities of the state’s “enemy” and its diplomacy through engagement and cooperation rather than war.
  • Brahma Chellany, India’s leading China expert, writes in The Japan Times: “Indeed, by working to establish its dominance along the major trade arteries, while instigating territorial and maritime disputes with several neighbors, China is attempting to redraw Asia’s geopolitical map.”
  • In The Times of Central Asia, James Dorsey informs that a leaked long-term plan for China’s massive $56-billion investment in Pakistan exposes the goals of Beijing’s One Belt, One Road initiative as a “ploy for economic domination, the creation of surveillance states, and allowing China to influence media landscapes.”


Conclusion and way forward

  • Participatory Alternatives: Alternative projects must be launched by more advanced countries which are also participatory in nature taking into account the interests of the host/recipient countries.
  • Alternate Funding Sources: Alternative sources of funding for these connectivity projects must be taken into account. The larger nations will have to come forward.
    • Also, more professional financial institutions shall be invited to provide assistance in such issues.
  • India’s Role: India will have to work with its partners in the region to offer alternative connectivity arrangements to its neighbours.
  • Collaboration with Like-Minded Countries: India’s ability to act alone in South Asia and the larger Indian Ocean is limited.
    • It must seek help from partners like Japan when necessary to build and upgrade its infrastructure and create an alternative to Chinese-led connectivity corridors and infrastructure projects.



Value addition

Chinese wolf-warrior diplomacy

  • China’s dominance in the South China Sea and its policy of “Debt-Trap diplomacy”, “Island-encirclement” and “String of Pearls” show that there is no adherence to morality.
  • India-China fault lines: At the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, China has violated the status quo intruding into territory that is clearly on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control, or LAC.
  • Taiwan-China conflict: Island encirclement against Taiwan and forceful takeover are becoming more of a reality considering Chinese navy and air force activities in the region.
  • Hong-Kong unrest: The ‘one country two systems’ in Hong Kong is dead and with it, the pretence that the same could be applied for the peaceful unification of Taiwan.
    • Eg: Extension of national security law to Hong-Kong and recent warning to Taiwan on possibility of war if it shores up defence weapons.
  • South China Sea: China claims 90% of south China sea as its sovereign territory, continuously terrorising Vietnam, Philippines wrt Paracel and Spratly islands.
  • Belt and Road initiative: It is the 21st century Marshall Plan, through which China aims to dominate the world.
  • String of Pearls: China has security and economic compulsions to develop its bases in India Ocean Region (IOR) to secure its communication lines. Its eagerness to establish China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is to develop strategic communication alternatives
  • Salami Slicing: Continuously nibbling at neighbours’ land, at times even claiming an entire area on some dubious historicity, it successively builds up its military control over areas vital to its overall strategic designs. The annexation of Aksai Chin in the 1950s and repeated Chinese incursions into Indian territory are the executions of the same strategy.


General Studies – 3


4. What is a Tobin tax? Do you think levying a Tobin tax for climate change loss and damage fund to raise money for development and climate finance a good way forward? Critically examine.

Reference: Live Mintinvestopedia


In 1972, Nobel laureate James Tobin had suggested what came to be known as the Tobin tax. In essence, it would be an obligation on financial institutions to pay a cess on their currency transactions, but not investment flows. The ultimate aim would be to raise money for development and climate finance and make a sustainable economic recovery more feasible.


About Tobin tax

  • The currency transactions tax does not impact long-term investments.
  • It is only imposed on the excessive flow of money that moves regularly between financial markets through the actions of speculators in search of high short-term interest rates.
  • The tax is paid by banks and financial institutions that profit from market volatility by taking excessive short-term speculative positions in the currency markets.

Tobin tax for climate change loss and damage

  • The daily global currency trade is worth $6 trillion In this context, a Tobin tax that would be levied on spot currency transactions appears very desirable.
  • Even at a nominal rate of 25%, the tax could annually raise $4.5 trillion globally.
  • This significant amount can fund sustainable development goals (SDGs) and easily enable climate adaptation and mitigation for developing countries.
  • Such capital will also be more resilient, given that recessionary conditions do not gravely affect foreign exchange markets, at least in comparison with global stock and bond markets.
  • Introducing a Tobin tax will not only help in raising resources, but also help financial regulators track global currency flows.
  • This is analogous to the desire for greater transparency and equity that led to sweeping reforms in the global tax architecture through the G20-led global minimum corporate tax.
  • It also tells us that the G20 would be the best forum to drive momentum on this issue.

Way forward

  • In this regard, India can galvanize much needed support for a global Tobin tax by making it a part of its G20 agenda.
  • A consensus at the G20 will in turn lead to greater acceptance by the international community at large, and remove problems that could arise from a unilateral or limited imposition of this tax.
  • Specifically, India with a daily foreign exchange turnover of almost $33 billion, should provide the primary impetus to this proposition.
  • Further, given India’s interest in finding international coherence around the regulation of crypto assets, a global Tobin tax applicable to such digital assets could be a great starting point.


Renewed expressions of support for this tax are required from governments, non-governmental organizations and also civil society. A modern and resilient international financial architecture that is responsive to the needs of the hour can ensure environmentally sound and equitable development for future generations.


5. Road safety and environmental sustainability are closely intertwined concepts. Being cognisant of the latter while working on the former is the need of the hour. Discuss.

Reference: The HinduInsights on India


The impact of road safety goes a long way. In addition to ensuring an easier, comfortable, and more secure commute, safer roads also have a positive impact on the environment. In 2021, India reported 4,03,116 crashes, each of which adversely impacted the environment in various ways and in different degrees.


Statistics on road safety

  • In 2020 alone, speeding was responsible for 91,239 road crash fatalities, comprising 69.3% of all road crash deaths registered.
  • Speeding has consistently been responsible for over 60% of all road crash fatalities in India in the last five years.
  • Simulation exercises in Europe have demonstrated that cutting motorway speed limits even by 10 km/h can deliver 12% to 18% fuel savings for current technology passenger cars, along with a significant reduction in pollutant emissions, particularly Nitrogen Oxides and particulate matter (PM) output, from diesel vehicles.

Road safety and environmental sustainability linkage

  • Most vehicles contain toxic metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium or hexavalent chromium, which are detrimental to the environment.
  • Fuel and fluid leaks are seen at crash sites. Severe road crashes lead to automobile wreckage, which becomes a part of unusable end-of-life vehicles.
  • This gives rise to scrappage. India is estimated to have about 22.5 million end-of-life vehicles by 2025.
  • Despite being one of the largest car and light commercial vehicle markets in the world, India’s National Automobile Scrappage Policy, launched in 2021, is still in its nascent stages.
  • With the absence of widespread, systematic facilities dedicated to their proper recycling, vehicles after road crashes as well as old end-of-life automobiles are left to rot by the wayside.
  • Some end up at landfills or at informal recycling facilities where rudimentary hand tools are utilised to unscientifically dismantle them.
  • This leads to the leakage of hazardous constituents such as oils, coolants and glass wool.
  • Vehicle landfills turn into automobile graveyards leading to wasteful and sub-optimal land usage and water and soil pollution for decades.

Causes of road accidents

  • Many road accidents are the result of faulty road-design especially a single-lane one with a sharp curve.
    • Eg: In Cyrus Mistry accident, a parapet wall was protruding dangerously.
  • Infrastructural deficits: Pathetic conditions of roads and vehicles, poor visibility and poor road design and engineering – including quality of material and construction.
  • Negligence and risks: Over speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, tiredness or riding without a helmet, driving without seatbelts.
  • Distraction while driving like talking over mobile phones while driving has become a major cause of road accidents.
  • Overloading to save cost of transportation.
  • Weak Vehicle Safety Standards in India: In 2014, crash tests carried out by the Global New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) revealed that some of India’s top-selling car models have failed the UN’s frontal impact crash test.
  • Lack of awareness among people regarding importance of safety features like airbags, Anti-lock Braking system etc. Moreover, Vehicle manufacturers do not provide them as standard fitment but only in higher class of vehicles reducing their reach.

Measures needed

  • Implementation of Legislation: The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act of 2019 has provisions that aim to bring about change.
  • Behavioural Changes: Increasing motorcycle helmet use, increasing seat-belt uses and increasing child restraint use. Awareness regarding influence of alcohol on driving.
  • Safe Roads: Safety consideration during the planning, design, and operation of roads, can contribute to reducing road traffic deaths and injuries.
  • Vehicular Safety Standards: Vehicle safety features such as electronic stability control, effective Car Crash Standards and advanced braking should be made mandatory.
  • Awareness and Publicity: Mass media and social media should be used effectively for spreading awareness about road safety.
  • Training and capacity building: Training courses and training workshops have been organized for building capacity in road safety audits and road safety engineering.
  • Motor Vehicle Accident Fund is proposed to be created. It will provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India for certain types of accidents.

Way forward

  • Zones of excellence in Road Safety Model:  Union and state governments can earmark smaller areas in some cities as Zones of Excellence in Road Safety (ZoE).
    • All roads in the ZoE should be properly lane-marked, zebra-marked, and signposted.
    • Most markings and signage should, in addition to the pictorial image, define the instructions in words for easy understanding, and as a source of regular education of the road users.
    • A dedicated corridor for emergency vehicles must be marked.
  • Corrective action on the “black spots” should be completed on top priority in a ZoE.
  • In the meantime, temporary measures can be put in place to slow down, and guide the traffic.
    • It is also important to gradually provide enabling conditions such as improved, handicap-friendly footpaths, a safe lane for cyclists and pedestrians, more zebra paths with an inbuilt safety mechanism.
    • Round-the-clock checks should be conducted to enforce adherence to traffic norms in the earmarked ZoE.
  • All available tech devices should be deployed, and private IT agencies of repute roped in.
  • Regular road safety awareness and education programmes should be conducted in residential areas, over the weekends, with the active assistance of the RWAs/local bodies/NGOs.
  • A three-tier administrative structure can be put in place to run a ZoE in a smooth, war-zone like spirit.


Roads and the environment are inseparable spaces. They are not just our shared resources but also our joint responsibility. Therefore, safer roads and a sustainable environment can be ensured only through the joint efforts of road-owning agencies, enforcement officials and the public.



Answer the following questions in 250 words(15 marks each):

General Studies – 1


6. Explain the process behind a volcanic eruption. Why are some eruptions explosive in nature? What makes Hawaiian volcanoes different from other Volcanoes?

Reference: Down to EarthInsights on India


A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface. The process is called Volcanism and has been ongoing on Earth since the initial stages of its evolution over 4 billion years ago.

Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano erupted after 38 years spewing ash and debris.


Process behind a volcanic eruption

  • Earth’s surface gets hotter the deeper one goes under the surface, towards its core.
  • There is a term called geothermal gradient which is the amount that the Earth’s temperature increases with depth.
  • Geothermal gradient indicates heat flowing from the Earth’s warm interior to its surface.
  • This heat starts melting the rocks, at a certain depth which creates what geologists call ‘magma’.
  • Magma is lighter than solid rock and hence it rises, collecting in magma chambers.
  • These magma chambers have the potential to cause volcanic eruptions and are found at a relatively shallow depth, between 6-10 km under the surface.
  • As magma builds up in these chambers, it forces its way up through cracks and fissures in Earth’s crust referred to as volcanic eruption.
  • The magma that surfaces on the Earth’s crust is referred to as lava, this lava is explosive sometimes.
  • Chambers, which have the potential to cause volcanic eruptions, are found at a relatively shallow depth, between six to ten km under the surface.
  • As magma builds up in these chambers, it forces its way up through cracks and fissures in Earth’s crust. This is what we call a volcanic eruption. The magma that surfaces on the Earth’s crust is referred to as lava.

Hawaiian volcanoes differ from other Volcanoes

  • The majority of volcanoes in the world form along the boundaries of Earth’s tectonic plates—massive expanses of our planet’s lithosphere that continually shift, bumping into one another.
  • When tectonic plates collide, one often plunges deep below the other in what’s known as a subduction zone.
  • As the descending landmass sinks deep into the Earth, temperatures and pressures climb, releasing water from the rocks.
  • The water slightly reduces the melting point of the overlying rock, forming magma that can work its way to the surface—the spark of life to reawaken a slumbering volcano.
  • Not all volcanoes are related to subduction, Another way volcanoes can form is what’s known as hotspot volcanism.
  • In this situation, a zone of magmatic activity—or a hotspot—in the middle of a tectonic plate can push up through the crust to form a volcano.
  • Although the hotspot itself is thought to be largely stationary, the tectonic plates continue their slow march, building a line of volcanoes or islands on the surface. This mechanism is thought to be behind the Hawaii volcanic chain.

Reasons behind some eruptions being explosive in nature

  • Runny magma makes for less explosive volcanic eruptionsthat typically are less dangerous.
  • Since the magma is runny, gasses are able to escape, leading to a steady but relatively gentle flow of lava out of the mouth of the volcano. The eruption at Mauna Loa is of this kind. 
  • If magma is thick and sticky,it makes it harder for gasses to escape consistently. This leads to a build-up of pressure until a breaking point is reached.
  • At this time, the gasses escape violently, all at once, causing an explosion.
  • Lava blasts into the air, breaking apart into pieces called tephra. Mount Vesuvius, which obliterated the city of Pompeii, is an example of an explosive volcano.


Volcanoes have a huge impact on man and material as urbanization and globalization increases. The effects have impacts on flora, fauna and the global warming which can accelerate the climate change.


General Studies – 2


7. Examine the impact of language and cultural diversity on cooperative federalism between Centre and State governments. Do you think language is a barrier for achieving the goal of cooperative federalism?

Reference: The HinduInsights on IndiaIndian Express 


The term ‘federalism’ refers to the constitutionally allocated distribution of powers between two or more levels of government in the modern nation-state system—one, at the national level and the other, at the provincial, state or local level.

India has remained uniquely unified despite the infinite multiplicities of its cultures. Language is an essential ingredient of identity. The question of expressing national identity in a linguistically diverse society anxious to jettison or reduce the use of English as the language of the colonial power was passionately debated by the Constitution-makers and even linked to ‘national prestige’.


Provisions of language diversity in Constitution

  • Article 345 leaves it to the State to choose its language for official purposes. In actual practice, several States and Union Territories continue to use English.
  • Article 348 stipulates that all proceedings of the Supreme Court and ‘of every High Court’ and of Bills, etc. in Parliament shall be in the English language.
  • The Eighth Schedule and the periodic additions to it (now numbering 22) spell out the diversity and complexity of the language landscape as do the Official Languages Act of 1963 and its Rules made in 1976 and amended in 1987, 2007 and 2011.
  • The question of Official Language brought forth ‘passionate dissents’ in the Constituent Assembly and the drafting of the Constitution.
  • It covered language of legislatures; language of the courts and the judiciary, and language of the official work of the Union. Educational institutions of “national importance” and those of “scientific and technical education financed by Government of India” were in the Union List and education “including technical, medical and universities” were in the Concurrent List.
  • Some ambiguity inevitably crept into it. Thus Article 351 directs the state, in the development of Hindi, to draw upon other languages in the composite culture of India.
  • These include Hindustani that does not find a mention in the Eighth Schedule.

Impact of language and diversity on cooperative between the states and centre

  • Positives: Immediately after independence, there was a popular demand for the creation of linguistic states, signaling the assertion of regional sentiment over the centralized design of nation-building.
    • This led to creation of linguistic states and improvement in education, literacy and building of national integrity despite the diverse languages. People felt proud to be part of their State and as a larger part of nation asserting their own identity.
    • After the formation of states on linguistic basis the path to politics and power was now open to people speaking regional languages rather than the small English speaking elite or majoritarian hindi speaking northern India.
  • Negatives: It has led to several unintended consequences such as regionalism, linguistic chauvinism and the foundation of the “Sons of the soil” doctrine.
    • It has been used for divisive purposes and transformed into disruptive tendencies, such as communalism, casteism and linguistic or regional exclusiveness.
    • The issues of jobs, educational opportunities, access to political power and share in the larger economic cake has fueled rivalries and conflicts based on religion, region, caste and language.
    • Several issues that are a threat to India’s integrity have also emerged such as demand for new states based on backwardness such as Marathwada and Saurashtra, ethnicity in the North East etc.

Language and cooperativr federalism: Way forward

  • The constitutional course would be to opt for the language of Article 345, that allows each Legislature to the use of Hindi, or to choose its language, for all official purposes.
  • Electoral success: This would hinge on electoral success in terms of the official programme of the party in power
  • The idea of one official language may not foster the unity of the people: It may give rise to serious imbalances in regional representation in the all India services in the long run as well as the personnel structure of the Union government.
  • Address the issues: It is more necessary to address the concerns of the people of south Indian region on account of language.
    • The public opinion in the south is that English should continue as one of the official languages.
  • Natural development: Efforts should be made to ensure the natural development of Hindi in non-hindi states, so as to be able to meet the requirements of modern science and technology.


It is important now to rethink the design and structure of a genuine federal partnership, which should not merely be a race to garner more resources, but a creative attempt to move towards a vibrant Indian value chain that can catapult India’s growth rate closer to the quest for double-digit growth.


8. How is poverty measured in India? Examine the various issues in the measurement of poverty by the multidimensional poverty index (MPI). Do you think poverty has declined considerably post 2014 in the country? State your opinion.

Reference: Indian Express , Insights on India


Poverty is a state or condition in which a person or community lacks the financial resources and essentials for a minimum standard of living. Poverty means that the income level from employment is so low that basic human needs can’t be met. In India, 21.9% of the population lives below the national poverty line in 2011.

The all-India poverty ratio in 2020-21 is 17.9%, compared to 21.9% in 2011-12, with lower poverty in urban India compared to rural India. Poverty ratios have declined over this period, though by not as much as they might have.




Poverty measurement in India

  • Planning Commission Expert Group (1962), working group constituted by the Planning Commission formulated the separate poverty lines for rural and urban areas (₹20 and ₹25 per capita per year respectively).
  • VM Dandekar and N Rath (1971), made the first systematic assessment of poverty in India, based on National Sample Survey (NSS) data.
    • Unlike previous scholars who had considered subsistence living or basic minimum needs criteria as the measure of poverty line, VM Dandekar and N Rath were of the view that poverty line must be derived from the expenditure that was adequate to provide 2250 calories per day in both rural and urban areas.
    • Expenditure based Poverty line estimation, generated a debate on minimum calorie consumption norms.
  • Alagh Committee (1979): Task force constituted by the Planning Commission under the chairmanship of YK Alagh, constructed a poverty line for rural and urban areas on the basis of nutritional requirements and related consumption expenditure.
    • Poverty estimates for subsequent years were to be calculated by adjusting the price level for inflation.
  • Lakdawala Committee (1993): Task Force chaired by DT Lakdawala, based on the assumption that the basket of goods and services used to calculate Consumer Price Index-Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) and Consumer Price Index- Agricultural Labourers (CPI-AL) reflect the consumption patterns of the poor, made the following suggestions:
    • Consumption expenditure should be calculated based on calorie consumption as earlier.
    • State specific poverty lines should be constructed and these should be updated using the CPI-IW in urban areas and CPI-AL in rural areas.
    • Discontinuation of scaling of poverty estimates based on National Accounts Statistics.
  • Tendulkar Committee (2009): Expert group constituted by the Planning Commission and, chaired by Suresh Tendulkar, was constituted to review methodology for poverty estimation and to address the following shortcomings of the previous methods:
    • Obsolete Consumption Pattern: Consumption patterns were linked to the 1973-74 poverty line baskets (PLBs) of goods and services, whereas there were significant changes in the consumption patterns of the poor since that time, which were not reflected in the poverty estimates.
    • Inflation Adjustment: There were issues with the adjustment of prices for inflation, both spatially (across regions) and temporally (across time).
    • Health and Education Expenditure: Earlier poverty lines assumed that health and education would be provided by the state and formulated poverty lines accordingly.
  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for price changes since 2011-12, to arrive at corresponding poverty lines for 2020-21.
  • PLFS 2020-21 household monthly consumption data: using this the percentage of population living below that poverty line has been estimated.

Achievements in poverty alleviation over the years

  • Decline in Extreme Poverty:Extreme poverty in India was 3% points lower in 2019 compared with 2011, as poverty headcount rate declined from 22.5% in 2011 to 10.2% in 2019, with a comparatively sharper decline in rural areas.
    • Slight moderation in consumption inequality since 2011, but by a margin smaller than what is reported in the unreleased National Sample Survey -2017.
    • The extent of poverty reduction during 2015-2019 is estimated to be notably lower than earlier projections based on growth in private final consumption expenditure reported in national account statistics.
    • The World Bank defines “extreme poverty” as living on less than USD 1.90 per person per day.
  • Rural vs Urban Poverty:Poverty reduction was higher in rural areas compared with urban India as rural poverty declined from 26.3% in 2011 to 11.6% in 2019, while in urban areas the decline was from 14.2% to 6.3% in the corresponding period.
    • Rural and urban poverty dropped by 7 and 7.9% points during 2011-2019.
    • Urban poverty in India rose by 2% in 2016, coinciding with the demonetisation, and rural poverty rose by 10% in 2019.
  • Small Farmers:Smallholder farmers have experienced higher income growth. Real incomes for farmers with the smallest landholdings have grown by 10% in annualized terms between the two survey rounds (2013 and 2019) compared to a 2% growth for farmers with the largest landholding.
    • The growth in incomes of smallest landholders in rural areas provides more evidence of moderation in income disparity in rural areas.
    • Smallest landholders comprise a larger share of the poor population.This income includes wages, net receipt from crop production, net receipt from farming of animal farming and net receipt from non-farm business. Income from leasing out land has been exempted.

Issues in measurement of MPI

  • 2005-06 figures from an outdated MP series: Comparison between 2005-06 and “2011-12” is actually a comparison between two different sets of estimates for 2005-06 (indeed, the respective figures are very close to each other).
    • The comparison between “2011-12” and 2019-21 is actually a comparison between 2005-06 and 2019-21.
  • Figures projected as indicator-specific HCRs: They are not headcount ratios. They are “censored headcount ratios.
  • India Human Development Survey (IHDS) data: It is not comparable with NFHS in any case.
  • Censored HCR: Even if there is no improvement in nutrition, the censored HCR for nutrition deprivation would decline over time simply because multidimensional poverty is declining.
  • The rate of HCR decline was not uniformly faster in the second period: It was faster for most household amenities, but slower for most other indicators.
  • In MPI: The convention is to give equal weight (one third each) to health, education and amenities, and then equal weight to individual indicators within each domain.
    • Based on the conventional MP weights: overall rate of decline of deprivation was the same in both periods.
  • Multidimensional poverty” HCR: It declined faster in the second period.
    • The fast decline of multidimensional poverty in the second period is largely driven by the rapid improvement of amenities.
  • The rate of growth of per-capita consumption(according to national accounts figures): crashed in the second period (after the demonetisation self-goal).


Rapid economic growth and the use of technology for social sector programs have helped make a significant dent in extreme poverty in the country.

Despite rapid growth and development, an unacceptably high proportion of our population continues to suffer from severe and multidimensional deprivation. Thus, a more comprehensive and inclusive approach is required to eradicate poverty in India.


General Studies – 3


9. Elaborate upon the factors affecting the GDP growth post the economy’s recovery from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Enumerate measures to withstand the current global headwinds and predicted headwinds in the upcoming year and have a sustained rate of growth.

Reference: The HinduInsights on India


The latest official GDP estimates show the economy’s expansion decelerated in the July-September period, dragged down by year-on-year and sequential contractions in manufacturing and mining and a broad slowdown in private consumption expenditure and government spending. Gross domestic product is projected to have grown by 6.3% from the year-earlier period, a sharp deceleration from the 13.5% expansion posted in the first quarter and July-September 2021’s 8.4% pace.


Various factors that drove the GDP growth and the economic recovery post-covid

  • For India, a good run in the agriculture sector plus no stagnation in the railways, freight revenue, power sectors have led to an increased 1% projection.
  • Moreover, the GST collection for FY 2020-21 was record high at the value of ₹1.24 lac crore (₹1.24 trillion).
  • The exports figures have also seen a huge jump standing at 31 billion dollar.
    • It is a huge increment for the exports which have witnessed a decline for 7 months.
  • The Ozone concentration levels, power consumption or labour participation rates have so far remained resilient to the decline in growth.
  • India’s vaccination: Free and universal vaccination have stopped covid wreaking havoc in the Indian economy. India was not affected by a third wave and they were all mild cases with less mortality.

Global factors that may adversely affect india’s GDP

  • Ukraine crisis: Ukraine grows enough food to feed 400 million people worldwide, which includes 50% of the world’s sunflower oil supply, 10% of the worldwide grain supply and 13% of global corn supply.
    • As for now, up to 30% of crop areas in Ukraine will either not be planted or be unharvested this year because of the Russian attack.
    • In addition to this, supply chains from Ukraine have been disrupted, because of the closure of the Black Sea ports and limited ability to transport commodities through the Western border.
  • Energy challenges: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has the potential to accelerate the global shift to green energy in the long run, but as for the short-term it will have huge consequences on energy price and market structures.
    • Firstly, countries are working on contingency plans as a response to the shortage of oil and gas.
    • The United States, United Kingdom and Canada imposed an embargo on Russian oil and gas imports. The EU is working on plans to decrease dependence from Russian gas and oil by 2024, too.
  • Slowing Exports and Rising Imports:
    • The slowing growth of the manufacturing sector at 4.8% is an area of worry.
      • Also, imports being higher than exports is a matter of concern.
    • Unpredictable Weather:
      • There is an uneven monsoon that is likely to weigh upon agriculture growth and rural demand.
    • Rising Inflation:
      • There has been continuous rise in inflation about 6% for seven straight months.
        • The Indian economy faces headwinds from higher energy and commodity prices that are likely to weigh on consumer demand and companies’ investment plans.
      • Several key central banks, especially the US Fed, have started tightening their monetary policy in light of the high inflation in the developed countries. This, in turn, will force India’s RBI to raise interest rates as well.


Step that are needed to be taken

  • The government must spend where necessary at this time to alleviate the pain in the most troubled areas of the economy.
  • Announcing a credible target for the country’s consolidated debt over the next five years coupled with the setting up of an independent fiscal council to put forward on the quality of the budget would be very useful steps.
  • Budgetary resources can be expanded through asset sales, including parts of government enterprises and surplus government land.



India as the fifth largest economy in the world has to focus on growth recovery that is more sustainable and by just drawing satisfaction from just the growth numbers would not do much.

India is slowly but surely on the path to economic recovery and investment is the way to sustain this growth momentum.


10. Explain the mechanism behind the functioning of e-rupee? What are the types of e-rupee? What are the advantages associated with it?

Reference: Indian Express


In what would mark a leap into the future, the country’s central bank – the Reserve Bank of India – on Tuesday stated it will launch the first pilot for retail digital rupee (e₹-R) on Thursday, December 1, 2022. The Central Bank Digital Currency Retail (e₹-R) Pilot will be launched in select locations and in closed user group (CUG) consisting of participating customers and merchants.


Functioning of e-rupee

  • A digital rupee will be the electronic version of the Indian currency. It will be called e₹-R.
  • The RBI would issue e₹-R in the form of a digital token which would be legal tender.
  • The central bank will issue e₹-R in the same denominations in which it currently issues paper currency notes and coins.
  • In the first pilot of the retail digital rupee, four banks including the State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and IDFC First Bank will participate.
  • In the first pilot of the retail digital rupee, four banks including the State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and IDFC First Bank will participate.

Mechanism and working

  • Banks will issue and distribute digital rupee like physical cash.
  • A user will be able to undertake a transaction using e₹-R through a digital wallet offered by participating banks. Such digital wallets would have to be stored on mobile phones/devices in the form of applications and similar platforms.
  • The RBI will permit e₹-R transactions in both Person-to-Person (P2P) and Person-to-Merchant (P2M) modes.
  • Users will also be able to use e₹-R to make payments to merchants via QR codes.
  • Like physical cash, e₹-R will not earn any interest.
  • e₹-R will offer the flexibility of real-time conversion to other forms of money, like deposits with banks etc.

Conclusion and wayforward

  • The launch of CBDCs may not be a smooth affair and still requires more clarity in India. There are still a lot of misconceptions about the concept of digital currency in the country.
  • The effectiveness of CBDCs will depend on aspects such as privacy design and programmability.
  • There is a huge opportunity for India to take a lead globally via a large-scale rollout and adoption of digital currencies.

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December 2022

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