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[Mission 2023] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 4 March 2023


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

General Studies – 1


1. The Imphal-Kohima campaign is considered a significant turning point of the second world war in the Far East region. Throw light on India’s contribution to the world war-II.

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India


The Second World War was unequivocally the most pivotal global event in 20th-century history. Its political, economic and social consequences are still being played out today.  The Imphal-Kohima campaign is considered a significant turning point of the second world war in the Far East region.


Imphal- Kohima Campaign

  • The battle of Imphal was fought between the forces of the Imperial Japanese Army and the British and British Indian forces at Imphal in 1944.
  • It was an attempt by the Japanese to invade British-India but were beaten back with heavy losses, forever altering their fortunes in the Eastern theatre of World War 2.
  • The outcome of the battle of Imphal was a turning point of one of the most gruelling campaigns of the Second World War (1939-45).
  • The decisive Japanese defeat in north-east India became the springboard for the British Fourteenth Army’s subsequent re-conquest of Burma.
  • One of the fiercest battles of the Second World War, the Battle of Kohima started on 4 April 1944, in which British and Indian troops fought against the Japanese offensive in the northeast of India.
  • The Japanese were defeated which marked the beginning of the Allied push into Burma.
  • This battle turned the tide of the war in the eastern theatre and built the grounds for a Japanese retreat.

Course of the war

  • In 1944, during the height of the Second World War, the Japanese planned an incursion inito India via Burma. The plan was codenamed Operation U Go.
  • The plan was to attack the northeast of India through Burma. There was a British garrison at Kohima, today the capital of the state of Nagaland. The Japanese forces wished to attack the garrison and take Kohima after which they would take Assam and then march on to Delhi.
  • But, this was not to be as the British and Indian forces fought valiantly and thwarted the ambitious plans of Japan.
  • In March 1944, the Japanese came in through the dense jungles of the region from Burma into India. They attacked Imphal first catching the British by surprise. After this, they eyed Kohima and the garrison stationed there.
  • With the odds placed undeniably in favour of the Japanese, they attacked the garrison at Kohima with a view to capturing the town itself.
  • However, the British troops held on their strategic positions and troubled the Japanese with their artillery fire.
  • Supplies were low on both sides but the soldiers battled on steadfastly.
  • British reinforcements arrived in Dimapur to relieve the forces at Kohima. Now the Japanese realised that their position was precarious as they were extremely low on supplies. They began to fall back. The Japanese were also defeated during the in the subsequent Battle of Imphal.
  • The Battle of Kohima was one of the fiercest battles of the Second World War but one that India seemed to have forgotten.
  • The battle is often referred to as the Stalingrad of the East.

Indian’s contribution to the World-War II

  • It is estimated that approximately 2.5 million Indian soldiers served in World War 2.
  • Over 36,000 Indian soldiers lost their lives, 34,000 were wounded and 67,000 were taken prisoners of war.
  • Indian soldiers of the British Army earned 17 Victoria Crosses, the highest military honour under the British.
  • The Indian contribution extended beyond soldiers in the second world war.
  • The Indian soldiers, on the ground, fought courageously in every battle and built an envious reputation which the Indian Army has carried forward to this day.
  • Their exploits were seen in East and North Africa, Italy, Burma, and as far out as Singapore, Malay Peninsula, Guam, and Indo China.
  • The role played by Air Force pilots from India are legendary and well documented.
  • In the East, the Indian soldiers, as part of the British Indian Army, fought against the Japanese and were responsible for ultimately securing South East Asia that included Singapore, the Malay Peninsula and Burma.
  • Indian men and women of all backgrounds contributed to the war effort in the fight against fascism.
  • Indians helped in all aspects of the war effort, including serving on merchant supply ships transporting supplies and food to soldiers in Europe.
  • Indian doctors and nurses were heavily involved on British and other countries’ soil.
  • The Indian Comforts Fund (ICF) was founded in 1939 at India House in Aldwych and was run by Indian and British women.
  • Between 1939 and 1945, the ICF distributed over 1.7 million food packets to soldiers and Asian POWs, in addition to warm clothing and other supplies.


Although India was never involved in the cause of World War II, its participation had a major impact on the outcome of the war and the future course of in the shaping of South Asia and South-East Asia. Throughout WWII and the post-war period, India’s influence stretched from former Burma in the east to Afghanistan in the northwest.


2. What is a heatwave? Account for the increasing frequency of heatwaves across the country. Examine the impact of El-Nino on heatwaves in India.

Reference: The Hindu , Insights on India


Heat wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the pre-monsoon (April to June) summer season. According to Indian Meteorological Department, Heat wave is considered if maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40°C or more for Plains, 37°C or more for coastal stations and at least 30°C or more for Hilly regions.

In the week of February 21, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned that the maximum temperatures over northwest, west, and central India would be 3-5° C higher than the long-term average.


Reasons for India to experience increasing instances of heatwaves

  • Magnified effect of paved and concrete surfaces in urban areas and a lack of tree cover.
  • Urban heat island effects can make ambient temperatures feel 3 to 4 degrees more than what they are.
  • More heat waves were expected as globally temperatures had risen by an average 0.8 degrees in the past 100 years. Night-time temperatures are rising too.
  • Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally due to climate change.
  • High intensity of UV rays in medium-high heat wave zone.
  • Combination of exceptional heat stress and a predominantly rural population makes India vulnerable to heat waves.

El-Nino and Heatwaves

  • Heat waves are expected to become longer and more intense and more frequent over the Indian subcontinent.
  • The El Niño is a complementary phenomenon in which warmer water spreads west­-east across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Heat waves tend to be confined to north and north­ west India in El Niño years.
  • The joint influence of both El Niño warming and rising global temperature amplifies the potential for extreme heat episodes in many regions.
  • any transition from a La Niña to an El Niño phase will likely produce a rise in global average surface temperature with warming tendencies affecting the development of extreme heat in the Southern Hemisphere.

Measures to mitigate heat waves:

  • Switching to lighter-colored paving or porous green roads and cool roofs, to reflect more solar radiation.
  • For instance, after a severe 2010 heat wave, the city of Ahmedabad implemented a Heat Action Plan, including a cool-roofs program; research has shown this plan has prevented thousands of deaths.
  • Cities could increase their share of tree cover, which is significantly lower than what’s required to maintain an ecological balance.
  • People in urban areas could be encouraged to grow climbing plants and curtains of vegetation outside their windows.
  • Greenbelts around cities, for wind paths, would allow the passage of exhaust heat from urban air conditioners and automobiles.
  • Finally, air-quality standards should be enforced rigorously and continuously—not just when air pollution reaches hazardous levels.

Way forward:

  • In 2016, the National Disaster Management Agency prepared guidelines for state governments to formulate action plans for the prevention and management of heat waves, outlining four key strategies:
    • Forecasting heat waves and enabling an early warning system
    • Building capacity of healthcare professionals to deal with heat wave-related emergencies
    • Community outreach through various media
    • Inter-agency cooperation as well as engagement with other civil society organizations in the region.
  • Scientific Approach:
    • Climate data from the last 15-20 years can be correlated with the mortality and morbidity data to prepare a heat stress index and city-specific threshold.
    • Vulnerable areas and population could be identified by using GIS and satellite imagery for targeted actions.
  • Advance implementation of local Heat Action Plans, plus effective inter-agency coordination is a vital response which the government can deploy in order to protect vulnerable groups.
  • This will require identification of “heat hot spots”, analysis of meteorological data and allocation of resources to crisis-prone areas.
  • The India Cooling Action Planmust emphasize the urgency and need for better planning, zoning and building regulations to prevent Urban Heat Islands.
  • Provision of public messaging (radio, TV), mobile phone-based text messages, automated phone calls and alerts.
  • Promotion of traditional adaptation practices, such as staying indoors and wearing comfortable clothes.
  • Popularization of simple design features such as shaded windows, underground water storage tanks and insulating housing materials.


General Studies – 2


3. Social capital and civil society are closely related, as strong social capital is often a necessary condition for the development of a robust civil society. Examine.

Reference: Down to Earth ,Insights on IndiaInsights on India


Civil Society Organizations can be defined to include all non-market and non-state organizations outside of the family in which people organize themselves to pursue shared interests in the public domain”.

Examples include community-based organizations and village associations, environmental groups, women’s rights groups, farmers’ associations, faith-based organizations, labour unions, co-operatives, professional associations, chambers of commerce, independent research institutes and the not-for-profit media.


India has nearly 3.4 million NGOs, working in a variety of fields ranging from disaster relief to advocacy for marginalised and disadvantaged communities. There the role and responsibilities are immense in developing country like India

Role of NGOs in building social capital

  • Protection of Rights:
    • They are playing a protective role by seeing that the tribal rights are safeguarded. Greenpeace is one such organization.
    • Implementation of PESA act to empower gram Sabha to safeguard tribal rights and culture.
    • Implementation of forest right act 2006 to ensure individual and community rights for tribals over forest and forest produce
    • Fighting on land issues, restoration of land rights and Fighting against injustice. E.g.: Dongria Konds’ fight for land in the Niyamgiri hills.
  • Education:
    • They have helped facilitate free boarding and lodging to the Tribal children for education
    • Computer centres were also being established by various NGO’s such as Kothari institute.
    • These institutions are directing their energies for socio-economic development of tribes to bring them into fruitful channels of development
  • Health and Medicine:
    • NGOs have contributed in a positive note to the development of tribal health and in the protection of their indigenous knowledge base which is either ignored or exploited.
    • Tribals have a profound knowledge of the flora and fauna, the appropriate plant species with medical importance, their location, the parts to be used, time of collection, preparation and administration of the same.
    • Their knowledge of the ethno-medicine is very important   for   their
    • Provision of food: Nutrition programmes and Immunization drives against deadly diseases
  • Environmental Conservation:
    • Protection of sacred groves, water bodies etc. which hold cultural significance for tribal population.
    • Fights against construction of dams, roads, industries in the Eco-Sensitive Zones which can affect the ecosystem.
  • Livelihood enhancement:
    • Self-employment by Guidance on self-occupation, Handicraft development etc.
    • To overcome the debt trap, several NGO have formed Self-help Groups (SHG’s), which pool money collected from tribals and provide low interest loans to them.
    • Providing market access to the Minor Forest Produce collected by tribals and the products created by them.
    • This helps reduce the distress migration to cities in search of work.
  • Awareness Generation:
    • The NGOs create awareness among the tribals by demonstrating the conservation and preservation of the forest and its resources.
    • They use the audio-visual aids for creating a lasting impression and campaign for ensuring the promotion of important herbal plants in kitchen-garden and nurseries.
  • Inclusive Development:
    • Activities related with Women’s development: Formation of Women’s groups, Saving group of women, training of self-employment, Women’s Co-operative Society, Income generation for women, Women’s employment, etc.
    • Youth development activities: Formation of Youth groups.

Issues involved in NGO functioning:

  • Misappropriation of funds: Many NGOs don’t have sophisticated finance and legal teams, nor do they have the funds to conduct audits.
  • The issue of foreign funding: According to government data a total of 3,068 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) received foreign funding above Rs. 22,000 Cr in 2014-15. It is often said that foreign-funded NGOs tries to propagate the foreign propaganda to stall developmental projects. Example: Kudankulam Protest.
  • Non-accountable, non-transparent undemocratic functioning: CBI records filed in the Supreme Court show that only 10% of the total registered NGOs under the Societies Registration Act file annual financial statements.
  • Money Laundering: Corrupt or unscrupulous NGOs that receive foreign funds may serve as conduits for money laundering.
  • Accreditation remains a big challenge as it is very difficult to distinguish whether an organization wants to work for the cause or has been set up only for the purpose of receiving government grants.
  • Over dependence on funds from the government dilutes the willingness of NGOs to speak out against the government.
  • NGOs are often seen as encroaching on centuries-old tradition and culture of the people, and lead to mass protest at times. Ban of Jallikattu, after the PIL by PETA is one such example

Way Forward:

  • National Accreditation Council consisting of academicians, activist, retired bureaucrats should be made to ensure compliance by NGOs.
  • There should be better coordination between Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance in terms of monitoring and regulating illicit and unaccounted funds.
  • An amended FCRA was enacted under the UPA government in 2010. The law was amended again by the current government in 2020, giving the government tighter control and scrutiny over the receipt and utilisation of foreign funds by NGOs.
  • regulatory mechanism to keep a watch on the financial activities of NGOs and voluntary organizations is the need of the hour.
  • Citizens today are keen to play an active role in processes that shape their lives and it is important that their participation in democracy go beyond the ritual of voting and should include promotion of social justice, gender equity, inclusion etc.
  • The government should frame guidelines for their accreditation, the manner in which these organizations should maintain their accounts and the procedure for recovery in case they fail to submit their balance sheets.
  • Avoid tussle between Home Ministry and Finance Ministry by bringing the regulation of NGOs under one head.
  • General Financial Rules, 2005 have mandated a regulatory mechanism for the NGOs and a comprehensive law in line with these rules should be framed in no time.


CSOs, NGOs, Pressure groups form the backbone of democracy. Democracy does not just revolve around elections but how rights of the citizens are protected and are allowed to hold power holders accountable. The state must respect the articulation of the politics of voice and not just the politics of the vote. The promises of democracy can only be realised through collective action in civil society. A democratic state needs a democratic civil society and a democratic civil society also needs a democratic state. They mutually reinforce each other.


General Studies – 3


4. How is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) calculated in India? Examine the limitations pertaining to GDP as an economic performance measurement framework of the country.

Reference: The Hindu


Gross domestic product (GDP) is the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period. As a broad measure of overall domestic production, it functions as a comprehensive scorecard of a given country’s economic health. Samuelson and Nordhaus liken the ability of GDP to give an overall picture of the state of the economy to that of a satellite in space that can survey the weather across an entire continent.

The National Statistical Office’s latest release of GDP data estimates a further deceleration in growth in the October-December 2022 quarter, a slowdown that the government’s Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) has attributed largely to an upward revision in the year-earlier period’s figures.


Calculation of GDP

To assess India’s productivity, the GDP is calculated using the factor cost method across eight industries and the expenditure method is used to analyse how different areas of the economy are performing.

GDP is a poor way of assessing health of our economies

  • Simon Kuznets, who developed concept of GDP, warned it was not a suitable measure of a country’s economic development. He understood that GDP is not a welfare measure, it is not a measure of how well we are all doing. It counts the things that we’re buying and selling, but it’s quite possible for GDP to go in the opposite direction of welfare.
  • In contemporary times, with the changes brought on by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the measure is even less of a reflection of the things that really matter.
  • GDP counts “bads” as well as “goods.” When an earthquake hits and requires rebuilding, GDP increases. When someone gets sick and money is spent on their care, it’s counted as part of GDP. But nobody would argue that we’re better off because of a destructive earthquake or people getting sick.
  • GDP makes no adjustment for leisure time. Imagine two economies with identical standards of living, but in one economy the workday averages 12 hours, while in the other it’s only eight.
  • GDP only counts goods that pass through official, organized markets, so it misses home production and black market activity. If people begin hiring others to clean their homes instead of doing it themselves, or if they go out to dinner instead of cooking at home, GDP will appear to grow even though the total amount produced hasn’t changed.
  • GDP doesn’t adjust for the distribution of goods. Again, imagine two economies, but this time one has a ruler who gets 90 percent of what’s produced, and everyone else subsists — barely — on what’s left over. In the second, the distribution is considerably more equitable. In both cases, GDP per capita will be the same.
  • GDP isn’t adjusted for pollution costs. If two economies have the same GDP per capita, but one has polluted air and water while the other doesn’t, well-being will be different but GDP per capita won’t capture it.
  • GDP is unable to fully capture the benefits of technology. Think of a free app on your phone that you rely upon for traffic updates, directions, the weather, instantaneous information and so on. Because it’s free, there’s no way to use prices — our willingness to pay for the good — as a measure of how much we value it.

GDP fails as a measure of human well-being:

  • Since the institution of GDP figures and country rankings, other measures of the quality of life have appeared. E.g.:,The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) annually issues a report based on a study of 140 countries, indicating the levels of happiness in those countries. For at least the last decade, European countries such as Denmark, Finland, have ranked at the top and India is nowhere to be seen.
  • Economists have focused too narrowly on the economic side of human aspirations, setting aside human yearnings for belonging to social collectives and nations.
  • The progress is too unequalThe Oxfam report which shows that 1% of the people own about 60% of the wealth in India.
  • GDP is neither a measure of welfare nor an indicator of well-being.
    • That is because it is not set up to recognize important aspects of our lives that are not captured by the acts of spending and investing.
    • There is no room in GDP for volunteering or housework, for example; nor does it recognize that there is value in community or in time spent with families.
    • More measurable things such as damage to our environment are also left out, as is job satisfaction. GDP doesn’t even measure the state of jobs.
  • Capitalist systems founded on a religion of property rights have treated nature that nurtures as an “externality” to be exploited. Thus, it does not take into account the sustainability of future GDP.
  • GDP also ignores important factors like environment, happiness, community, fairness and justice. But these are important aspects of development.
  • It does not allow for the health of children, the quality of their education or the strength of marriages; neither wisdom nor learning; neither compassion nor devotion to country which makes life worthwhile.
  • GDP also assumes all growth is good growth:savings from energy-efficient devices counts as a negative for GDP growth, even though it is a positive for society.
  • GDP does not take into account the value of non-monetized activity:Care activity of women.
  • GDP does not differentiate between more or less productive economic activity (i.e. implicitly assumes that economic activity is the desirable ends rather than a means to an end).
  • All value additions for self-consumption, which are not put out in the market, are not accounted in the GDP.

Way forward

  • Broader, non-monetary measures are required to assess the well-being of citizens.
  • Green GDP could be used which attempts to adjust for environmental factors
  • The other alternative measures include OECD’s “GDP alternatives,” which adjust for leisure; the “Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare,” which accounts for both pollution costs and the distribution of income.
  • The “Genuine Progress Indicator,” which “adjusts for factors such as income distribution, adds factors such as the value of household and volunteer work, and subtracts factors such as the costs of crime and pollution.”
  • There are more direct measures of well-being such as the Happy Planet Index, Gross National Happiness and National Well-Being Accounts.
  • To make the world better for everyone, consumers must learn to be better citizens and to democratically govern the local systems within which they live.

Value addition

Benefits of GDP as a tool to measure the growth of a nation:

  • GDP consists of consumer spending, Investment expenditure, government spending and net exports.
  • It provides an insight to investors which highlights the trend of the economy by comparing GDP levels as an index.
  • GDP is used as an indicator for most governments and economic decision-makers for planning and policy formulation.
  • GDP is not the perfect way to measure growth. But among the alternatives, it is the least “inaccurate” method to compute the growth rate of the country.
  • GDP is also used as an indicator of a nation’s overall standard of living because, generally, a nation’s standard of living increases as GDP increases.
  • If by growth one means the expansion of output of goods and services, then GDP or preferably real GDP which measures growth without the effects of inflation is perfectly satisfactory
  • Calculation of GDP provides with the general health of the economy. A negative GDP growth portrays bad signals for the economy. Economists analyse GDP to find out whether the economy is in recession, depression or boom.
  • GDP growth over time enables central banks and policymakers to evaluate whether the economy is in recession or inflation. In that sense it is still required.
  • GDP has held significance as a universal metric over the years.
  • It is inaccurate to say that GDP does not capture wellbeing. It captures at least the wellbeing that results from the production of goods and services. Indeed, when statisticians quantify the goods and services produced, they take into account their utility to the consumer.


5. List the actions that the government has taken to combat plastic pollution in the nation. Do you believe that a globally binding agreement on plastics and plastic pollution is the best course of action to deal with this menace? State your opinion.

Reference: Down to Earth


The plastic consumption across G20 countries is expected to nearly double by 2050, according to a new report. The volume of plastic consumed across the G20 countries will grow to 451 million tonnes by 2050 from 261 million tonnes in 2019, the report Peak Plastics: Bending the Consumption Curve published recently showed.


Measures taken by India so far to tackle plastic pollution

  • India recently released a draft resolution to address plastic pollution, a month ahead of the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) to be held in Nairobi. India’s framework proposed a voluntary approach rather than a legally binding one, unlike drafts presented by some other countries.
  • In 2019, the Union government in a bid to free India of single-use plastics by 2022, had laid out a multi-ministerial plan to discourage the use of single-use plastics across the country.
  • Currently, the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, prohibits manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of carry bags and plastic sheets less than 50 microns in thickness in the country.
  • The Environment Ministry has notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021.
  • These rules prohibit specific single-use plastic items which have “low utility and high littering potential” by 2022.
  • The permitted thickness of the plastic bags, currently 50 microns, will be increased to 75 microns from 30th September, 2021, and to 120 microns from the 31st December, 2022.
  • At the policy level, the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), already mentioned under the 2016 Rules, has to be promoted.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board, along with state pollution bodies, will monitor the ban,identify violations, and impose penaltiesalready prescribed under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board has reported that 22 States have, in the past, announced a ban on single-use plastic, but this has had little impact on the crisis of waste choking wetlands and waterways and being transported to the oceans to turn into microplastic.
  • So far, 22 States and Union Territories have joined the fight to beat the plastic pollution, announcing a ban on single-use plastics such as carry bags, cups, plates, cutlery, straws and thermocol products.
  • India has also won global acclaim for its “Beat Plastic Pollution” resolve declared on World Environment Day last year, under which it pledged to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022.

Efforts undertaken by India to ban single-use plastic

  • Monitoring by CPCB:The ban will be monitored by the CPCB from the Centre and by the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) that will report to the Centre regularly.
  • Stop raw materials supply: Directions have been issued at national, state and local levels — for example, to all petrochemical industries — to not supply raw materials to industries engaged in the banned items.
  • Directions to industries:SPCBs and Pollution Control Committees will modify or revoke consent to operate issued under the Air/Water Actto industries engaged in single-use plastic items.
  • Fresh licensing required: Local authorities have been directed to issue fresh commercial licenses with the condition that SUP items will not be sold on their premises, and existing commercial licences will be cancelled if they are found to be selling these items.
  • Encouraging compostable plastics:CPCB has issued one-time certificates to 200 manufacturers of compostable plastic and the BIS passed standards for biodegradable plastic.
  • Penalty: Those found violating the ban can be penalised under the Environment Protection Act 1986 – which allows for imprisonment up to 5 years, or a penalty up to Rs 1 lakh, or both.
    • Violators can also be asked to pay Environmental Damage Compensationby the SPCB.

Pros of a legally binding global treaty on plastics

  • An uniform set of laws applies to all countries thereby boosting the cumulative effort across globe to tackle plastic pollution.
  • Strengthens the global drive to curb the plastic pollution of all types – land, marine etc.
  • Helps build a financial mechanism to boost the efforts towards fighting plastic pollution.


  • Not all countries could be able to abide by the treaty as alternative to plastic may be unaffordable or inaccessible or unavailable.
  • Goes against the common but differentiated responsibilities principle.

Way forward

  • As consumers, we should ensure that all plastic waste leaving our homes is segregated and is not contaminated with food waste.
  • Managing plastic waste requires effective knowledge, not only among those who produce the plastic but also among those who handle it.
  • The brand owner and manufacturer should try and understand the fates a plastic packaging material would meet after its purpose of packaging has been served.
  • Citizens have to bring behavioral change and contribute by not littering and helping in waste segregation and waste management.
  • To encourage innovation in development of alternatives to identified single use plastic items and digital solutions to plastic waste management, the India Plastic Challenge – Hackathon 2021, has been organized for students of Higher Educational Institutions and start-ups recognized under Start-up India Initiative.
  • Promote alternatives like cotton, khadi bags and bio-degradable plastics.
  • Provide economic incentives to encourage the uptake of eco-friendly and fit-for-purpose alternatives that do not cause more harm. Support can include tax rebates, research and development funds, technology incubation, public-private partnerships, and support to projects that recycle single-use items and turn waste into a resource that can be used again.
  • Reduce or abolish taxes on the import of materials used to make alternatives.
  • Provide incentives to industry by introducing tax rebates or other conditions to support its transition. Governments will face resistance from the plastics industry, including importers and distributors of plastic packaging. Give them time to adapt.
  • Use revenues collected from taxes or levies on single-use plastics to maximize the public good. Support environmental projects or boost local recycling with the funds. Create jobs in the plastic recycling sector with seed funding.
  • Enforce the measure chosen effectively, by making sure that there is clear allocation of roles and responsibilities.
  • Monitor and adjust the chosen measure if necessary and update the public on progress.


The pressure on producers to streamline the collection, recycling and processing of all forms of plastic is bound to growIndividuals and organizations should now actively remove plastic waste from their surroundings and municipal bodies must arrange to collect these articles. Startups and industries should think of newer ways of recycling plastic.


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

General Studies – 1


6. “While the Adopt a Heritage” scheme has the potential to promote the development and preservation of heritage sites, it is essential to ensure that the program’s implementation is closely monitored to prevent any negative impacts on the heritage sites. Critically examine.

Reference: The HinduInsights on India


The ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ of Ministry of Tourism was launched on World Tourism Day i.e. 27th September, 2017. This project is a key initiative of Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archeological Survey of India (ASI), to develop the heritage sites / monuments and making them tourist-friendly to enhance the tourism potential and their cultural importance in a planned and phased manner.


Working of Adopt a heritage scheme

  • The sites/monument for this scheme will be selected on the basis of tourist footfall and visibility and can be adopted by private and public sector companies and individuals known as Monument Mitras for an initial period of five years.
  • The Monument Mitras are selected by the ‘oversight and vision committee,’ co-chaired by the Tourism Secretary and the Culture Secretary.
  • There is no financial bid involved and the corporate sector is expected to use corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds for the upkeep of the site.
  • The Monument Mitras, in turn, will get limited visibility on the site premises and on the Incredible India website.
  • The oversight committee also has the power to terminate a memorandum of understanding in case of non-compliance or non-performance.

Background/ Recent Development

  • Private firms, companies, and public sector units can enter into agreementswith the Union Ministry of Culture to adopt and maintain State-owned archaeological sites or monuments.
  • Businesses that enter such agreements are going to be known as Monument Mitras.
  • Central government’s target: Adoption of 500 protected sites by August 15, and the adoption of another 500 sites shortly thereafter.

advantages of the scheme in promoting public-private partnerships

  • Businesses may use their Corporate Social Responsibility fundsat select sites to construct and maintain ticket offices, restaurants, museums, interpretation centers, toilets, and walkways.
  • They may illuminate monuments,set up guided tours, hold cultural programmes, and fix equipment for light and sound shows.
  • Corporate control of some monuments and heritage sites ensure that their maintenance and operations could be handled more professionally.
  • Facilitate sustainable tourism infrastructure and ensure proper operation and maintenance within it.
  • An agency with the best vision for the heritage site will be given an opportunity to associate pride with their CSR activities.
  • The company would also get limited visibility on the premises and the Incredible India website.
  • Create employment opportunities and support community livelihoods in and around historic, natural, and tourist destinations.

Potential challenges in promoting PPPs

  • Lack of experience: Permitting a watch company without expertise in bridge engineering to maintain a colonial era bridge in Morbi, Gujarat,possibly contributed to heart-wrenching tragedy.
  • Redundancy: Monuments selected, such as, the stupas at Sanchi, the Brihadeshwar temple in Thanjavur, and Akbar’s palace city at Fatehpur Sikri, already have tourist infrastructure.
  • Livelihood of local communities:The scheme undermines the local communities and their relationships with historical sites. Guided tours led by employees of large businesses, may endanger livelihoods of those who have lived near the site and made a living by regaling visitors with stories of its colourful past.
  • Night tourism:Keeping these spots open from dawn to dusk has limited footfall and thus preserved them from excessive wear and tear. Night tourism will also pull electricity away from rural homesteads and hospitals.
  • Monuments not adopted by Monument Mitras: The Uttar Pradesh government has started turning over such monuments to the Tourism Department to convert them into hotels. They include Chunar Fort, a citadel overlooking Barwasagar Lake, and several residences built by Awadh’s Nawabs.
  • Corporate interest over historical preservation: The move by U.P government confirms that the scheme is continuing to place reckless tourism and corporate interests over historical preservation.
  • Sarnath initiative: The current plan also side lines the mandate of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and abandons the Sarnath Initiative. The Sarnath initiative is the guidelines devised by the ASI, the Getty Trust, U.S., the British Museum, and National Culture Fund to safe keep excavated objects and present them to visitors in an engaging manner.

Way forward

  • Traders and shopkeepers can give funds to school libraries for collecting archival materials including books, maps, and old photographs relevant to monuments.
  • Corporates can give them a new lease of life to humanities and social sciences departments by instituting fellowships, endowing professorships, and supporting research training programmes.
  • The CSR funds can be used to purchase new equipment that protect the monuments from hazards created by pollution.
  • The private sector’s resources and expertise may also help the ASI and State Archaeology Directorates to secure monuments from dams, mining projects, defacement, and looting.
  • Industrial houses can support the meaningful conservation of heritage buildings, ex: CSR funds can be used to purchase new equipment that release fewer noxious gases that darken and corrode marble buildings and discharge fewer effluents into rivers.
  • Monument mitras can help citizens understand why monuments matter by earmarking CSR funds for grants for researching, writing, and publishing high quality textbooks, and developing imaginative ideas.

Way Forward

  • Unless the ‘revamped’ scheme is suspended,the nation’s precious pluralistic heritage stands at the threshold of obliteration.
  • In the past, Tata Sons, ONGC, and other companies have regularly contributed fundsto organizations training individuals in much needed restoration skills and creating jobs for them.
    • These steps need to be continued.
  • Corporations need to support interdisciplinary teams at the Development and Research Organisation for Nature, Arts and Heritage (DRONAH) Foundationand the Centre for Advancement of Traditional Building Technology and Skills that are trying to protect monuments from emergent threats such as climate change.
  • The private sector’s resources and expertise may also help the ASIand State Archaeology Directorates to secure monuments from dams, mining projects, defacement, and looting.
  • India’s progress in diverse fields is being projected at G-20 events across the nation.
  • By embracing forward-thinking principles of historical preservation, businesses, government agencies, and civil society groups can showcase India’s genuine progress in this arena.


General Studies – 2


7. India’s presidency of the G20 (Group of Twenty) provides several opportunities for the country to strengthen its global leadership and contribute to shaping the global economic agenda. Elaborate.

Reference: Insights on India


The G20 is an informal group:19 countries and the European Union, with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The G20 Presidency rotates annually: according to a system that ensures a regional balance over time. India has assumed the prestigious G20 presidency and will, later this year, convene the G20 Leaders’ Summit.


Opportunities for India as G20 president

  • India is seen as a bright spot in the global economic horizon.It can play a “lighthouse role” by regionalisation and globalising its achievements.
  • Just as the ‘Rio principles’ continue to guide climate change, vasudhaiva kutumbakam,or ‘world as one family’, focusing on comparable levels of wellbeing can be the core of a set of universal socio-economic principles for a dialogue between the states.
  • The ability to come together and agree on key reformsand means of implementation in the economic, financial and political order could make the difference between the world hurtling into calamity or making exponential progress towards peace, prosperity and environmental sustainability.
  • Global agenda: India will have the opportunity to assume centre stage in proposing and setting the global agenda and discourse.
  • Global economic growth: The G20 holds a strategic role in securing global economic growth and prosperity as it represents more than 80% of the world’s GDP.
  • Leadership potential: India’s leadership potential and diplomatic foresight in organizing such a big event and in arriving at meaningful outcomes will be tested.
  • PM’s LiFE initiative: global high-level principles and the creation of an ecosystem of government and businesses covering demand, supply, policy signals and economic framework could be envisaged.
  • Assessing and securing low-cost funding(public and private)for the future trajectory of climate-friendly/green development and clean energy technologies could be game changing.
  • India’s robust, inclusive and interoperable digital public infrastructure model, which has driven inclusion across finance, health and education, would be of immense value if it were replicated in the Global South.
  • PM seeks to drive a veritable “Jan Andolan: A people’s movement based on being “One India” as much as “One Earth, One Family, One Future”.
  • India’s G20 presidencyoffers a ray of hope by not just articulating the voice of the “Global South” but by providing leadership.
  • India can offer proven solutions and be a transformer of the Global South: From social justice projects, digital transformation, climate and environmental activism to pandemic and disaster relief etc
  • Voice of the Global South Summit’ under the theme – ‘Unity of Voice, Unity of Purpose: It essentially envisages bringing together countries of the global south and share their perspectives and priorities on a common platform across a whole range of issues,”
  • India’s own domestic experience in lifting a huge mass of people out of poverty and food insecurity adds credible experience to its global efforts in this direction.

Way forward and Conclusion

  • The G20 presidency is a watershed moment in India’s history, the history of G20 too will script a new chapter by moving away from a “protocol-driven G20” to a “People’s G20”.
  • India needs to promote its specific priorities related to domestic and regional issues such as economic recovery, trade and investment etc
  • A clear roadmap and financial resources to bring the world back on a definitive path to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) is the need of the hour.
  • India can build on the decisions and mechanisms of previous summits.
  • Greater cooperation with many G20 members: such as the European Union, the U.K., and Canada, thereby accelerating their coordination on realizing free trade agreements.
  • Invite and engage countries from Africa and South America: To ensure better and more balanced representation at the G20.
  • India can find a common ground for setting its G20 agenda by addressing issues of global concern by Mobilizing global solidarity for solutions to pressing problems of humanity.
  • India’s multi-alignment can be leveraged to bridge systemic and ideological differences and spark a “mindset change”.
  • India can drive consensus on key reforms of the UN, World Bank, IMF etc.
  • India has to be central in outlining key priority areas and in ensuring that the forum does not remain just a ‘talk shop’ but translates into a ‘walk shop’ in terms of meaningful actions and outcomes.


8. How are the Election Commissioners appointed in India? There have been calls for an independent mechanism for appointment of Election Commissioners outside the exclusive power of the government. Do you think there is a need for it? Comment.

Reference: The HinduInsights on India


For the conduct of free and fair elections an independent Election Commission has been provided for in Article 324. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has earned public trust due to its exemplary work as an independent and neutral authority. This achievement has been made possible because as a constitutional authority, the ECI’s autonomy is guaranteed and its functioning insulated from the interference of the executive and judiciary.

The Supreme Court has now given the Opposition and the judiciary a say in the matter, ruling that the CEC and ECs must be appointed by the President on the advice of a committee comprising the PM, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India.


Appointment of Election Commissioner

  • The election commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and a such number of other election commissioners, if any, as the president may from time to time fix.
  • The appointment of the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners shall be made by the President of India.
  • The President makes the appointment on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister.
  • They have tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India.

Issues with the appointment

  • The Constitution does not lay down a specific legislative process for the appointment of the CEC and ECs.
  • Appointments to the Election Commission are currently the central government’s prerogative.
  • Currently, the Executive enjoys the power to make appointments that affect the ECI’s independenceand make the process of appointing election commissioners partial and biased.
  • There have been instances where ECI’s unwillingness to censure the ruling party’s leadersfor violating the Model Code of Conduct while pulling up Opposition leaders during the 2019 general election.
  • The Constitution has neither prescribed the qualification of the members of the ECI nor specified the terms of the members of the ECI.
  • The Constitution has not debarred the retiring election commissioners from any further appointment by the government.

Way forward

  • A CEC of the calibre of TN Sheshan is required to ensure free and fair elections and to strengthen democracy in India. Though such personalities appear occasionally, appointments based on merit can provide close to one.
  • There is no reason to change the arm’s length relationship, which the judiciary has respected and maintained with the ECI previously.
  • Allow Parliament to decide and debate whether to include the CJI or the Leader of the Opposition on the appointment panel.
  • The ECI should be insulated from political and/or executive interferenceto prevent any kind of manipulation in the selection process


The ECI ensures the smooth and successful functioning of the democracy. It cannot become arbitrary and partisan as that will lead to the failure of democracy. The ECI needs to continuously reinvent its powers given to it under the Indian Constitution for better functioning. The integrity and independence of the ECI and its process needs to be preserved for a free and fair election in India and to maintain the public’s faith and confidence in the Election Commission of India.

General Studies -3


9. Capital flows and current account deficit (CAD) are related as capital flows can help finance a country’s current account deficit. However, excessive reliance on capital flows to finance a current account deficit can also be risky. Evaluate.

Reference: Indian Express


CAD includes a nation’s net trade-in products and services, its net earnings on cross-border investments including interest and dividends, and its net transfer payments such as remittances and foreign aid. A current account deficit (CAD) means the value of goods and services imported exceeds the value of exports.

As per the RBI’s quarterly statistics, the current account deficit (CAD) widened to 4.4 per cent of GDP in the second quarter of 2022-23, down from 2.2 per cent in the preceding quarter.


Various components of capital inflows

  • Capital flows are transactions involving financial assets between international entities
  • assets with longer maturity and state-contingent payoffs – such as equity and foreign direct investment (FDI) – has been shown to be less volatile than one based on short-term bank or portfolio flows.
  • Financial assets to be included can be bank deposits, loans, equity securities, debt securities, etc.

Relation between CAD and capital inflows

  • Economic theory suggests that if CADs can be financed by stable capital inflows, such as FDI inflows, they are desirable as they are less prone to capital flight.
  • capital flows can help mitigate the negative effects of a current account deficit by providing additional funds to finance the deficit.
  • This can help stabilize the economy by maintaining the country’s import/export balance and preventing a sudden and disruptive drop in the value of the country’s currency.
  • However, if deficits are financed by volatile capital flows such as portfolio flows, there may be a cause of concern.
  • Portfolio flows are capricious and more susceptible to reversals in case of any global financial shock.

Risks associated with capital flows

  • Large capital inflows might also imply an excessive expansion of aggregate demand and have negative effects on the financial sector. In addition, microeconomic distortions can amplify capital flows and their impact on the economy.
  • excessive reliance on capital flows to finance a current account deficit can also be risky.
  • Capital inflows may lead to excessive expansion of aggregate demand or macroeconomic overheating. This expansion is likely to be reflected in inflationary pressures, real exchange rate appreciation, and widening current account deficits.
  • Capital flows can pose risks. They can be volatile and pro-cyclical, fuelling economic and financial cycles, and eventually asset price bubbles.
  • If a country becomes too dependent on foreign capital to finance its imports, it can become vulnerable to sudden shifts in investor sentiment or changes in global economic conditions.
  • For example, if investors become concerned about the country’s ability to repay its debts, they may withdraw their capital, causing the country’s currency to depreciate and potentially leading to financial crisis.
  • Furthermore, excessive reliance on capital flows can also lead to an increase in the country’s external debt, which can become a burden on future generations.
  • If the country is unable to generate sufficient exports or other sources of income to service its debt, it may face a debt crisis, as we have seen in several emerging market economies in the past.
  • Capital inflows affect the financial system that intermediates them. They have two major effects on the domestic banking system.
  • First, under a pegged exchange rate regime, the quasi-fiscal deficit—which includes financial transactions undertaken by central banks and other public financial institutions that play the same roles as taxes and subsidies—increases as a result of a sterilization policy that sells high-yielding domestic bonds and buys foreign exchange holdings earning lower interest rates.
  • Second, the financial system might become more vulnerable because of a rise in lending that exacerbates the maturity mismatch between bank assets and liabilities and reduces loan quality. The increases in bank credit were a generalized outcome of capital inflows, and the vulnerability of the financial sector was usually heightened by a surge in asset prices that, in the end, proved unsustainable.

Way forward

  • Policymakers have at their disposal countercyclical measures (monetary policy, nominal exchange rate flexibility, and fiscal policy), structural policies (trade policy, banking supervision, and regulation), and capital controls (including the encouragement of gross outflows).
  • Several factors determine the appropriate policy response in a particular country, including its record in fighting inflation, the openness of its economy to foreign trade, the state of public finances, the size and liquidity of the domestic bond market, the health of domestic banks, the flexibility of fiscal policy, and the quality of the regulatory and supervisory framework designed to oversee the financial sector.
  • A careful sequencing of appropriate policies, therefore, is important in mitigating the risks associated with capital inflows. Successful policy responses used monetary policy in the early stages of the inflow period.
  • In the presence of structural forces driving capital inflows, the role of fiscal restraint becomes crucial. It avoids the costs associated with the different types of sterilization policies. It is also a substitute for exchange rate flexibility and thus limits the appreciation of the real exchange rate.
  • Fiscal contraction can play a beneficial role as an instrument for short-run stabilization, and a conservative fiscal stance should play a central role in countries undergoing increased financial integration.
  • During periods of volatile capital flows, preemptive tightening of fiscal policy can help insulate core revenues and expenditures from alteration following macroeconomic shocks.


10. The Khalistani movement is largely dormant in the present day, but some extremist elements continue to advocate for a separate state. The Indian government must remain vigilant and take a tough stance against any activities that are deemed to threaten the country’s territorial integrity and national security. Analyse.

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India


The Khalistani movement is a Sikh separatist movement seeking to create a homeland for Sikhs by establishing a sovereign state, called Khalistan (‘Land of the Khalsa’), in the Punjab region. Over the years, it has survived in various forms, in various places and amongst different populations.

The movement was crushed in India following Operation Blue Star (1984) and Operation Black Thunder (1986 and 1988), but it continues to evoke sympathy and support among sections of the Sikh population, especially in the Sikh diaspora in countries such as Canada, the UK, and Australia.

Amritpal Singh is a follower of the slain Sikh militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, and took the reins of the ‘Waris Punjab De’ organisation following the death of its founder (Deep Sidhu).


Khalistan movement

  • The Khalistan movement is a Sikh nationalist movement that wants to create an independent state for Sikh people, via armed struggle or political, inside the current North-Western Republic of India Such a state existed in Punjab from 1709 to 1849.
  • The idea of Khalistan was an idea first created in 1940s, remained idle but was revived by an NRI seeking a separate homeland for Sikhs.
  • In early 1980s, the movement had emerged as a major separatist movement, fed mostly by bias of Indian Government against Punjab in the case of Chandigarh and sharing of Ravi-Beas waters.
  • The Khalistan movement reached its peak in the 1980s, with violent clashes between Sikh militants and the Indian government.
  • In 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered an attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest Sikh shrine, in an attempt to flush out Sikh militants who had taken refuge there.
  • The attack, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people, including innocent civilians, sparked outrage among Sikhs and led to a wave of violence and unrest in the Punjab region.
  • In the years that followed, both the Indian government and Sikh militants engaged in a brutal campaign of violence and repression.
  • The government launched a crackdown on the Khalistan movement, arresting and detaining thousands of Sikhs without trial.
  • Meanwhile, Sikh militants carried out a series of bombings and assassinations, targeting Indian politicians and officials.
  • By the early 1990s, the Khalistan movement had largely been suppressed, with many of its leaders either killed or imprisoned.
  • However, the legacy of the movement continues to be felt in Indian politics, particularly in the Punjab region.



  • PM Indira Gandhiwas assassinated (on October 31, 1984), triggering the worst communal violence since Partition.
  • Punjab became the hub of a long drawn-out insurgency(allegedly supported by Pakistan) that lasted till 1995.
  • The movement continues to evoke sympathy and supportamong sections of the Sikh population, especially in the Sikh diaspora.
  • Today, the movement is fuelled by vote bank politics, social issues(unemployment, drug menace in Punjab), dissatisfaction among the Sikh diaspora and support from non-state actors.

Current state of Khalistan Movement

  • At the present, Khalistan movement is a dormant movement in India.
  • It does not hold much traction in the urban or local populace of Punjab.
  • But the movement gets ideological support from Sikhs living in Canada, UK or USA.
  • The diaspora is composed predominantly of people who don’t want to live in India.
  • The deep rooted anger over Operation Blue Star and the desecration of the Golden Temple continues to resonate with some in the newer generations of Sikhs.
  • However, even as Bhindranwale is viewed as a martyr by many and the 1980s remembered as dark times, this has not manifested into tangible political support for the Khalistan cause.
  • There is a small minority that is clinging to the past, and that small minority remains significant not because of popular support, but rather because they are trying to keep up their political influence with various political parties both from the left and the right.
  • They pump money, ideological support to the struggle, ISI of Pakistan is still pumping money and effort in reviving the movement.

Concerns and risks associated

  • The rise of Khalistani movement could seriously hamper the internal security of India
  • The Nirankari religious cult, seen as a heretic Sikh cult in popular perception, has always been at the receiving end of violence perpetrated by orthodox and extremist Sikhs for worshipping a living guru as against the conventional Sikh belief of absolute loyalty towards the holy book.
  • The movement could act as a alibi for the external state actors such as Pakistan’s ISI or terror outfits like ISIS to perpetrate illegal activities and foment terror activities on Indian soil.
  • It could further worsen the already dangling ties with neighbouring Pakistan.
  • Pakistan has been smuggling drugs, weapons, and counterfeit currency into Punjab through the border districts of Firozpur, Pathankot, Tarantaran, and Gurdaspur in vast quantities. This could further be exacerbated.
  • This could also provide strength and encouragement to other groups and sects for secessionist activities.

Way forward

  • Trained Armed Forces
    • Police must be effectively trainedto deal with this new phenomenon of urban terror.
    • Every state should have an NSG-typeof commando force to counter lethal terror strikes.
    • Rehearsals should be periodically undertaken for search-and-rescue operations after large-scale terrorist strikes and different contingencies should be simulated and practised.
  • Good governance and socioeconomic development:Focussing on development work and its actual implementation on the ground for which a clean, corruption-free and accountable administration is imperative to weed out such movements.
  • An increase in intelligence sharing and coordinationbetween agencies such as NIA, IB and state police, etc. is a must to prevent such incidents.
  • International Cooperation: India must actively collaborate with countries like Canada and UK to have a coordinated attack on the Khalistan movement.
  • A multi-pronged strategyfocusing on rational and logical counter-propaganda should be adopted with the help of civil society, NGOs, etc. We need to have very strong online surveillance capabilities. Social media monitoring capabilities to counter such kind of radicalization of youth by Khalistan supporters.
  • Deterrence to be built by a strong legislature. This may require special laws and effective enforcement mechanisms, but with sufficient safeguards to prevent its misuse.


The secessionist movements such as the Khalistan movement should be tackled smoothly without hurting the sentiments of Sikhs. The need of the hour is that the Indian government must take steps and measures to prevent the movement from gathering attraction by arresting the sympathizers and supporters of Khalistan.

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