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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 5 May 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


Topic: Post-Independent Agrarian Reforms in India

1. How effective have the post-independent agrarian reforms been in remedying the harm caused by British agrarian policies? Briefly explain. (250 Words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: BS

Why the question:

The question is part of the static topic for Post-Independence History

Key Demand of the Question:

Evaluate the effectiveness of post-independent agrarian reforms in remedying the harm caused by British agrarian policies.

Directive: Briefly Explain – This directive requires you to provide a concise answer while covering all the essential points.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: Begin with a brief overview of the importance of agrarian policies in India and mention the significance of post-independent agrarian reforms.


Firstly, provide an overview of the British agrarian policies in India and how they negatively impacted Indian agriculture and farmers.

Next, discuss the post-independent agrarian reforms introduced by the government, such as the Land Ceiling Act, abolition of intermediaries, and green revolution.

Explain the aims of these reforms, and highlight how they intended to address the harm caused by British agrarian policies.

Evaluate the effectiveness of post-independent agrarian reforms in remedying the harm caused by British agrarian policies.

Provide evidence to support your argument, including any successes or limitations of these reforms.

Additionally, discuss any criticisms of post-independent agrarian reforms and any alternative measures suggested to address agrarian issues.


Conclude by providing a final opinion on the effectiveness of post-independent agrarian reforms in remedying the harm caused by British agrarian policies. 


Agrarian Reforms usually refers to redistribution of Land from rich to poor and includes Regulation of Ownership, Operation, Leasing, sale and Inheritance of Land. The Indian Government was committed to land reforms and to ensure distributive justice as was promised during the freedom struggle. Consequently, laws were passed by all the State Governments during the 1950’s with the avowed aim of abolishing landlordism, distributing land through imposition of ceilings, protection of tenants and consolidation of land- holdings.


Impact of post-independent agrarian reforms in remedying harm cause by British Policies

  • Earlier large tracts of wasteland belonging to zamindars/ big farmers remained uncultivated. These lands were given to landless labourers as a result of which there is increase in area under cultivation leading to food security.
  • Equal distribution of land will encourage intensive cultivation resulting in increased agricultural production leading to higher production levels.
  • Some farm management studies conducted in India testified that small farms yielded more production per hectare. It is so because family members themselves cultivate small farms.
  • Even one hectare of land is also an economic holding these days on account of improvement in agricultural technique. Hence, small size of holding due to ceiling will not have any adverse effect on agricultural production.
  • At least some of the Land owners shifted to direct ‘efficient’ farming in order to get ‘exemption’ from land ceiling.
  • Consolidation of landholdings ensures that small bits of land belonging to the same small landowner but situated at some distance from one another could be consolidated into a single holding to boost viability and productivity.
  • The tenancy laws have given the tillers protection from exploitation by providing them security of tenure and fixing maximum chargeable rents.
  • Land ceiling reduced this power inequality among villagers.
  • The intermediary rights have been abolished. India no longer presents a picture of feudalism at the top and serfdom at the bottom.
  • Promoted spirit of cooperation among villagers. It will help develop cooperative farming


Limitations of the reforms

  • Zamindari Abolition:
    • The absence of adequate land records made implementation of these acts difficult.
    • Zamindars resorted to large-scale eviction of tenants, mainly the less secure small tenants.
    • Even after the laws were enacted the landlords used the judicial system to defer the implementation of the laws.
    • Zamindars refused to hand over the land records in their possession, forcing the government to go through the lengthy procedure of reconstructing the records.
  • Tenancy Reforms:
    • Even today 5% farmers hold 32% of land holdings.
    • The right of resumption and the loose definition of ‘personal cultivation’ was used for eviction of tenants on a massive scale.
    • Most tenancies were oral and informal and were not recorded.
  • Ceiling reforms
    • Exemption to land held by cooperatives was open to great misuse with landlords transferring their lands to spurious cooperatives.
    • In most states the ceilings were imposed on individual and not family holdings, enabling landowners to divide up their holdings in the names of relatives or make benami transfers merely to avoid the ceiling.
    • Further, in many states the ceiling could be raised if the size of the family of the landholder exceeded five.
  • Consolidation of holdings:
    • The programme failed to achieve its desired objective because the farmers are reluctant to exchange their lands for the new one.
    • The arguments given by the farmers is that there existing land is much more fertile and productive than the new land provided under land consolidation.
  • Bureaucratic Apathy:
    • Implementation of the law was made difficult with the collusion between the landlords and lower-level revenue Officials.
  • Digitization of Land records:
    • Although the government wants complete digitization of land records, due to the lack of clear and sufficient data and mismanagement between the various agencies handling land records, the data registered at various government levels is not identical.
    • Statistics from the DILRMP show that in most states, the digital land record database has not been synced with the digitized land registration database



Agrarian reforms have upheld the socialistic directive principles of state policy which aims at equitable distribution of wealth. The objective of social justice has, however, been achieved to a considerable degree. Thus, with an aspirational goal of India becoming a $5-trillion economy by 2025 the imperative need today is to unleash the power of land and reap fruits by bringing about the much needed Land Reforms which are waiting to see the light of the day.


Topic: Salient features of the world’s physical geography.

2. Explaining the phenomenon of El Nino, discuss its impact on the world climate, including the Indian monsoon. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference:  Hindustan Times

Why the question

A recent report has highlighted that “There is a 93% likelihood of at least one year until 2026 being the warmest on record, and a 50:50 chance of the global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5°C above the pre-industrial era—WMO”

Key Demand of the Question:

This question demands the candidate to provide a comprehensive explanation of the El-Nino phenomenon and its impact on the world climate, including the Indian monsoon. The candidate needs to elaborate on the factors leading to El Nino and its consequences.

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

Structure of the Answer:

Introduction: Start by providing a brief overview of El Nino and its occurrence.


Explain the El Nino phenomenon – its definition, causes, and the science behind it.

Discuss the impact of El-Nino on global climate – changes in temperature, weather patterns, and the occurrence of natural disasters, such as floods and droughts.

Elaborate on the impact of El Nino on the Indian monsoon season – changes in rainfall patterns, temperatures, and the overall effect on the agricultural sector.

Provide examples from the recent WMO report.

Briefly discuss the measures taken by countries to mitigate the impact of El Nino on their economies and the environment.


Conclude by highlighting the importance of understanding the El-Nino phenomenon and its impact on the world climate, including the Indian monsoon, and the measures that need to be taken to mitigate its impact.


El Niño is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific. El Niño is Spanish for “the boy child,” which is often used to refer to Jesus Christ, and the phenomenon earned this name because it typically occurs in December around Christmas. El Niño occurs every 2-7 years, and can last anywhere between nine months and two years.



During El Niño, the trade winds weaken or even reverse: Instead of blowing from east (South America) to west (Indonesia), they could turn into westerlies. As the winds blow from the west to east, they cause the masses of warm water to move into the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. The rise in SSTs there, thus, produces increased rainfall along western Latin America, the Caribbean and US Gulf Coast, while depriving Southeast Asia, Australia and India of convective currents.

El-Nino impact on world climate:

  • According to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the world should prepare for the development of El Niño, which is often associated with increased heat, drought or rainfallin different parts of the world.
  • Increased rainfallin parts of southern South America, the southern US, the Horn of Africa and central Asia.
  • Severe droughtsover Australia, Indonesia, and parts of southern Asia.
  • Warm waterduring summer in the northern hemisphere can fuel hurricanes in the central/eastern Pacific Ocean and can hinder hurricane formation in the Atlantic Basin.
  • A new spike in global heatingwill increase the chance of breaking temperature records (in 2024).
  • 50:50 chance of the global temperaturetemporarily reaching 1.5°C above the pre-industrial era.

El-Nino impact on Indian monsoon:

  • El Nino, characterized by warming of surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, is associated with lower than normal monsoon rainfall in India.
  • El Nino has been found to impact almost half the world triggering droughtsin Australia, India, southern Africa and floods in Peru, Ecuador, the United States, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Colorado River basin.
  • El Nino affects the flow of moisture-bearing windsfrom the cooler oceans towards India, negatively impact the summer (south-west) monsoon.
  • After all, the south-west monsoon (June-September) accounts for over 70% of the country’s annual rainfall and irrigates over half of the crop land.
  • The rain-fed kharif crops are heavily dependent on the monsoon and the quantity of rainfall determines agricultural production.
  • El Niño years tend to be drier than average, but one of the strongest El Nino of the century (1997-98) produced a monsoon season with above-average rainfall for India.
  • Researchers also believe that even the location of the warming in the Pacific may possibly have an influence on the monsoon.

Impact of the early arrival of Indian monsoon:

  • The monsoon arrived earlier than normal in India, raising hopes that output of crops like rice and oilseeds will get a boost after a brutal heat wave hit winter-sown wheat and prompted the nation to restrict exports.
  • India is the second-biggest grower of wheat, rice, sugar and cotton, and the largest buyer of palm, soybean and sunflower oils.
  • The livelihood of millions of farmers in the country of about 1.4 billion people depends on rains brought by the winds from the Indian Ocean.
  • The farm sector is the main source of income for 60% of its population and accounts for 18% of the economy.
  • The monsoon is critical to India’s farm output and economic growth at a time when the country, where man-made systems like canals and tube wells irrigate only a part of the land, is battling soaring food prices.
  • Timely and normal rains are set to boost production outlook for monsoon-sown crops such as rice, soybeans and pulses and help in softening soaring inflation.
  • Bountiful rains would also fill reservoirs, which in turn would brighten prospects for winter crops, usually planted during October and November.
  • The early arrival of the south-west monsoon comes at a time when parts of Northwest India were experiencing extremely high maximum temperatures.


Early or late arrival of monsoon does not mean it would bring lesser or more rainfall. Earlier this year, IMD predicted a “normal” monsoon. It means the rainfall is likely to be in the range of 96-104 per cent of the long period average of the years 1971-2020. A good monsoon boosts crop output, while poor rains lead to drinking water shortages, lower harvests and higher imports of some commodities.



General Studies – 2


Topic: Bilateral relations between countries

3. Examine the benefits of the India – UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) for  both economies as well as for the wider Gulf region. (250 Words)

Difficulty level: Difficult

Reference: IE Today’s Editorial

Why the question:

The question is taken from the article written by the UAE minister in the Indian Express editorial.

Key Demand of the Question:

This question asks one to write the major provisions of CEPA and how it will benefit both the countries and the wider region.

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

 Structure of the Answer:


Begin by providing an overview of the India-UAE CEPA and its key provisions.


Examine the benefits of CEPA for both India and the UAE. This could include factors such as increased trade, investment, job creation, and economic growth.

Analyze the impact of CEPA on the wider Gulf region. You could consider how the agreement might impact other countries in the region, as well as its potential effects on regional economic integration and development.

Evaluate the potential drawbacks or challenges associated with CEPA.


You can mention any potential future developments and the role of CEPA in promoting regional economic cooperation and integration.


The India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) has had a significant impact on bilateral trade between the two countries since its implementation in May 2022. It is expected to increase the total value of bilateral trade in goods to over USD 100 billion and trade in services to over USD 15 billion within five years.




  • The India-UAE CEPA is a landmark free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries. It covers trade in goods, services, investment, and other areas of economic cooperation.
  • The CEPA entered into force on May 1, 2022 and is expected to increase the total value of bilateral trade in goods to over USD 100 billion and trade in services to over USD 15 billion within five years.
  • The CEPA is the first deep and full-fledged FTA signed by India with any country in the past decade.

Salient features of CEPA

  • Trade in goods: The CEPA provides preferential market access for over 80% of products traded between India and the UAE.
    • Bilateral trade between India and the UAE reached historic highs during FY 2022-23, increasing from USD 73 billion to USD 84 billion, registering a 16% increase
  • Trade in services: The CEPA covers 11 broad service sectors and more than 100 sub-sectors, such as business services, communication services, financial services, tourism, and transport services.
  • Investment: The CEPA provides for a liberal and non-discriminatory regime for cross-border investment between India and the UAE.
  • Dispute Settlement: The CEPA includes provisions on dispute settlement, which provide for the resolution of disputes between India and the UAE through consultations and negotiations.
  • Movement of Natural Persons: The CEPA includes provisions on the movement of natural persons, which aim to facilitate the temporary entry of businesspersons, investors, and skilled professionals between India and the UAE.

Benefits of India – UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)

  • Bilateral Trade:
    • Bilateral trade between India and the UAE reached historic highs during FY 2022-23; increased from USD 72.9 billion (FY 22) to USD 84.5 billion (FY 23), registering an increase of 16%.
  • Indian Exports to the UAE:
    • Indian exports to the UAE increased from USD 28 bn to USD 31.3 bn (same period as above); an 11.8% year-on-year growth in percentage terms.
    • During the same period, growth in India’s global exports was 5.3%, excluding the UAE, India’s global exports grew at 4.8%.
  • Sectors that Witnessed Significant Export Growth:
    • Mineral Fuels
    • Electrical Machinery (particularly telephone equipment)
    • Gems & Jewellery
    • Automobiles (Transport vehicles segment)
    • Essential Oils/Perfumes/Cosmetics (Beauty/Skin care products)
    • Other Machinery
    • Cereals (Rice)
    • Coffee/Tea/Spices
    • Chemical Products


Potential challenges that the India-UAE CEPA may face are:

  • Competition from other existing trade agreements in the region
  • Diverse business and cultural practices between the two countries
  • The disparity in the level of development and economic size of the two countries
  • Possible resistance from domestic industries in both countries
  • Differences in regulatory standards and intellectual property protection.




The trade between India and UAE has strengthened over the years, with the UAE becoming India’s closest geopolitical partner in the Arab world. Despite recent challenges, the bilateral ties between the two nations have proven resilient.


Value addition



General Studies – 3


TopicLiberalization of Economy: De-dollarisation and India’s interests.

4: What is meant by ‘de-dollarisation’? Discuss its pros and cons and steps taken by India in this regard. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: TH

Why the question: 

This is taken from The Hindu Article. While countries have tried to dethrone the dollar as the global reserve currency for many decades now for various reasons, of late such attempts have picked up pace in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year

Key demand:

The question demands an explanation of the concept of de-dollarisation, along with an analysis of its advantages and disadvantages. The answer should also highlight the steps taken by India to deal with this phenomenon. Structure of the answer:

Introduction: Start with a brief explanation of de-dollarisation and its growing relevance in the current global scenario.


Discuss the pros and cons of de-dollarisation. Pros could include reduced dependence on the US dollar, diversification of global reserve currencies, and increased sovereignty for countries. Cons could include currency instability, uncertainty in global markets, and potential geopolitical risks.

Explain the steps taken by India to deal with de-dollarisation, such as increasing its gold reserves, promoting the use of local currencies in trade, and signing currency swap agreements with other countries.


Emphasize the importance of monitoring the de-dollarisation trend for countries’ economic stability and growth.


For many years, the US dollar has been the standard currency used in world trade. For example, oil, gold and most commodities are quoted in dollars. Many countries hold their reserves in dollars, in the form of US Treasury Securities. De-dollarisation describes a move away from this world order to one where nations sell their US Treasuries to hold reserves in other currencies, or gold, and seek to use their own currencies for transactions between their most important trade partners.


Various attempts at ‘de-dollarisation’ in the recent years

  • Russia reduced its share of dollar-denominated asset and prioritised national currencies, instead of US Dollar in bilateral trade.
  • Russia also developed a national electronic payments system called “Mir” in 2015.
  • China aims to use trading platforms and its digital currency to promote de-dollarisation. It has established RMB trading centres in Hong Kong, Singapore and Europe.
  • In 2021, the People’s Bank of China submitted a “Global Sovereign Digital Currency Governance” proposal at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to influence global financial rules via its digital currency, the e-Yuan.
  • The IMF added Yuan to its Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket in 2016.
  • In 2017, the European Central Bank exchanged EUR 500 million worth of its forex reserves into Yuan-denominated securities.
  • India has also had to work out alternative arrangements, including a barter arrangement, with certain sanctioned countriesin the past.

Why India must move towards De-dollarisation

  • Indian economy’s dynamic with dollar is different than other major economies in the world today.
  • Unlike China or Russia or EU and Japan, which hold dollars in significant amounts, India’s reserve is not resulted by an export surplus.
  • While others accumulate dollars from their earnings of trade surplus, India maintains a large forex reserve even though India imports less than it exports.
  • In India’s case, the dollar reserves come through infusion of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI), which reflects the confidence of foreign investors in India’s growth prospects.
  • By accumulation of dollar reserves through this route, India remains vulnerable to policy changes by other nations’ monetary policies which are beyond India’s own control.
  • For instance, it has been often highlighted that a tightening of the US monetary policy leads to capital outflows (capital flight) from India, thus impacting India adversely.

Challenges of de-dollarisation on India

  • Just like Chinese renminbi, Indian rupee is also not yet fully convertibleat the exchange markets.
  • While this means that India can control its burden of foreign debt, and inflow of capital for investment purposes in its economy, it also means an uneasy access to capital, less liquidity in financial market, and less business opportunities.
  • Considering India’s present dollar dependence, whether US sees India’s move towards de-dollarisation as a direct challenge to US-India relations, or accepts it as a shift in the global realities, has to be seen.
  • New Delhi has resisted a de-dollarization push for long.
  • For instance, Back in 2009, when Russia and China had started the push via BRIC mechanism , it was argued that New Delhi would not like to upset Washington, especially after the historic US-India civil nuclear agreement was signed just a year before in 2008 -for full civil nuclear cooperation between the two nations.

Steps that India must take in this regard.

  • India can look towards having an increased share of euros and gold in its foreign exchange reserves.
  • Currency swap agreementsbetween India and other nations can help in bilateral trades without depending on USD.
  • Starting from Russia-India transactions, trade with Iran, EAEU, BRICS andSCOmembers in national or digital currencies can also become a reality in near future.
  • A central bank digital currency (CBDC) that bypasses the dollar can be another alternative.
  • For instance, China submitted a “Global Sovereign Digital Currency Governance” proposal at the Bank for International Settlements to influence global financial rules via its digital currency, the e-Yuan.
  • India can push for a global currency or an arrangement like the IMF’s SDR.
  • India can also look towards having an increased share of euros and gold in its foreign exchange reserves.
  • India has several options for initiating its de-dollarization process.


An increasing number of voices are today pointing towards the arrival of the Asian century. With China now being the leading economic power in the world, US economy on a slowdown, and emergence of an increasing polycentric structure in world economy, the dominance of dollar is bound to witness a shake-up. Diversification away from USD is a good way forward for India to insulate economy from geopolitical risks.


Topic: Environment Conservation

5. What is the EU’s Carbon Border Tax Mechanism and why is it worrying other countries, including India? (250 Words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: TH

Why the question: 

EU voted to approve a sweeping deal to reform the EU’s carbon market to cut emissions by 62% from 2005 levels by 2030. It has an impact on other countries, including India.

Key demand:

The question seeks to explain what the EU’s Carbon Border Tax Mechanism is, why it has raised concerns among other countries, and specifically, why it is worrying India.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: Provide a brief overview of the EU’s proposed Carbon Border Tax Mechanism and why it has been in the news lately. Body:

Definition of Carbon Border Tax Mechanism: Explain what CBAM is and how it works.

Objectives of CBAM: Discuss the goals and objectives of CBAM, such as reducing carbon leakage and promoting climate neutrality.

Concerns raised by other countries: Discuss the concerns raised by other countries, including India, such as the potential impact on trade and the need for fair and non-discriminatory implementation.

Why is India worried about CBAM?: Explain the specific reasons why India is worried about CBAM, such as the potential increase in the cost of exports and the need for adequate transitional measures.

Impact on India: Analyze the potential impact of CBAM on India’s economy, especially its exports to the EU.


Provide a concluding remark on the potential implications of CBAM for the global economy and climate change.


‘Carbon border tax’ can be defined as a penalty tax to discourage import of carbon-intensive goods such as steel, aluminium, cement, fertilizers and electricity via carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM). The aim is to help slash the EU’s overall greenhouse gas emissions 55% below 1990 levels by 2030.

The EU Commission is pushing for the world’s first carbon border tax on imported goods. It plans to levy the tax in a phased manner from 2026.



  • The 27-member European Union (EU) has been ramping up its climate action efforts with the European Parliament, the bloc’s legislative body, adopting a rapid pace in climate negotiations.
  • Earlier this month, it voted to approve a sweeping deal to reform the EU’s carbon market to cut emissions by 62% from 2005 levels by 2030.
  • The carbon market mechanism has helped slashed power plant and factory emissions by 43% since 2005.
  • The new reform, however, will phase out free CO2 permits to factories by 2034.
  • Along with this phasing out of free carbon allowances, the EU will phase in another ambitious and first-of-its-kind policy— the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), aimed at levelling the playing field for EU and non-EU manufacturers and spurring trading partners to adopt carbon pricing regimes as a critical approach to the climate fight.
  • It aims to ‘incentivize’ greener manufacturing around the world and to protect European industries from outside competitors who can manufacture products at a lower cost as they are not charged for their carbon emission during the manufacturing processes.
  • So, the carbon border tax is an indirect attempt to force emerging economies, including India, to adopt cleaner (non-fossil fuel-based) practices to manufacture goods.

Impact on global market

  • This makes operating within the EU expensive for certain businesses, which, the EU authorities fear, might prefer to relocate to countries that have more relaxed or no emission limits.
  • This is known as ‘carbon leakage’ and it increases the total emissions in the world.
  • trading partners such the United States, China, Russia and developing countries including India, have opposed the measure, describing it as unilateral, “protectionist” and even a trade weapon.
  • China, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has opposed the CBAM as a trade barrier, while it is also planning to develop its own emissions trading market.
  • China has asked the EU to justify its incoming carbon border tax at the WTO , a move that indicates it may raise issues with the law in Geneva’s trade courts.
  • Russia, the second-biggest exporter of steel to the EU, said the mechanism raise the prices of key commodities such as rolled steel and aluminum, meanwhile, its exports to the bloc have recently declined because of the war in Ukraine.

Impacts on India:

  • As per data from the commerce ministry, India’s third-largest trading partner, the EU accounts for 11.1% of India’s total global trade.
  • By increasing the prices of Indian-made goods in the EU, this tax would make Indian goods less attractive for buyers and could shrink demand.
  • The tax would create serious near-term challenges for companies with a large greenhouse gas footprint–and a new source of disruption to a global trading system already impacted by tariff wars, renegotiated treaties, and rising protectionism.
  • A levy of $30 per metric ton of CO2 emissions could reduce the profit for foreign producers by about 20% if the price for crude oil remained at $30-40 per barrel.

Long term impacts on India:

  • The carbon tax mechanism may spur adoption of cleaner technologies.
  • But without adequate assistance for newer technologies and finance, it would amount to levying taxes on developing countries.
  • It is currently unclear how the EU would assess emissions of an imported product.
  • There are many small businesses that will face difficulty in quantifying their emissions.
  • And the additional costs will be passed on to the consumers, eventually.
  • Also, possibly, the tax could discourage sectors and industries that are already adopting cleaner technologies.
  • In that case, it becomes another procedural and compliance hassle, and prove to be counterproductive.

Way forward:

  • The EU is a market that India needs to nurture and protect. Currently, India has surplus in both trade and services with the EU.
  • India should talk to the EU bilaterally to ensure that its exports with the latter are protected either through an Free Trade Agreement or by other means and if there are adjustments and standards that India needs to meet then it should look forward to fulfilling it.
  • India is not an exporter of cement or fertilizers to the EU and on steel and aluminium too, it is relatively smaller than other countries.
  • India is not the target of this policy of the EU, the target is Russia, China and Turkey which are large emitters of carbon and major exporters of steel and aluminium to the EU.
  • There is little reason for India to be at the forefront of the opposition. It should rather talk directly to the EU and bilaterally settle the issue.
  • China has always followed the policy of ‘Keep Preparing While Protesting’.
  • It is talking about protesting against the carbon border tax. But side by side, it has already started its own carbon trading system also claiming it to be the largest.
  • If the EU in future imposes this tax, India will be badly affected by it if it doesn’t set up its own carbon trading system.
  • India shall not be caught off guard in 2026 if the tax is imposed, it shall prepare for the best as well as the worst.
  • India may not have a carbon trading system but its energy taxes if converted into carbon equivalents would rank as very high.
  • India already has measures of climate change mitigation in the country, it just needs to convert them, devise them in ways which are compatible with important markets of India.
  • The BASIC countries and other significant developing countries shall follow the policy of collective persuasion at the global meetings for finding alternatives for climate change mitigation rather than implementing such a policy.


A mechanism like Carbon Border Tax for charging imported goods at borders may spur adoption of cleaner technologies. But if it happens without adequate assistance for newer technologies and finance, it would rather become disadvantageous for the developing countries. As far as India is concerned, it must assess the advantages and disadvantages that it is likely to face with the imposition of this tax and talk to the EU with a bilateral approach.



General Studies – 4


Topic: Ethics in Public Administration

6. “When a man assumes a public trust he should consider himself a public property.” Thomas Jefferson. Examine in the context of public service. (150 Words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General Studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the Question:

This question demands the candidate to analyze and explain the given quote by Thomas Jefferson in the context of public service. It requires the candidate to highlight the importance of considering oneself as public property after assuming public trust.

Directive Word:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the Answer:

Introduction: Begin by defining the concept of public trust and how it is related to public service.


Start with a brief introduction of the quote given by Thomas Jefferson.

Explain the significance of the quote in the context of public service.

Analyze the quote and discuss its implications for public officials in terms of accountability and responsibility towards the public.

Provide examples of instances where public officials who did not consider themselves as public property had to face severe criticism.

Discuss the role of public officials in maintaining public trust and how the lack of trust can hamper the growth of society.

Discuss how the government can ensure that public officials act in the public interest and are accountable for their actions.


Summarize the main points discussed in the answer.


Trust is the foundation upon which the legitimacy of public institutions is built and is crucial for maintaining social cohesion. Trust is important for the success of a wide range of public policies that depend on behavioural responses from the public. For example, public trust leads to greater compliance with regulations and the tax system.

Although it was said centuries ago, yet the statement holds true even today. The above statement emphasises the importance of public life and the trust that the public servants ought to maintain. Public life is a constant job, and the persona of a public man becomes a public property.


Government’s values, such as high levels of integrity, fairness and openness of institutions are strong predictors of public trust. Similarly, government’s competence – its responsiveness and reliability in delivering public services and anticipating new needs – are crucial for boosting trust in institutions.

For instance, in handling pandemics like the covid-19, people followed strict lockdown protocols in the first wave. However, the same doesn’t seem to be happening the second time, after the economic distress in India.

Importance of Public Trust:

  • A decline in trust can lead to lower rates of compliance with rules and regulations.
  • Citizens and businesses can also become more risk-averse, delaying investment, innovation and employment decisions that are essential to regain competitiveness and jumpstart growth.
  • Nurturing trust represents an investment in economic recovery and social well-being for the future.
  • Trust is both an input to public sector reforms – necessary for the implementation of reforms – and, at the same time, an outcome of reforms, as they influence people’s and organisations’ attitudes and decisions relevant for economic and social well-being.
  • As a result, trust in government by citizens and businesses are essential for the effective and efficient policy making both in good times and bad.
  • Investing in trust should be considered as a new and central approach to restoring economic growth and reinforcing social cohesion, as well as a sign that governments are learning the lessons of the crisis

Responsibilities of a public servant:

  • Maintain highest integrity at work.
  • Accessible to people to hear their problems and quick grievance redressal.
  • Impartial in service delivery.
  • Objective, Transparent and accountable in decision making.

The above responsibilities make him a public property who acts as a trustee between the citizens and the state. Public office can be of any type like it can be ministerial post, Administrator, defence personnel etc. So each individual requires to perform his duty by putting his self interest as less important. It requires a person of considerable character to rise above the petty things and consider the wholeness of his existence in the scheme of things.


Thus, Core levels of trust in government are necessary for the fair and effective functioning of government institutions– such as adherence to the rule of law, or the delivery of basic public services and the provision of infrastructure. Alexander Dumas had put it presciently “An officer doesn’t have friends”. That sentence shows that the level of dedication required for the role of a public servant precludes even the existence of friendship, a basic private need. Unless we acknowledge this, we cannot run institutions, cannot stand true to modern ideas and cannot in short form a nation.


Topic: Case Study

7. Consider the following write-up titled “Polarisation of Social Media”: 1.49 billion people on average log onto Facebook daily; around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter every second. We become creators of data and information; our experiences in social media are dictated by algorithms. Social media drifted from its promise of exposing use to diverse opinions and expressions from miles beyond our location. Instead, we find ourselves to be more rigid versions of our former selves.
In 1950 Asch Conformity Experiments found that an individual was willing to go to the extent of giving a wrong answer just to conform to the majority view. The respondents gave wrong answers either because they did not want to be ridiculed or because they believed that the group was better informed than them. This continues even today and especially in case of fake news online, which is said to contribute to a polarised society.
In social media people get information only from people they trust and look for news that confirms their worldview. This results in people cultivating rigid opinions of issues that they would have probably been more willing to discuss in the past. Social media sites are responsible for encouraging this behaviour. Twitter, for example, will routinely prompt you to follow people who hold a viewpoint that is similar to yours. This just strengthens our biases.
A study this year on increasing social media polarisation found that algorithmic filtering has created this cycle of enforcing and reinforcing belief systems and ensuring that we don’t open our minds to diverse opinions.
While the democratisation of discourse that social media has brought about is undeniable and most welcome, we are getting trapped in narrower world views that are seeping into not only voter behaviour but everyday personal interactions. This is something we must be alarmed about.

Answer the following questions:
a. Define tolerance. What are the determinants that lead to the cultivation of tolerance in
one’s personality?
b. Do you agree with the author that social media has made us more intolerant than
before? (20 Marks, 250 Words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Case Study Fridays’ in Mission-2023 Secure.


Start with a brief explanation of social media and its purpose of exposing people to diverse opinions and expressions. Discuss how social media has evolved from its original purpose to something that reinforces our existing beliefs and biases.


For Question a:

Define the concept of tolerance and discuss how it is an essential trait for a person to possess, especially in the current social and political climate.
Highlight the determinants that lead to the cultivation of tolerance in one’s personality. Use relevant examples from the case study to explain how social media affects the level of tolerance in individuals.

For Question b:

Discuss the author’s viewpoint on whether social media has made us more intolerant than before. Analyze the reasons behind this opinion, including the role of algorithms, information filtering, and echo chambers. Use relevant statistics and studies to support your argument. Provide counter-arguments if necessary and explain your stance on whether social media has contributed to increased intolerance.


Suggest ways to mitigate the negative impact of social media on tolerance and encourage people to engage in more diverse opinions and open-minded discussions.


Tolerance is the appreciation of diversity and the ability to live and let others live. It is the ability to exercise a fair and objective attitude towards those whose opinions, practices, religion, nationality, and so on differ from one’s own.

As William Ury notes, “tolerance is not just agreeing with one another or remaining indifferent in the face of injustice, but rather showing respect for the essential humanity in every person.


Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another’s beliefs, practices, and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them.

Determinants that lead to the cultivation of tolerance in one’s personality

  • Strengthening and honing one’s emotional intelligence.
  • Self-awarenessis another important element of emotional intelligence. In this case, it is about more than recognising your emotions. You also need to consider and understand why you feel that way.
  • When something bothers you about someone else, it is good to remember that it is bothering you.
  • By recognizing ego concern for what it is, you can cultivate the ability to limit the importance of some of the things you feel.
  • Meditation can help cultivate tolerance. You can learn to tolerate some things about others simply by discovering they’re just not that important.
  • Be mindful of the fact that no matter how pestering an annoyance can be, it is only temporary. This dynamism can be seen as a blessing when cultivating tolerance.
  • Practicing patience with the disagreeable aspects of people in your life will help you become more tolerant.
  • The universe allows room for all of your decisions and behavior, while working around them and through them.

Has social media made us more intolerant?

  • While social media opens up wide options for enlightenment and learning it is also filled with smouldering propaganda.
  • The development of technology and the widespread dissemination of false information are shaking the foundations of tolerance.
  • Excessive use of social media has high chances to nurture an addiction, manipulate people and governments, and spread conspiracy theories
  • In today’s age of fast news, many people share news on these social media platforms without verifying the news source and fall victim to this malicious cycle of fake news.
  • It is a rare chance that the mistake was an actual mistake because most of the time such news is driven by ulterior motives, thus spreading hate and intolerance.
  • According to a study by UNDP earlier this year, followers of violent extremists have become increasingly active in cyberspace.
  • Communal violence directed against particular religions and minorities have also risen significantly.

Various ways of countering Intolerance are

  • Empathizing with others means comprehending, listening, caring and understanding. That is, step into the shoes of another and try to understand their reality so as not to judge them immediately.
  • By cultivating an open mind, learning about other cultures and people, and broadening our horizons, we increase our ability to understand and accept others.
  • One needs to be clear that everyone has their own opinions and values and that these need to be respected and accepted.
  • Staying calm and remaining peaceful at all times without getting angry is the next step towards being more tolerant.
  • Putting things into perspective and focusing on the real importance of the source of intolerance is a good technique to find the courage to handle situations tolerantly.
  • Education is crucial in countering intolerance and negative stereotyping of various sections of people in the society.
  • Teachers play an important role in transferring knowledge and skills to younger generations about respecting people from different backgrounds, religions and beliefs.
  • Teaching children about tolerance is the best gift that you can give them. Children shouldn’t grow up with feelings of hate and suspicion.


The spirit of tolerance and love is not only an interesting feature of Indian society from very early times, but it is also playing an important part at the present. Being tolerant of each other and caring for each other is what makes us human.  By teaching tolerance, we allow individuality and diversity while promoting peace and a civil society.  Our success in the struggle of intolerance depends on the effort we make to educate ourselves and our children.

Intolerance can be unlearnt. Tolerance and mutual respect have to be learnt

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