Category Archives: Inside India

Insights Secure-2014: Questions On Current Events


19 April 2014

Answer ALL the questions in about 200 words

1. Recent IIP data show that in recent years there has been  zero industrial growth. In your opinion, despite many policies, why is this trend observed? Examine.

Business Standard

2. “The most common form of democracy to be found particularly in the Third World is ‘illiberal democracy’, which fulfils the representational aspect of democracy through periodic elections but encroaches on personal liberties and the rule of law.” Do you agree with this view? Comment.

Business Standard

3. Critically comment on the significance of the recent judgement by the Supreme Court on transgenders.

The Hindu

4. Comment on the most important factors that helped the British to firmly establish their control over India in 18th century.

The Hindu

5. Critically comment on the recent political developments in Egypt.  In your opinion, what these developments indicate about the nature of governance and institutions in Egypt?

The Indian Express

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Secure 2014 Update

Today’s questions will be posted at 10.30 am.

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MOTIVATION : Fears – Face them!


I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

~Nelson Mandela

We are all afraid! Its not a simple process we are into. It is something beyond what we had imagined when we started and we start realizing that things get complicated and simpler at the same time as we proceed. I am not going to deny that there is no fear. Infact if someone says that they are not at all afraid, I would look at them with skepticism and wonder! It is natural to be afraid of the process and it is absolutely right to be. The process is long, arduous and breaks you, challenges you and above all motivates you to stand up straight to the challenge and face it head on.

But truth is no matter what we do, there shall always be things we would be afraid of, and there is no point in trying to deny it either. It is a part of life, it is a part of our emotional well being. But fear has its own place when it comes to motivation, it pushes you, drives you and makes you face it head on – the only proven way to face it and win over it. It is very easy to feel bad about something and be afraid of it, but it takes something more than that to be what you are. Facing it can be one of the biggest joys in the world and winning over it – one of the biggest triumphs you can think of. Fear, whether big or small certainly has a beauty attached to it.






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Insights Secure-2014 – UPDATE



Today questions will be posted at 10.30 am. Thank you

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MOTIVATION : What if things don’t work


Let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.

- Theodore Roosevelt

The question is – What is the worst that can happen? Let us talk about the UPSC format – what is the worst that can happen? Is it that you put in all the effort and it doesn’t work in your favour? Is it the thought that all the effort you put in will not be valued in the right direction? Maybe it is a valid fear, maybe a valid thought in itself.

But there is always an option, life is a pretty wider circle. I mean, it is true that the possibilities are wide and the competition is huge. So is the case wherever we go and whatever we try to do in life. There will always be one thing or other which holds us back, makes us feel vulnerable. Does it mean we are going to stop and let that affect us or go ahead with what we believe in. Because what we are here are not a set of people who are afraid, we are a set of people who have decided to go off the norm to make something happen. That took courage to take up a decision and it takes a larger one to stand up to it. The question is – Are we up to it?

More Motivation : How to use time more effectively? 






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Insights secure – Update

Today’s questions will be posted at around 12 pm. Thank you.

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The only way to discover limits is to go beyond them to the impossible

- Arthur.C.Clarke

The UPSC journey has always been amongst the most fascinating ones. Simply cos there are so many things to do, so much to learn and master. Of course there will be so many strenghts we come in with for the system, some are vividly articulate, some with extraordinary math skills, some decision making and some answer writing. The beauty of the exam is in how well all these attributes blend together.

Often there are certain qualities of those which we deem our weaknesses or short comings or not having enough expertise in. The process is such that it will introduce us to these areas, make us feel a little low about ourselves. But that’s ok, we are aware of the game and we know what it takes to get us there and we are in no way shying away from learning those new skills and gaining expertise in them one by one. The process has atleast introduced to us some of the perceived limitations and the charm now is to be going beyond them and making it happen :) 

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Insights Daily Current Events, March 03, 2014

March 03, 2014



Measures Implemented to Enhance Safety in the Indian Navy –

To inculcate a ‘think safety’ attitude amongst naval personnel, training in safety is undertaken from the ab-initio stage itself and is reinforced at all stages of the naval career.

Safety Checks’ in harbour and at sea are undertaken prior to declaring the ship/submarine ‘operational’.

Safety also forms an important aspect during the ‘work-up’ of a ship or submarine which is usually undertaken at least once in two years. Work-up of ships are undertaken by a specialised team of officers and sailors operating under the Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST).

Safety checks are undertaken for submarines, air-squadrons and air bases by their respective Operational Authorities. Safety standards are also ‘checked’ during audit and inspections by the Command Staff, during the Annual Inspections by the Operational Authorities.

To further promote safety culture, it was decided to introduce a framework comprising Safety Class Authorities (SCAs) who essentially are experts in their respective fields. These authorities undertake various safety related measures such as promulgation of analysis of incidents/accidents, policy guidelines on safety, safety awareness programmes, etc.

Post recent incidents onboard submarines, safety stand-downs were ordered and extensive checks on weapon related safety systems and audit of Standard Operating Procedures on all operational submarines were ordered.

The analysis of all incidents is also being promulgated to the concerned training establishments and Operational Authorities for further dissemination of corrective measures.

Besides, water tight integrity and fire fighting preparedness of units under refit have been ordered once a quarter. A feedback procedure has also been institutionalised and is being monitored at Naval Headquarters.


Centralized System to Monitor Communications-

Centralized Monitoring System (CMS) is envisaged to be implemented by DOT to strengthen the security environment in the country. With the implementation of CMS following problems which are inherent in the present system will be overcome.

The CMS gives India’s security agencies and income tax officials centralized access to India’s telecommunications network and the ability to listen in on and record mobile, landline and satellite calls and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and read private emails, SMS and MMS and track the geographical location of individuals all in real time.

It can also be used to monitor posts shared on social media such as Face book, LinkedIn and Twitter, and to track users’ search histories on Google without any oversight by courts or Parliament.

According to a government official, an agency “shall enter data related to target in the CMS system and approach the telecom services provider (TSP), at which point the process is automated, and the provider simply sends the data to a server which forwards the requested information”. The intercepted data is subject to pattern recognition and other automated tests to detect emotional markers, such as hate, compassion or intent, and different forms of dissent

The system aims to attain a tracking accuracy of 80% in the first year of operation, followed by 95% accuracy in the second year, in urban areas.

CMS creates central and regional databases, which authorized Central and State level government agencies can use to intercept and monitor any landline, mobile or internet connection in India.

The CMS will converge all the interception lines at one location, for access by authorized government agencies. CMS is connected with the Telephone Call Interception System (TCIS) which will helps in monitoring voice calls, SMS and MMS, fax communications on landlines, CDMA, GSM, video calls and 3G networks.

 In the existing system secrecy can be easily compromised due to manual intervention at many stages while in CMS these functions will be performed on secured electronic link and there will be minimum manual intervention.

 Interception through CMS will be instant as compared to the existing system which takes a very long time.

The envisaged salient features of CMS are as follows:

-Central and regional database which will help Central and State level Law   Enforcement Agencies in Interception and Monitoring.
– Direct Electronic Provisioning of target numbers by Government agencies without any manual intervention from Telecom Service Providers (TSPs).
– Filters and Alert creation on the target numbers.
– Call Data Records (CDR) analysis and data mining on CDRs to identify call details, location details etc. of the target numbers.
– R&D in related fields for continuous up gradation of the CMS.


Human rights and civil-liberties groups have expressed concerns that the CMS is prone to abuse, and is an infringement of privacy and civil liberties.

Critics have described it as “abuse of privacy rights and security-agency overreach”, and counterproductive in terms of security.

Indian activists have also raised concerns that the system will inhibit them from expressing their opinions and sharing information, especially because the government has repeatedly used the Information Technology Act, since it was enacted in 2011, to arrest people for posting comments on social media that are critical of the government, as well as to put pressure on websites such as Facebook and Google to filter or block content, and impose liability on private intermediaries to filter and remove content from users

A central monitoring system is vulnerable to misuse

The CMS has mainly been criticized by the public for the lack of public information and debate, before its implementation. Many have expressed concern that the system could lead to violations of individual liberty, in the absence of privacy laws

Green India Mission’ scheme- The new scheme, known as the National Mission for a Green India, envisages an expenditure of Rs.13,000 crore in the 12th five-year plan period ending in March 2017, and a total cost of Rs.46,000 crore over the next 10 years.

The Green India Mission is one of eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change. It aims to increase forest cover on 5 million hectares (ha) of forest/non-forest land and improve the quality of forest cover on another 5 million ha.

Funding for the scheme will come from the Plan outlay and convergence with the Mahatma Gandhi national rural employment guarantee Act, the compensatory afforestation management and planning authority, and the national afforestation programme.

The Union government will provide 90% of the funds for implementing the scheme in the north-eastern states, and 75% of the funds for other states. State governments will meet the balance requirement.

The new mission will involve grassroots-level organizations including gram sabhas (village councils) and joint forest management committees (JFMCs). A governing council chaired by the environment minister and a national executive council chaired by the environment secretary at the national level will facilitate implementation of the mission.

Apart from afforestation, the mission will also focus on adaptation of forest-dependent communities. It aims to improve the livelihoods of about 3 million households living in and around forest areas.

It emphasizes a holistic approach to greening, making it clear that the project will not just be limited to trees and plantations, but would focus on restoring diverse ecosystems. It would not only strive to restore degraded forests, but also protect and enhance relatively dense forests.

The nine sub-missions include, separate targets for moderately dense forests, degraded forests, degraded scrub and grasslands, mangroves, wetlands, urban forest lands and institutional areas with tree cover, degraded and fallow agricultural land, wildlife corridors, more efficient stoves and alternative energy devices for better fuel wood use, and enhanced livelihoods for communities dependent on biomass and non-timber forest produce. The Mission envisages a key role for local communities and includes a four-level monitoring framework.

The new and restored forest areas will act as a carbon sink. They are expected to absorb an additional 43 million tonnes of green house gases every year. This means that India’s forests will be able to absorb 6.35 per cent of the country’s annual emissions by 2020



In view of Forest rights activist the mission goes against the Forest Rights’ Act (FRA) by seeking to empower the JFMCs instead of the gram sabhas. It appears that there are two sets of framework coming from the Central government—on one hand, they want to empower gram sabhas through FRA, and on other hand, it continues with the status quo on JFMCs and forest bureaucracy

Another likely problem is that plantation of trees under the new mission might encroach over land cultivated by tribals.

The same land that is used by adivasis (tribals) to cultivate food crops might be taken over if the focus is on plantations by the forest department

As far as the FRA is concerned, it is important that land which was under cultivation needs to be identified and allocated to cultivator and boundary must be demarcated urgently.



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NYTimes: With Syria, Diplomacy Needs Force

NYTimes: With Syria, Diplomacy Needs Force

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NYTimes: North Korea’s Atrocities

NYTimes: North Korea’s Atrocities

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NYTimes: Genetically Modified Babies

NYTimes: Genetically Modified Babies

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NYTimes: Coping With Infectious Disease

NYTimes: Coping With Infectious Disease

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Libya: the mirage of democracy | Editorial

Libya: the mirage of democracy | Editorial –

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G20 has failed to fulfil its promise of collaboration amid hostility

G20 has failed to fulfil its promise of collaboration amid hostility –

- sent from the Guardian Anywhere app

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NYTimes: Muzzling Speech in India

NYTimes: Muzzling Speech in India

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