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[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 November 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


Answer the following questions in 150 words:

General Studies – 1


1. Discuss the significance of Pahari paintings in the context of Indian art history. Highlight the key themes, artistic styles, and the cultural milieu that influenced the development of Pahari paintings.

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India


Pahari school of painting refers to Indian miniature paintings from the mountainous regions of North India. It originated during the 17th to 19th century in places like Basohli, Mankot, Nurpur, Chamba, Kangra, Guler, Mandi, and Garhwal.

This school of painting is primarily characterized by a coarsely flamboyant style which blossomed into the most exquisite and sophisticated style of Indian painting. Nainsukh was a renowned artist in the mid-18th century, and his family workshop continued for two more generations.



  • The central theme of Pahari’s painting is the eternal love of Hindu deities Radha and Krishna.
  • These miniatures are characterized by their lyrical quality, rhythmic spontaneity, softness, intricate details, and the intense portrayal of human emotions and features.
  • They have a distinct style compared to miniature schools like Deccan, Mughal, and Rajasthani-Rajput.

Significance of Pahari School of Painting

  • The topics used for Pahari paintings spanned from mythology to literature, and new techniques were instituted.
  • The portrayal of the eternal or the everlasting love of Hindu deities Radha and Krishna is the fundamental theme of Pahari painting.
  • In a standard Pahari painting, numerous figures appear on the canvas sheet, all animated figures.
  • The composition, colour, and complexion of each and every figure are unique.
  • Defining the Pahari miniature paintings simply by the regions in which they were sketched might need to be more accurate, as political frontiers in the era they were created were flexible and often changed between several rulers.

Styles of Pahari Painting

  • This school of Pahari painting received patronage from Raja Kripal Pal
  • Famous paintings belonging to this school:
    • An artist named Devidasaexecuted miniatures in the form of the Rasamanjari illustrations in 1694 A.D.
    • An illustration from a series of Gita Govinda painted by artist Manaku in 1730 A.Dis another famous example of this school of painting
  • What can be gathered from the above paintings?
    • There is a change in the facial typewhich becomes a little heavier and also in the tree forms which assume a somewhat naturalistic character, which may be due to the influence of the Mughal painting.
    • There is the use of strong and contrasting coloursmonochrome backgroundlarge eyes, bold drawing, use of beetles wings for showing diamonds in ornaments, narrow sky and the red border are observable in this miniature.

Figure: Devi rides on a Chariot, Basohli, and Pahari School of Painting


The name Kangra style is given to this group of painting for the reason that they are identical in style to the portraits of Raja Sansar Chand of Kangra. Paintings of the Kangra style are attributed mainly to the Nainsukh family.

Some of the Pahari painters found patronage in the Punjab under Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the Sikh nobility in the beginning of the 19th century and executed portraits and other miniatures in a modified version of the Kangra style which continued till the middle of the 19th century.

Salient features of this school of art:

  • The delicacy of drawing and quality of naturalismare the stand-out features of this school of art
  • The Kangra style is by far the most poetic and lyrical of Indian stylesmarked with serene beauty and delicacy of execution.
  • Distinctive is the delineation of the female face, with a straight nose in line with the forehead, which came in vogue around the 1790s, is the most distinctive feature of this style.
  • Most popular themes that were painted were the Bhagvata Purana, Gita Govinda, Nala Damayanti, Bihari Satsai, Ragamala and Baramasa

Figure: Kangra school of Painting

  • The typical female figures in paintings of the Chamba school exude warm, sensual and charming beauty.
  • Noted for its deft handling and mixing of colours, the canvas space of Chamba paintings is dominated by red and blue colours.
  • Art from this school is noted for its depictions of the Tantra cult associated with the worship of the Devi or the Goddess.
  • The ferocious and wrathful forms of the Devi are given a larger-than-life finish, and crude mystified look with deep tones of red, black and blue shades.


It is considered that the Pahari painting emerged from the Mughal style of paintings and flourished due to the support of the Rajput rulers. Recently, Dr Brijinder Nath Goswamy, a scholar on schools of Pahari art, passed away leaving a great void in the world of Indian art history.


2. Tourism in India is a powerful force for economic development while simultaneously preserving and showcasing the rich cultural and natural heritage of the country. Discuss.

Reference: The Hindu


Every region in India is identified with its handicraft, fairs, folk dances, music and its people. Hence, India is a country with a great potential for tourism. The tourism industry employs a large number of people, both skilled and unskilled. It promotes national integration and international brotherhood. There is no other country in the world which offers such a wide choice of destinations like India.

The Union Tourism Ministry on Wednesday said that it has formulated a model law on adventure tourism which covers the obligations, institutional framework, penalties, registration and the provisions of insurance cover needed for the sector.


Tourism Status in India

  • In the Pre- pandemic times, tourism sector contributed ~US$ 250 billion in 2018 to India’s GDP.
  • It crumbled down to US$ 122 billion in 2020 due to pandemic.
  • The share of Tourism to GDP has hovered around ~5-6%. With post-pandemic recovery, the tourism industry is  expected to reach US$ 512 billion by 2028.
  • In 2020, the Indian tourism sector accounted for 39 million jobs, which was 8% of the total employment in the country. By 2029, it is expected to account for about 53 million jobs.
  • India ranked 34th in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019 published by the World Economic Forum.
  • Data show that domestic tourism has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, even exceeding it in some cases. This is evident in a record 1.84 crore domestic tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir in 2022

Positive effects of Tourism in India

  • Employment generation: Tourism sector provides diverse opportunities for jobs like in hospitality/hotels/accommodation, transportation, tour guides, travel operations etc.
  • Revenue Generation: Tourism contributes 6.23% to the national GDP and 9.3% of the total employment in India. More than 20 million people are now working in the India’s tourism industry.
  • Source of Foreign Exchange Earnings:Tourism Sector was the third-largest foreign exchange earner for the country in 2019. Tourism is an important source of foreign exchange earnings in India. This has favorable impact on the balance of payment of the country. By 2028, Indian tourism and hospitality is expected to earn US$ 50.9 billion as visitor exports compared with US$ 28.9 billion in 2018.
  • Preservation of National Heritage and Environment:Tourism helps preserve several places which are of historical importance by declaring them as heritage sites. For instance, the Taj Mahal, the Qutab Minar, Ajanta and Ellora temples, etc. would have been decayed and destroyed, if the efforts had not been taken by Tourism Department to preserve them. Likewise, tourism also helps in conserving the natural habitats of many endangered species.
  • Developing Infrastructure:Tourism tends to encourage the development of multiple-use infrastructure that benefits the host community, including various means of transports, health care facilities and sports centers, in addition to the hotels and high-end restaurants that cater to foreign visitors. The development of infrastructure has in turn induced the development of other directly productive activities.
  • Promoting Peace and Stability:The tourism industry can also help promote peace and stability in developing country like India by providing jobs, generating income, diversifying the economy, protecting the environment and promoting cross-cultural awareness. However, key challenges like adoption of regulatory frameworks, mechanisms to reduce crime and corruption, etc, must be addressed if peace-enhancing benefits from this industry are to be realized.

Measures needed to boost Tourism sector

  • Infrastructure: The Government has been increasing investments in strengthening of the country’s road and rail networks and promoting port development is a significant driver for the growth of the Tourism sector. The Adarsh Station Schemeis helping modernize railway stations, while the Regional Connectivity Scheme – UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik), is helping make air travel more economical and widespread to hitherto unserved routes. The Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD schemes aim to stimulate growth in niche tourism segments such as religious, heritage, wellness, medical, adventure, MICE, wildlife etc. Under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme, the Government has launched several theme based circuits like Buddhist circuit which covers destinations associated with the life of Lord Buddha.
  • Promotional Campaign: Promotional activities such as the Incredible India 2.0campaign focuses on niche tourism products including yoga, wellness, luxury, cuisine wildlife among others. “Find the Incredible You” Campaign focuses on the promotion of niche tourism products of the Country on digital and social media.
  • Information Helpline: The government has introduced the concept of e-tourist and e-medical visaswhich has helped increase inbound tourists to the country. Additional initiatives such as Atithi Devo Bhava, a 24×7 multi-lingual Tourist Helpline, among others have helped improve the safety and security of tourists. On a pilot basis, an ‘Incredible India Helpline’ has been set up to guide the tourists.
  • Safety: The Ministry of Tourism has adopted a code of conduct for safe tourism, which contains a set of guidelines to encourage tourism activities to be undertaken with respect to basic rights like dignity, and  safety of both tourists and local residents, in particular women and children.
  • Investment: The government allows 100% Foreign Direct Investment in the Travel and Tourism sector through the automatic route to increase investments across the sector. More recently, the GST rate cut on hotel room tariffs across the board has been a positive move for the industry and is expected to boost the sector’s competitiveness globally.
  • Cleanliness and Hygiene: Major cleanliness campaign has been launched under the Swachh Bharatmovement for protecting and preserving the sanctity of monuments of national heritage. The Ministry of Tourism has also launched awareness campaign to ensure cleanliness of surroundings and help create a Swachh Bharat, Swachh Smarak.
  • Assistance to States: Financial assistance to states, including places of religious importance, for various tourism projects in consultation with them subject to availability of funds, inter-se priority, liquidation of pending utilisation certificates and adherence to the scheme guidelines.
  • Digital Database: In September 2021, the Government launched NIDHI 2.0(National Integrated Database of Hospitality Industry), a scheme which will maintain a hospitality database comprising accommodation units, travel agents, tour operators and others. NIDHI 2.0 will facilitate digitalisation of the tourism sector by encouraging hotels to register themselves on the platform.
  • Skilling: The Ministry of Tourism has introduced the Incredible India Tourist Facilitator(IITF) and Incredible India Tourist Guide (IITG) Certification Programme to create an online learning platform of well-trained tourist facilitators and guides across the country.

Way forward

  • The government should continue to promote India’s diversity and rich heritage to re-establish its position as a tourist paradise.
  • The promotional campaigns should target both domestic and foreign tourists. Similarly, the extent of theme-based tourist circuits can be expanded.
  • Tourism sector has a potential to provide lot of livelihood opportunities in smaller cities/towns. Upskilling and Reskilling can help address the issue of jobless growth.
  • The government should also promote green and sustainable tourismto tackle issues relating to water crisis, pollution, waste management, etc.
  • There is need to balance the promotion of tourism with safeguarding the physical, social, and cultural environment in the destination areas.
  • The Government should further reform the tourist visa norms and processes to facilitate tourism. The Government should also explore the possibility of expanding the visa-on-arrival facility.
  • The focus should also be on supporting and promoting the emerging segments of tourism.


If the goal of positioning of India as one of the world’s best tourism destinations by 2047, there is need to integrate various schemes of different ministries. Need to involve various stakeholders, and local communities; necessary interventions at urban and rural level should be a priority.


General Studies – 2


3. The India-Japan relationship is facing challenges due to the changing global geopolitical scenario. Analyse the challenges and suggest measures to address them.

Reference: The HinduInsights on India


The friendship between India and Japan has a long history rooted in spiritual affinity and strong cultural and civilization ties. India and Japan established diplomatic relations on 28 April 1952. The year 2022 marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and India.

Japan is regarded as a key partner in India’s economic transformation. In the recent past, the India Japan relationship has transformed to a partnership of great substance and purpose. Japan’s interest in India is increasing due to a variety of reasons including India’s large and growing market and its resources, especially the human resources.


Dimensions of India-Japan RelationsExamples
Shared values·        Democracy, Freedom and Rule of Law


Defence and Security Cooperation·        India and Japan Vision 2025: To work together for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and the world.

·        Relationship elevated to Special Strategic and Global Partnership (2014)

·        “2+2” Dialogue

·        Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement with India

·        Inclusive and Rule-based International order in Indo-pacific

·        FOIP (see description above)

·        Military exercise: Dharma Guardian (army), Veer Guardian (Air Force), MILAN, JIMEX (Navy) and Malabar respectively.

Strengthening India’s Act East Policy·        Japan is supporting strategic connectivity linking South Asia to Southeast Asia through the synergy between the ”Act East” policy and ”Partnership for Quality Infrastructure.”
Economic Cooperation·        Japanese help during India’s BOP crisis in 1991.

·        Bilateral trade: Over US $ 20 billion (2022)

·        Comprehensive and Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) since 2011

·        Industries Competitiveness Partnership

·        Japan was the 4th largest investor in India in FY2020.

Culture·        Buddhism

·        Healthcare: Narrative of AHWIN (Japan’s) for AYUSHMAN Bharat

Investment and ODA·        India has been the largest recipient of the Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan for the past decades. E.g., Delhi Metro, Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) and High-Speed Railways in India
Global Partnership·        Both are members of G4, Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, Supply chain resilience initiatives, QUAD
Space·        LUPEX Mission (India’s lunar lander and Japanese rover will explore the moon)
Nuclear Cooperation·        India-Japan Nuclear Deal 2016 will help India build the six nuclear reactors in southern India
Digital Infrastructure Cooperation·        Cooperation in promoting joint projects for digital transformation in various fields like 5G, Open RAN, Telecom Network Security, submarine cable systems, and Quantum Communications.


  • Trade engagements have been below potential.
  • On the list of countries that India exports to, Japan is at 18th position in the list of top 25 countries. On the list of countries importing into India, Japan ranks 12th.
  • India’s exports to Japan in FY were lower than in previous FY in value terms.
  • India struggling to penetrate the Japanese market as a result of language barriers, high quality and service standards.
  • Negotiations to purchase amphibious US-2 planes have dragged on for years.

Way Forward

  • It is clear that the government has set India-Japan ties on an accelerated geopolitical course that will be a major factor in its dealings with the rest of the world, especially China, at a time when the U.S. is perceived to be retreating from the region.
  • However, the strategic partnership needs stronger economic ties. While Japan is India’s largest donor and the third largest provider of FDI, bilateral trade has steadily declined since 2013.
  • Today, India-Japan trade languishes at around $15 billion, a quarter of trade with China while Japan- China trade is around $300 billion.
  • The two countries have decided to boost defense ties given the escalating tension in the region in the wake of the nuclear test by North Korea and China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea.
  • However, certain issues still remain like sharing of the defence technology, delay of US-2 amphibian aircraft.
  • Both countries need to work on trade, defence and regional issues. A strong Indo- Japan will arrest the inconsistency being witnessed in the region thus contributing to peace and prosperity in the region and the world.
  • Cultural exchanges including literature, movies, music, sports and academics are essential for our relations, enabling a better understanding.



General Studies – 3


4. The Indian government has taken significant steps to promote electric vehicles (EVs) adoption. Evaluate the key factors limiting EV adoption among the masses.

Reference: Down to Earth


An electric vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. An electric vehicle may be powered through self-contained battery, solar panels or an electric generator to convert fuel to electricity. India is among a handful of countries that supports the global EV30@30 campaign, which aims for at least 30 per cent new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030.


Progress  of electric vehicles in India

  • The Electric vehicle adoption, be it four-, three-, two-wheelers, or buses, has seen a massive uptick over the past year or so.
  • As an example, Hero Electric, India’s pioneering electric two-wheeler manufacturer, clocked its highest ever calendar year volumes in 2022, with more than 1,00,000 units finding new homes across the year
  • As fuel prices skyrocket, there are rising concerns about the steep increase in the cost of running petrol and diesel vehicles. Electric vehicles seem to be coming into their own at last.
  • The Indian electric vehicle market was valued at USD 1,434.04 billion in 2021, and it is expected to reach USD 15,397.19 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 47.09% during the forecast period (2022-2027).
  • The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) and Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric Vehicles in India (FAME I and II) helped create the initial interest and exposure for electric mobility.
  • To promote the domestic electric vehicle industry, the Indian government has provided tax exemptions and subsidies to EV manufacturers and consumers.
  • India’s shift to shared, electric and connected mobility could help the country save nearly one giga-tonne of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

Potential of EVs in India

  • Help tackle Climate change and air pollution:
    • India has committed to cutting its GHG emissions intensity by 33% to 35% percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
    • As per NITI Aayog’s reportEVs will help in cutting down as much as 1 Gigatonne (GT) of carbon emissions by 2030.
    • Electric vehicles don’t produce emissions that contribute to climate change and smog than conventional vehicles.
    • All-electric vehicles produce zero direct emissions, which specifically helps improve air quality in urban areas.
    • According to a recent study by WHO, India is home to 14 out of 20 most polluted cities in the world. EVs will help in tackling this problem by reducing local concentrations of pollutants in cities.
    • Cost reduction from better electricity generating technologies. This has introduced the possibility of clean, low-carbon and inexpensive grids.
  • Energy security:
    • India imports oil to cover over 80 percent of its transport fuel.
    • Electric mobility will contribute to balancing energy demand, energy storage and environmental sustainability.
    • Electric vehicles could help diversify the energy needed to move people and goods thanks to their reliance on the wide mix of primary energy sources used in power generation, greatly improving energy security.
  • Cutting edge Battery Technology:
    • Advances in battery technology have led to higher energy densities, faster charging and reduced battery degradation from charging.
  • Innovation:
    • EVs manufacturing capacity will promote global scale and competitiveness.
  • Employment:
    • Promotion of EVs will facilitate employment growth in a sun-rise sector.

Challenges in adoption of EVs

  • Despite being the third-largest auto market and several incentives dished out by New Delhi and state governments, India remains a laggard in electric vehicles (EV).
  • The country is a ripe target for EV makers but is slow to catch up with other markets, according to a recent report by S&P Global Ratings.
  • Domestic sales of EVs have more than doubled, but they barely represent 2% of the total light-vehicle sales in the last 12 months.
  • India is technologically deficient in the production of electronics that form the backbone of EV industry, such as batteries, semiconductors, controllers, etc.
  • The lack of clarity over AC versus DC charging stations, grid stability and range anxiety (fear that battery will soon run out of power) hinder the growth of EV industry.
  • India is dependent on countries like Japan and China for the import of lithium-ion batteries.
  • EVs have higher servicing costs and higher levels of skills is needed for servicing. India lacks dedicated training courses for such skill development.
  • Affordability of e-vehicles (EVs) and the range they can cover on a single battery charge.

Various measures taken by the government to promote electric vehicles

  • Most recently, Government think-tank Niti Aayog has prepared a draft battery swapping policy, under which it has proposed offering incentives to electric vehicles (EVs) with swappable batteries, subsidies to companies manufacturing swappable batteries, a new battery-as-a-service business model, and standards for interoperable batteries, among other measures.
  • Government has set a target of electric vehicles making up 30 % of new sales of cars and two-wheelers by 2030.
  • To build a sustainable EV ecosystem initiative like –National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) and Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric vehicles in India (FAME India) have been launched by India.
  • NEMMP was launched with an aim to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and electric vehicles in the country.
  • FAME India Scheme was launched with the objective to support hybrid/electric vehicles market development and manufacturing ecosystem.
  • The Union power ministry categorized charging of batteries as a service, which will help charging stations operate without licenses.
  • Implementation of smart cities would also boost the growth of electric vehicle

Way Forward

  • For EVs to contribute effectively, we need commensurate efforts in developing an entire ecosystem.
  • Need to shift the focus from subsidizing vehicles to subsidizing batteries because batteries make up 50% of EV costs.
  • Increasing focus on incentivizing electric two-wheelers because two-wheelers account for 76% of the vehicles in the country and consume most of the fuel.
  • A wide network of charging stations is imminent for attracting investment.
  • Work places in tech parks, Public bus depots, and Multiplexes are the potential places where charging points could be installed. In Bangalore, some malls have charging points in parking lots.
  • Corporates could invest in charging stations as Corporate Social Responsibility compliances.
  • Addressing technical concerns like AC versus DC charging stations, handling of peak demand, grid stability etc.
  • India needs to leap into EV battery manufacturing.
  • Private investment in battery manufacturing plants and developing low cost production technology is needed.
  • Need for a policy roadmap on electric vehicles so that investments can be planned.
  • Acquiring lithium fields in Bolivia, Australia, and Chile could become as important as buying oil fields as India needs raw material to make batteries for electric vehicles.
  • Providing waiver of road tax and registration fees, GST refunds and free parking spaces for EVs.
  • There is also the task of bringing skilled professionals into the workforce that are knowledgeable about the benefits and advantages associated with electric vehicles.


5. Examine the significance of the International Space Station (ISS) in fostering international cooperation in space exploration.

Reference: Indian Express


The International Space Station (ISS) is a human-made spacecraft stationed in the low-earth orbit that provides a habitable environment for astronauts in space.

After 25 years in orbit, it continues to serve as a hub for research and peaceful cooperation among nations.


About ISS

  • The ISS orbits Earth approximately every 90 minutes, at an altitude of around 400 kilometers, traveling at a speed of roughly 28,000 kilometers per hour.
  • Spanning 109 meters (357 feet) end-to-end, the ISS houses six sleeping quarters, two bathrooms, a gym, and a 360-degree view bay window. Its solar array wingspan matches its length.
  • The ISS accommodates a crew of astronauts and cosmonauts, providing living quarters, workspaces, and life support systems necessary for long-duration space missions.
  • The ISS serves as a research laboratory for conducting experiments across various scientific disciplines, including biology, physics, astronomy, medicine, and material sciences, leveraging the unique microgravity environment.

Significance of ISS

  • The ISS is a joint project involving space agencies from multiple countries, including NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), ESA (European Space Agency), JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).
  • It stands as a testament to international collaboration and scientific advancements in space exploration.
  • The ISS has been visited by over 240 individuals from 19 countries. More than 3000 educational and research investigations have been conducted on it.
  • This unique environment has fostered not only scientific discoveries but also strengthened diplomatic ties and partnerships in the pursuit of common goals.
  • The ISS has played a crucial role in advancing human space exploration. Serving as a testbed for long-duration spaceflight, the station has been crucial in studying the effects of extended space missions on the human body. This knowledge is invaluable as we look toward future endeavors, including crewed missions to Mars and beyond.
  • The International Space Station stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when nations work together in the pursuit of knowledge and exploration beyond our home planet.

Challenges faced

  • Amid geopolitical tensions and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, uncertainties loom over the ISS’s future. The US and Europe aim to continue operations until 2030, while Russia plans to build its independent space station.
  • Nations like Japan, China, India, the United Arab Emirates, and others are exploring independent space missions. NASA’s Artemis program aims for lunar missions, while ESA plans for a new space station, Starlab.


The International Space Station continues to generate numerous benefits that improve individual lives on Earth, inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, foster international collaboration, and enable future exploration deeper into the solar system. Knowledge is being generated in scientific fields from cell biology to cosmology. New technology is being developed and demonstrated with applications as wide ranging as communications, power generation, agriculture, and medicine. With two decades of operations behind it, the orbiting laboratory is producing a legacy that will be felt for decades to come.


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

General Studies – 1


6. Economic growth doesn’t always directly address issues of poverty and food insecurity, and there can be disparities in the distribution of benefits. Examine.

Reference: The Hindu


“Food Security” is one of crucial factors of development and poverty alleviation around the globe the right to food is a principle of international human rights law. Food security, as defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security (CFS), is the condition in which all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Our current understanding of food security includes the four dimensions of access, availability, utilisation and stability.

India ranked 111th out of 125 countries in the Global Hunger Index-2023 with the country reporting the highest child wasting rate at 18.7 per cent. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool for comprehensively measuring and tracking hunger at global, regional, and national levels.


Various interventions to tackle hunger in the country

  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY): 6,000 is transferred directly to the bank accounts of pregnant women for availing better facilities for their delivery.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan:aims to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth weight babies through synergy and convergence among different programmes, better monitoring and improved community mobilisation.
  • National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, aims to ensure food and nutrition security for the most vulnerable through its associated schemes and programmes, making access to food a legal right.
  • Mid-day Meal (MDM)scheme aims to improve nutritional levels among school children which also has a direct and positive impact on enrolment, retention and attendance in schools.
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS),with its network of 1.4 million Anganwadi Centres, reaching almost 100 million beneficiaries who include pregnant and nursing mothers and children up to 6 years;
  • Public Distribution System (PDS)that reaches over 800 million people under the National Food Security Act.
  • Additionally, NITI Aayog has worked on a National Nutrition Strategy (NNS),isolated the 100 most backward districts for stunting and prioritised those for interventions.

The issue continues to be persistent sore in the nation’s food security

  • Economic distress:
    • The significant rise in food insecurity, as shown by these data, is a clear manifestation of the overall economic distress during this period marked by a deepening agrarian crisis, falling investments across sectors and shrinking employment opportunities.
    • The latest PLFS data have shown that the unemployment rates in the recent years have been higher than in the last four decades.
    • It is widely believed that demonetisation and introduction of the Goods and Services Tax were two prime causes of economic distress during this period.
  • NFSA issues:
    • The NSFA does not guarantee universal right to food: Targeted –Restricts the right to food to only 75% of rural and 50% of urban population in India
    • Act would not apply in times of “war, flood, drought, fire, cyclone or earthquake”. This a highly problematic clause given that food is becomes utmost necessary during these circumstances
    • The Act focuses primarily on distribution of rice and wheat and fails to address the ‘utilization’ dimension of food security.
    • Given that a major reason for micronutrient deficiency in India is because of a cereal-based diet; the NSFA does not address the issue of malnutrition and nutritional deficiency adequately.
    • Under the National Food Security Act, the identification of beneficiaries is to be completed by State Governments. As per findings of Comptroller and Auditor General in 2016, a massive 49 % of the beneficiaries were yet to be identified by the State Governments.
  • Quality issues:
    • Inadequate distribution of food through public distribution mechanism, food adulterations in distributed food
    • Beneficiaries have complained of receiving poor quality food grains.
  • Issues with procurement:
    • Open-ended Procurement: All incoming grains accepted even if buffer stock is filled creating a shortage in the open market.
    • The recent implementation of Nation food security act would only increase the quantum of procurement resulting in higher prices for grains.
    • The gap between required and existing storage capacity.
    • The open market operations (OMO)are much less compared to what is needed to liquidate the excessive stocks.
  • Issues with storage:
    • Inadequate storage capacity with FCI.
    • Food grains rotting or damaging on the CAP or Cover & Plinth storage.
    • The money locked in these excessive stocks (beyond the buffer norm) is more than Rs 1 lakh crore.
  • Issues with allocation of food grains:
    • Inaccurate identification of beneficiaries.
    • Illicit Fair Price shops: The shop owners have created a large number of bogus cards or ghost cards (cards for non-existent people) to sell food grains in the open market.
  • Issues with transportation:
    • Leakages in food grains distribution to be reduced as most leakages in PDS takes place in initial stages.
  • Climate Change:
    • Higher temperatures and unreliable rainfall makes farming difficult. Climate change not only impacts crop but also livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, and can cause grave social and economic consequences in the form of reduced incomes, eroded livelihoods, trade disruption and adverse health impacts.
  • Lack of access to remote areas:
    • For the tribal communities, habitation in remote difficult terrains and practice of subsistence farming has led to significant economic backwardness.
  • Increase in rural-to-urban migration, large proportion of informal workforce resulting in unplanned growth of slums which lack in the basic health and hygiene facilities, insufficient housing and increased food insecurity.
  • Overpopulation, poverty, lack of education and gender inequality.
  • Corruption:
    • Diverting the grains to open market to get better margin, selling poor quality grains at ration shops, irregular opening of the shops adds to the issue of food insecurity.

Measures needed:

  • Governments, private actors, and NGOs should carefully coordinate their responses to overlapping food and health crises and work with community organizations to make sure interventions are culturally acceptable, reach the most vulnerable, and preserve local ecosystems.
  • Food should be priced not only by its weight or volume but also by its nutrient density, its freedom from contamination, and its contribution to ecosystem services and social justice.
  • Governments should expand access to maternal and child health care, as well as education on healthy diets and child feeding practices.
  • Supporting smallholder farmers in becoming sustainable and diversified producers; governments and NGOs must seek to improve those farmers’ access to agricultural inputs and extension services, coupling local and indigenous agricultural knowledge with new technologies.
  • Existing human rights-based multilateral mechanisms and international standards—such as the Committee on World Food Security—must be strengthened to support inclusive policy making and sustainable food systems.


Prioritizing early childhood nutrition is key to ensuring India’s development rests on strong and steady shoulders. India’s ability to harness long-term demographic dividends rests on it prioritizing nutrition in its health agenda, and reforming the institutional framework through which interventions are delivered.

General Studies – 2


7. Simultaneous elections can lead to greater efficiency by reducing the frequency of elections. It could ensure longer periods of stable governance and policy implementation. Examine.

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India


Simultaneous elections refer to holding elections to Lok Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, Panchayats and Urban local bodies simultaneously, once in five years. The idea of holding elections simultaneously is in news after it got a push from Prime Minister and ex-President of India. However, political parties are divided on the issue of holding simultaneous elections

Former President Ram Nath Kovind, who heads the government-appointed high-level committee on ‘one nation, one election’, said on Monday that holding simultaneous elections would benefit the public and whichever party was in power at the Centre, adding that the funds saved could be used for development work.


The Law Commission of India has also proposed holding simultaneous state and general elections and has sought public opinion on its recommendations regarding the same. Simultaneous elections were held in India during the first two decades of independence.

Merits of Simultaneous elections:

  • Governance and consistency:
    • The ruling parties will be able to focus on legislation and governance rather than having to be in campaign mode forever.
    • Parties and workers spending too much time and money in electioneering can make use of the time for social work and to take people-oriented programmes to the grassroots.
    • To overcome the “policy paralysis and governance deficit” associated with imposition of the Model Code of Conduct at election time which leads to putting on hold all developmental activities on that area and also affects the bureaucracy’s functioning.
  • Reduced Expenditure of Money and Administration:
    • The entire State and District level administrative and security machinery will be busy with the conduct of elections twice in a period of five years as per the current practice.
    • Expenditure can be reduced by conducting simultaneous elections.
    • It is felt that crucial manpower is often deployed on election duties for a prolonged period of time. If simultaneous elections are held, then this manpower would be made available for other important tasks.
    • For instance, for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which was held along with 4 state assemblies saw the deployment of 1077 in situ companies and 1349 mobile companies of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
  • Continuity in policies and programmes:
    • Will limit the disruption to normal public life associated with elections, such as increased traffic and noise pollution.
    • Large numbers of teachers are involved in the electoral process which causes maximum harm to the education sector.
  • Efficiency of Governance:
    • Simultaneous elections can bring the much-needed operational efficiency in this exercise.
    • Populist measures by governments will reduce.
  • Curbs Vices:
    • During frequent elections there is increase in “vices” such as communalism, casteism, corruption and crony capitalism.
    • Simultaneous elections can also be a means to curb corruption and build a more conducive socio-economic ecosystem.
    • The impact of black money on the voters will be reduced as all elections are held at a time.

Challenges to simultaneous elections:

  • Illiteracy:
    • Not all voters are highly educated to know who to vote for. They may get confused and may not know whether they are voting for candidates contesting assembly or parliament elections.
    • IDFC study says that there is 77% chance that the Indian voter will vote for the same party for both the state and centre, when elections are held simultaneously.
    • Evidence from Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Germany, the US and Europe supports the idea that elections that are held simultaneously produce greater alignment between national and regional election outcomes.
  • Functional issues:
    • Frequent elections bring the politicians back to the voters, create jobs and prevent the mixing of local and national issues in the minds of the voters.
    • There is a dearth of enough security and administrative officials to conduct simultaneous free and fair elections throughout the country in one go.
  • Changes in Constitution and Legislations:
    • The following constitutional changes need to be made:
    • Amendments needed in the following articles:
      • Article 83 which deals with the duration of Houses of Parliament need an amendment
      • Article 85 (on dissolution of Lok Sabha by the president)
      • Article 172 (relating to the duration of state legislatures)
      • Article 174 (relating to dissolution of state assemblies)
      • Article 356 (on President’s Rule).
    • The Representation of People Act, 1951 Act would have to be amended to build in provisions for stability of tenure for both parliament and assemblies. This should include the following crucial elements:
    • Restructuring the powers and functions of the ECI to facilitate procedures required for simultaneous elections
    • A definition of simultaneous election can be added to section 2 of the 1951 act
    • Articles 83 and 172 along with articles with articles 14 and 15 of the 1951 act be appropriately amended to incorporate the provision regarding remainder of the term i.e.., post mid elections, the new loksabha/assembly so constituted shall be only for the remainder of the term of the previous loksabha or assembly and not for a fresh term of five years.
  • Constructive vote of no confidence:
    • The 170th law commission report suggested a new rule i.e., rule 198-A has to be added to rules of procedure and conduct of business in Lok Sabha and similar amendment to such rules in the state legislatures.
    • The report suggested introduction of motion of no confidence in the incumbent government along with a motion of confidence in the alternative government.
    • To avoid premature dissolution of the house/state assemble in case of Hung parliament /assembly and to advance simultaneous elections the rigour of anti-defection law laid under in tenth schedule be removed as an exception.
  • Local and national issues will get mixed up distorting priorities.
  • The terms of different state governments are ending on separate dates and years.
  • Spirit of Constitution:
    • One nation, one election” would make sense if India were a unitary state. So “one nation, one election” is anti-democratic.
    • Simultaneous elections threaten the federal character of our democracy.
    • Frequent elections act as checks and balances on the functioning of elected representatives.

Way forward:

  • Any changes must require both a constitutional amendment and judicial approval that they do not violate the “basic structure” of the Constitution.
  • focused group of constitutional experts, think tanks, government officials and representatives of political parties should be formed to work out appropriate implementation related details.
  • Other alternatives should be explored to reduce election related expenses like
    • State funding of elections
    • Decriminalisation of politics
    • Bringing in transparency in political funding
    • Setting up National Electoral Fund to which all donors can contribute.
  • One year one election as suggested by Election Commission can be executed by amending Section 15 of the RP Act 1951. If the six-month stipulation is extended to nine or 10 months, elections to all states, whose term is expiring in one year, can be held together.
  • The Law Commission of India in its report of 1999 has dealt with the problem of premature and frequent elections. It had recommended an amendment of this rule on the lines of the German Constitution, which provides that the leader of the party who wants to replace the chancellor has to move the no-confidence motion along with the confidence motion. If the motions succeed, the president appoints him as the chancellor.
    • If such an amendment to Rule 198 is made, the Lok Sabha would avoid premature dissolution without diluting the cardinal principle of democracy that is a government with the consent of the peoples’ representatives with periodical elections.
    • It will also be consistent with the notion of collective responsibility of the government to the House as mentioned in Article 75 (3) of the Constitution.


Election Commission’s idea of “one year one election” will better suited as it will require fewer amendments to the constitution, it will respect the essence of the exercise of popular will, unlike one nation one election which prioritizes economic costs of elections over the exercise itself, it will avoid clubbing of national and state issues, it will not disturb federalism much, not much issues generated by emergencies like need to hold by-election etc. will be addressed by this option.


8. Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) is significantly positioned to address money laundering activities. Its efficacy depends on the resolution of challenges in implementation, timely prosecution, and prevention of misuse. Critically examine.

Reference: The HinduInsights on India


The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was enacted in 2002 and it came into force in 2005. The chief objective of this legislation is to fight money laundering, that is, the process of converting black money into white. The act aims at Preventing money laundering, Combating the channelising of money into illegal activities and economic crimes, Providing for the confiscation of property derived from or involved in money laundering and Providing for any other matters connected with or incidental to the act of money laundering.

Critics argue that amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) stripped a person of his right under Article 20(3) (fundamental right against self-incrimination) of the Constitution.


About PMLA

  • It is a criminal law enacted to prevent money laundering and to provide for confiscation of property derived from, or involved in, money-laundering and related matters.
  • It forms the core of the legal framework put in place by India to combat Money Laundering.
  • The provisions of this act are applicable to all financial institutions, banks (Including RBI), mutual fundsinsurance companies, and their financial intermediaries.
  • PMLA (Amendment) Act, 2012:
    • Adds the concept of ‘reporting entity’ which would include a banking company, financial institution, intermediary etc.
    • PMLA, 2002 levied a fine up to Rs 5 lakh, but the amendment act has removed this upper limit.
    • It has provided for provisional attachment and confiscation of property of any person involved in such activities.

Efficacy of PMLA

  • Indian banks were reluctant to depart from their strict bank secrecy policies, and this further allowed individuals in India to launder money. The problem of money laundering in India is complicated further by Hawala’s ancient underground banking system.
  • ED has been given the responsibility to enforce the provisions of the PMLA by conducting investigation to trace the assets derived from proceeds of crime, to provisionally attach the property and to ensure prosecution of the offenders and confiscation of the property by the Special court.
  • ED has been given the responsibility to conduct investigation into suspected contraventions of foreign exchange laws and regulations, to adjudicate and impose penalties on those adjudged to have contravened the law.

Issues with PMLA

  • PMLA is pulled into the investigation of even “ordinary” crimes and assets of genuine victims have been attached.
  • PMLA was enacted in response to India’s global commitment (including the Vienna Convention) to combat the menace of money laundering. Instead, rights have been “cribbed, cabined and confined”.
  • PMLA was a comprehensive penal statute to counter the threat of money laundering, specifically stemming from trade in narcotics.
    • Currently, the offences in the schedule of the Act are extremely overbroad, and in several cases, have absolutely no relation to either narcotics or organised crime.
  • Even the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) – an equivalent of the FIR – is considered an “internal document” and not given to the accused.
    • The ED treats itself as an exception to these principles and practises [of criminal procedure law] and chooses to register an ECIR on its own whims and fancies on its own file.
  • There is also a lack of clarity about ED’s selection of cases to investigate. The initiation of an investigation by the ED has consequences which have the potential of curtailing the liberty of an individual.


The evolving threats of money laundering supported by the emerging technologies need to be addressed with the equally advanced Anti-Money Laundering mechanisms like big data and artificial intelligence. Both international and domestic stakeholders need to come together by strengthening data sharing mechanisms amongst them to effectively eliminate the problem of money laundering.

General Studies – 3


9. The significant increase in India’s edible oil imports over the past decade has multifaceted impacts on the economy. Policymakers must need to implement measures to address the challenges posed by the surge in imports, promoting a sustainable and resilient edible oil sector in the country. Analyse

Reference: Indian Express


India’s edible oil imports have risen almost 1.5 times and more than doubled in rupee value terms during the last 10 years. India needs 25 million tonnes of edible oils to meet its requirement at current consumption level of 19 kg per person per year. Out of the total requirement, 10.50 million tonnes are produced domestically from primary (Soybean, Rapeseed & Mustard, Groundnut, Sunflower, Safflower & Niger) and secondary sources (Oil palm, Coconut, Rice Bran, Cotton seeds & Tree Borne Oilseeds) and remaining 70%, is met through import.


Import of edible oil

  • Imports of vegetable oils — used in cooking and frying of foods, as opposed to petroleum fuels — touched a record 16.5 million tonnes (mt) in the year ended October 2023, according to data from the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA).
  • While up from the 14 mt of the 2021-22 oil year, the value of imports fell both in dollar (from $19.6 billion to $16.7 billion) and rupee (Rs 156,800 crore to Rs 138,424 crore) terms, on the back of a crash in global prices.
  • From a 10-year perspective, India’s edible oil imports have increased from 11.6 mt (valued at Rs 60,750 crore) in 2013-14 to 16.5 mt (Rs 138,424 crore) in 2022-23, with the jump pronounced in the last three years.
  • During the previous 10 years between 2004-05 and 2013-14, imports had shot up even more, from 5 mt to 11.6 mt.


Reasons for edible oil import dependence in India

  • India’s import dependence in this has worsened to over 70%. Oilseed growers in India are in distress as a result of increased imports.
  • The planted acreage has stagnated and the yields also continue to be abysmally low.
  • This is primarily because growers have no incentive to improve agronomic practices.
  • The marketability of the crop grown is also weak as the price support mechanism is nearly non-existent.
  • Market – Liberal policies with zero or low rate of duty and free market operations of the last 25 years have contributed to unfettered imports.
  • This has worked against protecting the interests of domestic growers.
  • About 10-15% of the current import volume is speculation driven. It often represents stock transfer from Indonesia and Malaysia to India.
  • Huge inventories of as much as 2 million tonnes are often piled up in India, in turn affecting the domestic market.

Measures to boost domestic production of edible oils

India has a serious import dependency in edible oil. One of the biggest constraints to raising oilseed output has been that production is largely in rain-fed areas. Only one fourth of the oilseed producing area in the country remains under the irrigation.

  • In 1986, government had launched a Technology Mission on Oilseedsto improve productivity. This resulted in some growth but then growth in this field has been sluggish only.
  • Current Government is promoting National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP)during 2012-17. This mission has some clear cut objectives such as:
    • Increasing Seed Replacement Ratio (SRR) in oil crops with focus on Varietal Replacement;
    • Increasing irrigation coverage under oilseeds from 26% to 36%;
    • Diversification of area from low yielding cereals crops to oilseeds crops; inter-cropping of oilseeds with cereals/ pulses/ sugarcane;
    • Use of fallow land after paddy /potato cultivation;
    • Expansion of cultivation of Oil Palm and tree borne oilseeds in watersheds and wastelands;
    • Increasing availability of quality planting material enhancing procurement of oilseeds and collection; and
    • Processing of tree borne oilseeds.
  • National Mission on Edible Oils (NMEO): To increase domestic availability and reduce import dependency, a National Mission on Edible Oils (NMEO) is proposed for next five years (2020-21 to 2024-25). NMEO covering three Sub-Missions to increase production of oilseeds and edible oils from
    • Primary Sources (Annual Crops, Plantation Crops and Edible TBOs),
    • Secondary Sources (Rice bran oil and Cotton seed oil) and
    • Consumer Awareness for maintaining edible oil consumption constant at 19.00 kg per person per annum.
  • The proposed mission will aim to increase production from 30.88 to 47.80 million tonnes of oilseeds which will produce 7.00 to 11.00 million tonnes of edible oils from Primary Sources by 2024-25. Similarly edible oils from secondary sources will be doubled from 3.50 to 7.00 million tonnes.
  • The following action point will be initiated for increasing production and productivity of oilseeds and promotion of Secondary Sources of Edible oils:
    • Increasing seed replacement rate and varietal replacement rate
    • Promotion of oilseed in rice fallow/ potato areas
    • Promotion of oilseeds through intercropping
    • Extending oilseed cultivation in non-traditional area
    • Targeting 100 low productivity districts
    • Crop diversification in different reasons
    • Promotion of community-based oil extraction unit
    • Value addition and promotion of export
    • Promotion of rice bran and cotton seed oil
    • Consumer awareness for judicious consumption of oils for good health


India must become self-sufficient in edible oil production and this must become a part of India’s Atmanirbharta. Certain WTO compliant incentives must be given to farmers in increasing the growth of oilseed production in the country to ensure domestic cultivation.


10. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 (AFSPA) is a controversial law that has been a subject of criticism and debate, with arguments both in favor of its retention and for its repeal. Analyse.

Reference: Insights on India


The Armed Forces Special Powers Act commonly known as AFSPA came in to force decades ago in the context of increasing violence in the North Eastern states. Passed in 1958 for North East and in 1990 for Jammu and Kashmir , the law gives armed forces necessary powers to control disturbed areas which are designated by the govt.


Key features of act

  • In simple terms, AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.
  • They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law.
  • If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
  • Under the provisions of the AFSPA armed forces are empowered with immunity from being prosecuted to open fire , enter and search without warrant and arrest any person who has committed a cognizable offence.
  • As of now this act is in force in Jammu and Kashmir , Assam , Nagaland and parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.


AFSPA – a draconian act

  • It has been dubbed as a license to kill. The main criticism of the Act is directed against the provisions of Section 4, which gives the armed forces the power to open fire and even cause death, if prohibitory orders are violated.
  • Human rights activists object on the grounds that these provisions give the security forces unbridled powers to arrest, search, seize and even shoot to kill.
  • Activists accuse the security forces of having destroyed homes and entire villages merely on the suspicion that insurgents were hiding there. They point out that Section 4 empowers the armed forces to arrest citizens without warrant and keep them in custody for several days.
  • They also object to Section 6, which protects security forces personnel from prosecution except with the prior sanction of the central government. Critics say this provision has on many occasions led to even non-commissioned officers brazenly opening fire on crowds without having to justify their action.
  • Critics say the act has failed to contain terrorism and restore normalcy in disturbed areas, as the number of armed groups has gone up after the act was established. Many even hold it responsible for the spiralling violence in areas it is in force.
  • The decision of the government to declare a particular area ‘disturbed’ cannot be challenged in a court of law. Hence, several cases of human rights violations go unnoticed.

Should AFSPA be repealed?

  • The Army clearly sees AFSPA as a capstone enabling Act that gives it the powers necessary to conduct counter-insurgency operations efficiently.
  • If AFSPA is repealed or diluted, it is the army leadership’s considered view that the performance of battalions in counter-insurgency operations will be adversely affected and the terrorists or insurgents will seize the initiative.
  • Many argue that removal of the act will lead to demoralising the armed forces and see militants motivating locals to file lawsuits against the army.
  • Also, the forces are aware that they cannot afford to fail when called upon to safeguard the country’s integrity. Hence, they require the minimum legislation that is essential to ensure efficient utilization of combat capability.
  • AFSPA is necessary to maintain law and order in disturbed areas, otherwise things will go haywire. The law also dissuades advancement of terrorist activities in these areas.
  • Also, extraordinary situations require special handling.

Way forward

  • Security forces should be very careful while operating in the Northeast and must not give any chance to the militants to exploit the situation.
  • Indiscriminate arrests and harassment of people out of frustration for not being able to locate the real culprits should be avoided. All good actions of the force get nullified with one wrong action.
  • Any person, including the supervisory staff, found guilty of violating law should be severely dealt with.
  • The law is not defective, but it is its implementation that has to be managed properly.
  • The local people have to be convinced with proper planning and strategy.


The practical problems encountered in ensuring transparency in counter-insurgency operations must be overcome by innovative measures. The army must be completely transparent in investigating allegations of violations of human rights and bringing the violators to speedy justice. Exemplary punishment must be meted out where the charges are proved.

Value addition

Expert recommendations

  • A committee headed by Justice Jeevan Reddy was appointed in 2004 to review AFSPA. Though the committee found that the powers conferred under the Act are not absolute, it nevertheless concluded that the Act should be repealed.
  • However, it recommended that essential provisions of the Act be inserted into the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967.
  • The Second Administrative Reforms Commission headed by then Union law minister M Veerappa Moily also recommended that AFSPA should be repealedand its essential provisions should be incorporated in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

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